John Dean, the erstwhile White House counsel who turned on President Richard Nixon and cooperated with Watergate investigators, will testify in opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation during hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
His testimony will be a key component of a broader Democratic strategy to define Kavanaugh in view of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Kavanaugh’s past writings suggest he has a rather muscular view of presidential power. As a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, he joined opinions limiting judicial review of detentions at the Guantanamo Bay military prison, and advocating for greater presidential control of the federal workforce. He wrote an article in 2008 for the Minnesota Law Review suggesting Congress enact legislation deferring investigations of sitting presidents until the end of their terms.
Democrats will argue Kavanaugh’s views suggest he will take steps to protect President Donald Trump, should a conflict between Mueller and Trump reach the Supreme Court. (RELATED: This New Memos Proves Brett Kavanaugh Pulled No Punches On Bill Clinton’s Lewinsky Testimony)
“This president who is an unindicted co-conspirator in a criminal matter does not deserve the courtesy of a meeting with his nominee, purposefully selected to protect, as we say in Hawaii, the president’s ‘okole,'” Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono of Hawaii said Aug. 22, with respect to the indictment of Michael Cohen.
Dean was Nixon’s White House counsel from 1970 to 1973. He began cooperating with lawmakers investigating Watergate in April 1973, after he concluded other administration aides were setting him up to take the fall for cover-ups of the 1972 DNC break-in. He went on to serve a brief prison term and has since reemerged in public life as a staunch critic of Trump.
Other witnesses Democrats will call include Rochelle Garza, an attorney who represents pregnant, undocumented minors in federal custody seeking abortions, and Aalayah Eastmond, a survivor of the Parkland high school shootings.
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