Joe diGenova: John Dean, House Democrats and the spirit of scandals past

John Dean? Really? If this was a Dickens story, John Dean would be playing the Spirit of Scandals Past, the forlorn and decrepit old spirit carted out to warn others. But his warnings are no more than craven fodder for the Spirit of Scandals Present, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler.

Why don’t the Democrats just admit they were wrong about collusion and move on rather than continuing to embarrass themselves?

This is one step away from calling washed-up actor Tom Arnold and notorious Trump-hating Twitter stars, the Krassenstein Brothers, before Congress to testify on how they think the president of the United States is a criminal.


As many have pointed out, Dean is a convicted felon who was disbarred following his criminal role in the Watergate scandal. More important for this farce of a hearing, though, is that Dean has absolutely no first-hand knowledge of the events in question. He’s no more qualified to testify about Russiagate than CNN’s Jim Acosta is to testify about real news.

“Clearly, I’m not here today as a fact witness,” Dean himself admitted.

So why would the Democrats call this discredited buffoon away from the CNN studios?

Obviously, Nadler called Dean to testify because he wants to use the 45-year-old stench of Watergate to revive a partisan conspiracy theory that President Trump committed criminal offenses, which was already decisively debunked in the Mueller report.

Sweetening the deal for Nadler, Dean has become a liberal activist since getting out of jail, publishing no fewer than four books blasting Republicans, including one in which he called for President George W. Bush to be impeached long before Donald Trump even announced his run for president.

For more than two years, Democrats did everything they could to contort their Russiagate conspiracy theory into seeming like a facsimile of Watergate. They hoped and prayed that Robert Mueller would assist them in that effort, but his investigation ultimately had just the opposite effect. So now Democrats have turned to the convicted felon and “master manipulator” of Watergate, providing him with a national audience before which to give it his best try.

Dean didn’t waste any time obliging them. He did what he was there for within moments of beginning his testimony, claiming, “In many ways, the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called Watergate roadmap … was to President Richard Nixon.”

Of course, outside Dean’s fantasy land, there is no similarity. In Watergate, there were real underlying crimes. Operatives linked to the Nixon Campaign committed numerous felonies as they broke into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Hotel.

After that, genuine obstruction of justice took place, committed in large part by the Democrats’ own star witness, then-White House Counsel John Dean, who physically destroyed evidence as part of the cover-up.

In Russiagate, however, there was no underlying crime. There was only the Democrat fantasy, cooked up by the Hillary Clinton campaign, that the Trump Campaign had “colluded” with Russians to steal the 2016 election. That was a lie, as the Mueller report conclusively established.

There was also no obstruction of justice. Given that the president knew all along that he was innocent, nothing he did could possibly have constituted the “corrupt intent” necessary for an obstruction charge. Attorney General Bill Barr made that clear and explained his reasoning to Congress and the American public in detail.

That absence of criminality – not any nonsense about the Justice Department’s rules against indicting sitting presidents – is why Robert Mueller didn’t recommend charging the president. As I've written before, nothing stopped Mueller from stating plainly, in his confidential report to the attorney general, that he thought there was sufficient evidence of criminal obstruction.

To put this all in perspective, Russiagate has already gone on longer than the entire Watergate scandal, from the break-in all the way through to President Nixon’s resignation. We’ve been over the same ground again and again since 2016. The investigation is over, and it found that there was no collusion. It’s the equivalent of discovering, after two years of Watergate investigation, that no one had actually broken into the DNC and no evidence was destroyed in John Dean’s shredder.


The only purpose of these hearings is to keep the most sinister-sounding aspects of the Mueller report in front of the public until the 2020 election. Since hardly anybody watches CNN anymore these days, the Democrats had to bring the forlorn old disgraced specter of the greatest scandal in American history, John Dean, to Capitol Hill to warn people about the dangers of scandal.

Just like in the Dickens novel, John Dean carries the chains of his past crimes around with him wherever he goes. In this version of the story, though, Dean’s own lack of credibility weighs him down and prevents him from achieving his objective.