John Dean's 'Big Thrill'

Issues & Insights’ Thomas McArdle recalled an incident detailed in a book entitled “Very Strange Bedfellows: The Short and Unhappy Marriage of Nixon & Agnew” written by Jules Witcover. Witcover, a reporter who covered the Watergate scandal, described an April 1971 (recorded) conversation which took place in President Nixon’s office one year before the Watergate break-in. Nixon and his chief of staff Bob Haldeman were mulling over ideas to remove Vice President Spiro Agnew from the 1972 ticket. White House counsel John Dean was on the phone.


Feigning that he needed Dean to nail down the details of how a new Vice President would be appointed under the Twenty-Fifth Amendment, Nixon finished a phone call with Dean, then quipped to Haldeman: “That’s his big thrill for the month.””

Indeed, the first of many big thrills to come.

Leading up to his gig as the star witness in the Watergate hearings, Dean had been a willing participant in unethical behavior. Always an opportunist, he was willing to do whatever was necessary to achieve his goals.

New York Times writer Jack Anderson reported that Dean had been dismissed by Washington law firm Welch & Morgan for “unethical conduct” that was “grounds for disbarment,” in 1966. The reason? He had been tasked with negotiating for a client’s TV broadcast license and instead, “tried to make a private deal.”

Dean himself had been deeply involved in every aspect of Watergate. As further proof of his duplicitous nature, he stayed on as White House counsel even after he had begun cooperating with Senate investigators. He plead guilty to obstruction of justice in October 1973 and on August 2, 1974, he received a sentence of 1-4 years in a minimum security prison. Upon surrendering himself one month later,

He was diverted to the custody of U.S. Marshals, and kept instead at Fort Holabird (near Baltimore, Maryland) in a special “safe house” holding facility primarily used for witnesses against the Mafia. He spent his days at the offices of Jaworski, the Watergate Special Prosecutor, and testifying in the trial of Watergate conspirators Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Robert Mardian, and Kenneth Parkinson, which concluded on January 1, 1975. All except Parkinson were convicted, largely based upon Dean’s evidence. Dean’s lawyer moved to have his sentence reduced and on January 8, Judge Sirica granted the motion, adjusting Dean’s sentence to time served, which wound up being four months. With his conviction for felony offenses, Dean was disbarred as a lawyer in Virginia and the District of Columbia, so he could no longer practice law.


He was as involved in the scandal as all of these men, yet he escaped justice. He has since parlayed his Watergate “fame” into a profitable career. This man has always looked out for number one.

John Dean will be forever defined by his role in bringing down President Nixon. Why else would the House Judiciary Committee showcase him at the opening of their Mueller Report hearings? After all, as McArdle points out, Dean “has nothing to do with Donald Trump, nothing to do with Russia, nothing to do with Mueller’s investigation, and who throughout his career could be trusted on virtually nothing.” During questioning, he repeatedly had to remind Republican members of Congress that he was not a “fact witness.” McArdle adds:

Some have compared Democrats squiring in Richard Nixon’s disgraced White House counsel and Watergate conspirator John Dean, in their first step on a road they hope will lead to Trump’s impeachment, to bringing in Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. It’s really more like Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman, the stars who played the Washington Post reporters in the movie of their book “All the President’s Men.”

The stunt is a cinematic opportunity to let the establishment media do what they’ve been pining to do for over two years now: juxtapose video of Dean’s blockbuster testimony to the Watergate committee with the various goings-on today and hope the public conflates Nixon and the current White House occupant.


Since Watergate, Dean has positioned himself as an expert on impeachment. He gets his thrills by determining where any given president’s offense or scandal would fall on the “Watergate” scale.

Regarding Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal, he told Newsweek “it involves matters of national security. Watergate, on the other hand, involved the political security of Richard Nixon. These are Major-league matters versus Little League.” This was worse than Watergate. Therefore, Reagan should be impeached.

During the Iraq War, he told anyone who would listen that President Bush getting us into a war we didn’t need to be involved in was worse than Watergate. Accordingly, he should be impeached.

Speaking before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday, Dean said, “In many ways, the Mueller report is to President Trump what the so-called ‘Watergate road map’… was to President Richard Nixon. Mueller has provided this committee with a road map.” Similar to Watergate. Thus, Trump must be impeached.

John Dean is a convicted felon. Who is he to be passing judgement on American Presidents Republican Presidents?

In their desperation, Democrats just can’t stop humiliating themselves. And they will continue to beclown themselves until November 3, 2020.

And the next day, they will cry. Again.

Now THAT would be a thrill.


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