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Watergate's John Dean: Trump Making Nixon 'Look Like A Choir Boy'

UNION CITY (CBS SF) -- When it comes to a White House in chaos, few men are better equip to understand the turbulent waters than former President Richard Nixon attorney John Dean.

Dean was a White House counsel when the Watergate scandal began to unfold. He pleaded guilty to being part of an attempt to cover-up any wrongdoing the Nixon Administration had in the scandal and spent time in jail.

On Tuesday night, he joined Bay Area Representative Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, at a well attended town hall to discuss the current Congressional impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump.

Asked by an attendee if Dean thought Trump may serve time in prison, he said "it's about 70/30, in terms of him being indicted."

Dean went further to say Trump was making Nixon "look like a choir boy."

John Dean
John Dean, a White House counsel during the Nixon administration, speaks during a town hall about the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump hosted by Rep. Eric Swalwell, October 1, 2019. (CBS)

"The darkest Richard Nixon, I can see in the Rose Garden with Donald Trump in the way he handles situations that Nixon would never engage in," Dean said.

A political science professor asked Dean what she could say to young people who may end up frustrated if the impeachment process fails.

"Because of the way the process is not working in many regards...they just have to double and triple down on not only getting themselves to the polls," he said. "But getting [out] others who might have difficulty getting to the polls."

Swalwell, an outspoken critic of Trump and former Democratic presidential candidate, was also peppered with questions about what he and his colleagues in the House will do.

One person asked about the possibility that impeachment proceedings against the president could fail due to lack of support in the U.S. Senate.

"Doing nothing will make his behavior worse," Swalwell said, to applause from the audience.

"I also think about future presidencies," he added. "If we do nothing, we will lower the standard of conduct."

Someone asked what voters can do to make Trump "do the right things."

"We're already doing that," Swalwell said. "I can't imagine where we would be if the Democrats had not won the house in 2018."


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