Even as Donald Trump continues to illegally order his own former White House Counsel Don McGahn not to testify before Congress, and House Democrats fight a legal battle to get the courts to order McGahn to testify, they decided to go in a different direction today when they brought in Richard Nixon’s former White House Counsel John Dean to testify about Trump’s obstruction of justice.
John Dean testified, along with respected legal experts Joyce Vance and Barb McQuade, in public House Judiciary Committee hearings today. Dean was in the best position to provide historical context for why Donald Trump’s obstruction crimes are similar to – and worse than – Nixon’s obstruction crimes. Vance and McQuade were in the best position to explain why Trump’s obstruction crimes were indeed crimes. The thing is, the Republicans on the committee had no idea how to counter anything being said.
Most of the GOP House members on the committee tried directly taking on John Dean, and it didn’t go well for any of them. For instance, Steve Chabot spent nearly his entire allotted time telling his own life story to Dean for no apparent reason. Louie Gohmert semi-coherently appeared to falsely accuse Dean of having ordered the Watergate break-in. Jim Jordan had such an over-the-top meltdown while insulting Dean, Chairman Jerry Nadler had to shut him down.
Notably missing from nearly any of the questions and/or grandstanding speeches coming from House Republicans today: any semblance of a defense of Donald Trump’s actions. The GOP knows it can’t even try to defend what Trump did, so instead it spent the day yelling angry histrionic nonsense at an eighty year old witness.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report