The House Judiciary Committee has been struggling to find a star witness to publicly testify about Donald Trump’s obstruction of justice crimes, largely because Trump has been threatening the people who have been subpoenaed to testify. Even as the legal battle plays out to force their testimony to happen, the committee has decided to start things off in a different way: by hauling in someone from Watergate as an expert witness.
This afternoon the House Judiciary Committee announced that former White House Counsel John Dean will publicly testify next Monday. He has no direct connection to any of Donald Trump’s scandals. But Dean helped Richard Nixon commit obstruction of justice before he changed his mind and led the way in exposing Nixon’s obstruction crimes. That puts him in a unique position to serve as an expert witness. So what will he say?
Based on John Dean’s ongoing commentary on Twitter, you can expect him to testify next week that Donald Trump’s obstruction crimes are far worse than Richard Nixon’s obstruction crimes. Those who have been paying close attention may not hear anything new from Dean. The thing is, the average American doesn’t sit around reading political analysis on Twitter – but the average American does sit up and pay attention when a star witness discusses the president’s crimes during televised hearings. Even those people who don’t watch Dean’s testimony during the daytime will end up hearing all about it on the nightly news when they get home from work that evening.
If you’re wondering just how much impact John Dean might have on the public’s view of Donald Trump’s crimes, consider this. After William Barr’s disastrous testimony last month, pro-impeachment numbers jumped from the thirties to the forties in various polls – and this was a witness who was trying to help Trump. John Dean’s testimony could end up being devastating, particularly in the eyes of those who are old enough to remember Watergate. It also helps break the dam, making it potentially easier for other witnesses to overcome their reluctance and also testify.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report