Dean: Mueller re­port ‘road map’ for probe

The News-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

WASHINGTON — John Dean, a star wit­ness dur­ing Water­gate who helped bring down the Nixon pres­i­dency, tes­ti­fied Mon­day that spe­cial coun­sel Robert Mueller has pro­vided Congress with a “road map” for in­ves­ti­gat­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump.

He told the House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee he saw par­al­lels be­tween Mueller’s find­ings and those of con­gres­sional in­ves­ti­ga­tors look­ing into Richard Nixon’s ad­min­is­tra­tion decades ago. He pointed to the way the pres­i­dents used their pardon power in an at­tempt to in­flu­ence wit­ness tes­ti­mony, and their efforts to seize control of in­ves­ti­ga­tions and di­rect the efforts of pros­e­cu­tors.

Dean, who served as White House coun­sel, tes­ti­fied as House Democrats opened three days of ses­sions aimed at fo­cus­ing pub­lic at­ten­tion on the find­ings of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tion and Trump’s ac­tions.

“We have a re­spon­si­bil­ity to do this work, to fol­low the facts where they lead,” said Chair­man Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., as he gaveled in the hear­ing. He said the in­tent was to make cer­tain “no pres­i­dent, Demo­crat or Repub­li­can, can ever act in this way again.”

Trump, ap­par­ently watching the tele­vised hear­ing, tweeted, “Can’t be­lieve they are bring­ing in John Dean, the dis­graced Nixon White House Coun­sel.” He added his oftre­peated claim, “No Col­lu­sion — No Ob­struc­tion!”

Ahead of the hear­ing, Nadler an­nounced that the Jus­tice De­part­ment has agreed to turn over some of the un­der­ly­ing ev­i­dence from Mueller’s re­port, in­clud­ing files used to as­sess whether Trump ob­structed jus­tice.

In the first break­through in weeks of ne­go­ti­a­tions over the re­port, Nadler said the de­part­ment will be­gin com­ply­ing with the com­mit­tee’s sub­poena on Mon­day and pro­vide some of Mueller’s “most im­por­tant files.” He said all mem­bers of the com­mit­tee will be able to view them.

Nadler said in re­sponse to the agree­ment Democrats would not vote on hold­ing At­tor­ney Gen­eral Wil­liam Barr in crim­i­nal con­tempt, for now. In­stead, the House will vote Tuesday on a res­o­lu­tion that would em­power the Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee to file a civil law­suit for Mueller ma­te­ri­als.

The Jus­tice De­part­ment is “pleased the Com­mit­tee has agreed to set aside its con­tempt res­o­lu­tion and is re­turn­ing to the tra­di­tional ac­com­mo­da­tion process,” said spokesper­son Kerri Ku­pec. She said the de­part­ment “re­mains com­mit­ted to ap­pro­pri­ately ac­com­mo­dat­ing Congress’s le­git­i­mate in­ter­ests re­lated to the Spe­cial Coun­sel’s In­ves­ti­ga­tion and will con­tinue to do so pro­vided the pre­vi­ously voted-upon res­o­lu­tion does not ad­vance.”

The deal is un­likely to give Democrats all of what they were re­quest­ing — in­clud­ing an unredacted ver­sion of the re­port and se­cret grand jury tes­ti­mony.

At the same time, the Jus­tice De­part­ment an­nounced it was step­ping up its counter-probe into the ori­gins of the Rus­sia in­ves­ti­ga­tions, a pri­or­ity for Trump and his Repub­li­can al­lies on Capi­tol Hill.

The de­part­ment said Mon­day it has asked in­tel­li­gence agen­cies to pre­serve all rel­e­vant records and ac­cess to wit­nesses.

Dean was sup­posed to be the head­liner Mon­day, but some of the strong­est tes­ti­mony came from two for­mer U.S. at­tor­neys who served dur­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, Bar­bara McQuade and Joyce Vance, who have be­come reg­u­lars on ca­ble news shows, an­a­lyz­ing de­vel­op­ments in the Mueller in­ves­ti­ga­tion and of­fer­ing crit­i­cism on Twit­ter of the pres­i­dent’s con­duct. Dean said it was the first time he had tes­ti­fied since 1974.


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