With all the news regarding investigations on both sides of the aisle, it’s hard to know where to start today. But let’s kick off with the idiocy that was the John Dean testimony before Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee, just to get it out of the way. The afternoon hearing, which Democrats actually called “Lessons From the Mueller Report,” got pre-empted on live TV by Monday’s helicopter crash in Manhattan –- which, sadly, killed the pilot and jolted the city that suffered through 9/11 –- but CNN and MSNBC will surely do what they can to milk Dean’s testimony for all it’s worth in the days ahead, using strategically edited clips to try to make this dumb hearing look like “Watergate II.”
They should just let this embarrassment drop, but they’ll likely produce hour-long specials as well to run over the weekend, conveniently leaving out sharp questioning by Republicans on the committee such as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, who devastated Dean as a witness and made it clear we know exactly what this is all about. That is to say, Democrats are trying to have it both ways --- they’re impeaching the President, but they aren’t, but they are! But they aren’t. Are. Aren’t. And Gaetz called him what he was: “a prop.”
I’m not sure why this hearing was called “Lessons From The Mueller Report,” as John Dean has no connection whatsoever with the Mueller Report. No more than Bob Woodward has, or Robert Redford. Even Dean said on CNN before his testimony that he had nothing to add materially that would be relevant; he was there to provide “context.” Dean testified well over four decades ago (!) during the Watergate hearings, after spearheading the cover-up of the Watergate break-in at Democratic Party headquarters during the Nixon administration, back in the age of the dinosaurs before the sophisticated digital spying technologies we have today (which, it should be noted, were used not BY Trump, but ON Trump).
Matt Margolis at PJ Media has a great rundown on what I’ll call the “Dean-and-pony show” that took place (because of the helicopter crash) on, I believe, CSPAN-3. Margolis points out that today, Dean is a CNN contributor who has been busy writing anti-Republican books over the years. He is a thoroughly political figure. He also is a liar and convicted felon, for (you guessed it) obstruction of justice. As Trump said several hours into Dean’s testimony, “John’s been a loser for a long time...He was disbarred, and he went to prison. Other than that, he’s doing a great job.”
Before he questioned Dean, Gaetz entered into the record an essay of Dean’s from 2005 entitled “George W. Bush as the new Richard M. Nixon: Both Wiretapped Illegally, and Impeachably.” Gaetz got a laugh in the room by asking him, “How many American Presidents have you accused of being Richard Nixon?” But Dean was unbowed; he volunteered that he had written a book called WORSE THAN WATERGATE: THE SECRET PRESIDENCY OF GEORGE W. BUSH.
Gaetz accused Dean of making “a cottage industry” out of accusing Presidents of being Richard Nixon and tried to find out from him how much money he has made from CNN and from such books. Dean never provided an answer, as Chairman Nadler banged his gavel and objected to the line of questioning.
Still, it was rich. Margolis offers the following as his favorite part of the exchange, and I have to agree, it is a hoot:
GAETZ: Do you have personal knowledge regarding the truth or falsity of a single material fact in the Mueller Report?
DEAN: I think if you recall the first thing I said I’m not here as a fact witness.
GAETZ: You’re here to provide historical context.
GAETZ: And throughout history, you accuse Presidents of acting like Richard Nixon and you make money off of it.
DEAN: Not all Presidents, no.
GAETZ: But a few. More than one.
DEAN: Those who do act like him, I point it out.
The reason this is so hilarious is that President Obama massively expanded surveillance programs that were begun under Bush. We absolutely know this because of leaks from Edward Snowden. Did Dean ever accuse Obama of being Nixonian, or fault him in any way for this misuse of government power? Of course not. And then there’s the spying that was done on the Trump campaign by Obama’s Justice Department and FBI. As more and more is being revealed about this, has Dean had anything to say about it? Not to my knowledge. As Margolis points out, he’s been more concerned with leaks from the Obama administration, not the underlying abuses of power.
You’ll appreciate Margolis’ full article, at the link. He also includes video of the highly entertaining exchange between Dean and Rep. Gaetz.
Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan was on fire as well. Under questioning, Dean had to admit he had discussed the impeachment of Trump with Nancy Pelosi and that he had mused about giving Trump a “meaningful moniker” such as “deranged Don,” “deadbeat Don” or “demagogue Don.” Dean clearly just hates Trump and would love to see him impeached, so Jerry Nadler gladly gave him a forum.
Jordan pointed out on Monday’s Laura Ingraham show something we’ve talked about before: that the various committees, now under Democratic leadership, have what are known as “memoranda of understanding” to share information and coordinate their impeachment efforts.
So much for Dean. He has become tiresome. In related news, Nadler is pressing on for more “underlying documents” referenced by the Mueller report, and the DOJ is reportedly cooperating. Nadler has become tiresome as well, so we’ll comment if and when he has something concrete to say about his findings.
Let’s move on to something of potentially enormous consequence: a letter to Nadler from assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd (on behalf of Attorney General Bill Barr) spelling out the parameters of the investigation being conducted by the Justice Department. Barr is promising a wide-ranging and thorough investigation into the origins of the “Russia” investigation. As Boyd wrote, “The Attorney General looks forward to obtaining a better understanding of the critical period leading up to the 2016 Presidential election, which to date has not fully been examined...The review is broad in scope and multifaceted, and is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals.”
That last part raises goosebumps. It means the investigation will cover not just our own intelligence community but also spying activities in other countries (England, Australia, and Italy are potentially implicated), as well as involvement by entities outside government, such as Fusion GPS and private lawyers and other individuals. This would presumably include the hijinks described by George Papadopoulos and Carter Page, and I’m thinking perhaps a number of Clinton cronies who have business ties around the world.
Durham reportedly has been given space and staff inside the main DOJ offices and is extremely serious about getting to the bottom of this. It’s essential to AG Barr that the good reputation of the FBI and Justice Department be restored.
Interestingly, just as we see how wide-ranging this investigation might turn out to be, emails uncovered by Judicial Watch show that Fusion GPS and British spy Christopher Steele had a close relationship with the Obama State Department, under John Kerry. For those keeping up with all the players and connecting the dots as we go, here’s the story by Mark Tapscott in The Epoch Times. You can bet that Barr’s Justice Department will be on it.
I hope you’ll read it all, right down to the twist at the end, which evokes the name of...John Dean. And with that, we have come full circle.