Watergate whistleblower John Dean‘s testimony against President Donald Trump‘s Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh eventually veered toward a discussion about Trump and the “rule of law.”
Dean appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday and said that Kavanaugh’s appointment on the Supreme Court would mean this would be the “most pro-presidential powers Supreme Court in the modern era.”
Dean, quite jarringly, called out Trump, saying that at least Richard Nixon cared about the rule of law.
“Even more basically I think [Nixon] left [the office of the presidency] because the man, at his core, had a respect for the rule of law,” he said. “That’s one of the differences I find today in Mr. Trump, and the reason I don’t think he would resign.”
“He could care less about the rule of law,” he said.
Dean also dinged Trump in another way.
Ex-Nixon White House Counsel John Dean: "Under Judge Kavanaugh's recommendation, if a president shot somebody in cold blood on Fifth Avenue, that president could not be prosecuted while in office." (via
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) September 7, 2018
You can read Dean’s prepared testimony below.
In his prepared statement, Dean alluded to a bygone time when the “conservative orthodoxy” fought the rise of executive power and resisted the “so-called Imperial Presidency” as “undemocratic.”
Dean said that if Kavanaugh is confirmed, there could be a judicial majority that will “find it increasingly difficult to discover any presidential actions which they do not approve.” He said this “deeply troubling,” and not just for abstract reasons.
He said that a Republican-controlled Congress, as it currently stands, has shown “no interest in oversight of a Republican president.” He said, therefore, that the separation of powers would be jeopardized the less the Supreme Court is able to function as a strong check against the executive branch.
[Image via YouTube screengrab]