It is a wonder why media outlets bring on guests who are the absolute worst authorities on a particular subject to comment on that subject. One major example is bringing on Dan Rather to talk about media ethics.
CNN on Thursday invited on guest John Dean. Dean, for our younger readers, served as White House counsel for President Richard Nixon. The FBI called him the “master manipulator of the cover-up” surrounding the Watergate scandal. He pleaded guilty and spent time in prison. He was disbarred and now spends his days criticizing President Donald Trump (he also didn’t like President George W. Bush).
Despite all this – or perhaps because of all this – CNN invited Dean on to discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Trump campaign’s alleged collusion with Russia to influence the 2016 election. Spoiler alert: There was no collusion. As I wrote yesterday, the media is now running with the narrative that Trump obstructed the investigation into the nonexistent crime, and therefore should be impeached anyway.
Dean did exactly as he was expected: He insisted the Mueller report was “more damning” to Trump than the Watergate report – which led to Nixon’s resignation – was to Nixon. He also said it was more damning than the Iran Contra report was to President Ronald Reagan and Ken Starr’s report on President Bill Clinton’s affairs.
“I looked on my shelf for the Senate Watergate Committee report, I looked at the Iran Contra report. I also looked at the Ken Starr report,” Dean said on “The Lead,” hosted by Jake Tapper.
Dean added: “This report from the special counsel is more damning than all those reports about a president. This is really a devastating report.”
Is it though? The other reports actually found information relating to their central premise. Mueller’s report concluded: "The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government.”
Mueller punted on the obstruction issue, which as I wrote yesterday, is meaningless considering there was no collusion. The president cannot obstruct a counterintelligence investigation because it’s done on his behalf, and he cannot obstruct an investigation into a nonexistent crime. Him tweeting about how unfair the “witch hunt” was is only obstruction in the minds of those who already hate Trump.
Dean, of course, is one of the people who saw obstruction in the Mueller report.
“As far as obstruction goes, this is clear obstruction,” Dean said. “The obstruction statute is an endeavor statute, as well as an actual overt action. If you endeavor to obstruct — and there is much evidence here of endeavor — you’ve violated the obstruction statute.”
Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro – who is a licensed attorney that has not been disbarred – wrote in response to the obstruction claims:
The President does have First Amendment rights. To suggest that public criticism of Robert Mueller or public praise of Paul Manafort amounts to criminal obstruction of justice requires an extraordinarily broad reading of obstruction of justice statutes.
In response to a Daily Wire inquiry, a CNN spokesperson said Dean was invited on because "He’s an expert on WH malfeasance — with historical knowledge of the WH, President Nixon, and presidential scandals."