Watergate prosecutor: Trump knowledge of Russian election hacking would be an impeachable 'criminal act'
Richard Ben-Veniste (Screengrab / MSNBC)

Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean and Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste on Monday spoke with MSNBC’s Chris Matthews about the parallels between Watergate and the 2016 Russian hacking scandal.

Dean discussed the “interesting parallels” between the Russian break-in and Watergate, noting while the methods were different, “they obviously both deal with the DNC and that’s where the comparison comes from."

Ben-Veniste told Matthews the difference between the two scandals is that “here you’ve got a foreign power, our adversary, the Russians, who are interfering … with our election, our electoral process.”

“So that’s big,” Ben-Veniste added. “The question is, was Mr. Trump or any of his close associates, somehow involved with the Russians during this course of conduct? And if so, then that would be huge.”

“If there was such activity, then this would be a criminal act that would be of the upmost seriousness to this country,” he said.

Comparing Nixon with Donald Trump, Dean said Nixon “worked behind the scenes” to undermine the press, adding “So far, Trump has been right out front” with his criticism of the media.

Ben-Veniste added there’s a difference between Trump and Nixon in terms of preparedness for the job, arguing Nixon was “eminently prepared” to be president of the United States.

“This is on-the-job training for President Trump, and one can only hope he utilizes the vast resources that are available to the President of the United States, and pick people who say ‘No’ to him,” Ben-Veniste said. “This is what was Nixon’s downfall, he surrounded himself with people who catered to his dark side.”

Watch the video below, via MSNBC: