Former White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon John Dean knows a thing or two about Watergate and he wants President Donald Trump to learn the facts. In fact-free accusations Saturday morning on Twitter, Trump alleged a new Watergate at the hands of former President Barack Obama, whom Trump said wiretapped him.
Dean called Trump’s claim this is another Watergate “way off base.”
“It shows, first of all, that Trump may not even understand Watergate,” Dean continued. “He seems to be conflicting the act of the wiretapping, which never happened — in fact, it was a bungled effort, they went in to try to repair a bungled bug, and Nixon had nothing to do with that, he’s confusing that with the cover-up, which he seems to have a little more understandings projecting himself into that situation.”
He went on to note that Trump has a history of parroting accusations others throw at him regardless of whether the label makes any sense. A glaring example was when Hillary Clinton accused Trump of being a Putin puppet and he accused her of being Putin’s puppet.
Host Don Lemon asked Dean if he thought Trump has a grasp on how wiretaps work and what a FISA warrant is. Dean said he wasn’t sure that Trump does but that Nixon did, and authorized a number of them. It was because of those wiretaps that the laws were changed in the 1970s.
“Nixon had actually called for surveillance of some 17 people, newsmen, a number of people on the NSC staff, and one of his own speech writers,” Dean explained. “Nixon did issue directions to the FBI to wiretap.”
Historian Douglas Brinkley said that we lack a sense of clarity when it comes to Trump’s relationship with Russia and knowing might clear up some questions.
“There’s a lot of story gone here,” Brinkley said. “And I think what Donald Trump is is Nixonian in the sense of using the media to lash out at them, blame them, and then derail the attacks on himself by putting it on the opposition.”
The panelists agreed that what Trump said about Obama is an example of libel, an ironic claim because Trump wanted to make it easier to sue for libel.
Watch the full discussion below: