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He ‘may not even understand Watergate’: Former Nixon lawyer schools Trump’s Obama-wiretap claim

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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.”

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“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.”

(READ MORE: GOP Congressman demands Trump declassify any evidence that supports Obama wiretap claim)

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.”

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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.

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Watch the full discussion below:

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Will Sondland turn on Trump? Watch live coverage of Day 4 of the Trump impeachment hearings

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On Wednesday the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold its fourth public impeachment hearing looking into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his office by attempting to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky into announcing an investigation that would benefit the president politically in return for releasing $400 million in much-needed security aid.

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A historian explains why Robert E. Lee wasn’t a hero — he was a traitor

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There’s a fabled moment from the Battle of Fredericksburg, a gruesome Civil War battle that extinguished several thousand lives, when the commander of a rebel army looked down upon the carnage and said, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” That commander, of course, was Robert Lee.

The moment is the stuff of legend. It captures Lee’s humility (he won the battle), compassion, and thoughtfulness. It casts Lee as a reluctant leader who had no choice but to serve his people, and who might have had second thoughts about doing so given the conflict’s tremendous amount of violence and bloodshed. The quote, however, is misleading. Lee was no hero. He was neither noble nor wise. Lee was a traitor who killed United States soldiers, fought for human enslavement, vastly increased the bloodshed of the Civil War, and made embarrassing tactical mistakes.

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Adam Schiff moves to implicate Pence in the Ukraine scandal as Republicans go off the rails

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In the panoply of contradictory and incoherent defenses of Donald Trump, a favorite of Republicans has been to harp on the claim that witnesses to Trump's extortion scheme against Ukraine were all "second-hand" or "third-hand." This has always been confounding, as the official summary readout of the famous phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shows Trump clearly conditioning military aid and U.S. support on Zelensky giving a public boost to Trump's conspiracy theories about former Vice President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders. The witnesses so far have simply affirmed what the written record demonstrates amply.

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