Nixon White House counsel: ‘Obstruction’ on Russia worse than Watergate -- and it may bring Trump down
John Dean, Former White House Counsel for United States President Richard Nixon (Photo: Screen capture)

In an interview with the Intercept's Jeremy Scahill, former White House attorney and Watergate figure John Dean explained that "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up" is once again in play as Special Counsel Robert Mueller investigates possible Russian collusion with Trump campaign officials.

Dean has become a popular go-to expert on presidential shenanigans as President Donald Trump faces the biggest campaign scandal since Watergate, with Dean offereing more than a few insights into the way the Trump White House has approached the investigation that may have made things worse.

The former White House attorney claimed he has yet to see much in the way of a conspiracy between the Russians and the campaign, but said it may not matter because of the way that Trump and his aides responded to the investigation.

“It’s still going to take time for this all to unfold,” Dean explained, adding that the real issue for Trump is that the president “might have obstructed justice to prevent the investigation by overreacting,” which could include the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

Now that Mueller's legal team has been able to obtain transition team emails, current White House officials who worked in the campaign may have placed themselves in jeopardy of being charged under the Logan Act.

“It certainly appears that the Logan Act, which has never been prosecuted by any prior administration against any incoming presidency, is kind of central,” Dean said. "The Logan Act, for those who don’t know it, of course prohibits citizens from engaging in foreign affairs on behalf of the United States when they have no authority to do so. And that’s exactly what the Trump people were doing from day one after they found themselves as winners — they started cutting the sitting president.”

Dean went on to say that, despite the rapid pace of news being disseminated in a social-media driven news cycle, followers of the scandal shouldn't expect a quick resolution.

"It still takes X amount of time to undertake an investigation and X amount of time for the public to absorb events,” he explained.

“Watergate was initially ignored, even though it was a pretty spectacular scandal with five men arrested in business suits and surgical gloves with hundred dollar bills in their pocket in the offices of the Democratic National Committee with direct links to Nixon, with direct links to the re-election committee,” he continued. “That was a pretty spectacular opening, but people were tired of the story within 48 hours. The New York Times virtually stopped covering it. Only the Washington Post really gave it attention, and the only people following the story were in the Beltway.”

You can listen to the interview here.