A former Watergate prosecutor noted the parallels between House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes’ (R-CA) controversial FBI memo and a similar memo written by John Dean, the former White House counsel for Richard Nixon who pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice.
Jill Wine-Banks is a former federal prosecutor and general counsel of the United States Army, who was also an assistant prosecutor in the Watergate investigation. On Friday, she joined Chris Hayes on MSNBC.
“Jill, watching this today, I was thinking about you and your experience with Watergate, having just recently been immersing myself in the blow-by-blow details of that,” Hayes noted. “I wonder what parallels you see today.”
“There are so many parallels to this,” Wine-Banks replied.
“First of all, Richard Nixon asked John Dean to write a whitewash memo, saying he had fully investigated the accusations and that no one in the White House or on the Committee to Re-Elect the President was involved.”
“That’s what’s this memo was. It is a whitewash,” Wine-Banks concluded.
She noted the night special prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired, she said he told his assembled team, “it’s not clear you’ve been fired and if you haven’t, you must stay on the job. You know the case, you must stay as long as you possibly can.”
“Let me ask you, this Jill. You’ve got Nunes saying this is just the beginning, he’s going to do more of this. I guess the question is how effective is this? This feels like throwing stuff against the wall, they’ve been doing this for months, Mueller is going to find what he’s going to find. Do you worry that this is going to materially interfere or is it ultimately a side show?” Hayes asked.
“I think it’s a sideshow,” Wine-Banks replied. “I don’t think it will affect Mueller at all.”