'We're seeing the real Donald Trump': John Dean discusses how impeachment is unraveling the president
Nixon White House counsel John Dean. Image via screengrab.

On Wednesday's edition of CNN's "OutFront," a CNN panel dove into President Donald Trump's latest bout of erratic behavior — and how the prospect of a looming impeachment inquiry is making him come apart more than ever.


"Trump has been doing this since the outset of his presidency, and when I read some biographies on him, he's been doing this his entire life, ever since his mother caught him in the cookie jar," said former Nixon White House Counsel John Dean. "This is his tactic and this is his response. He doesn't — he can control it to some degree, but some degree he can't, so it's hard to say whether it's strategic and tactical or whether it's just his emotional reaction, but that's what we're seeing. We're seeing the real Donald Trump, and the impeachment proceeding is showing him for who he is, as is often said about the presidency and it's a place where it will show both your strengths and your weaknesses. And we're seeing that there are more weaknesses in Donald Trump than there are strengths."

"Talk about generational shift," said journalist David Gregory. "John, the kinds of things that President Trump says on television in the Oval Office before the cameras are the kinds of things that reflect a small-mindedness and the erratic behavior and the isolation that Nixon said to people like you on the tapes that he secretly recorded."

"Exactly right," agreed Dean. "It was very controlled with Nixon, though. Some aides brought out a darker side of him. Other instances caused him to, you know, to vent on the tapes, but he always did it behind closed doors. He had great emotional control when he was in front of the public. The rawest I ever saw him was his farewell speech, and that was really the sort of his true self. He actually put his glasses on, which he never did in public, but with this president, we see it all of the time in the Rose Garden."

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