John Dean lays into DOJ for enabling Trump's spy scheme: 'Nixon on stilts and steroids'
John Dean speaks on MSNBC/Screenshot

On CNN Friday, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean said the newly reported Justice Department surveillance on former President Donald Trump's political opponents went far beyond anything that his former boss had done at the height of the Watergate scandal.

"John, from Jeff Sessions to Rod Rosenstein and Bill Barr, one thing was consistent across all of them," said anchor Erin Burnett. "Donald Trump did everything he could to use the Justice Department for his personal aims, to fight his own political wars."

"It certainly was," agreed Dean. "And I must say that a lot of people are comparing that with Nixon. Nixon didn't have that kind of Department of Justice. I was just thinking as you were doing the setup piece that during the worst leak of Nixon's presidency was the so-called Pentagon Papers, a massive leak of classified documents. I got a call from the Oval Office the day after he learned that, and could the Department of Justice bring a criminal action for this? Called over, found out the short answer was they could, but they won't. So Nixon couldn't use the department as he wanted to."

"So in a sense, what you're saying is ... this goes beyond what Nixon did?" said Burnett.

"It is beyond Nixon, yes," said Dean. "It's Nixon on stilts and steroids."

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John Dean calls Trump's DOJ spy scheme "Nixon on stilts and steroids"