Richard Nixon once told a young Donald Trump that he would be “a winner” if he chose to enter politics. The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson talks with John Dean, Richard Nixon’s White House counsel who testified against Nixon during the Watergate hearings, about whether Trump can be seen as Nixon's political heir. The early days of Trump's Administration have been plagued by scandal–especially when it comes to questions about Cabinet members’ communications with Russian officials. Dean compares the situation to a secret effort by Richard Nixon—only recently documented by a historian—to sabotage the Paris Peace Talks, which the Johnson Administration pursued in 1968.“It's a very, very remarkable parallel. A curious parallel,” Dean said.
Dean is critical of the Trump Administration's handling of the F.B.I.’s investigation into the Administration’s alleged Russian connections. “If there's any lesson from Watergate, or from Iran-Contra, or the Lewinsky affair,” he says, “It is that if you don't have a problem, what you truly do is you say to the F.B.I. or whomever, ‘Come in and talk to my staff.'” He says that this is not how Trump officials are currently behaving. “Rather, they're trying to knock down press reports that are getting the various whiffs of these investigations and putting them out there. That's just not the way innocent people deal with these issues, I'm sorry!”