The former White House counsel to President Nixon who was charged for helping cover up the Watergate scandal says he thinks President Trump's White House is "in cover-up mode."

"In fact [the White House] is in cover-up mode," John Dean told MSNBC's Chris Hayes on Monday night when asked about the administration's response to ongoing investigations of Russian ties and Trump's wiretapping accusations.

FBI Director James Comey earlier Monday testified that his agency is investigating links between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government. 

ADVERTISEMENT
He also stated flatly that he had “no information” to support Trump's assertion, first made on Twitter, that former President Obama had wiretapped him at Trump Tower.

Dean said the White House's decision to distance itself from the testimony signals a "cover-up." 

"There’s just never been any question in my mind about that. I’ve been inside a cover-up. I know how they look and feel. And every signal they're sending is: ‘We’re covering this thing up,'" Dean said.

"Experienced investigators know this. They know how people react when they’re being pursued, and this White House is not showing their innocence, they’re showing how damn guilty they are, is what we’re seeing."

Dean, who was charged with obstruction of justice during Watergate, said he is concerned Trump is getting close to obstructing justice and could do so in the future.

"There’s also the question of whether this White House will obstruct, essentially, an investigation. You now have the head of the FBI with a target painted on its back, the front-line investigators with targets painted on their backs; you have a U.S. attorney the president said he was going to retain who has been summarily fired in Preet Bharara, and it strikes me that there is in some ways a kind of obstruction land mine ... that the entirety of the White House now has to tip-toe through," Dean said.

Trump last week fired Bharara, a U.S. attorney for New York, after previously saying he could stay on during his administration. Reports later emerged that Bharara was investigating Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price prior to being fired.

Since the election, a bipartisan group of lawmakers has called for thorough investigations of Russian election interference, after Russia was linked to hacking of the Democratic National Committee. 

In December, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security released a joint report detailing how federal investigators linked the Russian government to hacks of Democratic Party organizations. The Trump administration has said it did not collude with Russia to encourage such hacking efforts.