National Security

Former Nixon White House counsel: Trump comparison of FBI search to Watergate ‘doesn’t work at all’

Security moves in a golf cart at former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022, in Palm Beach, Fla. The FBI searched Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate as part of an investigation into whether he took classified records from the White House to his Florida residence, people familiar with the matter said Monday. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

John Dean, the White House counsel to former President Nixon, said that former President Trump’s comparison of the FBI’s search of his Mar-a-Lago residence to the Watergate scandal is inaccurate. 

“He doesn’t understand what happened during Watergate, or he’s just trying to distort what happened … at his home,” Dean told CNN’s “Inside Politics” host John King on Tuesday. “And it doesn’t work at all, the analogy.”

In a statement on Monday, Trump referred to the FBI’s search of his Florida estate as “prosecutorial misconduct” and compared it to the Watergate scandal.

“They even broke into my safe! What is the difference between this and Watergate, where operatives broke into the Democrat National Committee?” Trump said in his statement. “Here, in reverse, Democrats broke into the home of the 45th President of the United States.”

Dean also told King that Trump may have provoked authorities to search his residence by cutting off communication with them after initial cooperation was shown between the two parties. 

“What it tells me, John, is that they were cooperating, but somehow Trump cut them off and did something that provoked this action,” Dean said.

“They obviously are very aware of what he has, they may have an inside source that sees some abuse of that material. So they had to take an extraordinary action to protect the national security and documents and that appears what this is.” 

The FBI carried out a search warrant at the Mar-a-Lago residence on Monday, a week after the Department of Justice launched its investigation into Trump’s role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol and his plans to overturn the 2020 election results as well. 

According to The New York Times, federal authorities’ search was focused on classified documents Trump brought to his Florida residence after the end of his presidential term. 

Dean also believes that the FBI wants to make sure that even a former president like Trump can’t walk away with classified documents. 

“So yes, this has been in months of development, you’ve got an agency that is very protective of its documents and wants them and wants to … this is a perfect example to make a point that not even a former president can walk off with classified documents,” Dean added.

Tags CNN Department of Justice Donald Trump FBI Florida Jan 6 Capitol riot John Dean John King John King John W. Dean Mar-a-Lago President Trump Search warrant Trump
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