Trump denounces John Dean as ‘a loser for many years’
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump found ways to lash out at John Dean – the former aide to President Richard Nixon who became a hero to many during congressional Watergate hearings – as Dean testified before a House Judiciary Committee hearing on possible obstruction of the special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe.
On Twitter, Trump dismissed Dean, who repeatedly compared Trump to Nixon, as “disgraced.” It was a politic remark given that on Sunday night, Trump called Dean “@CNN sleazebag attorney,” a reference to Dean’s work as a contributor to the cable news network.
On the South Lawn during a break in the rain, Trump invited reporters to an event where he shook hands with Indianapolis 500 winning driver Simon Pagenaud and other members of the Penske team in front of a neon lime green racecar and the Borg-Warner trophy.
Originally, the event had been closed press and slated for the Oval Office, but shortly before the meeting, the press were invited to the South Lawn where they peppered Trump with questions. To queries about Dean’s testimony, Trump responded, “John Dean’s been a loser for many years.”
Trump added that Dean “was disbarred and he want to prison. Other than that, he’s done a great job.” Trump also noted that unlike Nixon, who resigned before the House could impeach him, “I don’t leave.”
Dean was disbarred in Virginia and the District of Columbia, but as he noted during his testimony before the Judiciary Committee, he did not go to prison. A judge commuted his sentence to time served — four months — at an Army base in Baltimore.
Trump also told reporters he could not be impeached because there was “no collusion” and “no anything,” before he mentioned the strong economy.
On Monday morning, Trump made an unscheduled call to CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to refute criticism of Trump’s threat to levy tariffs against Mexico made by Chamber of Commerce executive vice president Myron Brilliant. Trump announced Friday night that the two countries had struck a deal to avert the tariffs.
Brilliant had said that Trump’s “weaponization of tariffs” was bad for the U.S. economy, farmers, manufacturers and consumers.
“I guess he’s not so brilliant,” Trump told “Squawk Box” host Joe Kernan, who recalled “Trump Tuesdays” – a regular show feature instituted in 2012. “Look,” he continued, “without tariffs, we would be captive to every country and we have been for many years.”
Trump had spent the weekend – his first at the White House after a successful five-day visit to the U.K., Ireland and France – stewing over criticism over a deal he announced on Twitter with Mexico that enabled him to drop a threat to levy a 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods starting that Monday after Mexico agreed to take actions to stanch the flow of Central American migrants over the U.S. Mexico border.
Trump was especially angry over a New York Times story that Mexico had agreed to many of the concessions announced Friday night months earlier. On Twitter, Trump dismissed as “shockingly false and untrue,” as well as “Fake News.”