Partisan Witnesses Make a Case for Impeaching Trump, While Republicans Slam 'The Ghost of Christmas Past'

By Susan Jones | June 11, 2019 | 6:17am EDT
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N..Y) and ranking member Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) confer before a hearing about the Mueller Reporter on June 10, 2019. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

( - Following a lengthy House Judiciary Committee hearing on the Mueller investigation Monday, President Trump tweeted his disgust:

"Can’t believe they are bringing in John Dean, the disgraced Nixon White House Counsel who is a paid CNN contributor. No Collusion - No Obstruction! Democrats just want a do-over which they’ll never get!"

On Monday, anti-Trump partisans -- two of them paid CNN contributors (John Dean and Joyce Vance) -- tried to bolster the case for impeaching Trump by offering their opinions on the Mueller report and their conjectures on Trump's behavior.

None of the people called to testify had anything to do with the actual facts of the case, but their testimony allowed House Democrats to put the Mueller report in the spotlight once again.

For many hours on Monday, the House Judiciary Committee questioned outsiders who had nothing to do with the Mueller investigation about the special counsel's findings.

President Richard Nixon's former White House Counsel John Dean tried to make comparisons to the Watergate scandal, which toppled Nixon, forcing his resignation in 1974.

Dean told the committee, "Special Counsel Mueller has provided this committee a road map (to impeachment)."

One of the (anti-Trump) U.S. attorneys, Joyce Vance, told the committee that a "congressional inquiry is very different" from a traditional prosecution.

"When prosecutors consider cases, they have to find a federal statute, a law that you all have enacted, and make sure...they can prove a violation of all the elements of that statute..."

"Congress doesn't have those same restraints," Vance continued. "Your jurisdiction, as I understand it, is much broader and you can reach conduct that we might categorize as 'lawful but awful,' something that would be so inappropriate for a president that Congress would determine it needed to be sanctioned."

Vance said it's up to Congress to decide how to define "high crimes and misdemeanors." "It's a process less cabined (restricted) by existing statutory criminal law," she said.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee slammed the entire charade:

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) was particularly dismissive of the star witness John Dean, who, he said, "has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of acting like Richard Nixon."

Gaetz said the objective of the hearing was to "raise the specter of Richard Nixon."

"You know, here we sit today in this hearing with the ghost of Christmas Past, because the chairman of the committee has gone to the Speaker of the House and sought permission to open an impeachment inquiry, but she has said no.

"And so instead of opening the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, which is what the chairman wants to do and what I presume a majority of Democrats want to do, we're here re-opening the impeachment inquiry potentially into Richard Nixon, sort of playing out our own version of 'That '70s Show,' and what I really regret-- (interruption)

"You're here as a prop," Gaetz told Dean. "You are functionally here as a prop because they can't impeach President Trump, because 70 percent of Democrats want something that 60 percent of Americans don't. So they're in this no-win situation. And you sit before us here with no knowledge of a single fact on the Mueller report, on a hearing entitled, 'Lessons from the Mueller Report.'

"So here's the deal, right?" Gaetz continued, refusing to let Dean interject.

We have a false accusation against the President of the United States that he was an agent of Russia. My colleagues on the Democratic side made that accusation and so where do we go from here?

Either we look into how the president reacted to a false allegation against him; or we look into why, for 22 months, we allowed a false accusation to tear this country apart.

Now, to me, it seems like a far more relevant inquiry to figure out why the FISA court was lied to, something that you have spoken a great deal about, Mr. Dean, to find out why the recordings and the transcripts from George Papadopoulos where he asserted that he wasn't doing any work for Russia was not brought before the FISA court.

We would love to know why the FBI turned from an organization that was supposed to be investigating crimes into one that sought to shape public opinion. You had Comey and McCabe and that whole regime of leadership lying and leaking, and the reason they were doing it was they really didn't think the job of the FBI was to investigate and bring cases for prosecution.

They thought the role of the FBI was to try to shape public opinion and that's really why we're here and that's what I really think all Americans ought to have an interest in stopping. And you held these views, you wrote them down.

You said that illegal surveillance was one of the worst things that we should fight against as a government, and now here, we are continuing to engage in this frivolous exercise of going after the president, despite the fact that there was absolutely no collusion. You guys need to get your act together and figure out if you're going to open up an impeachment inquiry or not, because this is a straight-up fiction.

Dean, offered a chance to respond, said he didn't have sufficient time, since what Gaetz had delivered was a "speech," not a question.

On Monday night, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told Fox News's Martha McCallum, "There's nothing going on in the House about protecting the 2020 election.

They're trying to nullify the 2016 election. Mueller has spoken. He found no collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians after two years, $25 million, 19 lawyers, and 40 FBI agents.

He decided not to bring any charges regarding obstruction of justice because there is no crime here. The bottom line is what the House is doing is politically motivated, trying to destroy the Trump presidency, and I can assure you that we're done with the Mueller investigation in the Senate.

They can talk to John Dean until the cows come home. We're not doing anything in the Senate regarding the Mueller report, but we are going to try to harden infrastructure to protect it against 2020 interference.

Graham said if anyone thinks Democrats are looking for justice, "I got a bridge I want to sell you."

MRC Store