The Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh entered their final day on Friday, with both proponents and opponents of the conservative judge appearing as witnesses for and against his confirmation. Among them was John Dean, President Richard Nixon’s former White House counsel, who knows a thing or two about extremely shady political goings-on—the FBI once referred to him as the “master manipulator” of the Watergate break-in coverup.
So when Dean told the committee that something about Kavanaugh’s nomination stinks, his opinion (hopefully) carried a bit more weight to it than, say, all the Republicans who want to see him confirmed simply because he’s such a nice fella.
After first warning of Kavanaugh likely turning the court into the “most presidential-powers friendly” iteration of the modern age, Dean addressed one of the Democratic committee members’ strongest lines of attack against the nominee: The bizarre withholding of tens of thousands of documents pertaining to his time in the Bush administration and beyond—documents, Dean suggested, which point to Kavanaugh potentially having “something to hide.”
“Judge Kavanagh’s nomination has raised issues about the truthfulness at his confirmation become a judge on the D.C. Circuit,” Dean testified. “His answers to this committee have not resolved the issue.”
Kavanaugh has been accused by Senator Patrick Leahy of lying during previous judicial nominations about his role in the 2002 theft and dissemination of Democratic documents by Republican staffer Manny Miranda.
“Frankly, I’m surprised that Judge Kavanagh is not demanding that every document that he’s ever handled, be reviewed by this committee,” Dean added.
Dean, who testified against President Nixon after he’d been fired by the White House, has long been a harsh critic of the Trump administration, and the president himself. Trump, meanwhile, has used Dean as an example of administrative disloyalty, tweeting in August that those who testify against him were akin to a “John Dean type ‘RAT’.” No one tell him about what eventually happened to Nixon.