- Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz and former White House counsel John Dean got into a war of words on Monday during a congressional hearing, at the end of which Dean took a shot at the GOP’s failure to pass healthcare reform.
- Dean, who served as Richard Nixon’s White House counsel and was the star witness in the Watergate hearings, was testifying about the Mueller report, which Gaetz has slammed as being politically motivated.
- Gaetz repeatedly questioned Dean’s credibility and, at one point, asked him an unrelated question about how Democrats plan to pay for “Medicare for All.”
- “Who? The Democrats? Which candidate? Can you be more specific?” Dean asked.
- “Well, let’s get specific to Nixon, since that appears to be why you’re here,” Gaetz said before Dean cut him off.
- “Well, actually, Nixon did have a healthcare plan,” Dean said as the room burst into laughter and applause.
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John Dean, the former White House counsel to President Richard Nixon and the star witness at the Watergate hearings, pulled no punches while testifying to Congress about the Mueller report on Monday.
The session devolved into two separate hearings. While Democrats pressed Dean and other witnesses on the merits of the former special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings in the Russia probe, Republicans spent more time questioning Dean’s credibility and suggesting it’s not his place to comment on the Mueller report.
One of those Republicans was Rep. Matt Gaetz from Florida, who accused Dean of comparing many presidents to Nixon to make money.
“Mr. Dean, how many American presidents have you accused of being Richard Nixon?” Gaetz asked.
“I actually wrote a book about [former President George Bush] and [former Vice President Dick Cheney] with the title, ‘Worse Than Watergate,'” Dean said as a wave of laughter rippled through the committee room.
Gaetz went on to grill Dean about how much money he made from the book and his job as a CNN contributor. Dean replied that he didn’t have specific figures, after which House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler interjected and said he objected to Gaetz asking Dean personal questions.
“Wait a second, wait a second,” Gaetz said. “Mr. Dean has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of acting like Richard Nixon. I would like to know how much money he makes based on making these accusations and exploiting them for his own economic benefit. And you’re saying that’s out of line?”
Dean replied: “Mr. Gaetz, I appreciate you were not born at the time this all happened. It’s not by choice that I’ve done a lot of this. It’s that I’ve been dragged into it.”
After some more back and forth, Gaetz asked Dean whether he had “personal knowledge” of the facts laid out in Mueller’s report. Dean replied that he said at the beginning of the hearing that he was not there as a fact witness but to provide historical context.
“Let me ask you this question,” Gaetz said. “How do Democrats plan to pay for Medicare for All?”
“I’m sorry?” Dean said.
“Well, I figured if we were going to ask you about stuff you don’t know about, we’d start with the big stuff,” Gaetz said. “So, do you know how they plan to pay for Medicare for All?”
After Dean asked Gaetz if he could be more specific about who he was referring to, Gaetz interrupted him again.
“Well, let’s get specific to Nixon, since that appears to be why you’re here,” Gaetz began before Dean cut him off.
“Well, actually, Nixon did have a healthcare plan,” Dean said as the room burst into laughter and applause.
Watch the exchange below:
Here's Matt Gaetz's no holds barred match with John Dean. Dean lands a knock out blow right at the end. pic.twitter.com/44l2b8WABT
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 10, 2019
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