WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) argues with the chairman during a hearing about the Mueller Reporter in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill June 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from former Chief White House Counsel John Dean, who went to prison for his role in the Watergate burglaries and subsequent cover-up and became a key witness for the investigation and ultimate resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Local Congressman Jim Jordan spars with Nixon-era counsel John Dean during hearing

In a sharp five-minute exchange, Jordan, an Urbana Republican, read a Dean tweet saying that Trump as president “is incapable of accomplishing anything,” and used it as a chance to defend Trump’s record.

“When you made that statement, what did you have in mind?” Jordan asked. “Thinking about the 3.2 percent economic growth rate we had in the last quarter? Thinking about the fact we got the lowest unemployment in 50 years? How about the fact that hostages are back from North Korea…what were you thinking about when you said he’s incapable of accomplishing anything?”

“Mr. Jordan, I think under the parliamentary rules of the House, I’m refrained from addressing a full answer to your question,” Dean replied, drawing laughter in the House Judiciary Committee hearing room.

Jordan argued that Dean’s tweets were relevant to “the perspective you bring to this hearing.” He accused Dean of advising former Trump fixer Michael Cohen and Cohen’s attorney, Lanny Davis, to hold back his testimony from Republicans as long as possible. Dean said he knew Davis and did tell Davis that “as soon as you turn your testimony over, it will be picked apart,” but said he didn’t urge him to withhold it.

RELATED: Justice Department agrees to turn over key Mueller evidence to House panel

“They took your advice,” Jordan retorted.

In lambasting Dean’s credibility, Jordan repeated what has become his refrain as he has worked to defend Trump from congressional investigators: Sharply criticizing the witnesses and questioning their relevance to the investigation.

But he also criticized the investigation itself for bringing Dean to the dais, calling Dean “a guy to talk about obstruction of justice who went to prison in 1974 for obstructing justice.”

“I did not go to prison,” Dean replied.

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 10: Former Chief White House Counsel John Dean testifies about the Mueller Report before the House Judiciary Committee in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill June 10, 2019 in Washington, DC. Dean, who went to prison for his role in the Watergate burglaries and subsequent cover-up, became a key witness for the investigation and ultimate resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

“Okay, you pled guilty to obstruction of justice. I’m glad you got to stay out of prison, then, I guess,” Jordan said.

Jordan had no questions for Dean, instead using his five minutes to blast the investigation and insist it was the Justice Department’s investigations into potential ties between Russia and Trump, rather than Trump himself, that was questionable.

From Cox Media Group’s Jamie Dupree: Democrats announce deal to access evidence from Mueller probe

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, defended Dean for ultimately having given truthful testimony to the House, and said Jordan “cast aspersions” on the former White House counsel.

“No, I didn’t, Mr. Chairman,” Jordan said. “I read his statement. I do not cast aspersions.”

Thank you for reading the Springfield News-Sun and for supporting local journalism. Subscribers: log in for access to your daily ePaper and premium newsletters.

Thank you for supporting in-depth local journalism with your subscription to the Springfield News-Sun. Get more news when you want it with email newsletters just for subscribers. Sign up here.

X