John Dean, former White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, warned that Attorney General William Barr may be hiding something “fairly ugly” inside the report filed by special counsel Robert Mueller.
Barr’s summary of the report said Mueller had found no evidence of collusion between Russia and the 2016 campaign of President Donald Trump.
Mueller, Barr wrote, did not exonerate Trump of obstruction allegations. However, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had concluded there wasn’t sufficient evidence to make that accusation against the president.
But Dean found the conclusion ― and the phrasing ― to be very curious.
“He put a little lipstick on something that might’ve been fairly ugly,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon, adding:
“We haven’t really seen the underlying report, but I have some suspicions that the reason he boiled this down the way he did is because it’s not very attractive, Don. [Mueller’s] words are very different than Barr’s, I suspect.”
He also said Mueller might have backed off the obstruction issue because of a “fundamental disagreement” with the Department of Justice on whether or not a president is even capable of obstruction:
Former Nixon WH counsel @JohnWDean: “I think [Barr] had a heads up on this, I think one of the reasons he backed off on the obstruction issue is there was a fundamental disagreement with the department as to whether a sitting President was capable of obstructing justice.” pic.twitter.com/9oxeYKOEj5
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) March 25, 2019
“Those issues will be sorted out as this report slowly, hopefully, surfaces,” Dean said.
Dean was dubbed the “master manipulator” of the Watergate scandal by the FBI. He eventually turned on Nixon and cooperated with the investigation, a move that ultimately helped to end the presidency.
However, Dean wrote on Twitter that the scandal might’ve had a very different outcome had Barr been attorney general at the time:
Having re-read William Barr’s June 2018 Memo critiquing Mueller’s obstruction investigation and now his summary of Mueller’s Report, it is clear that Richard Nixon would not have been forced to resign his office if Barr had been Attorney General. Barr wants a POTUS above the law.
— John Dean (@JohnWDean) March 25, 2019
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.