Former White House counsel John Dean does not think FBI Director James Comey's firing rises to the level of President Richard Nixon's 1973 "Saturday Night Massacre" – but Dean is "surprised" President Donald Trump has "learned nothing from history."
In an interview on MSNBC's "All In" with Chris Hayes, Dean, best known for being dubbed by the FBI as the "master manipulator of the cover-up," said there are, nevertheless, parallels between Nixon's attempts to fire special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox and Trump's termination of Comey.
"He did get rid of that man and shut down" an investigation of White House tapes about the Watergate scandal and cover-up, Dean noted.
"I don't think it comes to that level, although it's as ham-fisted as Nixon's removal," Dean said of Trump's abrupt dismissal of the man whose agency is investigating the role of Russia in the 2016 election, and whether there was any collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
Trump's bombshell was surprising nonetheless, Dean said.
"There's so many ways to handle" the removal of Comey, Dean said – including persuading Comey to step down.
"I'm surprised the White House has learned nothing from history," he declared.
"Nixon's staff wasn't ready ready for the blowback," Dean said, including the bills of impeachment that began to be written up against Nixon – and the Trump White House might be taken off-guard by the reaction to Comey's removal, he added.
"I think they want to get control of the FBI that they didn't have," Dean said of the Comey's firing.
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