Michael Cohen as John Dean?

A source has apparently told CNN that former Trump fixer Michael Cohen sees himself as the new John Dean, the White House attorney who was most responsible for bringing down Richard Nixon by revealing many illegal acts the president had committed. If he has on Trump the kind of evidence of crimes that Dean had on Nixon, Trump would be toast.

Today, Cohen once again signaled that he’s willing to give the federal government information. CNN reported that Cohen sees himself as a potential John Dean, the lawyer whose testimony brought down Richard Nixon. A source told the station that Cohen wants to do “the right thing.”

“Is Michael Cohen John Dean 2.0?” the CNN host asked.

“He could be, if he has incriminating information about Donald Trump and if it can be corroborated and proved—because that’s what happened with John Dean,” said CNN analyst Jeffrey Toobin.

“I don’t know what Michael Cohen knows. I don’t know if he knows anything incriminating.”

“Certainly it’s a tantalizing suggestion,” Toobin said.

It’s more than tantalizing. If true, if Cohen does to Trump what Dean did to Nixon, there’s no way in hell Trump survives it, politically or legally. When Dean testified before the Watergate committee and revealed the existence of Nixon’s enemies list and that he had used the IRS and other government agencies to abuse their power to exact revenge on them, that was the beginning of the end. When the White House tapes backed up everything he said, the die was cast and the result was inevitable. That’s why Nixon fought so hard to keep those tapes from being entered into evidence.

But also bear in mind that Dean was the one responsible for the cover up of Watergate. He was the one in charge of doing that, but he realized that he was going to end up being made the scapegoat for the whole thing and he acted out of his own self-interest, not because he was compelled to do the right thing. And if Cohen does this, it will similarly be out of self-interest, not ethical obligation. If he had any ethical sincerity, he wouldn’t have represented Trump in the first place.

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