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

Local Congressman Jim Jordan, who has emerged as one of President Donald Trump’s top defenders in Congress, clashed sharply with Nixon-era White House Counsel John Dean Monday, with Jordan arguing that Dean’s dislike of the president made his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee useless.

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.

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“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.

Credit: Chip Somodevilla

Credit: Chip Somodevilla

“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.

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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.”

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