Ex-Watergate Counsel Thinks Trump Might've Written Some of His Impeachment Legal Brief Because It's So Bad

John Dean, who once served as a White House counsel for former President Richard Nixon, on Sunday speculated that President Donald Trump might have dictated some of his own impeachment defense brief because it is "not legally sophisticated."

In the first legal filings of the Senate impeachment trial, which is expected to commence on Tuesday, Trump's legal defense team rejected Democrats' assertion that the president's actions in Ukraine amounted to an impeachable offense and dismissed the charges against him as a "brazen and unlawful" attempt to tarnish his re-election bid in 2020. Meanwhile, the House's impeachment managers laid out an extensive case for why he should be removed from office.

Dean denounced Trump's legal defense brief in an interview with CNN host Ana Cabrera on Sunday. He claimed that "members of the Senate" won't buy into it because they're mostly lawyers.

"I think it's actually going to insult some of the lawyers in the Senate if their more detailed brief is of the same tone, they're making a serious mistake. Lawyers are not going to buy into this. Most members of the Senate, both parties are lawyers," Dean said, before claiming that Trump's team has doubled down on false statements and distortions of fact.

"That's really what it was, and the House has evidence, as you well know," he continued. "Any news person, any person following the news would know it's been going on for months, involving multiple people. It wasn't just two phone calls to the president of Ukraine."

Dean then expressed his belief that Trump had actually dictated some of the brief, like he reportedly did with the letter sent by White House Counsel Pat Cipollone to leaders in the House last October.

"I actually thought Trump might have dictated part of this brief like he did the letter that Cipollone sent to Congress that said that what they were doing was not proper," he said. "It's of that vernacular. It's not legally sophisticated. It actually plays to the base."

When asked by Cabrera whether the brief could land with the public, Dean quickly said: "No."

"They are not strong legal arguments, and they will not weather the arguments on the floor," he added.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Trump's six-page response to the impeachment proceedings, which his lawyers filed with the Senate on Saturday, called the Democrats' efforts to get the president removed from office a "constitutionally invalid" hit job. "In the end, this entire process is nothing more than a dangerous attack on the American people themselves and their fundamental right to vote," the filing says.

In a historic December vote, the lower chamber approved two articles of impeachment against Trump—230-197-1 on the abuse of power article and 229-198-1—making him just the third U.S. president to be impeached by the House.

John Dean
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. Chip Somodevilla/Getty