Trump Impeachment Inquiry Already Has More Damning Testimony Than Nixon Faced, Key Watergate Witness Says: 'The Evidence Is There'

The former White House counsel who helped to bring down President Richard Nixon over the Watergate scandal said that the current House already has enough evidence to impeach President Donald Trump after just one day of the public witness hearings in its inquiry.

On Wednesday, the House intelligence committee heard from Bill Taylor, the most senior American diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state with responsibility for Ukraine policy.

They are the first of the impeachment inquiry's witnesses to give evidence in public after a series of closed-door depositions from a number of administration officials with knowledge of the events under scrutiny. And their testimony was a powerful start.

"There is a conspiracy. We know, from what's come out of the executive sessions, generally, where this is going," John Dean, who was Nixon's counsel and went to prison for helping to cover up the Watergate scandal, said on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.

"What struck me today in listening to these two witnesses is they already have more than they had against Richard Nixon to impeach him. Just on all accounts," continued Dean, who also delivered evidence to prosecutors and testimony to the Senate that implicated Nixon.

Dean said "the evidence is there," unlike in the Watergate scandal, which early on had relied primarily on his testimony and "a few people that were lower in the pecking order than me," until the transcripts of the infamous Nixon tapes were released.

Trump is facing impeachment over his conduct towards Ukraine. He is suspected of withholding security assistance from Ukraine and dangling a White House visit to coerce the country's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy into opening corruption investigations into Trump's domestic political rivals.

The investigations—one into former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading candidate for 2020, and one into the Democratic Party—would have been based on dubious allegations and a widely-debunked conspiracy theory.

Taylor, who is the U.S. charge d'affaires in Kyiv, and is a former ambassador to Ukraine, testified that he believed the Trump administration's withholding of $400 million in security assistance from Ukraine was to secure the opening of the investigations and a public announcement.

Moreover, Taylor said a member of his staff overheard Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the E.U., on a call with Trump during which the president asked about the investigations. Sondland replied that Ukraine was ready to move forward. This was the day after the Trump-Zelenskiy call of July 25.

Kent told the committee there was "no factual basis" for the corruption allegations against Biden and the Democratic Party that were pursued by Trump and his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, who was merely "looking to dig up political dirt," he added.

John Dean Nixon Watergate Trump impeachment
John Dean, (L) former White House counsel under Richard Nixon, speaks during a press conference before the start of a town hall on impeachment with U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell (R) (D-CA) at James Logan High School on October 01, 2019 in Union City, California. U.S. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images