A key figure in the Watergate scandal has told CNN that the allegations against President Donald Trump contained in a court filing are sufficient for Congress to start impeachment proceedings.
John Dean was reacting to the memo released by federal prosecutors into the case involving Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen.
As well as recommending jail time, the filing says that Cohen had claimed Trump instructed him to approve payments that violated campaign finance law.
Dean, who was Nixon’s former White House counsel, said on Erin Burnett OutFront that Cohen had “implicated Trump directly.”
“I don’t know that this will forever disappear into some dark hole of unprosecutable presidents,” Dean said.
“I think it will resurface in the Congress. I think what this totality of today’s filings show that the House is going to have little choice the way this is going other than to start impeachment proceedings,” he added.
Since the Democrats took control of the House after the midterm elections, the push for impeachment, while unlikely, has become more of a possibility than at any other time of Trump’s presidency, The Hill reported.
Democrats will have new subpoena powers when they take control the House from January.
However White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the memo had revealed “nothing of value that wasn’t already known.”
“The government’s filings in Mr. Cohen’s case tell us nothing of value that wasn’t already known. Mr. Cohen has repeatedly lied and as the prosecution has pointed out to the court, Mr. Cohen is no hero,” she said.
The filing does not name Trump, but refers to an “Individual 1” that it says Cohen “acted in coordination with and at the direction of” in giving payments to silence adult film actor Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal, who claimed they had affairs with Trump before the 2016 election.
The document notes that Cohen worked for “Individual 1” as a personal attorney after the person “had become the President of the United States”.
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) from the House Judiciary Committee said that the filing had meant that Trump allegedly committed two felonies.
Lieu, a Trump critic, told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Hardball that “we have a sitting president of the United States who committed two felonies while running for president.”
“When you look at what the prosecutors did in the Southern District of New York they allege that Donald Trump directed two campaign finance violations. These are felonies and you can infer intent by looking at a defendant’s statements,” Lieu said.