John W. Dean III, former White House counsel under President Richard M. Nixon, was grilled by lawmakers on Monday at a House Judiciary Committee hearing where he compared President Trump to his former boss.
But one of those questioning Dean approached the topic from a more personal angle than most.
Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) recalled at Monday’s hearing that his father, the late liberal author and advocate Marcus Raskin, was on Nixon’s infamous “enemies list.”
“You and I are from different political parties,” Raskin told Dean as he began his questioning. “Indeed, you were the chief Republican counsel of this committee. You were the White House counsel for a president who put my father on his enemies list. My father was an official in the Kennedy administration and had a lot of problems with the Nixon administration.”
The elder Raskin was a piano prodigy who gave up a music career at 16 and later moved to Washington after graduating from law school. He worked first on Capitol Hill and then as a deputy to then-national security adviser McGeorge Bundy. In 1963, Raskin left the Kennedy administration and co-founded the Institute for Policy Studies, a top liberal think tank. He authored or co-authored more than 20 books on foreign policy, civil rights and other topics.
In a Facebook post announcing his father’s death in 2017, the younger Raskin described him in part as “a devourer of books and movies, a proud Washingtonian, a magnificent friend to the young and old alike, and an irreplaceable force for good in the world.”
At Monday’s hearing, Raskin said that when he was growing up, he and his family were “very fearful about the Nixon White House and what they would do to people” because of the former president’s targeting of his father.
“But you are clearly a man of honor and a man of integrity, and a man who is standing up for the truth,” he told Dean, before asking him to explain why he decided to speak out against Trump.
Dean replied by drawing a parallel between Trump’s actions and those of the former president.
“It’s quite striking and startling to me that history is repeating itself — and with a vengeance,” he said. “So that’s why I’ve spoken out.”
Matt Schudel contributed to this report.