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Thursday December 5th, 2019 9:31AM

The Latest: John Dean to compare Mueller, Watergate probes

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Congress and hearings on special counsel Robert Mueller's report (all times local):

9:20 a.m.

Former White House counsel and Watergate star witness John Dean says he'll be providing a House panel "some context" and comparison between investigations during President Richard Nixon's administration and that of President Donald Trump.

Dean cooperated with prosecutors and helped bring down Nixon's presidency. He told CNN he'll tell the House Judiciary Committee on Monday "how strikingly like Watergate what we're seeing now, as reported in the Mueller report, is."

Dean says he'll focus on the question of obstruction of justice in his testimony.

Special counsel Robert Mueller investigated Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and contacts with Trump's campaign. Mueller did not reach a determination on whether Trump tried to obstruct the probe by taking actions such as firing FBI Director James Comey. Mueller said charging the president with a crime was "not an option" because of federal rules.

Dean tells CNN that Comey's firing "was certainly not dissimilar from some of the actions Nixon took."

In 1973, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, but Richardson refused and resigned.

Trump calls Mueller's probe a "witch hunt."

__

12:20 a.m.

Top Democratic leaders may be in no rush to launch an impeachment inquiry but the party is launching a series of hearings this week on Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report.

The slate of hearings on the Russia probe means lawmakers are picking up the pace on an investigation that some in the party hope leads to impeachment of President Donald Trump.

Democrats are trying to draw attention to allegations that Trump sought to obstruct a federal investigation, and they want to highlight his campaign's contacts with Russia during the 2016 election.

They'll lay the groundwork for an appearance from Mueller himself, despite his stated desire to avoid the spotlight.

The hearings will focus on the two main topics of Mueller's report, obstruction of justice and Russian election interference.

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