Nixon's White House counsel weighs in on Pres. Trump impeachment inquiry

UNION CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- On Tuesday night in Union City, East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell and Watergate whistleblower, John Dean, sat down for a town hall discussion about the impeachment inquiry in President Donald Trump's actions.

"I think this president is going to make Richard Nixon look like a choir boy," declared John Dean. And he would know-- Dean was President Nixon's white house counsel, eventually testifying against his boss before Congress.

RELATED: Read the intelligence whistleblower's complaint

"Cover-ups just don't work and we're in a cover-up," said Dean to a room full of applause.

"There's strong evidence he's broken a number of laws, most recently extorting another country with your taxpayer dollars. So to me, doing nothing, will make his behavior worse," said Swalwell.

Swalwell is on the house judiciary and intelligence committees. Last week, he grilled Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, about the whistleblower complaint, and the phone call at the center of it, in which Trump asks the Ukrainian president to investigate his political rival, Joe Biden.

Swalwell to Maguire on Sept. 26: "Are you responsible for preventing election interference? I hope you know this answer is yes or no."

On Tuesday, Swalwell remained determined, saying "I'm not giving up on my Republican colleagues," despite a Republican-controlled Senate, which makes a conviction against President Trump difficult.

RELATED: President Trump Impeachment Inquiry: What happens next?

Kate Larsen: "You all (Democrats) feel like you have a smoking gun, but are you confident you can get Republicans on board to follow through with the impeachment?"

Congressman Swalwell: "Yes - it's the urgency of protecting a future election, it's the oath to the constitution."

But the reaction after Tuesday's town hall was divided right down party lines.

"There is no impeachment, it ain't never gonna pass the Senate," said Mark Turnquist, a registered Republican, who lives in Hayward. "What, are the Republicans are gonna grind with subpoenas and drag this on way past the 2020 election."

But Dublin resident, Lee Henderson, believes Republican Senators will eventually support an impeachment and conviction.

RELATED: President Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani subpoenaed in impeachment inquiry

"A number of them will turn when they finally realize the country is at stake."

On Wednesday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi will hold a news conference to outline the immediate steps Democrats plan to take during the House's two-week break.
Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.