Nixon's former lawyer hears 'echoes of Watergate' in 1st weeks of Trump's presidency

U.S. President Richard Nixon's former White House counsel John W. Dean says he can already hear "echoes of Watergate," barely two months into Donald Trump's presidency.

"I've heard echoes of Watergate in these first months … of the Trump presidency and I see it in the personalities of the two men," said Dean in an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics.

Nixon was "an authoritarian personality. Donald Trump is very out front — you don't have to go behind closed doors to catch his authoritarianism.

"So you have this very similar personality in these two men. They see themselves as strong leaders. They take revenge on their enemies and give no quarter in their negotiations," Dean told host Rosemary Barton.

Dean said he definitely thinks there is some potential for scandal in the alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia.

"If there was not, the Trump people are not so foolish that they would let it go on so long," Dean told Rosemary Barton. "They're acting like there's something there, which makes more people think there is something there."

Trump's presidency has been dogged by questions over his campaign's contacts with Russian officials and calls for a formal investigation have been mounting. The president's National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was forced to resign in mid-February when secret meetings between him and Sergey Kislyak, Russia's ambassador to the U.S., came to light.

'He's winging it in there'

"One of the things that is most striking … is his remarkable ignorance about the office he holds. I don't think he has a good newspaper knowledge. You can tell by some of the comments he makes, he doesn't understand the process. I don't think he's ever read a biography or autobiography of any of his predecessors. So, he's winging it in there," said Dean

"He's had beliefs on all sides of all issues down here, so we don't really know what he believes. In fact, I think he's pretty much an empty vessel that a number of his Conservative admirers and supporters are filling up for him," added Dean.

Dean served as White House counsel to President Richard Nixon from July 1970 to April 1973, playing a key role in exposing the Watergate scandal and testifying against his former boss in Senate hearings in 1973.

"How's it all going to end? I can't believe it's going to end well, given the way it's started," Dean told Barton.