Film Series

Tricky Dick (Part Four): Premiere and Conversation

March 27, 2019

Tricky Dick is a four-part CNN Original Series that explores Richard Nixon’s life and times; tracking his rise, fall, incredible comeback and political destruction during some of America’s most tumultuous decades. From his early political maneuvers in California, to the game-changing Kennedy-Nixon debates through his disgraceful Watergate exit, featuring never-before-seen footage this fully archive based series offers fresh insight into a riveting story of politics, power and scandal.

In Part Four, entitled You Destroy Yourself, Nixon is re-elected to the Oval Office. But shortly into his second term, the cover-up of a break-in at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate complex starts to fall apart. As the President wages a battle in the press and in the courts, a desperate man becomes his own worst enemy, leaving the American public to pick up the pieces.

Following the premiere of the fourth and final part of Tricky Dick, we were joined by John W. Dean for a Conversation, moderated by Thane Rosenbaum.

This event was produced in partnership with CNN Original Series.

John W. Dean
Former Nixon White House Counsel; CNN Contributor

John W. Dean served as Counsel to the President of the United States from July 1970 to April 1973. Before becoming White House counsel at age thirty-one, he was the chief minority counsel to the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives, and an associate deputy attorney general at the US Department of Justice. His undergraduate studies were at Colgate University and the College of Wooster, with majors in English Literature and Political Science; then a graduate fellowship at American University to study government and the presidency before entering Georgetown University Law Center, where he received his JD in 1965.

John recounted his days at the Nixon White House and Watergate in two books: Blind Ambition (1976) and Lost Honor (1982). After retiring from a business career doing middle-market mergers and acquisitions, he returned to full-time writing and lecturing, including as a columnist for FindLaw’s Writ (from 2000 to 2010) and Justia’s Verdict (since 2010). Donald Trump’s election and presidency have created renewed interest in his earlier New York Times best-sellers: Conservatives Without Conscience (2006), which explains the authoritarian direction of the conservative movement that resulted in Trump’s election a decade before it happened, and Broken Government: How Republican Rule Destroyed the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial Branches (2008), which addresses the consequences of GOP control of government. His most recent bestseller, The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It (2014), is currently being developed into a television series.

Dean held the Barry M. Goldwater Chair of American Institutions at Arizona State University (academic years 2015-16), and for the past decade and a half he has been a visiting scholar and lecturer at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School of Communications. Currently, he is working on a book about Trump’s presidency, while providing commentary on the Trump presidency as a CNN News contributor, plus teaching continuing legal education (CLE) programs that examine the impact of the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct on select historic events from Watergate (and the Trump presidency) with surprising results.