The Nixon Tapes/4-14-73

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The Nixon Tapes
by Richard Nixon
April 14th, 1973 -- from 8:55am until 11:31am

Part 1[edit]

President Nixon: Jack, uh, do, uh, did you reach any conclusions as to, uh, where we are, recommendations?

John Ehrlichman: No, no conclusions.

President Nixon: Uh -- problems?

John Ehrlichman: Dick Wilson, I think, is -- has an interesting column this morning.

President Nixon: unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Ah, yeah, it's, uh, uh, static money problem. He's been analyzing this money problem unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, yeah, last night.

President Nixon: Wilson is in the Star.

John Ehrlichman: Well then it is twice he made this point.

President Nixon: So what?

John Ehrlichman: unintelligible. Argues that really the, the essence of this whole thing is too much money, too easily spent, and so on. And then he, uh...unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: That's his great underlying, uh --

President Nixon: Yeah. That's what everybody -- that's what --

H.R. Haldeman: No, not everybody. That's a, uh, one par -...

President Nixon: Well , Reston lies.

H.R. Haldeman: ...one group thesis...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that, uh, Reston...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...Reston has on that side and point out static. And, the, the you know, his he, he, he carries it beyond -- he says solving Watergate doesn't take care of it, but, uh, then there's, uh, all the money in --

President Nixon: Dick wants the President to speak out on the whole general issue of money and campaign and that sort of --

John Ehrlichman: Basically that's -- generally, but he, he gets specific on this. He says also (unintelligible).

President Nixon: Is that what you think, go out and make a speech?

John Ehrlichman: No, I'll tell you what I think. I think that the President's personal involvement in this is important. And I don't...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...I don't think it's a speech.

President Nixon: Well, that's the point. I think it's -- there're other ways you can get at it. Now, I was thinking of the, uh -- before we get into that though, let's get back -- that's something we can get into later -- I'd like to get - I'd like to go in, if I could, to what your conversation with Colson was and, uh, in essence. What, what was yours, what did he and the lawyer come to tell you about?

H.R. Haldeman: Hunt's visit.

John Ehrlichman: That visit was to tell me that Hunt was going to testify on Monday afternoon.

President Nixon: How does he know that?

H.R. Haldeman: Um hmm.

President Nixon: How does, how does he get such information?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, undoubtedly through Bittman.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Or Bittman through Shapiro.

President Nixon: Now why, why is Hunt testifying? Did he say? Or, uh, what...

John Ehrlichman: He didn't say.

President Nixon: ...(unintelligible) about the --

John Ehrlichman: He said -- I'll tell you what he said and then I'll tell you what I think the fact is -- he said Hunt was testifying because there was no longer any point in being silent. That, uh, uh, so many other people were testifying that there was no -- he wasn't really keeping any secrets.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Couldn't add much. Uh, my, my feeling is that Bittman got very antsy when this grand jury started focusing on the aftermath...

President Nixon:unintelligible know what was involved

H.R. Haldeman: That's it exactly.

John Ehrlichman: ...and that he went to the U.S. Attorney and he said, "Maybe I can persuade my client to talk."

President Nixon: What does, uh, what do Colson, et al, Colson and Shapiro think we ought to do under these circumstances? Get busy and nail Wilson and, uh, nail Mitchell in a hurry? Is that what he means?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: How is that going to help?

John Ehrlichman: Well, they feel that...

President Nixon:unintelligible I just want to get the best effort.

John Ehrlichman: ...they feel that after Hunt testifies that the whole thing's going to fall in, in short order.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: That Mitchell and, uh, Magruder will involuntarily be, uh, uh, indicted.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible say...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...that you have lost any possibly of initiative, so - for participation...

President Nixon: So, what does Colson...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...want us to do?

John Ehrlichman: He wants you to do several things. He wants you to persuade Liddy to talk.

President Nixon: Me?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir. That's his - I didn't bring my notes, but basically -

President Nixon: Oh. Last night you didn't mention this, but that's alright.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, I thought I had.

President Nixon: Maybe you did, maybe you did.

John Ehrlichman: I didn't, I didn't...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...in any event, he didn't -

President Nixon: I would bring, he-, le-, let Liddy in and tell him to talk?

John Ehrlichman: You can't bring him in. He's in jail. But, uh -

President Nixon: Oh.

John Ehrlichman: You would send, you'd send word to him, and of course wanting him to make full disclosure or in some way you would be activist on this score.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: There's no, there's -- that isn't -- doesn't involve any real problem. As Dean points out, uh, Liddy is not talking 'cause he thinks he's supposed not to talk. If he is supposed to talk, he will. All he needs is a signal, if you want to turn Liddy up.

President Nixon: Yeah, oh -- yeah. But the point that...

H.R. Haldeman: Face it, he believes --

President Nixon: ...Colson wants is a public signal. Is that right?

H.R. Haldeman: No, he (unintelligible).

President Nixon: A public signal (unintelligible) what the hell do you do?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible he wants to be able to -- he wants you to be able to, to say afterward that you cracked the case.

President Nixon: Go ahead. What else?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I forget what else. Do you remember, Bob? Uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, that was basically unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Basically, basically, uh, he, he feels that the next forty-eight hours are the, are the last chance...

President Nixon: Mmm-huh.

John Ehrlichman: ...for the White House to get out in front of this and that once Hunt goes on, then that's the ball game.

President Nixon: But you've got to be out in front earlier.

John Ehrlichman: Well --

President Nixon: But, I mean, sorry, not earlier, but publicly.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, either

President Nixon: unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: ...either publicly or with provable, identifiable steps which can be referred to later as having been the proximate cause.

President Nixon: He's just not talking because he thinks the President doesn't want him to talk? Is that the point?

John Ehrlichman: He's -- according to them...

President Nixon: static...Mitchell...static Mitchell's given him a promise of a pardon static Bittman?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, uh, no, according to, uh, uh, Colson and Shapiro. And I don't know where they get that.

President Nixon: Mitchell has promised Liddy a pardon?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir. Other points that Colson may not have mentioned, uh, uh, -- (tape noise)

President Nixon: I have an uneasy feeling that, that Magruder story may have been planted.

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: Or is it true?

H.R. Haldeman: There, there's a third Magruder phone call which I haven't heard that, uh, uh, says...

President Nixon: Says he did talk to the press?

H.R. Haldeman: ...says he did talk to a reporter on Monday -- did not say any of the things he's, he's reported to have said, that what he, that -- he said it wasn't an important conversation. He said the same -- he gave the reporter the same line.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: That, you know -- but in listening to Magruder's thing...

President Nixon: Alright.

H.R. Haldeman: ...I was convinced he wasn't completely telling the truth that he -- in what he was saying. As you get into it, I'm convinced that his (unintelligible) that part was pretty much...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Uh, but you come to this -- all these pieces must be put together now. But you come to Magruder, uh, where the hell does Colson get such a thing? Uh, or is Colson a liar or --

John Ehrlichman: Shapiro, Shapiro says he has a very good press contact who has proved very reliable to him and he says his, his practice in this town depends on his knowing what's going on. And he's (unintelligible) press contact. This is one of the -- and he's always found it to be --

President Nixon: He says that he's talked to Magruder and Magruder said that, that -- ?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. What they've now told us is we'll never get the transcript. That he --

President Nixon: Magruder, think Magruder may have done this?

John Ehrlichman: I think Magruder may have talked, talked to somebody in the press and that, that was...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

President Nixon: But, but in the great detail that Colson went into that he nailed Bob Haldeman, I mean the way Colson did, he says he, he had Colson in the tube...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...but, but not in any way that was particularly, ah, bad. Right?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I think, I think like so many things this got, this got planted as a little seed by Shapiro with Colson and that it grew and, uh, uh, uh --

President Nixon: Oh yeah?

John Ehrlichman: Uh-huh. I'd, I'd just --

H.R. Haldeman: I would guess what's happened is he's got this report from -- Colson does -- from Danny Hofgren that at the bar in the Bahamas with (unintelligible) or something static one night said to Hofgren, "Jesus, everybody was involved in this." He didn't use the --

President Nixon: Uh hmm.

John Ehrlichman: Everybody knew about it.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell, Haldeman, Colson, Dean, the President --

President Nixon: Magruder...

H.R. Haldeman: He, he specifically said the President.

President Nixon: ...Magruder doesn't believe that, though, does he?

H.R. Haldeman: No. Ya know, I've got it, I've got...

unidentified voices: unintelligible.

Discussion of the legality of a taped phone conversation[edit]

President Nixon: I just wonder if he believes it. I'm curious because -- do you think he believes it, John?

John Ehrlichman: No. This tape's very convincing and Higby handled it so well that Magruder has closed all those doors now, with this tape.

President Nixon: What good will that do, John? static

John Ehrlichman: Uh, sir, it beats the socks off him if he ever gets off the reservation.

President Nixon: Can you use the tape?

John Ehrlichman: Well, no. You can use Higby.

H.R. Haldeman: Why can't you use the tape?

President Nixon: Well --

John Ehrlichman: It's an illegal tape.

H.R. Haldeman: No, it's not.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: It is not.

President Nixon: That you tell somebody --

H.R. Haldeman: No, sir.

John Ehrlichman: No beeper on it.

H.R. Haldeman: There is no beeper required. You check the Washington law.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: District of Columbia is under federal law and the federal law does not require disclosure to the other party of the recording of phone conversations. The phone call was made to Magruder's lawyer's office which is also in the District of Columbia so both ends of the conversation were in the District of Columbia and there is no law requiring disclosure.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's interesting.

H.R. Haldeman: It's perfectly legal.

President Nixon: Well, anyway, anyway --

H.R. Haldeman: It can (or may) not be admissible, but it's legal.

President Nixon: That's interesting. That's a new one.unintelligible beep every, every while then, now and then. I thought it was. However, I never heard anybody beepin', and hell--didn't you?

H.R. Haldeman: No. It all depends on where you are. Some -- the basic law in most States is that you must disclose to the other party that you're recording the conversation.

Discussion of Mitchell and Magruder[edit]

President Nixon: Yeah. What is the situation -- I might -- I'll get past this in a hurry -- what is the situation, John, in your opinion on what was Colson's and/or Shapiro's motive in building up the Magruder story? Maybe they believe it.

John Ehrlichman: Their, their innuendo is that, that Mitchell has put Magruder up to this.

President Nixon: I guess not. Okay. There's the motive. Now, let me come to something else.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe that Magruder's --

President Nixon: I don't either. Not at all.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe Mitchell has tried to --

President Nixon: Huh?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe Mitchell tried to Magruder's faith 'cause he refers to Mitchell and now that I have decided to talk I am going to tell Mr. Mitchell and he's gonna be very unhappy with me 'cause he's told me not to.

President Nixon:unintelligible tape, uh

H.R. Haldeman: I did

President Nixon: And he's an emotional fellow who's ready to crack.

John Ehrlichman: I, I really, I have no doubt that he's ready to talk.

President Nixon: What is he -- he hasn't been subpoenaed yet, has he?

John Ehrlichman: Well, he won't be. But he's already been there.

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Dean doesn't think they'll give him a, a chance back unless he comes running at them and just and, uh, spills it.

H.R. Haldeman: 'Cause (A) they don't call the suspects and (B) they don't recall perjury witnesses.

President Nixon: Right. What would you do if you were his lawyer? Wouldn't you advise him to go in and try and purge himself, at least -- get rid of one charge, doesn't he?

John Ehrlichman: I'm not sure he's rid of it, but it certainly reduces it when he comes in voluntarily.

President Nixon: The way I understand it under the law, John, if he were to come to the...

John Ehrlichman: But he's hooked.

President Nixon: ...Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but he's hooked, see. There's contrary evidence already...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...before the Grand Jury.

President Nixon: In other words --

John Ehrlichman: If he did that --

President Nixon: Strachan -- Strachan got in before there was unintelligible evidence.

John Ehrlichman: Exactly.

H.R. Haldeman: unintelligible

President Nixon: Strachan?

H.R. Haldeman: No, unintelligible...

President Nixon: unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...Magruder.

John Ehrlichman: And, and you take the circumstances, now...

President Nixon: They better have...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah. If it's known, if it's known, for instance, that Hunt is going to come in and testify, then Magruder comes rushing in and says I want to tell all, it's, uh, you know --

President Nixon: Magruder's stuck on both counts.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but I think he could improve it. I think he, he really could help to purge himself.

President Nixon:unintelligible. I've come to the -- may I come to the other things that, uh, that you, uh, you talked to Colson about, uh? Hunt going to talk -- what is Hunt going to say? Do we have any idea?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: He says, for example, will he say that Colson promised him clemency?

John Ehrlichman: No. Apparently not.

President Nixon: And, uh, you see the, the only, the only possible involvement Of the President in this is that. Now apparently, John, either you or Bob or Dean, somebody told me they said Cols-, told Colson not to discuss it with me.

John Ehrlichman: I did.

President Nixon: You did. How did, bar-, how did it get to you then, John? How did you know that the, the matter had to be discussed with Bittman or something like that?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I...

President Nixon: When did this happen?

John Ehrlichman: I had...

Discussion of Hunt's feelings of abandonment[edit]

President Nixon: I remember a conversation this day, it was about five thirty or six o'clock, that Colson only dropped it in sort of parenthetically. He said, "I had a little problem today," -- and we were talking about the defendants-- and I said, I sought to reassure him, you know, and so forth. And I said, "Well, that's" -- told me about Hunt's wife -- he said, "It's a terrible thing," and I said, "Obviously we'll do just, we will take that into consideration." And that was the total of the conversation.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I had, uh, we had had a couple of conversations in my office --

President Nixon: With Colson?

John Ehrlichman: With, or, I had with Colson. Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, how was...

John Ehrlichman: And I, uh --

President Nixon: ...who was getting, Who was, was Bittman getting to Colson? Was that the point? Who, who --

John Ehrlichman: Now Hunt, Hunt had written to Colson.

President Nixon: Oh?

John Ehrlichman: Hunt wrote Colson a very I've-been-abandoned kind of letter.

President Nixon: Yeah. When was this, John?

John Ehrlichman: I am sorry, I --

President Nixon: After the election?

John Ehrlichman: Oh, yes. Yeah.

President Nixon: Oh, and Chuck Colson -- you knew about this letter?

John Ehrlichman: Colson come in to tell me about it. And he said, "What shall I do?" And I said, "Well, uh, better talk to him, I think somebody 'd better talk to him -- the guy is obviously very distraught..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...and, uh, feeling abandoned."

President Nixon: Right. Good advice.

John Ehrlichman: And, uh, he said, "Well, what can, what can I tell him about, uh, clemency or pardon? And I said, "You can't tell him anything about clemency or a pardon." And I said, "Under no circumstances should this ever be raised with the President."

President Nixon: Yeah. Told him not to raise it with me. Well, he raised it, I must say, in a tangential way. Now he denies that, as I understand it, that he said that he'd be out by Christmas. He says --

John Ehrlichman: I never, I've never talked to Chuck about that, have you.

H.R. Haldeman(?) Yes and no.

President Nixon: What did he say he said? Well, I'll tell you what I, what Dean, or somebody tells me he said he said. He said that he didn't -- he just talked to, saw, saw Bittman casually, or on the phone or something of that sort.

John Ehrlichman: Bittman?

President Nixon: That was it.

John Ehrlichman: Oh.

President Nixon: And he said to Bittman...

John Ehrlichman: Oh.

President Nixon: ...he said, "I," he said, "I...

John Ehrlichman: Well, now that

President Nixon: ...he said, "I...

John Ehrlichman: ...a difference.

President Nixon: Listen, I have written it. He said, "I, uh, I, uh, I, I know that, uh, I know about Hunt's concern about clemency. I, Chuck Colson, feel terrible about it, 'cause I knew his wife." And, uh, he said, "I will, will go to bat for him and I have reason to believe that my views would be, ah, listened to." Well it's the last part, part that, uh, might in any way remain, although...

John Ehrlichman: He says he talked to Bittman and that he was very skillful...

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: ...in avoiding any commitment. He says Bittman...

President Nixon: unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...Bittman was pitching 'em, but that he wasn't catching 'em. And...

President Nixon: unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...he either has a tape of that meeting or a tape of the conversation or some such thing.

H.R. Haldeman: That's where he lost his thread, then. Yes, said you and Dean told him you two promised clemency, and that he was smarter than you and didn't.

President Nixon: You haven't said you and Dean promised?

H.R. Haldeman: That Ehrlichman and Dean told him to promise...

President Nixon: Shit.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Well, anyway, whatever the case might be, uh, let me ask a question...

H.R. Haldeman: unintelligible a little strange.

President Nixon: ...does, does Hunt -- well, just so that he, uh -- does he, does, does, does he indicate that they, that Hue, Hunt's going to talk to that subject for example -- the promise of clemency?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, he didn't say that. He didn't say that. I didn't ask him.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, going back to the basis, John -- as I recall, they don't have anything to indi- --we don't know how they know Hunt's going to testify. We assume that Bittman told them...

John Ehrlichman: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(A). (B) we don't, they don't have any indication, based on their knowledge that Hunt's going to testify, of what Hunt is going to testify to, except on the basis of Shapiro's meeting with Hunt...

John Ehrlichman: The other day.

H.R. Haldeman: ...the other day. And they're assuming that what Hunt told Shapiro is what he will tell the Grand Jury, but I don't know why they'd have any reason to assume that.

John Ehrlichman: I don't, uh, uh, -- Shapiro's general comment was that Hunt would corroborate a lot of McCord's hearsay...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...but that it also would be hearsay.

President Nixon: Alright. Hunt, however, and this is where Colson comes in, right? Hard. Hunt could testify on Colson's pressure.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. But what they, what they've said he's gonna test-...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...on the coverup, what he is gonna testify...

President Nixon: Now wait a minute...

H.R. Haldeman: unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...I'm talking about something entirely different...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...you're talking about when Colson

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...Colson and Liddy were in the office and Colson, Colson picked up the phone and called Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. Sure.

President Nixon: Now, there, uh, now Colson says that, uh, that they didn't discuss bugging at that point. Hunt could say, "I went in and I showed this whole plan to Colson and Colson phoned -- picked up the phone...

John Ehrlichman(?): That's right.

President Nixon: ...and talked to Magruder."

John Ehrlichman(?): True.

President Nixon: ...does, does, does, does Colson realize his vulnerability there?

John Ehrlichman: Well, course Colson claims he has no vulnerability, because when Hunt and Liddy come in to talk to him they talked in very general terms.

President Nixon: I understand that.

John Ehrlichman: So, he...

President Nixon: I--

John Ehrlichman: ...doesn't acknowledge

President Nixon: I--

John Ehrlichman: ...he doesn't acknowledge that there's any possibility --

President Nixon: I, I understand that, but I'm just simply saying, it's...

John Ehrlichman: I think he's right.

President Nixon: ...that Hunt and Liddy could...

John Ehrlichman: That's true.

President Nixon: ...could, could, could charge that -- that's the point. They, they, they -- if they talk, I would assume they would get into that point with them, any, any cross-examiner.

John Ehrlichman: I, I've asked Colson specifically about that conversation and he maintains that they were talking, uh, in general terms about intelligence and when they said intelligence he meant one thing and apparently they meant another.

President Nixon: Question, uh, for example, uh, is, is Hunt preparing to talk on other activities that he engaged in?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I couldn't, I couldn't derive that...

President Nixon: Umhmm.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible at all.

President Nixon: For the White House and for the -- you know?

John Ehrlichman: I, I couldn't, I couldn't get that at all.

President Nixon: The U.S. Attorney, I would assume, would not be pressing (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: Ordinarily not.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Now, McCord, McCord volunteered this Hank Greenspun thing, gratuitously apparently, not, not --

President Nixon: Could, can you tell me, is that a serious thing? Did, did they really try to get into Hank Greenspun's?

John Ehrlichman: I guess they actually got in.

President Nixon: What in the name of Christ, though, does Hank Greenspun got with -- anything to do with Mitchell or anybody else?

John Ehrlichman: Nothing. Well, now, Mitchell --

President Nixon: Hughes?

John Ehrlichman: Here's -- yeah, Hughes. And these two fellows, Colson and Shapiro, uh, uh -- Colson threw that out.

President Nixon: Hughes on whom?

John Ehrlichman Well, you know the Hughes thing is cut into two factions...

President Nixon: I don't --

John Ehrlichman: (A) and then the...

President Nixon: Uh, fighting --

John Ehrlichman: ...and then the other, and they're fighting.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Bennett, Senator Bennett's son, for whom Hunt worked...

President Nixon: Oh?

John Ehrlichman: ...represents one of those factions.

President Nixon: Yeah. So he ordered the bugging?

John Ehrlichman: I don't know.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...I know the...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...it's a bag job.

H.R. Haldeman: They busted his safe to get something out of it.

John Ehrlichman: Now --

H.R. Haldeman: Wasn't that it? They flew out, broke his safe, got something out...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...got on the airplane and flew away.

John Ehrlichman: Now, as they sat there in my office...

President Nixon: There're others...

John Ehrlichman: What?

President Nixon: ...other delicate things, too. You've got, apart from my poor damn dumb brother, which unfortunately or fortunately was a long time ago, but, uh, more recently, you've got Herbert Humphrey's son works for him, and, of course, they're, they're tied in with O'Brien, I suppose. But maybe they were trying to get it for that reason.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know why. The, the two of them put on a little charade for me in the office...

President Nixon: Shapiro and Colson?

John Ehrlichman: ...as we -- yeah -- as we talked about this, and it may have been genuine and it may not. But...

President Nixon: But they didn't know anything about it?

John Ehrlichman: ...but they -- no -- they said, one said to the other, "Say, that may have something to do with the New York Grand Jury," meaning the Vesco Grand Jury which is a runaway and which is into --

President Nixon: You think Colson knew about that?

John Ehrlichman: I don't know. I don't say he knew about it. I said, he says he doesn't know even who Hank Greenspun is.

President Nixon: He should. Everybody knows he's the editor. His son, for Christ's sakes --

John Ehrlichman: I, I'll take him at face value on that one, uh, uh, it isn't any other evidence.

President Nixon: You didn't know that either?

John Ehrlichman: I, I know very well who he is.

President Nixon: Alright. Uh, let me just take a minute further and run out the Hunt thing, and then the Grand Jury. I just want to get all the pieces in my mind...

John Ehrlichman: Sure.

President Nixon: ...if I can.

John Ehrlichman: Sure.

President Nixon: Uh, Hunt's testimony on pay-off, of course, would be very important.

John Ehrlichman: Right.

President Nixon: Is he prepared to testify on that?

John Ehrlichman: I think so, that's what they say, that he will, and that he will implicate O'Brien and Parkinson. And, uh, then, of course, ah --

President Nixon: O'Brien and Parkinson?

John Ehrlichman: The lawyers.

President Nixon: Were they the ones that talked to Hunt?

John Ehrlichman: Well, he says they were and that they handed him the money. He in turn handed it to his wife and she was the, uh, go-between for the...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...Cubans.

President Nixon: For what purpose? That's the key to it all.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I think, uh, he'll, he'll hook, hang 'em up on obstruction of justice.

President Nixon: Can Hunt do that?

H.R. Haldeman: How can he do that? Why would he simply -- why doesn't he accomplish his purpose simply by saying they gave the money to handle their legal fees?

John Ehrlichman: They're -- all hang out there apparently.

President Nixon: Now this is...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think --

President Nixon: ...this, this is what Colson tells you guys?

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. I don't...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...have any other information on this.

President Nixon: That, Hunt, that Hunt then is going to go. Well, now that, that, that raises the, the problem on, -- with regard to Kalmbach. He has possible vulnerability as to whether he was aware, in other words, the motive, the motive --

John Ehrlichman: This doesn't add anything to the Kalmbach problem at all.

President Nixon: What happened...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...what happened on that?

John Ehrlichman: Dean called Kalmbach.

President Nixon: And what did Dean call Kalmbach about?

John Ehrlichman: And he said we have to raise some money in connection with the, the, uh, uh, aftermath, and I don't know how he described it to Herb. Uh, Herb said how much do you need, and, uh...

President Nixon: It was never discussed then?

John Ehrlichman: ...presumably Dean told him and Herb went to a couple of donors and got some money and sent it back.

H.R. Haldeman: Dean says very flatly that Kalmbach did not know the purpose, uh, for the money and has no problem.

President Nixon: Dean does know the purpose...

unidentified: Right.

President Nixon: ...however. Hunt testifies -- so, so basically then Hunt will testify that it was so-called hush money. Right?

John Ehrlichman: I think so. Now that again, my water can't rise any higher than source.

President Nixon: I understand.

John Ehrlichman: But that's that...

President Nixon: What is your, what is your...

John Ehrlichman: ...that's, that --

President Nixon: What does that serve him, let me ask, just to try to, uh...

John Ehrlichman: Gen-...

President Nixon: ...I mean, would it serve him?

John Ehrlichman: The only thing it serves him is to, uh, uh...

President Nixon: Would it reduce his sentence?

John Ehrlichman: ...have his sentence remitted, that's all.

H.R. Haldeman: He'd be serving the same purpose by not saying it was hush money -- by, by saying he gave it to "these guys that I had recruited for this job and I..."

President Nixon: I know.

H.R. Haldeman: "...felt badly about their family and," you know, "a great deal about it."

President Nixon: That's right, that's what it ought to be and that's got to be the story that, uh, and that...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...that will be the defense of, uh, the people, right?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible the only defense they have and so forth.

H.R. Haldeman: But that...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that was the line that he had used around here.

President Nixon: What?

H.R. Haldeman: That was the line that they used around here. That we've got to have money for their legal fees and family sup-...

President Nixon: Support them. Well, I heard something about that at a much later time.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: And, frankly, not knowing much about obstruction of justice, I thought it was perfectly proper.

John Ehrlichman: Well, it's like the...

President Nixon: Would it be perfectly proper?

John Ehrlichman: ...the defense of the...

President Nixon: Berrigans?

John Ehrlichman: ...the, uh, Chicago Seven.

President Nixon: The Chicago Seven?

H.R. Haldeman: They had a defense fund for everybody.

President Nixon: Not only a defense fund, Christ, they, they take care of the living expenses, too...

unidentified voice: Was there any --

President Nixon: ...despite what all this crap about just legal fees, they take care of themselves. They raise -- you remember the Scottsboro case? Christ. The, uh, uh, the Communist front raised a million dollars for the Scottsboro people. Nine hundred thousand went into the pockets of the Scotts-, er, uh, Communists.

H.R. Haldeman: (Laughs).

President Nixon: ...so it's common practice.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Nevertheless, that's Hunt then saying about the payoff. Alright -- Hunt, on other activities: uh, Hunt then according to Colson was not, uh --(tape noise) get into. What Colson meant about the door of the Oval Office.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, I'll have to get back to you on that, 'cause Shapiro was there and I didn't want to get into it.

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: He --

H.R. Haldeman: No, but it wasn't, it was in connection --

President Nixon: No, not -- it was in an earlier conversation...

H.R. Haldeman: Your instructions said --

President Nixon: ...about the Magruder conversation...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...when Colson was, uh -- I think on the Magruder conversation, from what I have seen...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...it seems to me that --

John Ehrlichman: ...'cause Magruder doesn't got to the door of the Oval Office. He doesn't even come to visit me...

President Nixon: I know that.

John Ehrlichman: ...in the White House.

President Nixon: But he, he -- it is Colson's, it is Colson's view that Magruder's talking would have the effect of bringing it there because of the -- I think what he's really referring to, John, is that by reason of Colson, uh, by reason of Magruder nailing Haldeman and, er, and Colson, that that's the door to the Oval Office. I don't know what else because...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...there's nobody else around, nobody physically around.

H.R. Haldeman: Magruder isn't going to nail Haldeman.

President Nixon: Well, let's see. I don't think so either, but --

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Well that is, that tape is, is invaluable, is it not?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, I suggest to Bob that he keep it.

H.R. Haldeman: And I disregard that as (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: (Laughs)

President Nixon: Let me just say a couple of things that we have to get there. We, we, uh...

H.R. Haldeman: Well, when we come to that, we'd take (unintelligible).

President Nixon: ...in regard to your, regard to your, uh, uh, your, your views and so forth and so on, now, uh I was told the other day, uh, last night, John, you and Bob or somebody -- I guess you and I were talking about, uh, somebody going to see Mitchell. And you suggested Rogers. Got any other better names? Why did you...

John Ehrlichman: Well, I've been up and down the list, and uh --

President Nixon: ...why did you suggest Rogers?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I suggested Rogers because --

President Nixon: First let me tell you -- purpose of mission -- tell me what it is, now.

John Ehrlichman: The purpose of the mission is to go and bring him to a focus on this and I'd say, "The jig is up. And the President strongly feels that the only way that this thing can end up being even a little net plus for the Administration and for the Presidency and preserve some thread is for you to go in and, and, uh voluntarily, uh, make a statement."

President Nixon: A statement that Haldeman, uh, has prepared.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, uh, a, a sta-, statement that basically says...

H.R. Haldeman: No. He's got to go beyond that.

John Ehrlichman: "I am, I am both morally and legally responsible."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Now, the reason for Rogers is that he's clean, number one...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...uh, he has been both, uh, Attorney General and has this other investigatory...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and Senatorial background and so forth. And there isn't anybody that Mitchell trusts, except Haldeman.

President Nixon: He hates Rogers.

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

H.R. Haldeman: Doesn't, doesn't trust Rogers but he would know if Rogers came...

John Ehrlichman: That it was...

H.R. Haldeman: that it was you.

John Ehrlichman: Now, the other, the only other alternative, going up and down the list --

H.R. Haldeman: Also, it from a public viewpoint Rogers is the dean of the Cabinet...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and is the logical man as, n as an attorney, and former Attorney General.

President Nixon: From a public viewpoint, that may be but, also...

John Ehrlichman: Fifty reasons not to do this.

H.R. Haldeman: You've thought of those?

President Nixon: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: There, there, and ther, there have consistently been -- you go back through the history of this --

President Nixon: I know, but now is the time to do something. I agree with you.

John Ehrlichman: Now is the only time, probably, and I'm, I'm persuaded by that argument.

President Nixon: Oh, I am too. I'm, I'm not, -- I'm not arguing about not doing it...

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

President Nixon: I'm just trying to talk about the names

John Ehrlichman: Okay. Uh, in, in going down the list, John Alexander is the only other one that I have come to that, that in any way could, could bridge it. Garment can't do it.

President Nixon: Now, let me give you another name...

John Ehrlichman: Alright.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible President.

President Nixon: ...let me give you another name. Ken Rush.unintelligible. He's a fine lawyer, utterly clean. Uh, a long-time friend of Mitchell's -- not a close friend, but he's known him, you know, in New York, uh, and that grew up there, they are, they, you know, they sort of -- Rush would understand it all. Uh, Mitchell does not hate him -- does trust him.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know how able Rush is. I'd, uh -- he's got -- uh, I just don't know. Uh, another name -- uh, two other names that have occurred to me that I'll throw out, uh, one is Eliot Richardson and the other is, uh, uh, Kleindienst. There is another possibility and that's Henry Petersen. Well, that of course...

President Nixon: Well --

John Ehrlichman: but he's in the prosecutorial end...

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And so is Kleindienst.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's-the trouble.

President Nixon: Kleindienst, Kleindienst revealing to Mitchell the contents of the Grand Jury and all the rest...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...is wrong.

John Ehrlichman: I, I must say I am impressed with the argument that the President should be personally involved in it at this stage.

President Nixon: Right. I agree.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, old John, uh, Dean had a, had an interesting -- got a phone call from him about 12:30.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, no. I was working on something I'll tell you about here.

President Nixon: What did you do?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, well, not much last night.

President Nixon: You mean another subject?

John Ehrlichman: Oh, no. No, this --

H.R. Haldeman: There is no other subject. (Laughs)

John Ehrlichman: This week there's no other subject.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: That, uh, no, I'll tell you. Last night when I got home I decided that, that, uh, I would sit down and try to put down on paper a report to you about what I have been doing since you asked me to get into this.

President Nixon: Right, right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, I am concerned about the overall aspect of this and then -- I want to talk about that before we --

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know what your timing is like.

President Nixon: No problem.

John Ehrlichman: We'll probably get back to it.

President Nixon: Uh, got plenty of time.

John Ehrlichman: But, Dean called and he said, "Alright, here's a scenario." He said, "We've all been trying to figure out..."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "...how to make this go." He says, "The President calls Mitchell into his office on Saturday. He says, 'John, you've got to do this and here are the facts: bing, bing, bing, bing.' And then that's -- you pull this paper out here. And you'd better go do this. And Mitchell stonewalls you. So then, John says, 'I don't know why you're asking me down here. You can't ask a man to do a thing like that. I need my lawyer. Uh, uh, I don't know what I'm facing? He says, 'You just really can't expect me to do this?' Uh, so the President says, 'Well, John, I have no alternative.' And with that, uh, uh, the President calls the U.S. Attorney and says, 'I, the President of the United States of America and leader of the free world want to go before the Grand Jury on Monday.'"

President Nixon: I won't even comment on that.

H.R. Haldeman: That's a silly (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: What I mean is, we're -- typical of the thinking of -- we're running out every, every line. So that was 12:30 this morning. I, uh, uh, but, but I...

President Nixon: I go before the Grand Jury -- that's...

John Ehrlichman: ...I -

President Nixon That's like putting Bob on national television uh...

H.R. Haldeman: With Dan Rather.

President Nixon: What?

H.R. Haldeman: With Dan Rather.

President Nixon: ...well, well by putting it on national television period. When, uh, your, uh, when your, when your audience basically is not that big.

John Ehrlichman: Well, let's, let's take it just as far as you calling Mitchell into the Oval Office, as a, as a...(Tape noise)

John Ehrlichman: ...essentially convinced that Mitchell was linchpin in this thing...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and that if he goes down, it can redound to the administration's advantage. If he doesn't then we're --

President Nixon: How can it redound to our advantage?

John Ehrlichman: That...

President Nixon: There's others - - -

John Ehrlichman: ...That. You have a report from me based on three weeks' work, that when you got it, you immediately acted to call Mitchell in as the, as the provable...

President Nixon: I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...wrong-doer...

President Nixon: I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...and you say, "My God, I've got a report here. And it's clear from this report that you are guilty as hell. Now, John, for Christ's sake go on in there and do what you should. And let's get this thing cleared up and get it off the country's back and move on." And, uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, plus the given side of it is that that's the only...

President Nixon: Even way to --

H.R. Haldeman: ...way to beat 'er down.

President Nixon: Well --

Part 2[edit]

H.R. Haldeman: Now, from John Mitchell's own personal viewpoint that's the only salvation for John Mitchell. Can you see another way? And, obviously, once you have it, you've -- he's got to admit it.

President Nixon: He's, he's not gonna make it, anyway.

H.R. Haldeman: Another factor in that to consider for what it's worth, is the point Connally made to me in that conversation we had on this.

President Nixon: I ought to talk to Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know whether he said this to you or not. He made the point that you had to get this laid out and that the only way it could hurt you is if it ultimately went to Mitchell. And that, that would be the one man you couldn't afford to let get hung on this.

President Nixon: Even worse than Hughes talk.

H.R. Haldeman: He thought so. Seemed to be...

President Nixon:unintelligible That's true. Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...seemed to be, because he's the epitome of your...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...your hard line.

President Nixon: I think he's wrong about that. I think this is the worst one, well, due, due to the closeness to the President at the time of the crime.

H.R. Haldeman: But --

President Nixon: Would you agree, John?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, what's bad --

John Ehrlichman: That's the way I see it.

H.R. Haldeman: But, what Connally also said was unless it's the President himself who nails Mitchell, then the President is (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: Can I pull up this into the larger, in a larger picture? We've gotta live day to day through these things...

unidentified voice: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and forget, uh, the, uh, perspective that will be put on this period...

unidentified voice: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...three months later.

President Nixon: The point is whether or not -- I think I've got the larger picture -- I think, I mean I, and I, in this regard, the point is this that the --we need some action before, uh -- in other words, if, if it's like my, my feeling about having the Grand Jury do it and the court system do it rather than Ervin Committee -- now we want the President to do it rather than the Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: And I agree with that.

John Ehrlichman Well, you're doing it in aid of the Grand Jury.

President Nixon: No. No. I didn't mean it. I didn't mean rather than the Grand Jury, but I mean to, to, to, to worm the truth -- now look, I, I -- the Grand Jury doesn't drag him in, he goes in as a result of the President's asking him to go in.

H.R. Haldeman: Okay. But while you're at that point could I argue a contrary view for a minute? 'Cause I don't agree with that.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I strongly feel, thinking it through, with all the stuff we talked about last night, that you don't want to rush in and that the solution here, if we can find it -- maybe it's impossible, is...

President Nixon: Is for Mitchell to come voluntarily?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, or for Magruder to come voluntarily and nail Mitchell. But if the solution is -- I agree that some sort of --

President Nixon: Where does Magruder come to? Me?

H.R. Haldeman: No. The, the U.S. Attorney. That --

President Nixon: Well, why does -- why don't I urge Magruder to -- I mean let me, let me look at this. The urging of Liddy to testify, the urging of Magruder to testify and Mitchell. John run those by, by -- I didn't mean to stop your...

John Ehrlichman: No, that's alright.

President Nixon: ...your whole analysis but I think, I think I know what you're, what, what, what -- isn't that really the essence of it?

John Ehrlichman: I'm trying to write the news magazine story for next Monday...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...a week, Monday a week. And, if it is that "Grand Jury Indicts Mitchell"...

President Nixon: Right. .

John Ehrlichman: ..."The White House main effort to cover up, uh, finally collapsed last week when the Grand Jury indicted John Mitchell and Jeb Magruder,"...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and uh, "Cracking the case was the test)- many of a, a number of, uh, peripheral witnesses who -- each of whom contributed to developing a, a uh, cross-triangulation and permitted the Grand Jury to analyze it," and so on and so forth. And then "the final, the final straw that broke the camel's back was, uh, an investigator's discovery of this and that and the other thing." That's one set of facts. Uh, uh, and then the- tag on that is "The White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler said that the White House would have no comment."

President Nixon: I know, I know. It can't be done.

John Ehrlichman: The other one, the other one goes: "Events moved swiftly last week, after the President was presented with a report indicating that, uh, uh -- for the first time -- that, uh, uh suspicion of John Mitchell and, uh, Jeb Magruder as ring-leaders in the uh, Watergate break-in were in fact substantiated by, uh, considerable evidence. Uh, the President then, uh, uh, dispatched so and so to do this and that and it"-- maybe to see Mitchell or, or something of that kind and, uh, uh --" these efforts, uh, resulted in Mitchell going to the U.S. Attorney's office on Monday morning at nine o'clock, uh, asking to, uh, testify before the Grand Jury. Uh, uh, charges of cover-up, uh, by the White House were, uh, uh, materially dispelled by the diligent efforts of the President and his aides in, uh, moving on evidence which came to their hands in the, in the closing days of the previous week." Ah --

President Nixon: I, I'd buy that.

John Ehrlichman: Okay.

President Nixon: You want to -- so, we get down to the tactics.

John Ehrlichman: Now, I've been concerned because since the end of March, I have turned up a fair amount of hearsay evidence that, that points at this guy. Now, just take --

President Nixon: And so did Dean...

John Ehrlichman: And, and so did John.

President Nixon: ...so did Dean.

John Ehrlichman: Now, taking this --

President Nixon: Yet we've tried, very honestly, we've tried to, tried to look at it the best way we could. Maybe he couldn't, maybe he really didn't know.

John Ehrlichman: Well, it's hearsay. And so, he...

President Nixon: That point.

John Ehrlichman: ...don't hang a guy, you don't hang a guy necessarily --

President Nixon: And also, we are going to remember, Mitchell has denied it.

John Ehrlichman: But I was, I st-, stood over there in Bob's office and listened to that tape of one of the co-actors saying, flat out on the tape, that he-was guilty and that Mitchell was gonna, was going to fall and all that and I said to...

President Nixon: Did he say that? Did he say that?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, we can't --

John Ehrlichman: ...and, and I said to myself, "My God! I'm a, you know, I mean, I'm a United States citizen. I'm standing here listening to this, what is my duty?"

President Nixon: Well the point is you've now told me. That's the problem.

John Ehrlichman: That's correct, that's correct.

President Nixon: You see, the differ, uh, uh, the uh, the problem of my position up to this time has been, quite frankly, nobody ever told me a God-damn thing...

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: ...that Mitchell was guilty.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: I mean, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, we still don't know.

President Nixon I, I...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't...

President Nixon: must say --

H.R. Haldeman: I, I will still argue that I think the scenario that was spilled, uh, spin, spun out, that Dean spun out to Mitchell is basically the right one.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I, I will still argue that I think the scenario that was spilled, uh, spin, spun out, that Dean spun out to Mitchell is basically the right one.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...I don't think Mitchell did order the Watergate bugging and I don't think he was specifically aware of the Watergate bugging at the time it was instituted

President Nixon: Well, let me --

H.R. Haldeman: I honestly don't.

President Nixon: That may be. Now...

H.R. Haldeman: I think that Mitchell...

President Nixon: ...here's what he told...

H.R. Haldeman: ...he had okayed that, but, uh,unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...for your, for your information here's what he told Rebozo. He knows very well.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell?

President Nixon: That's why I asked, does it have to be a lawyer...

H.R. Haldeman: Mmm.

President Nixon: ... to tell Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: Jeez, I wouldn't get Bebe into this.

President Nixon: I know.

H.R. Haldeman: Boy!

President Nixon: Well, anyway, let me tell you what he told Rebozo, uh, right afterwards -- no, no, er a month ago --he said, he said -- you know (unintelligible) you know how he puffs on his pipe -- "In the ITT thing, I may have perjured myself but I sure didn't on this God-damn thing."

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: There you are.

H.R. Haldeman: Okay. I still think that technically that may be correct.

John Ehrlichman: I think so -- 'cause that's what he told Moore. And he believes that.

President Nixon: What did he say? Could he tell Moore?

John Ehrlichman: Well, remember, I, he, I asked Moore to find out what Mitchell had testified to.

President Nixon: Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's right. And Moore heard the testimony and said well you're not --

John Ehrlichman: He, he was never asked the right questions. Now, uh, uh, as far as he's concerned...

H.R. Haldeman: He probably didn't in the Grand Jury either.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. As far as the quality of the evidence is concerned --

President Nixon: May I just, uh, digress for one point, that has nothing to do with this except that you've got to fight what's going on damn soon. It is essential that, uh, Roger's departure be delayed until this is over. Now, the hell with Henry on this. The point is, any member of the cabinet, except Kleindienst, leaving during this -- there's no way that Dick is gonna leave anyway -- and, uh, now you gotta talk to Hen-, you gotta just "And Henry it's not appealable.'" You just gotta say that, Henry, there are bigger things here." With Rogers --

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: Huh?

John Ehrlichman: There's just gonna leave --

President Nixon: You're just gonna say -- alright fine, then drop that and just say Rogers is gonna stay 'til this thing's over. Right John, you agree?

John Ehrlichman: Absolutely.

President Nixon: Ya see, Rogers is gonna leave on the first of June, and, uh, but, uh, uh, he must --

John Ehrlichman: We may be, we may be out of the woods by...

President Nixon: May be...

John Ehrlichman: ...it might be over by then.

President Nixon: ...out of the woods? No.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: Well, uh, to go back to...

President Nixon: Alright. We won't --

John Ehrlichman: ...the quality of the evidence -- President Nixon: ...I only mentioned Bebe because (unintelligible) let me -- let's get -- go ahead with your --

John Ehrlichman: Well, all I was going to say is that --

President Nixon: Alright. I now have evidence, I am convinced...

John Ehrlichman: But you, you don't have evidence if, uh, uh, if I --

President Nixon: I'm not convinced he's guilty...

John Ehrlichman: That's it.

President Nixon: ...but I am convinced that he ought to go before a Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Exactly. Uh, and, and, and it -- what I did last night, or this morning, was to write out what would, uh, would in effect be a report to you...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...of, of this, of this...

President Nixon: Let me ask you wheter --

John Ehrlichman: ...(unintelligible) deliver it to you.

President Nixon: John -- (pause) Go see Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: (Laughs).

John Ehrlichman: Uh, all I know about my relationship with Mitchell from his side is what others tell me. He has never, he's never, uh, never (unintelligible).

President Nixon: The Mitchell problem, the Mitchell problem with Rogers has been totally created. John Ehrlichman: I see.

(PRIVILEGED MATERIAL DELETED)

Discussion of the case[edit]

President Nixon: ...Let's come around, let's come around again though. You know the case. You've conducted the investigation for me. You have reported to me and I have asked you to go up and lay it on the ground to Mitchell and to tell Mitchell, look, there is only one thing that could save him. I think John's got to hear that kind of talk and I think he's got to hear it from somebody that doesn't have -- I was thinking of bringing Rogers in and telling him all this stuff, but God damn it, Mitchell will wind him around his finger.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: ...well, there's our problem.

John Ehrlichman: If you want me to go, I'll go.

President Nixon: I think the message...

John Ehrlichman: I don't know what he thinks --

President Nixon: ...but the message to Garcia has got to be carried --

John Ehrlichman: Bob, Bob has a pretty good feel of Mitchell's attitude toward me that I don't have.

President Nixon: Well, Mitchell's attitude toward you is not going to be personal -- it isn't going to be any better for Rogers. It would be toward Rush...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but how in the name of God can --

President Nixon: ...Rush is smart and he is tough. He's a good man. And, uh, he's a man, incidentally that we can consider --

John Ehrlichman: He can't argue the facts of this case, that's the point.

President Nixon: The point is, Rush is a man that I would cons- -- if you need a special man in the White House -- I was thinking last night that he is the best man I can think of...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...to bring over to advise the President on this God-damn thing and -- no, and examine all the White House things, to look at all the FBI files, to look at your report, Dean report, the FBI files and give me a report. He's articulate, he's, he's, uh, before television he's, uh, respected among, uh -- he's one of the towering figures in the Ambassadorial world and in the bar. He is, he's no slouch.

John Ehrlichman: Bobby?

President Nixon: And an outsider's -- good God, it's going to take so long to -- Rush, I trust. Rush is a friend. He's a total White House man and yet he is not, not tied into this.

John Ehrlichman: He's exactly the kind of guy we need. Now, I don't know how he, he is in person -- he hasn't practiced law for a long time. That's not, that's not an immediate drawback but, but, uh...

President Nixon: He has the lawyer's mind.

John Ehrlichman: ...you got to get him somebody to help him, like, uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Haven't, though, haven't events overtaken that project?

President Nixon: Oh, no. No. No. No. No. Bob, for Christ's sake, will you --look, the point that I make is let's suppose they get Mitchell. Then they're going to say now what about Haldeman and what about Chapin, and what about Colson and the rest? I've got to have a report indicating -- in other words, you've got all that whole Segretti crap in there. I want somebody to say, now look, here are the facts. None of the White House people were involved. There are no other higher-ups. The White House was not involved. Put a cap around it. And, and second...

John Ehrlichman: More than that --

President Nixon: ...and then face the Segretti crap.

John Ehrlichman: I, I, in, in forcing this out, Dean remains a problem and, and, uh, here's -- uh, let me just read you what I've come to on that...

President Nixon: Alright.

John Ehrlichman: ..."John Dean has not involved himself in this matter as your counsel for several months and properly so. I should not continue to fill in for him," meaning me, "for several reasons, including the impermissible demands on my time that are -involved. You need a full-time special counsel to follow these related problems who can advise you of the legal niceties from his experience in constitutional, criminal and governmental practice. I'll be happy to continue to consult with him, and so on. I do not recommend that Dean take a leave. That is neither in nor out. He has involved himself to the extent described above. Either that requires dismissal or it does not. And that choice should be made at once. If he is discharged, the U.S. Attorney and the Grand Jury should treat him differently. But I think he's, he -- you've got to bite the bullet on Dean, one way or the other, pretty quick.

President Nixon: Alright. But...

John Ehrlichman: But recognize, uh,...

H.R. Haldeman: What did Dean say to...

John Ehrlichman: ...but recognize...

H.R. Haldeman: ...what did Dean say to...

John Ehrlichman: that kills him.

H.R. Haldeman: Dean's.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah basically he says that kills him.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon:unintelligible and he got off with plea bargaining for a misdemeanor.

H.R. Haldeman: Sure.

President Nixon: A misdemeanor.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: That's all the God-damn thing ever was.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. And he got an undetermined sentence that was suspended Friday.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: He never served an hour in jail.

President Nixon: Didn't serve in jail and then, but, but, not only -- you see, Bob --

H.R. Haldeman: He was indicted on a felony...

President Nixon: He did not -- indicted on a felony...

H.R. Haldeman: Pled to a --

President Nixon: Plea, plea-bargained to a misdemeanor, gets off with, uh, no sentence and so forth and, and Dash defends him and says that -- and Lipschitz goes out and the Post prints reams of stuff that he...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...is an honorable man and so forth. Now what really --

H.R. Haldeman: He had already been indicted on two other --

President Nixon: How in the hell, who got the, got that story out unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, they, apparently, the two or three papers got wind of it, but the interesting thing is that Dash had made the moral judgment...

President Nixon: Earlier.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that, that didn't disqualify him, he knew about it.

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: And Dash has a beautiful statement on the front page of the paper which is a man wouldn't be as good an investigator if he hadn't been in...

President Nixon: Unless he knew how to bug.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible). No, unless he had -- been in trouble a couple of, one or two times.

John Ehrlichman: Ervin must have looked at that and...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and he talked about

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...man wouldn't have been a true campaigner if he hadn't had a prank or two once in a while.

President Nixon: Well, what I'm getting at is this, that uh, we're just talking here, not with Dean -- we're talking about Dean naturally -- you call my attention to Lipschitz' thing only I don't give a damn about the part of this with Hunt, Liddy, and the Cuban...

unidentified voice: True.

President Nixon: ...unintelligible are in this thing. It would be my static a reasonable time had expired after the thing static and before I leave office and they'll get off. You get them full pardons. That's what they have to have, John.

John Ehrlichman: Right.

President Nixon: Do you agree?

John Ehrlichman: Yep, I sure do. Well, you haven't asked me how I'd come out on this. I just, I just brought it to a focus. I think if you have to decide up or down on Dean now...

President Nixon: What do you think about that? Oh, let's see. What, what does Dean say when you tell him that?

John Ehrlichman: He doesn't agree with that.

President Nixon: I know he doesn't agree, but what does he do?

John Ehrlichman: He wants to stay and just disconnect himself from this case. And he says, "Yes, that's right, make your decision now, but make your decision that I should stay." He needn't decide that right this minute and I would encourage him not to...

President Nixon: I mean.

John Ehrlichman: ...but in talking about Rush, that relates to this general subject. I think I would pass it for the moment.

President Nixon: But the only thing that I was -- yeah, I agree you should --

John Ehrlichman: And, and, uh, get back to, get back to the Mitchell thing which really is, uh...

President Nixon: Like today. I know.

John Ehrlichman: ...uh, like this morning.

President Nixon: I don't think there's anybody that can talk to Mitchell except somebody that knows this case. Now, there's one or two people, I mean I -- versed myself in it enough to know the God-damn thing, but I'm not sure that I want to know. I want to say Mitchell, "Now, look, I, I think that, I think that you're -- the attorneys for the Committee, O'Brien -- and I found out this, and I found out that, and I found out that, and the Grand Jury has told me this th-th-th-th-th- dee." I just don't know. I just don't -- you know what I mean. They talk about my going out is, uh -- but really, I am not trying to duck it. I, I don't mind, I've done unpleasant things and I'll take this in one minute. Uh, the thing, John, is that there's nobody really that can do it except you.- And I know-how Mitchell feels. But you conducted this investigation. I would -- the way I would do it, Bob, you, you critique this, is I'd go up, and I'd say,...

H.R. Haldeman: Alright.

President Nixon: ..."The President's asked me to see you." That you have come in today with this report; these are the cold facts indicating; of course, that this does not indicate that, but the Grand Jury is moving swiftly, Magruder will be indicted, you think. Under the circumstances, time is of the essence. You can't be in a position of having you (tape noise) the Grand Jury and (tape noise)unintelligible "I am responsible, I did not know it. But I assume the responsibility. Nobody in the White House is involved," and so forth, and so on. "We did try to help these defendants after- wards, yes." He probably would not deny that anyway. He probably was not asked that at an earlier time. But the, just as the clef-, just as any, the defendants are entitled to that sort of --

John Ehrlichman: Well now you're, you're glossing it. Uh, I don't think he could do that.

President Nixon: All right.

John Ehrlichman: I wouldn't want to, I wouldn't want to

President Nixon: All right.

John Ehrlichman: ...have you...

President Nixon: Oh all right.

John Ehrlichman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Fine, fine. What would you say to him?

John Ehrlichman: I'd say (unintelligible)...

President Nixon: Let me, let me hear your speech (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: I'd say, "The jig, you know, basically the jig is up, John, and uh, I've listened to, uh, Magruder and, and, uh, uh, uh, he's gonna, he's in my opinion he's about to blow, uh, uh, and that's, that's the last straw." Uh --

President Nixon: And, also, Hunt is going to testify, Tuesday, Monday, we understand.

John Ehrlichman: "We've got to, we've got to think of this thing from the standpoint of the President and I know you have been right along and that's the reason you've been conducting yourself as you have."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "It, it's now time, I think, to rethink what best serves the President and also what best serves you..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...in the ultimate outcome of this thing."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "And we have to, have to, recognize that you are not going to escape indictment. There's no way and..."

President Nixon: Because -- yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "...the far better, far better that you should be prosecuted on an information from the U.S. Attorney based on your conversation with the U.S. Attorney, than on an indictment by a Grand Jury of, of 15 blacks and 3 whites, uh, after, uh, uh, this kind of uh, this kind of an...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...investigation."

President Nixon: We're right on the door of the White House and we're trying to protect you.

John Ehrlichman: "If, if the Grand Jury goes this way, you've been dragged in by the heels. Uh, if you go down first thing Monday morning, or yet this afternoon..."

President Nixon: This afternoon.

John Ehrlichman: "...and talk to the U.S. Attorney, and say, 'Okay I want to make a statement,' then two things happen: one, you get credit for coming forward; two, you serve the President's interest. And, uh, I'm here in behalf of the President --"

H.R. Haldeman: Well, and three, you have the dignified opportunity to discuss this in, in the, office of...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...of Earl Silbert instead of in the third Washington jail.

John Ehrlichman: "And, and I'm here at the President's request to ask you to do that..."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "He has reviewed the facts now..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "He has no alternative, John...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...but..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...to send me here and..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...ask you to do this."

President Nixon: Right, well, then, if you want to hear it personally, he, he, he, uh...

John Ehrlichman: Pick up the phone.

President Nixon: No. Come down and see him.

H.R. Haldeman: I have a couple of modifications to that. One, a minor ques-- not to what you say, but in setting it up. It would be helpful, in doing that, if I called Mitchell and said that the President wants you to talk with him. Then there's no question...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...in his mind

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that you're, you're operating...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...unilaterally.

John Ehrlichman: Absolutely.

President Nixon: Right, right.

H.R. Haldeman: And, secondly, that if at all possible, he should come down here.

John Ehrlichman: Why is that?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, my reason for it is, A, you get him here under your circumstances. B. if you make your case, which you may (unintelligible) at this point...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...'cause he may be on the same track.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...maybe at the same point.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: If he is, you might be able then to swing a "let's get Silbert right now and go on over." Ah, he may say, I've got to talk to the President before I do this.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: And then run him in to do it.

President Nixon: Um, well, let me say, let me say this, uh, I've, I've run, run through my mind, uh, the, the thoughts. And believe me the idea of Rogers, as you, John, as Bob will tell you, is not, is not one that, uh, that I don't think is, is potentially good. I was hoping to get him in, in a bigger -- but I, I know Rogers like the back of my hand and Rogers does not fight real, mean tough problems and he will not go.

H.R. Haldeman: The trouble with Rogers is that Mitchell will overrun him. Mitchell will say, "Bill, you're out of your fucking mind. If you knew what I knew -- I mean those kids over at the White House are, are looking at me and, uh, and, uh --

President Nixon: What if you knew what I knew, what about them?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, he'd roll his eyes and, and Rogers wouldn't know one way or the other.

President Nixon: You see, John, somebody has to talk to him who knows the facts. That's the point.

H.R. Haldeman: And as I mentioned (unintelligible, with tape noise) thing in your scenario that really worries me when you say I've listened to Magruder --

John Ehrlichman: Well, all, all right, I can't say it quite that way

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...what Magruder's gonna do.

John Ehrlichman: I can say...

President Nixon: We have learned from...

John Ehrlichman: I can, I --

President Nixon: ...we have learned that Magruder is going to testify.

John Ehrlichman: I can say, well, I can start out by saying, look, I can't vouch for any of this first hand. A tremendous amount of what I know is second-hand, like my conversation with Paul O'Brien, but I have every reason to think that Magruder is in a frame of mind right now to go down there and tell every- thing he knows.

President Nixon: That Hunt's going to go Monday (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: Hunt's going to go Monday.

President Nixon: ...and Liddy, well, you can't say Liddy

John Ehrlichman: Well --

President Nixon: ...maybe Mitchell has a feel--

John Ehrlichman: I have, I have reason to think Liddy has already talked.

H.R. Haldeman: You know Rothblatt knows who (unintelligible) Rothblatt. So they're obviously moving on the cover-up.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: See, if Mitchell went in, that might knock that whole week into a cocked hat.

President Nixon: Why?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, what do they care about the cover-up any more? They --

President Nixon: Humph.

John Ehrlichman: Well, they might, but they, but, you see, Mitchell -- if Mitchell gave them a complete statement

President Nixon: I wish they wouldn't, but (unintelligible) they would, Bob.

John Ehrlichman: ...if Mitchell gave them a complete statement --

President Nixon: They shouldn't, I mean, you're right. I mean, the, the, the cover-up, he said that, uh -- said well that basically it's a separate crime. Isn't that right, John?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: Do you think they would keep going on the cover up even if Mitchell went in?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I would assume so. I would certainly assume so. You see, they're got to explain to the Ervin Committee some day why they do things and they've got a hell of a lead. They're really not in shape to stop at this point. They would certainly be diverted.

H.R. Haldeman: (Unintelligible with tape noise) is this, that everything relating to this and all the fringes of it and all the, well, any other --

John Ehrlichman: I think they're in a position to uh -- I, I just don't know (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, that's right.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: But the point is what, what they have that -- they, their relations have been primarily with Dean.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know about Colson.

John Ehrlichman: I don't either.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, Dean is --

President Nixon: I have to bite the Dean bullet today.

John Ehrlichman: I didn't say that. I didn't say that, but I think it, it is, it is a dependent question. And, uh, if you are in a situation where Mitchell stonewalls you...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and walks out and says you know, to hell with you guys, I've got to, I've got to live my own life.

President Nixon: Well, let's say, uh, we could uh, uh, what, I want to look at my watch, not because of an appointment.

John Ehrlichman: You've got a dentist appointment.

President Nixon:unintelligible I've been here since eight o'clock this morning.

John Ehrlichman: That's why?

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

President Nixon: Don't worry about that. No, that's no problem. I could have got Haig to -- but, I, uh, John Dean out of the Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Let me get around that by sug-, suggesting what I think his response would be.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: His response will be, "Look, Ehrlichman, you're supposed to be a lawyer. You know better. To go to somebody who is a target in an inquiry of this kind and try to pressure into giving up his rights is very antithesis of what rights I would have if I were a defendant

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: "Uh you're supposed to, you're in the executive branch, and a government official, you're supposed to tell me what, what all the chips are.

President Nixon: Uh, that, that chair's gone.

H.R. Haldeman: Oh.

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...a couple and fall on the floor which would not be --

President Nixon: Go ahead Steve.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, "you're supposed to tell me, uh, that I have a right to counsel and, uh, you know, read me the, the uh, Supreme Court thing (unintelligible) and so forth. Instead of that, you just suggested that I, uh, I divest myself of all my rights, and, uh, and uh, you, uh, asked me down here for a highly improper conversation. You haven't even suggested that I bring my attorney. And I take it what you are doing, is, uh, you're acting as the, uh, prosecutor in this case." How do you come off doing that?

President Nixon: He won't do that, in my opinion. Uh I think he's more likely to say,"well God-damn it, look, John, we -- don't you know that there are people in the White House that are deeply involved in this. Don't you know that Colson and Haldeman...

H.R. Haldeman: He may say this, yeah.

President Nixon: "...pressured this poor boy over here" I think Mitchell will take the offensive. Don't you agree? Bob?

H.R. Haldeman: You see, I'm not at all sure but what Mitchell may think I am involved. I'm sure he probably thinks Colson's involved, because Magruder has used that. I would guess that the line Magruder has used with Mitchell -- and you might have to play Magruder's tape recording for him (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: Well I don't think, I don't think that'll happen. I just don't.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I just --

President Nixon: Is Magruder planning to go see Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes, sir, and it's -- if he decides to go, if he decides to talk.

President Nixon: If he decides to talk, he's convinced...

H.R. Haldeman: And he's about on the verge, his -- I, I assume from that conversation that what he has decided, he is either going to talk or he's going to take the Fifth. He's not going to lie, over and over.

President Nixon: But, they're not calling him -- they may not call him back, that's always --

John Ehrlichman: That's correct.unintelligible Liddy will never try it.

President Nixon: Well the Fifth (unintelligible).

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: He says, I know I'm going to be arrested. I know I'm on my way to jail. All right, if, if Mitchell comes back with a line like that, you're not serving the President, well, if you have made any kind of investigation surely you know people in the White House are involved.

President Nixon: What do you say?

John Ehrlichman: I say, "look, John, we're past the point where we can be concerned about whether people in the White House are involved. We're not protecting the President by hoping this thing is going go go away."

President Nixon: The people in the White House are going to testify.

John Ehrlichman: The thing is not going to go away, John, and by your sitting up there in New York and pretending that it is, it's just making it worse. And it's been getting steadily worse on account of your sitting up there for the last couple of months. We're at the point now where we have no choice but to ask you to do this.

H.R. Haldeman: We have a whole, and you could say, we have a whole series of people who have remained mum in order not to create problems for you, who, it's now clear, can no longer remain mum. They don't intend to create problems for you, but, I mean...

President Nixon: Like Hunt, Liddy?

H.R. Haldeman: No. I mean like Haldeman, Dean --

John Ehrlichman: I could say that when I got into this I discovered that there were all kinds of people sitting around here who had bits of information. They were hanging on to them, becuase they didn't know where they led...

President Nixon: Well - -

John Ehrlichman: ...and because they were afraid they would hurt John Mitchell. And I've had to put this whole thing together. And now, having put it together...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible you guys received word he comes down --

John Ehrlichman: ...it, there's just no escape from it, just no escape.

H.R. Haldeman: And it's got to be proved whether, uh, any...

President Nixon: The adversary type. There's nobody that can do it --

H.R. Haldeman: He will be able to persuade anyone else there is a way.

President Nixon: But, there is nobody else that can do it. Also (pause) let me digress a moment before we get to the (unintelligible) of Mitchell. Another indication of the, the problem we've got here, uh, is -- which is related to what we talked about last night -- is to just to keep a, a posture vis-a-vis the Committee on this. Uh, I just think we are in an impossible position frankly, with regard to White House people not appearing before the Committee. Now you've gone over that with Ziegler and he still thinks we should stonewall it on those grounds.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And I've, I have not talked with him at length for days.

President Nixon: Well, I hear you've got the -- I, was just looking in the paper this morning -- uh, Saxbe, Mathias, Johnny Rhodes, John Anderson, Aiken. Well, of course, two or three of those names are not new, but they're all there...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...they are trying to build that up as a chorus of Republicans and more will come.

John Ehrlichman: They'll get five a day for the next month.

H.R. Haldeman: Bet they don't. Bet -- what's interesting is on a universal chorus he must appear before the Committee.

President Nixon: Well --

H.R. Haldeman: Thus, if you've got some saying they've got to set up a way to take secret testimony...

[Part III]

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, and it's a little difficult here be-cause our people are trained to cooperate.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...when Weicker's office calls.

President Nixon: You can say that, you can say Senator, now, uh, uh, we, we, we're not gonna turn this down unless you tell us to. And uh, and we just, just want you to know that uh, that uh, if you want us to go ahead, why we'll arrange for them to do it. But we want you to, for you to be told, uh, you know what I mean.

H.R. Haldeman: Use the specific call (unintelligible)

President Nixon: Good reason to call him.

H.R. Haldeman: (Tape noise) North Carolina this week.

President Nixon: (Tape noise) we came full circle on the Mit-, on the Mitchell thing.

unidentified voice: Who?

President Nixon: On the Mitchell thing (unintelligible) must come first...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...(tape noise) something today. We've got to make this move today. If it fails, uh, just to get back on position, I think you ought to talk to Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: I agree.

President Nixon: And you tell Magruder, "Now Jeb, this evidence is coming in, you ought to go into the Grand Jury. Purge yourself if you're perjured, and tell this whole story."

John Ehrlichman: I agree.

H.R. Haldeman: (Unintelligible, with tape noise)

President Nixon: The, we'll go -- Bob, you don't agree with that?

H.R. Haldeman: Oh, I do.

President Nixon: Because I think we do have to. Third, we'v` got the problem --

H.R. Haldeman: Maybe you should talk to Jeb first, though.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible John?

John Ehrlichman: Doesn't really matter, Bob, eh, either way

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...who is ever coming first.

President Nixon: But then, you see, you see the point is--

H.R. Haldeman: For God's sake, then don't use Jeb as a basis for the conversation.

President Nixon: Yeah. Say that the evidence is not Jeb. I'd just simply say that just a lot of other people with (unintelligible) Jeb...

H.R. Haldeman: ...although (unintelligible).

President Nixon: ...although he may blow (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: I can say, I can say that the the uh, uh, that I have, I have come to the conclusion that it is both John and Jeb who are liable--

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and, uh--

President Nixon: But no, I meant...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, go ahead.

President Nixon: I was going to say that we are not talking to you, John, just because Jeb is going to crack...

unidentified voice: Or that--

President Nixon: ...or that Dean is going to the Grand Jury. It's past that point. They've got the case made.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

President Nixon: He'll say, "well I think they're bluffing here." What'll you say?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, it isn't a question of bluffing. Uh, nobody's made any representations to us at all. Nobody's tried to bluff us...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, it, it's just a question of putting together all the facts and that any time someone--if the U.S. Attorney's office goes through the process that "I've gone through, he'll have all the facts. And there it'll be. And ya, you don't get it all from any one person. It's it's some from this one, some from that one. It's a typical, it's a typical case, Bob.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: How does Dean's, incidentally what is the, what is the, what is the liability or, uh, Hunt, or, uh--I'm thinking of the payoff thing...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...in this business,--somebody in, uh, Dean, Dean, uh, Dean asked, told me about the problem of Hunt's lawyer, uh, wanted--had gotten--this was a few weeks ago--needed, uh, needed sixty thousand or forty thousand dollars or something like that. You remember? He asked me about it and I said I, I don't know where you can get it. I said I would, uh, I mean, I frankly felt he might try to get it but I didn't know where. And then he left it up with Mitchell and Mitchell then said it was taken care of--am I correct? Is my recollection...

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir.unintelligible

President Nixon: Is that approximately correct?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, you could (unintelligible).

President Nixon: Did he talk to you about that?

John Ehrlichman: He talked to me about it. I said, John, I wouldn't have the vaguest notion where to get it.

President Nixon: Yeah--

John Ehrlichman: I saw him later in the day. I saw Mitchell later in the day...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...Wednesday (unintelligible)

President Nixon: What happened?

John Ehrlichman: And he just said it's taken care of.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell raised the topic. He turned to Dean and said, "what have you done about, uh, that other problem?" And Dean said--he kind of looked at us--and then said, "well, uh, you know, I, I don't know." And Mitchell said, "Oh' I guess that's been taken care of. (tape noise) said apparently through LaRue.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: (tape noise) LaRue. Where you the one who told me?

John Ehrlichman: Who told you?

H.R. Haldeman: ...Oh, Dean told us. LaRue. He had, Dean had a long talk with LaRue and LaRue said, "this whole thing is ridiculous now" and said (unintelligible, with tape noise) said, "yeah," he said, "If I were in charge of this now what I would do is I'd get a large bus and I'd put the President at the wheel and I'd throw everybody we've got around here in it and I'd drive up to the Senate and I'd have the President open the door and I'd say, you all get out and tell everything you know and I'll be back to pick you up when you're through." He said, "It's all out now and there's nothing we can do about it." And he, he said, "I can," he said, LaRue also said, "you know, I can't figure out how I got into this, uh, to begin with, but I, I, it seems to me all of us have been drawn in here in trying to cover up for John."

President Nixon: For Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, which is exactly what's happened.

President Nixon: LaRue said that?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes.

President Nixon: He's right.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: And if LaRue is called, LaRue is, is--intends to tell the truth about it.

President Nixon: Is he?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. Now, I--

President Nixon: Well, what will be his defense...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

President Nixon: ...about obstruction?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: I don't think he-has one.

H.R. Haldeman: If he doesn't intend--

President Nixon: No, well, no. His obstruction will be -- LaRue'll, uh, that I was helping to get --

John Ehrlichman: Ah, the way Dean talks LaRue wasn't even thinking about the message.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think LaRue cares. I think LaRue's figured that the jig is up.

John Ehrlichman: (Tape noise) I--a bit of incidental intelligence that (unintelligible) dropped yesterday with regard to Mardian. Just a small matter--went out to Phoenix (tape noise).--elaborate cover story, which he fed to the New York Times, which would lay it all back in the White House. (unintelligible with tape noise) Just gonna know that if they do (unintelligible) get screwed.

unidentified voice: --Yeah, they've gotten to--

John Ehrlichman: It will only stand so long as Mitchell stands.

President Nixon: Why lay it at the White House?

John Ehrlichman: That's all that--but I just don't know any other fact and, uh--

President Nixon: Well, he could lay it to the White House?

John Ehrlichman: But bear in, bear in mind Shapiro was giving me this in a whole litany of things that were, that were persuasive and which...

President Nixon: Yep, yep.

H.R. Haldeman: I'm still afraid of Shapiro.

John Ehrlichman: ...what he said to me (unintelligible) he's a scary guy.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible I don't believe we can--

President Nixon: Uh, but what I meant on the Mardian, the point that, uh,--let me say, I don't think that Mardian or LaRue or Mitchell, uh, or Magruder or anybody want to hurt the President in this thing.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: I'm sure that's right.

President Nixon: Do you feel that way?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes sir.

President Nixon: Colson? How, how about Colson?

H.R. Haldeman: He, he--I (unintelligible) said he'll do everything he can not to hurt the President.

President Nixon: Yeah. That has got to be the attitude of everybody because it isn't the man, it's the Goddamn office.

H.R. Haldeman: Sure. Sure.

President Nixon: But also it happens to be tr-, true. I mean I (unintelligible) I knew about the son-of-a-bitch.

H.R. Haldeman: You don't have a, that doesn't apply and they didn't--I think rationalize to themselves that hurting or getting anybody else could be...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...good for the President rather than bad. And that...

President Nixon: In other words--

H.R. Haldeman: ...includes Ehrlichman, Haldeman,...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...Dean...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...certainly Colson. Colson'd be at the top of that list. Colson first, then Haldeman, then Dean, then Ehrlichman.

President Nixon: You see I think a Mardian story to the Times will be, frankly, that Colson put the heat on.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, maybe, but he's gonna last. That could be where you--

President Nixon: Maybe Haldeman?

H.R. Haldeman: Mardian. No, Mardian, I don't think has any personal desire to get me. I think he would--I know he hates Colson.

President Nixon: Does he?

H.R. Haldeman: They all do. And any Mitchell person does, 'cause Mitchell did.

President Nixon: You can make, you see, you can make a hell of a circumstantial case on Colson. He's the guy that, you know, he's Dean's buddy, and uh, Liddy, he knew well, apparently knew well--

H.R. Haldeman: Wasn't Dean's buddy.

President Nixon: I'm sorry--I meant Hunt's buddy.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, right.

President Nixon: Of course, right. But you know, but, I mean, Colson is closer to this group of robbers than anybody else. That's the problem with Colson. Colson's got a very--

H.R. Haldeman: He has no tie to Liddy.

President Nixon: Oh, no, no. Okay.

H.R. Haldeman: You know, that is the (unintelligible) he has no, no string to it. His string is to Hunt.

President Nixon: Well, then Hunt--

H.R. Haldeman: Hunt is the, Hunt is the central, uh, background figure that--

President Nixon: Is, uh, Hunt, uh, Hunt takes this money?unintelligible he took it for what? To cover up?

H.R. Haldeman: Immunity. Bet Bittman's given immunity.

President Nixon: They're going to give Hunt immunity?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know, maybe, I suppose.

John Ehrlichman: I think that would be their deal.

President Nixon: Well, that's the standard--unintelligible give him immunity for additional crimes?

John Ehrlichman: He's convicted now, you see, so it would be for additional--

H.R. Haldeman: They haven't sentenced him.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: So they could give him immunity--unintelligible

President Nixon: ...they could, they could, cut his sentence and give him immunity for the cover-up; the hush money; clemency. How do you handle the problem of clemency, John?

John Ehrlichman: You'd have to stonewall that--it's, it's, it's--a cold fact, cold denial Unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Well, you don't handle it at all. That's Colson's main point because that's where it comes from.

John Ehrlichman: That was the line of communication--

President Nixon: Colson to Bittman? Well that's the only thing that we have on that, except Mitchell, apparently, had said something about clemency to people.

H.R. Haldeman: To Liddy.

President Nixon: And Mitchell has never, never disc--has he ever discussed clemency with you, Bob?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: Has he ever discussed it with you?

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: Needless to say, not with me. The only terms (unintelligible) we were all here in the room.

H.R. Haldeman: I think--

John Ehrlichman: The only time--

H.R. Haldeman: ...he may have said, well, you know, we've got to take care of these people, and, uh--

President Nixon: Yeah. Well, I understand that. But he's never said, "Look you're gonna get a pardon for these people when this is over." Never used any such language around here, has he, John?

John Ehrlichman: Not to me.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think so.

President Nixon: With Dean has he?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I don't know.

H.R. Haldeman: That's a question (unintelligible)

President Nixon: 'Cause Dean's never raised it. In fact, Dean told me an interesting thing I said, Dean, I said, "John," I said, uh, "where's it all lead?" He said, "uh." I said "what's it going to cost? Now you could continue this of course." He said about a million dollars. I said facetiously, "Have you thought of this at all?"unintelligible That's the point. That's the foul-up in the whole Mitsel erg-, Mitchell argument. Unless I could just up and say, "100k fellows, it, it's too bad and, and, and I, I, I could, I could give you executive clemency, like tomorrow. What the hell do you think, do you think, Dean, I mean do you think that, that--the point is, Hunt and the Cubans are going to sit on their ass in jail for four years and their families not taken care of? That's the point. Now where the hell to you get the money for that?" That's the reason this whole thing falls. I mean, uh-, uh, it's, it's that, that, I mean, uh, that astonishes me about Mitchell and the rest.

John Ehrlichman: Improbable.

President Nixon: Not only improbable, there's no way to get the money is there? Who was it, Tom Pappas they had to see me?

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible about the money.

President Nixon: Huh?

H.R. Haldeman: You didn't talk to him about the money?

President Nixon: I don't remember. You told me to see him. In fact, you said that he was helping on the--

H.R. Haldeman: But, yeah, but you were seeing him and you were seeing a number of contributors. President Nixon: I know, I know and I said hell, I appreciate the work you're doing for us and I didn't mention what it was.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Good old...

H.R. Haldeman: He was Mitchell's contact.

President Nixon: Good old Tom is raising money apparently, he's doing this, this thing--

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. I doubt that he is--

President Nixon:unintelligible the word, the word never came up, but, uh, I said I appreciate what you're doing. I do, I do for the purpose of helping the poor bastards through the trial, but you can't after that, John. You can't or could you? I guess you could. Attorneys' fees? Could you, could you get a support program for these people for, for four years?

John Ehrlichman: I haven't any idea. I have no idea.

President Nixon: Well, they've supported other people in jail...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...for years.

John Ehrlichman: The Berrigans or somebody.

President Nixon: Huh?

John Ehrlichman: I say, I don't know how the Berrigan brothers and some of those...

President Nixon: They all have funds.

John Ehrlichman: ...operate. I think those they use--

President Nixon: Yes, there are funds,unintelligible are developed. I guess that's true.

John Ehrlichman: So that they--.

President Nixon: But not to hush up.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: That's the point. All right. One final thing: Dean. You, you don't think we have to bite it today?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I'm not so sure. Uh, I'd, I'd be inclined--say you are (unintelligible). When you say bite it it's simply a matter of making a decision, in, in my opinion, uh--

President Nixon: Well, I've made a decision. I think he has to go.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I'm not sure that's the right decision. It's uh, uh, uh, by, by framing the issue, I don't mean to imply that...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...that's the unintelligible.

President Nixon: I thought, no, no, I thought...

John Ehrlichman: Uh,unintelligible

President Nixon: When, when you said you didn't address it, I, I'm sorry, I thought that was one of the recommendations you had made.

John Ehrlichman: No, no, my recommendation is that you recognize that, there's a go-no go decision that has to be...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...made right away.

President Nixon: Oh, alright, yeah.

John Ehrlichman: You see, here's your situation as I--Look again--the big picture--You now are possessed of a body of fact.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And you've got to, you can't just sit here.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: You've got to act on it.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...You've got to make some, you got to make some decisions and the Dean thing is one of the decisions that you have to make. Now you may decide--

President Nixon: [on telephone] Bull, please. Steve Bull. [To Ehrlichman]unintelligible Alright, fine, John.

John Ehrlichman: Eh, eh--

President Nixon: ...Then you're not.

John Ehrlichman: Then you've got to dispose of it one way or the other. Uh, uh, there may be and, and, I'm, I'm--

(Phone rings)

President Nixon: [on telephone] Yeah, put the, uh, that, uh, thing with, uh, uh, Haig, uh, back. What time you got now? Quarter after. I'll be there a few minutes late at the EOB. [Hangs up telephone]

John Ehrlichman: I'll tell you, I am still heavily persuaded-that we affect the Grand Jury and U.S. Attorney treatment of Dean favorably by keeping him on.

President Nixon: Okay.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, and that that's important. Now--

President Nixon: Why, why, do you say that? Because they like him?

John Ehrlichman: No, no, not at all.

H.R. Haldeman: Because they can treat him differently as the President's counsel than--

John Ehrlichman: As the dismissed President's counsel--

H.R. Haldeman: Exactly.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: It's just that it's a very heavy psychological factor.

President Nixon: Well, this will be done, because there is another reason, too. It isn't like, it--Dean is not like Mitchell, now let's face it.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

President Nixon: Dean is not like Mitchell in the sense that Dean only tried to do what he could to pick up the Goddamn pieces and...

H.R. Haldeman: Certainly.

President Nixon: ...everybody else around here knew it had to be done.

John Ehrlichman: Certainly.

President Nixon: Uh, let's face it. I'm not blaming anybody else now.

H.R. Haldeman: I understand.

President Nixon: That was his job.

H.R. Haldeman: I understand.

John Ehrlichman: I have, I have great trouble in (unintelligible) that you could be involved in the light of the known involvement that he had...

President Nixon: After the?

John Ehrlichman: ...in the aftermath.

President Nixon: Right, but--

John Ehrlichman: But--

H.R. Haldeman: The known involvement in the aftermath was for, uh, what was understood here to be the proper (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: That's half--

President Nixon: The question is motive.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: That's number one. Number two, there is nothing new about that.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: As I have developed in this thing--I'd like you to read this.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: There were eight or ten people around here who knew about this, knew it was going on.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Bob knew, I knew, all kinds of people knew.

President Nixon: Well, I knew it. I knew it.

John Ehrlichman: And it was not a question of whether--

President Nixon:unintelligible I knew I must say though, I didn't know it, but I must have assumed it though, but you know, fortunately--and I thank you both for arranging it that way and it does show why the isolation of the President, isn't a bad position to be in.

John Ehrlichman: (Laughs)

President Nixon: But the first time that I knew that they had to have the money was the time when, uh, Dean told me that they needed forty thousand dollars. I hadn't been rege-, I didn't, I just didn't, I closed my eyes, I couldn't read the Goddamn papers on those little envelopes. I didn't know about the envelopes and the (unintelligible) and all that stuff.

John Ehrlichman: Well, the, the...

President Nixon: But others did know.

John Ehrlichman: ...the point is that, that if Dean's, if the wrong-doing which justifies Dean's dismissal is his knowledge that that operation was going on...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...then you can't stop with him. You've got to go through the whole place wholesale.

President Nixon: Fire the whole staff.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. It's, it's a question of motive. It's a question of role, and I don't think Dean's role in the aftermath, at least from the facts that I know now, achieves a level of wrongdoing that requires that you terminate him.

President Nixon: Nah.

John Ehrlichman: ...And, and, that, and this other thing --

President Nixon: I think you've made a very powerful point to me that, that -- of course, you can be pragmatic and say, "Well, Christ, in fact Dean" and so forth -- in other words cut your losses and get rid of 'em. I mean, give 'em an hors d'oeuvre and maybe they won't come back for the main course. Go out, John Dean. On the other hand, uh, it is true others did know, they did know.

John Ehrlichman: But more than that -- we've made Dean a focal point in the Gray process....

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...And he will become a focal point in the Ervin process.

President Nixon: Well, we'll have -- yes, except if --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, if, if goes on.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: And if you dismiss him he'll still be a focal point.

John Ehrlichman: He'll be a focal point.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: He'll be a defrocked -- with a less, with less protection, that's right.

John Ehrlichman: And with less incentive.

President Nixon: Well, the point that I think, I think Dean --

H.R. Haldeman: That's also one of Dean's problem.

President Nixon: Dean's--

H.R. Haldeman: What Dean did was all proper...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...in terms of the higher good.

President Nixon: Dean--you've gotta have a talked with Dean. I feel that I should not talked to him.

John Ehrlichman: I have talk to him.

President Nixon: But--I mean about motives.

John Ehrlichman: I have talked to him.

President Nixon: What's he say about motives? He says it was hush up?

John Ehrlichman: No. He says he knew, he, he had to know that people were, uh, trying to bring that result about...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and he says, you know, the way I got into this was I would go to meetings in, in...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...campaign headquarters, uh, and, uh, uh, we'd get through the meeting and uh, Mitchell and LaRue would say to, to, uh, uh, I mean Mardian and LaRue would say to Mitchell, "Mitch, you've got to do something about this." And Mitchell's stock answer was to turn to John Dean.

H.R. Haldeman: Say what are you gonna do?

John Ehrlichman: "What are you going to do?"

President Nixon: Jesus Christ.

John Ehrlichman: And, uh, so John said, I got to be a kind of, kind of a water carrier. I'd come back from those meetings and I'd come in to see Bob, or me or somebody else...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and say well, Mitchell's got this big problem. And then he'd say they'd say to me, well I don't know what I'll do about it.

President Nixon: When he came in to see Bob and you what would he say was the problem?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, he'd say, these, these guys, uh, uh, Hunt's getting, uh, jittery and, uh, and says that he's got to have umpty-ump thousand dollars, and uh, Mitchell's terribly worried about it, and uh, uh--it, it was never expressed, but it was certainly understood...

President Nixon: Okay, on the question of motive then, though,unintelligible those conversations to keep up (unintelligible) that motive was never discussed.

John Ehrlichman: Never discussed with me in those terms.

President Nixon: Right?

unidentified voice: Uh, right.

President Nixon: The motive was to help defendants who were, by golly, who had worked for the...

John Ehrlichman: Well...

President Nixon: ...campaign committee--

John Ehrlichman: ...it never really got that far because, uh, we uh, at least my, my conversation with John always was, "well, you know that's, that's interesting--I just don't know what to do for you."

President Nixon: Yeah. And, he may have gone further with you, Bob Did he?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

John Ehrlichman: He, we referred him to Kalmbach.

H.R. Haldeman: You aimed him at Kalmbach.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I aimed him at Mitchell. I said, "John you can't come here and ask for help, we don't have any."

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: The one thing where it did go further, if you want to argue about it, it was in the sense that th-, the 350...

President Nixon: At the end--

H.R. Haldeman: ...which was not our money, we did move back over there.

President Nixon: For this purpose?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible what it was.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: Who asked for it?

H.R. Haldeman: Nobody.

President Nixon: I mean, eh, how did, who...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible asked for that.

President Nixon: ...who took the move on the 350?

H.R. Haldeman: I did.

President Nixon: How did you know that (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Gordon Strachan...

President Nixon: ...came to you?

H.R. Haldeman: ...Gordon Strachan came to me after the election and said you have three hundred and fifty thousand...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...dollars in cash...

President Nixon: Oh...

H.R. Haldeman: ...What do you want to do with it...

President Nixon: ...this was not requested by LaRue?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: or Gordon?

H.R. Haldeman: No, the problem was getting them to take it back. They wouldn't take it.

John Ehrlichman 'Cause they didn't know how to (unintelligible)

President Nixon: That money...

H.R. Haldeman: 'Cause LaRue didn't know what to do (unintelligible)

President Nixon: ...that, that money--

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible let him take it. LaRue wanted it...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...but Mitchell wouldn't let him take it.

President Nixon: Oh.

John Ehrlichman: They just didn't know how to account for it.

President Nixon: Well, just frankly, he wouldn't have to account for it, in my opinion.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, but he didn't, he, he was--

President Nixon: 1970 money, for Christ's sakes.

H.R. Haldeman: (Clears throat) He said I have to account for it now because he's--Fred LaRue is in personal receipt after Grand Jury knowledge of three hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars in cash delivered to him at night at his apartment by Gordon Strachan. Key witnesses to that transaction are Strachan and LaRue.

President Nixon: LaRue tells you, huh?

H.R. Haldeman: And Strachan just testified that that's what happened. Well, LaRue's got a problem. What did he do with it? At that point, it's income to him. He's got an IRS problem if he can't get it, get it--it's unaccounted.

President Nixon: He'll use it, what, what does he say? He says I used it for hush money?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know what he'll say. He'll probably (tape noise) packaged it up--

President Nixon: Does that help any? That certainly doesn't help us.

H.R. Haldeman: Doesn't help anybody, but, uh, but, uh, you know--

President Nixon: The other thing he says, "Well I just, I, I've retained it in a fund for future campaigns."

H.R. Haldeman: No, can't show it, doesn't have it. I'm sure he doesn't have it.

John Ehrlichman: I don't, I'm not sure either, but I assume that it went right out to, to pay these people, I, uh, that's, that's my assumption.

John Ehrlichman: Now Dean says this. He says we have only two problems with the aftermath in the White House. One is the fact that we made a referral to Kalmbach, but he said that can be explained. And, that's, that's no major problem. The other is the $350,000 and that can be explained and need not be a major problem if it's clearly explained. And we have no, no problem with the aftermath.

H.R. Haldeman: I'm running the three-fifty into my statement, but the question of whether we want it in.

President Nixon: Oh, yes. Put it in there.

H.R. Haldeman: Nobody knows about it--that's another bombshell.

President Nixon:unintelligible I think it's been, there's been something written about it.

H.R. Haldeman: Well but, yeah, but not that I had it.

John Ehrlichman: It is eleven o'clock.

President Nixon: All right. Eleven o'clock, that's when the armistice was signed, so off we go.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, Mitchell is roughly two hours away at, at best. I could--

President Nixon: I think he's going to come down and do it today. I think--what--Bob, I think you have to go out and call him, now. And, uh, ask him if he can come down.

John Ehrlichman: We'll send an airplane for him.

H.R. Haldeman: That'll take longer than his coming (unintelligible)

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: And by the time we get a plane mobilized and up there, it takes longer. We'll send it (tape noise) play golf or something.

President Nixon: I know, I know. He may be gone. But the point that I make is this, if, if he's out to play golf, we say we have, uh, we, we, have an urgent message for him and we say there've been some (tape noise) there have been some (unintelligible with tape noise) on the Watergate thing.

H.R. Haldeman: And that hurry and come immediately.

President Nixon: (Tape noise) should come down.

John Ehrlichman: I think Bob's right.

President Nixon: Okay. Can you come down? If he says I can't come, then Ehrlichman should go up--

H.R. Haldeman: Then say to him well, John will come up. Where can you be re--

President Nixon: Yes. If he says well I've got a dinner tonight and I've got that, uh, say John.-- I mean this is the thing--John, this is very important. The President considers this of the highest urgency that you be aware of these developments. How's that sound to you?

unidentified voice: unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Something that just can't be postponed any longer.

President Nixon: Can't be postponed and, uh, we, uh, have a problem. (Walking noise) Harder than firing Hickel.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, about the same.

President Nixon: Eleven?

H.R. Haldeman(?): Yes, sir.

[Haldeman leaves, Ehrlichman dials telephone]

John Ehrlichman: Call me? Oh, OK. Anything new?...Yeah, I'm...Our last conversation?...Can you give it to me now?. Well, Okay. I, I'll see you in a little while. Alright.

President Nixon: Colson?

John Ehrlichman: No, that was Dean.

President Nixon: What' d he say?

John Ehrlichman: unintelligible

President Nixon: I, I think there's, there are other reasons --

John Ehrlichman: Well, you can, you can put--

President Nixon: He did not cover up, though, that's just what we, that's what (unintelligible) that's what we--

John Ehrlichman: unintelligible to go testify.unintelligible

President Nixon: My point is, my point is that as three of us talked here, I realize, that frankly--in Mitchell's case he's guilty. In Dean's case (tape noise) it's the question. And I do not consider him guilty. Now that's all there is to that.

John Ehrlichman: Uh--

President Nixon: ...Because if he's, if, if that's the case then hell, wouldn't you say, half the staff is guilty.

John Ehrlichman: That's it. He's, he's guilty of really no more except in degree.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, and uh...

President Nixon: Then others.

John Ehrlichman: ...then, then a lot--

President Nixon: And frankly, than I have been since, uh, a week ago--

John Ehrlichman: Well...

President Nixon: Two weeks ago,

John Ehrlichman: ...you see, that isn't--that kind of knowledge that we had was not action knowledge, like the kind of knowledge, that I put together last night. I hadn't known really what, what's been bothering me this week...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...But what's been bothering me is--

President Nixon: That with knowledge, we're still not doing anything.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. That's exactly right.

President Nixon: The law and order--Goddamn it, that's the way I am. I, you know, it is a pain for me to do anything. The Mitchell thing is Goddamn painful.

(Unintelligible with noise)

Haldeman enters the room[edit]

[Haldeman enters room]

President Nixon: Is he coming?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes, sir. (Noise) I said do you want to let us know what you're, what plane you're on so we can pick you up? And he said, no let me (unintelligible) over his, uh--

President Nixon: Should you delay your meeting with Magruder until you see him?

John Ehrlichman: I don't think it really matters. It's just, it comes under this whole heading of having knowledge and having to act on it.

President Nixon: Well, my point is that I think that you better see Magruder before you see him. No, no I guess you'll--

John Ehrlichman: It doesn't matter, in my opinion.

President Nixon: You should see Magruder today. That's the main thing.

John Ehrlichman: I think we ought to make a similar call to Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: I think the way to do it then--I should call Jeb...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and say that things have developed and all this and, and, uh--

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I didn't say that to Mitchell.

John Ehrlichman: It doesn't matter.

President Nixon: Oh, Mitchell, he knows better. (Tape noise) gotta say that to Jeb.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I tell you, when I--the thing is when I say it to Jeb, it'll take probably thirty-seven seconds for him to turn up on your doorstep.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's alright.

President Nixon: That's alright.

John Ehrlichman: It won't--

President Nixon: I think we should do it before you see Mitchell. Or you, do you feel uncomfortable about telling him?

John Ehrlichman: No. As I say, I, I think it's almost immaterial as to which I see first. It's the fact of doing it rather than any particular sequence.

President Nixon: Well--

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell won't be here, he can't be here 'til...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: I think, in my view, in my view, John, you can't wait to act. I think you should see Jeb Magruder and say now, Jeb, you're to testify.unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: I wouldn't quite say it that way. I'll say, I don't know if you know what I've been doing here, the last three weeks. I have been ranging over this whole subject matter trying to bring to the President something more than John Dean has charged.

President Nixon: Can you tell him as you talk to him that what he says is attorney-client or no? You can't tell him. Okay.

John Ehrlichman: I, I, I'll simply say that, as, as you know, Dean did an investigation which determined whether or nor the White House was involved. y responsibility was greater than that. t was to range over the whole thing and try and bring to the President a new (tape noise) of information on what actually happened, (tape noise) uh, uh, version of what transpired. And from what I have been able to put together, I have advised the President and he has--this morning--and he has directed me immediately to contact you (tape noise) uh, uh, having accepted a point of view in all of this (tape noise) people should not disclose what they know, because it somehow serves the President. (Tape noise) apparently, considerable criminal jeopardy. (Tape noise) what to do from your own standpoint. What I want you to have is the message from the President. (Tape noise) in any way view it as serving his interests for you to remain silent. Decide what to do from your own personal standpoint and (unintelligible) any right to interfere in that decision. If there ever was an impediment to your coming forward by reason of your impression of, uh, uh, assumed or otherwise, of what the President wanted you to do I think it's my job...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...to impart to you what is actually the case.

President Nixon: I would, also, though I'd put a couple of grace notes in and say, Jeb, let me just start here by telling you the President's own great affection for you and for your family--real affection--my mind was thinking last night of his poor little kids in school...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, beautiful kids.

President Nixon: ...and his lovely wife and all the rest. And just, just put--it breaks your heart. And say this, this is a very painful message for me--for, for him to--I, I've been asked to give you, but, but, but I must do it and that's that. Let's put it right out that way. And also--I'd just put that in so that he knows that I have personal affection. That's the way to, that's the way the so-called clemency's got to be handled. Do you see, John? -

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

H.R. Haldeman: Do the same thing with Mitchell.

President Nixon: Yeah--oh, Mitchell? Well, you could say to Mitchell, I think you've got to say...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...you're got to say that this is the toughest decision he's made. It's tougher than Cambodia, May 8th and December 18th put together. And that he, uh, just can't bring himself to talk to you about it. Just can't do it. And he's directed that I talk to you. Frankly, what I am doing, John, is putting you in the same position as President Eisenhower put me in with Adams (unintelligible) But John Mitchell, let me say, will never go to prison. I agree with that assumption. I think what will happen is that he will put on the Goddamnedest defense that--the point, you have, your suggestion is gonna be he not put on a defense. You're suggesting he go in and say look I am responsible here. I had no knowledge but I am responsible. And uh, I uh, I, and nobody else had, and uh, that's it. I myself. That's it. And I want to plead, uh, this, this has got to stop--innocent people are being smeared in this thing.

John Ehrlichman: He will understand...

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: ...that once you are possessed of a reasonable body of knowledge,unintelligible you have an obligation to do something and, rather than simply to turn it over to the U.S. Attorney, the thing that you are doing, in the first instance is giving him an opportunity to come forward.

President Nixon: Or, rather than having a special prosecutor, say that he comes a special prosecutor. The President rejects that. Uh, the idea that, uh, we turn it over to the U.S. Attorney, call him in, which I could do, and uh, or call in the Attorney General which I could do, but I think it's--obligations to do, do this becuase I cannot have this. Now, of course, he's going to ask, well, now John what knowledge do you really have except hearsay. Answer.

John Ehrlichman: I don't have any knowledge except hearsay, John, uh, but--

President Nixon: But I do know that Magruder--

John Ehrlichman: ...in other words, I don't have, I don't have documents and I...

President Nixon:unintelligible Events are moving very speedily...

John Ehrlichman: ...but, but...

President Nixon: There is no question about what is going to happen.

John Ehrlichman: ...there can be--that's right. That's right. Tha-, the-, that--

H.R. Haldeman: You won't have to appeal to him on that because he's made the point, you know, that if Dean testifies, it's going to unscramble the whole omelet.

President Nixon: Well, I'm sorry--I don't want to leave it at the point that Dean's or Magruder's testimony is essential to Mitchell (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: That's right. That's right.

President Nixon: You see that's the point of that. On the Dean thing, I, I wouldn't say that the President has stood, frankly, John, on, on the executive privilege thing,unintelligible and so forth.

John Ehrlichman: It, it, it isn't my purpose to prove to your satisfaction your guilt or that you're going to be indicted, but--

H.R. Haldeman: It's my purpose to say that the President now is in possession--

President Nixon: That I believe you should come-- What are you going to suggest that he do, John?

John Ehrlichman: Well, if he asks me, what do you want me to do? I am going to say I, if, if you would do what I ask you, what I would suggest, you would pick up the phone or you would allow me to pick it up and call Ear1 Silbert and make an appointment today, and go over, and talk with the U.S. Attorney about this case, with counsel.

President Nixon: "I'll see the President and tell him you're going to do it."

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: Okay.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, well you're asking me in effect to go down and enter a guilty plea. And I would say, look John, you're the only one who knows the basic (unintelligible) and to decide whether there's any room between what you know and the ultimate action of the jury through which you might pass unpunished. I can't make that judgment for you and I don't have any right to make it for you. All I'm saying is that you're looking at this thing from the standpoint of the Presidency. Today is probably the last day that you can take that action, if you're ever going to take it. Uh, do the President a bit of good.

President Nixon: "Do you realize John, uh, that uh, that uh, that uh, uh, uh, (tape noise) on the White House? I mean Colson, maybe Haldeman, are going to get involved in this thing too."

John Ehrlichman: Well, here again, we're looking at this thinq not from the standpoint of any other individual. We're looking at it from the standpoint of the Presidency and that's the only way I think you and I can approach this.

President Nixon: And I'd, I'd go further and say the President has said let the chips fall where they may.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: We are not gonna cover for anybody. I think you ought to say that.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: Don't you agree, Bob? That isn't it? We've a--

H.R. Haldeman: He may go, he may get Chuck. He may get you (unintelligible) to ask him to do (unintelligible)

President Nixon:unintelligible on the whole House. Fine. But we on the other hand, have to do something else. Fine. I think he would take the latter. He thinks--

H.R. Haldeman: He thinks (unintelligible) and that's the thing we've worried about all along, haven't we. That's uh, if somebody gets hit what will we do. But we can't worry about what we will do if he does anything. We'll have to deal with that. It's gonna expire.

John Ehrlichman: And this is one that will permit him--and it might help the Presidency, rather than damage it.

President Nixon: Uh, Bob, do you think there's something to be said for having John wait to talk to Magruder until after he's seen Mitchell? (Tape noise) something. Suppose you get stonewalled with Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I think John's in a stronger position if he's talked to Magruder than if he hasn't, but I, maybe,

John Ehrlichman: I tell you, it is not what Mitchell says that matters today. It is the fact that you have acted on information today.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Now, let's suppose Mitchell turns us down cold, and says I'm going to preserve all my rights. I'm going to make, uh, fight every inch of turf and so on and so forth. Okay. That's that, alright. But at least you, having accumulated all this knowledge this week, have tried to get this thing out, so that sometime two months from now, three months from now, a year from now when there's an accounting, you can say, "On the 14th of April--

President Nixon: It's the 13th.

John Ehrlichman: It's where? Uh, on the 14th day or the 14th?

President Nixon: This is the 14th, yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, we had Friday the 13th yesterday.

President Nixon:unintelligible the 13th.

John Ehrlichman: On, on the 14th...

President Nixon: No, seriously (unintelligible) as I have told both of you, the boil had to be pricked. That's-in a very different sense--that's what December 18th was about. We have to prick the Goddamn boil and take the heat. Now that's what we are doing here. We're going to prick this boil and take the heat. Am I, am I overstating?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: No, I think that's right. And uh,unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: The history of this--

H.R. Haldeman: ...and this will prick the boil.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: It may not.

John Ehrlichman: The history of this thing has to be, though, that you did not tuck this under the rug...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...yesterday or today, and hope it would go away. ,

President Nixon: Now, uh, let me give the scenario -- uh has Ehrlichman go out and tell people that I have done this.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know. It depends on how it all turns out. If he does not go to the U.S. Attorney...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...if Magruder decides to stay clammed up...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: Then what' d you do?

John Ehrlichman: ...then I'd take, uh--

President Nixon: Well, let's...

H.R. Haldeman: Would you do it again?

President Nixon: ...let's suppose, let's suppose, let's suppose they still indict. You don't want them to indict and then have to say that on s-, on, on s-, on Saturday, the 14th of April, that you, John Ehrlichman --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, but you see yeah, but you see--

John Ehrlichman: The problem there is...

H.R. Haldeman: ...do you support the President --

John Ehrlichman: ...these things, at least you've got the record --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: The problem is that if you were to go out on this-kind of hearsay and say we know who did it, then you've prejudiced their rights, the, the, uh --

President Nixon: Then your, then your thought is to get out beforehand.

John Ehrlichman: No, no, not at all.

President Nixon: Your thought is, just to make a record of the (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: When somebody comes to uh, uh (unintelligible) indictments, what the hell was the White House doing all this time? Then you're in a position to say well, we began to investigate personally and, and the external circumstances and we came to some conclusions and we acted on those conclusions.

President Nixon: John Ehrlichman conducted an investigation for the President.

John Ehrlichman: And we made un--

President Nixon: John Ehrlichman's -- uh, now the 13th of -- uh --

John Ehrlichman: It may be that what should happen here is that if they both stonewall, I ought to sit down with Silbert and just say now I don't have a lot of evidence....

President Nixon: I agree with that. I agree with that.

John Ehrlichman: ...but I have an accumulation of hearsay

President Nixon: And the President wants you to go forward on this.

John Ehrlichman: ...And I'll turn over to you that...

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: ...the report that I made for the President, for whatever it's worth. And I want to tell you that I had con-, uh, had contact with two of your targets to make clear to them nobody in the White House wanted them in any way to be reticent. Beyond that, I don't have anything to say to you.

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Well --

H.R. Haldeman: See what happens.

John Ehrlichman: Let's, let's see what these guys go. But, uh, uh, I think maybe like tomorrow I ought to see Silbert.

President Nixon: I agree. I think the record should be made we have talked to him so that he knows that the President has moved on this (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: And that's, a, that, that, puts a th-, uh, uh--

President Nixon: And that we saw the U.S. Attorney and turned over our information to him. All the information we had.

John Ehrlichman: I would like a record of my conversation with both Magruder and Mitchell. I personally think that maybe I ought to get my office geared up so that I can do that.

President Nixon:unintelligible here, or do you remove that equipment?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon:unintelligible my meetings with Henry, but I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: I, I think it's better if I do it over there.

President Nixon: Why don't you just gear it up and, uh, you can, do you know, do you have a way to gear it up?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah. I've done it before.

President Nixon: Well, go gear it.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: No, no, no, no, no, Well, wait a minute. No, I think that's too...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible -

President Nixon: ...too little. I would just, I would just have it so that you'll know that, uh -- what we've got here. I don't want to hear the record, let me say.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: Raise a question and I don't know if it's a good idea or not but does it serve any purpose for me to sit in on the meeting?

John Ehrlichman: I think you should come.

H.R. Haldeman: That 's, maybe that's...

President Nixon: Or --

H.R. Haldeman: ...it's -- that would give you a witness, for one thing.. If either of those people were questioned and you (tape noise unintelligible) anybody else in, you've got a problem.

President Nixon: And then when Mitchell says, Bob, you know, you were in this, too. What's Bob Haldeman say?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible well he won't. He won't.

President Nixon: I think Bob should sit in...

John Ehrlichman: That's good.

President Nixon: ...because Haldeman is, uh --

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: No, no. I think so. That gives you the witness. And also...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Mitchell feels he's got a friend there. And he knows that you're not just doing this on your own, freewheeling it. Bob says we talked it all over. The President said we can't sit on information that's (unintelligible) of this nature.unintelligible information from the members of the White House staff, it's gonna be exactly the same procedure. I think we ought to move on the Jeb thing, Bob.

H.R. Haldeman: We'll get him in my office.

President Nixon: Of course, and give your report to me on, uh, as soon as you finish your conversation with Jeb...

unidentified voice: Okay.

President Nixon: ...I'll be (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Incidentally --


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Nixon Tapes Transcript: April 14, 1973

TRANSCRIPT OF A RECORDING OF A MEETING AMONG THE President Nixon, H.R. H.R. Haldeman AND JOHN John Ehrlichman IN THE EXECUTIVE OFFICE BUILDING, APRIL 14, 1973, FROM 8:55 TO 11:31 A.M.

[Part I]

President Nixon: Jack, uh, do, uh, did you reach any conclusions as to, uh, where we are, recommendations?

John Ehrlichman: No, no conclusions.

President Nixon: Uh -- problems?

John Ehrlichman: Dick Wilson, I think, is -- has an interesting column this morning.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Ah, yeah, it's, uh, uh, (noise) money problem. He's been analyzing this money problem (unintelligible).

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, yeah, last night.

President Nixon: Wilson is in the Star.

John Ehrlichman: Well then it is twice he made this point.

President Nixon: So what?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible. Argues that really the, the essence of this whole thing is too much money, too easily spent, and so on. And then he, uh...unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: That's his great underlying, uh --

President Nixon: Yeah. That's what everybody -- that's what --

H.R. Haldeman: No, not everybody. That's a, uh, one par -...

President Nixon: Well , Reston lies.

H.R. Haldeman: ...one group thesis...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that, uh, Reston...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...Reston has on that side and point out (tape noise). And, the, the you know, his he, he, he carries it beyond -- he says solving Watergate doesn't take care of it, but, uh, then there's, uh, all the money in --

President Nixon: Dick wants the President to speak out on the whole general issue of money and campaign and that sort of --

John Ehrlichman: Basically that's -- generally, but he, he gets specific on this. He says also (unintelligible).

President Nixon: Is that what you think, go out and make a speech?

John Ehrlichman: No, I'll tell you what I think. I think that the President's personal involvement in this is important. And I don't...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...I don't think it's a speech.

President Nixon: Well, that's the point. I think it's -- there're other ways you can get at it. Now, I was thinking of the, uh -- before we get into that though, let's get back -- that's something we can get into later -- I'd like to get - I'd like to go in, if I could, to what your conversation with Colson was and, uh, in essence. What, what was yours, what did he and the lawyer come to tell you about?

H.R. Haldeman: Hunt's visit.

John Ehrlichman: That visit was to tell me that Hunt was going to testify on Monday afternoon.

President Nixon: How does he know that?

H.R. Haldeman: Um hmm.

President Nixon: How does, how does he get such information?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, undoubtedly through Bittman.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Or Bittman through Shapiro.

President Nixon: Now why, why is Hunt testifying? Did he say? Or, uh, what...

John Ehrlichman: He didn't say.

President Nixon: ...(unintelligible) about the --

John Ehrlichman: He said -- I'll tell you what he said and then I'll tell you what I think the fact is -- he said Hunt was testifying because there was no longer any point in being silent. That, uh, uh, so many other people were testifying that there was no -- he wasn't really keeping any secrets.

President Nixon: Yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Couldn't add much. Uh, my, my feeling is that Bittman got very antsy when this grand jury started focusing on the aftermath...

President Nixon:unintelligible know what was involved

H.R. Haldeman: That's it exactly.

John Ehrlichman: ...and that he went to the U.S. Attorney and he said, "Maybe I can persuade my client to talk."

President Nixon: What does, uh, what do Colson, et al, Colson and Shapiro think we ought to do under these circumstances? Get busy and nail Wilson and, uh, nail Mitchell in a hurry? Is that what he means?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: How is that going to help?

John Ehrlichman: Well, they feel that...

President Nixon:unintelligible I just want to get the best effort.

John Ehrlichman: ...they feel that after Hunt testifies that the whole thing's going to fall in, in short order.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: That Mitchell and, uh, Magruder will involuntarily be, uh, uh, indicted.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible say...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...that you have lost any possibly of initiative, so - for participation...

President Nixon: So, what does Colson...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...want us to do?

John Ehrlichman: He wants you to do several things. He wants you to persuade Liddy to talk.

President Nixon: Me?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir. That's his - I didn't bring my notes, but basically -

President Nixon: Oh. Last night you didn't mention this, but that's alright.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, I thought I had.

President Nixon: Maybe you did, maybe you did.

John Ehrlichman: I didn't, I didn't...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...in any event, he didn't -

President Nixon: I would bring, he-, le-, let Liddy in and tell him to talk?

John Ehrlichman: You can't bring him in. He's in jail. But, uh -

President Nixon: Oh.

John Ehrlichman: You would send, you'd send word to him, and of course wanting him to make full disclosure or in some way you would be activist on this score.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: There's no, there's -- that isn't -- doesn't involve any real problem. As Dean points out, uh, Liddy is not talking 'cause he thinks he's supposed not to talk. If he is supposed to talk, he will. All he needs is a signal, if you want to turn Liddy up.

President Nixon: Yeah, oh -- yeah. But the point that...

H.R. Haldeman: Face it, he believes --

President Nixon: ...Colson wants is a public signal. Is that right?

H.R. Haldeman: No, he (unintelligible).

President Nixon: A public signal (unintelligible) what the hell do you do?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible he wants to be able to -- he wants you to be able to, to say afterward that you cracked the case.

President Nixon: Go ahead. What else?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I forget what else. Do you remember, Bob? Uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, that was basically (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: Basically, basically, uh, he, he feels that the next forty-eight hours are the, are the last chance...

President Nixon: Mmm-huh.

John Ehrlichman: ...for the White House to get out in front of this and that once Hunt goes on, then that's the ball game.

President Nixon: But you've got to be out in front earlier.

John Ehrlichman: Well --

President Nixon: But, I mean/sorry, not earlier, but publicly.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, either

President Nixon: Unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: ...either publicly or with provable, identifiable steps which can be referred to later as having been the proximate cause.

President Nixon: He's just not talking because he thinks the President doesn't want him to talk? Is that the point?

John Ehrlichman: He's -- according to them...

President Nixon: (Noise)...Mitchell...(Noise) Mitchell's given him a promise of a pardon (tape noise) Bittman?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, uh, no, according to, uh, uh, Colson and Shapiro. And I don't know where they get that.

President Nixon: Mitchell has promised Liddy a pardon?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir. Other points that Colson may not have mentioned, uh, uh, -- (tape noise)

President Nixon: I have an uneasy feeling that, that Magruder story may have been planted.

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: Or is it true?

H.R. Haldeman: There, there's a third Magruder phone call which I haven't heard that, uh, uh, says...

President Nixon: Says he did talk to the press?

H.R. Haldeman: ...says he did talk to a reporter on Monday -- did not say any of the things he's, he's reported to have said, that what he, that -- he said it wasn't an important conversation. He said the same -- he gave the reporter the same line.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: That, you know -- but in listening to Magruder's thing...

President Nixon: Alright.

H.R. Haldeman: ...I was convinced he wasn't completely telling the truth that he -- in what he was saying. As you get into it, I'm convinced that his (unintelligible) that part was pretty much...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Uh, but you come to this -- all these pieces must be put together now. But you come to Magruder, uh, where the hell does Colson get such a thing? Uh, or is Colson a liar or --

John Ehrlichman: Shapiro, Shapiro says he has a very good press contact who has proved very reliable to him and he says his, his practice in this town depends on his knowing what's going on. And he's (unintelligible) press contact. This is one of the -- and he's always found it to be --

President Nixon: He says that he's talked to Magruder and Magruder said that, that -- ?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. What they've now told us is we'll never get the transcript. That he --

President Nixon: Magruder, think Magruder may have done this?

John Ehrlichman: I think Magruder may have talked, talked to somebody in the press and that, that was...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

President Nixon: But, but in the great detail that Colson went into that he nailed Bob Haldeman, I mean the way Colson did, he says he, he had Colson in the tube...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...but, but not in any way that was particularly, ah, bad. Right?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I think, I think like so many things this got, this got planted as a little seed by Shapiro with Colson and that it grew and, uh, uh, uh --

President Nixon: Oh yeah?

John Ehrlichman: Uh-huh. I'd, I'd just --

H.R. Haldeman: I would guess what's happened is he's got this report from -- Colson does -- from Danny Hofgren that at the bar in the Bahamas with (unintelligible) or something (tape noise) one night said to Hofgren, "Jesus, everybody was involved in this." He didn't use the --

President Nixon: Uh hmm.

John Ehrlichman: Everybody knew about it.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell, Haldeman, Colson, Dean, the President --

President Nixon: Magruder...

H.R. Haldeman: He, he specifically said the President.

President Nixon: ...Magruder doesn't believe that, though, does he?

H.R. Haldeman: No. Ya know, I've got it, I've got...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

President Nixon: I just wonder if he believes it. I'm curious because -- do you think he believes it, John?

John Ehrlichman: No. This tape's very convincing and Higby handled it so well that Magruder has closed all those doors now, with this tape.

President Nixon: What good will that do, John? (Tape noise)

John Ehrlichman: Uh, sir, it beats the socks off him if he ever gets off the reservation.

President Nixon: Can you use the tape?

John Ehrlichman: Well, no. You can use Higby.

H.R. Haldeman: Why can't you use the tape?

President Nixon: Well --

John Ehrlichman: It's an illegal tape.

H.R. Haldeman: No, it's not.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: It is not.

President Nixon: That you tell somebody --

H.R. Haldeman: No, sir.

John Ehrlichman: No beeper on it.

H.R. Haldeman: There is no beeper required. You check the Washington law.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: District of Columbia is under federal law and the federal law does not require disclosure to the other party of the recording of phone conversations. The phone call was made to Magruder's lawyer's office which is also in the District of Columbia so both ends of the conversation were in the District of Columbia and there is no law requiring disclosure.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's interesting.

H.R. Haldeman: It's perfectly legal.

President Nixon: Well, anyway, anyway --

H.R. Haldeman: It can (or may) not be admissible, but it's legal.

President Nixon: That's interesting. That's a new one.unintelligible beep every, every while then, now and then. I thought it was. However, I never heard anybody beepin', and hell--didn't you?

H.R. Haldeman: No. It all depends on where you are. Some -- the basic law in most States is that you must disclose to the other party that you're recording the conversation.

President Nixon: Yeah. What is the situation -- I might -- I'll get past this in a hurry -- what is the situation, John, in your opinion on what was Colson's and/or Shapiro's motive in building up the Magruder story? Maybe they believe it.

John Ehrlichman: Their, their innuendo is that, that Mitchell has put Magruder up to this.

President Nixon: I guess not. Okay. There's the motive. Now, let me come to something else.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe that Magruder's --

President Nixon: I don't either. Not at all.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe Mitchell has tried to --

President Nixon: Huh?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't believe Mitchell tried to Magruder's faith 'cause he refers to Mitchell and now that I have decided to talk I am going to tell Mr. Mitchell and he's gonna be very unhappy with me 'cause he's told me not to.

President Nixon:unintelligible tape, uh

H.R. Haldeman: I did

President Nixon: And he's an emotional fellow who's ready to crack.

John Ehrlichman: I, I really, I have no doubt that he's ready to talk.

President Nixon: What is he -- he hasn't been subpoenaed yet, has he?

John Ehrlichman: Well, he won't be. But he's already been there.

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Dean doesn't think they'll give him a, a chance back unless he comes running at them and just and, uh, spills it.

H.R. Haldeman: 'Cause (A) they don't call the suspects and (B) they don't recall perjury witnesses.

President Nixon: Right. What would you do if you were his lawyer? Wouldn't you advise him to go in and try and purge himself, at least -- get rid of one charge, doesn't he?

John Ehrlichman: I'm not sure he's rid of it, but it certainly reduces it when he comes in voluntarily.

President Nixon: The way I understand it under the law, John, if he were to come to the...

John Ehrlichman: But he's hooked.

President Nixon: ...Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but he's hooked, see. There's contrary evidence already...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...before the Grand Jury.

President Nixon: In other words --

John Ehrlichman: If he did that --

President Nixon: Strachan -- Strachan got in before there was (unintelligible) evidence.

John Ehrlichman: Exactly.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Strachan?

H.R. Haldeman: No,unintelligible...

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...Magruder.

John Ehrlichman: And, and you take the circumstances, now...

President Nixon: They better have...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah. If it's known, if it's known, for instance, that Hunt is going to come in and testify, then Magruder comes rushing in and says I want to tell all, it's, uh, you know --

President Nixon: Magruder's stuck on both counts.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but I think he could improve it. I think he, he really could help to purge himself.

President Nixon:unintelligible. I've come to the -- may I come to the other things that, uh, that you, uh, you talked to Colson about, uh? Hunt going to talk -- what is Hunt going to say? Do we have any idea?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: He says, for example, will he say that Colson promised him clemency?

John Ehrlichman: No. Apparently not.

President Nixon: And, uh, you see the, the only, the only possible involvement Of the President in this is that. Now apparently, John, either you or Bob or Dean, somebody told me they said Cols-, told Colson not to discuss it with me.

John Ehrlichman: I did.

President Nixon: You did. How did, bar-, how did it get to you then, John? How did you know that the, the matter had to be discussed with Bittman or something like that?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I...

President Nixon: When did this happen?

John Ehrlichman: I had...

President Nixon: I remember a conversation this day, it was about five thirty or six o'clock, that Colson only dropped it in sort of parenthetically. He said, "I had a little problem today," -- and we were talking about the defendants-- and I said, I sought to reassure him, you know, and so forth. And I said, "Well, that's" -- told me about Hunt's wife -- he said, "It's a terrible thing," and I said, "Obviously we'll do just, we will take that into consideration." And that was the total of the conversation.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I had, uh, we had had a couple of conversations in my office --

President Nixon: With Colson?

John Ehrlichman: With, or, I had with Colson. Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, how was...

John Ehrlichman: And I, uh --

President Nixon: ...who was getting, Who was, was Bittman getting to Colson? Was that the point? Who, who --

John Ehrlichman: Now Hunt, Hunt had written to Colson.

President Nixon: Oh?

John Ehrlichman: Hunt wrote Colson a very I've-been-abandoned kind of letter.

President Nixon: Yeah. When was this, John?

John Ehrlichman: I am sorry, I --

President Nixon: After the election?

John Ehrlichman: Oh, yes. Yeah.

President Nixon: Oh, and Chuck Colson -- you knew about this letter?

John Ehrlichman: Colson come in to tell me about it. And he said, "What shall I do?" And I said, "Well, uh, better talk to him, I think somebody 'd better talk to him -- the guy is obviously very distraught..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...and, uh, feeling abandoned."

President Nixon: Right. Good advice.

John Ehrlichman: And, uh, he said, "Well, what can, what can I tell him about, uh, clemency or pardon? n And I said, "You can't tell him anything about clemency or a pardon." And I said, "Under no circumstances should this ever be raised with the President."

President Nixon: Yeah. Told him not to raise it with me. Well, he raised it, I must say, in a tangential way. Now he denies that, as I understand it, that he said that he'd be out by Christmas. He says --

John Ehrlichman: I never, I've never talked to Chuck about that, have you.

H.R. Haldeman(?) Yes and no.

President Nixon: What did he say he said? Well, I'll tell you what I, what Dean, or somebody tells me he said he said. He said that he didn't -- he just talked to, saw, saw Bittman casually, or on the phone or something of that sort.

John Ehrlichman: Bittman?

President Nixon: That was it.

John Ehrlichman: Oh.

President Nixon: And he said to Bittman...

John Ehrlichman: Oh.

President Nixon: ...he said, "I," he said, "I...

John Ehrlichman: Well, now that

President Nixon: ...he said, "I...

John Ehrlichman: ...a difference.

President Nixon: Listen, I have written it. He said, "I, uh, I, uh, I, I know that, uh, I know about Hunt's concern about clemency. I, Chuck Colson, feel terrible about it, 'cause I knew his wife." And, uh, he said, "I will, will go to bat for him and I have reason to believe that my views would be, ah, listened to." Well it's the last part, part that, uh, might in any way remain, although...

John Ehrlichman: He says he talked to Bittman and that he was very skillful...

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: ...in avoiding any commitment. He says Bittman...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...Bittman was pitching 'em, but that he wasn't catching 'em. And...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...he either has a tape of that meeting or a tape of the conversation or some such thing.

H.R. Haldeman: That's where he lost his thread, then. Yes, said you and Dean told him you, two promised clemency, and that he was smarter than you and, and didn't.

President Nixon: You haven't said you and Dean promised?

H.R. Haldeman: That Ehrlichman and Dean told him to promise...

President Nixon: Shit.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Well, anyway, whatever the case might be, uh, let me ask a question...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible a little strange.

President Nixon: ...does, does Hunt -- well, just so that he, uh -- does he, does, does, does he indicate that they, that Hue, Hunt's going to talk to that subject for example -- the promise of clemency?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, he didn't say that. He didn't say that. I didn't ask him.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, going back to the basis, John -- as I recall, they don't have anything to indi- --we don't know how they know Hunt's going to testify. We assume that Bittman told them...

John Ehrlichman: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(A). (B) we don't, they don't have any indication, based on their knowledge that Hunt's going to testify, of what Hunt is going to testify to, except on the basis of Shapiro's meeting with Hunt...

John Ehrlichman: The other day.

H.R. Haldeman: ...the other day. And they're assuming that what Hunt told Shapiro is what he will tell the Grand Jury, but I don't know why they'd have any reason to assume that.

John Ehrlichman: I don't, uh, uh, -- Shapiro's general comment was that Hunt would corroborate a lot of McCord's hearsay...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...but that it also would be hearsay.

President Nixon: Alright. Hunt, however, and this is where Colson comes in, right? Hard. Hunt could testify on Colson's pressure.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. But what they, what they've said he's gonna test-...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...on the coverup, what he is gonna testify...

President Nixon: Now wait a minute...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...I'm talking about something entirely different...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...you're talking about when Colson

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...Colson and Liddy were in the office and Colson, Colson picked up the phone and called Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. Sure.

President Nixon: Now, there, uh, now Colson says that, uh, that they didn't discuss bugging at that point. Hunt could say, "I went in and I showed this whole plan to Colson and Colson phoned -- picked up the phone...

John Ehrlichman(?): That's right.

President Nixon: ...and talked to Magruder."

John Ehrlichman(?): True.

President Nixon: ...does, does, does, does Colson realize his vulnerability there?

John Ehrlichman: Well, course Colson claims he has no vulnerability, because when Hunt and Liddy come in to talk to him they talked in very general terms.

President Nixon: I understand that.

John Ehrlichman: So, he...

President Nixon: I--

John Ehrlichman: ...doesn't acknowledge

President Nixon: I--

John Ehrlichman: ...he doesn't acknowledge that there's any possibility --

President Nixon: I, I understand that, but I'm just simply saying, it's...

John Ehrlichman: I think he's right.

President Nixon: ...that Hunt and Liddy could...

John Ehrlichman: That's true.

President Nixon: ...could, could, could charge that -- that's the point. They, they, they -- if they talk, I would assume they would get into that point with them, any, any cross-examiner.

John Ehrlichman: I, I've asked Colson specifically about that conversation and he maintains that they were talking, uh, in general terms about intelligence and when they said intelligence he meant one thing and apparently they meant another.

President Nixon: Question, uh, for example, uh, is, is Hunt preparing to talk on other activities that he engaged in?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I couldn't, I couldn't derive that...

President Nixon: Umhmm.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible at all.

President Nixon: For the White House and for the -- you know?

John Ehrlichman: I, I couldn't, I couldn't get that at all.

President Nixon: The U.S. Attorney, I would assume, would not be pressing (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: Ordinarily not.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Now, McCord, McCord volunteered this Hank Greenspun thing, gratuitously apparently, not, not --

President Nixon: Could, can you tell me, is that a serious thing? Did, did they really try to get into Hank Greenspun's

John Ehrlichman: I guess they actually got in.

President Nixon: What in the name of Christ, though, does Hank Greenspun got with -- anything to do with Mitchell or anybody else?

John Ehrlichman: Nothing. Well, now, Mitchell --

President Nixon: Hughes?

John Ehrlichman: Here's -- yeah, Hughes. And these two fellows, Colson and Shapiro, uh, uh -- Colson threw that out.

President Nixon: Hughes on whom?

John Ehrlichman Well, you know the Hughes thing is cut into two factions...

President Nixon: I don't --

John Ehrlichman: (A) and then the...

President Nixon: Uh, fighting --

John Ehrlichman: ...and then the other, and they're fighting.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Bennett, Senator Bennett's son, for whom Hunt worked...

President Nixon: Oh?

John Ehrlichman: ...represents one of those factions.

President Nixon: Yeah. So he ordered the bugging?

John Ehrlichman: I don't know.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...I know the...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: ...it's a bag job.

H.R. Haldeman: They busted his safe to get something out of it.

John Ehrlichman: Now --

H.R. Haldeman: Wasn't that it? They flew out, broke his safe, got something out...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...got on the airplane and flew away.

John Ehrlichman: Now, as they sat there in my office...

President Nixon: There're others...

John Ehrlichman: What?

President Nixon: ...other delicate things, too. You've got, apart from my poor damn dumb brother, which unfortunately or fortunately was a long time ago, but, uh, more recently, you've got Herbert Humphrey's son works for him, and, of course, they're, they're tied in with O'Brien, I suppose. But maybe they were trying to get it for that reason.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know why. The, the two of them put on a little charade for me in the office...

President Nixon: Shapiro and Colson?

John Ehrlichman: ...as we -- yeah -- as we talked about this, and it may have been genuine and it may not. But...

President Nixon: But they didn't know anything about it?

John Ehrlichman: ...but they -- no -- they said, one said to the other, "Say, that may have something to do with the New York Grand Jury," meaning the Vesco Grand Jury which is a runaway and which is into --

President Nixon: You think Colson knew about that?

John Ehrlichman: I don't know. I don't say he knew about it. I said, he says he doesn't know even who Hank Greenspun is.

President Nixon: He should. Everybody knows he's the editor. His son, for Christ's sakes --

John Ehrlichman: I, I'll take him at face value on that one, uh, uh, it isn't any other evidence.

President Nixon: You didn't know that either?

John Ehrlichman: I, I know very well who he is.

President Nixon: Alright. Uh, let me just take a minute further and run out the Hunt thing, and then the Grand Jury. I just want to get all the pieces in my mind...

John Ehrlichman: Sure.

President Nixon: ...if I can.

John Ehrlichman: Sure.

President Nixon: Uh, Hunt's testimony on pay-off, of course, would be very important.

John Ehrlichman: Right.

President Nixon: Is he prepared to testify on that?

John Ehrlichman: I think so, that's what they say, that he will, and that he will implicate O'Brien and Parkinson. And, uh, then, of course, ah --

President Nixon: O'Brien and Parkinson?

John Ehrlichman: The lawyers.

President Nixon: Were they the ones that talked to Hunt?

John Ehrlichman: Well, he says they were and that they handed him the money. He in turn handed it to his wife and she was the, uh, go-between for the...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...Cubans.

President Nixon: For what purpose? That's the key to it all.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I think, uh, he'll, he'll hook, hang 'em up on obstruction of justice.

President Nixon: Can Hunt do that?

H.R. Haldeman: How can he do that? Why would he simply -- why doesn't he accomplish his purpose simply by saying they gave the money to handle their legal fees?

John Ehrlichman: They're -- all hang out there apparently.

President Nixon: Now this is...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think --

President Nixon: ...this, this is what Colson tells you guys?

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. I don't...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...have any other information on this.

President Nixon: That, Hunt, that Hunt then is going to go. Well, now that, that, that raises the, the problem on, -- with regard to Kalmbach. He has possible vulnerability as to whether he was aware, in other words, the motive, the motive --

John Ehrlichman: This doesn't add anything to the Kalmbach problem at all.

President Nixon: What happened...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...what happened on that?

John Ehrlichman: Dean called Kalmbach.

President Nixon: And what did Dean call Kalmbach about?

John Ehrlichman: And he said we have to raise some money in connection with the, the, uh, uh, aftermath, and I don't know how he described it to Herb. Uh, Herb said how much do you need, and, uh...

President Nixon: It was never discussed then?

John Ehrlichman: ...presumably Dean told him and Herb went to a couple of donors and got some money and sent it back.

H.R. Haldeman: Dean says very flatly that Kalmbach did not know the purpose, uh, for the money and has no problem.

President Nixon: Dean does know the purpose...

UNIDENITIFIED: Right.

President Nixon: ...however. Hunt testifies -- so, so basically then Hunt will testify that it was so-called hush money. Right?

John Ehrlichman: I think so. Now that again, my water can't rise any higher than source.

President Nixon: I understand.

John Ehrlichman: But that's that...

President Nixon: What is your, what is your...

John Ehrlichman: ...that's, that --

President Nixon: What does that serve him, let me ask, just to try to, uh...

John Ehrlichman: Gen-...

President Nixon: ...I mean, would it serve him?

John Ehrlichman: The only thing it serves him is to, uh, uh...

President Nixon: Would it reduce his sentence?

John Ehrlichman: ...have his sentence remitted, that's all.

H.R. Haldeman: He'd be serving the same purpose by not saying it was hush money -- by, by saying he gave it to "these guys that I had recruited for this job and I..."

President Nixon: I know.

H.R. Haldeman: "...felt badly about their family and," you know, "a great deal about it."

President Nixon: That's right, that's what it ought to be and that's got to be the story that, uh, and that...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...that will be the defense of, uh, the people, right?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible the only defense they have and so forth.

H.R. Haldeman: But that...

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that was the line that he had used around here.

President Nixon: What?

H.R. Haldeman: That was the line that they used around here. That we've got to have money for their legal fees and family sup-...

President Nixon: Support them. Well, I heard something about that at a much later time.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: And, frankly, not knowing much about obstruction of justice, I thought it was perfectly proper.

John Ehrlichman: Well, it's like the...

President Nixon: Would it be perfectly proper?

John Ehrlichman: ...the defense of the...

President Nixon: Berrigans?

John Ehrlichman: ...the, uh, Chicago Seven.

President Nixon: The Chicago Seven?

H.R. Haldeman: They had a defense fund for everybody.

President Nixon: Not only a defense fund, Christ, they, they take care of the living expenses, too...

unidentified voice: Was there any --

President Nixon: ...despite what all this crap about just legal fees, they take care of themselves. They raise -- you remember the Scottsboro case? Christ. The, uh, uh, the Communist front raised a million dollars for the Scottsboro people. Nine hundred thousand went into the pockets of the Scotts-, er, uh, Communists.

H.R. Haldeman: (Laughs).

President Nixon: ...so it's common practice.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Nevertheless, that's Hunt then saying about the payoff. Alright -- Hunt, on other activities: uh, Hunt then according to Colson was not, uh --(tape noise) get into. What Colson meant about the door of the Oval Office.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, I'll have to get back to you on that, 'cause Shapiro was there and I didn't want to get into it.

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: He --

H.R. Haldeman: No, but it wasn't, it was in connection --

President Nixon: No, not -- it was in an earlier conversation...

H.R. Haldeman: Your instructions said --

President Nixon: ...about the Magruder conversation...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...when Colson was, uh -- I think on the Magruder conversation, from what I have seen...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...it seems to me that --

John Ehrlichman: ...'cause Magruder doesn't got to the door of the Oval Office. He doesn't even come to visit me...

President Nixon: I know that.

John Ehrlichman: ...in the White House.

President Nixon: But he, he -- it is Colson's, it is Colson's view that Magruder's talking would have the effect of bringing it there because of the -- I think what he's really referring to, John, is that by reason of Colson, uh, by reason of Magruder nailing Haldeman and, er, and Colson, that that's the door to the Oval Office. I don't know what else because...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...there's nobody else around, nobody physically around.

H.R. Haldeman: Magruder isn't going to nail Haldeman.

President Nixon: Well, let's see. I don't think so either, but --

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Well that is, that tape is, is invaluable, is it not?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, I suggest to Bob that he keep it.

H.R. Haldeman: And I disregard that as (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: (Laughs)

President Nixon: Let me just say a couple of things that we have to get there. We, we, uh...

H.R. Haldeman: Well, when we come to that, we'd take (unintelligible).

President Nixon: ...in regard to your, regard to your, uh, uh, your, your views and so forth and so on, now, uh I was told the other day, uh, last night, John, you and Bob or somebody -- I guess you and I were talking about, uh, somebody going to see Mitchell. And you suggested Rogers. Got any other better names? Why did you...

John Ehrlichman: Well, I've been up and down the list, and uh --

President Nixon: ...why did you suggest Rogers?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I suggested Rogers because --

President Nixon: First let me tell you -- purpose of mission -- tell me what it is, now.

John Ehrlichman: The purpose of the mission is to go and bring him to a focus on this and I'd say, "The jig is up. And the President strongly feels that the only way that this thing can end up being even a little net plus for the Administration and for the Presidency and preserve some thread is for you to go in and, and, uh voluntarily, uh, make a statement."

President Nixon: A statement that Haldeman, uh, has prepared.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, uh, a, a sta-, statement that basically says...

H.R. Haldeman: No. He's got to go beyond that.

John Ehrlichman: "I am, I am both morally and legally responsible."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Now, the reason for Rogers is that he's clean, number one...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...uh, he has been both, uh, Attorney General and has this other investigatory...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and Senatorial background and so forth. And there isn't anybody that Mitchell trusts, except Haldeman.

President Nixon: He hates Rogers.

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

H.R. Haldeman: Doesn't, doesn't trust Rogers but he would know if Rogers came...

John Ehrlichman: That it was...

H.R. Haldeman: that it was you.

John Ehrlichman: Now, the other, the only other alternative, going up and down the list --

H.R. Haldeman: Also, it from a public viewpoint Rogers is the dean of the Cabinet...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and is the logical man as, n as an attorney, and former Attorney General.

President Nixon: From a public viewpoint, that may be but, also...

John Ehrlichman: Fifty reasons not to do this.

H.R. Haldeman: You've thought of those?

President Nixon: Oh, yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: There, there, and ther, there have consistently been -- you go back through the history of this --

President Nixon: I know, but now is the time to do something. I agree with you.

John Ehrlichman: Now is the only time, probably, and I'm, I'm persuaded by that argument.

President Nixon: Oh, I am too. I'm, I'm not, -- I'm not arguing about not doing it...

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

President Nixon: I'm just trying to talk about the names

John Ehrlichman: Okay. Uh, in, in going down the list, John Alexander is the only other one that I have come to that, that in any way could, could bridge it. Garment can't do it.

President Nixon: Now, let me give you another name...

John Ehrlichman: Alright.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible President.

President Nixon: ...let me give you another name. Ken Rush.unintelligible. He's a fine lawyer, utterly clean. Uh, a long-time friend of Mitchell's -- not a close friend, but he's known him, you know, in New York, uh, and that grew up there, they are, they, you know, they sort of -- Rush would understand it all. Uh, Mitchell does not hate him -- does trust him.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know how able Rush is. I'd, uh -- he's got -- uh, I just don't know. Uh, another name -- uh, two other names that have occurred to me that I'll throw out, uh, one is Eliot Richardson and the other is, uh, uh, Kleindienst. There is another possibility and that's Henry Petersen. Well, that of course...

President Nixon: Well --

John Ehrlichman: but he's in the prosecutorial end...

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And so is Kleindienst.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's-the trouble.

President Nixon: Kleindienst, Kleindienst revealing to Mitchell the contents of the Grand Jury and all the rest...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...is wrong.

John Ehrlichman: I, I must say I am impressed with the argument that the President should be personally involved in it at this stage.

President Nixon: Right. I agree.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, old John, uh, Dean had a, had an interesting -- got a phone call from him about 12:30.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, no. I was working on something I'll tell you about here.

President Nixon: What did you do?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, well, not much last night.

President Nixon: You mean another subject?

John Ehrlichman: Oh, no. No, this --

H.R. Haldeman: There is no other subject. (Laughs)

John Ehrlichman: This week there's no other subject.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: That, uh, no, I'll tell you. Last night when I got home I decided that, that, uh, I would sit down and try to put down on paper a report to you about what I have been doing since you asked me to get into this.

President Nixon: Right, right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, I am concerned about the overall aspect of this and then -- I want to talk about that before we --

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know what your timing is like.

President Nixon: No problem.

John Ehrlichman: We'll probably get back to it.

President Nixon: Uh, got plenty of time.

John Ehrlichman: But, Dean called and he said, "Alright, here's a scenario." He said, "We've all been trying to figure out..."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "...how to make this go." He says, "The President calls Mitchell into his office on Saturday. He says, 'John, you've got to do this and here are the facts: bing, bing, bing, bing.' And then that's -- you pull this paper out here. And you'd better go do this. And Mitchell stonewalls you. So then, John says, 'I don't know why you're asking me down here. You can't ask a man to do a thing like that. I need my lawyer. Uh, uh, I don't know what I'm facing? He says, 'You just really can't expect me to do this?' Uh, so the President says, 'Well, John, I have no alternative.' And with that, uh, uh, the President calls the U.S. Attorney and says, 'I, the President of the United States of America and leader of the free world want to go before the Grand Jury on Monday.'"

President Nixon: I won't even comment on that.

H.R. Haldeman: That's a silly (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: What I mean is, we're -- typical of the thinking of -- we're running out every, every line. So that was 12:30 this morning. I, uh, uh, but, but I...

President Nixon: I go before the Grand Jury -- that's...

John Ehrlichman: ...I -

President Nixon That's like putting Bob on national television uh...

H.R. Haldeman: With Dan Rather.

President Nixon: What?

H.R. Haldeman: With Dan Rather.

President Nixon: ...well, well by putting it on national television period. When, uh, your, uh, when your, when your audience basically is not that big.

John Ehrlichman: Well, let's, let's take it just as far as you calling Mitchell into the Oval Office, as a, as a...(Tape noise)

John Ehrlichman: ...essentially convinced that Mitchell was linchpin in this thing...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and that if he goes down, it can redound to the administration's advantage. If he doesn't then we're --

President Nixon: How can it redound to our advantage?

John Ehrlichman: That...

President Nixon: There's others - - -

John Ehrlichman: ...That. You have a report from me based on three weeks' work, that when you got it, you immediately acted to call Mitchell in as the, as the provable...

President Nixon: I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...wrong-doer...

President Nixon: I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...and you say, "My God, I've got a report here. And it's clear from this report that you are guilty as hell. Now, John, for Christ's sake go on in there and do what you should. And let's get this thing cleared up and get it off the country's back and move on." And, uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, plus the given side of it is that that's the only...

President Nixon: Even way to --

H.R. Haldeman: ...way to beat 'er down.

President Nixon: Well --

H.R. Haldeman: Now, from John Mitchell's own personal viewpoint that's the only salvation for John Mitchell. Can you see another way? And, obviously, once you have it, you've -- he's got to admit it.

President Nixon: He's, he's not gonna make it, anyway.

H.R. Haldeman: Another factor in that to consider for what it's worth, is the point Connally made to me in that conversation we had on this.

President Nixon: I ought to talk to Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know whether he said this to you or not. He made the point that you had to get this laid out and that the only way it could hurt you is if it ultimately went to Mitchell. And that, that would be the one man you couldn't afford to let get hung on this.

President Nixon: Even worse than Hughes talk.

H.R. Haldeman: He thought so. Seemed to be...

President Nixon:unintelligible That's true. Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...seemed to be, because he's the epitome of your...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...your hard line.

President Nixon: I think he's wrong about that. I think this is the worst one, well, due, due to the closeness to the President at the time of the crime.

H.R. Haldeman: But --

President Nixon: Would you agree, John?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, what's bad --

John Ehrlichman: That's the way I see it.

H.R. Haldeman: But, what Connally also said was unless it's the President himself who nails Mitchell, then the President is (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: Can I pull up this into the larger, in a larger picture? We've gotta live day to day through these things...

unidentified voice: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and forget, uh, the, uh, perspective that will be put on this period...

unidentified voice: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...three months later.

President Nixon: The point is whether or not -- I think I've got the larger picture -- I think, I mean I, and I, in this regard, the point is this that the --we need some action before, uh -- in other words, if, if it's like my, my feeling about having the Grand Jury do it and the court system do it rather than Ervin Committee -- now we want the President to do it rather than the Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: And I agree with that.

John Ehrlichman Well, you're doing it in aid of the Grand Jury.

President Nixon: No. No. I didn't mean it. I didn't mean rather than the Grand Jury, but I mean to, to, to, to worm the truth -- now look, I, I -- the Grand Jury doesn't drag him in, he goes in as a result of the President's asking him to go in.

H.R. Haldeman: Okay. But while you're at that point could I argue a contrary view for a minute? 'Cause I don't agree with that.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I strongly feel, thinking it through, with all the stuff we talked about last night, that you don't want to rush in and that the solution here, if we can find it -- maybe it's impossible, is...

President Nixon: Is for Mitchell to come voluntarily?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, or for Magruder to come voluntarily and nail Mitchell. But if the solution is -- I agree that some sort of --

President Nixon: Where does Magruder come to? Me?

H.R. Haldeman: No. The, the U.S. Attorney. That --

President Nixon: Well, why does -- why don't I urge Magruder to -- I mean let me, let me look at this. The urging of Liddy to testify, the urging of Magruder to testify and Mitchell. John run those by, by -- I didn't mean to stop your...

John Ehrlichman: No, that's alright.

President Nixon: ...your whole analysis but I think, I think I know what you're, what, what, what -- isn't that really the essence of it?

John Ehrlichman: I'm trying to write the news magazine story for next Monday...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...a week, Monday a week. And, if it is that "Grand Jury Indicts Mitchell"...

President Nixon: Right. .

John Ehrlichman: ..."The White House main effort to cover up, uh, finally collapsed last week when the Grand Jury indicted John Mitchell and Jeb Magruder,"...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and uh, "Cracking the case was the test)- many of a, a number of, uh, peripheral witnesses who -- each of whom contributed to developing a, a uh, cross-triangulation and permitted the Grand Jury to analyze it," and so on and so forth. And then "the final, the final straw that broke the camel's back was, uh, an investigator's discovery of this and that and the other thing." That's one set of facts. Uh, uh, and then the- tag on that is "The White House Press Secretary Ron Ziegler said that the White House would have no comment."

President Nixon: I know, I know. It can't be done.

John Ehrlichman: The other one, the other one goes: "Events moved swiftly last week, after the President was presented with a report indicating that, uh, uh -- for the first time -- that, uh, uh suspicion of John Mitchell and, uh, Jeb Magruder as ring-leaders in the uh, Watergate break-in were in fact substantiated by, uh, considerable evidence. Uh, the President then, uh, uh, dispatched so and so to do this and that and it"-- maybe to see Mitchell or, or something of that kind and, uh, uh --" these efforts, uh, resulted in Mitchell going to the U.S. Attorney's office on Monday morning at nine o'clock, uh, asking to, uh, testify before the Grand Jury. Uh, uh, charges of cover-up, uh, by the White House were, uh, uh, materially dispelled by the diligent efforts of the President and his aides in, uh, moving on evidence which came to their hands in the, in the closing days of the previous week." Ah --

President Nixon: I, I'd buy that.

John Ehrlichman: Okay.

President Nixon: You want to -- so, we get down to the tactics.

John Ehrlichman: Now, I've been concerned because since the end of March, I have turned up a fair amount of hearsay evidence that, that points at this guy. Now, just take --

President Nixon: And so did Dean...

John Ehrlichman: And, and so did John.

President Nixon: ...so did Dean.

John Ehrlichman: Now, taking this --

President Nixon: Yet we've tried, very honestly, we've tried to, tried to look at it the best way we could. Maybe he couldn't, maybe he really didn't know.

John Ehrlichman: Well, it's hearsay. And so, he...

President Nixon: That point.

John Ehrlichman: ...don't hang a guy, you don't hang a guy necessarily --

President Nixon: And also, we are going to remember, Mitchell has denied it.

John Ehrlichman: But I was, I st-, stood over there in Bob's office and listened to that tape of one of the co-actors saying, flat out on the tape, that he-was guilty and that Mitchell was gonna, was going to fall and all that and I said to...

President Nixon: Did he say that? Did he say that?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, we can't --

John Ehrlichman: ...and, and I said to myself, "My God! I'm a, you know, I mean, I'm a United States citizen. I'm standing here listening to this, what is my duty?"

President Nixon: Well the point is you've now told me. That's the problem.

John Ehrlichman: That's correct, that's correct.

President Nixon: You see, the differ, uh, uh, the uh, the problem of my position up to this time has been, quite frankly, nobody ever told me a God-damn thing...

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: ...that Mitchell was guilty.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: I mean, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Well, we still don't know.

President Nixon I, I...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't...

President Nixon: must say --

H.R. Haldeman: I, I will still argue that I think the scenario that was spilled, uh, spin, spun out, that Dean spun out to Mitchell is basically the right one.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I, I will still argue that I think the scenario that was spilled, uh, spin, spun out, that Dean spun out to Mitchell is basically the right one.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...I don't think Mitchell did order the Watergate bugging and I don't think he was specifically aware of the Watergate bugging at the time it was instituted

President Nixon: Well, let me --

H.R. Haldeman: I honestly don't.

President Nixon: That may be. Now...

H.R. Haldeman: I think that Mitchell...

President Nixon: ...here's what he told...

H.R. Haldeman: ...he had okayed that, but, uh,unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...for your, for your information here's what he told Rebozo. He knows very well.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell?

President Nixon: That's why I asked, does it have to be a lawyer...

H.R. Haldeman: Mmm.

President Nixon: ... to tell Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: Jeez, I wouldn't get Bebe into this.

President Nixon: I know.

H.R. Haldeman: Boy!

President Nixon: Well, anyway, let me tell you what he told Rebozo, uh, right afterwards -- no, no, er a month ago --he said, he said -- you know (unintelligible) you know how he puffs on his pipe -- "In the ITT thing, I may have perjured myself but I sure didn't on this God-damn thing."

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: There you are.

H.R. Haldeman: Okay. I still think that technically that may be correct.

John Ehrlichman: I think so -- 'cause that's what he told Moore. And he believes that.

President Nixon: What did he say? Could he tell Moore?

John Ehrlichman: Well, remember, I, he, I asked Moore to find out what Mitchell had testified to.

President Nixon: Yeah. Oh, yeah. That's right. And Moore heard the testimony and said well you're not --

John Ehrlichman: He, he was never asked the right questions. Now, uh, uh, as far as he's concerned...

H.R. Haldeman: He probably didn't in the Grand Jury either.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. As far as the quality of the evidence is concerned --

President Nixon: May I just, uh, digress for one point, that has nothing to do with this except that you've got to fight what's going on damn soon. It is essential that, uh, Roger's departure be delayed until this is over. Now, the hell with Henry on this. The point is, any member of the cabinet, except Kleindienst, leaving during this -- there's no way that Dick is gonna leave anyway -- and, uh, now you gotta talk to Hen-, you gotta just "And Henry it's not appealable.'" You just gotta say that, Henry, there are bigger things here." With Rogers --

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: Huh?

John Ehrlichman: There's just gonna leave --

President Nixon: You're just gonna say -- alright fine, then drop that and just say Rogers is gonna stay 'til this thing's over. Right John, you agree?

John Ehrlichman: Absolutely.

President Nixon: Ya see, Rogers is gonna leave on the first of June, and, uh, but, uh, uh, he must --

John Ehrlichman: We may be, we may be out of the woods by...

President Nixon: May be...

John Ehrlichman: ...it might be over by then.

President Nixon: ...out of the woods? No.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: Well, uh, to go back to...

President Nixon: Alright. We won't --

John Ehrlichman: ...the quality of the evidence -- President Nixon: ...I only mentioned Bebe because (unintelligible) let me -- let's get -- go ahead with your --

John Ehrlichman: Well, all I was going to say is that --

President Nixon: Alright. I now have evidence, I am convinced...

John Ehrlichman: But you, you don't have evidence if, uh, uh, if I --

President Nixon: I'm not convinced he's guilty...

John Ehrlichman: That's it.

President Nixon: ...but I am convinced that he ought to go before a Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Exactly. Uh, and, and, and it -- what I did last night, or this morning, was to write out what would, uh, would in effect be a report to you...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...of, of this, of this...

President Nixon: Let me ask you wheter --

John Ehrlichman: ...(unintelligible) deliver it to you.

President Nixon: John -- (pause) Go see Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: (Laughs).

John Ehrlichman: Uh, all I know about my relationship with Mitchell from his side is what others tell me. He has never, he's never, uh, never (unintelligible).

President Nixon: The Mitchell problem, the Mitchell problem with Rogers has been totally created. John Ehrlichman: I see.

(PRIVILEGED MATERIAL DELETED)

[Part II]

(PRIVILEGED MATERIAL DELETED)

President Nixon: ...Let's come around, let's come around again though. You know the case. You've conducted the investigation for me. You have reported to me and I have asked you to go up and lay it on the ground to Mitchell and to tell Mitchell, look, there is only one thing that could save him. I think John's got to hear that kind of talk and I think he's got to hear it from somebody that doesn't have -- I was thinking of bringing Rogers in and telling him all this stuff, but God-damn it, Mitchell will wind him around his finger.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: ...well, there's our problem.

John Ehrlichman: If you want me to go, I'll go.

President Nixon: I think the message...

John Ehrlichman: I don't know what he thinks --

President Nixon: ...but the message to Garcia has got to be carried --

John Ehrlichman: Bob, Bob has a pretty good feel of Mitchell's attitude toward me that I don't have.

President Nixon: Well, Mitchell's attitude toward you is not going to be personal -- it isn't going to be any better for Rogers. It would be toward Rush...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, but how in the name of God can --

President Nixon: ...Rush is smart and he is tough. He's a good man. And, uh, he's a man, incidentally that we can consider --

John Ehrlichman: He can't argue the facts of this case, that's the point.

President Nixon: The point is, Rush is a man that I would cons- -- if you need a special man in the White House -- I was thinking last night that he is the best man I can think of...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...to bring over to advise the President on this God-damn thing and -- no, and examine all the White House things, to look at all the FBI files, to look at your report, Dean report, the FBI files and give me a report. He's articulate, he's, he's, uh, before television he's, uh, respected among, uh -- he's one of the towering figures in the Ambassadorial world and in the bar. He is, he's no slouch.

John Ehrlichman: Bobby?

President Nixon: And an outsider's -- good God, it's going to take so long to -- Rush, I trust. Rush is a friend. He's a total White House man and yet he is not, not tied into this.

John Ehrlichman: He's exactly the kind of guy we need. Now, I don't know how he, he is in person -- he hasn't practiced law for a long time. That's not, that's not an immediate drawback but, but, uh...

President Nixon: He has the lawyer's mind.

John Ehrlichman: ...you got to get him somebody to help him, like, uh, uh --

H.R. Haldeman: Haven't, though, haven't events overtaken that project?

President Nixon: Oh, no. No. No. No. No. Bob, for Christ's sake, will you --look, the point that I make is let's suppose they get Mitchell. Then they're going to say now what about Haldeman and what about Chapin, and what about Colson and the rest? I've got to have a report indicating -- in other words, you've got all that whole Segretti crap in there. I want somebody to say, now look, here are the facts. None of the White House people were involved. There are no other higher-ups. The White House was not involved. Put a cap around it. And, and second...

John Ehrlichman: More than that --

President Nixon: ...and then face the Segretti crap.

John Ehrlichman: I, I, in, in forcing this out, Dean remains a problem and, and, uh, here's -- uh, let me just read you what I've come to on that...

President Nixon: Alright.

John Ehrlichman: ..."John Dean has not involved himself in this matter as your counsel for several months and properly so. I should not continue to fill in for him," meaning me, "for several reasons, including the impermissible demands on my time that are -involved.

You need a full-time special counsel to follow these related problems who can advise you of the legal niceties from his experience in constitutional, criminal and governmental practice. I'll be happy to continue to consult with him, and so on. I do not recommend that Dean take a leave. That is neither in nor out. He has involved himself to the extent described above. Either that requires dismissal or it does not. And that choice should be made at once. If he is discharged, the U.S. Attorney and the Grand Jury should treat him differently. But I think he's, he -- you've got to bite the bullet on Dean, one way or the other, pretty quick.

President Nixon: Alright. But...

John Ehrlichman: But recognize, uh,...

H.R. Haldeman: What did Dean say to...

John Ehrlichman: ...but recognize...

H.R. Haldeman: ...what did Dean say to...

John Ehrlichman: that kills him.

H.R. Haldeman: Dean's.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah basically he says that kills him.

President Nixon:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon:unintelligible and he got off with plea bargaining for a misdemeanor.

H.R. Haldeman: Sure.

President Nixon: A misdemeanor.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: That's all the God-damn thing ever was.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. And he got an undetermined sentence that was suspended Friday.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: He never served an hour in jail.

President Nixon: Didn't serve in jail and then, but, but, not only -- you see, Bob --

H.R. Haldeman: He was indicted on a felony...

President Nixon: He did not -- indicted on a felony...

H.R. Haldeman: Pled to a --

President Nixon: Plea, plea-bargained to a misdemeanor, gets off with, uh, no sentence and so forth and, and Dash defends him and says that -- and Lipschitz goes out and the Post prints reams of stuff that he...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible.

President Nixon: ...is an honorable man and so forth. Now what really --

H.R. Haldeman: He had already been indicted on two other --

President Nixon: How in the hell, who got the, got that story out (unintelligible).

H.R. Haldeman: Well, they, apparently, the two or three papers got wind of it, but the interesting thing is that Dash had made the moral judgment...

President Nixon: Earlier.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that, that didn't disqualify him, he knew about it.

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: And Dash has a beautiful statement on the front page of the paper which is a man wouldn't be as good an investigator if he hadn't been in...

President Nixon: Unless he knew how to bug.

H.R. Haldeman: ...(unintelligible). No, unless he had -- been in trouble a couple of, one or two times.

John Ehrlichman: Ervin must have looked at that and...

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and he talked about

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible.

H.R. Haldeman: ...man wouldn't have been a true campaigner if he hadn't had a prank or two once in a while.

President Nixon: Well, what I'm getting at is this, that uh, we're just talking here, not with Dean -- we're talking about Dean naturally -- you call my attention to Lipschitz' thing only I don't give a damn about the part of this with Hunt, Liddy, and the Cuban...

unidentified voice: True.

President Nixon: ...unintelligible are in this thing. It would be my (tape noise) a reasonable time had expired after the thing (unintelligible, with tape noise) and before I leave office and they'll get off. You get them full pardons. That's what they have to have, John.

John Ehrlichman: Right.

President Nixon: Do you agree?

John Ehrlichman: Yep, I sure do. Well, you haven't asked me how I'd come out on this. I just, I just brought it to a focus. I think if you have to decide up or down on Dean now...

President Nixon: What do you think about that? Oh, let's see. What, what does Dean say when you tell him that?

John Ehrlichman: He doesn't agree with that.

President Nixon: I know he doesn't agree, but what does he do?

John Ehrlichman: He wants to stay and just disconnect himself from this case. And he says, "Yes, that's right, make your decision now, but make your decision that I should stay." He needn't decide that right this minute and I would encourage him not to...

President Nixon: I mean.

John Ehrlichman: ...but in talking about Rush, that relates to this general subject. I think I would pass it for the moment.

President Nixon: But the only thing that I was -- yeah, I agree you should --

John Ehrlichman: And, and, uh, get back to, get back to the Mitchell thing which really is, uh...

President Nixon: Like today. I know.

John Ehrlichman: ...uh, like this morning.

President Nixon: I don't think there's anybody that can talk to Mitchell except somebody that knows this case. Now, there's one or two people, I mean I -- versed myself in it enough to know the God-damn thing, but I'm not sure that I want to know. I want to say Mitchell, "Now, look, I, I think that, I think that you're -- the attorneys for the Committee, O'Brien -- and I found out this, and I found out that, and I found out that, and the Grand Jury has told me this th-th-th-th-th- dee." I just don't know. I just don't -- you know what I mean. They talk about my going out is, uh -- but really, I am not trying to duck it. I, I don't mind, I've done unpleasant things and I'll take this in one minute. Uh, the thing, John, is that there's nobody really that can do it except you.- And I know-how Mitchell feels. But you conducted this investigation. I would -- the way I would do it, Bob, you, you critique this, is I'd go up, and I'd say,...

H.R. Haldeman: Alright.

President Nixon: ..."The President's asked me to see you." That you have come in today with this report; these are the cold facts indicating; of course, that this does not indicate that, but the Grand Jury is moving swiftly, Magruder will be indicted, you think. Under the circumstances, time is of the essence. You can't be in a position of having you (tape noise) the Grand Jury and (tape noise)unintelligible "I am responsible, I did not know it. But I assume the responsibility. Nobody in the White House is involved," and so forth, and so on. "We did try to help these defendants after- wards, yes." He probably would not deny that anyway. He probably was not asked that at an earlier time. But the, just as the clef-, just as any, the defendants are entitled to that sort of --

John Ehrlichman: Well now you're, you're glossing it. Uh, I don't think he could do that.

President Nixon: All right.

John Ehrlichman: I wouldn't want to, I wouldn't want to

President Nixon: All right.

John Ehrlichman: ...have you...

President Nixon: Oh all right.

John Ehrlichman: ...(unintelligible).

President Nixon: Fine, fine. What would you say to him?

John Ehrlichman: I'd say (unintelligible)...

President Nixon: Let me, let me hear your speech (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: I'd say, "The jig, you know, basically the jig is up, John, and uh, I've listened to, uh, Magruder and, and, uh, uh, uh, he's gonna, he's in my opinion he's about to blow, uh, uh, and that's, that's the last straw." Uh --

President Nixon: And, also, Hunt is going to testify, Tuesday, Monday, we understand.

John Ehrlichman: "We've got to, we've got to think of this thing from the standpoint of the President and I know you have been right along and that's the reason you've been conducting yourself as you have."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "It, it's now time, I think, to rethink what best serves the President and also what best serves you..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...in the ultimate outcome of this thing."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "And we have to, have to, recognize that you are not going to escape indictment. There's no way and..."

President Nixon: Because -- yeah. Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "...the far better, far better that you should be prosecuted on an information from the U.S. Attorney based on your conversation with the U.S. Attorney, than on an indictment by a Grand Jury of, of 15 blacks and 3 whites, uh, after, uh, uh, this kind of uh, this kind of an...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...investigation."

President Nixon: We're right on the door of the White House and we're trying to protect you.

John Ehrlichman: "If, if the Grand Jury goes this way, you've been dragged in by the heels. Uh, if you go down first thing Monday morning, or yet this afternoon..."

President Nixon: This afternoon.

John Ehrlichman: "...and talk to the U.S. Attorney, and say, 'Okay I want to make a statement,' then two things happen: one, you get credit for coming forward; two, you serve the President's interest. And, uh, I'm here in behalf of the President --"

H.R. Haldeman: Well, and three, you have the dignified opportunity to discuss this in, in the, office of...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...of Earl Silbert instead of in the third Washington jail.

John Ehrlichman: "And, and I'm here at the President's request to ask you to do that..."

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: "He has reviewed the facts now..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "He has no alternative, John...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...but..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...to send me here and..."

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: "...ask you to do this."

President Nixon: Right, well, then, if you want to hear it personally, he, he, he, uh...

John Ehrlichman: Pick up the phone.

President Nixon: No. Come down and see him.

H.R. Haldeman: I have a couple of modifications to that. One, a minor ques-- not to what you say, but in setting it up. It would be helpful, in doing that, if I called Mitchell and said that the President wants you to talk with him. Then there's no question...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...in his mind

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...that you're, you're operating...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...unilaterally.

John Ehrlichman: Absolutely.

President Nixon: Right, right.

H.R. Haldeman: And, secondly, that if at all possible, he should come down here.

John Ehrlichman: Why is that?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, my reason for it is, A, you get him here under your circumstances. B. if you make your case, which you may (unintelligible) at this point...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...'cause he may be on the same track.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...maybe at the same point.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: If he is, you might be able then to swing a "let's get Silbert right now and go on over." Ah, he may say, I've got to talk to the President before I do this.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: And then run him in to do it.

President Nixon: Um, well, let me say, let me say this, uh, I've, I've run, run through my mind, uh, the, the thoughts. And believe me the idea of Rogers, as you, John, as Bob will tell you, is not, is not one that, uh, that I don't think is, is potentially good. I was hoping to get him in, in a bigger -- but I, I know Rogers like the back of my hand and Rogers does not fight real, mean tough problems and he will not go.

H.R. Haldeman: The trouble with Rogers is that Mitchell will overrun him. Mitchell will say, "Bill, you're out of your fucking mind. If you knew what I knew -- I mean those kids over at the White House are, are looking at me and, uh, and, uh --

President Nixon: What if you knew what I knew, what about them?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, he'd roll his eyes and, and Rogers wouldn't know one way or the other.

President Nixon: You see, John, somebody has to talk to him who knows the facts. That's the point.

H.R. Haldeman: And as I mentioned (unintelligible, with tape noise) thing in your scenario that really worries me when you say I've listened to Magruder --

John Ehrlichman: Well, all, all right, I can't say it quite that way

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...what Magruder's gonna do.

John Ehrlichman: I can say...

President Nixon: We have learned from...

John Ehrlichman: I can, I --

President Nixon: ...we have learned that Magruder is going to testify.

John Ehrlichman: I can say, well, I can start out by saying, look, I can't vouch for any of this first hand. A tremendous amount of what I know is second-hand, like my conversation with Paul O'Brien, but I have every reason to think that Magruder is in a frame of mind right now to go down there and tell every- thing he knows.

President Nixon: That Hunt's going to go Monday (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: Hunt's going to go Monday.

President Nixon: ...and Liddy, well, you can't say Liddy

John Ehrlichman: Well --

President Nixon: ...maybe Mitchell has a feel--

John Ehrlichman: I have, I have reason to think Liddy has already talked.

H.R. Haldeman: You know Rothblatt knows who (unintelligible) Rothblatt. So they're obviously moving on the cover-up.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: See, if Mitchell went in, that might knock that whole week into a cocked hat.

President Nixon: Why?

H.R. Haldeman: Well, what do they care about the cover-up any more? They --

President Nixon: Humph.

John Ehrlichman: Well, they might, but they, but, you see, Mitchell -- if Mitchell gave them a complete statement

President Nixon: I wish they wouldn't, but (unintelligible) they would, Bob.

John Ehrlichman: ...if Mitchell gave them a complete statement --

President Nixon: They shouldn't, I mean, you're right. I mean, the, the, the cover-up, he said that, uh -- said well that basically it's a separate crime. Isn't that right, John?

John Ehrlichman: Yes.

President Nixon: Do you think they would keep going on the cover up even if Mitchell went in?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I would assume so. I would certainly assume so. You see, they're got to explain to the Ervin Committee some day why they do things and they've got a hell of a lead. They're really not in shape to stop at this point. They would certainly be diverted.

H.R. Haldeman: (Unintelligible with tape noise) is this, that everything relating to this and all the fringes of it and all the, well, any other --

John Ehrlichman: I think they're in a position to uh -- I, I just don't know (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, that's right.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: But the point is what, what they have that -- they, their relations have been primarily with Dean.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know about Colson.

John Ehrlichman: I don't either.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, Dean is --

President Nixon: I have to bite the Dean bullet today.

John Ehrlichman: I didn't say that. I didn't say that, but I think it, it is, it is a dependent question. And, uh, if you are in a situation where Mitchell stonewalls you...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and walks out and says you know, to hell with you guys, I've got to, I've got to live my own life.

President Nixon: Well, let's say, uh, we could uh, uh, what, I want to look at my watch, not because of an appointment.

John Ehrlichman: You've got a dentist appointment.

President Nixon:unintelligible I've been here since eight o'clock this morning.

John Ehrlichman: That's why?

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

President Nixon: Don't worry about that. No, that's no problem. I could have got Haig to -- but, I, uh, John Dean out of the Grand Jury.

John Ehrlichman: Let me get around that by sug-, suggesting what I think his response would be.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: His response will be, "Look, Ehrlichman, you're supposed to be a lawyer. You know better. To go to somebody who is a target in an inquiry of this kind and try to pressure into giving up his rights is very antithesis of what rights I would have if I were a defendant

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: "Uh you're supposed to, you're in the executive branch, and a government official, you're supposed to tell me what, what all the chips are.

President Nixon: Uh, that, that chair's gone.

H.R. Haldeman: Oh.

SEVERAL VOICES:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: ...a couple and fall on the floor which would not be --

President Nixon: Go ahead Steve.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, "you're supposed to tell me, uh, that I have a right to counsel and, uh, you know, read me the, the uh, Supreme Court thing (unintelligible) and so forth. Instead of that, you just suggested that I, uh, I divest myself of all my rights, and, uh, and uh, you, uh, asked me down here for a highly improper conversation. You haven't even suggested that I bring my attorney. And I take it what you are doing, is, uh, you're acting as the, uh, prosecutor in this case." How do you come off doing that?

President Nixon: He won't do that, in my opinion. Uh I think he's more likely to say,"well God-damn it, look, John, we -- don't you know that there are people in the White House that are deeply involved in this. Don't you know that Colson and Haldeman...

H.R. Haldeman: He may say this, yeah.

President Nixon: "...pressured this poor boy over here" I think Mitchell will take the offensive. Don't you agree? Bob?

H.R. Haldeman: You see, I'm not at all sure but what Mitchell may think I am involved. I'm sure he probably thinks Colson's involved, because Magruder has used that. I would guess that the line Magruder has used with Mitchell -- and you might have to play Magruder's tape recording for him (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: Well I don't think, I don't think that'll happen. I just don't.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I just --

President Nixon: Is Magruder planning to go see Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes, sir, and it's -- if he decides to go, if he decides to talk.

President Nixon: If he decides to talk, he's convinced...

H.R. Haldeman: And he's about on the verge, his -- I, I assume from that conversation that what he has decided, he is either going to talk or he's going to take the Fifth. He's not going to lie, over and over.

President Nixon: But, they're not calling him -- they may not call him back, that's always --

John Ehrlichman: That's correct.unintelligible Liddy will never try it.

President Nixon: Well the Fifth (unintelligible).

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: He says, I know I'm going to be arrested. I know I'm on my way to jail. All right, if, if Mitchell comes back with a line like that, you're not serving the President, well, if you have made any kind of investigation surely you know people in the White House are involved.

President Nixon: What do you say?

John Ehrlichman: I say, "look, John, we're past the point where we can be concerned about whether people in the White House are involved. We're not protecting the President by hoping this thing is going go go away."

President Nixon: The people in the White House are going to testify.

John Ehrlichman: The thing is not going to go away, John, and by your sitting up there in New York and pretending that it is, it's just making it worse. And it's been getting steadily worse on account of your sitting up there for the last couple of months. We're at the point now where we have no choice but to ask you to do this.

H.R. Haldeman: We have a whole, and you could say, we have a whole series of people who have remained mum in order not to create problems for you, who, it's now clear, can no longer remain mum. They don't intend to create problems for you, but, I mean...

President Nixon: Like Hunt, Liddy?

H.R. Haldeman: No. I mean like Haldeman, Dean --

John Ehrlichman: I could say that when I got into this I discovered that there were all kinds of people sitting around here who had bits of information. They were hanging on to them, becuase they didn't know where they led...

President Nixon: Well - -

John Ehrlichman: ...and because they were afraid they would hurt John Mitchell. And I've had to put this whole thing together. And now, having put it together...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible you guys received word he comes down --

John Ehrlichman: ...it, there's just no escape from it, just no escape.

H.R. Haldeman: And it's got to be proved whether, uh, any...

President Nixon: The adversary type. There's nobody that can do it --

H.R. Haldeman: He will be able to persuade anyone else there is a way.

President Nixon: But, there is nobody else that can do it. Also (pause) let me digress a moment before we get to the (unintelligible) of Mitchell. Another indication of the, the problem we've got here, uh, is -- which is related to what we talked about last night -- is to just to keep a, a posture vis-a-vis the Committee on this. Uh, I just think we are in an impossible position frankly, with regard to White House people not appearing before the Committee. Now you've gone over that with Ziegler and he still thinks we should stonewall it on those grounds.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And I've, I have not talked with him at length for days.

President Nixon: Well, I hear you've got the -- I, was just looking in the paper this morning -- uh, Saxbe, Mathias, Johnny Rhodes, John Anderson, Aiken. Well, of course, two or three of those names are not new, but they're all there...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...they are trying to build that up as a chorus of Republicans and more will come.

John Ehrlichman: They'll get five a day for the next month.

H.R. Haldeman: Bet they don't. Bet -- what's interesting is on a universal chorus he must appear before the Committee.

President Nixon: Well --

H.R. Haldeman: Thus, if you've got some saying they've got to set up a way to take secret testimony...

[Part III]

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, and it's a little difficult here be-cause our people are trained to cooperate.

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...when Weicker's office calls.

President Nixon: You can say that, you can say Senator, now, uh, uh, we, we, we're not gonna turn this down unless you tell us to. And uh, and we just, just want you to know that uh, that uh, if you want us to go ahead, why we'll arrange for them to do it. But we want you to, for you to be told, uh, you know what I mean.

H.R. Haldeman: Use the specific call (unintelligible)

President Nixon: Good reason to call him.

H.R. Haldeman: (Tape noise) North Carolina this week.

President Nixon: (Tape noise) we came full circle on the Mit-, on the Mitchell thing.

unidentified voice: Who?

President Nixon: On the Mitchell thing (unintelligible) must come first...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...(tape noise) something today. We've got to make this move today. If it fails, uh, just to get back on position, I think you ought to talk to Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: I agree.

President Nixon: And you tell Magruder, "Now Jeb, this evidence is coming in, you ought to go into the Grand Jury. Purge yourself if you're perjured, and tell this whole story."

John Ehrlichman: I agree.

H.R. Haldeman: (Unintelligible, with tape noise)

President Nixon: The, we'll go -- Bob, you don't agree with that?

H.R. Haldeman: Oh, I do.

President Nixon: Because I think we do have to. Third, we'v` got the problem --

H.R. Haldeman: Maybe you should talk to Jeb first, though.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible John?

John Ehrlichman: Doesn't really matter, Bob, eh, either way

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...who is ever coming first.

President Nixon: But then, you see, you see the point is--

H.R. Haldeman: For God's sake, then don't use Jeb as a basis for the conversation.

President Nixon: Yeah. Say that the evidence is not Jeb. I'd just simply say that just a lot of other people with (unintelligible) Jeb...

H.R. Haldeman: ...although (unintelligible).

President Nixon: ...although he may blow (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: I can say, I can say that the the uh, uh, that I have, I have come to the conclusion that it is both John and Jeb who are liable--

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...and, uh--

President Nixon: But no, I meant...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, go ahead.

President Nixon: I was going to say that we are not talking to you, John, just because Jeb is going to crack...

unidentified voice: Or that--

President Nixon: ...or that Dean is going to the Grand Jury. It's past that point. They've got the case made.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

President Nixon: He'll say, "well I think they're bluffing here." What'll you say?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, it isn't a question of bluffing. Uh, nobody's made any representations to us at all. Nobody's tried to bluff us...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, it, it's just a question of putting together all the facts and that any time someone--if the U.S. Attorney's office goes through the process that "I've gone through, he'll have all the facts. And there it'll be. And ya, you don't get it all from any one person. It's it's some from this one, some from that one. It's a typical, it's a typical case, Bob.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: How does Dean's, incidentally what is the, what is the, what is the liability or, uh, Hunt, or, uh--I'm thinking of the payoff thing...

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: ...in this business,--somebody in, uh, Dean, Dean, uh, Dean asked, told me about the problem of Hunt's lawyer, uh, wanted--had gotten--this was a few weeks ago--needed, uh, needed sixty thousand or forty thousand dollars or something like that. You remember? He asked me about it and I said I, I don't know where you can get it. I said I would, uh, I mean, I frankly felt he might try to get it but I didn't know where. And then he left it up with Mitchell and Mitchell then said it was taken care of--am I correct? Is my recollection...

John Ehrlichman: Yes, sir.unintelligible

President Nixon: Is that approximately correct?

John Ehrlichman: Yes, you could (unintelligible).

President Nixon: Did he talk to you about that?

John Ehrlichman: He talked to me about it. I said, John, I wouldn't have the vaguest notion where to get it.

President Nixon: Yeah--

John Ehrlichman: I saw him later in the day. I saw Mitchell later in the day...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...Wednesday (unintelligible)

President Nixon: What happened?

John Ehrlichman: And he just said it's taken care of.

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell raised the topic. He turned to Dean and said, "what have you done about, uh, that other problem?" And Dean said--he kind of looked at us--and then said, "well, uh, you know, I, I don't know." And Mitchell said, "Oh' I guess that's been taken care of. (tape noise) said apparently through LaRue.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: (tape noise) LaRue. Where you the one who told me?

John Ehrlichman: Who told you?

H.R. Haldeman: ...Oh, Dean told us. LaRue. He had, Dean had a long talk with LaRue and LaRue said, "this whole thing is ridiculous now" and said (unintelligible, with tape noise) said, "yeah," he said, "If I were in charge of this now what I would do is I'd get a large bus and I'd put the President at the wheel and I'd throw everybody we've got around here in it and I'd drive up to the Senate and I'd have the President open the door and I'd say, you all get out and tell everything you know and I'll be back to pick you up when you're through." He said, "It's all out now and there's nothing we can do about it." And he, he said, "I can," he said, LaRue also said, "you know, I can't figure out how I got into this, uh, to begin with, but I, I, it seems to me all of us have been drawn in here in trying to cover up for John."

President Nixon: For Mitchell?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, which is exactly what's happened.

President Nixon: LaRue said that?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes.

President Nixon: He's right.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: And if LaRue is called, LaRue is, is--intends to tell the truth about it.

President Nixon: Is he?

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah. Now, I--

President Nixon: Well, what will be his defense...

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

President Nixon: ...about obstruction?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: I don't think he-has one.

H.R. Haldeman: If he doesn't intend--

President Nixon: No, well, no. His obstruction will be -- LaRue'll, uh, that I was helping to get --

John Ehrlichman: Ah, the way Dean talks LaRue wasn't even thinking about the message.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think LaRue cares. I think LaRue's figured that the jig is up.

John Ehrlichman: (Tape noise) I--a bit of incidental intelligence that (unintelligible) dropped yesterday with regard to Mardian. Just a small matter--went out to Phoenix (tape noise).--elaborate cover story, which he fed to the New York Times, which would lay it all back in the White House. (unintelligible with tape noise) Just gonna know that if they do (unintelligible) get screwed.

unidentified voice: --Yeah, they've gotten to--

John Ehrlichman: It will only stand so long as Mitchell stands.

President Nixon: Why lay it at the White House?

John Ehrlichman: That's all that--but I just don't know any other fact and, uh--

President Nixon: Well, he could lay it to the White House?

John Ehrlichman: But bear in, bear in mind Shapiro was giving me this in a whole litany of things that were, that were persuasive and which...

President Nixon: Yep, yep.

H.R. Haldeman: I'm still afraid of Shapiro.

John Ehrlichman: ...what he said to me (unintelligible) he's a scary guy.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible I don't believe we can--

President Nixon: Uh, but what I meant on the Mardian, the point that, uh,--let me say, I don't think that Mardian or LaRue or Mitchell, uh, or Magruder or anybody want to hurt the President in this thing.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: I'm sure that's right.

President Nixon: Do you feel that way?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes sir.

President Nixon: Colson? How, how about Colson?

H.R. Haldeman: He, he--I (unintelligible) said he'll do everything he can not to hurt the President.

President Nixon: Yeah. That has got to be the attitude of everybody because it isn't the man, it's the Goddamn office.

H.R. Haldeman: Sure. Sure.

President Nixon: But also it happens to be tr-, true. I mean I (unintelligible) I knew about the son-of-a-bitch.

H.R. Haldeman: You don't have a, that doesn't apply and they didn't--I think rationalize to themselves that hurting or getting anybody else could be...

President Nixon: That's right.

H.R. Haldeman: ...good for the President rather than bad. And that...

President Nixon: In other words--

H.R. Haldeman: ...includes Ehrlichman, Haldeman,...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...Dean...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...certainly Colson. Colson'd be at the top of that list. Colson first, then Haldeman, then Dean, then Ehrlichman.

President Nixon: You see I think a Mardian story to the Times will be, frankly, that Colson put the heat on.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, maybe, but he's gonna last. That could be where you--

President Nixon: Maybe Haldeman?

H.R. Haldeman: Mardian. No, Mardian, I don't think has any personal desire to get me. I think he would--I know he hates Colson.

President Nixon: Does he?

H.R. Haldeman: They all do. And any Mitchell person does, 'cause Mitchell did.

President Nixon: You can make, you see, you can make a hell of a circumstantial case on Colson. He's the guy that, you know, he's Dean's buddy, and uh, Liddy, he knew well, apparently knew well--

H.R. Haldeman: Wasn't Dean's buddy.

President Nixon: I'm sorry--I meant Hunt's buddy.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, right.

President Nixon: Of course, right. But you know, but, I mean, Colson is closer to this group of robbers than anybody else. That's the problem with Colson. Colson's got a very--

H.R. Haldeman: He has no tie to Liddy.

President Nixon: Oh, no, no. Okay.

H.R. Haldeman: You know, that is the (unintelligible) he has no, no string to it. His string is to Hunt.

President Nixon: Well, then Hunt--

H.R. Haldeman: Hunt is the, Hunt is the central, uh, background figure that--

President Nixon: Is, uh, Hunt, uh, Hunt takes this money?unintelligible he took it for what? To cover up?

H.R. Haldeman: Immunity. Bet Bittman's given immunity.

President Nixon: They're going to give Hunt immunity?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know, maybe, I suppose.

John Ehrlichman: I think that would be their deal.

President Nixon: Well, that's the standard--unintelligible give him immunity for additional crimes?

John Ehrlichman: He's convicted now, you see, so it would be for additional--

H.R. Haldeman: They haven't sentenced him.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: So they could give him immunity--unintelligible

President Nixon: ...they could, they could, cut his sentence and give him immunity for the cover-up; the hush money; clemency. How do you handle the problem of clemency, John?

John Ehrlichman: You'd have to stonewall that--it's, it's, it's--a cold fact, cold denial Unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Well, you don't handle it at all. That's Colson's main point because that's where it comes from.

John Ehrlichman: That was the line of communication--

President Nixon: Colson to Bittman? Well that's the only thing that we have on that, except Mitchell, apparently, had said something about clemency to people.

H.R. Haldeman: To Liddy.

President Nixon: And Mitchell has never, never disc--has he ever discussed clemency with you, Bob?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: Has he ever discussed it with you?

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: Needless to say, not with me. The only terms (unintelligible) we were all here in the room.

H.R. Haldeman: I think--

John Ehrlichman: The only time--

H.R. Haldeman: ...he may have said, well, you know, we've got to take care of these people, and, uh--

President Nixon: Yeah. Well, I understand that. But he's never said, "Look you're gonna get a pardon for these people when this is over." Never used any such language around here, has he, John?

John Ehrlichman: Not to me.

H.R. Haldeman: I don't think so.

President Nixon: With Dean has he?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I don't know.

H.R. Haldeman: That's a question (unintelligible)

President Nixon: 'Cause Dean's never raised it. In fact, Dean told me an interesting thing I said, Dean, I said, "John," I said, uh, "where's it all lead?" He said, "uh." I said "what's it going to cost? Now you could continue this of course." He said about a million dollars. I said facetiously, "Have you thought of this at all?"unintelligible That's the point. That's the foul-up in the whole Mitsel erg-, Mitchell argument. Unless I could just up and say, "100k fellows, it, it's too bad and, and, and I, I, I could, I could give you executive clemency, like tomorrow. What the hell do you think, do you think, Dean, I mean do you think that, that--the point is, Hunt and the Cubans are going to sit on their ass in jail for four years and their families not taken care of? That's the point. Now where the hell to you get the money for that?" That's the reason this whole thing falls. I mean, uh-, uh, it's, it's that, that, I mean, uh, that astonishes me about Mitchell and the rest.

John Ehrlichman: Improbable.

President Nixon: Not only improbable, there's no way to get the money is there? Who was it, Tom Pappas they had to see me?

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible about the money.

President Nixon: Huh?

H.R. Haldeman: You didn't talk to him about the money?

President Nixon: I don't remember. You told me to see him. In fact, you said that he was helping on the--

H.R. Haldeman: But, yeah, but you were seeing him and you were seeing a number of contributors. President Nixon: I know, I know and I said hell, I appreciate the work you're doing for us and I didn't mention what it was.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Good old...

H.R. Haldeman: He was Mitchell's contact.

President Nixon: Good old Tom is raising money apparently, he's doing this, this thing--

H.R. Haldeman: That's right. I doubt that he is--

President Nixon:unintelligible the word, the word never came up, but, uh, I said I appreciate what you're doing. I do, I do for the purpose of helping the poor bastards through the trial, but you can't after that, John. You can't or could you? I guess you could. Attorneys' fees? Could you, could you get a support program for these people for, for four years?

John Ehrlichman: I haven't any idea. I have no idea.

President Nixon: Well, they've supported other people in jail...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...for years.

John Ehrlichman: The Berrigans or somebody.

President Nixon: Huh?

John Ehrlichman: I say, I don't know how the Berrigan brothers and some of those...

President Nixon: They all have funds.

John Ehrlichman: ...operate. I think those they use--

President Nixon: Yes, there are funds,unintelligible are developed. I guess that's true.

John Ehrlichman: So that they--.

President Nixon: But not to hush up.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: That's the point. All right. One final thing: Dean. You, you don't think we have to bite it today?

John Ehrlichman: Well, I'm not so sure. Uh, I'd, I'd be inclined--say you are (unintelligible). When you say bite it it's simply a matter of making a decision, in, in my opinion, uh--

President Nixon: Well, I've made a decision. I think he has to go.

John Ehrlichman: Well, I'm not sure that's the right decision. It's uh, uh, uh, by, by framing the issue, I don't mean to imply that...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...that's the (unintelligible).

President Nixon: I thought, no, no, I thought...

John Ehrlichman: Uh,unintelligible

President Nixon: When, when you said you didn't address it, I, I'm sorry, I thought that was one of the recommendations you had made.

John Ehrlichman: No, no, my recommendation is that you recognize that, there's a go-no go decision that has to be...

President Nixon: Oh, I see.

John Ehrlichman: ...made right away.

President Nixon: Oh, alright, yeah.

John Ehrlichman: You see, here's your situation as I--Look again--the big picture--You now are possessed of a body of fact.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: And you've got to, you can't just sit here.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: You've got to act on it.

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...You've got to make some, you got to make some decisions and the Dean thing is one of the decisions that you have to make. Now you may decide--

President Nixon: [on telephone] Bull, please. Steve Bull. [To Ehrlichman]unintelligible Alright, fine, John.

John Ehrlichman: Eh, eh--

President Nixon: ...Then you're not.

John Ehrlichman: Then you've got to dispose of it one way or the other. Uh, uh, there may be and, and, I'm, I'm--

(Phone rings)

President Nixon: [on telephone] Yeah, put the, uh, that, uh, thing with, uh, uh, Haig, uh, back. What time you got now? Quarter after. I'll be there a few minutes late at the EOB. [Hangs up telephone]

John Ehrlichman: I'll tell you, I am still heavily persuaded-that we affect the Grand Jury and U.S. Attorney treatment of Dean favorably by keeping him on.

President Nixon: Okay.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, and that that's important. Now--

President Nixon: Why, why, do you say that? Because they like him?

John Ehrlichman: No, no, not at all.

H.R. Haldeman: Because they can treat him differently as the President's counsel than--

John Ehrlichman: As the dismissed President's counsel--

H.R. Haldeman: Exactly.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: It's just that it's a very heavy psychological factor.

President Nixon: Well, this will be done, because there is another reason, too. It isn't like, it--Dean is not like Mitchell, now let's face it.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

President Nixon: Dean is not like Mitchell in the sense that Dean only tried to do what he could to pick up the Goddamn pieces and...

H.R. Haldeman: Certainly.

President Nixon: ...everybody else around here knew it had to be done.

John Ehrlichman: Certainly.

President Nixon: Uh, let's face it. I'm not blaming anybody else now.

H.R. Haldeman: I understand.

President Nixon: That was his job.

H.R. Haldeman: I understand.

John Ehrlichman: I have, I have great trouble in (unintelligible) that you could be involved in the light of the known involvement that he had...

President Nixon: After the?

John Ehrlichman: ...in the aftermath.

President Nixon: Right, but--

John Ehrlichman: But--

H.R. Haldeman: The known involvement in the aftermath was for, uh, what was understood here to be the proper (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: That's half--

President Nixon: The question is motive.

H.R. Haldeman: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: That's number one. Number two, there is nothing new about that.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: As I have developed in this thing--I'd like you to read this.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: There were eight or ten people around here who knew about this, knew it was going on.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Bob knew, I knew, all kinds of people knew.

President Nixon: Well, I knew it. I knew it.

John Ehrlichman: And it was not a question of whether--

President Nixon:unintelligible I knew I must say though, I didn't know it, but I must have assumed it though, but you know, fortunately--and I thank you both for arranging it that way and it does show why the isolation of the President, isn't a bad position to be in.

John Ehrlichman: (Laughs)

President Nixon: But the first time that I knew that they had to have the money was the time when, uh, Dean told me that they needed forty thousand dollars. I hadn't been rege-, I didn't, I just didn't, I closed my eyes, I couldn't read the Goddamn papers on those little envelopes. I didn't know about the envelopes and the (unintelligible) and all that stuff.

John Ehrlichman: Well, the, the...

President Nixon: But others did know.

John Ehrlichman: ...the point is that, that if Dean's, if the wrong-doing which justifies Dean's dismissal is his knowledge that that operation was going on...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...then you can't stop with him. You've got to go through the whole place wholesale.

President Nixon: Fire the whole staff.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. It's, it's a question of motive. It's a question of role, and I don't think Dean's role in the aftermath, at least from the facts that I know now, achieves a level of wrongdoing that requires that you terminate him.

President Nixon: Nah.

John Ehrlichman: ...And, and, that, and this other thing --

President Nixon: I think you've made a very powerful point to me that, that -- of course, you can be pragmatic and say, "Well, Christ, in fact Dean" and so forth -- in other words cut your losses and get rid of 'em. I mean, give 'em an hors d'oeuvre and maybe they won't come back for the main course. Go out, John Dean. On the other hand, uh, it is true others did know, they did know.

John Ehrlichman: But more than that -- we've made Dean a focal point in the Gray process....

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...And he will become a focal point in the Ervin process.

President Nixon: Well, we'll have -- yes, except if --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, if, if goes on.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: And if you dismiss him he'll still be a focal point.

John Ehrlichman: He'll be a focal point.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: He'll be a defrocked -- with a less, with less protection, that's right.

John Ehrlichman: And with less incentive.

President Nixon: Well, the point that I think, I think Dean --

H.R. Haldeman: That's also one of Dean's problem.

President Nixon: Dean's--

H.R. Haldeman: What Dean did was all proper...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...in terms of the higher good.

President Nixon: Dean--you've gotta have a talked with Dean. I feel that I should not talked to him.

John Ehrlichman: I have talk to him.

President Nixon: But--I mean about motives.

John Ehrlichman: I have talked to him.

President Nixon: What's he say about motives? He says it was hush up?

John Ehrlichman: No. He says he knew, he, he had to know that people were, uh, trying to bring that result about...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and he says, you know, the way I got into this was I would go to meetings in, in...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...campaign headquarters, uh, and, uh, uh, we'd get through the meeting and uh, Mitchell and LaRue would say to, to, uh, uh, I mean Mardian and LaRue would say to Mitchell, "Mitch, you've got to do something about this." And Mitchell's stock answer was to turn to John Dean.

H.R. Haldeman: Say what are you gonna do?

John Ehrlichman: "What are you going to do?"

President Nixon: Jesus Christ.

John Ehrlichman: And, uh, so John said, I got to be a kind of, kind of a water carrier. I'd come back from those meetings and I'd come in to see Bob, or me or somebody else...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...and say well, Mitchell's got this big problem. And then he'd say they'd say to me, well I don't know what I'll do about it.

President Nixon: When he came in to see Bob and you what would he say was the problem?

John Ehrlichman: Uh, he'd say, these, these guys, uh, uh, Hunt's getting, uh, jittery and, uh, and says that he's got to have umpty-ump thousand dollars, and uh, Mitchell's terribly worried about it, and uh, uh--it, it was never expressed, but it was certainly understood...

President Nixon: Okay, on the question of motive then, though,unintelligible those conversations to keep up (unintelligible) that motive was never discussed.

John Ehrlichman: Never discussed with me in those terms.

President Nixon: Right?

unidentified voice: Uh, right.

President Nixon: The motive was to help defendants who were, by golly, who had worked for the...

John Ehrlichman: Well...

President Nixon: ...campaign committee--

John Ehrlichman: ...it never really got that far because, uh, we uh, at least my, my conversation with John always was, "well, you know that's, that's interesting--I just don't know what to do for you."

President Nixon: Yeah. And, he may have gone further with you, Bob Did he?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

John Ehrlichman: He, we referred him to Kalmbach.

H.R. Haldeman: You aimed him at Kalmbach.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I aimed him at Mitchell. I said, "John you can't come here and ask for help, we don't have any."

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: The one thing where it did go further, if you want to argue about it, it was in the sense that th-, the 350...

President Nixon: At the end--

H.R. Haldeman: ...which was not our money, we did move back over there.

President Nixon: For this purpose?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible what it was.

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, yeah.

President Nixon: Who asked for it?

H.R. Haldeman: Nobody.

President Nixon: I mean, eh, how did, who...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible asked for that.

President Nixon: ...who took the move on the 350?

H.R. Haldeman: I did.

President Nixon: How did you know that (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman: Gordon Strachan...

President Nixon: ...came to you?

H.R. Haldeman: ...Gordon Strachan came to me after the election and said you have three hundred and fifty thousand...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...dollars in cash...

President Nixon: Oh...

H.R. Haldeman: ...What do you want to do with it...

President Nixon: ...this was not requested by LaRue?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon: or Gordon?

H.R. Haldeman: No, the problem was getting them to take it back. They wouldn't take it.

John Ehrlichman 'Cause they didn't know how to (unintelligible)

President Nixon: That money...

H.R. Haldeman: 'Cause LaRue didn't know what to do (unintelligible)

President Nixon: ...that, that money--

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible let him take it. LaRue wanted it...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...but Mitchell wouldn't let him take it.

President Nixon: Oh.

John Ehrlichman: They just didn't know how to account for it.

President Nixon: Well, just frankly, he wouldn't have to account for it, in my opinion.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, but he didn't, he, he was--

President Nixon: 1970 money, for Christ's sakes.

H.R. Haldeman: (Clears throat) He said I have to account for it now because he's--Fred LaRue is in personal receipt after Grand Jury knowledge of three hundred and twenty-eight thousand dollars in cash delivered to him at night at his apartment by Gordon Strachan. Key witnesses to that transaction are Strachan and LaRue.

President Nixon: LaRue tells you, huh?

H.R. Haldeman: And Strachan just testified that that's what happened. Well, LaRue's got a problem. What did he do with it? At that point, it's income to him. He's got an IRS problem if he can't get it, get it--it's unaccounted.

President Nixon: He'll use it, what, what does he say? He says I used it for hush money?

H.R. Haldeman: I don't know what he'll say. He'll probably (tape noise) packaged it up--

President Nixon: Does that help any? That certainly doesn't help us.

H.R. Haldeman: Doesn't help anybody, but, uh, but, uh, you know--

President Nixon: The other thing he says, "Well I just, I, I've retained it in a fund for future campaigns."

H.R. Haldeman: No, can't show it, doesn't have it. I'm sure he doesn't have it.

John Ehrlichman: I don't, I'm not sure either, but I assume that it went right out to, to pay these people, I, uh, that's, that's my assumption.

unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Now Dean says this. He says we have only two problems with the aftermath in the White House. One is the fact that we made a referral to Kalmbach, but he said that can be explained. And, that's, that's no major problem. The other is the $350,000 and that can be explained and need not be a major problem if it's clearly explained. And we have no, no problem with the aftermath.

H.R. Haldeman: I'm running the three-fifty into my statement, but the question of whether we want it in.

President Nixon: Oh, yes. Put it in there.

H.R. Haldeman: Nobody knows about it--that's another bombshell.

President Nixon:unintelligible I think it's been, there's been something written about it.

H.R. Haldeman: Well but, yeah, but not that I had it.

John Ehrlichman: It is eleven o'clock.

President Nixon: All right. Eleven o'clock, that's when the armistice was signed, so off we go.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, Mitchell is roughly two hours away at, at best. I could--

President Nixon: I think he's going to come down and do it today. I think--what--Bob, I think you have to go out and call him, now. And, uh, ask him if he can come down.

John Ehrlichman: We'll send an airplane for him.

H.R. Haldeman: That'll take longer than his coming (unintelligible)

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: And by the time we get a plane mobilized and up there, it takes longer. We'll send it (tape noise) play golf or something.

President Nixon: I know, I know. He may be gone. But the point that I make is this, if, if he's out to play golf, we say we have, uh, we, we, have an urgent message for him and we say there've been some (tape noise) there have been some (unintelligible with tape noise) on the Watergate thing.

H.R. Haldeman: And that hurry and come immediately.

President Nixon: (Tape noise) should come down.

John Ehrlichman: I think Bob's right.

President Nixon: Okay. Can you come down? If he says I can't come, then Ehrlichman should go up--

H.R. Haldeman: Then say to him well, John will come up. Where can you be re--

President Nixon: Yes. If he says well I've got a dinner tonight and I've got that, uh, say John.-- I mean this is the thing--John, this is very important. The President considers this of the highest urgency that you be aware of these developments. How's that sound to you?

unidentified voice:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Something that just can't be postponed any longer.

President Nixon: Can't be postponed and, uh, we, uh, have a problem. (Walking noise) Harder than firing Hickel.

John Ehrlichman: Oh, about the same.

President Nixon: Eleven?

H.R. Haldeman(?): Yes, sir.

[Haldeman leaves, Ehrlichman dials telephone]

John Ehrlichman: Call me? Oh, OK. Anything new?...Yeah, I'm...Our last conversation?...Can you give it to me now?. Well, Okay. I, I'll see you in a little while. Alright.

President Nixon: Colson?

John Ehrlichman: No, that was Dean.

President Nixon: What' d he say?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: I, I think there's, there are other reasons --

ERLICHMAN Well, you can, you can put--

President Nixon: He did not cover up, though, that's just what we, that's what (unintelligible) that's what we--

John Ehrlichmanunintelligible to go testify.unintelligible

President Nixon: My point is, my point is that as three of us talked here, I realize, that frankly--in Mitchell's case he's guilty. In Dean's case (tape noise) it's the question. And I do not consider him guilty. Now that's all there is to that.

John Ehrlichman: Uh--

President Nixon: ...Because if he's, if, if that's the case then hell, wouldn't you say, half the staff is guilty.

John Ehrlichman: That's it. He's, he's guilty of really no more except in degree.

President Nixon: That's right.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, and uh...

President Nixon: Then others.

John Ehrlichman: ...then, then a lot--

President Nixon: And frankly, than I have been since, uh, a week ago--

John Ehrlichman: Well...

President Nixon: Two weeks ago,

John Ehrlichman: ...you see, that isn't--that kind of knowledge that we had was not action knowledge, like the kind of knowledge, that I put together last night. I hadn't known really what, what's been bothering me this week...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...But what's been bothering me is--

President Nixon: That with knowledge, we're still not doing anything.

John Ehrlichman: That's right. That's exactly right.

President Nixon: The law and order--Goddamn it, that's the way I am. I, you know, it is a pain for me to do anything. The Mitchell thing is Goddamn painful.

(Unintelligible with noise)

[Haldeman enters room]

President Nixon: Is he coming?

H.R. Haldeman: Yes, sir. (Noise) I said do you want to let us know what you're, what plane you're on so we can pick you up? And he said, no let me (unintelligible) over his, uh--

President Nixon: Should you delay your meeting with Magruder until you see him?

John Ehrlichman: I don't think it really matters. It's just, it comes under this whole heading of having knowledge and having to act on it.

President Nixon: Well, my point is that I think that you better see Magruder before you see him. No, no I guess you'll--

John Ehrlichman: It doesn't matter, in my opinion.

President Nixon: You should see Magruder today. That's the main thing.

John Ehrlichman: I think we ought to make a similar call to Magruder.

H.R. Haldeman: I think the way to do it then--I should call Jeb...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: ...and say that things have developed and all this and, and, uh--

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: I didn't say that to Mitchell.

John Ehrlichman: It doesn't matter.

President Nixon: Oh, Mitchell, he knows better. (Tape noise) gotta say that to Jeb.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I tell you, when I--the thing is when I say it to Jeb, it'll take probably thirty-seven seconds for him to turn up on your doorstep.

John Ehrlichman: Well, that's alright.

President Nixon: That's alright.

John Ehrlichman: It won't--

President Nixon: I think we should do it before you see Mitchell. Or you, do you feel uncomfortable about telling him?

John Ehrlichman: No. As I say, I, I think it's almost immaterial as to which I see first. It's the fact of doing it rather than any particular sequence.

President Nixon: Well--

H.R. Haldeman: Mitchell won't be here, he can't be here 'til...

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: I think, in my view, in my view, John, you can't wait to act. I think you should see Jeb Magruder and say now, Jeb, you're to testify.unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: I wouldn't quite say it that way. I'll say, I don't know if you know what I've been doing here, the last three weeks. I have been ranging over this whole subject matter trying to bring to the President something more than John Dean has charged.

President Nixon: Can you tell him as you talk to him that what he says is attorney-client or no? You can't tell him. Okay.

John Ehrlichman: I, I, I'll simply say that, as, as you know, Dean did an investigation which determined whether or nor the White House was involved. y responsibility was greater than that. t was to range over the whole thing and try and bring to the President a new (tape noise) of information on what actually happened, (tape noise) uh, uh, version of what transpired. And from what I have been able to put together, I have advised the President and he has--this morning--and he has directed me immediately to contact you (tape noise) uh, uh, having accepted a point of view in all of this (tape noise) people should not disclose what they know, because it somehow serves the President. (Tape noise) apparently, considerable criminal jeopardy. (Tape noise) what to do from your own standpoint. What I want you to have is the message from the President. (Tape noise) in any way view it as serving his interests for you to remain silent. Decide what to do from your own personal standpoint and (unintelligible) any right to interfere in that decision. If there ever was an impediment to your coming forward by reason of your impression of, uh, uh, assumed or otherwise, of what the President wanted you to do I think it's my job...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...to impart to you what is actually the case.

President Nixon: I would, also, though I'd put a couple of grace notes in and say, Jeb, let me just start here by telling you the President's own great affection for you and for your family--real affection--my mind was thinking last night of his poor little kids in school...

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, beautiful kids.

President Nixon: ...and his lovely wife and all the rest. And just, just put--it breaks your heart. And say this, this is a very painful message for me--for, for him to--I, I've been asked to give you, but, but, but I must do it and that's that. Let's put it right out that way. And also--I'd just put that in so that he knows that I have personal affection. That's the way to, that's the way the so-called clemency's got to be handled. Do you see, John? -

John Ehrlichman: I understand.

H.R. Haldeman: Do the same thing with Mitchell.

President Nixon: Yeah--oh, Mitchell? Well, you could say to Mitchell, I think you've got to say...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: ...you're got to say that this is the toughest decision he's made. It's tougher than Cambodia, May 8th and December 18th put together. And that he, uh, just can't bring himself to talk to you about it. Just can't do it. And he's directed that I talk to you. Frankly, what I am doing, John, is putting you in the same position as President Eisenhower put me in with Adams (unintelligible) But John Mitchell, let me say, will never go to prison. I agree with that assumption. I think what will happen is that he will put on the Goddamnedest defense that--the point, you have, your suggestion is gonna be he not put on a defense. You're suggesting he go in and say look I am responsible here. I had no knowledge but I am responsible. And uh, I uh, I, and nobody else had, and uh, that's it. I myself. That's it. And I want to plead, uh, this, this has got to stop--innocent people are being smeared in this thing.

John Ehrlichman: He will understand...

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: ...that once you are possessed of a reasonable body of knowledge,unintelligible you have an obligation to do something and, rather than simply to turn it over to the U.S. Attorney, the thing that you are doing, in the first instance is giving him an opportunity to come forward.

President Nixon: Or, rather than having a special prosecutor, say that he comes a special prosecutor. The President rejects that. Uh, the idea that, uh, we turn it over to the U.S. Attorney, call him in, which I could do, and uh, or call in the Attorney General which I could do, but I think it's--obligations to do, do this becuase I cannot have this. Now, of course, he's going to ask, well, now John what knowledge do you really have except hearsay. Answer.

John Ehrlichman: I don't have any knowledge except hearsay, John, uh, but--

President Nixon: But I do know that Magruder--

John Ehrlichman: ...in other words, I don't have, I don't have documents and I...

President Nixon:unintelligible Events are moving very speedily...

John Ehrlichman: ...but, but...

President Nixon: There is no question about what is going to happen.

John Ehrlichman: ...there can be--that's right. That's right. Tha-, the-, that--

H.R. Haldeman: You won't have to appeal to him on that because he's made the point, you know, that if Dean testifies, it's going to unscramble the whole omelet.

President Nixon: Well, I'm sorry--I don't want to leave it at the point that Dean's or Magruder's testimony is essential to Mitchell (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: That's right. That's right.

President Nixon: You see that's the point of that. On the Dean thing, I, I wouldn't say that the President has stood, frankly, John, on, on the executive privilege thing,unintelligible and so forth.

John Ehrlichman: It, it, it isn't my purpose to prove to your satisfaction your guilt or that you're going to be indicted, but--

H.R. Haldeman: It's my purpose to say that the President now is in possession--

President Nixon: That I believe you should come-- What are you going to suggest that he do, John?

John Ehrlichman: Well, if he asks me, what do you want me to do? I am going to say I, if, if you would do what I ask you, what I would suggest, you would pick up the phone or you would allow me to pick it up and call Ear1 Silbert and make an appointment today, and go over, and talk with the U.S. Attorney about this case, with counsel.

President Nixon: "I'll see the President and tell him you're going to do it."

John Ehrlichman: No.

President Nixon: Okay.

John Ehrlichman: Uh, well you're asking me in effect to go down and enter a guilty plea. And I would say, look John, you're the only one who knows the basic (unintelligible) and to decide whether there's any room between what you know and the ultimate action of the jury through which you might pass unpunished. I can't make that judgment for you and I don't have any right to make it for you. All I'm saying is that you're looking at this thing from the standpoint of the Presidency. Today is probably the last day that you can take that action, if you're ever going to take it. Uh, do the President a bit of good.

President Nixon: "Do you realize John, uh, that uh, that uh, that uh, uh, uh, (tape noise) on the White House? I mean Colson, maybe Haldeman, are going to get involved in this thing too."

John Ehrlichman: Well, here again, we're looking at this thinq not from the standpoint of any other individual. We're looking at it from the standpoint of the Presidency and that's the only way I think you and I can approach this.

President Nixon: And I'd, I'd go further and say the President has said let the chips fall where they may.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon: We are not gonna cover for anybody. I think you ought to say that.

John Ehrlichman: That's right.

President Nixon: Don't you agree, Bob? That isn't it? We've a--

H.R. Haldeman: He may go, he may get Chuck. He may get you (unintelligible) to ask him to do (unintelligible)

President Nixon:unintelligible on the whole House. Fine. But we on the other hand, have to do something else. Fine. I think he would take the latter. He thinks--

H.R. Haldeman: He thinks (unintelligible) and that's the thing we've worried about all along, haven't we. That's uh, if somebody gets hit what will we do. But we can't worry about what we will do if he does anything. We'll have to deal with that. It's gonna expire.

John Ehrlichman: And this is one that will permit him--and it might help the Presidency, rather than damage it.

President Nixon: Uh, Bob, do you think there's something to be said for having John wait to talk to Magruder until after he's seen Mitchell? (Tape noise) something. Suppose you get stonewalled with Mitchell.

H.R. Haldeman: Well, I think John's in a stronger position if he's talked to Magruder than if he hasn't, but I, maybe,

John Ehrlichman: I tell you, it is not what Mitchell says that matters today. It is the fact that you have acted on information today.

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Now, let's suppose Mitchell turns us down cold, and says I'm going to preserve all my rights. I'm going to make, uh, fight every inch of turf and so on and so forth. Okay. That's that, alright. But at least you, having accumulated all this knowledge this week, have tried to get this thing out, so that sometime two months from now, three months from now, a year from now when there's an accounting, you can say, "On the 14th of April--

President Nixon: It's the 13th.

John Ehrlichman: It's where? Uh, on the 14th day or the 14th?

President Nixon: This is the 14th, yeah.

John Ehrlichman: Yeah, we had Friday the 13th yesterday.

President Nixon:unintelligible the 13th.

John Ehrlichman: On, on the 14th...

President Nixon: No, seriously (unintelligible) as I have told both of you, the boil had to be pricked. That's-in a very different sense--that's what December 18th was about. We have to prick the Goddamn boil and take the heat. Now that's what we are doing here. We're going to prick this boil and take the heat. Am I, am I overstating?

H.R. Haldeman: No.

President Nixon:unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: No, I think that's right. And uh,unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: The history of this--

H.R. Haldeman: ...and this will prick the boil.

President Nixon: Yeah.

H.R. Haldeman: It may not.

John Ehrlichman: The history of this thing has to be, though, that you did not tuck this under the rug...

President Nixon: Right.

John Ehrlichman: ...yesterday or today, and hope it would go away. ,

President Nixon: Now, uh, let me give the scenario -- uh has Ehrlichman go out and tell people that I have done this.

John Ehrlichman: I don't know. It depends on how it all turns out. If he does not go to the U.S. Attorney...

President Nixon: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: ...if Magruder decides to stay clammed up...

President Nixon: Right.

H.R. Haldeman: Then what' d you do?

John Ehrlichman: ...then I'd take, uh--

President Nixon: Well, let's...

H.R. Haldeman: Would you do it again?

President Nixon: ...let's suppose, let's suppose, let's suppose they still indict. You don't want them to indict and then have to say that on s-, on, on s-, on Saturday, the 14th of April, that you, John Ehrlichman --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah, but you see yeah, but you see--

John Ehrlichman: The problem there is...

H.R. Haldeman: ...do you support the President --

John Ehrlichman: ...these things, at least you've got the record --

H.R. Haldeman: Yeah.

John Ehrlichman: The problem is that if you were to go out on this-kind of hearsay and say we know who did it, then you've prejudiced their rights, the, the, uh --

President Nixon: Then your, then your thought is to get out beforehand.

John Ehrlichman: No, no, not at all.

President Nixon: Your thought is, just to make a record of the (unintelligible)

John Ehrlichman: When somebody comes to uh, uh (unintelligible) indictments, what the hell was the White House doing all this time? Then you're in a position to say well, we began to investigate personally and, and the external circumstances and we came to some conclusions and we acted on those conclusions.

President Nixon: John Ehrlichman conducted an investigation for the President.

John Ehrlichman: And we made un--

President Nixon: John Ehrlichman's -- uh, now the 13th of -- uh --

John Ehrlichman: It may be that what should happen here is that if they both stonewall, I ought to sit down with Silbert and just say now I don't have a lot of evidence....

President Nixon: I agree with that. I agree with that.

John Ehrlichman: ...but I have an accumulation of hearsay

President Nixon: And the President wants you to go forward on this.

John Ehrlichman: ...And I'll turn over to you that...

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: ...the report that I made for the President, for whatever it's worth. And I want to tell you that I had con-, uh, had contact with two of your targets to make clear to them nobody in the White House wanted them in any way to be reticent. Beyond that, I don't have anything to say to you.

President Nixon:unintelligible

John Ehrlichman: Well --

H.R. Haldeman: See what happens.

John Ehrlichman: Let's, let's see what these guys go. But, uh, uh, I think maybe like tomorrow I ought to see Silbert.

President Nixon: I agree. I think the record should be made we have talked to him so that he knows that the President has moved on this (unintelligible).

John Ehrlichman: And that's, a, that, that, puts a th-, uh, uh--

President Nixon: And that we saw the U.S. Attorney and turned over our information to him. All the information we had.

John Ehrlichman: I would like a record of my conversation with both Magruder and Mitchell. I personally think that maybe I ought to get my office geared up so that I can do that.

President Nixon:unintelligible here, or do you remove that equipment?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah.

President Nixon:unintelligible my meetings with Henry, but I don't know.

John Ehrlichman: I, I think it's better if I do it over there.

President Nixon: Why don't you just gear it up and, uh, you can, do you know, do you have a way to gear it up?

John Ehrlichman: Yeah. I've done it before.

President Nixon: Well, go gear it.

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: No, no, no, no, no, Well, wait a minute. No, I think that's too...

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible -

President Nixon: ...too little. I would just, I would just have it so that you'll know that, uh -- what we've got here. I don't want to hear the record, let me say.unintelligible

H.R. Haldeman: Raise a question and I don't know if it's a good idea or not but does it serve any purpose for me to sit in on the meeting?

John Ehrlichman: I think you should come.

H.R. Haldeman: That 's, maybe that's...

President Nixon: Or --

H.R. Haldeman: ...it's -- that would give you a witness, for one thing.. If either of those people were questioned and you (tape noise unintelligible) anybody else in, you've got a problem.

President Nixon: And then when Mitchell says, Bob, you know, you were in this, too. What's Bob Haldeman say?

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible well he won't. He won't.

President Nixon: I think Bob should sit in...

John Ehrlichman: That's good.

President Nixon: ...because Haldeman is, uh --

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: No, no. I think so. That gives you the witness. And also...

John Ehrlichman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Mitchell feels he's got a friend there. And he knows that you're not just doing this on your own, freewheeling it. Bob says we talked it all over. The President said we can't sit on information that's (unintelligible) of this nature.unintelligible information from the members of the White House staff, it's gonna be exactly the same procedure. I think we ought to move on the Jeb thing, Bob.

H.R. Haldeman: We'll get him in my office.

President Nixon: Of course, and give your report to me on, uh, as soon as you finish your conversation with Jeb...

unidentified voice: Okay.

President Nixon: ...I'll be (unintelligible)

H.R. Haldeman:unintelligible

President Nixon: Incidentally --