Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activiti...

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.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.34.36-GURNEY challenges DEAN'S assertions that NIXON, through HALDEMAN and EHRLICHMAN, knew of the COVERUP, even though DEAN didn't tell him-it's a crucial point for the WHITE HOUSE'S "BLAME IT ON DEAN" strategy] Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss any aspects of the Watergate at that meeting with the President. For example, did you tell him anything about what Haldeman knew or what Ehrlichman knew? Mr. DEAN. Well, given the fact that he told me I had done a good job I assumed he had been very pleased -with what had been going on. The fact that the indictments, he was pleased that the indictments had stopped at Liddy because the only other link into the, White House. as -we had discussed earlier in sessions with Ehrlichman and Haldeman was Magruder. Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss what Magruder knew about Watergate and what involvement he had? Mr. DEAN. No. I didn't. I did not get into any--I did not give him a report at that point in time. Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss the coverup money that was being raised and paid? Mr. DEAN. No, sir. Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss Strachan bringing wiretap information to Haldeman? Mr. DEAN. No, I did not. Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss Haldeman instructing Strachan to destroy all of these materials? Mr. DEAN. No, I did not. Senator GURNEY. Did you discuss the CIA coverup idea? Mr. DEAN. I did not. Senator GURNEY. Did you talk about coaching Magruder on his perjured testimony in August? Mr. DEAN. No, I did not. [00.35.55-the questioning intensifies-split screen shows DEAN and GURNEY simultaneously] Senator GURNEY. Well -now how can you say that the President knew all about these things from a, simple observation by him that "Bob tells me you are doing a good job." Mr. DEAN. Well, Senator, I assume you know how your staff operation I assume members of your staff understand how you operate, how reporting requirements proceed, I was aware of the fact that Mr. Haldeman had often made notes, Mr. Haldeman has a good memory. Mr. Haldeman does not leave details aside. This was the hottest issue that was going in the campaign. I can't believe that the fact that we were going to contain this matter would totally escape the President's attention and it was, to me a confirmation and a compliment to me that I had done this. [00.36.45-GURNEY continues to play "devil's idiot"-DEAN has the response.] Senator GURNEY. Don't you think the President might have been Complimenting you on the, I will use the -word, investigation even if -you don't desire, that word, of the involvement of the people in the White House, the FBI interviews, all of that business, don't you think he might have been discussing that? Mr. DEAN. I would think be would say something to the effect that "Well, your investigation has been very accurate" rather than "Bob's been telling me everything you have been doing and you have been doing a good job." Senator GURNEY. Did he say that "Bob has been telling me everything you have been doing." Mr. DEAN. He said "Bob has been reporting to me," something of this nature. Senator GURNEY. I thought you said that he said that "Bob has been telling me, what a good job you have been doing." [00.37.26-GURNEY gets agitated] Mr. DEAN. Well, we are quibbling over words but I remember--- Senator GURNEY. GURNEY. We are not; quibbling over words. We, are. talking about something very important, whether the President of the United States knew on September 15 about the Watergate and the coverup. Mr. DEAN. I am totally aware. Senator GURNEY. This affects his Presidency and the Government, of the United States. Mr. DEAN. I am quite aware of that and I have told you I am trying My best to recall. My mind is not a tape recorder. It does recall impressions of conversations very well, and the impression I had was that, he had told, he told me that Bob had reported to him what I had been doing. That was the, impression that very clearly came, out. [00.38.02-GURNEY takes a stand to defend NIXON] Senator GURNEY. In other words, your whole thesis on saying that the, President of the United States knew about, Watergate on September 15 is purely an impression, there isn't a single, shred of evidence that, came out of this meeting. Mr. DEAN. Senator, I don't have--- Senator GURNEY. That he knew anything about--- Mr. DEAN. Senator, I don't have a thesis. I am reporting the facts as I am able to recall them to this committee. [00.38.29] Senator GURNEY. Let's turn to Segretti. I understand you talked to him in June and advised him about his pending interview with the FBI, is that correct? Mr. DEAN. I had a, call from Mr. Strachan who asked me, if I would Meet with Mr. Segretti. Senator GURNEY. I presume that you learned at that, time his participation in the dirty tricks department. Mr. DEAN. He Was not fully explicit at that time and that is why, it was not until November that I went out and had a full interview with him to find out the dimensions of the involvement of Mr. Chapin and Mr. Strachan, a copy of that tape, of that interview, I turned over to the committee and that was the first time I really knew of the full dimensions of his involvement. [00.39.12-GURNEY continues to emphasize DEAN'S failures to report directly to NIXON his knowledge of improprieties, DEAN continues to counter with the argument that he reported to Haldeman as part of the chain of command at the White House] Senator GURNEY. But did you know, he was up to dirty tricks in June? Mr. DEAN. Yes; I did. Senator GURNEY. Did you tell that to the President of the United -States? Mr. DEAN. I think I have explained my reporting times to the President, and this I might also add that the--- Senator GURNEY. In other words, you did not tell it to the President of the United States? Mr. DEAN. No, sir. The coverup on Segretti was sort of a mini coverup -as opposed to the rather large and extensive coverup -that was going on with the other matters. Senator GURNEY. The purpose of the meeting with Mr. Segretti was to advise him to withhold information from the FBI about Strachan, Chapin, and Kalmbach, isn't that right? Mr. DEAN. Unless pressed.