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:
[00.36.10-Sen. INOUYE confronts DEAN with the White House memo accusing DEAN of masterminding the coverup] Senator INOUYE. [QUOTING W.H. MEMO] "History fails to record that at that moment. Dean corrected the Attorney General's erroneous impression by pointing out that Mitchell, Magruder, and Dean had all been involved in planning of operations of which Watergate was an obvious derivative or that Strachan had knowledge of the fruits of this kind of operation, or that all of them were suborning perjury and otherwise. seeking to conceal the facts." [00.36.36] Mr. DEAN. Senator, I would just, like to make, a general observation. This document has obviously been prepared by somebody who was not at the White House at the time, this was all occurring. It sounds like they are putting it back together through newspaper accounts. Senator INOUYE. This is from the office of Your successor, sir. Mr. DEAN. I understand. And I don't believe my successor was there and didn't spend the nearly 3 years in the White House that I did. Senator INOUYE. [QUOTING W.H. MEMO-THIS PASSAGE GETS QUITE A FEW CHUCKLES FROM THE AUDIENCE] "Dean's activity in the coverup also made him, perhaps unwittingly, the principal author of the political and constitutional crisis that Watergate now epitomizes. [Laughter] It would have been embarrassing for the President if the true facts had become known shortly after June 17th, but it is the kind of embarrassment that an immensely popular President could easily have weathered. [Laughter] The political problem has been magnified one thousand-fold because the truth is coming to light so belatedly, because of insinuations that the White House Was a party to the coverup, and above all, because the White House was led to say things about Watergate that have since been found to have been untrue. These added consequences were John Dean's doing." [00.38.01] Mr. DEAN. Well, Senator, I think that, my testimony answers in great detail my dealings with Mr. Haldeman, Mr. Ehrlichman, and the President, and based on what I know, and knowing the position I held in the White House staff, there is no way conceivable that I could have done and conceived and implemented the plan that they are trying to suggest that I did. [00.38.33] Senator INOUYE. [QUOTING W.H. MEMO] "Dean was responsible within the White House for becoming apprised of what had happened. From June 17 on, Dean had periodic conversations with Ehrlichman about virtually every aspect of this case." This is from Mr. Ehrlichman. "Dean reported also to Haldeman and to Ziegler, to whom he gave repeated assurances that he had made an intensive investigation and had found no White House involvement." This is from Mr. Ziegler. "Dean was the foundation of the proposition that the White House was not involved'" and this is from Ehrlichman. [00.39.20] "Spring 1973. "With the election past, and public interest in Watergate on the wane, Dean may have thought that this coverup had been a success, although he purported to continue an ongoing investigation." [00.39.35] Mr. DEAN. Senator, if I might interject, I don't know how quickly they are, jumping from winter to spring, but I would draw, to the attention of the committee and the Senator the La Costa meeting and the events that transpired there, which I believe are documented by materials prepared by Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Higby, his assistant, as well as subsequent materials that were prepared for the President, and I think these speak for themselves. Senator INOUYE. [QUOTING W.H. MEMO] "At the same time, Dean was affecting a failing memory and talking to Magruder as if Dean did not recall the previous Watergate planning meetings in which he had participated." This is from Magruder's testimony. Mr. DEAN. We, reviewed that earlier, and as I said, I did, when I was talking to Magruder, I was telling him I did not, understand what had happened between February 4 and June 17 that resulted in that event occurring, that I never had hard evidence, I never knew for sure what the facts -were, I didn't know how the plan had been approved I didn't know how much White House pressure had been put on him; I didn't know for a fact if Mitchell had or had not approved it; I had never talked with Mr. Mitchell about it. I think that is what Mr. Magruder is referring to, or, as I said earlier, he may have confused. later meetings when I came back from Camp David and I did indeed give him the impression that I could not remember what had happened, because I didn't want to get into any discussions about what had happened at that time. [00.41.18]