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:
[00.15.10-The WHITE HOUSE questions posed to DEAN attempt to cast doubt on DEAN'S recollection of the facts] Senator INOUYE. Are, you suggesting that your testimony was primarily based upon press accounts? Mr. DEAN. No sir, I am saying that I used the press accounts as one of the means to trigger my recollection of what had occurred during given periods of time. Senator INOUYE. Am I to gather from this that you had great faith in the reporting in the press?' Mr. DEAN. No. I am saying what was happening is that sequentially many times White House activities related to a response to a given press activity. I did not have the benefit, in fact the statement might even be more detailed. Senator, if I had had the benefit of all the Ziegler briefings where some questions came up very specifically In press briefings as to given events at that time, but I didn't have the benefit of those. [00.16.07-DEAN brags a bit ] Senator INOUYE. In addition to your press clipping, the logs, what other sources did you use in the process of reconstruction? Mr. DEAN-. Well. Senator. I think I have a good memory. I think that anyone who recalls my student years knew that I -Was very fast at recalling information, retaining information. I was the type of student who didn't have to work very hard in school because I do ha have a memory that I think is good. Senator INOUYE. Have you always had--- Mr. DEAN. I Miry-lit also add this: That I did have the opportunity to go through my daily chronological files which was another part of the process. Plus While, I was at Camp David I had sent for some files In preparation of the report I was writing up there so I did have some documentary materials, many of which have been submitted to the committee. Some of the exhibits that the committee has and from these I was very easy able, to put in time sequence various specifics. [00.17.27-the White House questions get more specific, trying to portray DEAN'S description of conversations with NIXON as ambiguous] Senator INOUYE. The next question, have you always had a facility for recalling the details of conversation which took place many months ago? Mr. DEAN. I didn't hear you. Senator. Senator INOUYE. Have You always had a facility for recalling the details of conversations which took place many months ago? [00.17.44-DEAN anticipates the gist of the question] Mr. DEAN. Well, I would like to start with the President of the United States. It was not a regular activity for me to me to go in and visit with the President. For most Americans it is not a regular activity to go in and visit with the President. For most of the members of the White House staff it is not a daily activity. When you meet with the President of the United States, it is a very momentous occasion, and you tend to remember what the President of the United 'States says when you have a conversation with him. With regard to others, some of the things, for example, the "deep six" conversation and shredding of documents -was so vivid in my memory because of the circumstance that had occurred that it was very indelibly put in my mind. Going back even while I was at the Justice Department seeking the information on Mary Jo Kopechne, that is the sort of thing that would stick in a, person's mind because of the sort of the nature, of the sensitivity of the information being sought. So I would say I have an ability to recall not specific words necessarily but certainly the tenor of a conversation and the gist of a conversation. I would like to give, another example.. I remember I reeferred at one point in one of the meetings I had with the President after he had, after Mr. Gray had, made the statement about, that he had jolly well proceeded with the investigation at the White House despite the fact that Mr. Dean had been sitting in on the investigations I remember vividly when the President mimicked Mr. Gray in saying this and saying it, was absurd. That sort, of thing is very easy to remember and sticks very clearly in one's mind. [00.19.48-The WHITE HOUSE questions get to the point] Senator INOUYE. Then why is it, Mr. Dean, that you were not able to recall precisely the account of the meeting of September 15, very likely the most important meeting in the year 1972? Mr. DEAN. Well, I think I have recalled that meeting. Senator INOUYE. If I recall, in your colloquy with Senator Gurney your response was "I had an impression." Mr. DEAN. Well, we were talking about the one line out of the first part of the, meeting. I would recall to the Senator that after I had had the conversation, after I was--I sat down, and the President -told me that "Bob had said that you had done a good job," and then I turned on the fact of--I said that I could not take responsibility for this alone myself, I remember a sequence of events in the conversation ending up with something when we were discussing a book I -was reading and I remember very vividly the book I was reading at the time we discussed it. Senator INOUYE. Is it your testimony that you cannot recall precisely what the President said to you? Mr. DEAN. You mean, can I repeat the very words he used? Senator INOUYE. Yes. Mr. DEAN. I cannot repeat, the very words he used, no, sir. As I explained to Senator Gurney, my mind is not a tape recorder but it certainly receives the message that is being given. [00.21.20]