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:
[00.21.20-Sen. INOUYE continues to pose to DEAN the questions sent from the WHITE HOUSE] Senator INOUYE. Did you take any notes of this meeting? Mr. DEAN. Of the, September 15 meeting? Senator INOUYE. Yes, sir. Mr. DEAN. No, sir; and I did not take notes of other meetings for a very specific reason. I recall at, one time Mr. Moore saying to me, John, you are having a lot of meetings with the President; you ought to be recording these. Some of the things that were being discussed in these meetings I did not want to make records of, Senator. Senator INOUYE. Why, sir? Mr. DEAN. I thought they were very incriminating to the President Of the United States. Senator INOUYE. Mr. Chairman, this is not part of the questioning, but, could you advise this committee what sort of information you received? [00.21.55-DEAN tells what kinds of information were discussed that made him reluctant to keep notes of his meetings with NIXON.] Mr. DEAN. Well, I have recalled most, of it in my testimony regarding the conversation on clemency for Mr. Hunt, the million dollar conversation, when the President told me that it. would I problem to raise $1 million on the 13th. I did not, think documents like this should be around the White House, because the White House had a similar problem as far as information getting out,. Senator INOUYE. Did you discuss this September 15 meeting With anyone at that time or at any time since? Mr. DEAN. I believe when I came out of the meeting, I fold Mr. Fielding of my office that I had spent about 30 or 40 minutes with the President and Mr. Fielding did not have full knowledge Of my activities at this time. But I told him that fact that the meeting had occurred and that the President seemed very pleased with the job that I had been doing thus far. I think Mr. Fielding probably had a general awareness about the specifies of the fact that I was involved in assisting with the, coverup. Senator INOUYE. You have indicated in your testimony that you were certain after the September 15 meeting that the President was fully aware of the coverup, did you not? Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir. Senator INOUYE. And you further testified that you believed that, you had on your spurs in handling the coverup by February 27, when you were told by the President that you would report to him directly. Is that not correct? Mr. DEAN. I do not believe I used the word "my spurs." I think that, was another characterization. I said I thought I had earned my stripes. [00.23.48-POINTED question originating from the WHITE HOUSE] Senator INOUYE. If that was the case, why did you feel it necessary on February 27 to tell the President that you had been participating In a coverup and therefore, might be chargeable with obstruction of justice? Mr. DEAN. Because on the preceding day, he had indicated to me that Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman were principals and I was Wrestling with what he meant by that. I wanted him to know that I felt also that I -was a principal. So I wanted him to be able to assess whether I could be objective in reporting directly to him on the matter. [00.24.28] Senator INOUYE. If the President was aware on September 15 of the Coverup, was he not, aware that you were implicated also? Mr. DEAN. I would think so, but I did not understand his remark at the time. Senator INOUYE. Then, why was it necessary on February 27 to advise him that you -were guilty of Obstruction of justice? Mr. DEAN. Because as I 'said. Senator, when he mentioned the fact that Mr. Ehrlichman and Mr. Haldeman -were principals, I did not, understand what, he meant.. I wanted to make it clear to him , that that I felt, I also had legal problems and I had been involved in obstruction of justice. Any time I was in the oval office, I did not want to withhold anything from the President at any time, and felt that any information that he was seeking or came out as a result of the conversation, that I should give it to him. [00.25.20-the WHITE HOUSE questions hit upon an apparent inconsistency in DEAN'S testimony-DEAN is calm in responding] Senator INOUYE. If you were not clear as to whether the President clearly understood, are you suggesting that on September 15 he did not clearly understand what was happening? Mr. DEAN. I have testified that one of the reasons I sought the meeting of the 21st is because I did not think the President fully understood the implications of the coverup, the fact, that people had been involved in obstruction of justice and I wanted to make it very clear to him that this was my interpretation of the situation. At that time, I did have access to the President. When he did call we the night before, I did raise it and felt that I should go in and tell him the implications of this entire matter. [00.26.09-AGAIN, the WHITE HOUSE questions attempt to pick apart DEAN'S testimony on semantic grounds] Senator INOUYE. If you felt that the President of the United States did not, fully understand the implications on February 27, how did you expect the, President to understand the implications on September 15 of the prior year? [00.26.25-DEAN'S response is calm] Mr. DEAN. When I went in on the 15th of the prior year -as I say, this was sort of a congratulations, good job, John, Bob's told me what you have been doing. At the, time, we went on to discuss other aspects of the efforts to prevent the entire matter from mm coming out before the election. We talked about, when the civil suit would proceed, we talked about when the criminal suit would be tried. The discussion at that time was very--the President was asking most of the questions and I was giving very short answers. I might also add that I was very unused to going into the President's office. I was extremely nervous -when I was before him. This was the first time, I had ever really had a sort of one-to-one session with him. The other meetings I have been in, there have been many other members of the staff. I have not done most of the talking; rather, I was the man who was in there taking notes or taking other people into the meetings So I would answer his questions and listen and do the best I could to report. [00.27.39]