Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
[00.39.16-THOMPSON interrogates MITCHELL trying to probe whether MITCHELL had incentive and motivation to authorize electoral cheating tactics, and MITCHELL'S knowledge of the Watergate operation]
Mr. THOMPSON. Of course.. as it reads, as I have read it, of course, it is not an accurate response
Mr. MITCHELL. -No, I say as you read it, but I think if you will look at the total context, of the questioning, it referred to the security group that involved Mr. McCord which was the subject of the conversation.
Mr. THOMPSON. Were you not, asked any other broader questions about any knowledge you might have had of any
Mr. MITCHELL. I was asked broader questions with respect to did I ever receive documents that I could identify as coming from electronic surveillance and broad questions like that..
Mr. THOMPSON. Do you recall any broader questions concerning conversations that, you had?
Mr. MITCHELL. No, sir, I do not,
Mr. THOMPSON. Is it, just a case of not having asked you the right question?
Mr. MITCHELL. I think that that is the case.
Mr. THOMPSON. Let me refer to June 19 or, 20, I am not, quite sure when it -was. Mr. Mitchell. As I understand it, Mardian and LaRue debriefed Liddy and found out what he knew about, the break-in, his involvement. and the involvement of others. And at that time, he related to them some of the White House horror stories, I believe YOU characterized them as the plumbers activities, and so forth.
[00.40.37-THOMPSON checks MITCHELL'S statement he was concerned less with WATERGATE being made public than with the other White House spying activities]
I will go back to that, In a minute, but as I understand your testimony, this morning the knowledge you got from that debriefing was really the reason why you, in effect, stood by while Mr. Magruder was preparing a story Which, according to what you knew from Liddy was going to he a false story, to present to the grand jury.
Mr. MITCHELL. Along, Mr. Thompson, with some of the other stories that Mr. Dean brought forward to him, the Diem papers and the suspected extracurricular wiretapping -and a few of the others,
Mr. THOMPSON. OK. That caused you to take that position with regard to Magruder. And also, I assume that those factors were the reasons why you, in effect, acquiesced, anyway, in the payments to the families of support. money and lawyers' fees and that .sort of thing, which I am sure you realize could have been pretty embarrassing to say the least, if not illegal, at that time. Would that be correct, as far as your motivations are concerned
Mr. MITCHELL. That is a, correct, summary of my motivation and rationale, for the actions that I did take.
Mr. THOMPSON. Do you recall the date on which Mr. Mardian and Mr. LaRue related this conversation of Liddy's to you?
Mr. MITCHELL. Well he certainly didn't debrief them on the 19th, I am sure of that, because they were, In transit. Whether it -was the 20th or 21st I am not certain.
Mr. THOMPSON. Did they talk to you the same day they talked to him?
Mr. MITCHELL. My recollection is they talked to me the next day, but I am not certain about that, either. But in any event, it was in the,, time frame of the 21st or 22d, to the 'best of my recollection.
Mr. THOMPSON. Can you recall in a little more detail what they said that Liddy had related to them? You have already mentioned the fact that Liddy said that Magruder had pushed him, and the break-in at the, Ellsberg psychiatrist's Office, I believe, and the Dita Beard situation. What did Liddy supposedly say with regard to the Dita Beard situation? What did he supposedly know about White House involvement?
Mr. MITCHELL. To the best of my recollection, and, of course, I have heard these horror stories in different versions from different people, over the period of the years, the fact that he was either the one or assisted in spiriting her out of town, I believe was the discussion at that particular time.
Mr. THOMPSON. Did he indicate, according to them, that the budget for the electronic surveillance operation which led to the break-in of the DNC had been approved by the White House?
Mr. MITCHELL. You are testing my memory pretty hard. I am inclined to think that he did say that, but this is a--not that he said it, but that Mardian or LaRue reported to me that he had said it. But you are testing my memory pretty hard on a substance, of which I have heard dozens and dozens of repetitions of it.
Mr. THOMPSON. Did you ever verify any of these facts with the President?
Mr. MITCHELL. No, sir, I never discussed them with the President.
Mr. THOMPSON. Did you ever verify any of them with Mr. Haldeman?
Mr. MITCHELL. I -never discussed those specific factors -with Haldeman until a later date. It was at that time that Mr. Dean, acting as a liaison between the White House, and the committee with respect to these, matters.