Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
[01.18.53-DEAN discusses meeting with NIXON, discussion of Executive Privilege and strategy to deal with ERVIN COMMITTEE investigation]
At that meeting also, he, told me, he said, John, you should start having direct dealings with Senator Ervin and Senator Baker on the parameters of executive privilege. This was right in the middle of the, Gray hearings and I told the, President, I said I think that would be very unwise, Mr. President, because I am the point in controversy in the Gray hearings and I would be up there negotiating my own position, so to speak.
Senator BAKER. I remember, too, at that, time, that the chairman was talking about arresting people at the White House gate.
Mr. DEAN. That is correct,
Senator BAKER, And the President was talking about having a lawsuit.
Mr. DEAN. I also remember having a discussion with the Attorney General about this area and he told me, he said, we have more marshals than they have sergeants at arms and if we run out of marshals, your boss has 'got the Army.
Senator BAKER.. Go ahead Mr. Dean.
Mr. DEAN. Now, there is something that occurred that was very similar to the, September 15 meeting after we had these discussions. On my way out of the office, he, again repeated to me that I had done an excellent job of dealing with the matter during the campaign, with the Watergate problem. He said that, it, had been the only issue, that the McGovern people had had, that the Democrats had tried to make a big issue out of it. I told him that I had only managed to contain the matter during the, campaign, and again, feeling that I did not know how long the coverup could go on, that this thing could go on indefinitely
Senator BAKER. Did you use the, word "coverup"?
Mr. DEAN. I used the word "contain". He said to me--I said, I am not sure it can be contained indefinitely
He then, I call recall this very vividly. He said, John, he said, I have got a lot of confidence in you. He said, you know, we have to keep just fighting back and
fighting back, and I am sure. you can do it and I want you to report directly to me on all your problems and not bother Bob and John, referring to Haldeman and Ehrlichman.
Senator BAKER. Did you feel at the, time that the President had confidence in you?
Mr. DEAN. Did I feel? As I think I testified earlier, I thought that I had earned my stripes by that, time. so to speak. Somebody else classified it. I think Senator Montoya, as I had gotten my spurs, and I felt that he did: yes, sir.
Senator BAKER. Mr. Dean, it. is now 4:45. I have, covered much territory and I have much more, that I have already mentioned to you that I would like to cover, but at this point, I would like to yield.
Senator Talmadge has not returned, I understand that he has finished his interrogation for this round and the next, one would be Senator Weicker.
Senator WEICKER. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Dean, Just a couple of preliminary questions before I get into the main thrust of questioning, And this asks for an opinion, admitted I admittedly so. but
I would still like to hear it.
On April 30, 1973, the President announced your resignation along with Messrs. Kleindienst, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman. And the President had some very warm things to say about Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman, not very much to say about you and only a very little to
say about Mr. Kleindienst Would You care to opine as to why this particular treatment?
Mr. DEAN. I do not want to offer an opinion; I will just say this, that given the fact that I was not playing ball. I was not surprised. And I might also add this, that I thought it was somewhat unfair to put Mr. Kleindienst's name, amongst the others that were leaving the White House staff at that time. I had a definite reaction to that. I thought that was unfair to Mr. Kleindienst who had, as I understood it, proffered his own resignation and then suddenly, was lumped with
others who there had been a good deal of press speculation about being involved in the Watergate.