Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
[00.49.41-THOMPSON interrogating MITCHELL about the payoffs to the DEFENDANTS. DEAN has testified that MITCHELL was a central figure in the decision to pay off the defendants to keep silent]
Mr. THOMPSON. I am not, going to pursue that any further.
Getting back- to your knowledge of the money, perhaps my question should have been, "When -was the first time that you heard of the need for the payment of money," and I ask it because of this: Dean testified that the first time. he heard any discussions of the, need for money. money to take care of those who were involved in the break-in was in a, meeting which occurred on either June 23. Saturday, or June 24 attended by Dean, Mardian, LaRue, and yourself.
Mr. MITCHELL. that is quite possible because, as I recall the conversation of Mr. Liddy that he had -with Mr. Mardian and LaRue, was hopeful that these people that he at that time, of course, was not in jail, not suspect, and was still working for the committee, I do know whether he was suspect or not, in any event, he was still working for the committee until the 28th of June, he was--he talked to Mardian and Liddy about the hope that somebody could provide, for these five people who had
been arrested, and the thought was that that the committee should do it and, of course., that was immediately off, the committee would not, do it and, of course, obviously do it under the existing statutes. Now, what developed out of that with respect to Mr. Dean's concept of it or what he heard about whether he heard that story or what I do not know but that is the first point in time at which the subject matter was ever discussed.
Mr. THOMPSON. The points that concerned you -were, the fact, that early on the discussions about, the money were taking place, or the need for money, and also Mr. Magruder's testimony I believe he testified, I think first, in June, and then again maybe August and then again in September before, the grand jury, and the point was that, during this Period of time you were having to make your decision as to how you were going to play this thing'. I understand that your testimony is that you were making your decision on the basis of what you had
understood Liddy to say plus some points of corroboration from Mr. Dean.
Mr. MITCHELL. That was the basis for the White House activities, that is absolutely correct.
Mr. THOMPSON. Without getting into a great deal more detail, Mr. Mitchell, besides the Diem cables can you answer any further point of verification that Mr. Dean gave you concerning these matters we mentioned, the Ellsberg psychiatrist, the Dita Beard situation, any of those matters?
Mr. MITCHELL. Well, of course, there was the purported fire bombing of the Brookings Institution which had been discussed and so forth, I have already---
Mr. THOMPSON. Did Dean tell you that was seriously proposed at one time?
Mr. MITCHELL. Yes I believe that I took it as a very serious proposal because of the fact that he flew across the, country in order to get it turned off.
Mr. THOMPSON. For that particular reason as you understood it?
Mr. MITCHELL. Pardon?
Mr. THOMPSON. He made this Is trip for that particular reason?
Mr. MITCHELL. MITCHELL That is the way he so testified and I believe advised it at, that particular time because as you recall, it was tied into the Mardian trip to the west coast also, And also. it seems to me, that I have a pretty clear recollection there was general discussion of, as I say, the extracurricular wiretapping activities,
Mr. THOMPSON. Did you consider these matters national Security matters; at the time you were considering them?
Mr. MITCHELL. Well, since I didn't really know about, them I could not make an assessment about them.
Mr. THOMPSON. In your mind as you were seeking to Justify your position, if you were when these things were realized by you. did you consider them to be matters of national security no one had any right to know. that they
should be covered up in effect, or were these just political decisions?