Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 26, 1973

Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.49.52] Senator TALMADGE. Did you think it -was part of an effort to make you the fall guy in the plan? Mr. DEAN. I didn't raise the fall guy--it made, it very easy for them to protect themselves to say that this was all Dean if anything ever went wrong. I was aware of that but I didn't begin to think about that until the August 29 statement and at that time I began discussing it -with other people because I was right square In the middle of the coverup, and now my name was being put out in front of the whole thing as clearing everybody of complicity and I say this -may be a natural, I had seen it happen before. I had seen situations like this occur where people who had not actually done, something take the blame for it, to avoid embarrassing others higher up and I felt it was a real possibility. Senator TALMADGE. Why have you always assumed it was a Presidential decision to keep A keep Mr. Magruder on at the Committee To Re-Elect the President? Mr. DEAN. Well, Well, I assumed that for two reasons: First of all, it was very clear by the time Mr. Magruder or these discussions came UP the strategy was developing that the -matter could stop at, Mr. Liddy, that they could hold it there. then there could be no links in the White House through Mr. Magruder and nobody at the top of the Re-Election Committee -would be damaged. [00.51.16] Mr. Magruder was the deputy director, he was involved. I reported the fact he was involved. Mr. Mitchell, who I didn't know was involved or not, they were asking me whether I thought he should leave or stay in the campaign. I cannot, conceive of a discussion of factors not coming up in a conversation with the President about what was happening over at his reelection committee. Now, it is presumptions or it is -a presumption on my part, but given the, you know, this is the number one and two men at the election committee. Senator TALMADGE. You testified that you always suspected that Mr. Colson was far more knowledgeable than be protested. What led you to that conclusion? Mr. DEAN. Well, the fact that Mr. Magruder had told me of numbers of--the fact that The staff had contacted him regarding implementing the plan. The fact that Mr. Hunt had a very Close relationship with Mr. Colson, that the memos that I found in Hunt's safe Indicated that Hunt had a practice of reporting regularly to Mr. Colson on things that occurred, [00.52.30] and I found it very hard to believe that Mr. Hunt and Mr. Liddy would walk into Mr. Colson's office and tell him that they didn't have some security plan or something like that and then persuade Colson on a call like that or on a statement like that to call Mr. Magruder to have his staff subsequently follow up with additional calls and tell them to get that plan going. Senator TALMADGE. You testified that you had to report to the President through Mr. Haldeman or through Mr. Ehrlichman. Were you Closer to the President on the Watergate than in any other area? Mr. DEAN. Do you mean when I did begin reporting to him? Senator TALMADGE. Yes. Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir. Senator TALMADGE. Can you account for that? Mr. DEAN. Well, I can only tell you what the President told me, He told me that this matter was taking up too, much attention On the part of Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman which, indeed it -was very consuming for ever everybody that, was involved in it. No one, could leave the store very long for fear that something would go astray so it was something that everyone had to stay on top of. That the trial was over, we were moving into the Senate phase, we had a grand plan that had been laid out over a weekend of some 12 and 14 hour meetings. The President, I assume, thought that now that the plans had 'been laid, the policies had been made, "have Mr. Dean report to me and I will deal with him directly on the matter." [00.54.06]