Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 27, 1973

.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.42.20-DEAN gets a little shot back at GURNEY, questioning his involvement in the ITT scandal] Senator GURNEY. Not my office. I think- we met in Senator Hruska's office, the Republican members of the committee; isn't that correct, with you? Mr. DEAN. Well, Senator, I recall one time that Mr. Fielding and I came up to your office, on the, matter and Mr. Fielding provided some material for your staff. It was that, type of thing that would come to my office for assistance and aid. Senator GURNEY. What does that have to do with the Watergate? Mr. DEAN. Well, I was explaining the type of thing that would come to my office and my office -was a firefighting office and would got into various-- Senator GURNEY. Did you do other firefighting before June 18? Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir. Senator GURNEY. At the committee to reelect? Mr. DEAN. Not to my knowledge, no. That was the only fire I recall over there, and it, was the biggest one. Senator GURNEY. Now, then, you mentioned in your testimony yesterday in response to Mr. Dash that you inherited the coverup. Would you tell how you inherited the coverup? Mr. DEAN. I didn't hear the Senator. Inherited? Senator GURNEY. You said yesterday in response to questioning from Mr. Dash, you said that you inherited the coverup of Watergate. Mr. DEAN. I had heard or inherited? Senator GURNEY. I understand inherited. Mr. DEAN. That is correct. When I came, back to the office on the 18th and talked to Mr. Strachan, I realized that the coverup was already in effect, in being, and I realized that when Mr. Strachan told me of the documents that he had destroyed and Mr. Haldeman's instruction, that there certainly wasn't going to be a revelation of the White House involvement in the matter. I didn't at that point in time, know the potentials of the White House involvement. [00.44.12--DEAN has said that he executed others' orders after they-Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman-had set the policy. GURNEY wants to suggest that DEAN was the architect] Senator GURNEY. Was not one of the first meetings of the coverup held in John Mitchell's apartment on the 19th of June?, Mr. DEAN. Senator, I would say that the day of, to my knowledge, the day of the 19th at the, White House was a, very busy day. That the calls I received from Mr. Ehrlichman, from Mr. Colson, the meetings I had with Mr. Ehrlichman and then again later with Mr. Colson about the safe were long before I went to the meeting at Mr. Mitchell's apartment, which I do not recall was on the, 19th or 20th. I do recall a meeting in Mr. Mitchell's office, but I do not recall specifically which day it was. I recall arriving late at the meeting, and I cannot recall with any specificity any of the discussions at the meeting. [00.45.07-GURNEY continues the line of questioning] Senator GURNEY. Well, what you are saying is then that these several phone calls you had -with all of these people really had to do with at least the beginnings of the coverup, is that right.? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. Senator GURNEY. Well, you were in on it from the beginning, -were you not? Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir. Senator GURNEY,. You really did not inherit anything. You -were in on the sort of hatching of it, were you not? [00.45.28] Mr. DEAN. Senator, I might explain what often happened in my relationship with my superiors at the White House, and I think I alluded to this yesterday, is that others -would set the policy, for example with the Calley case or the, Lithuanian defector, how to deal with it, what was to be done. Senator GURNEY. Who set the policy on the, coverup Mr. DEAN. I -would say the policy was just--I do not think it was a policy set. There was just no alternative at that, point in time. Senator GURNEY., It sort of grew like Topsy, and you were a part of it, is that not right? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. [00.46.05-GURNEY wants to put a sinister spin on DEAN not directly telling NIXON of all these actions-DEAN murders this question] Senator GURNEY. Now, Now, since this thing started out with such a flurry and a spate of phone calls and meetings between everybody, did you advise the President of -what was going on? Mr. DEAN. Senator, the first time I ever talked to the President was On September 15. There was one occasion that I recall before September 15, which was in late August, to the best of my recollection, and that certainly was not an occasion to talk to the President about anything because his former law partners were in the office, Mrs. Nixon was in the office, there were several notaries or one notary there, some other members of the staff and it had to do with the signing of the President's testamentary papers and it was--just was not a very appropriate occasion to even give, a, whisper to the President that I would like to talk to him. So I must say that, any time between June 19' and September 15 I had no conversations with the President, and nor did I approach the President at any time, other than through reporting to Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman about what I was doing. [00.47.29]