Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activiti...

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.Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.30.16-GURNEY interrogates DEAN about his meetings with NIXON] Senator GURNEY. This is March 13? Mr. DEAN. That is correct. Senator GURNEY. Was that not also a preparation for a press conference, was that, not the main reason for that meeting? Mr. DEAN. On the 13th? Senator GURNEY. Yes. Mr. DEAN. The bulk of that meeting had to do with the fact that it was very likely that I was going to be called to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee. and we had discussions at that time of possibly litigating over Dean as a means of not having other members of the White House staff having to appear before any other committee. Senator GURNEY. Are you saying you discussed nothing about the press conference that day? Mr. DEAN. I do not recall a preparation. It was generally just things would come up, shortly before a Press conference that these would that, he would ask me for questions on a press conference. Senator GURNEY. He had a press conference on the 15th of March. You had meetings with him on the 13th and 14th? Mr. DEAN. 14TH? Senator GURNEY. 13th and 14th. Mr. DEAN. It is very possible that questions came up during the press conference because he was following the Gray hearings very closely and whether the discussion that we were having regarding the Gray hearings was formulating answers in the President's mind for the press conference I do not know. He had not at that point, begun to study, at least in my presence, his briefing book for the press conference. Senator GURNEY. You cannot recall any discussions in either one of those meetings about preparation for a press conference? All you recall is discussion about Watergate. Is that Your answer? [00.32.25] Mr. DEAN. No, sir; Your question was, what specific conferences did I have with the President on Watergate. Senator GURNEY. No, we are way beyond that. Then, I was asking did you discuss the, press conference in the March 13 and 14 meetings, and your answer was that you could not recall. Now. I am asking that--you can recall all about the Watergate on those two dates but you Cannot recall any discussions about preparing the President for the press conference. Mr. DEAN [conferring with counsel]. Well, Senator, all I can say is that the thrust of that meeting was not to prepare the President for a press conference. There were discussions about the Gray hearings, there was discussion about, the question of litigating executive privilege. The fact that the President gave a press conference on the 15th, those dates were, generally flexible, and certain circumstances might influence the President as to whether he would or would not have a press conference. Senator GURNEY. So you do not remember any discussion at either one of those, meetings about the press conference? Mr. DEAN. On the 14th I do, yes. Senator GURNEY. But, not on the 13th? Mr. DEAN. Not on the 13th, no, sir. [00.33.34] Senator GURNEY. Let us go on. Are there other meetings, that you remember in March, prior to the 21st of March where Watergate was discussed, and again I am talking about the coverup, the, criminal activities? ] [00.33.48-DEAN has a hard time to persuade GURNEY to accept his proposition that many aspects of the coverup policy were firmly established at that time and not necessary to discuss] Mr. DEAN. Senator, again, I am not trying to include more in your question than I would wish to include, but, there, was a general theory that had been set up at La Costa as to how to approach the entire Watergate coverup situation, so what might be your interpretation of a discussion of a Watergate matter and what had emerged out of the La Costa, meeting, I find far different, If you -will look at the agenda that went in to the President following the, La, Costa meeting, you Will see those were the first beginnings of the coverup as it related to the hearings which were deemed to be as serious as a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice. Senator GURNEY. We have got, down to March 14th and we only have 7 days to go to the 21st of March. Mr. DEAN. That is correct,. Senator GURNEY. Would you please tell me in these meetings you had with the President between March 14 and March 21, the occasions, the incidents, that you discussed the coverup of Watergate with him?, Mr. DEAN. again, I think what I describe in my testimony is the post La Costa and I will be happy to go through that again and get into what were rather specific discussions of mechanics of coverup from a, very detailed nature whereas opposed to the general policy of a coverup. [00.35.22]