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Watergate Hearings: Senate Select Committee on Presidenti...

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Watergate Hearings: Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities June 28, 1973. Testimony of John Dean

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Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). Wasn t there a feeling there, among some White House officials such as Mr. Colson and perhaps among some in the Committee To Re-Elect the President that every person who was not backing their efforts to reelect the President or who dissented from the programs of the President was an enemy? John Dean. I think that many people who were most vocal and could command some audience in their dissent were considered opponents or enemies, yes.

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Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). And that was applied to a great list of people, including some of the most distinguished commentators of the news media on the national scene was it not? John Dean. Yes, sir. Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). Not only that, yesterday a document was put in evidence and identified to you, as I recall, as coming from Mr. Colson's office entitled "Opponent Priority Activity. And on page 3 of that document it has this among the opponent priority activity, No. 14, Samuel M. Lambert, L-a-m-b-e-r-t, President, National Education Association, has taken us on vis-a-vis Federal aid to parochial schools, a 1972 issue." Didn't those in the White House interested in President Nixon's reelection and then the reelection committee classify among their enemies people who dissented from President Nixon's programs? John Dean. As I say, those who were able to command audience were singled out. Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). Here is a man listed among the opponents or the enemies whose only offense is that he believed in the first amendment and shared Thomas Jefferson's conviction as expressed in the Virginia statute for religious freedom that to compel a man to make contributions of money for the dissemination of religious opinions he disbelieves is sinful and tyrannical. Isn't that true? John Dean. I cannot disagree with the chairman at all.

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Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). So we have here plans to violate the fourth amendment which were approved by the President according to Mr. Haldeman. We have people being branded enemies whose mere offense is that they believed in enforcing the First Amendment as proclaimed by the Supreme Court of the United States just about a week ago. John Dean. That is correct.

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Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). Yes. I was very much intrigued by Mr. Buzhardt's document and I would like to invite your attention to page 8, the statement he makes on there. Robert McCandless, attorney. Mr. Chairman, he does not have the Buzhardt document, so-called. Senator Sam Ervin (D North Carolina). I can read this very short statement: In February however, with the Ervin committee beginning its work, the President was concerned that all the available facts be made known." And also a statement on page 10 to the effect "during this period, the point was frequently raised by various people, including primarily the President, that the whole story of the Watergate should be made public." Do you know any action that the President took subsequent to the establishment of this committee and prior to the time this committee started to function which showed his concern that all the available facts with respect to the Watergate be made known? John Dean. Mr. Chairman, I must. testify to the contrary, that I think some of the documents that I have submitted regarding Mr. Haldeman's specific instructions to me on dealing with what was called the Watergate tactics and then the subsequent La Costa meetings, which occurred on June 11 and 12, the subsequent meetings where there were efforts to woo members of this committee, the discussions of executive privilege to prevent the testimony of people from the White House, could well be concluded to evidence quite the contrary intention.