Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, June 28, 1973 (1/2)

Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
Tape Master:
Original Film:
[00.30.35-BAKER continues questioning DEAN about the state of NIXON'S knowledge of the coverup, assessing the quality of evidence regarding the Sept. 15, 1972 meeting] Senator BAKER. All right. It, seems to me then that the extent to which the September 15 meeting Would give us some guidance in our inquiry as to what the President dent knew and when he knew it, that you depend on a combination of things. You depend on your experience at the White House as a staffer with the interrelationships of staff and the Presidential staff; the remarks which did not relate directly to Watergate, that is, the break-in at Watergate or to the concealment of the involvements and responsibilities for it. [00.31.30] But based on the general tenor of the conversation, you gained the impression, I believe you said, to paraphrase Your testimony, that the President knew that there was an on-going counter-effort, at least, and when you couple that with your knowledge of the relationships and circumstances, that you concluded then in your own mind that he knew something, and I don't believe You have testified quite exactly what, about the events involved? Mr. DEAN. Well, I might say one thing that did come specifically out, of the conversation was that we had leaped the hurdle of the, Justice Department investigation and the indictments -were down. Now the looming problems were the Patman committee hearings, and the President gave very clear instructions to Mr. Timmons he, should get, on top of those so they did not get out of hand because that was the next problem. IT was also very clear that I was to follow up with the civil litigation and see anything I could do to make sure that this didn't get out of hand. [00.32.44] [2 PAGES MISSING FROM TRANSCRIPT--PARAPHRASED] Senator BAKER states, not to distort DEAN, but it's true that DEAN had to draw inferences from the conversation and DEAN'S knowledge of the relationships of the staff that led him to believe NIXON knew of the efforts to counter the Watergate publicity, and possibly the facts regarding responsibility for the break-in itself. DEAN agrees to that summarization. BAKER states that there was no direct statement about CRP involvement in Watergate, NIXON'S knowledge, of either Watergate or the Coverup. In BAKER'S words, no direct "category one" information. DEAN. Repeats that he will not place interpretations on the things he reports, and has reported all of the evidence that he can about the meeting. BAKER says the information is useful. There will be more exploration of the Sept. 15 meeting, especially when HALDEMAN comes before the committee. [00.33.55] BAKER states that the only other person present on Sept. 12 was NIXON, BAKER is not prepared to say how the committee can get NIXON'S testimony about the events, but in any case, DEAN'S testimony will be compared in the future to other testimony. Asks about DEAN'S next meeting with NIXON. [00.34.40] DEAN states that the next meeting was preceeded by the events of the LaCOSTA meetings, in which EHRLICHMAN and HALDEMAN dictated the policy for the continuing coverup as the ERVIN COMMITTEE was announced. DEAN was asked by HALDEMAN at this time to prepare an agenda for a meeting with the PRESIDENT of the strategy for the next part of the coverup. BAKER states that he wants to know chiefly "WHAT DID THE PRESIDENT KNOW AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?", requests DEAN to keep that focus, first on DEAN'S direct knowledge from meeting with NIXON, second by circumstantial evidence.