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:
[00.40.46] Senator BAKER. The committee will come to order. It is my information from the, floor of the Senate, that there will be a series of other votes tonight. The Senate will be in session probably until 9 or 10 o'clock. That is for the edification of my colleagues. At the time -we ended, Mr. Dean, I believe you were about to tell us about the February meeting. Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir; Senator, you asked me, to give you -what led up to a given set of meetings and we had turned to the immediate agenda, but I think we ought to be. complete and full in answering the -way you requested I answer. I will give you the, intervening sequences that occurred just in highlight again, directly relating to what occurred in the February meetings. It was the intervening event of the payment of silence, money and then the lack of that money and a serious problem with differences between Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman about who would raise that money. [00.41.48] There, was also the intervening event of clemency being assured to Mr. Hunt, in which Mr. Ehrlichman informed me that--I was present when he, told Mr. Colson and myself that, he was going in to see the President about it. He subsequently informed me he, talked to the President. MR. Colson had informed me he talked to the President about it and subsequently, there was another meeting in Mr. Ehrlichman's office when it was described how the assurance was given to Mr. Hunt's lawyer, Mr. Bittman. Senator BAKER. Before you go on with that, Mr. Dean, so you have some preview of the subject matter I am going to cover, it would appear now that I probably may not finish my questions in this first round, but just so you know I do not intend to skip those things, I have, on my list the break-in, the, coverup, the so-called enemies list, executive privilege, Executive clemency domestic intelligence, Internal Revenue Service, Judge Richey, and a number of other things. Each of those I consider to be a subject I want to explore more fully. But for the sake of time---- Mr. DEAN. All I am doing is highlighting, as I just did right then, what was leading up to the February, meetings. [00.43.04] Senator BAKER. All right, but for the sake of time, I would like to focus at this moment on what the President knew and when he knew it. Let us start first, with direct information that you have. Mr. DEAN. All right. I am going to give you a, document that, went directly to the President and I think that the fastest way for me to handle that is just to read the document. We have already covered the first part of it. Senator BAKER. What document? [00.43.24-DEAN shows a document that details BAKER'S secret meeting with NIXON] Mr. DEAN. This is exhibit No. 34-34. The first part was what we just discussed, "Baker meeting with President. "Baker requested secret meeting re Watergate hearings. "Baker told Timmons he, wants guidance, but to maintain his purity in the Senate he doesn't want a anyone to know of meeting with the, President. "Timmons believes that Baker wants to help. "Timmons does not feel Baker would object if there was staff present during meeting, so long as fact of meeting never gets out. "Meeting would be excellent chalice to find out what Baker plans to do and set up channel to work with him." This was based on a conversation, as I believe we discussed in executive session, of Mr. Timmons' perception of the conversation he had with you. "(2) Sending Stans up for confirmation. "We don't know if Stans wants to do this, but we do know he -wants to be rehabilitated and isn't afraid to tell his story publicly. "Confirmation hearings would help defuse Watergate hearings, and the more of this we get to the public, the less impact the Watergate hearings per se will have. "This should be resolved quickly, because it will only be helpful if it, occurs prior to Watergate hearings. (Stans has requested to see Dean on February 28--upon his return from Jamaica.) "(3) What to do with Magruder: "Jeb wants to return to the White House (Bicentennial project). "May be vulnerable (Sloan) until Senate hearings are completed. "Jeb personally is prepared to withstand confirmation hearings. [00.45.01-DEAN discusses proposed role of Pat BUCHANAN] "(4) Use of Buchanan as observer/spokesman to keep press coverage honest: "Watergate press coverage to date has been dishonest and libelous. Pat could call them to task. "The hearings are going to be partisan. Pat, could make certain that the public understand this. "Teddy Kennedy is a, moving force behind the hearings--this can and should be, documented. Pat could do this well. "The public does not perceive Buchanan as being that close to the President. The basic question is whether the White House. is going to sit quietly and take the unwarranted abuse, that is bound to come from hearings.' We can't run a secret counter PR effort so why not, do it Openly and respectfully--Pat can do that." "Buchanan's role will eliminate much of the heat that Ziegler will otherwise receive, and Ziegler could even have Pat brief from time to time. [00.45.55]