Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activiti...

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Caucus Room, Russell Senate Office Building
Year Shot:
1973  (Actual Year)
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Original Film:
[00.55.30-TALMADGE questions DEAN about the organizational setup at the White House and DEAN'S access to NIXON-DEAN repeats that he had contact with NIXON through HALDEMAN and EHRLICHMAN] Senator TALMADGE. Do you know who was responsible for that organizational setup? Mr. DEAN. Mr. Haldeman had basically told me who I would report to, Mr. Ehrlichman had been the former counsel, and when I got into legal areas that were of interest to him, I also supplied legal assistance through my office, to the domestic counsel on occasion. Senator TALMADGE. Then, Mr. Haldeman informed You of that organizational setup, is that a correct answer? Mr. DEAN-. That is correct. sir. It was just--it was not a matter of being informed, it just existed when you arrived. When I started there I was alone. I finally persuaded them to let me get one assistant. Slowly as the workload of my office increased. I got two or three more. I had inherited a couple of people when I came on. Mr. Huston was there, but he never really worked directly for me. He was raking his assignments from Mr. Haldeman or doing speechwriting for Mr. Price and Mr. Caulfield when I first came was still doing assignments for Mr. Ehrlichman. [00.56.41] Senator TALMADGE. When were you told that you had no direct access to the President but must go through Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman? Mr. DEAN. Well, Senator, I had had dealings with the White House before I even joined the staff and I had a pretty good feel for the operation in the White House from working on developing various legislative programs that went over to the White House. And in talking to people, over there I had gotten to know a number of people before I even went to the staff, and that is just the way it was, [00.57.14-a response to the assertions raised by Sen. GURNEY that DEAN could/should have informed NIXON directly of his knowledge of the coverup] Senator TALMADGE. Did you ever try to obtain direct access to the President without going through Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman? Mr. DEAN. There is no way that would be possible, Senator. If, for example, you were to pick up the telephone and call the President, the call would be, transferred immediately by the operator to Mr. Haldeman or some other member of the staff. But generally if, say, any other staff member called, the call would generally go to -Mr. Haldeman to clear the call. He would want to know why you wanted to call and what the subject matter was, so you were in a sense reporting to Mr. Haldeman. Senator TALMADGE. Did you ever see anyone try to go into the Office of the, President without going through Mr. 'Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman? Mr. DEAN. I think I made reference, in, early in my testimony I believe there is a reporter in this room. 'Mr. Mollenhoff, who used to be on the White House staff and I noted on occasion in looking back over some old records that he had a special counsel title and worked in some areas was, In a sense, what I might call also firefighting to put out, problems of conflicts and dealing in areas like that and I saw a number of memorandums that he had sent to the President which never got there, and they had been returned by Mr. Haldeman. Senator TALMADGE. You never saw him try to walk in the President's office? Mr. DEAN. No, I did not. There -are a lot of Secret Service agents around the President's Office, I might add, also. Senator TALMADGE. One other thing I -would like some clarification on. On Monday I asked you a question and it appears on page 2465, line 23 of the record. "Did you think it was part of an effort to make you the fall guy in the plan?" And your answer begins immediately, of course, after the question but then, beginning on line 8 of page 2466 you stated something that I would like more clarification on. [00.59.08] "I had seen situations like this occur where people who had not actually done something take the blame for it to avoid embarrassing others higher up and I felt it was a real possibility." Now, were you referring to the situation at the White House? Mr. DEAN. Yes, sir, I was. Senator TALMADGE. Could you give us an illustration of some instances of that type where Mr. DEAN. I can give you instances that I think are public knowledge of--I think I have already alluded to one because another member of this panel had another follow-up question of this nature. The one, I have already referred to was the fact that Mr. Malik was--took the blame, so to speak, for instigating an investigation of Mr. Daniel Schorr. Another interesting situation--there was during the 1970 campaign a rather-- Senator TALMADGE. Who was he taking the blame for? Mr. DEAN. Mr. Haldeman. Senator TALMADGE. Haldeman. All right. Go ahead. Mr. DEAN. Or the President. [01.00.15]