We're still at the Western White House. Bob Haldeman is taking a couple of days down time, but the president goes for a walk on the beach with John Ehrlichman.
Their accounts of this conversation were in dispute, never settled.
They agree that Nixon (again) raised the question of pardons, especially for Hunt.
Ehrlichman says that this was the point at which he fully informed Nixon of everything the Plumbers had done, including the break-in a Fielding's office. Nixon claims he didn't learn of that crime until much later, in March 1973. But we've seen already that Nixon is well aware that Hunt's involvement in Watergate is dangerous because he's been involved in other things. Don't forget, too, that Nixon was perfectly capable of allowing people to tell him something that he already knew and reacting as if it was all new to him -- in other words, it seems to me perfectly plausible that Nixon was up-to-date on the Plumbers long before July 8, 1972. Just as it's plausible that he learned of the Ellsberg psychiatrist break-in that day, or even that Ehrlichman lied and Nixon really didn't know of it yet.
And Nixon and Ehrlichman went around the same problem that never really had a solution: if the investigation gets beyond Hunt and Liddy, then what? They discuss, that is, the possibility of Jeb Magruder eventually taking the blame. But Magruder was simply not up to the job of fall guy; people might believe that Liddy would go off on his own and do something crazy, but that's not what anyone thinks of Magruder. He would inevitably lead people to Mitchell, and then on to the president. And while the cover-up is being built to succeed through the election, the long-term vulnerability remains: there are too many ways that the investigation will eventually move past Hunt and Liddy, and if that happens then there's no way to build the next firewall so that it will really work.
So the cover story -- Liddy acted on his own, and don't look too closely at Hunt and Liddy beyond the Watergate break-in -- simply must be maintained.