Thursday, November 29, 2012

November 28, 1972

In an incredibly foolish move, Nixon has decided to nominate Patrick Gray for the FBI job; Gray had been the acting director since Hoover died, but choosing to put Gray in front of a Senate committee in a confirmation battle was not at all a wise move.

At Camp David, Nixon and Bob Haldeman, the White House Chief of Staff, talk about Gray, with the president thinking that "if they did ask Pat Gray in his confirmation about Watergate" that nothing would come of it. Of course, when White House personnel had been asked about Watergate by Gray's FBI they were able to get away with phony stories, but it will turn out in a while that the Senate is somewhat tougher than that.

Nixon and Haldeman then move on to Haldeman's aide, Gordon Strachan, who had plenty of guilty knowledge. The plan had been to get Strachan and others out of the White House, certainly before the Watergate trial:

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Haldeman: ...Strachan we've moved over and it's done, we've moved over to USIA, the counsel's office there. So he's out of the White House, in another job, the assignment here is finished and he moved on to something else.

President Nixon: That'll be a good job, too.

Haldeman: It's a good job...He is apparently the one guy that is a problem on testimony in what he knows. But Dean says he's the one guy he's the least worried about on testimony; he's absolutely solid. He said the important thing is to keep him in the government, keep him where he doesn't feel that he's been cut off at all, and just let him roll. So that's what they've done. Dean did all of this. Dean's doing a hell of a good job. He's a damn good lawyer.

President Nixon: Oh, boy.

Haldeman: Thank God we've got him there.

President Nixon: I never thought he was up to that.

Haldeman: You wouldn't quite move him up. Dean has stepped up. He's a hell of a lot better person than anybody over at Justice. He's taken a much rougher time of it.

--

Just to make it clear: it's obvious, once again, that the President of the United States is being fully briefed on a conspiracy to obstruct justice; in this case, that a White House aide is committing perjury; if leaving the White House precisely because of it; and is being provided with a nice government job as a reward and to make sure that he'll continue to do a good job perjuring himself. 

It's also clear that the President knows that his White House Counsel, John Dean is coordinating the obstruction of justice under the direction of the White House Chief of Staff.

It's also appears evident at this point that Nixon thinks they're just mopping up the final bits of a successful cover-up. After all, the president was re-elected in an amazing landslide, and while they'll still have to get through the trial, everything seems well under control. He probably doesn't know about Hunt's new demands yet; nor does he know all the other ways that it's all about to start caving in on them.

2 comments:

  1. It's a great story, but hey, nobody died in Watergate. What about Benghazi? Huh? Huh?? Huh???

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd like to know what inflection Nixon used when he said "Oh, boy" - was it a 'phew, we dodged one there', a 'goody, goody (rubs his hands together)', or something else.

    But really I just wanted a pretense to mention how much I appreciate this series, even if there isn't much reason to comment. Thanks JB.

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