Saturday, March 30, 2013

March 29, 1973

The Ervin Committee moves quickly, subpoenaing Magruder's assistant Robert Reisner, who the FBI and the prosecutors had totally overlooked.

Today is supposed to be a big presidency day; Nixon has a nationwide address scheduled in the evening, which he will devote to a warning to North Vietnam (about cease-fire violations) and new price controls. Haldeman notes that Nixon's calendar was cleared to work on the speech, but Watergate did intrude a little, nevertheless.

The first plan of the day was to get out a statement about Dean volunteering to go to the grand jury and waive executive privilege...but that winds up getting shot down over the course of the day. Republicans around town want something done, however; George Bush, the RNC Chair, and Vice-President Agnew both signal their concern, with Bush asking for a meeting with Nixon. Another big concern is setting up good lines of communication with the Senate committee, or at least with Howard Baker; Baker and Ehrlichman speak on the phone in the afternoon, with Baker complaining "that nobody's really in charge. I keep getting information and feedback from three or four different sources, and it suddenly dawned on me no one person's calling these shots."

Later, Nixon and Ehrlichman speak on the phone. The "other activities" are presumably the Plumbers -- remember that Ehrlichman was more involved in that than he was in Watergate itself:


President Nixon: [...] And, as far as the other activity, you know...

Ehrlichman: We could defend that as national security.

President Nixon: This is national security, you bet we have. We've got all sorts of activities because we've been trying to run this town by avoiding the Jews in the government, because there were very serious questions.

Ehrlichman: We had leaks...

President Nixon: Because there were leaks in the government itself.
President Nixon: I remember. We couldn't get it done. Hoover didn't want to go fro the Ellsberg csae, didn't want to face the [situation?] Remember that?
President Nixon: So the investigation had to be undertaken for the national security of this country...


That's not all; Ehrlichman also tells Nixon that he's met with Pat Gray, and that Gray still wants to fight, even though all their information from the Judiciary Committee is telling them that there's little chance of confirmation. Gray is now clinging to a plan in which the nomination is put on hold by Judiciary until after the Ervin Committee is done, leaving Gray still Acting Director during that period -- and he's made a point of stressing that the White House would rather have Gray, a friend, there than an outsider. Which Ehrlichman takes as another threat; what might Gray leave for the next Director?

And on top of all that, Haldeman speaks to Mitchell in the afternoon, and Mitchell raises yet another concern. From Haldeman's diary:


Everyone says Dean is uptight. He's not making proper judgement. Mitchell strongly suggests that I make sure he doesn't go off the reservation without my reviewing it. I'm the only one he'll trust. His opinion of E is incredible and frightening, so I should establish contact with Dean and maintain it.


Haldeman, however, doesn't do anything with that warning. And it's no surprise; from Haldeman's point of view, it's Mitchell who is the problem, because if the campaign faction, Mitchell and Magruder, would take full responsibility then the White House would be off the hook. Or so everyone at the White House, including the president has been saying. Could Haldeman have done anything now? Perhaps not, but Mitchell is exactly right about where the biggest threat is right now.

1 comment:

  1. Scalia and Thomas must go as well.
    They are like Siamese twin bigots.
    They go and then she goes.
    Makes sense to me.


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