Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 23, 1973

Nixon now decides: Haldeman and Ehrlichman should not take leaves of absence until everything is resolved; they should resign in order to fight any charges against them. That's the advice he's getting from pretty much everyone he consults; of course, what none of those people know that Nixon does know is how guilty they both are -- and how guilty he is.

Nixon has Ron Ziegler, the White House Press Secretary who is increasingly a close adviser during this period, call Haldeman late in the day to tell him. From Haldeman's diary:


He [Nixon] told Ziegler to call me and tell me that from the standpoint of the presidency, and from my own standpoint, I should consider seriously that the P has no alternative and that I should resign and fight this, as I know how to fight it.

Ron said the separability idea was argued at length and the view is that it can't be separated. Ehrlichman and I both have to go. The P said these two men are strong enough to deal with this, to move on their own to make their case. But the presidency cannot be encumbered by it.


But after that long conversation, Haldeman talks to Ehrlichman, and then to their (shared) lawyer, and then back to Ziegler, where Haldeman argues for not doing anything quite yet.

So another running theme: not just indecision, but an inability for them to confront each other when necessary. It's not clear how much it matters to the eventual outcomes, but it certainly is an interesting window into how this particular White House operated.

At the end of the day, nothing is resolved, or at least nothing is acted on. It will have to wait until Nixon returns from Florida.

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