Floods in Mississippi. The President flies down there and back, meeting with Haldeman on the way there (and earlier in the morning) and both Haldeman and Ehrlichman on the way back. More of the same: would they take a leave? Resign? An indefinite leave or a 30 day leave? At one point, there's a proposal that they take a vacation? Nixon pretty clearly has decided that they're gone, but he's not able to simply say it, and so this has been going on all week.
Pat Gray, the story of destroying the material in Hunt's safe having reached the press, finally puts himself out of his misery and resigns. Gray, for some reason, is never prosecuted. Agents opened his office safe after he left, and found Watergate materials he had obtained from the CIA and never passed along to the people investigating the case.
Kleindienst and Nixon talk on the phone about that after Nixon gets back from Mississippi:
Kleindienst: ...In view of Pat's resignation, Mr. President, it would be my recommendation that I just administratively permit Mark Felt, who --
President Nixon: No, I tell you. I don't want him. I can't have him. I just talked to Bill Ruckelshaus and Bill is a Mr. Clean and I want a fellow in there that is not part of the old guard and that is not part of that infighting in there.[...] He'll do it as acting director until we get a full director.
Mark Felt was already passed over once when Gray was installed Acting Director, and Nixon was right to not trust him: he was the source feeding Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein information as "Deep Throat."
Next, a call with Henry Petersen:
Petersen: ...I just wanted to call you and give you a report on that -- on the Ellsberg case.
President Nixon: Yes.
Petersen: Judge Byrne had opened it up last night and was inclined to the view that disclosure to him was sufficient.
President Nixon: Yeah.
Petersen: And then apparently overnight he changed his opinion.
President Nixon: Right.
Petersen: And read the memorandum from Silbert to me in open court, indicated that the defendants were entitled to a hearing on it, requested disclosure of the source, which I've authorized, and asked for all the information the government has. We don't have anything.
In some ways, the whole point of the cover-up was to keep the Plumbers operations, the whole "White House horrors," secret. Now not only is the cover-up of Watergate blown beginning with McCord's accusations, but everything else is coming out. And while the judge doesn't declare a mistrial at this point, the whole point of the Plumbers -- the operation to get Ellsberg rather than just let the law take its course -- now is close to letting Ellsberg go free.The trial is suspended for now, with Judge Byrne waiting for the government to double-check whether there's any more information they have on Ellsberg that the didn't turn over. It is, of course, another headline story.
Petersen also comes to his senses and refuses Nixon's earlier request of detailing the government's case against Haldeman and Ehrlichman, saying; " I don't think I can produce. I'll tell you why. Most of the information -- almost everything they have -- [...] It's all grand jury." Nixon accepts it, but it must be a blow; if Petersen isn't going to keep him informed over everything the prosecutors are up to, his situation (not to mention the situations of Haldeman and Ehrlichman) are set back considerably.
Petersen then says that, with negotiations with Dean stalled, he no longer has any advice against Nixon firing Dean, but he also presses Nixon to get rid of Haldeman and Ehrlichman as soon as possible.
Haldeman then comes in, and they go over the March 21 tape again. Nixon's concern this time is that it can't be read as ordering Dean to make the payoff to Hunt.
Later that night, Nixon meets with Ron Ziegler, his press secretary who he's now talking to more now as Haldeman and Ehrlichman are on the way out and Chuck Colson is gone. The conversation turns, early on, to the biggest topic there is...
President Nixon: [...] I can do quite a job of that Goddamn press, I hate to do it, but I will. I have to. But tell me this, in spite of all their vindictiveness and so forth, they -- the press still wants the President to come out all right? I mean -- I mean my -- except for [pundit Martin] Agronsky and a few others, they don't call for impeachment so far. I heard on the Agronsky show they had --
Ziegler: they didn't call for impeachment. They referred to it, you know, the wording.
President Nixon: Christ, impeach the President on John Dean -- John Dean's word. [Pause] I wonder what documentary stuff Dean's talking about. He claims he's goe some documentary stuff. [...]
[And then later in the conversation]
President Nixon: ...But they can't want frankly to see Agnew be President.
Ziegler: That's right.
President Nixon: No, really. You know -- well, I don't think of impeachment, good God Almighty, the point is they've got to want this country to succeed. The whole hopes of the whole Goddamn world of peace, Ron, you know, where they rest, they rest right here in this damn chair. [...]
Nixon is heading to Camp David for the weekend, and he concludes his conversation with Ziegler about the outlines for a speech to the nation on Watergate, a speech which will mark the end of the White House service of his top two staff members. He talks about how hard it has been to actually get them to resign, but the mechanics of doing the deed are already well on their way on this Friday night.