Saturday, April 6, 2013

April 5, 1973

An Ehrlichman day.

Still in California, he meets first with Paul O'Brien, the Committee to Re-elect lawyer who has been working with Dean and involved in the hush money. O'Brien is in California to tell the president what's been going on (not realizing that Nixon, of course, is fully informed of everything). Ehrlichman spends two hours listening to O'Brien tell him what's been going on -- and to his analysis that the big problem is John Dean, the coordinator of the payments.

Next, a two plus hour meeting with Haldeman and Nixon.

Later, Ehrlichman meets with a new candidate for FBI director to replace Pay Gray, who Haldeman calls to tell him that he's done, although there's nothing public yet. The new candidate is a district judge -- who right then happens to be presiding, of all things, over the trial of Daniel Ellsberg for stealing and leaking the Pentagon Papers. Indeed, Ehrlichman apparently offers Judge Byrne the FBI job, either blind to the potential conflict of interest involved (since Byrne still had weeks to go on the Ellsberg trial) or, well, not blind to the conflict of interest. After all, it's Ehrlichman, in particular, who had guilty knowledge of his own involvement in the break-in at Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office.

Ehrlichman than meets secretly, that night, with Herbert Kalmbach -- Nixon's personal lawyer who had raised the money for payments to the Watergate defendants. Ehrlichman's goal: to get Kalmbach to put the blame for the hush money on Dean. But, according to Kalmbach's testimony, he reminds Ehrlichman: "And you, too, John" -- for it was Ehrlichman who had told Kalmbach to get the hush money operation started.


  1. I'm really finding these updates fascinating; it's a little bit like the Mirror Universe West Wing. Haldeman was Mirror Leo (with a beard), Dean was Mirror Sam Seaborn (with a beard), Ehrlichman was Mirror Toby (presumably beardless)...

  2. Does Erlichman know by now that it's curtains for him? What I mean is, that he can't survive while still protecting the P. Are the formal processes far enough along now, and the understanding of where it's likely to head, that Erlichman can't escape the knowledge that he won't survive?

    1. That's a great question. He probably still thinks that Mitchell could save them (and him!) by claiming responsibility for Watergate...that would be a big enough fish for the Democrats, and a Mitchell/Magruder cover-up wouldn't implicate the WH...or a Mitchell/Magruder cover-up operated by Dean wouldn't implicate him, Haldeman, and Nixon.

      I don't think it would have worked by this point, even if Dean had stayed loyal. But Ehrlichman might have thought it would work.


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