DEAN TELLS INQUIRY THAT NIXON TOOK PART IN WATERGATE COVER-UP FOR EIGHT MONTHS; HE ALSO NAMES HALDEMAN AND EHRLICHMAN; ON STAND ALL DAYIt had been true to some extent ever since Haldeman and Ehrlichman (and Dean) left the White House at the end of April, but Dean's testimony, beginning on June 25, made it clear: Watergate was now about the President of the United States.
Ex-Counsel Says He Warned President of a 'Cancer' Explosive Testimony Dean Tells Inquiry That Nixon Took Part in Watergate Cover-Up For 8 Months
Not that his testimony was limited to his meetings with Nixon (and to hearsay accounts of Nixon's involvement before and after the break-ins). What he had to say was devastating, too, to Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell, at least.
But it was the accusations about the president which were going to be in the headlines. And, on this first day of his testimony, it was clear that whatever would eventually happen to the president's men in court, the big question of the scandal now was (as Howard Baker put it later in the week) "what did the president know and when did he know it?"
Dean just read his statement on that first day (here's a clip of the opening of this statement); he then took questions for four days. It was, without a doubt, a sensation.
Dean, however, had little proof of his most explosive charges against Nixon; again, a fair amount of it was just hearsay. And while the administration was by now in ruins, it was far from clear how the direct contradiction between what Dean was saying and what the president and those still loyal to him were saying would be resolved.