Wednesday, February 20, 2013

February 20, 1973

Haldeman's Diary:


John [Ehrlichman, presumably] and I had a long meeting this evening with John Dean, on the whole Watergate question. Dean is very concerned, especially about the financial-support aspects. But doesn't know how to handle his concern, and feels that we've got to get Mitchell into it and get some help from him.


In other words: they're still paying hush money, but as they started to realize in the recent California meeting, that doesn't just mean making a decision to do it. After all, especially now that the campaign is over (and pre-reform money is no longer available), they have to raise money (from who?) in order to buy the silence of the seven defendants. They have to make sure the money can't be traced. They have to actually deliver it. And as Dean reports, it's not obvious where to find the money, but John Mitchell is one possible source...except, as we've seen, Mitchell wants no part of it.

I think I've said this before, but it's getting more true all the time: sure are a lot plates spinning in the air, no? There's Judge Sirica, still sitting on sentencing in an effort to pressure the now-convicted seven defendants. There's the operation to raise and deliver hush money. There are continuing press investigations, constantly kicking up new stories at an utterly unpredictable pace. Now, there's going to be confirmation hearings on Patrick Gray.  And also new is the Senate investigation now getting off the ground.

John Dean is managing it all, and Bob Haldeman is overseeing it...but Bob Haldeman isn't some sort of Watergate special operative; he's the White House Chief of Staff. He has a overflowing more than full time job, running the nation. For that matter, John Dean has a day job as White House Counsel, too.

Not to mention that Dean, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and the rest of them all have their own personal criminal liability to worry about, on top of protecting the president.

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