Tuesday, April 23, 2013

April 20, 1973

The fallout of the last round of revelations continues, while John Dean and the prosecutors continue their stalemate. It's still not entirely clear which way Dean will wind up going.

The president, after meeting with Haldeman in the morning, leaves for the weekend for Florida, taking Ron Ziegler and Pat Buchanan with him but sending Haldeman and Ehrlichman to Camp David.

Nixon continues to work closely, now, with Henry Petersen. Nixon is walking a fine line; Petersen, at this point, doesn't have any realization at all about Nixon's role in the cover-up; the president pumps him for information about the progress of the investigation, without raising any suspicions. The key for Nixon at this point, remember, is to try to keep Dean from testifying about his Oval Office conversations. Well, that, and keeping Haldeman and Ehrlichman (and I suppose Colson, although he's already gone from the White House so there's less an issue there) from turning on him. Especially if, as is very likely at this point, they are indicted. Their lawyers have convinced Nixon to keep them on for now, but they all seem to know by now that it's only a question of how it's to be done, not whether it's to be done. Indeed: Nixon intends to ask Ziegler and Buchanan, as well as his friend Bebe Rebozo, what to do, but it's pretty clear he knows.

It's Good Friday. Nothing much changes the next two days, although Nixon has a phone conversation with Haldeman on Easter, going over the same material again. The newspapers and all of Washington are buzzing about the whole thing -- what Dean will say, what Mitchell said to the grand jury, the fate of the president's two most important members of the White House staff. Even, now, the possibility that Nixon himself could have known more than he let on.

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