thumbnail of 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-26; Part 2 of 4
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
. . . About the problem. And I had some conversations with Mr. Klein-Dest about the problem. And we had conversations about how to solve the problem. Mr. Gray, it was that Mr. Kleindy's unknown to Mr. Gray so that he would not even know it was being done, was going to plant a story or a fact, and we were going to see in such
a way that the individual under suspicion might be disclosed. It was a long shot, but it might have worked. Now, I had implicit confidence in Mr. Gray as not being the source of the leak because we'd had experience with Mr. Gray in the Justice Department and at HEW before that, and he was extraordinarily reliable. And so that was not the problem, and I hope that I didn't – I hope I made that. Well, I hope that you did because I repeat your sentence to you because at that time we, and I assume that's you, were talking with Mr. Kleindy's about how to go about smoking out this problem around Mr. Gray. That's right. The problem was on his staff. It was a holdover from the FBI who had been there when Mr. Gray came. Do you go around people when you trust them? Sometimes, sometimes, and it was Mr. Kleindy's view, that that was a way to proceed and his view were mine, but that we would not bring Mr. Gray into our confidence with
regard to Mr. Kleindy's idea for planning a story. Now, that's the only time we went around Mr. Gray that I can think of. All right. One last series of questions. Can I have one more one? Yes, I asked. Mr. Chairman, I don't mean to – I can see you warming up on that microphone. I just don't make sure I'm not asking you. If you just said one last question, I was going to say, and you should ask one last question. I wouldn't forget to turn direct now, sir, to my colleagues. As far as I'm concerned, why you can go ahead and ask them more than one last question. This will be my last series on this program. You testified yesterday that on April 15th, you called Pat Gray, and that he told you that he'd taken the hunt papers to Connecticut and destroyed them.
Is that correct? I don't recall his telling me that he took them to Connecticut. All right. Did he tell you that he destroyed them? Yes, sir. Let me read your testimony at that point. That was – and this was in response to Senator Gray. That was in April of this year. We had a conversation. The president asked me to telephone Mr. Gray. It was Sunday night, and it was the 15th of April, at about 10-15 pm. I was in the President's E.O.V. office, and he had a meeting that day with Mr. Klein needs. The subject of these documents came up with that meeting, and the president asked me to call Mr. Gray and find out what the documents were and where they were. So I did that. Mr. Gray was not home. When he got home, he called back, and we completed the conversation in the president's office. Now let me ask you this, after you received the word from Mr. Gray, which I believe
was on April the 15th, did you transmit that information to the president? Yes, sir. And on what day was that? Well, he was sitting right there. I did – transmitted that – the instant one. He was sitting with you when you made this call to pack right, yes, sir. And this was on April the 15th. Correct? Yes, sir. Was any action taken by the president, any action recommended by you when you received word that the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had gone ahead and in fact
burned or destroyed, rather, department files? Yes, sir. The president took the action that was taken, and his first action was to contact either Mr. Kleindeister, Mr. Peterson, and I'm not sure which of the two it was. And he was asked to do nothing further until they had an opportunity to check into it report back. In other words, he asked for a report. Well, he asked for an investigation and a corroboration of this, and the circumstances surrounding it so that he would know how to take the next time. How to pray admitted to you that he destroyed the file? That's correct. What is there to invest in? You have a situation that obviously is considerably more than just an employment problem here. And the president felt that he had spent the major part of that day or a good portion of that day with the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General on this whole case.
And he was a desire of making sure that any step that he took was in coordination with those gentlemen. And he is a matter of fact forebore to take a number of steps on his own motion in order to work in concert with the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Peterson. So on April 15th, you and the president learned that files have been destroyed. And the reaction to the president is we're going to get a report. How do some... Well, he was obviously very concerned and upset by this. And well, let me recount to you a personal experience because I had the identical experience that you and the president had. On April 25th, I was called by the director who was still the acting director, even though
he has notified the president of the United States and the head of the domestic council, he's burned FBI records. I was called by the director acting director of the FBI to his office. And I sat in a chair and the acting director turned to me in a lesson say the same thing that he told you and the president on April 15th. I went ahead and I destroyed these files. Now I had many of the cross currents of a motion that I'm sure must have also attended you in the president. He's the acting director of the FBI. I'm sure that crossed your mind. I'm a United States senator and a member of this committee. I'm sure it must have crossed your mind that the president used the president of the United
States, who are one of his closest advisors. And quite frankly, I also had the additional motion of seeing a man before me who was my friend. These were the cross currents of a motion when the identical piece of information came to me as it had come to you 10 days earlier. And I must confess, I won't use more colorful language when this was dropped in my lap. Some plus went through my head as to what do I do it? What do I do to meet my obligations, to not let down a friend, but certainly to make sure that the information of this employee is made public and made available to the committee. It was within the next 36 hours, that the acting director told me substantial portions of what had occurred.
And it was within that period of time that I made sure that the story was laid out in front of the public, as soon as I got it. Not under my name because I'm not getting to the top over the backs of any of my friends, but it wasn't something that could be withheld from the American public. These were facts they were known. All that was left is how were they going to be told. But certainly in no wise that it ever occurred to me that this was something that could be left unattended to, that he could remain as acting director of the FBI, that the matters which I had heard of couldn't come to the attention of this committee. As you know or as the record will indicate, having first had the news on April the 26th by part in April 25th, the story was told to the American people on the 27th and Mr.
Gray stepped down as director on the 28th. Now would you indicate to me the difference? Sure, it's just two different points of view. No, the information we received was identical. President notified the chief law enforcement officer and you notified the newspapers. It's a two different approaches to the same problem. No, Mr. Elicman, I wanted to make sure that I lived up to all the obligations that I had. The obligation as Senator, the obligation that I thought he owed the American people as FBI director to tell them the whole story. The obligation I had as a member of this committee and the feelings that I had for a friend, there were various ways it could be handled.
But I wanted him at least to get out and have the chance of telling his story before he was left in place by apparently you and the president who had discovered the identical facts on April the 15th but had made no move to either get Pat Gray, relieve him of his duties as director of the FBI, or to give information to the American people as to what he had done. Well, Senator, I category with your assertion that President made no move, he immediately informed those responsible for this entire investigation. Now this is, as you all in the committee well know, a very complex investigation with a lot of aspects to it and with real problems of the rights of individuals and various kinds of legal overtones. Certainly the president fell, I know he fell. But this had to be done in an orderly fashion by the law enforcement people who were responsible
for the prosecution of the case. As it turned out, it was well that he did because Mr. Peterson in pursuing the investigation with Mr. Gray was able to develop other facts as a result of being able to do so without the cameras on, so to speak, which are, as I'm sure you recognize, both a positive and a negative aspect of a matter of this kind in terms of reducing the facts. Now, I think that in hindsight, while it may sound very self-serving for me to say so, the president took precisely the right steps in immediately informing Mr. Peterson as he did, so that the prosecutors and the law enforcement people could do their work in making the case before it was all over the newspapers. Now, the identical same consideration applied in John Dean's situation, where the president forebore to discharge Mr. Dean at Henry Peterson's request to give Mr. Peterson and
his people an opportunity to complete their work before that relationship was severed. Now, I think that we don't always have the luxury of gratifying our first instincts about a matter of this kind when we have the responsibility for the orderly execution of the laws in a prosecution of this kind. Now, what was the purpose of your phone call on April 15th to Mr. Gray? I explained that it was the result of the president's conversation that day with the Attorney
General and Mr. Peterson in which the question of these documents came up and the question that he put to me was, whether I had any information with regard to the whereabouts of the documents. And I said, yes, I did. I was president of the time when an envelope was delivered by Mr. Dean and Mr. Gray. And he said, yes, they were aware of this, and he said, is Gray ever given him back? And I said, I don't know. And he said, we'll get on the phone and get a hold of Gray and tell him what we know about this and find out where those documents are and what's in them. In other words, the enforcement agencies, the enforcement agencies had been working prior to April 15th. Information had come through the grand jury specifically on the testimony of Dean to the grand jury. Well, now, I don't think Dean had been to the grand jury. I think that Dean had talked with the prosecutors and had given them some of this information, if not all.
But we were operating with what the Attorney General and the Assistant Attorney General had told the President which the President recalled of the conversation and was imparting to me. Well, I just want to conclude, by again asking you why Mr. Gray was left in place when this information was known to you and to the President and other members of the Executive Branch. Well, I believe I've answered that question, Senator Wiker. It was in aid of the Assistant Attorney General, Mr. Peterson, and the Attorney General, Mr. Klein deans, I recall hearing the later that Mr. Peterson had, in fact, interviewed Mr. Gray following this and had received conflicting stories. This would have been prior, I guess, to your interview with Mr. Gray. And finally, that the matter had been resolved, they wanted to get a written statement. They wanted to get the kind of evidence that they could use in court, apparently. And so the President was giving them an opportunity to do that kind of thing.
This wasn't the first time that you left Mr. Gray in place, wasn't the first time that I left Mr. Gray in place. This wasn't the first time, in other words, that in an adverse situation to Mr. Gray, he had been left in place, is that correct? I'm sorry. I don't understand your question. Well, for instance, during his confirmation hearings, when he ran into some heavy weather, did you have any comments to make at that time? Did I? Yeah, about Mr. Gray? Yes, indeed. Can you remember what you said about him in the confirmation hearings at that time? I think you're probably referring to my saying that he was hanging in the wind and should be left to spend slowly. Yep. Let him hang there. Well, I think we ought to let him hang there, let him twist slowly, slowly in the wind.
That's my metaphor, yes. And he was twisting slowly, slowly in the wind on April 15th. Now, he was being investigated, investigated, investigated on April 15th. I have no further questions. It's not about how you, Mr. Chairman. I know we've been on this burglary for quite some time, but I want to clear one point, Mr. Erlichman. At what point did you feel that the FBI really got into the investigation of the Ellsburg case in the manner that was satisfactory to White House expectations? I cannot fix that, Dave Senator, except to say that it was sometime prior to September 20th, because I do recall a meeting, either that date or very close to it. Is that September 20th, 1971?
Yes, sir. And the burglary occurred on or about September 3rd or 4th of 1971, around that time. And I believe your testimony indicated that you were notified by Mr. Kroger and Mr. Liddy or either of them while you were at Cape Cod about two or three days later? No, sir. When were you notified? The best of my recollection, I was notified after I returned to the city and having been a Cape Cod in a kind of a remote area where I was not easily reachable. And I was never notified by Mr. Liddy. My best recollection is that I was notified by Mr. Kroger. Then how many days after the burglary would that be, sir? How many days after the burglary? Well, I'm sorry, I can't fix the date of the break-in for you. Within a huge Labor Day weekend, as I understand it that they broke in, Monday was a holiday,
my first day back in the office was Tuesday, and I think it was probably that Tuesday. It was the Tuesday after that weekend there. Yes, sir. So that would make it? I believe that. I believe that. That would make it honor about September the 4th or 5th or 6th. I have a calendar here. Could I look at it? The date is not relevant, but it would be in that neighborhood, would it not? Yes, sir. All right. Now, after about September 20th, as you indicated, the FBI really started working on this investigation. No, I can't say that. I'm sorry. The only thing I can say is that I recall a meeting, where there was a meeting of the minds between the Attorney General and the President, as to the performance level of the Justice Department, including the FBI on a Pentagon Papers case, and the President's feeling, based on the Attorney General's report at that meeting, was that the performance
level was now satisfactory. Now, when you've asked me for a specific date, which I can't give you, in terms of... Well, it was honor about that time, then. I assume so. All right. Then, did you, in the White House, with your investigative unit, develop a sort of investigative partnership with the Department of Justice and the FBI, I would say not. But you were working in concert towards the same objective, were you not? I don't believe that the White House people performed any specific investigations of that character after the 20th of September. All right. Did you impart all the information that you had to the Department of Justice? I did not, but I'm sure that either Mr. Kroger or Mr. Young did. Well, then, is it your testimony that they did? That they did what, Senator? Give all the information which they had to the Department of Justice.
I can't vouch for that, I just assume that. Well, this is one thing that strikes my fancy, Mr. Erdogan, that the burglary was committed on September 3rd or 4th of 1971. That you knew about it a few days later, upon your return from Cape Cod. But Mr. Liddy knew that Mr. Kroger knew, and that presumably other people in the White House knew, then why did it take until April the 15th, 1973, for the U.S. District of Attorney here in the District of Columbia, Mr. Sobert, to first find out of that burglary and then have to transmit those news to the Department of Justice. I don't think it did, Senator. Well, that's what happened. Of course, the memo was submitted here to this committee by Mr. Sobert. Well, the only thing I can tell you is what Mr. Dean told me about that, and that is that the Justice Department had that information a good deal sooner than that.
Why did Mr. Sobert have to transmit this information about the break-in to Assistant Attorney General Peterson on April 15th, 1973, then? If Mr. Dean told me the truth, he didn't have to, because Mr. Peterson already knew it. Well, you knew the truth, sir. You knew the truth. I knew the truth. You knew that the burglary had been committed. No, I mean, you misunderstood me. If Mr. Dean told me a year or so ago, the truth, that Mr. Peterson then knew about the break-in, then Mr. Sobert's transmitt of the paperwork in April of this year was not necessary, but he did transmit it to Assistant Attorney General Peterson. Oh, and no question about it, but the question is whether that was news to Mr. Peterson or not. Well, then, Mr. Peterson, the Assistant Attorney General then informed on April 26th informed Judge Bern of the burglary attempt or the actual burglary, I should say.
Now, that is also in the record in this hearing already. Well, so is the fact that Mr. Dean told me a year before that or so that Peterson already knew it. Why didn't Mr. Peterson take action then before? I don't know, Senator. I don't even know that that's true, but that's what Mr. Dean told me. The motion's pending in the trial in California and petitions in discovery presented to the court to try to get all the necessary evidence that might be helpful to the defendant. And this did not appear at that time, until April 15th, when Attorney General Peterson presented this evidence to Judge Bern. Now, isn't that odd? It's something I can't explain. I think the record is very plain, and I think it's in the committee record, as a matter of fact, that the photographs of the break-in were transmitted by the CIA to the Justice
Department a long, long time before that. Yes, the photographs were, but there was no evidence connecting the photographs to the break-in in the Ellsbridge psychiatrist's office until later. There was a great big picture, as they tell it to me. And I haven't seen these pictures, but I understand there's a great big picture of Gordon Liddy with his mustache and a picture that has Dr. Fielding's name and address in the background, and Gordon Liddy's picture has been on the front page of the post every day, and it doesn't take too much imagination to figure out who he was. Well, it strikes my fancy that there is no evidence in the record here, and this burglary has been discussed. There is no evidence here that the Department of Justice knew about it until Mr. Silbert's memo was presented to Assistant Attorney General Peterson. Senator, the only thing I can say— That's the state of the record at the present time. The only thing I can say is that my hearsay is as good as Mr. Dean's credibility on the
subject, and I'm obviously not the one to vouch for that. I now let us go into another subject. And the matter of presidential appointments, I'll start out by asking you whether this came within your domain. The setting of the appointments for the present time— No. No. The matter of making presidential appointments to the different agencies of the government. Oh. At some periods of time, I did get into that. For instance, after the election in 1972, I was very much involved in that. Did you get involved at all prior to 1972? Yes, but on a case-by-case basis where it would be a domestic department where I might have something to contribute. Well, that's what I mean. Yes, sir. Presidential appointments in the different departments.
But it was not something that was routinely cleared through me so that I signed off on every departmental appointment or anything of that kind. Now, who would run a check on the possible appointees? Well, would it be the FBI? Ordinarily there would be, among other things, an FBI check on major appointees to determine conflicts of interest in this kind of fact. And so the FBI, would you say that they conducted a very complete and concise checks on these possible appointees? They were not very good, Senator, in my opinion. In what respect? They're very superficial. They go around and they talk to a lot of people and they get a lot of hearsay about them. And they'd be very little follow-up. I was consistently critical in the quality of that work. Well, did you provide some input into these checks yourself or through your employees? Very seldom. Occasionally where there was an appointee that I had known an FBI man would come around as they would to you or to any citizen.
But that was only two or three times, bro. But the White House did not have a set up for checkups. Oh, yes. There was a special office and it was in the office of the council where these things were routinely done and they had also a personnel office and the two worked together, generally in Mr. Haldeman's area of responsibility to perfect these files of presidential appointees. What kind of checkups would the FBI conduct? What was their sphere in doing this investigation? Well, you know, you fill out one of these long forms that you have to put down where you've lived for the last 30 years and where you've worked for the last 30 years. And as I gathered, and I know expert on this, but I gather they go around and they talk to people in these different places and they ask about the candidate. Now, you were assistant to the president for domestic affairs. Yes, sir. I've been for quite some time until your resignation.
1970. Yes. Now, in this capacity, you had to evaluate the possible appointments made by the president and provide input by way of recommendation after reading reports, would you not? Only occasionally, where they were referred to me for my special consideration. Now, what departments did you deal with as assistant to the president for domestic affairs? Any department that had a domestic aspect to it? All right. Then those who worked under you necessarily informed you as to what they undertook with respect to communication or relations with the different departments under your jurisdiction. Would that be a correct statement? Not on any regular basis, Senator, I rely on important policy matters. Would they? Well, I relied on them to conduct their responsibilities, bringing to me only problems that they felt they couldn't handle themselves.
Well, would you be able to throw some light before this committee as to the genesis of the enemies list about which testimony has been reduced? No, sir. Did you receive any memorandum with respect to the enemies list from John Dean or any other person in the White House? Not that I can recall. Did you discuss the enemies list with Mr. Holdman? No. I did after the testimony here about it because I don't recall ever hearing of it before. Did you discuss the enemies list with Mr. Coulson? No. All right, now, in your capacity as assistant to the president for domestic affairs dealing with the different departments, were you aware of the effort that was being made to place Mr. Coulson and Mr. Liddy in the Internal Revenue Service? No, sir.
You have heard about it since then. I'm not sure that I had. Well, the Dean memorandum reflects something to this effect. I missed that. I'm sorry. All right. Now, you do know that the White House made quite a few requests for the income tax returns of individuals, do you not? I would doubt that seriously, Senator. You would doubt that there were no requests? I would doubt that the White House had made requests for the income tax returns of individual citizens. All right. Now, I will introduce for the record the statistical data furnished by the Internal Revenue Service in a book entitled Statistics, Request for Inspection of Income Tax Returns, or Data from Returns, by federal agencies for the six-month period, January 1, 1972, to June 30, 1972, and then another volume with the same title for the period, July 1, 1972,
December 31, 1972, and I will turn to the first page of the document in each instance and read for your benefit, tax checks requested by federal agencies. January 1, 1972, June 30, 1972, agency, White House, number 477, sorry, let me lay my premise. Okay. And then on the second document, tax checks requested by federal agencies. July 1, 1972, December 31, 1972, agency, White House, number 438. Now, what come into your question was whether or not the White House had requested anybody's
tax returns, and I said I would doubt that. Now, I don't know what a tax check is in those statistics. Perhaps there's a definition in there, but a tax check, as I understand it, is to find out if an individual has tax problems before he's appointed to federal office, because obviously you don't want to appoint an assistant secretary who's going to be indicted for tax fraud the next day. So it is a routine procedure for this personnel office that I mentioned, or for the council's office, to find out from the IRS if these individuals have problem. Now, that doesn't mean calling for their returns and going through and seeing who they've taken as deductions or what their sources of income may be. Matter of fact, my personal experience with this senator has been in the instances where the president was considering individuals for the United States Supreme Court, and he asked me to determine whether people that he had in mind had any tax problems. And being kind of new to the business, I thought that what one did was to, you know,
get the returns and flip through, and I discovered that the White House could not get an individual's income tax return, the thing that the citizen files with the government that it's simply not available, even for such a situation as the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice. So what you do is you ask the tax people to tell you if an individual that you have in mind has any significant tax problem. And then, if they do, they would send back a memo saying, this fellow is free of any tax problems for the last six years, or they would send a memo back saying, well, as a tax problem for the tax year 1970, it is in negotiation, it will probably be settled by such and such a date. Well, Mr. Erlichman, I asked you those questions before I asked you this one, and you said that you were not aware of any requests. I'm sorry your question didn't say tax check. Your question said tax returns, Senator, and that's a very different thing.
Oh, do you mean to tell me now that there were no requests for tax returns of taxpayers? I'm not aware of a what. Well, would you say that the record of the internal revenue is correct? Well, see, we're talking about apples and oranges, that's our problem. The apples here, we're not talking about apples and oranges. Well, the apples are talking about one thing, tax checks or tax returns. Well, how can you get a tax check if you don't see a tax return? Well, you asked somebody else in the internal revenue service who has the legal authority to see it, to examine it, and report to you if there is a problem or not. Now you're talking about the apples and oranges. Well, I think I can assure you, Senator, that at least in my personal experience, no one on the White House staff has any access to your tax return or the tax return of any citizen. At the same time, if you were being considered by the president for the Supreme Court, it
would be a matter of routine for someone on his staff to ask the internal revenue service to examine your file as they have the legal right to do and report to the president whether or not you have a tax problem. Now, let me read you some of my other instances where there were requests for tax returns from other departments. Department of the Treasury for the period January 1, 1972 to June 30, 1972, the Department of Justice requested 407 returns against 477 by the White House. Are those returns or checks? Well, these are tax checks requested by federal agencies under that title. Well, I see some, I might say this, by way of a footnote to all this, and I'm by no means an expert in this, but I understand that certain departments and agencies, not the White House, but certain departments and agencies by statute, by laws passed by the Congress,
have the right to see returns. That's a very different thing than the question that you put to me in the first instance. Yes, but those are categorized by department here in this list, and the White House is categorized separately. Yes, point I'm trying to make. Well, if that said that the White House received returns, rather than got check, you know, just memos of checks, that'd be a different thing. Who else would have the supervision or authority to make these requests in behalf of the White House? Well, I assume that the council did. I had, I guess I had the authority, but I exercised it in very few cases as Assistant of the President, and they would be either cabinet officers or Supreme Court appointees ordinarily, where the President didn't want to tell a lot of people who he was considering. The council, I believe, ordinarily and routinely had the responsibility for determining whether a person had a tax problem or not.
Don't you think that these tax checks and requests for tax returns represent quite a great number for the White House, because they only have 400 employees there? Oh, but you see, they're checking the employees to be appointed in all of the departments under what are called a presidential appointment. There would be cabinet, under secretaries, assistant secretaries, agency heads, deputy agency heads of various agencies like the Veterans Administration and places of that country. You mean during this period that you were considering approximately a thousand persons for appointment and announcing to the entire country that you were reducing the federal force? Well, it's quite a better turnover center. I don't know what the number would be, but it doesn't surprise me that the volumes would be, say, 400 in a six-month period. All right. See, we have, what, 2 million federal employees or something? Down from 2 million, 500,000. Well, you gave us a lecture on political science the other day.
You tell us. Well, that's my best recollection. Thank you, Bill. Now, let us go into another phase. Mr. Chairman, if a sentiment Montoya is going to another phase, I wonder if he'd be kind enough to let me see that document from which he's reading. Yes. I have to. Two documents. Thank you. I have to. I have to recess. You're certainly me, sir. I can. Now, on July of the 21st, you were quoted in an article in The New York Times as being in favor of releasing the tapes which are in controversy. Did you make that kind of a statement? Well, I've had a lot of troubles with quotations in The New York Times, Senator, and that's one of them. What happened there was that I gave a television interview to a fellow, you know, they come out and sit on my lawn, and as I come out in the morning, it's pretty well unavoidable. And this fellow said something, in fact, do you have anything to worry about if these tapes
get out? And I said, no, I don't think I have anything to worry about. I didn't know I was being taped, but I don't think I said anything there that I'd be ashamed of. And he said, well, then you think that the president ought to release these. And I said, well, you know, you've got to look at this from two standpoints. Certainly from my standpoint, I have no problem, but he has a much larger picture to look at. Well, the word certainly is what carried on the wire. And the rest of the sentence didn't get carried. And so I saw the wire story, and it said, Erlichman today in response to a question, should the president release these tapes? Certainly. Well, what I said was, in effect, I think, certainly I don't have anything to worry about, but the president's got a lot more worries than I have about the country and the separation of powers and his relationship with the Congress. And so on. Now, having just said that sentence, I'll bet you the New York Times tomorrow says, Erlichman says that President has a lot more to worry about than he does.
Well, now for two days, we've been talking about a burger here, the burger that you justify as legal and replied presidential constitutional power. You say that it was committed as a part of an effort to protect the security of our country. Many of us say this was clearly illegal. Now I pose this question to you, and I want to develop, in my own mind, a profile of the president, and probe into his inner thinking. If the president or someone at the White House was willing to order this questionable court action, or covert action, why does not the president now take cognizance of a real threat to the presidency of our country?
The erosion of confidence of our people, the internal institutional chaos that is set in, and now perform a really patriotic act to bring stability to our country, perform a legal act by shedding the mantle of executive privilege, and release these tapes and records to this committee so that the American people can have some light on the truth, and put an end to the wargate tale of suspense and tragedy. Can you answer that question? Well, obviously, that's a question, Senator, that ought to be directed to the president rather than me. Let me just tell you, my own view of this, as a citizen, obviously, I don't speak for the president, and have it for a long time. The chairman and learned counsel yesterday demonstrated to my satisfaction that these
constitutional issues are not susceptible of easy decisions. I would certainly be the last to try and make a quick response to your question. It's a profound question that involves the meaning of our Constitution and the relationship of our governmental institutions. I don't think it's really appropriate for me to respond to it in terms of substance here. It's obviously a much more important question than someone in my situation ought to try and answer right off the top of his head. Well, if you were Chief Counsel at the White House, or if you were acting in the role of a system to the president for domestic affairs, and you were aware of the chaos that is
setting in in this country with respect to the presidency, and you were aware of other things. What would you advise you? The chairman, may I ask a question because, may I suggest that I never like to answer, if he questions? Well, I never did like to ask if he questions myself, but I think counsel does have right to ask themselves. I think the Senator is asking, since the witness is going to feel and expressed opinions about the power of the president on the Constitution, I think, and since he was a lawyer for the White House at one time, and since he was chief for domestic advice of the president, I think it's all right to ask him what he would advise him. I think he wants to answer it anyway. Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure I fully understood the point that was going to be made by Mr.
Wilson. I might add this one word of caution. We've taken proof from witnesses about what they would do if a set of circumstances, and we've heard questions put and answers made to hypothetical situations, but the chairman has admonished from time to time as I have. That is not proof of material fact, and these proceedings, rather may or may not be relevant to the state of mind or the attitude of a witness as it bore on his condom. If that is the case here, that is, if it has to do with the impact that point of view might have on the witnesses condom, I can't see anything wrong with it, if it has to do with trying to prove the substance of the hypothesis. Mr. Chairman, I think it would be different. If the Senator were yield to me from my own time, I'll give you part of my time. This witness is an expert on the President's demeanor.
He is a specialist on White House procedures and thinking, and I think he would be the best witness other than Mr. Holden to answer such a question, which is bothering the entire country. And I'm not facetious about it. How is really sincere about it? I'm not facetious either. I was agreeing with. Yes. I know you ought to go ahead. I know you ought to go ahead. I know you ought, but I thought I'd lay that premise to why I asked this particular question. Senator, let me preface my answer by saying I'm not an expert, and that's the very reason that I'm going to answer this question the way I will. And you asked me in terms of how the President approaches a problem like this, I guess, maybe you were talking about his temperament or his makeup and so on. If I were asked by the President sitting there to approach this problem and give him a
recommendation, I would have to know a great deal more about the elements of the constitutional law question that are involved, and I know sitting here today. So one of the first things that I would do, as had been my practice there, is to draw on the very best minds that we could assemble from around the country in and out of government to advise on this subject. And we did this, for instance, in a somewhat critical phase of the busing problem. And we had people like Alexander Bickle and Charles Wright from Texas, and good legal minds from outside, and we had the best people we could find inside the government as well, to counsel with us both by way of memorandum and in person as to the various options that would be available to the President. And certainly as assistant to the President, it was my job not to decide for myself the right thing to do and then tell him, but to try and assemble for him as much information,
as much valid opinion as there was on the subject, and spread it before him so that he had the entire picture, and that's the way he preferred to work. Now, I have no doubt that in this dispute, that is precisely what he has done, although I don't know that of my own knowledge, I know how this man works, so that I would expect that he has drawn upon legal scholars, the best people in the solicitor general's office and the Department of Justice, and everywhere that he can find, respectable views as to the relationship of the presidency, to the Congress, and to the Constitution, to find about the President's mind, rather than young. Sir, and I'm sorry, I didn't sustain the objection. I understood that that was one of the things that the Senator was asking what you would say, and not what the President would say. It would only be after a process of review like that, Senator, that I would feel quick to say.
I feel right now very inadequate to involve myself in a profound question of constitutional law without the background. I could shoot from the hip and say that where I sitting in the White House, my instinctive reaction would be to feel my obligation to preserve the institution of the presidency in tact. You see, we pass this torch of the presidency from one man to one man to one man, and it's his job for an entire period of four years to maintain the integrity and the viability and the constitutionality and the function of that office, and there's nobody else that's going to help him. The Congress is in the business of strengthening the Congress's prerogatives, and we have this constant adversary relationship that goes on between our branches of government. That's an interesting time, aren't you testifying that you don't know what you would do if you have a responsibility to differ from the one you now have?
Sir, aren't you telling us and show it that you don't know what you would do if you have a responsibility and a power that you do not now possess? Well, it was admittedly a hypothetical question to which I was asked to respond, Mr. Chair. In other words, we have some sustained objection, at least my sustained objection, but to indicate that what you would do, she has no light on all, except as a citizen. It might have made the thing, but I interpret your answer to say that you do not now have the position of advisors in the president. You don't know what you would do if you should be restored to that position under the president's circumstance. I have a feeling you're objecting to the answer and not the question, Mr. Chair. Well, Frank, I gave my opinion about the answer. I said, I didn't have any question. I don't care if it questions, but say, well, obviously without a great deal of study and a great deal of work.
Well, if that's my teeth that I have, I wouldn't feel competent to advise either the president or this committee. The only thing that I recognize at art is long and time is leading in my heart so stout and brave, still like multiple drums of being few marches to the grave, we're taking about 15 minutes on this proposition. Mr. Chair, I have no other questions other than to make an observation that, in my opinion, the witness has answered that he does not wish to answer. That's an effect your answer. Well, without a great deal more study, Senator, it would be very presumptuous of me to involve myself and the question is profound as that. Thank you, sir. The committee will stand and recess at this time for two o'clock. After two and a half days, the committee has finished its first round of questions for John Erlichman. In a moment, Senator Ervin will start round two. We'll be television coverage of the Senate Watergate hearings.
We'll continue after a pause for station identification. Senator Bridge coverage of these hearings is provided as a public service by the member stations of PBS, the Public Broadcasting Service. . . .
. . . . . From Washington, N-PACT continues its coverage of hearings by the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. Here again, correspondent Jim Lehrer. As the hearings resume after launch, Senator Irvin asked some questions about the secrecy surrounding the so-called Plumbers Unit. You spoke of the Carner Commission and the Warren Commission.
Both of these commissions were appointed publicly by the President in office at the time of the appointment, and both of them worked in the public didn't. Yes, sir. And in that respect, they won't like the Plumbers who were appointed in secret and whose identity was kept seeking for the American people. Well, as Chairman of the First of all, our identity was not kept secret. It was a subject of newspaper stories. Finally, the reason that I cited you, too, the reports of those commissions was because they both discussed or so my information is. They both discussed the use of psychiatric profiles with relation to United States citizens. And of course, one of them brought me to the realization that the Secret Service does conduct such an activity with relation to United States citizens in aid of its protection of the President and the Vice President and others in trying to determine an advance who might be threats to assassination attempts.
So it goes to the point that you raised yesterday that such a technique would be illegal with regard to the United States citizens. Well, it wasn't, it wasn't the existence of the Plumbers kept secret from the FBI, the CIA, and other investigative agencies of the government. No, sir. Did you tell them, Mr. Who about them? Yes, sir, and we also told you Attorney General. Yes. But they worked on a couple of darkness and now, weapon was burglary. They did not work undercover with darkness, Mr. Chairman, in point of fact, they did it. They did the burglarized, they did the burglarized, they thought that the field was opposite in the daytime of the night. I don't know, Mr. Chairman, wasn't that reported to you? No, sir. In point of fact, however, as I testified yesterday, I had interviews with a Secretary of Defense, the Attorney General, Director of the CIA in which I introduced Mr. Young and Mr. Krogh, and they described the function of the special unit. This was in advance of their actually coming into full operation. Mr. Arnold, you tell the need that you don't know that the burglar, but the psychiatrist office occurred in the nighttime?
I do not. Mr. Chairman. You think it occurred in high noon? I have heard, and I don't know this, but I have heard that it occurred on a holiday during the daytime, but as I say, I don't know it. Well, anyway, you've spoken about this derogatory terms of Mr. Hoover. No, I don't intend any derogation, Mr. Hoover. Well, you said you should have quit the office that he didn't know enough about surveillance all the way to his lifetime, isn't it? Oh, I didn't say that, and I wouldn't intend to say that, Mr. Chairman. Well, you said he had different ideas about surveillance from what the White House had. No, sir. Well, you said he wouldn't cooperate in the White House. What I said was that in a specific instance, he had very fixed ideas about the degree to which the Bureau should cooperate in this investigation. He had very fixed ideas when the President appointed Tom Charles Houston to devise him a method of having American citizens buy them, Mr. Hoover had the fixed ideas that don't
not resort to murdering, that don't not resort to the use of undercover military agents, that they ought not resort to a version on limited surveillance, and they ought not to resort to a mail cover, and that was stated by Tom Charles Houston and documents put in the evidence there about 15 times before the President approved those documents. So he didn't cooperate, and I'm going to say as speak first defense beyond the grave since he's not here, I call attention to the fact that Tom Charles Houston told the White House 12 or 15 times in documents, recommended in the use of undercover military agents, recommended in mail coverage, recommended in virtual and limited surveillance, 12 or 15 times
he protested against the use of those things, and yet the President approved them. And here in the very level that he wrote to the man and had charge of this surveillance of the effort to get the records of the psychiatrist, he'll mark August 3rd or month before the break him. He said that if he did a crow, if you can color, we will perceive with interviews of all of the remaining individuals except Daniel L. Spurgeon, and no one missed a who was out there. I think he made the exception because he didn't make it a practice to interview people who won their nightmare. So there he was, he was willing to cooperate, and another thing, along about this time, as a member of the United States Senate, I was fighting the Office of Administration
to get, no knock laws enacted, to get preventive detention laws enacted, to expand by the executive part of the powers of the subversive activities control board. And I was fighting against the proposition being dependent to the part of justice. That is all right to use undercover military agents to spy on surveillance exercises. And their first amendment rights, and about that time, I got a letter from Dan Wuhu, which is also office evidence. And he said, you, pardon me, you have indeed been one of the guardians of our liberties and protectors of our freedoms. All Americans owe you a debt of gratitude, I don't offer that, as in a place of myself. But all of that is the evidence of Mr. Huggust's devotion to the basic rights of American citizens. Right, not to be burglarized, and I think that since he can't speak for himself, that his documents, all of the able to convey his attitude, I can understand, haven't heard
this testimony, about the elsewhere in the mouth, I can understand why, you say that Mr. Huggust wouldn't cooperate with a White House, and he was on the side of liberty. Now, as I understand your testimony that you gave to Senator Weichmann, you testified that the plumbers attempted to get the records of the psychiatrist, and although that might someone, the CIA, or somebody else, might develop a psychiatric profile to enable President Nixon to determine for himself, well, the Hillsburg was some kind of a coop, or was some kind of a foreign intelligence agent.
Isn't that what you told us? Well, I don't think it's a question of the President determining for himself, Mr. Chairman. I think this was an effort on the part of the special unit to do, as they had done in other cases, subsequently, to determine where there were holes in the, either in the federal government itself, or in the Rand Corporation, or these outside units that would permit a person like Hillsburg and his co-conspirators, if there were any, to steal massive quantities of top-secret documents and turn them over to the Russians. Well, I can't hard to make you, Ken, but I can't harmonize with, that the old statement to Mr. Senator Weichmann, that they were not attempting to get the psychiatrist records to the purpose of assisting in the prosecution of Mr. Ellis Burns, and that they will get them, and all of the depression might satisfy himself on certain points. Well, President, of course, is charged with the proper administration of the departments
of the executive branch, the Defense Department, the State Department, the CIA, and the outfits like the Rand Corporation and others that contract with those departments, and they have possession of secret documents. Now, when you have a situation like this one, and you have information coming in from the Justice Department that this individual is involved with a conspiracy, and you have the surrounding circumstances of the delivery of these documents to the foreign embassy, it is incumbent upon the President as the executive of this executive branch to satisfy himself that he has done everything possible to be sure that such a thing does not occur in the future, and in order to do that, he has to be in a position to know what happened here. Now, that was the process that was underway, and I think he'll agree with me that that is a proper executive. Well, I believe Congress set up the FBI to determine what was going on in his country, didn't it?
Among other things, Mr. Chairman, it set up the CIA to determine what was going on in respect to foreign intelligence, didn't it? Yes, sir. Among other agencies. Yes, sir. I set up the national security agency, didn't it? And the Defense Intelligence Agency. And the Defense Intelligence Agency. And a number of other things. And a number of other things. It didn't set up the plumbers, didn't it? Of course, the Congress doesn't do everything, Mr. Chairman. The Congress is the only one that's got legislative power, and I don't know anything in law that gave the President the power set up himself up what some people have called a secret police, namely the plumbers. Well, I think if anybody called it that, that they would be badly overstating the situation, and we're getting now into this constitutional argument that you and Mr. Wilson engaged in yesterday, Mr. Chairman. The fact is that the President has granted constitutional powers to make sure that these departments of the executive branch weren't properly, and when you have a mistake, or when you have a shortfall, or when you have a grievous raid on secret papers, like this one, the President would be very remiss in his obligations if he didn't move forward on it.
And all the words are the way to cope with those things is to set up Martin, and to catch him, Martin. Now, let me ask you one other question, I hope you're speaking last. Didn't you know what didn't come out very early after the June 17th break-in? That $115,000 of the President's money had been now deposited at least temporarily in the Bank of Canada, one of the burgers, Banardiel, Marco? No, sir. It did not? No, sir. Well, when did you learn that? I don't know that the President's money ever showed up in this. It was the proceeds of campaign funds that had meant to note of a government to help elect the President to re-elect the President on that campaign contributions? Yes. Oh, I see. Your term was not clear. Well, I'll call it Nixon's campaign funds, and we may agree on that.
Then you find out very soon after the break-in at $114,000 of the President's campaign funds had found their way into the deposit account of Banardiel, Marco, one of the burgers, called him the Watergate? Yes, sir, without agreeing with the amount because I don't know the amount. Well, did this matter of fact, didn't you testify in the deposition in the civil case? That on the 23rd day of June pursuant to the President's direction of you to discuss this matter of these funds being routed, coming out of Mexico, with General Walter's? Yes, sir. Yes. And the President had talked to you about he asked you to do that, didn't he? No, he sent word to me through Mr. Holland. Well, Mr. Holland would bring you word and tell you he came from the President to press him on the, you to find out something about this, so, Mr. McConsex? No, sir. The thing that Mr. Holland said to me was that the President had asked that he and I meet with Mr. Helms and General Walters to discuss the question of whether a full, all-out, vigorous FBI investigation might somehow turn up and compromise some ongoing or CIA activity.
Well, wasn't it the act kept it directed to Mexico in checks? Not specific. Didn't you, sir, weren't you asked about it far into these Mexican checks in that deposition? I'm sure I was, yes. But I'm sure I also answered in that deposition that that subject arose at the meeting and was not a part of the instructions that came to me through Mr. Holland. Well, in a way, you had a meeting with General Walters on the 23rd day of June, just the six days after the break-in, yes, sir. In which it became known at $114,000 of the Nixon campaign funds had been routed, had come to Mr. Stanley's office in the form of three Mexican checks, or four Mexican checks, and to the proceeds of those checks had been deposited in the bank account of a burglar in Miami, Florida.
I'm sure that those kind of elaborate details were not discussed. Well, do you know of any other campaign funds of the President, though campaign contributions were routed into Mexico? The President was afraid that if the FBI vigorously investigated these checks, it might interfere with the CIA. President was concerned he told me later that the all-out FBI investigation might compromise some CIA activity in Mexico. And the way the FBI was leaking, that would be the surest way for that CIA activity then to appear in the nation's press. And it might also explain how come $114,000 proceeds of a campaign contribution to the M was found in the bank account of a burglar, I just pursued that investigation. Well, Mr. Chairman, your inference is very unfair.
As in point of fact, the President's instructions to the FBI were to conduct a totally unlimited all-out full-scale investigation of that and every other aspect of this Watergate matter, and that Mr. Gray and Mr. Gray alone was to determine the scope that the President wouldn't limit that scope at all. Well, if that was so why did he ask that, well, the CIA ought to limit it. He gave those instructions upon being reassured later that the CIA had no concern. Well, though, the President can read, can he? Yes, sir. And he listens to the television occasion, it doesn't. Not very often. Well, then the people in the White House read and this television discuss among themselves about how all these strange things were happening. What strange things, Mr. Chairman? Such as a burglar's been found in the headquarters of the opposition party with Nixon campaign funds in their pockets. It was well aware of what was in the news.
Yes, sir. Yes. Well, did you ever talk to the President about that? Yes, sir. Did you ever suggest to him that there's something rather strange about his campaign funds being found in the pockets of burglar's in the headquarters of the opposition party? It was certainly not necessary for me to suggest that to him. That's the reason he ordered the FBI to do an all-out investigation. Well, it didn't find out much, did it? Yes, sir. They found out a great deal. Well, they conducted, in point of fact, Mr. Chairman on that score, how would they conducted the most intensive FBI investigation that had been conducted in this country in terms of the numbers of witnesses contacted, the numbers of leads followed out, the numbers of agents involved in the investigation, the devotion of vigor of the Bureau of Investigation, the most intensive investigation since the Kennedy assassination, and it didn't find out enough to indict anybody except the risen seven of men and notwithstanding the fact that the tracks of the burglar read right straight from the Watergate into the committee to reelect the
President. Well, that certainly isn't the President's fault. He turned the FBI loose. Well, it might be the fault of some of his aides who not to assist in the deal a little more vigorously done. I assure you, Mr. President, Mr. Chairman, excuse me, I assure you that there was no restraint on the FBI in this investigation whatsoever to my nose. None whatsoever. Not even when you suggested to General Walters that they might interfere, they might interfere with CIA operation. Well, let's be clear about what happened there. That meeting, as you say, was on about the 23rd, I believe. General Walters was not asked to do anything more than have a meeting with the director of the FBI and discuss with him any possible concerns. Now, in point of fact, the CIA could not reassure us right then with regard to the President's concerns. And it was not until the 26th, I believe.
Yes, 27th. It was not until the 27th of June that the CIA telephone the FBI to say that they were satisfied that there was no CIA involvement in the Mexican aspect of this. And it was very shortly after that that the President and Mr. Great talked. And the President instructed Mr. Great that in view of that, the FBI should go all out in its investigation. So, that's the sequence of events. Well, the President stated in his statement, I considered it my responsibility to see that the Watergate investigation did not impinge at first upon the national security area. For example, on April the 18th, 1973, when I learned that Mr. Hunt, a former member of the Special Investigations Unit at the White House was to be questioned by the then Attorney
General. I'd reckon the Assistant Attorney General Peterson to pursue every issue involving Watergate, but to confine his investigation to Watergate and related matters and to stay out of national security and matters. That's true. Well, you testified that the plumbers were dealing with national security matters. Well, that's entirely different subject than what I was just talking about. Now, you asked me about the plumbers or the CIA? Well, I asked you about both, I think, that I asked you if you didn't testify at the plumbers were dealing with national security matters. Yes, sir. Well, here's the President's own statement that he said he directed to stay out of that. Directed who to stay out of what? Out of national security matters. The thing that you say the plumbers were dealing in. He didn't direct the FBI, directed Henry Peterson. Well, Henry Peterson was a man in charge of the whole affair, wasn't he? What whole affair, Mr. Chairman?
The prosecution. Yes, but now the investigation. He also, he said, in that same statement, I instructed Hall, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Earling, to ensure that the investigation that break in, not expose, even unrelated covert operation of the CIA, all the activities of the White House investigations unit, and to see that this was partially coordinated with General Walters, the Deputy Director of the CIA and Mr. Gray of the FBI. That was the purpose of the meeting on the 23rd of June. So he says to see that the FBI didn't then hinge on any national security matters. No. No. That's not what that says. That says any CIA investigations. Well, I've just unrelated to the Watergate. Therefore, I instructed Mr. Hall, and Mr. Earlingman, to ensure that the investigation of the break-in, not expose either an unrelated covert operation of the CIA. All the activities of the White House investigations unit.
What was the White House investigations unit? It is matter of euphemism for the plums. I believe so. Yeah. Therefore, it is says, and he told him, Mr. Hall, and Mr. Earlingman, to see that this was partially coordinated between General Walters, the Deputy Director of the CIA and Mr. Gray of the FBI. And that was the purpose of it. And yet you say that Mr. Gray was not limited in any manner. That was the Director of the State, Mr. President, and made that he instructs you, and Mr. Hallman, to see that he stayed out of national security matters. Would you like to hear what we did? It'd be right interested if we could. We held a meeting with Mr. Walters, General Walters, and Mr. Helms on the 23rd of June. And thereafter, we asked General Walters to be in touch with Mr. Gray, and then about four days later, the CIA informed the FBI that if the FBI did an unlimited investigation,
it would not turn up any CIA operations and would not compromise. Mr. Gray then informed the President, and the President said, all right, Pat, I want the FBI to go all out with no strings attached. That was on the 6th of July, Mr. Chairman. You know, I'm reminded of the parable of the Good Samaritans. And that parable was a man went out on the table down on the road to Jericho. And he fell among thieves, and they beat him, and robbed him, and left him wounded line down on the road. And then the peace didn't leave, I think, came down there, and pretended they didn't see him, and he woke down on the other side. Then the Good Samaritan came down and really they made it in the suffering. And the evidence in this case, thus far, tends to show that all of them intelligent, not all of them, but the people in charge of the committed re-elect the President, the people
in charge of the committed, the finance committed re-elect the President, and the White House and the United States, like the priest in the leave, I won't bow on the other side, and pretended that this thing didn't come. So, do they- Now, I answer that question? Yes. Thank you. In point of fact, no, I read the Bible, but I don't quote it. In point of fact, Mr. Chairman, on four different occasions, the President of the United States had full-scale reports from the Attorney General about the efforts of the entire Department of Justice, the efforts of the entire Department of Justice in this. That included not only the FBI, it included the grand jury, it included the prosecutors, it included everybody who was involved in this investigation.
It was followed very closely by those of us in the White House who had an interest in this matter in one way or the other. Mr. Dean primarily, but others of us as well. I had a meeting, for instance, with the Attorney General, on the 31st of July of the year of the break-in, and got a full-scale report from him in which he said that the investigation was not yet completed, but that it was very clear to the entire Department of Justice that the seven people who were indicted were, in fact, the only ones implicated. Now, the White House had said to its employees, the President had instructed that everyone was to cooperate fully in giving evidence to the FBI, and they did that. Mr. Dean conducted his own inquiry inside the White House with regard to White House involvement. And Attorney General Klein deansed about three or four days after the Department of Justice completed this investigation in September, made a complete report to the President, the Vice
President, the Cabinet, and the Republican legislative leaders at a meeting which I can well recall. And the Attorney General made the point at that time in the President's presence that this had been the most vigorous and extensive Department of Justice investigation since the assassination, and that their conclusion was. That the people arrested and then known to be implicated were, in fact, the only ones involved. Now, that had the scrutiny and the interest of the people in the White House, the people in the Executive in the Cabinet and the other executive branch officials, and it certainly had the full attention of the Attorney General. There was no attempt to shield our gaze and pass over on the other side. And notwithstanding the fact, did you ever discover that a slow on the trace of the committee at the direction of the Gruder, after the consultation with stands, paid $199,000 in
cash to a lady who must have minded the government? Well, that's an interesting point, Mr. Chairman, because at my meeting with the Attorney General on the 31st of July, he said that Mr. Sloan had a version of the facts, which the prosecutors had heard and which were going to be presented to the grand jury, and they were. So that that was not concealed from the prosecutors, the investigators had turned it up, and it was before the grand jury. This was a known quantity. Unfortunately, when the matter went to trial, the judge and the jury didn't believe Mr. Sloan. Well, it didn't give a chance. They didn't indict. They didn't indict the Gruder. Well, then prosecuting the attorneys reported in the press to have said that the evidence showed that nobody was involved except to seven men on the prosecution. Don't you know that? I know, too. They had Mr. Sloan's testimony before them. Yes.
It was not believed, and in point of fact, you remember in the press, that at the trial, the judge made comments, which indicated that he did not believe Mr. Sloan. Well, it's turned out since he was telling the truth. I don't think they're out of this problem, man. So they certainly had his testimony that the Gruder, the deputy director, had ordered him to pay this $199,000 in cash out of Secretary Stan's secret fund, and that Secretary Stan's told him to comply with the order of Gruder and this respect after a consultation with Mitchell. Now, I can understand why they don't find out some things that don't believe a party that was so outrageous. Didn't Mr. Sloan come up and want to tell you about this, and you said to him, I don't want to hear anything about it because of anything about it. I'll have to take executive privilege to have selection. I don't know what it was that Mr. Sloan wanted to tell me because after we had talked
for a few minutes, and I had determined that he felt he had some exposure, but that he had not talked to an attorney. I told him that it would be grossly unfair of me to hear him out until he had had an opportunity to talk with an attorney and take counsel on his own situation. Are you one of the men in the White House that stood in power next to the President, weren't you? I worked for the President there. Yes, and when this President of the Committee, the President came and told you he wanted to tell you about some things that troubled him, you refused to listen. Well, I thought I was doing that from his standpoint, Mr. Chairman. Duke Sloan has been a young man that I'd known well during the time he worked at the White House. I didn't want to see him tell me something before he had talked to counsel that later on was going to prove his undoing, and see his wife, Debbie, also worked at the White House and was well-known to my wife and me.
I just didn't want to see him overreach. Investigation has been interrupted by a floor vote on amendments to a bill that would reform political campaigns, when the vote is completed, Senator Irvin wants to know about special treatment for Nixon Finance Chief, Mari Stans. Before I put another question, I would say that my idea is that up to the jury to determine whether I witnessed this telling the truth instead of all the prosecuting attorney.
It didn't you call a Henry Peterson, the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, who had General Supervision this prosecution, and asked him not to require former Secretary Mari Stans to go before the grand jury. Yes, Mr. Chairman, the circumstances were that it had come to the President's notice. Secretary Stans was going to be asked to appear before the grand jury. He asked me to determine if it would be possible for Secretary Stans to give his testimony as others had through the device of a proceeding at the Justice Department of Depositions, so to speak, under oath rather than to run the gauntlet at the Federal Courthouse. The President said that a man who was a former cabinet officer and saw it shouldn't be subjected to that kind of a situation, and so I talked to Mr. Dean about it.
He suggested that I talk with Mr. Peterson, and I did that. Well, as a Democrat for this small dean, I'm too long incapable of comprehending why a former cabinet officer shouldn't have to do like all other morals and go before grand jury. And so he didn't go.
1973 Watergate Hearings
Part 2 of 4
Producing Organization
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/512-542j679j6s).
Episode Description
Robert MacNeil and Jim Lehrer anchor gavel-to-gavel coverage of day 29 of the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings. In today's hearing, John Ehrlichman testifies. Note: Only reels 1 and 2 of 4 exist.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Event Coverage
Politics and Government
Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Anchor: MacNeil, Robert
Anchor: Lehrer, James
Producing Organization: WETA-TV
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2341710-1-2 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Preservation
Color: Color
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-26; Part 2 of 4,” 1973-07-26, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 26, 2024,
MLA: “1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-26; Part 2 of 4.” 1973-07-26. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. February 26, 2024. <>.
APA: 1973 Watergate Hearings; 1973-07-26; Part 2 of 4. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from