John W. Dean

  • Aired:  08/04/14
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"The Nixon Defense" author John W. Dean discusses the extent of President Nixon's knowledge of the Watergate break-in and ensuing cover-up. (6:02)

>> STEPHEN: WELCOME BACK TOOUR BREAKING COVERAGE OF

SOMETHING THAT HAPPENED 40 YEARSAGO.

(LAUGHTER)OF COURSE, AT THE CENTER OF THE

WATERGATE SCANDAL WAS FORMERWHITE HOUSE COUNCIL JOHN DEAN.

JOINING ME NOW IS A MAN WHO KNEWJOHN DEAN VERY WELL.

PLEASE WELCOME JOHN DEAN.

JOHN, THANK YOU SO MUCH FORJOINING US, GOOD TO HAVE YOU

HERE!

(APPLAUSE)YOU ARE THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK

CALLED THE NIXON DEFENSE WHAT HEKNEW AND WHEN HE KNEW IT.

ALRIGHT JOHN, YOU HEARD PAT OUTHERE BEFORE.

WAS WATERGATE THAT BIG OF ADEAL?

(LAUGHTER)PAT BELIEVES THE TAPES SHOULD

BEEN DESTROYED.

YOU'RE ON THOSE TAPES.

>> I AM.

>> STEPHEN: DO YOU BELIEVETHEY SHOULD HAVE BEEN DESTROYED?

>> I DON'T THINK SO.

IT CLEARLY WOULD HAVE BEEN ANOBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE TO

DESTROY THE TAPES.

WHEN THE TAPES WERE REVEALED BYALEX BUTTERFIELD, IT WAS ON

FRIDAY 13TH, WHITE HOUSELEARNS IT OVER THE WEEKEND.

NIXON IS IN THE HOSPITAL WITHPNEUMONIA.

HE'S TOLD THE OPTIONS, ONE ISDESTROYED, THE OTHER IS KEEP

THEM.

HE HAS ONE LAWYER ARGUINGOBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE IF YOU

DESTROY THEM, THE OTHER SAYS,WELL, THEY HAVEN'T SUBPOENAED

YET, YOU MIGHT GET AWAY WITHDESTROYING THEM.

>> STEPHEN: YOU ACTUALLYSERVED FOUR MONTHS IN PRISON,

AND WHAT WAS THE CHARGE?

>> I PLEADED TO OBSTRUCTIONOF -- CONSPIRACY TO OBSTRUCT

JUSTICE.

>> STEPHEN: IN RETURN FORPLEADING YOUR GUILT, YOU

TESTIFIED AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.

WHEN DID YOU MAKE THE CALCULUSAND WHEN DID YOU MAKE THE

CALCULUS TO TURN ON THIS GOODMAN?

(LAUGHTER)>> I INFORMED MY COLLEAGUES

EARLY EXACTLY WHAT I WAS DOING.

FIRST, I WAS GOING TO HIRE ALAWYER.

WHEN I BREAK RANK, I MAKE IT NOSECRET.

I SAID, I'M NOT GOING TO LIE FORANYBODY, I'M GOING TO THE

PROSECUTORS.

THEY THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA,GO TO THE GRAND JURY.

THEY DIDN'T BELIEVE I WOULDEITHER REMEMBER OR TESTIFY IN AN

INCRIMINATING FASHION ABOUTMYSELF, BUT THAT WAS THE ONLY

WAY I FELT TO REALLY RESOLVE THEMATTER WAS TO BE VERY TRUTHFUL

ABOUT IT, EXPLAIN WHAT HAPPENEDAND LAY IT OUT.

>> STEPHEN: YOU FAMOUSLY SAIDTO THE PRESIDENT THAT THERE WAS

A CANCER ON THE PRESIDENCY.

WHAT DID YOU MEAN AT THE TIME?

>> WELL, WHAT I WAS TRYING TODO?

I WAS TRYING TO GET HISATTENTION.

>> STEPHEN: THAT WOULD DO IT.

IT IS.

>> STEPHEN: THAT IS A FATALDIAGNOSIS.

WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT?

>> I MEANT WATERGATE WASMETASTASIZING.

IT WAS CONSUMING HIS TIME ANDTHE PEOPLE WHO WERE PART OF THE

ADMINISTRATION.

>> STEPHEN: WHY DIDN'T NIXONJUST CUT THE CHAFF AWAY FROM

HIM, CUT EVERYBODY LOOSE?

YOU HAVE TO BE TOUGH TO BE INPOLITICS.

WHY DIDN'T HE SAY HALDERMAN,EHRLICHMAN, DEAN, WHY DIDN'T HE

JUST TURN YOU GUYS TO THE FEDSAND WALKED AWAY?

>> SHOULD HAVE.

DID HE EVER TRY TO TURN ONYOU?

>> NOT UNTIL I TRIED TO BREAKRANK.

HE'S VERY WORRIED ABOUT THEOTHERS AND ME.

I HAVE TOO MUCH KNOWLEDGE.

HE DOESN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO.

HE WANTS TO FIGURE OUT HOW TOEASE EVERYBODY OUT AND HOPEFULLY

THAT WILL BE ENOUGH FOR THEPUBLIC.

IT WAS JUST A START.

I ADVISED HIM WE SHOULD ALL GO.

>> YOU KNEW THE PRESIDENT ASWELL, YOU HEARD PAT OUT HERE --

>> I DIDN'T KNOW THE PRESIDENTAS WELL AS PAT.

YOU KNOW, PAT IS SOMEBODY, INALL THOSE TAPES -- I WAS JUST

TELLING PAT BEFORE WE CAME ON,IN ALL THOSE TAPES I LISTENED

TO, NIXON HAS SOMETHING NASTY TOSAY ON ALMOST EVERYBODY WHO

WORKED FOR HIM BUT NOT ABOUTPAT.

HE REALLY LIKED PAT.

>> STEPHEN: NIXON LIKED HIM.

THAT'S EXCELLENT FOR THETOMBSTONE.

(LAUGHTER)(APPLAUSE)

>> STEPHEN: ALL RIGHT, WHATDID THE PRESIDENT KNOW AND WHEN

DID HE KNOW IT AND DID -- AND DOYOU KNOW WHAT WAS ON THE 18 1/2

MINUTES OF THE MISSING TAPES?

>> I DO.

WHAT DID HE KNOW AND WHEN?

HE WAS DEEPLY INVOLVED IN THECOVERUP FROM THE BEGINNING.

HE'S NOT AS ACTIVE UNTIL AFTERTHE MARCH 21 CONVERSATION.

>> STEPHEN: DID HE ORDER --HE DID NOT ORDER THE

BREAK-IN.

THERE'S NO EVIDENCE HE ORDEREDTHE BREAK-IN.

>> STEPHEN: DHID HE ORDER ANYBREAK-IN?

>> OH, YES, HE DID.

HE ORDERED A BREAK-IN AT THEBOOKINGS INSTITUTE DURING THE

PENTAGON PAPERS.

HE THOUGHT THEY SHOULD NOT HAVEA COPY OF THAT 1970 STUDY THAT

SHOWED THE ORIGINS OF THE WAR INVIETNAM SO HE GAVE INSTRUCTIONS

ON THREE DIFFERENT TAPEDCONVERSATIONS TO BREAK IN AND

GET THOSE OUT.

>> STEPHEN: SO HE COULDN'THAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE WATERGATE

BREAK-IN BECAUSE HE WAS TOO BUSYPLANNING OTHER BREAK-INS

(LAUGHTER)WHAT WAS ON THE 18 MISSING

MINUTES?

>> IT'S VERY CLEAR WHEN YOU PUTTHE SEQUENCE TOGETHER -- IN FACT

I PUT AN APPENDIX IN THE BOOKFOR THAT REASON SO PEOPLE COULD

FOLLOW IT AND WHAT IT WAS ISHE'S DISCUSSING THE COVERUP VERY

EARLY IN THE FIRST DAYS.

HE DISCUSSES IT THAT EVENING,THE NEXT DAY, TWO DAYS LATER IS

THE SMOKING GUN TAPE THAT REALLYCAUSES HIS PRESIDENCY TO END

BECAUSE HE HAS SET UP A DEFENSE,HE KNEW NOTHING ABOUT WATERGATE

TILL I HAD TOLD HIM IN MARCH OF'73.

>> STEPHEN: THAT PROVES HEALREADY KNEW.

>> YES.

>> STEPHEN: WERE YOU THEREWHEN THIS HAPPENED?

>> NO, BUT I WAS AWARE OF ITTHAT MORNING.

IT WAS A MAJOR EVENT.

BUD CROW CALLED ME AND SAIDELVIS WANTS TO COME IN.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THAT?

I SAID WHY?

HE SAID HE WANTS TO GET A BADGEFROM THE BUREAU OF NARCOTICS AND

DANGEROUS DRUGS SO HE CAN BE ADRUG ENFORCEMENT OFFICER.

I SAID, THAT'S KIND OF UNUSUAL.

>> STEPHEN: HE CERTAINLY LOOKSLIKE AN EXPERT IN THIS PHOTO.

JOHN, THANKS SO MUCH FOR JOININGME.

>> THANK YOU.

(APPLAUSE)>> STEPHEN: JOHN DEAN, THE

NIXON DEFENSE.

WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK!

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