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tv   The Presidency White House Watergate Tapes  CSPAN  May 13, 2019 12:00am-1:26am EDT

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next, on the presidency, jeff shepherd, the principal deputy to the president's lead defense lawyer, taught a temple university class this semester called "watergate revisited: an insider's view." he helped transcribe the white house watergate tapes. in this lecture, he gives his views of those tapes and what they did and did not reveal. ofbegins with a review previous lectures. this is about an hour and a half. >> we're not talking about current events, and we're not really focusing on the chronology of watergate. what i'm trying to tell you is what went on behind the scenes. the back story, both of developments at the white house, where i worked, and the special prosecutor's office, where i did a tremendous amount of research in finding out what their thinking was and what the documents show.
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it is an insider's view, and i am the insider. i am responsible for all of the views. of us take a quick review the preceding nine presentations. i will try to convince you this has all made sense. the first week, we introduced some people, then we ended with three surprising revelations. there were secret meetings going on between the judges and the prosecutors, a lot of them. you don't know which is the bigger surprise. that they were meeting in secret, or that they were rating -- writing memos about their agreements. the second surprising revelation, john dean, the chief desk officer of the cover-up, then switched sides and became the lead government witness. john was sentenced for one to four years in prison for his leadership role in the cover-up. as it turns out, he never spent a night in jail.
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the jury and may be the american public was led to believe he was being punished, but in reality, he was not. it was kind of a set up. third, what i have uncovered and what i believe is what really drove nixon from office were secret allegations the prosecutors made about nixon's personal involvement in watergate. they happen to be erroneous, but they were made in secret, so we did not know and we could not them. the reason they were made in secret was because they had no witness who could testify to the allegations. they could say a phone call occurred. there was a meeting, but they had nobody to go on the stand and say, did nixon say? they did it in secret, so we did not know. beginning in week two, we did an introduction to the three most
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important time periods, where what you saw on tv differed from what was going on behind the scenes. then we spent a week on each of those. the first was the aftermath of the break-in arrests when we launched right into the cover-up. the people who were responsible for bringing you the break-in were terrified of being discovered. they launched and orchestrated the cover-up. the cover-up soon collapsed and went on for six or eight months and it should have collapsed. but when it collapsed, people scattered. some came in to try to get immunity. others were surprised and were trying to pitch in and help, and got caught. week eight, we did nixon's dramatic demise. the two weeks that started with the supreme court decision on the tape case and culminated with nixon's dramatic and historic resignation.
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in the course of that, we talked about three important diversions that most people don't fully appreciate. one was the effect of 100% of staff turnover. on the white house, we lost institutional memory of what had happened earlier. that contributed to our confusion. on the prosecutors side, the career prosecutors who had broken the cover-up were unceremoniously removed and gagged and specially recruited, highly partisan prosecutors were hired, brought in, who in my view targeted individuals instead of crimes. the whole nature of the prosecution changed. we spent some time on the prosecutors' two-pronged attack on nixon. when they concluded they could not indict him, their effort turned to figure out how to get
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their information that they had obtained through the grand jury to the house judiciary committee. when nixon resigned, they focused again on how they could indict him. we went through that, all the documents that showed this focus , which leon characterized as this drumbeat that nixon must be reached at all cost. the prosecutors were supposed to prosecute crimes, but they took it upon themselves, we see this in the bob woodward interview, it uponecutors took themselves to get nixon because they were so sure he had personally approved the payment of blackmail to howard hunt, and it turns out he did not. the final thing we did in diversions was the plumber's case. that is the break-in into daniel ellsberg's shrink's office in response to the pentagon papers, and it seems disconnected,
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except it was the same people who conducted that break-in that then conducted the watergate break-in. all kinds of national security complications. it turns out the government had done this sort of thing, whether you agree or disagree is entirely up to you, but the government has done national security break-ins without court authority for the previous 40 years. the prosecutors knew it. but one prosecutor in particular, a harvard professor, wanted to change that policy, and he undertook the prosecution for that purpose. finally, just last week, we talked about the cover-up trial and i laid out my case for why i felt they did not receive any semblance of due process after nixon resigned. what happened was in a highly
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the withed era, amendment's guarantees of due process were cast aside. they were convicted on all counts. the judges cheated, the prosecutors cheated, the jury was hardly a jury of their peers. even the appellate court got corrupted in the effort to secure convictions. that catches you up with my biases and my view. i don't expect everyone to agree. it is wonderfully complex. what i have tried to show you and cite for you are all of my sources that led me to these conclusions. we are going to switch now to the tapes. the tapes are fun. i have a lot of experience with the tapes, because i transcribed them. a lot of stuff went on before. we did not talk much about me, but i am heavily involved in the tapes. let's start with the system. the taping system was installed in february of 1971.
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two full years into the nixon administration. its existence was disclosed and when alex disabled butterfield testified before the committee on july 16, 1973. a grand juryafter, ,ubpoena arrived for 49 tapes subpoenaing all records to do with watergate. we agreed to produce those nine tapes for the prosecutor following the saturday night massacre. that was followed by the revelation that two of the recordings never existed. on one, the telephone was not tapped. reel hadher, the tape run out of tape. a third tape had an 18.5 minute gap. which, to this day, we cannot explain and no one else has been
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able to explain. very suspicious. the prosecutors secretly transmitted 12 tapes to the house judiciary committee on march 1. that is the day of the watergate indictments. i do not know where they got the other three. but in their report, they say we sent 12 tapes. from they had two segments one tape or something else, but it was a surprise to me. there is no record of us giving them more than nine tapes. then we got another subpoena for 64 additional tapes. i am on number seven. that wasn't a grand jury subpoena. the grand jury had already indicted these people. the prosecutors said, we need 64 more. we decided that we had better conversations, that what people thought was on those tapes was worse than the tapes
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themselves. so on april 30, we released the transcripts of 50 meetings. and a detailed 50 page defense of richard nixon. then the house judiciary committee, two months later in june of 1974, released their nixon-dean of eight meetings. these are very interesting developments. the supreme court in july upheld the 64 tapes.or we released the transcript of the smoking gun. nixon resigned. in december, the congress seized all of nixon's materials. the presidential recordings and materials preservation act seized the tapes and all of its -- his documents. they have been under the direction and control of the federal government ever since. as we say, litigation followed. tapes andixon's
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documents, but the government was going to make up as much of seizingney can for those papers. that went on for 25 years. it went to the supreme court twice. it was finally settled in 2002. set up -- the settlement is sealed. the rumor is the government paid the nixon estate. they paid the nixon estate $20 million. when you see pretty buildings at the next library, that is how they paid for them. shortly thereafter, peace broke out. you have the next museum in yorba linda with no presidential papers. you have the archives holding the presidential papers in washington, and julie nixon and gerry ford made a budget resolution to no longer require
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the nixon papers to be held within 10 miles of the capital. everybody knew what was going to happen. the nixon foundation gave the nixon library to the national archives. the national archives agreed they would put the papers out there. while the laws that govern it are slightly different, it is now a real presidential library. if you want to listen to the tapes on site, you go there to yorba linda. if you want to listen to the tapes in washington, you go to college park, maryland, where archives two has the papers of the special prosecutor, because they were not working on the white house staff. you can do it there. or you can go on to sites -- two sites online. we will come back to them in a few minutes. you can listen to the tapes if you want. what about nixon's system? every person since 1940 has used recording devices. franklin roosevelt, when he held
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a press conference, he would call in the written press, talk to them in the oval office, and they would write stories. he would get upset because they would not say what he said. they changed the stuff. so he had a naval corpsman sit in an air-conditioning shaft and taking shorthand of what he said. he was ultimately replaced by a westinghouse camera based on wire rope. it was both a movie camera and an audio recording. they only wanted the recording. archives still has some of those, but they don't have the device, so they do not know how to play them. they have some early roosevelt recordings. truman did not like the system. he tried it once or twice. what you get in the truman administration is the maid
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cleaning the desk that inadvertently turns it on. you don't get much out of truman. eisenhower taped as a general and as president. he tended to tape people he didn't trust. it's very selective. kennedy tended to tape recreational activities. [laughter] those were removed. pretty good. they were removed by robert kennedy the day jack kennedy was assassinated. he went in and took the system and the tapes. they stayed in private hands until after the government seized nixon's. they approached the archives and said, you know, we may have some tapes, but we are not turning them over until we know what is on them, so maybe you can help us decipher. ultimately, they have donated some to the archives.
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but we have no idea whether there are others that have been held back, if they have been doctored. there were clearly tapes. johnson took a different approach. remember, linden -- lyndon was senate majority leader. he loved to tape telephone conversations when he was negotiating for votes. he would call the staff in and say, see, i got the vote. there's a two-volume set on the johnson tapes. but he reused them. they were played after and he would tape over them. it was not done as a record. you get two stories about what happened to nixon. one story, which is nixon's, is that john campbell, who was the head of pepsico, was talking to lbj and asked him if there were something he would do differently. johnson said he wished he'd taped more. i'm trying to write a biography
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and i cannot remember. i just cannot get stuff in order. kimble came back and said, we ought to start taping. bob hall had said no, i never talked to kimble about this. from day one, we were trying to figure out the best way of keeping a historic record of the oval office. we were making history. the first thought was have the staff guy write up what happened. the trouble was, it was too biased. the staff guy would say, the president in this early and reaction-- a brilliant , and they could not trust it. they were going to have the deputy director of the cia, a photographic memory, sit in the meeting and write it up. they thought it would foul up the meeting, so they decided they did not want to do that either. then came this idea of, why not
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tape? but they did it in a unique way. it is operating for 2.5 years. they first have the oval office -- tapped the oval office in the cabinet room in 1971. tappedths later, they some telephones. nixon would go to an office in the eob to talk with his most intimate staff members. there are 950 reels of tape with a capacity for 3600 hours. but sometimes they changed the tape and it is only have used. sometimes, someone is vacuuming. the tape is picking up the vacuuming. there were about 3000 hours of tape. it was put in as a reference for nixon. nixon wasn't going to work after he left office.
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he was going to be one of the youngest ex-president in our history. he was going to write books. that's what i did. -- ike did. these were solely for him to refresh his recollection of what was going on. no tape had ever been referenced or used by the president until the system was disclosed. the secret service would do it. they kept piling up tapes. -- he had been in all the meetings, he recovered -- remembered how things worked. it was automated. a brand-new technology. it can bite you. it bit nixon. what they did was really unique. the secret service has a locator board and it is six lights. the president is in the residence, he is in the oval
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office, the west wing, he is in his hideaway office in the eob, he is on the grounds, or he is off the grounds. the secret service can look and know immediately where the man is. if and only if that light was on today secret service agent turn on the recorder. i used to think it was wired into the locator board. that's not true. at least, that is not what they say today. they say when the president came into the oval office, the secret service turned on the machine. then it was sound activated. first two or three words when it starts up. you miss a few words. bottom, youthe very
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have to turn it way out because he is not giving a speech. he is talking to somebody. the valet puts down a cup of coffee and the microphones are right there. it goes off in your ear like a cannon. it shares -- it scares you. or nixon puts his feet up on the desk. he does not clear it before he does that. you are fighting over a word, trying to get the word. boom. that's how it went. ok. this is really kind of cool. when the time came to figure out which tapes were wanted, they keyed off what is called the president's daily diary. what the secret service does, i'm not sure if they do it today , they document what the president does every minute of the day. this happens to be the day that dean comes in for the cancer on the presidency speech, march 21.
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but there is one of these pages for everyday. the president had breakfast. the time. the president did this, the president did that. you know when he was likely to have said or met with somebody relevant to watergate. the first thing the special prosecutor did was get these daily diaries. so the special prosecutor and fred are keying off this same source. you know it is going on publicly. did the president meet with dean, did he call dean, did he talk to henry peterson? was he ever in touch with john mitchell? it's right off these sheets. you can get the sheets. we showed you the dean meaning. he is shown meeting with dean from 10:12 until 11:55 a.m. on the cancer on the presidency meeting. haldeman was there
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all the time, but he wasn't. he was at a small meeting in advance, came back in for half an hour. you can tell on the tape. like everything else in our government and your life and your family, we are dealing with human beings. human beings make mistakes. this secret service record is not perfect. because we know haldeman wasn't in the meeting all the time. we start with transcription challenges. there are vast differences in audio quality. if it's a telephone tap, it is clear as a bell. there is only one person on the other line. you can get it. play it back and forth. you can transcribe that. if it's in the oval office, and they are at the desk, it is pretty good. because there are four microphones. there is one in the lampshade.
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lean forward, we can pick you up. if he is talking to somebody at his desk, it is pretty good. if they are over at the yellow couches in front of the fireplace, they are not pretty good. you have troubles. every afternoon, he goes to his hideaway office in the old eob, and those are terrible. they are just terrible. you cannot understand. you just cannot hear them. the second thing that makes it difficult is there are different sony tape recorders hooked to each device. the meetings in the old eob are on one tape reel, and then the in the oval office are in another and the telephone tap is somewhere else. you cannot follow the president through the day. at least, when we were working on it. today, they have the tapes arranged electronically. back when we were transcribing them, the first trick was, find
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the conversation. you had the daily diary, fred would say go find this one, and he would have listened to it. go to two. i skipped one. the national archives maintains the transcripts are not the historic record. the historic record is the tape and the sounds you get off the tape. there are no official national archives transcripts. they will show you the transcripts prepared by the prosecution. they will show you the ones we prepared. they will show you the ones the house issued. but the archives itself does not do that. it is interesting. i used to think they should cut -- snip the conversations so you can follow the president through the day. you can do it now if you go on the national archives, it tells
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you the tape that is relevant to each thing he does during the day. when we agreed, we are down to me, my favorite topic. [laughter] to turn overreed the tapes, fred took me aside, the counsel to the president and he said, the first cut is done on these transcripts. but we are going to have to turn these over and we had blessed well better know what is on those tapes so we do not get surprised. they just transcribed them like you take shorthand. you can follow the conversation and reach for those words that they did not spend any time on. i have personally spent hundreds of hours playing the tapes. starting with -- october 23 is when we announced we would turn them over. we did not turn them over for another month and a half. we took the transcripts, they couldn't figure out what was
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going on. so i polished rosewood's transcripts. i was working from -- once we turned them over to the court, copies made on a high-speed at the national security agency, which turned out to not make really good copies. because they were done at high-speed. it blurred the sounds. on my machine, the erase function was removed. i only worked from copies except for the smoking gun. i could not erase. youe is this buzz and cannot get rid of this buzz. we bought a graphic equalizer that could take out that one megahertz sound. the conversation got vague, but you did not have that one buzz. fred ward have listened to it before -- would have listened to
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tobefore, given it to rose make the first cut. they would tell me, on reel number 42, at 2:20 into the reel, that is where the conversation begins. here is the transcript. we want you to test it against the tape recorder. so i did not have to find the specific reel, but the footage changes every time you rewind. we got a little bit smarter and theut a piece of paper in reel to find the conversation. it took about a half hour to find what you were supposed to transcribe. i want to talk about the expletives deleted. because this is where it fit on the slide. when we went to release, the president had a habit of swearing. we did not think it was presidential. the decision was made to remove
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the swearing. only for the president. we didn't care if somebody else swore. and what he did was use the adjective "goddamn." he used it all the time. ddamn door when he was talking to people. they were going to pull that. i was doing it. i went to fred, and i said, you know, we are pulling an adjective. when this gets printed, people are going to think there is another word there. you know that other word. it begins with an f and it looks much worse. why don't we pull the word "god," and leave the word "damn," so that they don't think he is swearing like lyndon johnson used to swear. with two exceptions, all he does
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is goddamn. that went up the flagpole. i talked to fred and he talked to the president. no, pullr comes down, the whole phrase. nixon felt it was worse to use the lord's name in vain than to have people suspect he used some other words. upon my, maybe he was right. -- upon reflection, maybe he was right. he was worried about his mom. the idea that he was swearing, he was so habitually swearing, but it is possible you could make a case that his core believers were very religious people. this would have been worse. i am the expletive deleter. on april 30, 1974, we released
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the transcripts of 50 conversations. i titled this "the illusion of anticipated certainteed." everybody thought this would resolve all the ambiguities. they did not solve any ambiguities, and the race more. -- they waged a bunch more. 53 ring binder is because we wanted it to look like a lot. each one is in a separate binder. he stayed up all night after his speech. he said i am going to give this to the house tomorrow. we stayed up all night with a single xerox machine, making additional copies of what would be passed out.
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this is the official copy. we did not have many of these. this is my book. i am the author of this book. i don't get credit. there is no byline, or transcriptions by geoff shepard. i have a letter. i know many long hours went into these. i just want to thank you for your assistance on the most demanding process. i am grateful for your spirit of cooperation and patience on such short notice and especially for the excellence and professional skill which marked your efforts. i just ran across that recently. it is my book. there are lots of mistakes in the book because we were working off of these copies and you just could not hear. i can promise you that there was no fledging on the transcripts. we did not alter what we were presenting to the public.
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you could not get enough of these, so the times and post published their own. i have one. i just bought this. i thought i would be able to say that they eliminated the first 50 pages, but they did not invent new york times version. they put in another commentary. i have the washington post version on order. unturned,no stone looking for prejudice. the first was not time that we thought of doing this, releasing the transcripts. we were going to do it in december. there was this argument. where the transcripts worse than what people thought? and what we were getting? the primary purpose of the release was to undercut a
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testimony to the urban committee. the tapes show that much of that was not true, not correct. i showed you. it is in one of my books. the prosecutor had a memo prepared earlier that year, which detailed some 19 discrepancies between the urban committee testimony and what is shown on the tapes. it was not this phenomenal memory. the purpose was to say the guy is not right. what he is saying is not true. analysised a 50 page saying if you listen to all of these tapes, the president said this, this, decreed that. find anything that says the president gave in order
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or acknowledged criminality. it is just not there. remember what i was talking about? prosecutors prepared and shared with the house judiciary committee? all the stuff that they thought nixon had done wrong and how the jury could make a simple leap of faith that the president was guilty and could find him guilty? at the end, there was something that said they had to present the other side. it was out in the public domain. well, what happened? i am on number four now. sets that weur said expletive deleted. we said in audible and unintelligible. it shows up a lot, particularly
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in eob conversations. timeso said, several material related to presidential actions delayed -- deleted. i was not bound by that. he said, me neither, but if the president says this should not come out because it has nothing to do with watergate, we marked it and it did not come out. those are questionable removals. they were marked. the news coverage was that it showed the president to be unpresidential. that he was not noble or giving speeches like the founding fathers did. he was conniving and all too human.
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the press had nothing to do with dean. there was not a single article to the best of my knowledge on the defense. the media pivoted and said he should be president because he did not act like a president in private. i maintain that it is so fascinating. the tapes are the president going out loud, very private. he says whatever comes to mind. is in thecides to do presidential documents, messages and speeches. if you believe in a supreme being, and believe the supreme being knows your thoughts before you get there, before you have done, imagine the dilemma the supreme being has when you say you have something you doesn't know.
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that is what makes the tapes so intriguing. thinking outnixon loud. it is not noble. these were designed for public relations. .here are other sources here we are. cutler. a book by stan he is passed away. transcribed the abuse of power tapes. cleaningen accused of up john deane's role on the tapes. there is a professor in texas named luke nichter, was published two books on the case. he runs, and you can sort through and see the articles. neat guy. he is the current expert on the tapes.
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the nixon library has the tapes in yorba linda. you can go online and listen to the tapes. i tried it over the weekend. they do not give you the transcript. the archive does not believe that the transcripts are official. you can access what other people said, but not an official version of the tapes. i want to cover this. why didn't nixon destroy the tapes? most people would agree that if they had not become public, nixon would have survived and finished his time in office. why didn't he destroy the tapes? this is all speculative my part.
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-- he didhe tested al haguer to tell until sunday afternoon. to chat.e came out he got conflicting advice. he said in his book, nixon's memoirs, that it was ted agnew who said you should hold a press conference and burn the tapes. privacy above all. i remember john connolly said that. advice was that these are going to come up. you better get it of them. he got divided advice from his lawyers. his former law partner, the
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house liberal said, these are going to be evident. they will come after you if you destroyed. you have told us that you are not guilty, so you should not be afraid. if you destroy them, i will have to leave with great fanfare. i cannot stay if you destroy them. another person said bring them now. you can never keep them secret. nixon hesitated and they subpoenaed him. then, i am found on number four. the became subpoenaed after first nine. existence was discovered. said after we got the
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subpoena, he was not going to violate it. that executive privilege would preclude disclosure. he also believed that on balance, they would show innocence. he hadn't done anything criminal. you go to the pearly gates, i had a decent life, i think. there was no assurance. it happens all around him. there is no assurance that there are not duplicate somewhere. he could do this fanfare and then stuff would start popping up. number six.lieve number six says would destroy reference records needed proposed present e-books. after they put in the taping
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system, they stop making notes. if he burned the tapes, he lost 2.5 years of records that he was going to need to write his books. anyway, if you destroyed the tape, he was ripping up his pension plan. finally, nixon did not know how the system worked. he did not know where the tapes were stored. he did not know how to erase them. the idea of next and destroying -- destroying the tapes find himself is a nonstarter. i talked with fred about this as well. the temperature keeps going up. this was after the supreme court decision on july 24. it says you have to turn them over. i said, what about this? he said, nobody will do it for him anymore.
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if he wants to destroy the tapes , he has the ability at his hands. are 900 tape reels. he said, all you need is an electromagnetic and he waved it around the tape room. you do not have to destroy them, you just disable. what we are going to do now is comment on six tapes. the conversations leading to resignation and smoking gun. we will start with tape one of six of the 18 minute gap. i am intimately involved, so i'll tell you my role. rose woods admitted she erased 3-5 minutes of the tape. she was working from an original, the phone rang and she
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reached. on probably saw the picture the cover of newsweek. that is all fake. that was in a ceremonial office. she was not transcribing in a ceremonial office. there was a little closet where they left it set up. rose woods or marge acker would go there and work on it in silence with headphones. the difficulty was, we said we would turn the tapes over on october 23. fred discovers the 18 minute gap. he told me on november 23 that he discovered the gap when the specials from the nsa was making high-speed copies and said there was a gap they can't explain. he then went to jaworski and told him about the gap. if you work with me, we can figure out who did it.
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buzhardt thought it was rose woods. jaworski says we have to tell sirica right now. they got to tell sirica. he says, we have to have a court hearing this afternoon. we have to disclose the existence of this right away. that precluded catching anybody. the only person that could testify was buzhardt. he did not like being put on the stand while the lawyers had a field day, cross-examining him about a gap on the tape that he had discovered but have not caused. he told me he thought it was rose. he would not talk to her. he told her to lawyer up through intermediaries. after rose testified after the
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evidentiary hearing and denied any involvement other than that three to five minutes, she was coming back to the white house and was throwing furniture around, upset. buzhardt thought, maybe she got -- did not do it. so he got the nsa guide and -- guy and tested the machine. the guy could make the machine buzz. fred buzhardt says to me, you need to find a tape expert that can testify that it is the problem. we were with our best friends. you're going to have thanksgiving dinner at our house and go to williamsburg for the thanksgiving holiday. the thanksgiving toast. my phone rings. i assume it is family. it was back when you answered the phone.
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it was al haig. they had discovered the gap that she wanted to staff up. that was one of the first phone calls from him, and it never made it back to the thanksgiving table. my job was to get in on friday after thanksgiving and find a tape expert who could testify what was wrong with the machine, and we did. we found a guy from westinghouse. he showed up on saturday. what later became clear, -- room for -- remember those lamps that consumed a massive amount of amperage. if the lamp was plugged into the same outlet as the tape recorder, too mcuh amperage, a faulty outlet and a faulty in the tapefier
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recorder clearly caused the buzzing. caused erasure, nobody could say for sure. we got letters from other clubs saying we had the same problem with the machine. you guys are not lying, but we could not prove it. the tape experts looked at machine and said, well this machine is broken. they sent it out to get fixed. the guy throws away the broken part, cleans the machine and it would not buzz. the government itself destroyed the evidence. the evidence was destroyed. an evidentiary hearing and then a grand jury referral. there was no satisfactory resolution. forust do not know, except
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jardine's book coming up -- coming out. insignificantally because they did not know anything three days after, so they could not have been talking about anything important. tape two is discussion that they have. friday.monday night on he is asking for more money. this is a conversation that goes on for an hour. i had a rough time finding it. i transcribed it 45 years ago. i have a very distinct memories. there is no transcript. luke nichter arranged for me to hear it again. i had on my headphones, preparing for this transcript.
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the only thing that is funny about it is that at some point, -- i will get it. the president in the middle says, the congress, the people, the harvard and the yalies, they do not understand the philosophy. they don't have a care in the world. they don't think they are involved. they know that jardine is worried about in accord, but the do not care. maintain this is like silver , lecture locks -- sherlock holmes saying this is like the issue of the dog in the night. the inspector says this is an -- not like the dog in the night. and sherlock holmes that says that is why it is interesting. they didn't know it was going on.
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they did not know what john dean was doing. that's my view. tape three, the end of john dean's cancer in the presidency meeting. the prosecutor says at least 10 times about the blackmail and nixon did not reject it out of hand, therefore he must have approved it. it is just not on the tape. this is the end of the paragraph. what they conclude is that blackmail won't work because hunt won't go away. we have to figure out how to disclose this. get mitchell down here and let's come up with a plan. the president says we will call peterson and tell him we want him to get to the bottom of the expletive deleted thing. call the grand jury or anyone else.
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we need to see if we can put up -- off sentencing because we have new development we will announce. halderman says john dean's point is exactly right. the erosion is going to you and that is the thing we have to turn off at whatever the cost. we have to figure out where to turn it off at the lowest cost, but at whatever cost it takes. what you have at the end of the meeting. the end of the meeting is clearly -- we are going to have to disclose. that wednesday evening, they meet again. told mitchell to pay up. they are in the middle of not knowing what to do, and they are off of disclosure.
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they did not know what john dean has done. meeting isis key negotiating for immunity, for his own immunity. he says, what we really ought to do is let the people explain the story, so the point is to get the story out, not to prosecute people criminally. think that they have done anything wrong. they dismiss it out of hand. i am just going to read the red part. that is why raised the concept of immunity again. you are concerned there is something lurking. now is the time to get to the fact. people would not give it to him. there are other things.
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it is not going to come out if people plead the fifth. here is what you should say. i have been instructed by the president and we are going to put together exactly what happened. you will not be prosecuted because that is not the point. he is negotiating for his own immunity. they reject it out of hand. this is a super cover-up. before they are trying to cover up information and now they had guilty people and trying to immunize them. he says, the perception is the important thing. you go down to the bottom and what they lack is yankee or that he is going to write a report. he told the president earlier
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that day all the bad stuff is going on. give me a written report and i will use that as my basis to call for a new investigation. that is where this meeting is going. finally, they bring mitchell down. mitchell has been gone since two weeks after the break-in. they think it is all over the tapes. they think mitchell might be tainted. doing, they are bringing mitchell down to say that the decision has been made. we are going to call for even nude investigation. they go through that. i am hurrying up because we are running out of time. the stonewall wall quote from that same meeting. the house printed its own transcripts. they said they had better equipment. they may have.
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they discovered the stone wall quote and they put it out for the first time. this is nixon talking to mitchell. whatnot give a shit happens. save the plan. that is the whole point. they said this is positive that nixon was in on the plan from day one. what is so intriguing? you just cannot hear. you hear what you want to hear. you want him guilty? you hear those words. you want him not guilty? you do not hear those words. these are the words that i heard, even back then. this is not something i made up. at the time, go down and stonewall it. tell him, plead the fifth, if it
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will save them -- if it will save it for them. previous in the conversation, he talks about sherman adams. he was vice president when sherman adams was caught with a coat, and eisenhower would not talk to him. he was out on his tail within a day. nixon's point to mitchell is he never got a chance to explain. he was banished. we are going to call for a new investigation. each person can make their own decision about what they are going to say. i do not care if they plead the fifth, if it will help them. we are calling for a new investigation. that is a dramatically different interpretation. here is what is intriguing. this is the from that taped conversation. this part is clear.
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you do it the other way. i would prefer to do it the other way, if it is going to come out anyway and that my view and the people that they have up there, they are going to. the story they get out leaks, charges and innuendos will be a lot worse than the story that they are going to tell. this is proof in my mind. i'm a nixon advocate. nixon is moving toward, and has decided, we will disclose. we will get the dean report and disclose. dean goes to camp david to write the report. no. dean goes to camp david to write the report. he decides he can't write it without incriminating himself. he switches side that weekend and retains his own criminal lawyer. i believe the tapes show a perfectly defensible presidential reaction. you came in and told me the stuff was going on, i didn't all
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-- no about it before. here's what we should do. john has been running a cover-up. he can't have disclosure. it goes another way. the last tape, the smoking gun. this is why he resigns. i transcribed it. robert allen, a texas oilman, forwards four checks that david manuel ogarrio has cut. they are cashier checks and he poured them to stans on april 5. dwayne andreas, completely unconnected, the ceo, a big comfrey'schairman of we election campaign and sole trustee of hubert humphrey's
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blind trust. bothe democrat, playing sides because he thinks that nixon is going to win. in cash left in his april 7,um in miami the day before the campaign-finance law goes into effect. after april 7, you have to disclose the donor. did not have7, you to disclose the donor. if you want to be unannounced, get your money in early.
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