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May 10, 1974 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-10

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Friday, May 10, 1974

MICHIGAN DAILY Friday, May 10, 1974

dent Nixon said on March 6
that when he spoke with his
aides of clemency or payoffs
in the Watergate case "I
meant that the whole trans-
action was wrong." Referenc-
es to clemency are threaded
through many of the White
House Watergate transcripts.
Here, in the second of a ser-
ies, is an account of what the
President heard and said on
the subject.
after he told John Dean that
clemency for the original Wat-
es-gate defendants would be
wrong, President Nixonusaid he
would take action so that Dean
and John Mitchell could prac-
tice law again even if they
were convicted in the case.
He did not spell it out, but
the suggestion raised was of pos-
sible pardons for men who, if
convicted, might otherwise be
permanently disbarred as law-
yers. Nixon said he would act
in their behalf "because they
got a bum rap."
comment to John Ehrlichman,
then his chief domestic aide, in
a telephone conversation on the
night of April 14, 1973.
The edited Watergate tran-
scripts reflect a number of
statements on clemency or len-
iency before, during and after
the March 21, 1973, conversation
with Dean. The President says
that is the meeting at which he
first learned of the Watergate
By April 14, the White House
was concerned that its counsel,
Dean, was implicating o t h e r
top aides in the Watergate af-
fair through his negotiations
with federal prosecutors.,
EHRLICHMAN told Nixon he
was trying to get Dean "off this
passing the buck business . . .

show Nixon OK'd clemency

It is a little touchy and I don't
know how far I can go."
Nixon suggested that Dean be
told passing the buck "is not
going to help you."
The President continued:
"'Look, he has to look down the
road to one point that there is
only one man who could restore
him to the ability of practice
law in case things go wrong.
He's got to have that in the
back of his mind."
Ehrlichman: "Uh, huh."
Nixon: "He's got to know that
will happen. You don't tell him,

on. "There could be clemency
in this case and at the proper
time having in mind the extra-
ordinary sentences of Magruder,
etc., etc., but you know damn
well it is ridiculous to talk about
clemency. They all knew that."
That reference to the sen-
tence of former campaign de-
puty director Jeb Stuart Ma-
gruder came long before he
pleaded guilty to a Watergate
count. He has not yet been sen-
Nixon also referred to cle-
mency for Magruder in ano-

to be a clemency demand from
Hunt and the others.
Dean: "I am not sure that
you will ever be able to deliver
on the clemency. It may be just
too hot."
Nixon: "You can't do it poli-
tically until after the '74 elec-
tions, that's for sure. Your point
is that even then you couldn't
do it."
Dean: "That's right. It may
further involve you in a way
you should not be involved in
Nixon: "No - it is wrong,

'I'd put a couple of things in and say, Jeb, let me just start here by
telling you the President holds great affection for you and your family
S.. would first put that in so that he knows I have personal affec-
tion. That's the way the so-called clemency's got to be handled.'
-President Nixon

but you know and I know that
with him and Mitchell there isn't
going to be any damn question,
because they got a bum rap."
The transcript then says, "Ma-
terial not related to presidential
actions deleted."
DEAN HAS pleaded guilty to
a felony charge in the Water-
gate cover-up, and has been
disbarred. But he has now be-
come the President's principal
accuser in the case. In mid-
April 1973, other White H o u s e
officials weren't sure what he
was telling the prosecutors, and
he had not made his public ac-
cusations against the President.
Mitchell, the former attorney
general, still is facing trail in
the Watergate cover-up case.
Earlier on April 14, 1973 in a
meeting with Ehrlichman and
Chief of Staff H. R. Haldeman,
Nixon also discussed the cle-
mency problem.
"IT'S A SHAME," said Nix-

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ther meeting with Haldeman
and Ehrlichman. He was direct-
ing Ehrlichman to tell Magruder
not to stay silent about Water-
gate on the President's account.
Nixon: "I'd put a couple of
things in and say, Jeb, let me
just start here by telling you
the President holds great af-
fection for you and your fam-
ily . . . I would first put that
in so that he knows I have per-
sonal affection. That's the way
the so-called clemency's got to
be handled. Do you see, John?"
Ehrlichman: "I understand."
THE MOST detailed discus-
sion of clemency came in Nix-
on's March 21, 1973 meeting
with Dean. The President w a s
told then that convicted con-
spirator Howarti Hunt was de-
manding money to keep quiet.
In the most frequently quoted
transcript passage, Dean and
Nixon are agreeing that if even
a million dollars is paid to the
defendants, there is still going

that's for sure."
NIXON HAS referred to this
statement as his conclusion in
the discussion. Though acknow-
ledging the transcript can be in-
terpreted in various ways, the
President has said: "I know
what I meant, and I know also
what I did. I meant that the
whole transaction was wrong."
The transcripts show, how-
ever, that while Nixon continued
to say clemency could not be
offered to Hunt, payoffs contin-
ued to be discussed after his
conclusion was offered.
For example, this exchange
comes later in the conversation:
Nixon: "That's why for your
immediate things you have no
choice but to come up with the
$120,100, or whatever it is.
Dean: "That's right."
Nixon: "Would you agree that
that's the prime thing, that you
damn well better get that
Dean: "Obviously he (Hunt)
ought to be given some signal
Nixon: "(Expletive deleted),
get it."
ON APRIL 16, Dean told Nix-
on his version of Charles Col-
son's dealings with Hunt on cle-
mency, concluding that Ehrlich-
man "gave Chuck very clear in-
structions on going back and
telling him 'Give him the infer-
ence he's got clemency but don't
give him any commitment.' "
Nixon: "No commitment."
Dean: "Right."
Nixon: "That's all right. No
commitment. I have a right to
say here - take a fellow like
Hunt or a Cuban whose wife is
sick of something and give them

clemency for that purposes --
isn't that right?"
Dean: "That's right."
ON MARCH 21, Nixon also
discussed some way other than
clemency to take care of Hunt.
"The only thing we could do
with him would be to parole him
like the (unintelligible) situa-
tion. But you couldn't buy cle-
mency . . . Parole, in appear-
ance, etc., is something I think
in Hunt's case, you could do
Hunt, but you couldn't do the
others. You understand."
That comment was made af-
ter Nixon's "it is wrong" state-
EVEN GORDON Liddy, the
original conspirator who never
talked, came in for W h i t e
House discussion of leniency.
On April 15, 1973, Ehrlichman
and Nixon were discussing the
relationship of Magruder's re-
velations to Liddy's knowledge.
Ehrlichman: "At this point
Magruder gives them every-
thing they could have needed to
get from Liddy."
Nixon: " (unintelligible) -
How do you get Liddy's sentence
cut down? (uninteligible)."
Ehrlichman: "It may be too
late for him."
Nixon: "I wonder if it is.
Huh? Or is it?"
of God.
Make It
your way.


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