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May 11, 1974 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-11

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Saturday, May i11 1974

E-Ih-TH-MIfGN1DALYatuda-Ma ,1 1

Legal trouble in
By JEFF DAY ready faced trial, notably, for- The biggestp
Daily News Analysis mer Commerce Secretary Mau- ident may hay
With the H o u s e Judiciary rice Stans and former Attorney that he did n
Committee beginning its second General John Mitchell. Tapes ments of hush
day of hearings on impeaching released two days after their Watergate def
President Nixon, the "can of acquittal show the President meeting in the
worms" opened up by the re and Ehrlichman in a conversa- March 21, 1973
lease of the Watergate tape tion on April 14 which indicates The transcr
transcripts becomes more im- that money was transferred in John Dean, fo
portant every day. return for f a v o r s, as was counselor and
charged. "C h r i s t that was House insider
The transcripts reveal a Pres- stupid," Nixon says. And in President, told
ident as fond of reminiscing
about the Alger Hiss case as ,. M.,
he is of excpletives. They hint ~,
at abuses of the FBI during the The President: Is it too late to go
Johnson-Goldwater elections and
allege abuses of the executive Dean: There is a certain domino
offices during the Kennedy era' oang, Jrlo of othe ings are g
BUT MOST importantly, they be a lot of problems if everything.
reveal reams of new evidence,
much of which is potentially E
damaging, outlining the Presi- some cases, the tapes point a of the original
dent's role in the Watergate damning finger at the Presi- defendants,' Ho
cover-up. The real problem fac- dent. demanding mo
ing the nation and the Congress Hunt had thr
is whether or not the President AS THE President moves everything heI
committed any crimes in the down the difficult road which process, "brin
actions he took. will more than likely lead to an man down to hi
In some cases the tapes may impeachment vote late this
prove the President's innocence, summer or early this fall, some ALTHOUGH
It appears from the transcripts, of the legal problems wnich maintains he
for example, that the President may arise include charges that payments and
had no prior knowledge of the he conspired to obstruct justice, with the now
Watergate break-in, although was guilty of paying hush "It is wrong,t
the impeachment i n q u i r y is money to defendants, failed to later portions o
arguing that earlier tapes may inform the proper authorities of show he may h
show otherwise. crimes of which he had knowl- payments after
In other cases, the evidence edge, and committed subordi- way for charge
reflects on people who have al- nation of perjury. conspiracy to

store for Nixon

problem the Pres- Dean: They're going to stone-
ve is in proving wall it, as it now stands. Ex-
ot approve pay- cepting Hunt. That's why his
money to a key threat.
endant during a Haldeman: It's his opportu-
e Oval Office on nity.
3. The President: That's why for
ipts show that your immediate things you have
rmer presidential no choice to come up with the
the only White $120,000 (he is demanding).
to implicate the Right?
Nixon that one Dean: That's right.
the hang out road?
situation here. If some things start
oing to start going, and there can
starts faillng .. .

seven Watergate
ward Hunt, was
ney. Dean said
eatened to tell
knew, and in the
g John Ehrlich-
is knees."
t h e President
considered the
rejected them
famous phrase,
that's for sure,"
f the transcripts
ave approved the
all, opening the
s of bribery and
obstruct justice:

...., .,_.,.. ti.. x..... ... r

v vaau Yaw aavx 4v v

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The President: Woul you
agree that that's the prime
thing you damn well better get
Dean: Obviously he ought to
be given some signal anyway.
The President: (Expletive de-
leted). Get it.
LATER THAT night, accord-
ing to a grand jury indictment,
$75,000 was delivered to Howard
Hunt. In the coming months, it
will be up to the President to
prove that whatever he meant
by those words, he did not mean
to initiate payments of any sort
to Hunt.
The President will most likely
follow a defense similar to the
one presented by his lawyers
in the brief which accompanied
the transcripts-namely that the
President favored complete dis-
closure and left the details to
his staff. If any illicit actions
were taken, the brief implies,
it was the fault not of the Pres-
ident, but of his key aides, not-
ably, John Dean. In one key
passage on March 13, the Presi-
dent considers letting it all
"hang out":
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The President: Is it too late
to go the hang out road?
Dean: Yes, I think it is.
The President: Ehrlichman
always felt it should be hang
Dean: . . . There is a certain
domino situation here. If some
things start going, a lot of other
things are going to start going,
and there can be a lot of prob-
lems if everything starts fall-
ing .
The President: . . . I didn't
mean to have everyone go up
and testify ... I meant put the
story out by PR people (sic).
Here is the true story about
Watergate ..
cally, "They would never be-
lieve it."
The President's strategy will
apparently be to show that on
the basis of this and other pass-
ages, that it was he who favored
full disclosure, and underlings,
like Dean who ran the cover-
But unless he can, he is sib-
ject to prosecution for felony
under section 1510 of the Crinii-
nal Code, which States, "who-
ever willfully endeavors by
means of bribery ,misrepresent-
ation, intimidation, or force or
threats thereof to obstruct, de-
lay, or prevent the communica-
tion of information relating to
the violation of any criminal
statute . . . to a criminal in-
vestigator," is guilty of obstruct-
ing justice and subject to a
maximum sentence of five years
imprisonment and a $20,000 fine.
AND ACCORDING to another
section of the code, any one who
counsels, aids or abets in such
an act, is punishable under the
above statute.
But even if the President can
convince the public, the Con-
gress and the courts that he did
not order hush payments, he
still is guilty of failing to report
Hunt's blackmail threats, and
as such is guilty of another
felony called misprison, the fail-
ure to report knowledge of a
crime. Although most authori-
ties believe that this is a minor
issue and of itself not enough
to lead to impeachment, it is
likely to draw much public at-
See TAPES, Page 9
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