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“Smoking Gun”: Richard Nixon and Bob Haldeman discuss the Watergate break-in, June 23, 1972

>>NARRATOR: The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum presents A selection from the White House Tapes Conversation 741-002,
which took place on June 23, 1972>>BOB HALDEMAN: Yeah, that’s fine.
Now, on that investigation, you know, the Democratic break-in thing, we’re back to the-in the, the problem area
because the FBI is not under control, because Gray doesn’t exactly know how to control them, and they have — their investigation is now leading into some productive areas because they’ve been able to trace the money, not through the money itself, but through the bank, you know, sources — the banker himself.
And, and it goes in some directions we don’t want it to go. Uh, also there have been some things,
like an informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami, who, uh, who was a photographer or has a friend who is a photographer who developed some films through this guy Barker, and the films had, uh, pictures of Democratic National Committee letterhead documents and things. So he’s got —
it’s things like that that are going to, that are filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell’s recommendation that the only way to solve this —
and we’re set up beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that…the only network that paid any attention to it last night was NBC, who did did a massive story on the Cuban>>PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: That’s right.
>>HALDEMAN: thing.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Right.>>HALDEMAN: That the way to handle this now is
for us to have Walters call Pat Gray and just say, “Stay the hell out of this. This is, ah — there’s some business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” That’s not an unusual development>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: and, uh, that would take care of it.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: What about Pat Gray, ah… You mean, he doesn’t want to?
>>HALDEMAN: Pat does want to. He doesn’t know how to, and he doesn’t have, he doesn’t have any basis for doing it. Given this, he will then have the basis. He’ll call Mark Felt in, and the two of them —
and Mark Felt wants to cooperate because>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Yeah.
>>HALDEMAN: he’s ambitious.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Yeah.>>HALDEMAN: Ah, he’ll call him in and say, “We’ve, we’ve got the signal from across the river to, to put the hold on this.” And that will fit rather well because the FBI agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that’s what it is: This is CIA.
[Telephone ringing in background]>>PRESIDENT NIXON: But they’ve traced the money to whom?
>>HALDEMAN: Well, they have, they’ve traced to a name, but they haven’t gotten to the guy yet.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Who is it? Is it somebody here?>>HALDEMAN: Ken Dahlberg.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?>>HALDEMAN: He’s a — he gave $25,000 in Minnesota and, ah, the check went directly in to this, to this guy Barker.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, maybe he’s a… He didn’t, he didn’t get this from the Committee, though; this is from Stans.
>>HALDEMAN: Yeah. It is. It is. It’s directly traceable and there’s some more through
some Texas people in — that went to the Mexican bank, which they can also trace to the Mexican bank.
They’ll get their names today. And–
[pause]>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, I mean, ah, there’s no way — I’m just thinking, if they don’t cooperate, what do they say? They, they, they were approached by the Cubans. That’s what Dahlberg has to say; the Texans, too. Is that the idea?
>>HALDEMAN: Well, if they will. But then we’re relying on more and more people all the time. That’s the problem. And, ah, it does stop, if we could, if we take this other step.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right. All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: And, and they seem to feel the thing to do is get them to stop.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: They say the only way to do that is a White House instruction. And it’s got to be to Helms and — ah, what’s his name? Walters.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Walters.>>HALDEMAN: And the proposal would be that Ehrlich– [coughs] Ehrlichman and I call them in
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: and say, ah —
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: How do you call them in? Well, we protected Helms from one hell of a lot of things. >>HALDEMAN: That’s what Ehrlichman says.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Of course, this is, uh, this is, uh — Hunt will, that will uncover a lot of [unintelligible]
When you open that scab, there’s a hell of a lot of things that “we just feel that this would be very detrimental to
have this thing go any futher.” This involves these Cubans, and Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with, ourselves. Well, what the hell, did Mitchell know about this thing to much of a degree?
>>HALDEMAN: I think so. I don’t think he knew the details, but I think he knew.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: He didn’t know how it was going to be handled, though, with Dahlberg and the Texans and so forth?
Well, who was the asshole who did that? Is it Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts.
>>HALDEMAN: Yeah.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: I mean, he just isn’t well screwed on, is he?
Isn’t that the problem?>>HALDEMAN: No, but he was under pressure,
apparently, to get more information, and as he got more pressure, he pushed the people harder to move harder
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Pressure from Mitchell?>>HALDEMAN: Apparently.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Oh, Mitchell, Mitchell. Is that the point that you made? [unintelligible]
>>HALDEMAN: [unintelligible], yeah.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine. I understand it all. We won’t second-guess Mitchell and the rest. Thank God it wasn’t Colson.>>HALDEMAN: The FBI interviewed Colson yesterday. They determined that would be a good thing to do.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: Uh, to have him take an>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: interrogation, which he did. And that — the FBI guys working the case had concluded that there were one or two possibilities. 1) That this was a White House– They don’t think there’s anything about the Election Committee. They think it was either a White House operation that had some obscure reasons for it — non-political. Or it was, uh, the Cubans and the CIA. And after their interrogation of, of Colson
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Colson>>HALDEMAN: yep, they concluded it was not the White House so they are now convinced it is a CIA thing. So the CIA turnoff would–>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, I’m not sure of Helms [unintelligible]. I’m not going to get that closely involved.
>>HALDEMAN: No, sir. We don’t want you to.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: You call him. You got that?
>>HALDEMAN: Good deal.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Play it tough. That’s the way they play it,
and that’s the way we’re going to play it.>>HALDEMAN: Okay.>>NARRATOR: For more information, please visit

6 thoughts on ““Smoking Gun”: Richard Nixon and Bob Haldeman discuss the Watergate break-in, June 23, 1972

  1. Odd. This audio stops at the top of page 8 of a 17 page transcript. In particular, this unforgettable quote is missing from this audio clip:

    When you get in these people when you…get
    these people in, say: "Look, the problem is
    that this will open the whole, the whole Bay
    of Pigs thing, and the President just feels
    that" ah, without going into the details…
    don't, don't lie to them to the extent to
    say there is no involvement, but just say
    this is sort of a comedy of errors, bizarre,
    without getting into it, "the President
    believes that it is going to open the whole
    Bay of Pigs thing up again. And, ah because
    these people are plugging for, for keeps and
    that they should call the FBI in and say
    that we wish for the country, don't go any
    further into this case", period!

    Transcript source, Richard Nixon Presidential Library & Museum:

  2. Surprised that Haldeman seemed to respect the assessment from John Dean. Kids should watch this. It explains why conspiracy theories are nonsense. Haldeman expresses a very clear fear when he sees the cover up spiraling out of control when he says, "We're getting to the point where we're protecting a hell of alot of names.'

  3. "Felt will cooperate because he is ambitious." Ironic. Because Felt was indeed ambitious and was passed over for the top job he did NOT cooperate and became Woodward's source "Deep Throat"

  4. Jeb Stuart Magruder (November 5, 1934 – May 11, 2014) was an American businessman and high-level political operative in the Republican Party who served time in prison for his role in the Watergate scandal.[1] He served President Richard Nixon in various capacities, including acting as deputy director of the president's 1972 re-election campaign, Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP). In August 1973, Magruder pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to wiretap, obstruct justice and defraud the United States. He served seven months in federal prison.[2]  Committee for the re-election of the President i.e. otherwise known as (creep)..

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