Thursday, September 13, 2012

the last book I ever read (Katharine Graham's Personal History, excerpt sixteen)

from Personal History by Katharine Graham:

On August 1, over a month after the break-in, the first big story appeared under the joint byline of Bernstein and Woodward, reporting on the connection of the burglars to CRP. Three weeks later, on August 22, President Nixon was renominated with great fanfare at the Republican National Convention in Miami. The next week, apparently trying to declare the Watergate affair finished, Nixon announced that John Dean, counsel to the president, had thoroughly investigated the break-in and said, “I can state categorically that his investigation indicates that no one in the White House staff, no one in this administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident. What really hurts is if you try to cover it up.” Again, we learned only later, from John Dean’s testimony, that he had never heard of “his” investigation until the president made that statement. Strange, indeed.

On September 15, a federal grand jury indicted the original five burglars, as well as two former White House aides, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. It was on that same day—but this came to light only two years later—that Nixon spoke to two of his aides, the White House chief of staff, Bob Haldeman, and John Dean, making threats of economic retaliation against the Post: [I]t’s going to have its problems. . . . The main thing is the Post is going to have damnable, damnable problems out of this one. They have a television station . . . and they’re going to have to get it renewed. . . . And it’s going to be God damn active here. . . . [T]he game has to be played awfully rough.” Of our lawyer, Nixon said, “I wouldn’t want to be in Edward Bennett Williams’s position after this election. We are going to fix the son of a bitch, believe me. We are going to. We’ve got to, because he is a bad man.”

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