The 50th anniversary of the Watergate break-in on June 17, 1972.
Everyone saw the resignation of our 37th President, and everything was televised. It was a moment that broke the back of American politics, possibly for good. During the summer, the narrative about Watergate was set like wet cement.
Created by Bob Woodward, Richard Bernstein, and the Washington Post, it says: “Officials working for Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign broke into the Democratic National Committee offices at the Watergate Hotel.
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President Richard Nixon got caught covering up this crime. Exposure of the coverup would ultimately lead to Nixon’s resignation. White House Counsel John Dean became a courageous whistleblower and exposed Nixon and his criminal gang. ”
Now, after 50 years, a new and more accurate narrative about Watergate emerges.
Watergate’s conventional wisdom still lives, in Gaslit (2022), a TV series on the STARZ network that includes Julia Roberts. In the show, she’s Martha Mitchell, the wife of Nixon campaign manager and AG John Mitchell. Of course, the series is historically-inaccurate. It shows that Mitchell knew about and approved of the break-in.
Mitchell insisted to his dying day that he never approved of the break-in.
We could never know that one day we could join a class of US citizens to receive a presidential pardon. Some people were convicted in a soviet-style show trial in Washington for the crime of “lying to congress” about Russian collusion with Trump’s 2016 campaign.
The crucial question of this affair is whether President Nixon knew about the harebrained plan to enter the Watergate complex before the fact.
The President’s Men 2022, Nixon’s longtime traveling aide Dwight Chapin torpedoes the conventional story. The White House Counsel John Dean who conceived, pushed, covered up, and lied to Nixon for nine months about the origins of the break-in caper.
“Only after it became clear the coverup would not hold did Dean secretly reach out to Watergate prosecutors to make a deal for himself. That Dean was disbarred and incarcerated for four months was never mentioned when he later went on the lecture circuit talking to lawyers’ associations about legal ethics.
Dean, not Nixon, was the villain of the piece. As Chapin notes, the Watergate special prosecutors found substantial discrepancies between Dean’s sworn testimony under oath to the prosecutors and his sworn testimony before the televised Senate Watergate Investigative Committee. These discrepancies were mentioned in an FBI report on July 5, 1974. Dean, of course, was not prosecuted for perjury. He would quickly become a media darling for his attacks on Nixon.” TGP reported.
In the book The Nixon Defence (2015), Dean omitted his role in Watergate, stating that the people who want to understand what he did, have to read his book Blind Ambition (2009).
However, there were other distortions. Dean confessed that he knew the transcripts of the Watergate bugs were being sent to WH Aide Gordon Strachan on June 19, 1972. But, he later told Nixon that there wasn’t a WH link to Watergate until March 17, 1973.
Dean lied to Nixon for nine months.
Dean Claimed that “The Nixon Defence is the definitive account of Watergate. Yet his book either truncates or entirely omits his own taped conversations with Nixon of March 13th, 16th, 17th, and 20th, 1973. Dean can clearly be heard urging Nixon to commit crimes. We hear the unmistakable sound of a lawyer urging his client to break the law. In a March 16, 1973 conversation, Dean is heard telling Nixon, “we will win” — essentially cheering on the coverup.”
Dean minimizes his role in Watergate; he destroyed the notebook and arranged the hush-money payments to Hunt.
Jack Caufield and Anthony Ulasewicz decorated the ex-New York Cops who worked for Dean in the WH as investigators and said that Dean told them to case out the Democratic National Committee offices in the Watergate six weeks before the break-in.
“Others — from Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist Clark Mollenhoff to Jeb Stuart Magruder, Director of the Committee to Re-elect the President — had claimed that Dean knew all about the break-in before it happened.
Combing through the evidence, a grubbier, darker picture of John Dean emerges. The Nixon Defence forgets to mention, for instance, that Dean ordered Caulfield to dangle Executive Clemency before Watergate burglar James McCord to secure his silence. It makes no mention of Dean’s payout to the seventh Watergate burglar Lou Russell (who was not apprehended), to hide out in Silver Spring, Maryland, after the Watergate arrests. Amounts traced to Russell’s bank account coincide exactly with dates and amounts that Dean took from White House political funds.” TGP reported.
Christopher Caldwell observed this and said that it made no sense. He constantly denied his link to a mob-connected high-priced call girl Madam Heidi Rikan, whose ring was supplying prostitutes to the Democratic National Committee.
Phill Stanford wrote the book White House Call Girl in 2013, where Dean’s name and private phone number appear in Rikan’s little black book. Stanford said that Dean orchestrated the Watergate break-in to secure records of these connections.
Nixon didn’t know anything about the break-in. Dean protected himself when he orchestrated the cover-up.