Sunday, July 20, 2014

Nixon. Conversation. No. 005-068. 14 Jun 1971.

Date: Jun 14, 1971
Participants: Richard Nixon, John Ehrlichman
Location: White House Telephone

Nixon: Hello.
White House Operator: It’s Mr. Ehrlichman calling you, sir.
Nixon: Yeah, OK.
White House Operator: Here you are.
Ehrlichman: Thanks. Hello?
Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: Mr. President.
Nixon: Hi, John.
Ehrlichman: —the Attorney General has called a couple times about these New York Times stories, and he’s advised by his people that unless he puts the Times on notice.
Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman:—he’s probably going to waive any right of prosecution against the newspaper. And he is calling now to see if you would approve his putting them on notice before their first edition for tomorrow comes out.
Nixon: Hmm.
Ehrlichman: I realize there are negatives to this in terms of the vote on the Hill.
Nixon: You mean, to prosecute the Times?
Ehrlichman: Right.
Nixon: Hell, I wouldn’t prosecute the Times. My view is to prosecute the goddamn pricks that gave it to them.
Ehrlichman: Yeah, if you can find out who that is.
Nixon: Yeah, I know. I mean, could the Times be prosecuted?
Ehrlichman: Apparently so. [Pause.]
Nixon: Wait a minute. Wait a minute. They ... on the other hand, they’re going to run another story tomorrow.
Ehrlichman: Right.
Nixon: Why doesn’t he just wait until after that one?
Ehrlichman: Well, his point is that he feels he has to give them some sort of advance notice, and then if they go ahead and disregard, why then.
Nixon: Yeah.
Ehrlichman: —there’s no danger of waiver. But if he doesn’t give them notice, then it’s almost like entrapment: We sit here and let them go ahead on a course of conduct and don’t raise any objection.
Nixon: Well, could he wait one more day? They have one more day after that. I don’t know. I don’t know.
Ehrlichman: He apparently feels under some pressure to either decide to do it or not do it.
Nixon: Hmm. Does he have a judgment himself as to whether he wants to or not?
Ehrlichman: Yeah, I think he wants to. You might want to give him a call and talk with him about it directly, as I’m not very well posted on this whole thing.
Nixon: Yeah. Yeah. How do you feel about it?
Ehrlichman: Well, I’d kind of like to have a cause of action against them in the sock in case we needed it. I’d hate to waive something as good as that. But I don’t know what the ramifications would be in terms of the Hill.
Nixon: Oh, hell. It isn’t going to affect the vote, in my opinion, just ... [long pause]. Mm-hmm.
Ehrlichman: Would you want to take a call from him?
Nixon: Oh yeah, I’ll call him, I’ll call him.
Ehrlichman: All right. Good.
Nixon: OK. Thank you.

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