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And now its my pleasure to introduce our guest. John Dean has served as White House council under Richard Nixon in the early 1970's. He was linked to the Watergate cover up and then became the star witness of the Watergate prosecution. He's said to have gone through an epiphany as a result of Watergate and the have become one of the most astute commentators on how "authoritarian republicans", as he calls them, are violating the law. Since working in Nixon's White House, Mr. Dean has worked as an investment banker and author and lecturer. He's also a contributor to Find Law, a free legal information web site offering answers to everyday legal questions. Mr. Dean is the author of seven books. His earlier works include his memoirs "Blind Ambition" and "Lost Honor". His most recent books include "Worst than Watergate: the Secret Presidency of George W. Bush" and "Conservatives without Conscious" This evening Mr. Dean will be reading from, or I think not reading, but talking about and discussing with us "Conservatives without Conscious". Please now join me in a warm welcome for John Dean. Thank you. Is Dan Elsberg here? I'm serious? We followed him over and we lost him. I was going to say, he's my non-authoritarian friend who I'm sure is here tonight. Anyway let me tell you what I think might be the best way to begin what I hope will be an interesting exchange with you all tonight and after I give you a few remarks about the book, is to open it up to the floor for questions, either about the book or that area of history that I have more expertise than I might wish I had. I really... Dan, come in, I was worried about you. (applause) Anyway, to open up after we, I say a few remarks about the book to open it up for a question and answer session where I can learn what's on your mind as well as I can share what I can share. But maybe the first question that I can dispose of real quickly, I've often thought this is the way I should be introduced, I am the man who is still married to Maureen Dean. I thought about that as I was turning off my cell phone after the announcement, because the other night I was giving a talk and she literally called just as I was finishing and somebody said, boy that was perfect, how did you plan that way? And she said, I looked at your schedule and I thought you would be finished with your lecture by then. And anyway, it, we had a lot of fun with it with the audience because the speaker part came on. The reason I undertook this book, this last book, it really resulted almost over a decade ago when I was having conversations with a longtime friend Senator Barry Goldwater, who I had known since I was about thirteen years of age and his son and I have been lifetime friends. We were roommates in prep school together and at about thirteen or fourteen, I first got to know the senator and I've known him ever since. I really didn't know much about his politics or his thinking until I got into undergraduate school and read his classic "The Conscious of a Conservative". I called him in 1994 because I was in a lawsuit that was not dissimilar from one that he had been in 1965 following the '64 campaign. Those of you who might recall that campaign, will remember that a magazine called "Fact Magazine" took a poll of psychiatrists throughout the country, a somewhat biased poll, and asked the psychiatrists what they thought about the senator's mental state. The conclusion that Ginsberg reported was that Goldwater was crazy and should not be ever in the White House. The senator did not take real kindly to this conclusion and decided to file a defamation suit. I've never understood why more public officials do not file defamation suits while I'm a great believer in the first amendment, I also believe that when you "swift boat" somebody, for example, and you fail to respond to it, you give credence to that kind of attack. And I to this day don't understand why John Kerry never filed anything against those who so viciously attack him during the 2004 campaign. But anyway, I called the senator because we were in the middle of a lawsuit, my wife and I. A lawsuit that emanated from a book that called "Silent Coup", which I learned about one Monday morning when Mike Wallace from 60 Minutes called me to tell me that Mo and I were the centerpiece of a new book that alleged that contrary to all known history, all prior investigations, all prosecutions, all congressional inquiries, that I had secretly ordered the Watergate break in and the reason I had done this is that my wife Maureen was associated with a call girl ring that was servicing the Democratic National Committee. I said to Mike, "You gotta be kidding". He said, "No, I'm deadly serious". I said, "How did I manage to pull this off and keep this secret all these decades?" He said, "Fair question". He said, "Apparently the authors," he said, 'There is some confusion about this book", he said "apparently the authors had a source. Do you know a man by the name of Phillip Mackin Bailley." I said, "I don't". He said, "Do you remember an incident when you were council of the President where a couple assistant U.S. attorneys came over to your office from the D.C. Office of the U.S. attorney to tell you about a potential indictment against a man by the name of Bailey who was extorting women into prostitution?". I said, "I do remember that". And how could I forget it. It was a situation that I was, explained to me is that Bailey was an attractive, young lawyer who would go around all the bars in the District of Columbia, find young women who were either falling out of relationships or into bad relationships, he was an attractive, humorous, engaging young man. He would get the young ladies to fall in love with him. He would take them to his apartment where he would get them high on wine and dope and then take compromising pictures of them. Next he would, with a passage of little time, and this just wasn't one or two, this was several women, he was running a whole routine. He would next tell these women that he wanted to have sex with his friends, for which he was receiving money. If they refused, he threatened that he would expose them to the pictures, the compromising pictures that he had to their parents, their friends, or whom ever. Finally a young co ed at the University of Maryland went to the U.S. attorney and told, and explained what was going on. And they discovered several other women where in the same situation. Not all of them wanted to be complaining witnesses, but several of them decided they would and one they particularly hoped would be a complaining witness, the U.S. attorneys believed was a White House attorney, so they came to my office. As it turns out she was not. She was a, somebody who hadn't been detailed from another department to the office, what was then called the office of Emergency Preparedness, later FEMA, it does bring a chuckle, doesn't it? And she had been extorted by Bailey and they wanted her to testify and they were gonna call her and subpoena her and bring her into the trial if it went to trial. So they thought the White House should know. As I say, as it happened, she wasn't on the White House staff, we had great difficulty finding her, but we did, and then realized, you know, that this could well be be embarrassing to her, but it did not embarrass the presidency in any way. But I thanked them and I said I certainly hope you prosecute this man to the hilt and they did. They did, they filed a very multi count, I think it was a seventeen count indictment against him, including racketeering charges. He would plead guilty to I think two of the counts and would be sent to Danbury Prison where he would meet G. Gordon Liddy. After Bailley was released from prison, and I'm telling you more than Mike Wallace told me because I don't understand how the publisher thought he was going to release this story without our suing because we would sue, but as I was, to give you a little bit of a back story, Bailley came back to D.C. after serving his time and claimed that he had the true story of Watergate, one that nobody had ever known about, that he was running, he was the manager and sort of the guiding force behind a call girl ring that was in an apartment building near the Watergate complex and that it just so happened that every attractive woman in Washington in the 1972, '73 or actually '71, '72 period that had ever been in the news, from Dianne Sawyer to my wife, were all working for this Phillip Bailley. It was quite remarkable. This would become the centerpiece of this book "Silent Coup". The book would be promoted by another St. Martins author, the actual people that put this book together are a retired liquor salesman from Tampa who had never written anything before in his life, who had hooked up with a, a sometimes journalist who had worked at a, worked for Jack Anderson, I don't know if you know who Jack Anderson is, he's a, one of Washington's legendary muck rakers, uh, they had put this story together. They were unable, actually, to write it. The first part of the book dealt with Bob Woodward who claimed that he was actually a CIA agent unbeknownst to the world. And I talked to Woodward at the time and he said, "you know, they talked to my father, they talked to my ex wife they dropped, they said rather unkind, nasty things, not the sources, but when interviewing them, they were dropping all kinds of things looking for dirt". And Woodward said, "You know I came as close as I've ever come to bringing a defamation suit against what these guys did." But he decided not to. Particularly when he found out that Mo and I had. The middle part of the book, the center piece of the book was this story about the call girl ring and my ordering the Watergate break in and then tricking my superiors into covering this all up, somehow that was never really terribly, fully explained. And then the third part of the book dealt with the title of the book, the so called "Silent Coup", which was pulled off by Al Haig who reportedly was working hand in glove with the military to remove the president from office. They took a, there was not relationship to the Woodward story, my story, but Haig was just operating as a freelance person himself who felt that he might be embarrassed if these investigations got too far, so he simply pushed the president out of office. There were some problems with the story. The biggest problem we quickly discovered and focused principally on the center piece, was this source Phillip Mackin Bailley. We immediately got, hired an investigator to find out who he was. We found out he was a man who'd been in and out of mental institutions his entire adult life. He actually claimed he was from, he was an abandoned space captain from Alpha Centauri and he was waiting waiting for the, his mother planet to come pick him up. When St. Martins decided to market this book, they turned to one of their other authors, G. Gordon Liddy. And Liddy, I have no trouble understanding how Liddy would be able to talk to Phillip Mackin Bailley and say, this is a hell of a good source. And of course it totally, it not only made Liddy look like a greater idiot than he might be, uh, it, what was most surprising about Liddy is picking this story up and running with it and promoting it all over the country and getting it up to, at one point number seven on the New York Times Bestseller list and doing so by attacking mostly my wife, who really did not handle it well. It was nothing she ever expected to have to encounter in her life. Uh, very unpleasant experience. I recount a little bit of this in the preface because it explains why I wrote the book I did because I started looking at who was buying this book and they were hard, right conservatives. They were looking for a bogus story, people who should have known better to explain somehow Watergate that pointed the finger at everybody except the conservatives who were very deeply involved in Watergate. This is the reason I called Senator Goldwater, because I was curious to understand why in the world in otherwise seemingly intelligent people would buy into this totally bogus hoax that was being perpetrated. Uh, the senator immediately put it in a larger context for me. He said, "John, listen, this is very typical of conservative behavior. I had gotten, as I had become active in business, I had really stopped dealing with Washington. Yes I had friends there, but I became sort of apolitical and anything but partisan. Registering as an independent and deciding, you know, I've been there, done that, I'm really gonna pursue business and enjoy that, that particular life and enjoyed reducing my visibility and being active in business. But I said to the Senator, I said, you know but it just doesn't make sense. He said, "Well, it makes a lot of sense. Its very consistent." But he says, "I don't, I can't tell you I understand why this incivility has crept into conservatism and is what it is today. I don't understand, for example, why they're doing the same thing to Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton. And he told me about getting someone sending him a copy of the Jerry Falwell's tapes that accused Clinton of everything from murder to running drugs and he said, "You know, I might not agree with everything Bill Clinton wants to do, but I do think that we have one president at a time and if people are going to start attacking presidents in this fallacious and false way, its only gonna damage politics. And he said I have no tolerance for it." He said, "I also don't understand how the religious right has slowly but surely become so dominant in Republican politics." And as the more we talked he said, "Why don't we find some answers to these questions", because he was both mystified and mythed by what he was seeing in the party and the movement that he had been so responsible for starting. I told him, I said, you know, you obviously have contacts, I have contacts, I think its a good idea" and we decided we would co-author a book and he said, "You know, John, I think conservatism has lost its conscious" and as we played with that we came up with the title you now know I've written about called "Conservatives without a Conscious". The senator worked with me for awhile on it. He told me about the papers he had that he thought would be valuable, that he's now, that he had deposited with the Arizona historical foundation. He told me some of his thoughts and I started on it, but I realized his health was not very good and this could quickly become a burden on him and I didn't want that, so I said, "Listen, why don't we put this on the shelf until you're feeling a little bit better and then pursue it." He said, "Thats good with me. Lets do that, but I don't want to drop it." And unfortunately he didn't feel better and he would pass away in early "98. I however, decided that I would not abandon the project and slowly but surely as the lawsuit proceeded, I was learning more and more about the way conservatives were using this book in surprising ways to me that seemed anything but conservative. Uh, I was surprised as the proceedings went on, what else I would learn. At one point, after litigating this about eight years and trying to employ a scorched-earth policy that I'd learned about very quickly being that they, that the general council of St. Martins had gone to an ABA, American Bar Association function, and the world is very small, and started boasting about how he had been, they'd been sued by the Deans and that they were going to make this lawsuit the most painfully expensive thing the Deans had ever encountered in their life and wish they'd never brought the lawsuit. Well, just so happened, a friend of mine was there when this person was boasting about their strategy. So we planned accordingly. We husband our funds, we worked out a good contingency arrangement. I dropped my business, my investment banking business, rolled up the sleeves, knew how to use the law books and worked out an arrangement with the law firm that I would draft the first draft of everything and then they would actually file it for themselves. It ended up that I of course would, my first draft often ended up being the only draft, but uh, that worked and I have probably filed every motion under the federal rules of civil procedure because they were trying to see how expensive they could make this lawsuit. At one point, myself and one other lawyer, the senior partner at this boutique law firm which is very good trial firm, we had seventeen lawyers on the other side dancing full time. But when they got to the point where they, we in an essence, made it more expensive for them, by what we did, rather than their being able to make it more expensive for us. Not that it was cheap, because it wasn't, it cost, just the process of having to pay the out of pocket was very hefty, but I was in a position where I could do that and I was hell bent to not let anybody attack my wife the way these people had done so. So after they spent 15 million dollars fighting us, about eight years into the lawsuit, they realized that their strategy wasn't going to work. That we had obviously somehow figured out what they were going to do and we had got the jump on them and we were controlling the law suit. We were also collecting information that really showed what a hoax the book was. For example, when we deposed Phillip Bailley, their central source for this story, their lawyer had brought in a psychiatrist because they were worried that this man would purger himself. And so the psychiatrist testified that he had studied Bailley's records, medical records, which we, by that time had already studied, and he was a man who based on this professionals consultation with others who had worked with Bailley in mental institutions over a long period of time, was somebody who could not distinguish fact from fiction. Now this is not exactly the best source to rely on to revise history. And St. Martins realized they were in deep trouble, that they were going to be terribly embarrassed by all this. So as I say, they wanted to settle and it was about, this was about early '98. Its about the time Senator Goldwater passed away and its about the same time that the Lewinsky matter surfaces. I've maintained a very low profile the whole time I'm in private business and by design, because I just felt it was better not to be carrying that baggage around and doing the kind of work I was doing. But after the lawsuit and what I was learning, I wanted to learn more, I wanted, I had lost some touch with Washington. While I still had friends there in high places, people who had worked both in the Reagan and Bush administration and even some within the Clinton administration, I wanted to learn more about what was going on particularly with conservatism which was striking me as something very foreign. And I still consider myself to this day, to be on many issues, a Goldwater conservative. And that puts me somewhere left of center today. I've not really changed my views in the last forty years, but the party I was once apart of and the movement, conservatism, is so far to the right that as I saw, I'm a liberal for all practical purposes. And I recently saw a screening of a documentary that Senator Goldwater's granddaughter prepared. She got a hold of some wonderful family footage that the Senator had and I noticed at one point that she captured a wonderful scene where the Senator at the end of the '64 campaign, who incidentally he did not want to run that campaign, he did not want to run against Lyndon Johnson. And I've often thought how different life might have been had the race that he had contemplated ever taken place. He wanted to run against Jack Kennedy who was a dear friend of his in the Senate and they literally had talked about what they would do if, if Goldwater had decided to run and got the nomination. They would together, lease an airplane and they would fly around the country to major locations, and like the old Lincoln-Douglas debates, they would come out of the airplane, they would have a debate, then they would get together on the airplane and go back and fly to the next place. And just think how that would have changed the level of civility in presidential politics has that standard ever been set. When Kennedy was assassinated, Goldwater was crushed because his party had pushed him so far and because so many had committed, he felt he couldn't turn around and say no at that point, but as I said, he did not want to make that race. Uh, he made the best of it, he didn't think it'd be a winner, but he never expected it to sink to the level it did. In fact, he told me, he said, "I don't even recognize the man that Lyndon Johnson in his campaign is portraying me as. I wouldn't vote for the Goldwater that they're pursuing". A lot of people think Goldwater was a racist. I know to the contrary because I know he's the man that long before the military was formally integrated, he as a head of the Arizona National Guard, integrated the Arizona National Guard. He's somebody who has spent his lifetime from his youth to his death working with Indian tribes trying the make their life better. They loved him. Indians, as you know, don't like to have their picture taken because they feel it takes part of their spirit. He was a photographic genius and has some of the best pictures of American Indians that have ever been collected because they so trusted him. Uh, he was a man, I once asked him, "You know Senator, equality is one of the big issues that separates democrats and republicans, conservatives and liberals, what do you think about that?" And he said, "Well, I think equality is something that the conservative intellectuals like to talk about, conservatives not honoring, but I can tell you one thing John, they don't get elected to office if that's their position and I'm one who happens to believe, strongly in equality." Unfortunately, thats not as true today as when he ran. He was a man who never lowered himself and this is apart of his conservative thinking. He never lowered himself to the level of those who ran against him, from his first race to his last race. When Lyndon Johnson, for example, was attacking him, remember the wonderful and vicious flower picking commercial that has become a classic, with the little girl pulling the petals off the daisy and the countdown and then the atomic bomb exploding behind and really, very little commentary other than an implication that this is what Goldwater would do if he was ever president. Well, rather than lowering himself to that level, and he and an opportunity, one of the things that happened during the '64 campaign is Lyndon Johnson's top aid, Walter Jenkins, was arrested in the YMCA a block from the White House in homosexual activity. The White House quickly hushed it up, they put him in a hospital, but Goldwater's campaign staff learned about it and they went to the senator and said this is a golden opportunity, this is what they've been doing to us, lets nail em. The Senator said no way, no way. Would not have anything to do with it. So, the conservatism I know from a Goldwater, is really not only in what he believed, but in the way he acted, which he thought in his definition was very simple, that conservatism draws the best from the past not the worst and tries to apply it to today's standards. When it comes to government where you have a need for government to provide security, and you have a need also for government to provide freedom, the balance always weighs in favor of freedom. So its rather simple, but a very fascinating man and as I say, he had an influence on me and my thinking and I think what he said then and the clip I started to tell you about, that CeCe found was that the Senator was asked a question as to how people would look back on his conservatism. And he said, its very simple. I think people, years from now, will call me a liberal. And I think that's very close to whats going to happen. He's becoming closer and closer to a liberal. His libertarianism was the hallmark of his conservatism. Anyway, as we talked about settlement of the lawsuit, one of the things I was offered was an opportunity to go to Washington and to work as an anchor body for MSNBC during the Clinton impeachment proceeding. I had refused earlier comments on things like White Water and Travel Gate and Vince Fosters suicide and all those things that the right wing was immediately saying, "Uh, these are all worse than Watergate.". Well, this came up again during the Lewinsky matter and so when the media called me I started saying well, this isn't worse than Watergate, let me remind you of some of the things that fall under that litany of activity and these are quite different to animals. And so one night I was on a show called the big show, with Keith Oberman. I do, I've known Keith for years, I liked to do his show because he's so bright and I never know what he'll ask me, so its always fun to go in there and he's always very perceptive in what's he's interested in and driving out and they're good questions so its always fun to do it. But I, on this particular night he asked me, "What would happen if this went to impeachment?" He said you surely know a little bit about that being connected with the Nixon impeachment effort. I said I do and I said his, this happens that some years ago as a pure avocational undertaking, I read the entire congressional record of the Andrew Johnson impeachment from the House right through the Senate triall, so they kind of pressed a button and I was able to give them an awful lot of information that they hadn't hear about impeachment. As I was leaving the studio, the producer for Keith's show was on the air and he was actually one of the producers for the entirety of MSNBC and said if this goes forward, would you be willing to go to Washington to work as an anchor buddy. I said what? HE said, as an anchor buddy? And I said, sure, whatever that is it interests me because I would be delighted to get back to Washington and get a little feel for what's happening in that city that I don't quite have the touch on anymore. Well, anyway what an anchor buddy, I accepted and what an anchor buddy is is somebody who sits on the set, almost all day long. The anchors change. One time it would be Brokaw, then it would be John Seigenthaler, than it would be Bryan Williams and they would rotate. But the anchor buddies kinda stay solid. I was the anchor buddy who was generally placed in the middle. On my right was Barbara Olsen, who as you may recall was tragically killed in the 9/11 plane that went into the Pentagon. I liked Barbara. She was fun, she was savvy, she was outspoken and she hated the Clintons, no question, she didn't mince any words. And on my other side was Lanny Davis who had been working for the Clinton White House and was a defender and I was kind of the middle and just kind of tried to call it right down straight the middle as I saw it. But I spent a lot of time talking to Barbara and she would often have her cell phone out and I discovered something that I thought was quite interesting. She finally explained who she was talking to. And I could pick up the gist of it somewhat from the cell phone being right beside me, but she would call, they had a central monitoring operation and had, we have spokes people on every channel, every station, every time we can put somebody out with talking points and we learn what talking points aren't being covered. So this was all very well organized. I said, Barbara do you really think that you can overturn the 1970's , '96 election and remove this man from office. She said, its a done deal in the house. The other thing that happened is that people would come through the green room. Anyone and everybody who was involved in the impeachment sooner or later came through that MSNBC greenroom which is on Capitol Hill literally just blocks from the Capitol building itself. And it was a chance to have a really long conversations as people were waiting to go on the sets or programs and what have you, because we were always there on call to be prepared to go on if something broke and to be there with the anchor. It was so fascinating that I kept a journal of what was going on. I'd go back to the hotel and write up what I'd learn because I was learning a whole new world existed in Washington. Its nothing I'd ever quote because these were off the record, just informal chats, but it was a really eyeopener. Such things as somebody who had started his political career in the house of representatives. I understood the House pretty well. I was once the chief minority council of the house judiciary committee, I knew how the place worked. But that was under democrats. No question the democrats had gotten lazy after forty years of running the place, they had gotten arrogant, they had gotten, they had assumed too many things and there was a time and a need for reform and that was the basis that they got tossed out largely and the republicans got control. But the republicans in turn would push it further and further and further than anybody really understands because this issue has been so ignored, and I like to talk about things and write about things that are generally ignored. I focus on this in the book because this is the first place that I really saw what I would later learn is authoritarianism. And I saw it first in the Gingrich office, the way he worked through his office through Tom Delay and the various lieutenants. He decided he would appoint all o