Watergate: John Dean reveals Nixon was involved in the cover-up: Part 7

In his testimony, John Dean revealed that Richard Nixon had a role in the cover-up of Watergate.
5:58 | 06/17/17

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Transcript for Watergate: John Dean reveals Nixon was involved in the cover-up: Part 7
Washington summer days are the most humid hot days anywhere in the entire country, I think. And the hotter the weather got, the hotter watergate got. ABC news report about senate hearings: "A special report on the senate watergate hearings." This was the O.J. Simpson trial of its era. "The word "Crisis" is perhaps too mild to apply to watergate." Everybody was in a frenzy around D.C. That famous caucus room. Almost every day there were lines of people waiting outside. Can you just tell us once again what you said about calling the president? I was the watergate correspondent for ABC news. I hear a gavel pounding, so let's go inside. There were only three television networks in those days. There was no cable networks. There was no internet, of course. Everyday people were watching. Farmers, mechanics, and you were keeping up with the story because it had everything in it. It had love, hate, greed, you name it. The greatest show on the Earth. Why didn't you throw Mr. Liddy out of your office? In hindsight, I not only should have thrown him out of the office, I should have thrown him out of the window. As it's developing, though, it's not immediately clear that you're in the funny farm of all times. My job was to raise an unbelievable amount of money. Mr. Liddy said that he would have a million dollars for his plan? Yes, sir. Well, since that's a rather handsome sum did it peak your curiosity? This wasn't some boring senate hearing. This was about corruption and obstruction of justice. It's an obscure question to me. No, it's a simple question. If the answer's no, say "No." If the answer's yes, say "Yes." Would you restate the question for me, please? Richard Nixon told Haldeman to lie to the committee. Guess what. Hald man said that. You never knew what would be said, you never knew who would be speaking. How do you know that Mr. Chairman? Because I can understand the English language. It's my mother tongue. The chairman was Sam Ervin. A southerner from north Carolina. I'm just a country lawyer from way down in North Carolina. He's an old country lawyer about like I'm an astronaut. Well I don't believe there is anything in the constitution that says the powers of the presidency should be separated from truth. When the details came out and people saw that this was almost like some kind of mafia story. What was the altercation if you could be a little more specific? Well I simply put my hand on Mr. Liddy's shoulder and he asked me to remove it. Was he more specific than "Serious consequences?" Well he indicated that he would kill me. It's the country's favorite soap opera. It's confusing. That Mccord was a pretty good "Wire-man?" It's complicated. I would say that he's one of the best wiremen in the business. The characters are unforgettable. No retired man in the NYPD would become involved in a thing like that. That's for sure. It seemed impossible, it seemed improbable. And yet it happened. And the next logical man to hear from would appear to be John Dean. John Dean, white house lawyer, testifies about Nixon. And that changed everything about watergate. People were riveted by this young man they'd never heard of before. I sincerely wish I could say it's my pleasure to be here today, but I think you can understand why it's not. Good-looking guy. Very conservative, well-dressed. He had a beautiful wife. Maureen Dean with her blond hair. She seemed very mysterious. I mean she was sitting behind him, and she was looking perfect everyday and she never let on at all what her emotions were. My wife had initially typed my handwritten notes. Had they told me I was going to have to read it, I would've never done 60,000 words. "I began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency." He was reading this text about the president of the United States. "And if the cancer was not removed the president himself would be killed by it." And the details were surprising. I subsequently met with Mr. Ehrlichman I remember well his instructions. He told me to shred the documents and deep-six the briefcase. And the picture was disturbing. The money was laundered so it could not be traced and then there were secret deliveries. A crime followed by another crime followed by another crime, each more preposterous than the one before it. I then proceeded to tell him that perjury had been committed and for this cover-up to continue would require more perjury and more money. Until that point the Nixon white house had successfully stonewalled investigations of the president's role in the cover-up. John Dean cut through that like a knife through butter. John Dean said, "The president is involved in the cover-up." The central question at this point is simply put: What did the president know and when did he know it? And from that moment on watergate became Nixon versus Dean: Who was telling the truth? I knew it was going to be my word against his word. And I knew he'd already called me a liar. So I slipped a couple pages into my testimony that I thought that I had been recorded in one or more conversations. John Dean had mentioned tapes. That was the only time that listening devices, tapes, had even been mentioned to anyone. So I had every reason to believe that I would not be asked about tapes. When Alexander Butterfield acknowledged that these tapes existed, like a bombshell going off. There was a certain innocence about the presidency. And when he said, "No, the president is taping his most secret, most confidential conversations," it was like, "Oh my god."

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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