1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Welcome to the final countdown to the fireworks

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Well, here we are. The midterm elections are over, Special Counsel Robert Mueller is making court filings which spell out that he’s about to pounce within days, Donald Trump knows it’s coming and is combusting accordingly, and the rest of us are all just sort of sitting here waiting for it to happen. There are plenty of other things going on, some of them rather important, but overall this has turned into one of the weirdest vacuums of the Trump debacle yet.



Four days ago, Mueller made clear in writing that one or more people sold out by Paul Manafort were going to get popped in publicly visible fashion within the next ten days. So by the end of this upcoming weekend, we should see people in handcuffs.




Keep in mind that in an investigation into a multi-tier criminal conspiracy, particularly in the latter stages, it’s all about flipping on bigger fish, not smaller fish. So think about who’s bigger than Manafort and set your expectations accordingly. But what happens after this big roundup happens? Donald Trump put Matt Whitaker in place as Acting Attorney General as a last ditch effort at getting in Robert Mueller’s way, but thus far there’s no indication that Whitaker is accomplishing anything, beyond giving comedic fodder to late night talk show hosts. Does Trump have more up his sleeve if Whitaker fails? Each of Trump’s new anti-Mueller schemes has been more ineffective than the last.


The bigger question may be what happens when Donald Trump wakes up less than a week from now and finds that his closest allies and/or his family members have been indicted and arrested. Trump’s behavior this past week has been more about cracking up than about cracking heads. Is he even still coherent enough to come out swinging? What would that look like? Will it be too late too matter? We’re in the final countdown to the fireworks, yet we still don’t know quite what the fireworks are going to look like. Then again, Trump doesn’t have a clue either.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: Robert Mueller’s new Trump-Russia court filing tonight reveals he’s not afraid of Matt Whitaker

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As so often tends to end up being the case, Special Counsel Robert Mueller knows something that we don’t know. This time around it has to do with Donald Trump’s newly and illegally appointed Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker. As things stand at the moment, Whitaker is (or is not) Mueller’s boss, depending on what the courts end up ruling about Whitaker’s appointment. In the meantime, Mueller’s latest court filing reveals he’s got the Whitaker thing under control.



There is a long-running court battle about whether Robert Mueller has the legal authority to order Roger Stone’s associate Andrew Miller to testify before a grand jury. This fight has been brewing for months, and predates Matt Whitaker’s appointment. Mueller just made a new court filing in the Miller case, and he flat out stated that the appointment of Whitaker “has no effect on this case.” Mueller went on to spell out that he still has all the powers that a U.S. Attorney would have.




There are only two realistic explanations for Robert Mueller’s stance here. The first is that he’s already found a way to get Matt Whitaker to fall in line. This wouldn’t be all that surprising, considering that Mueller is a hundred times smarter and savvier than Whitaker, and he’s surely explained to Whitaker that he’ll go down for felony obstruction of justice if he tries to sabotage the probe. The other possibility is that Mueller simply believes he can win any impending battle against Whitaker. This wouldn’t be surprising either, considering that Whitaker is way out of his league.


The bottom line here is that, while the Democrats need to keep fighting Donald Trump’s illegal appointment of Matthew Whitaker in court for a number of obvious reasons, Robert Mueller is clearly saying that he’s got this covered from his end. Should we be surprised? Of course not. Mueller has had a year and a half to prepare for the eventuality in which Trump tried to put one of his own flunkies in charge of the investigation near the end. He’s surely had a gameplan in place for this scenario for some time.

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The post Robert Mueller’s new Trump-Russia court filing tonight reveals he’s not afraid of Matt Whitaker appeared first on Palmer Report.

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): trump russian money – Google News: Trump Organization to be scrutinized and subpoenaed by House Democrats – Columbia Daily Herald

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National Real Estate Investor

Trump Organization to be scrutinized and subpoenaed by House Democrats
Columbia Daily Herald
“Donald Trump’s finances historically have been opaque, but there have long been credible allegations as to the use of Trump properties to launder money by Russian oligarchs, criminals and regime cronies,” Democrats said in the report. “There also
Trump Business to Face Sharp Scrutiny Under House DemocratsNational Real Estate Investor

all 1,140 news articles »

trump russian money – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): trump russian money – Google News: Trump Organization to be scrutinized and subpoenaed by House Democrats – Columbia Daily Herald

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National Real Estate Investor

Trump Organization to be scrutinized and subpoenaed by House Democrats
Columbia Daily Herald
“Donald Trump’s finances historically have been opaque, but there have long been credible allegations as to the use of Trump properties to launder money by Russian oligarchs, criminals and regime cronies,” Democrats said in the report. “There also
Trump Business to Face Sharp Scrutiny Under House DemocratsNational Real Estate Investor

all 1,161 news articles »

trump russian money – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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2016 Presidential Election Investigation – Google News: Vox Sentences: The Whitaker saga continues – Vox

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Vox Sentences: The Whitaker saga continues
Vox
[Fox News / Alex Pappas]; At the helm of the Justice Department, even if temporarily, Whitaker is in control of the Mueller probe, which aims to definitively answer whether or not Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Whitaker has long been

2016 Presidential Election Investigation – Google News


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): trump, russia and the mob – Google News: Bipartisan Group Calls on Trump to Oppose Russia’s Bid for Top Spot at Interpol – Daily Beast

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Bipartisan Group Calls on Trump to Oppose Russia’s Bid for Top Spot at Interpol
Daily Beast
The inmates who brutally murdered mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger moved out of the view of surveillance cameras before pummeling him to death using a padlock stuffed inside a sock until he was “unrecognizable,” law-enforcement officials have revealed.

trump, russia and the mob – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): putin won US 2016 election – Google News: Whoever convinced most Democrats that Putin hacked the election tallies is doing Putin’s bidding – Washington Examiner

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Whoever convinced most Democrats that Putin hacked the election tallies is doing Putin’s bidding
Washington Examiner
On Sunday, the Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson highlighted the nation’s deep partisan delusion. He did so by pointing to a new poll which suggests that a supermajority of Democrats believe Russia changed vote tallies in order to get Donald Trump elected.

putin won US 2016 election – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Comey resignation – Google News: Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team defends legitimacy of appointment – The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines

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NBCNews.com

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team defends legitimacy of appointment
The Gazette: Eastern Iowa Breaking News and Headlines
After oral argument this month, a three-judge panel asked Mueller and Miller to address implications for the case of the forced resignation ofattorney general Jeff Sessions – and the man the president picked to succeed him, Whitaker. Whitaker is now …
Matthew Whitaker: Who’s the brand new performing US legal professional common? – EireInfosurhoy

all 659 news articles »

Comey resignation – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Russian Intelligence services – Google News: Hackers Impersonated State Department Spokeswoman, Firms Say – Bloomberg

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Hackers Impersonated State Department Spokeswoman, Firms Say
Bloomberg
The hackers are probably a group linked to Russian intelligence services, according to research by FireEye Inc. and CrowdStrike Inc. published Monday in a blog post by FireEye. There’s no evidence that Nauert, Stevenson or the State Department were …

and more »

Russian Intelligence services – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: The Cyberlaw Podcast: If Paris Calls, Should We Hang Up?

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Mieke Eoyang joins us for the interview about Third Way’s “To Catch a Hacker” report. We agree on the importance of what I call “attribution and retribution” as a way to improve cybersecurity. But we disagree on some of the details. Mieke reveals that this report is the first in a series that will hopefully address my concerns about a lack of detail and innovation in the report’s policy prescriptions.

Russia’s lawyers are almost as good as its hackers, to judge by a “letter” the Russian government sent in the DNC’s hacking case against Putin’s intelligence agents. Matthew Heiman and I conclude that the DNC is going to face an uphill fight trying to overcome Russia’s sovereign immunity arguments.

It’s not cybersecurity, but it is cyberhygiene. Never do a global “find and replace” on a sensitive court filing without making sure the “replace” part actually worked. That seems to be the failure that disclosed to the world that the U.S. has filed criminal charges against Julian Assange under seal. Maury Shenk comments.

“As an additional service to Alexa users, we will protect the privacy of anyone who murders you.” Okay, that’s an unfair summary of Amazon’s position on whether to release Echo recordings in a double murder case. In fact, it’s not the least surprising that Amazon wants a court order before handing over the recordings, if any, or that it got one, or that it seems to have complied promptly.

Dr. Megan Reiss explains the significance, if any, of the Paris Call for Trust and Security in Cyberspace, where more than 50 states and companies—the United States not among them—have signed onto a mostly Mom-and-apple-pie agreement on cyber principles.

Soft power update: Chinese-style social credit is coming to a Venezuela near you. Megan comments.

Sweet justice: California SWATter has pleaded guilty and now faces 20+ years in prison.

Looks like DHS finally made it, so I can stop talking about Congress approving the renaming of NPPD as the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

And for the lightning round, Matthew confirms that remotely wiping your iPhone constitutes destruction of evidence; I note that Phineas Finn has officially gotten away with the doxing of Hacking Team; and Megan comments on yet another diversion of Western traffic through Russia and China. This time, though, we may have to blame the Nigerians.

 

Download the 240th Episode (mp3).

You can subscribe to The Cyberlaw Podcast using iTunes, Pocket Casts, Google Play, or our RSS feed!

As always, The Cyberlaw Podcast is open to feedback. Be sure to engage with Stewart on social media: @stewartbaker on Twitter and on LinkedIn. Send your questions, comments, and suggestions for topics or interviewees to CyberlawPodcast@steptoe.com. Remember: If your suggested interviewee appears on the show, we will send you a highly coveted Cyberlaw Podcast mug!

The views expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not reflect the opinions of the firm.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: New Resource Page: Litigation Documents on the Appointment of Matthew Whitaker

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As Lawfare readers have probably noticed, there has been a fair amount of controversy over Matthew Whitaker’s designation as acting attorney general as of late. To keep track of it all, we at Lawfare have put together a resource page collecting all litigation documents regarding Whitaker’s appointment, ranging from outright challenges to Whitaker’s role as acting attorney general (Maryland v. U.S., Blumenthal v. Whitaker, and Michaels v. Whitaker) to a case in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has requested supplementary briefing on the matter (In re Grand Jury Investigation). We’ll be keeping the page updated as the litigation moves forward. 

You can find the page here or under the “Special Features” menu at the top of the page.

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): trump criminal investigation – Google News: A Former FBI Lawyer Is Dropping Big Hints About Trump Obstructing Justice – New York Magazine

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A Former FBI Lawyer Is Dropping Big Hints About Trump Obstructing Justice
New York Magazine
Nixon had repeated contact with Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen in order “to gather intelligence about an ongoing criminal investigation in which he was personally implicated.” Nixon also appeared to dangle possible job promotions before …

trump criminal investigation – Google News

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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Politics: White House to fully restore Jim Acosta’s press pass; CNN to drop lawsuit

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The decision to grant Acosta full access comes after the White House had earlier in the day indicated it would revoke his credentials once a court-ordered temporary restraining order expired in two weeks. “We look forward to continuing to cover the White House,” CNN said in a tweet announcing the restoration of Acosta’s press pass […]

Politics

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Trump, Putin, and the Mob – Google News: Russia and China Replacing US in Africa? As Trump Administration Moves Out, Top Military Rivals Moving In – Newsweek

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Russia and China Replacing US in Africa? As Trump Administration Moves Out, Top Military Rivals Moving In
Newsweek
As President Donald Trump’s administration grows increasingly wary of rising Russia and Chinese military power, however, it has sought to reconfigure U.S. military policy to account for potential conflicts with major powers. It was amid this backdrop

Trump, Putin, and the Mob – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Palmer Report: The Day of the Beast

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Saturday marked the 666th day of the administration of “President” Donald J. Trump. The Day of the Beast reminds us all of the dangerous, mad king that occupies the White House. In just the last forty-eight hours, Trump has attacked Representative Adam Schiff, calling him “little Adam Schitt” (the misspelling is not accidental, with the “little” before it). Schiff will chair the House Intelligence Committee come January, when the Democrats take the majority position in the House, and it will be Trump who is schitting himself when he sees what Schiff has in store for him.



In addition, Trump suggested that poor “forest management” caused the tragic wildfires in California. While that may have contributed in some way to the horrific fires, the main cause, per real scientists and experts, is climate change. Also, much of the forestry around the fires is national lands, and Trump early in his administration purportedly diverted funding from forest management. In any event, it is evil to repeatedly attack the victims for the tragedies (see Puerto Rico, other hurricane locations, and wildfires, as well as synagogues and other places of mass shootings).




In an interview that aired Sunday on Fox News with Chris Wallace, Trump attacked retired Admiral Bill McRaven, the Navy SEAL who led the raid in 2011 that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death. In response to Wallace’s question re: McRaven’s warnings about the danger of Trump, Trump responded, “OK, he’s a Hilary Clinton backer and an Obama-backer.” When Wallace mentioned he led the bin Laden raid, Trump brushed it off, arguing, “wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama Bin Laden a lot sooner than that, wouldn’t it have been nice?” Trump is as McRaven has suggested: “the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime.”


Finally, despite the CIA reporting that there is almost 100% certainty that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was behind Khashoggi’s death, Donald Trump and his son, Eric, have pushed back, asserting that it is a preliminary report. Eric suggested one murder was outweighed by the economic benefit of Saudi Arabia as an ally. McRaven’s comment might be too narrow, as Trump in his actions and words is indeed “the greatest threat to our democracy” ever. The beast is among us.

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The post The Day of the Beast appeared first on Palmer Report.

Palmer Report

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Donald Trump | The Guardian: White House correspondents’ dinner ditches comedians for a history lesson

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The White House correspondents’ dinner is abandoning comedy, instead hosting the historian Ron Chernow as its featured speaker at next year’s event.

The annual black tie dinner hosted by the White House Correspondents Association has traditionally featured a prominent comedian roasting the president, who in turn shares his own wisecracks with the assembled journalists and celebrities. But Donald Trump, who frequently attacks the press, has refused to attend the dinner.

Continue reading…

Donald Trump | The Guardian

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: Document: Three Senators Challenge Whitaker Appointment in D.C. Federal District Court

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On Monday, Sens. Richard Blumenthal, Sheldon Whitehouse and Mazie K. Hirono filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia asking a federal judge to decide the legality of Matthew Whitaker’s service as acting attorney general. The senators argue that Whitaker’s appointment is in violation of the Appointments Clause as Whitaker was not confirmed by the U.S. Senate in his prior post. The full complaint is below.

 

Blumenthal v Whitaker Complaint (PDF)

Blumenthal v Whitaker Complaint (Text)

Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): morell on trump – Google News: Trump blasts Pakistan as ‘fools,’ charging the country let bin Laden hide there despite receiving US $$ – Fox News

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Fox News

Trump blasts Pakistan as ‘fools,’ charging the country let bin Laden hide there despite receiving US $$
Fox News
President Trump on Monday blasted Pakistan, charging that its government helped 9/11 mastermind Usama bin Laden hide in the country as the president defended his administration’s decision to pull hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid.
The Daily 202: Trump’s pattern of insulting war heroes continues with commander of bin Laden raidWashington Post
Trump Slams Admiral Who Got bin LadenNewser
Donald Trump dropped a big ‘Schitt’ after dismissing a US hero’s military serviceMashable
The Times –CNN –UT System
all 799 news articles »

morell on trump – Google News

1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites)


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1. Trump from Michael_Novakhov (198 sites): Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices: What the Watergate ‘Road Map’ Reveals about Improper Contact between the White House and the Justice Department

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In a conversation between the president of the United States and  senior Justice Department officials, the officials informed the president that two of his senior White House staff were under investigation. One of the officials later testified: “He said he couldn’t believe it. You know, just these are fine upstanding guys. Just couldn’t be, you know.” He impressed on the president, “We are here to alert you. We think we’ve got something. We could be wrong, but we are telling you it’s time for you to move to protect yourself and the presidency.” And he urged the president to “get rid” of the staffers in question; the president responded, “‘Yeah, and I don’t think I should. I’ve got to think about this and that and a thousand other things.’”

This happened in 1973.

One of the aspects of the recently released Watergate “road map” and related documents that attracted our attention is the set of materials pertaining to interactions, direct and indirect, between President Richard M. Nixon and two senior Department of Justice officials. The interactions cited in the road map occurred during March and April 1973. During that period, the president and his subordinates at the White House had contacts with Attorney General Richard Kleindienst and Henry E. Petersen, who was assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and is the official quoted above regarding the interaction with President Nixon. From June 1972 to May 1973, Petersen supervised the Watergate investigation conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington, D.C., and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). President Nixon was in touch with him frequently about the investigation, his future career and other matters along the way.

Petersen is a figure of some reverence in the Justice Department as evidenced by the fact that the Criminal Division named one of its major awards after him. His close contacts with President Nixon over a pending investigation that—at that time—implicated the president’s own staff may raise eyebrows regarding Justice Department contacts with the White House on certain types of investigative matters.

In particular, we focused on the facts that the road map and related documents reveal regarding the nature and scope of the interactions between President Nixon and Petersen. This portrait is not complete. Watergate is a vast and complex topic, and we are not Watergate historians. Moreover, we do not purport to provide a comprehensive review of the Nixon-Petersen interactions nor how they may have impacted the investigation. Additional facts may be important to a complete understanding of this story.

What we dive into below are some of the interactions that were cited in the road map—presumably because Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski found them important enough to report them to the House of Representatives—as well as in related materials. We do so without extensive analysis of the meaning of these events in the Watergate saga or, particularly, in other contexts.

To understand the meaning and significance of the road map documents regarding Kleindienst and Petersen, the following background may be useful. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Washington began investigating the Watergate break-in immediately after it occurred on June 16-17, 1972. Kleindienst and Petersen were involved in the matter from the outset. Kleindienst eventually recused himself from the investigation on April 15, 1973, which effectively left Petersen in charge of it at main Justice. As far as we can tell, President Nixon did not publicly or privately criticize Kleindienst for that decision.

But Kleindienst resigned on April 30, 1973, just 15 days after his recusal and the same day that President Nixon fired White House Counsel John Dean. H.R. Haldeman, the White House chief of staff, and John Ehrlichman, counsel and assistant to the president for domestic affairs, also resigned on April 30. Elliot Richardson succeeded Kleindienst as attorney general. In May 1973, Richardson appointed Archibald Cox as special prosecutor to handle the Watergate investigation, effectively taking the case away from Petersen and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. On Oct. 20, 1973, Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus resigned rather than follow President Nixon’s order to fire Cox; Acting Attorney General Robert Bork then fired Cox. Leon Jaworski replaced Cox, and eventually he prepared the road map in conjunction with the federal grand jury investigating Watergate.

By the time of the Nixon-Petersen interactions cited in the road map—late March and April 1973—that we detail below, the president was well aware of the involvement of the White House and the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CRP) in the break-in and was an active participant in the cover-up. For example, in a conversation on June 23, 1972, shortly after the Watergate break-in, President Nixon and Haldeman discussed obstructing the FBI’s investigation. Among other things, they discussed asking the CIA to tell the FBI—falsely—that the break-in was somehow an intelligence matter and related to national security. Their hope was that the FBI would back off the case. This conversation was recorded, and when it came to light on Aug. 5, 1974, it became known as the “smoking gun” tape.

Shortly before that conversation became public, the special prosecutor’s office sent the House Judiciary Committee a memorandum, dated June 24, 1974, focused on “facts, inferences and theories that demonstrate that beginning no later than March 21, 1973, the President joined an ongoing criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice, obstruct a criminal investigation, and commit perjury (which included . . . obtaining information from the Justice Department to thwart its investigation). . . .” Moreover, the special prosecutor’s office focused specifically on the Nixon-Petersen interactions in support of its conclusions about the president’s culpability:

The available evidence supports charges that the President participated in a conspiracy to violate certain . . . statutes . . . and . . . would be liable both as a principal and on a theory of vicarious liability for additional substantive offenses.

For example, there is evidence that the President conspired with others under 18 U.S.C. 371 to defraud the United States and to commit violations of certain federal criminal laws, to wit:

* * *

—obstruction of a criminal investigation, 18 U.S.C. 1510 (including his personal endeavor by means of both bribery and misrepresentation—the latter especially with respect to the President’s conversations with Henry Petersen—to delay and prevent communication of information to the United States Attorneys and to Henry Petersen).

As a result, the road map’s references to President Nixon’s interactions with Petersen—the person who was heading the investigation—take on a different and more nefarious meaning. Those interactions must be understood within the larger context of the president’s knowledge of the facts regarding Watergate at the time that he was in contact with Petersen. In other words, when the president sought information from Petersen, provided his views to Petersen on the various matters that they discussed, and discussed Petersen’s future, he was not merely exercising his powers under Article II of the Constitution to supervise the executive branch and trying to get the facts necessary to do so; the president of the United States was also acting as a criminal co-conspirator trying to obstruct lawful investigative activities of the Justice Department.

Moreover, these were not the only contacts between the White House and the Justice Department; there were other contacts between White House officials (especially John Dean) and Petersen. President Nixon and other White House personnel also had contacts with other Justice Department officials, such as Attorney General Kleindienst and Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray. The nature and scope of those contacts are important to understanding the full story of how the department dealt with the White House, but they are beyond what we address here.

Notably, it appears that Petersen genuinely did not understand fully President Nixon’s role in the Watergate affair at the time he consented to have the numerous interactions with the president that are outlined in the road map and related documents. A fair assessment of the role that Petersen played would require additional research and is beyond the scope of this post. So we make no effort to pass judgment on Petersen or his actions.

What follows is an attempt to report on a limited set of facts gleaned from our review of the road map, its attachments and related documents that we find interesting. These documents detail the direct contacts between the president and the top Justice Department officials responsible for an investigation of his White House—and ultimately of him—and why such contacts were so pernicious and dangerous for all involved. Here is what the road map itself reports about the Nixon-Kleindienst-Petersen interactions (the paragraph numbers are from the document):

16. On or about March 27, 1973, the President instructed John Ehrlichman to contact Richard Kleindienst; on or about March 28, 1973, Ehrlichman had a telephone conversation with Kleindienst in which Ehrlichman told Kleindienst that the President’s “best information” was that no one in the White House had “prior knowledge” of the Watergate break-in, but that serious questions were being raised about [former Attorney General and CRP Chairman] John Mitchell, and the President wished to have Kleindienst communicate privately with the President if Kleindienst obtained any information concerning Mitchell.

* * *

19. On Sunday, April 15, 1973, Richard Kleindienst and Henry Petersen had a meeting with the President at their request and advised the President of information in possession of the prosecutors obtained in part from the cooperation of John Dean and Jeb Magruder; Kleindienst and Petersen urged the President to fire Haldeman and Ehrlichman immediately because of their implication in the Watergate matter.

* * *

21. At or about 11:45 p.m. on April 15, 1973, the President had a telephone conversation with Henry Petersen.

* * *

24. From on or about April 15, 1973, to on or about April 28, 1973, the President had numerous conversations with Henry Petersen.

* * *

26. On or about April 18, 1973, the President had a conversation with Henry Petersen during which the President instructed Petersen not to investigate the break-in at the offices of Dr. Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist that occurred in September 1971.

* * *

51. On April 17, 1973, the President said in a public statement that he had met on April 15, 1973, with Richard Kleindienst and Henry Petersen “to review the facts which had come to me in my investigation . . . .”

52. On August 22, 1973, the President said at a news conference, in response to the question why he did not immediately turn over information concerning criminal wrong-doing to the prosecutors in March and April 1973, that he assumed that John Dean in March was telling Henry Petersen everything that Dean was telling the President; the President implied that he assumed the same about John Ehrlichman after March 30, 1973.

53. On August 15, 1973, the President said in a public statement that the “allegations” that were made to him on March 21, 1973, “were made in general terms, . . . and they were largely unsupported by details or evidence,” but that by April 15 “the fragmentary information I had been given on March 21st had been supplemented in important ways, particularly by Mr. Ehrlichman’s report to me on April 14th, by the information Mr. Kleindienst and Mr. Petersen gave me on April 15th, and by independent inquiries I had been making on my own.”

Each of these paragraphs in the road map cites to underlying documents—such as grand jury testimony, meeting notes and transcripts of recordings of conversations—in support of the factual assertions made. Some of those supporting documents provide interesting insights on the road map material.

For example, on April 15, 1973, according to Petersen’s grand jury testimony, Kleindienst and Petersen met with the president. Kleindienst told the president that he would recuse himself from further participation in the investigation. Both Kleindienst and Petersen told the president that he should fire Haldeman and Ehrlichman. According to Petersen, in response President Nixon:

. . . spoke well of Ehrlichman and Haldeman; [I] thought that it seemed difficult for him to comprehend; [he] seemed to think—seemed to fear I guess is a better term—that perhaps John Dean was simply trying to exculpate himself and that he was really responsible; that he didn’t know about these things at all until Dean had told him on March 21st [1973]; and that, at that point he had asked Ehrlichman to look into the matter.

Archibald Cox and another prosecutor interviewed Petersen regarding this interaction with President Nixon. Cox asked Petersen whether “the President [was] surprised when you said that Ehrlichman and Haldeman were implicated, so far as you could judge?” Petersen stated: “He said he couldn’t believe it. You know, just these are fine upstanding guys. Just couldn’t be, you know.” Petersen explained that the investigators had not corroborated information regarding Haldeman and Ehrlichman, but, “We are here to alert you. We think we’ve got something. We could be wrong, but we are telling you it’s time for you to move to protect yourself and the presidency.” Petersen also said when he urged the president to “get rid” of Haldeman and Ehrlichman, President Nixon said, “Yeah, and I don’t think I should. I’ve got to think about this and that and a thousand other things.” Petersen then said, “Fine. My viewpoint is parochial. I think you ought to do it. We went around and around on that issue.”

Petersen also testified that he discussed with the president aspects of investigative strategy, including whether prosecutors should grant immunity to John Dean and other officials in exchange for their testimony. The president expressed the view that he did not support immunizing White House officials, including Dean, and that Dean might want to obtain immunity to “falsely accus[e] others to exculpate himself. . . . The other concern was the public imagery involved.” Petersen said that the president also told him that “‘Dean came in and told me about all these things. My goodness, that was the first time I heard.’”

In addition, on two occasions President Nixon asked Petersen for written summaries of aspects of the Justice Department’s investigation, including information regarding Haldeman and Ehrlichman: “[H]e asked for a full exposition. Having got into it this far, he felt he needed all the information, and I said I would undertake to . . . try to do that.” The president asked Petersen “to be kept informed of these things” but did not expect Petersen to divulge grand jury material. Petersen said that he ultimately determined that he could not provide any additional information at that time because it would have involved disclosing grand jury material; the president accepted that conclusion. In the following two weeks, however, Petersen did provide the president with “very general” information about the investigation, and the president on one occasion asked him, “‘Well, what else is new?’”

According to the president’s logs, between March 13, 1973, and April 30, 1973, President Nixon had seven meetings and initiated 19 phone calls with Petersen. These calls included four on April 15, 1973, after Kleindienst and Petersen met with the president to recommend that he fire Haldeman and Ehrlichman, including one call from 11:45 p.m. to 11:53 p.m. It is difficult to recount concisely the details of all of these communications to the extent that they are reflected in the information that we reviewed. Suffice it to say that these communications and other information in the attachments to the road map indicate that the Justice Department provided the White House with certain information about the course of the investigation on an ongoing basis.

The president, in short, was using a senior Justice Department official to gather intelligence about an ongoing criminal investigation in which he was personally implicated.

According to one of the documents that the National Archives released with the road map—a report from the Watergate Task Force dated Feb. 7, 1974—on March 21, 1973, in a meeting that was tape-recorded John Dean told the president that Dean “kept abreast of what the FBI and Grand Jury were doing, primarily through Petersen.” The report further states:

Dean suggested that by coordination with the Justice Department, and especially Petersen, they could find out how to put things together so as to “maximum to carve it away with the minimum of damage to individuals involved.” The President asked if Petersen knew the “whole story,” and Dean said that he did not.

Haldeman later joined the president and Dean in the March 21 conversation. Among other things, they discussed seeking a new grand jury in the Watergate matter as a means of frustrating the efforts of the Senate committee (chaired by Sen. Sam Ervin) investigating Watergate. The report states:

The President reiterated that the Grand Jury “thing” had appeal, that that would put them in a better position vis-à-vis appearances in the Ervin Committee. They might even get Petersen as a special prosecutor. Dean said that Petersen would have problems in the Senate hearings, but the President said he can go up there and say he’s been told to go further in the Grand Jury, to call everybody in the White House, etc.

The report later states that: “There was some discussion of getting Petersen to help, but the problem with that was that Petersen’s knowledge would then be added. Dean said it bothered him to bring Petersen in, because that was just ‘one more step.’”

The report also states that during the time period that the president had conversations about the investigation with Petersen:

[T]he President also conferred daily with Haldeman and Ehrlichman, met with their attorneys, and had an opportunity to pass along to them what information the President was getting from Petersen about the investigation, such as the witnesses who were being called, etc. (Petersen told the President early on that the prosecutors were attempting to develop [Haldeman aide Gordon C.] Strachan as a witness and that if Strachan came through, Haldeman “was dead.”)

The report does not confirm that the president actually passed on such information to Haldeman, Ehrlich


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