Don Regan: I'm Leaving, I'm Leaving!

The end, when it came, was brutally abrupt for Donald T. Regan. Sitting in his office Friday afternoon, the chief of staff pronounced himself vindicated by the Tower report: "1,250 lines on 'What Was Wrong' and I'm mentioned in 15, less than 2%," he declared. He confided to TIME Correspondents David Beckwith and Barrett Seaman that he planned to resign Monday, on his own schedule. But he was clearly unsettled. No, he didn't know who his successor would be, and no, he hadn't been invited to a Reagan summit that night to discuss presidential strategy.

As the interview ended, Regan's secretary...