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New problems lay ahead, however, as Wiretapper James McCord had written his letter to Judge Sirica charging that others were involved in Watergate.
Newsmen were probing anew, another grand jury session seemed likely, and the Ervin hearings were growing closer. Dean called a lawyer for advice, came down from the mountain, found what he felt was a new and "back-pedaling" Haldeman. "He was beginning to protect his flanks." Dean decided not to turn over his report but to seek more legal advice and begin a series of secret meetings with the Justice Department prosecutors. He withheld his decision from everyone at the White House.
On April 8 Dean decided to tell Haldeman that he was going to talk to the prosecutors. Haldeman advised against it, saying: "Once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it's going to be very hard to get it back in." Dean compiled a list of 15 names of those he thought indictable; out of the 15 persons noted, ten were lawyers. He showed it to Ehrlichman—and soon got word from the prosecutors saying that further secret talks were off. The President wanted a full report from Attorney General Richard Kleindienst on the progress of the Watergate investigation.
APRIL 15, 1973. Once again. Dean requested a meeting with Nixon. The thrust of the President's questions led Dean to think the conversation was being taped. Nixon said "he had, of course, only been joking" about his earlier reference to $1,000,000 for silence, and he told Dean that any conversations with him were privileged or covered by national security or both. But the most interesting moment, Dean said, was when Nixon "went behind his chair to the corner of the office and in a nearly inaudible tone said to me he was probably foolish to have discussed Hunt's clemency with Colson." The conversation ended with Dean saying he hoped nothing he did would "result in the impeachment of the President." Nixon replied jokingly: "I certainly hope so also." The White House report contends that Nixon told Dean he must go before the grand jury without immunity.
APRIL 16, 1973. Nixon summoned Dean to his office, handed him two terse letters, and asked him to sign either one. One said that Dean was resigning "as a result of my involvement in the Watergate matter"; the other gave as the cause "my increasing involvement in the Watergate matter." Dean refused to sign unless Ehrlichman and Haldeman would sign the same letter. Nixon said that Dean could draft his own letter, and Dean did so, tying his request for a leave of absence to similar moves by the other two aides. Unhappily, Nixon said "it wasn't what he wanted." On April 30, Nixon announced on television that he had fired Dean and accepted the resignations of Ehrlichman and Haldeman, praising them as "two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know."
Through four further days of questioning, sometimes gentle but often jarring. Dean stuck stubbornly to that basic story. To support it, he submitted more than 50 documents to the committee. These ranged from memos on the illegal 1970 domestic-security plans approved for a time by the President, to a paper on how the White