It is one of the most famous questions of American history. “What did the President know and when did he know it?”
Thirty years after former Senator Howard Baker raised this question during the U.S. Senate’s Watergate hearings, Jeb Stuart Magruder has come forward with the never-before-revealed allegation that Nixon not only knew about and orchestrated the Watergate cover-up, but he actually personally ordered the break-in.
Formerly deputy campaign director for the Committee to Re-Elect the President, Jeb Stuart Magruder testified at length during the U.S. Senate Watergate hearings about his role in approving funds for the Watergate burglary.
He ultimately served seven months in prison for conspiracy to obstruct justice. But now he claims he never told the complete truth. During an interview for the documentary, Magruder recalls a March 30th, 1972 meeting with Attorney General John Mitchell, who was then head of the Committee to Re-Elect the President.
The last item on his agenda was campaign operative Gordon Liddy’s proposal to break into the Democratic National Committee Headquarters to bug the telephone of party chairman, Larry O’Brien.
Previously, Magruder has testified only that the plan was authorized by John Mitchell during this meeting. But in this latest revelation, Magruder alleges that he and Mitchell were skeptical of the idea and decided to check with H.R. Haldeman, President Nixon’s Chief of Staff. After placing a call to Haldeman, Magruder handed the phone to Mitchell and he heard the President join the call. Magruder heard Nixon say to Mitchell “John, we need to, we need to get the information on Larry O’Brien. And the only way we can do that is through Liddy’s plan. And you need to do that.”
Sherry Jones, an Emmy-Award winning producer and investigative reporter is the executive producer of WATERGATE PLUS 30: SHADOW OF HISTORY. She says, “This allegation is a radically new answer to Baker’s question: ‘What did the president know and when did he know it.’
Since Nixon, Mitchell and Haldeman are all dead, it is impossible to confirm — or refute — Magruder’s story. But he was a major figure in the Watergate drama, and his story is credible. The public should be the judge of his word.”