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Just a coincidence?

Monday, Jan 13, 2014

* A few weeks before former Gov. Otto Kerner was indicted by a federal grand jury, Richard Nixon and his attorney general had a conversation about going after the sitting federal appellate judge. “I’d like to see you get him,” Nixon says. “Yeah, I would too, for a number of reasons,” Attorney Gen. John Mitchell replied.

There’s some profanity here, so keep that in mind if you’re at work. From the White House tapes

* Jim Thompson, who was US Attorney at the time, flatly denies that the White House was involved

Kerner “was a terrible witness,” and was “arrogant” and “hostile,” Thompson said in a recording. Thompson also said that while Kerner testified that he never interfered or gave orders on racing dates, “we had other evidence to the contrary” including “testimony of two of the racing commissioners that he had … ordered them to change racing dates.” Thompson also said Kerner said he never met with a certain official to discuss dates, “when the truth was found in his diary that he had.”

Also in DePue’s interview, Thompson denies any knowledge of influence from Nixon.

“I never saw or heard of any evidence that suggested that this was a personal priority of the president,” said Thompson. “The investigation that led to the indictment of Kerner was begun and carried out by career prosecutors … who had no ax to grind.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    I’ve read just about every word I can find on Nixon — books, diaries, memoirs, White House tapes –and it’s certainly true he kept a wary eye on Kerner in regards to 1972: Democrat, urban ethnic Catholic from the largest Midwestern state.

    His main obsession, of course, was Ted Kennedy. And he was gravely concerned about George Wallace running another third-party candidacy and denying him Southern electoral votes, or throwing them to a Dem candidate with a plurality.

    Impossible, with the information available, to say whether his crew of sycophants acted on his wish to get Kerner.

    Nixon used to rant and rave quite a bit when he was angry. Sometimes he was ignored (like when he wanted Jack Anderson clipped or the Brookings Institution firebombed), sometimes he wasn’t (like with the break-in to Daniel Ellsberg’s shrink’s office, or the effort to dig up dirt on Larry O’Brien, resulting in Watergate).

  2. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    I would think Nixon had re-election, Vietnam, China, Soviets/detente more to worry about than a former IL Gov but who knows. very interesting, I read a lot on Nixon and watch any new bios or old footage/tapes too.

  3. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Pool Guy, he could obsess though, and he had no one strong enough around him to tell him when he was off his rocker.

    He obsessed about Larry O’Brien, who had been on retainer to Howard Hughes after RFK was killed.

    Nixon was apparently worried that O’Brien might have some more dirt than previously disclosed on Nixon’s dealings with Hughes.

    Hence, Watergate. Which came at a time when Nixon was obviously going to beat McGovern in a landslide.

  4. - jim - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:23 pm:

    Nixon and Mitchell may have wanted to get him, but you still have to have something to get Kerner with. I would think if anything has been settled, it’s Kerner’s monkey business with the race track stock, although the question as to whether his behavior fit within the definition of mail fraud is unknowable, at least as far as he is concerned.

  5. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:40 pm:

    Word you’re right he did know how to obssess. I remember listening to a tape of him ripping on Fred Thompson during the Watergate hearings and making snide comments about him. Fred was just some young attorney at the time.

    I also made the mistake of reading Silent Coup. that was the book that said Al Haig was Deepthroat (wrong) and also tried to say the Watergate break-in had something to do with Dean trying to cover up a call girl ring his wife was involved with.

    I’m sure it was more about Howard Hughes and the money his brother got from him, not call girls :)

  6. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    “Silent Coup” was trash, a conspiracy theory emanating from big-brain G. Gordon Liddy. Like that guy ever got anything right.

  7. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    yes I regret ever reading it now. they had a better chance proving Al Haig was the Zodiac killer

  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 3:25 pm:

    Pool, in a bizarre twist of history, Nixon, in 1980, testified on behalf of the real Deep Throat, Mark Felt, when he faced charges of authorizing illegal FBI break-ins directed against the Weather Underground.

    Those illegal break-ins, by the way, paved the way for the government to drop charges against Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and let them emerge from underground.

  9. - 47th Ward - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    ===paved the way for the government to drop charges against Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dohrn and let them emerge from underground.===

    And then Ayers got Obama elected President. Where does it end? How high up does this go?

  10. - wordslinger - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 3:48 pm:

    47, and you thought that Manchurian Candidate stuff was just right-wing paranoia.

    Walk away. You heard and saw nothing.

  11. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 4:09 pm:

    so the real Deep Throat indirectly helped Obama get elected? i like this conspiracy. but Sinatra can’t reprise his role in the sequel.

  12. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 4:11 pm:

    also i never heard that about Nixon testifying for Felt in court. fascinating. I need to start reading again and stop Cap Fax blogging so much.

  13. - Anon - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 4:13 pm:

    It´s pretty chilling when the Chief Executive sics the AG on someone. It reminds me of something Beria said: ¨Show me the man, and I´ll find the crime.¨

  14. - Amalia - Monday, Jan 13, 14 @ 4:15 pm:

    never fails to amaze how pols way up in the polls…Nixon, Christie….get greedy and want to crush their opponents in overly detailed ways. Nixon stories are never ending, so much material to mine. Meanwhile, is the Christie story really about endorsement from the Ft. Lee mayor, or is Rachel Maddow on to something with the anger over the NJ Supreme Ct. appointment matter? Whatever, Christie exhibits the same Nixonian tendency to obsess about enemies and we know where that got him. Endless bad stories like this one.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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