The day after I was arrested and charged by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, charges to which I have pled not guilty, the Nixon Foundation run by people who never actually met Richard Nixon ,put out a statement, falsely claiming that I had no relationship with the former president based on the fact that in 1972 I was a junior member of his re-election campaign staff.
The statement put out by the Foundation is of course ludicrous. Snopes the supposed “fact checker” which is a left leaning outfit that rarely gets anything right, doubled- down on this disinformation. Because I am respecting a gag order issued by the Judge in my case, I must endure a veritable tsunami of fake news and willful media distortions about me on a daily basis but on the question of my warm and extensive relationship with President Nixon the record must be corrected.
I assume the deception put out by the Nixon Foundation was motivated by the fact that after my release on bail I flashed Nixon’s famous “V for Victory” sign on the courtroom steps simply to symbolize the fact that two years of investigation and relentless fake news reports that I would be charged with Russian collusion, conspiracy and treason have not destroyed my spirit or my resolve to fight for exoneration.
The claim that I had no relationship with President Nixon in 1972 is irrelevant; I never made any claim to the contrary. Indeed I was the youngest staff member at the Committee to Re-elect the President and would shake the great man’s hand only once when he toured the re-election headquarters. My personal relationship with the former president began in 1977 when he invited me to his home Casa Pacifica in San Clemente, California after my election as National Chairman of the Young Republican National Federation. An extensive 4-hour discussion of current American politics blossomed into a warm relationship in which I began performing various – and documented -political chores for the 37th President.
With Nixon’s move to NYC and subsequently to Saddle River, NJ I had frequent contact with the former leader of the free world and spent countless hours with him discussing the current state of American politics.
As Ed Rollins who was the campaign manager for Ronald Reagan’s 1984 re-election reported in his book, because of my relationship with the former president, I was assigned the role of weekly briefings for Nixon about the status of Reagan’s re-election efforts. It was on Nixon’s recommendation that I was assigned responsibility for the Reagan campaign in Ohio which was outside the Northeastern states for which I otherwise had responsibility. “Stone was responsible for keeping in touch with Nixon, and they chatted often.” the Associated Press reported.
Don’t take my word for it. Here is an excerpt from veteran CBS and NBC newspaper Marvin Kalb’s book “The Nixon Memo” published in 1994. “In early 1975, he (Nixon) attended a GOP fundraiser in New York. It was his first political appearance and he was worried about timing. “I hope this isn’t too soon, “ he told consultant Roger Stone (Newsweek, May 2, 1994, p. 30). “
Kalb also wrote “In early 1981, New York magazine published a bold cover with the words “He’s back!” emblazoned across a picture of Nixon. And indeed the former president was back – hosting a series of dinners for publishers, politicians, and reporters,… Roger Stone, a tough-minded political operative from the Reagan campaign, suggested that Nixon “very selectively” invite young, “unbiased” reporters to a separate round of private dinners. “Unbiased” was defined as a journalist who had not covered Watergate or one who seemed sympathetic. On Stone’s list were Morton Kondracke of the New Republic, Strobe Talbott and Roger Rosenblatt of Time, Sara Fritz of the Los Angeles Times, Gerald Boyd of the New York Times, and others (Michael Beschloss, Vanity Fair, June 1992, p. 118).
Kalb’s book focused specifically on how the former President strategically disseminated a foreign policy memo that Nixon wanted to impact the Clinton Administration’s thinking “At the same time, Howell Raines, then Washington bureau chief of the Times, got a copy from Roger Stone, who told me that he had been instructed by Nixon to “leak” the memo to the Times. Raines and Stone had occasionally exchanged information in the past. “
Kalb further reported on Nixon’s efforts to impact Clinton’s thinking on his policy towards Russia, an effort in which I was centrally involved “The next obvious step was to arrange a White House meeting with the president. Ever since Clinton’s election in November 1992, Nixon had been trying to see Clinton and ingratiate himself with the new administration. He realized that it would not be easy. Nixon and Clinton were poles apart in experience, in outlook, and in ideology. Nixon was a Cold War Republican, Clinton a baby-boomer Democrat. Nixon expanded the American war in Southeast Asia, Clinton marched in protest against it. Nixon personified Watergate, Clinton’s wife had worked for Nixon’s impeachment on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee. Still, Nixon wrote Clinton a long, substantive, and thoughtful letter of congratulations…
But if Nixon expected a quick response, he was to be disappointed. He tried to figure out who or what was the obstacle. Finally, he settled on Hillary Rodham Clinton. Roger Stone, who had been using all his Republican and Democratic contacts to help Nixon arrange a meeting, told me, “Nixon blamed Hillary.” According to Stone, Nixon described Mrs. Clinton as “what we used to call a ‘red-hot’ in the 1930’s – a real lefty like Eleanor Roosevelt” (New York Times, April 25, 1994, p. B8)
Shortly before Clinton’s inauguration, in mid-January 1993, Nixon resumed his effort to make an impact on the president-elect. He directed Stone to send an “urgent” message to Clinton – that the situation in Russia was “very grave” and that Clinton was not getting the “straight story” from the State Department, principally, Nixon said, because Baker was a roadblock. Again, there was no response from Clinton or any of his aides.
Immediately after the inauguration, Nixon, undaunted, sent another “urgent” message to Clinton. This time Stone used Richard Morris, a pollster from Arkansas, as his intermediary. Stone told me that the Nixon message contained three points and what can only be construed as a whiff of political blackmail. First, Stone said that Clinton would find Nixon’s perspective on Russia to be “valuable”. Second, a Nixon-Clinton meeting would “buy” the president a “one-year moratorium” on Nixon criticism of his policy toward Bosnia and other matters. And third, a Clinton-Nixon meeting would generate Republican support for aid to Russia and possibly for a budget compromise on Capitol Hill. Stone continued, “Morris told the Clintons that if Nixon was received at the White House, he couldn’t come back and kick you in the teeth.”
A few days later, on the eve of Nixon’s February 1993 visit to Moscow, according to Stone, Morris called him and said that Clinton had agreed in principle to a meeting with Nixon, but no date had been set. Another week passed. Nixon, in Moscow, had met with Yeltsin and promised action. Stone called James Carville and Paul Begala, two of Clinton’s closest political advisers, and urged that a date be fixed, especially since now Clinton could also benefit from a Nixon briefing on his meeting with Yeltsin. Begala immediately saw the political advantages of a meeting. In his mind there was no point in antagonizing Nixon, not when so much of the Clinton program rode on a degree of GOP cooperation on Capitol Hill.
Prodded by Stone, Begala rode herd on the matter of the meeting. He told John Podesta, who managed the traffic flow into the Oval Office, to make certain that the three-point Nixon message reached the president’s desk. “You really ought to call him,” Begala advised. Yes, Clinton agreed, but again nothing happened.” Nixon would ultimately score his meeting with an invitation to the Clinton White House.
Kalb expanded on the result of the outreach to Clinton in which I was deeply involved on Nixon’s behalf “What was fascinating was that the president and his stable of young advisers failed to pick up the warning signal. They were still enchanted by the idea that Richard Nixon was supporting Bill Clinton. They did not consider the other side of the coin- that Bill Clinton was supporting Richard Nixon. Roger Stone and Paul Begala found themselves kidding each other about whether they should start up a “Friends of Bill and Dick” club.“
Kalb would further document a shift in Nixon’s thinking after Clinton welcomed him to the White House for a extensive discussion of Russian American relations “Early in 1993, in a message conveyed to the administration by Roger Stone, Nixon had promised a year-long “moratorium” on criticism of the president’s foreign policy in exchange for a White House meeting with Clinton. The moratorium had apparently run out. There was no resemblance between the “love letter” Nixon sent to Clinton in his op-ed piece of March 5, 1993, and his contemptuous dismissal of Clinton’s policies in Beyond Peace. “
Now let us turn to the writings of Monica Crowley who served the former President as his last foreign policy aide in his post presidential years .In her book “Nixon Off the Record” Crowley reported on Nixon’s intelligence gathering regarding the outcome of the 1992 election “On September 8, Nixon spoke to several people whose political judgment he respected and later gave me their predictions on the election. “The only one who was optimistic was Ray Price. He still thinks that it can be won. John Connally says that Bush is losing in Texas, and without it he cannot win. Kevin Phillips says that the draft evasion hurts Clinton in the South. Roger Stone is very negative on Bush’s chances. (Former Reagan director of political affairs) Lyn Nofziger says that the Bush campaign won’t even let him in to advise. (Former Reagan campaign manager) John Sears says that Bush will lose. “
Crowley further documented my role in providing political intelligence to the former president “At four-thirty on the afternoon of December 3, Nixon took a call from the political consultant Roger Stone, who informed him that Bush planned to fire Sununu, thereby forcing his resignation, and replace him with Transportation Secretary Samuel Skinner. “
As defeat loomed for Bush’s re-election campaign Nixon told Crowley “(Roger) Stone says they are still hopeful. Imagine- twenty-four points behind in California and still hopeful! Oh well, only one more debate to suffer through. He cleared his throat.” Crowley wrote of my continuing effort to supply political intelligence to Nixon as the 1992 election approached. “By the end of the week, Nixon had heard from Roger Stone that until three o’clock on the afternoon of election day Bush had believed he was going to win. Nixon was disgusted with the Republican blame charade ….”
Like Marvin Kalb, the long time moderator of Meet the Press, Crowley reported on my efforts at Nixon’s direction to secure him a meeting with President Bill Clinton and the difficulty in getting it on the schedule “Stone says that both Clintons have bad tempers and that it is an explosive situation” Nixon told Crowley.
Nixon would also tell Crowley about Nixon’s analysis of the 1996 Republican Nomination fight “a call from Roger Stone later that day inspired a review of the possible Republican challengers of Clinton in 1996 when we sat down for our daily meeting. “I like Kemp”, he said, “but he has the Clinton problem in that he is pretty undisciplined. He’s got some good ideas, but he is all over the map. Besides, if he plans to run, he’s got to get over that Johnny-one-note crap on the supply-side stuff. People want more from a presidential candidate. He’s got the charisma, and he’s a real charmer, but I just can’t see him in the top job. Stone likes (Massachusetts governor) Bill Weld, but, Monica, he cannot be nominated, not by the party. The party does not nominate elitists from the Northeast, and he’s too liberal on the social issues, which isn’t necessarily wrong. Bush was an elite, but he was helped some by Reagan. Frankly, a Buchanan appeals more to that crowd, but he is totally unelectable when it comes to the general election-too far out there.” In the end ,despite some personal affection for California Governor Pete Wilson whose candidacy would sputter before collapsing, Nixon correctly concluded that his old friend Senator Bob Dole would be the nominee.
At the time of his death the New York Times invited me to submit an op-ed piece, which detailed the relationship between President Nixon and President Clinton which working with then Clinton advisor Dick Morris I had helped to facilitate.
Perhaps this is why New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd called me “Nixon’s man in Washington” in the 1990’s as well as the “keeper of the Nixon flame” and why former New York Times editor Howell Raines thanked me for introducing him to the former president which generated a robust personal correspondence which Raines would keep in an album on the coffee table of his office at the Times.
Sadly a page one story in the New York Times on the day I was arrested by Maggie Haberman and Annie Karn,both of whom know me well, ignored this documented history saying that I “often overstate my own role in the dark arts of politics”. Nonsense. Missing from the New York Times story was the role I have played in eight national Republican Presidential campaigns. It’s as if my political experience began with Donald Trump.
In my two books on Nixon I have lauded him for his strategic arms limitation agreement with the Soviets, his ending of the Vietnam War on a time-table faster than the one desired by the Pentagon, his opening to China, his end of the military draft, his desegregation of the public schools, his unilateral saving of Israel from destruction in the 1973 Yom Kippur war, his policy of affirmative action to redress the racial inequity of the past and his establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency. Not without balance I have been extremely critical of his failed, expensive and racist war on drugs, his closing of the gold window and his policy of wage and price controls.
While it is easy to criticize Nixon for his handling of the Watergate affair until one fully understands the real role of White House Counsel John Dean and latter day White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig ,one cannot fully understand why the Woodward and Bernstein narrative about Watergate is false. In this regard James Rosen’s epic take on the activities of John Dean is must reading. As is veteran newsman Ray Locker’s new book “Haig’s Coup.”
It is well known that I have a tattoo of Nixon on my back, not a political statement but a daily reminder that, in life, when you get knocked down, when you are defeated, when you strive for something and you fail, when you are disappointed and discouraged, you have an obligation to get up off the canvas and get back in the fight. It’s about resilience and persistence.
“Until one has been in the deepest valley, one cannot appreciate the majesty of the highest mountain top” Nixon famously said. “A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is only finished when he quits.”
Like Nixon, I am not a quitter and I will fight for total exoneration in my trial this November. I am not guilty and I intend to prove it.