Summoned to the Oval Office, John Dean pauses at the door, and Richard Nixon says, “Come in and close it.
“Have a seat, John.”
“Thank you, Mr. President.”
“I appreciate all your good work as White House counsel. And your confidential style.”
“My duty, Sir.”
“What you’re involved in is very risky.”
“I’m more concerned about the dangers Watergate poses to you, Mr. President.”
“I’m even more worried about you, John. After those idiots broke into Democratic headquarters, without my knowledge, you’ve removed and destroyed some evidence from the safe of an FBI agent friendly to our cause. I don’t blame you for that or for discussing FBI reports with the same agent. It’s certainly not your fault that he also destroyed evidence. I just want you to be careful.”
“I’ve always acted in accordance with your wishes.”
“I’ve expressed no such wishes.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“John, I think you should write a comprehensive report.”
“What would you plan to do with such a report?”
“We need something in writing so you and I, and our team, understand what’s been done and why.”
“Mr. President, before I write any such report I’d like you to grant me immunity.”
“I’d love to, John, but you know that’s politically impossible. The vultures who’ve been circling my head for years are closing in.”
A few days later John Dean, as ordered, returns to the Oval Office.
“How’s the report coming, John?” asks the president.
“Still working on it.”
“I need it right away.”
“And I need immunity now.”
Nixon arises from and circles his desk, walking to where Dean sits.
“Stand up when I approach you, John.”
He complies, and Nixon digs a right uppercut into his solar plexus. Dean gasps, bent over, and Nixon puts both hands behind his head and shoves his face to the floor.
“You haven’t been talking to the Watergate investigators, have you, John?”