Buzhardt’s phone call to Haig and Nixon after first hearing the smoking gun tape.

Part One:  Installation, Use and Preservation

  1. Prior Presidential Systems
  2. Nixon’s System
  3. Butterfield’s Disclosure
  4. Why Didn’t Nixon Destroy the Tapes?

Part Two:  The Battle over the Tapes

  1. Early Subpoenas from WSPF and the Ervin Committee
  2. The Circuit Court’s Decision:  Nixon v Sirica
  3. The Stennis Compromise and the Saturday Night Massacre
  4. Dean’s Ervin Committee Testimony and White House Release of the Blue Book
  5. The Supreme Court’s Decision:  US v Nixon
  6. The Subsequent Fight over Possession and Preservation
  7. The Lingering Challenge:  Transcription Issues

Part Three:  Seven Critical Conversations

  1. June 20, 1972:  The Eighteen Minute Gap
  2. June 23, 1972:  The Smoking Gun
  3. March 19, 1973: Nixon/Ehrlichman Status Recap
  4. March 21, 1973:  Dean’s Cancer on the Presidency Meeting
  5. March 21, 1973:  Nixon’s Decision:  Call for a New Grand Jury
  6. March 22, 1973:  Nixon Informs Mitchell of His Decision
  7. March 22, 1973:  Nixon’s Departing Advice:  Save the Plan (The Stonewall Quote)

Part Four:  Conclusions

  1. Aftermath of Critical Week
  2. Observations about Critical Week
  3. Lessons Learned
  4. What If Watergate Had Never Happened?


  1. Transcripts of key conversations


Book 4 Outline