Maureen Barden Discusses the House Committee on the Judiciary Impeachent Inquiry

Uploaded by RichardNixonLibrary on 25.06.2012

bjbj Naftali: Hi. I m Tim Naftali. I m Director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library
Museum in Yorba Linda, California. It s September 28th, 2011 and I have the honor and privilege
to be interviewing Maureen Barden for the Richard Nixon Oral History Program. Maureen,
thank you for joining us. Barden: Oh, it s my pleasure. Naftali: Alright. Let s situate
you just before you come to work on the Impeachment Inquiry. Tell us what you were doing in the
early 1970s, please. Barden: Well, I was working. I was working on my degree at Columbia University
full-time and part-time and working either part-time or full-time depending. I had a
great opportunity in 1972 to work with the New York State Special Commission on Attica,
which was named by Governor Rockefeller to investigate what happened on September 13th,
1971 - coincidentally just about forty years ago. And I had been doing some work for a
partner at Paul Weiss some research for a man named Morris Abram who had been President
of Brandeis. And apparently Arthur Liman, who was General Counsel for Attica, needed
someone to do the kinds of things I was doing for Mr. Abram, and I guess Morris Abram gave
him my name. So I had the opportunity to work on that investigation doing the coordination
of the investigation both at the prison and at the Commission s offices in New York. We
had time up there interviewing various people about what had happened - which was not what
I was doing. Law students and lawyers were doing the interviewing but I was doing all
the management of the files and so forth. That was an unbelievably wonderful experience.
The first time I had ever really worked with lawyers, I was studying. I was an English
major at Columbia University at the time. And it was an extremely emotional experience
due to the nature of what we were working on, and intellectually challenging and really
interesting in every way. One of the people that I worked with there, my co-paralegal,
was a woman named Patty Conroy. And she was a woman who lived in Brooklyn, married, at
that time, to a writer named Frank Conroy, and she was a friend of John Doar s. Immediately
after the Attica Commission I went to work at the New York City Board of Correction for
one of my Attica Commission friends, a woman named Mary Doyle, and was working there preparatory
to going to law school I had been accepted at NYU and I was intending to enroll in the
fall of I guess it would be 1974. But in December of 73, John was named Special Counsel to the
Inquiry, and Patty called me and said, you know, If you saw the paper you know that John
has been named to this position and he d like you to come and work for him. So there I was,
just twenty-five that December, living on a 110th Street, looking forward to finishing
my last class at Columbia and going on to law school. And of course I said yes immediately.
There was no question that I was gonna do this. I met John I think there was a transit
strike in December of that year and John was living on Willow Street in Brooklyn, in the
same area where Patty was living and my friend Mary was living. And we drove out one Sunday
evening out to Brooklyn - my sister, another friend and I and knocked on the door at Willow
Street. John wasn t there, but Ann Doar, who was either then or soon to become his former
wife, opened the door. My sister and I were led into this parlor in this lovely home in
Brooklyn, which had kind of pocket doors and very high ceilings and so on. And there was
this huge, enormous portrait of Abraham Lincoln on the mantelpiece, not mounted but leaning
against the wall. And there we sat until the door opened again the front door and in came
tumbling John and his children and a dog, and there was all this activity. John came
into the room; sat down in this rocking chair under this portrait of Lincoln, and proceeded
to - and the portrait, by the way, had been given to him by Dorothy Landsberg and proceeded
to tell me what was about to happen. And so I took in as much as I could and said of course
I would be there when he wanted me there, which was December 28th of 1973. I guess I
took a train down with my two suitcases and met John in the office on the second floor
of the Congressional Hotel. At that time there was a lawyer named David Haines whom he had
hired, who s now deceased, and a lawyer named Dagmar Hamilton - older woman. I don t know
her whereabouts at the moment and me. And I think that was the group that started moving
forward with this process. And that was that. December 28th, 1973. Naftali: Dagmar Hamilton?
Barden: Yes. Naftali: A woman? Barden: Yes. Naftali: Would you tell us a little bit about
women in the law in that period of time. Barden: Well, 1973 was eons ago in many ways, as we
know from the Jackie Kennedy just-released information. There certainly was a push at
that time and there were a lot of women in law school at the time, but as far as I don
t know what the numbers are. I don t think there were a whole lot of women lawyers around.
Dagmar did not stay all that long and I cannot remember what she did. John ultimately hired
three other women lawyers for the staff Hillary, at that time Rodham, and two others a woman
from Alabama or Arkansas named Terri Kirkpatrick, and a third person who was in a picture I
have, whose name I don't know. They were very junior. Hillary was just out of law school,
as were these others. It was really a different time. John recruited by word of mouth, and
the way he got most of the people on that staff was the way he got me; was that someone
whom he trusted said, This is a good person. You should hire him or her. And I m sure you've
heard the story already about how he got Hillary. Well, Burke Marshall was, of course, one of
John s closest confidantes and he asked Burke to recommend a person for the staff - one
or more young lawyers who would be interested - and Burke nominated Bill Clinton. So John
called Bill Clinton and Bill said, m sorry, I can t do it. I m going back to Arkansas
to run for Governor but how about hiring my girlfriend? And that s how it happened. And
Hillary s office was next to the library and I honestly cannot remember when she started,
but I assume in that early period, as did everyone else. So Sack came because of Bob
Owen. They worked at the same law firm. Dick Gill came because of Judge Johnson. Anyway,
there s a lot I don t remember what Evans s connection is but he ll certainly tell you.
And there s a long, long list of how those people got there, including me. The way people
were recruited for the library staff was an amalgam of that. There were people who recommended
young either law students or people interested in the law, or others, to come and work with
us. And Bob Shelton, who was John s administrative person, a lawyer, worked for Venable, Baetjer
& Howard in Baltimore. Lovely man. Dorothy Landsberg s brother. He and I interviewed
people for the job - usually together; sometimes separately. And one of the people we took
on was a friend of Francis O Brien s. I don t remember who recommended Robin. But Jan,
then Orloff, now Piercy was a roommate of Hillary s from Wellesley. So we kind of built
up the staff in large measure that way and he built up the legal staff in quite the same
way. Naftali: What were the lessons you d learned at the Attica Commission that you
immediately implemented or deployed, if you will, when you started this job? What did
you learn from collecting information for the Commission? Barden: Well, that is a really
good question. Part of what I learned was that I really enjoyed working under pressure;
working as part of a group; being of help to the people who were actually doing the
work. And I guess I learned that I really was pretty well organized and that I had a
gift for organization that was useful in moving forward a big project. And I hadn t had the
opportunity to really understand that as well as I did at the end of Attica. My job in both
of those projects was really an engineering job. I wasn t paying as much attention to
the substance as I was to the process, because making the process work was my job. And I
really, really, loved that. So that was really pretty much what I took away from it. Naftali:
Engineering is going to be a very important part of this new job with the Impeachment
Inquiry because of the amount of material you were gonna have. Barden: Absolutely. Naftali:
So I know this is difficult. It s a long time ago. But it would be helpful to scholars and
viewers. Let s try to explain what kinds of information were available to you when you
start the job and then we ll track how you get more and more as time goes by. Barden:
Well, we were in the extremely fortunate position of having had all of this work done before
we got there. And the initial task was to gather as much as we could from as many sources
as we could that existed already. And the first and most obvious source was the Senate
Select Committee. We were doing two kinds of things, I think. We were obtaining information
in bulk as from them, and then we were obtaining things that the lawyers specifically asked
for. And in fact we did this Working with John and working with all these folks had
an aspect of fun to it. So we devised a form that lawyers would use to request information
and we called the form KTS. And we called it that because it was named after Dick Cates.
So the KTS form was invented. And it was a very simple form just asking what the information
was that the person wanted and why. And I think maybe John signed off on it. But I am
fairly sure that I went and visited the librarian or the librarian equivalent at the Senate
Select Committee and took a look at what they had; figured out how much space it was going
to take up; and then oversaw the process of getting that information, at which point the
lawyers could really begin to dig in with the specific witnesses who were relevant to
their area of inquiry. We got information from the Special Prosecutor and there must
have been I now know I paid no attention to it at the time but there must have been a
6E Motion that was granted by I guess Judge Sirica, who was overseeing the grand jury
proceeding. And all of that information came in. We would get it into the library and get
it into files and in some usable form by the lawyers as very, very quickly as we could.
Naftali: Now, that s the handover in March. Barden: Well, that was late though. Naftali:
So you had material from the Special Prosecutor before. Barden: Well, I guess we had anything
that wasn t 6E. Because they had a close Because they were good to us, I think. I never had
any personal meetings with them but my recollection from John is that they were good to us and
they would share whatever they could. And then the grand jury material came in March.
But earlier I m sure we got interviews that were not considered 6E and other things like
that. We had some material from the Senate Farm Relations Committee and I don t remember
what that was, but I guess maybe it concerned Cambodia and some of those other the undeclared
war business. We had some information that was classified and I actually had an interim
top secret security clearance for dealing with that information. Information from the
CIA and others. Naftali: Did you have a special vault for that? Barden: We had a special locked
cabinet and a special procedure. You know, people can only look at it in a special room
under certain conditions. Anyway, so those were the big sources of our information. Let
me just look at one thing. Naftali: Sure. Barden: I brought some notes with me and some
of them have to do with the way in which we categorized some of this stuff toward the
end. Here. When I did the wrap-up for the National Archives I had a list that I found
in going through my notes. We grouped the material by sources and so it s helpful to
look at some of this stuff. We had information from the Internal Revenue Service because,
of course, they were using that to audit people. So we had that information. I have a reference
here to something called HASC and I don't know what that is, Tim. It s some House Committee.
And then the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. There was a lot of litigation that had already
gone on and so we got all those duplicated all of those filings and divided those up
as relevant. We had a lot of information on this Howard Hughes/Bebe Rebozo business, and
I'm not sure where all of that came from but we had information about that. And I think
those were the main And then, of course, we got things from the White House eventually.
And so that was another source of information. It was all kept in the library and doled out
to the lawyers as they needed it. Naftali: Again, people watching this will be from the
IPad generation. Why don t you explain and talk about the role that index cards played
or Barden: Well, we started off this chronology We tried to do a manual computer system. I
can t say it was the most successful thing we ever tried to do but we did. We devised
these what were call chron cards . They had a manila-colored card on the front behind
I think they must be in the files you have. Then had a green copy, which was a tissue
copy. We were a little more advanced than having carbon paper. I think they copied straight
through. I forget what that technology was called. And then we had a green copy as well.
And those copies were filed I found our notes on that. We filed the yellow ones in chronological
order. We filed the green ones in chronological order by person. We filed the blue copies
according to the areas and subject matter. And then there were pink cards, which were
the attorney copies that they were able to keep for themselves to work through. And so
it is hard to believe that that is what we did, but that is what we did, because that
was the only choice we had. Naftali: So that means you had five sets. It was the same document.
Barden: Right. Naftali: So you d have five different, if you will, complete sets. Barden:
Right. Naftali: According to these different divisions. Barden: Exactly. And it s just
a matter of slicing and dicing. Of course, like a computer today and the expression garbage
in, garbage out , they were only as good as what was on them. And there was a space for
what the event was. There was a space for who the people were who were involved. There
was a space for what happened. And then there were some other little entries on the cards.
Bob Owen, who was a very trusted deputy of John s from the civil rights era, helped me.
He and Dorothy Landsberg, in the early months - probably mostly January, because we moved
so, so fast helped me devise how that card was gonna look based on his experience in
working with John and based on what they had done in the civil rights division. But yeah,
that s what we did. And it worked fine, surprisingly enough. Naftali: m not surprised, but what
s interesting is at the very early stage you had to actually have a sense of all the categories.
Barden: Yes. Right. Well, and I just gave to Evan We had I don't know who did this up.
It was not I to my memory anyway. A glossary that had every single person s name on it
and a description of who they were. Because really the numbers of actors here was in the
hundreds. So we had that. While we had a fairly large time period and a huge number of subjects
in Bob Sack s area to cover, it was a discrete task that we had when broken down. You know,
there was the Watergate and then there were agency practices and then there was the IRS
and then there was So we were really very focused from a very early point on whatever
had to happen in each of these areas. Whatever we needed to get; whatever we needed to find
out; whatever we needed to investigate further. Somebody has probably given you already, or
it s in the archives, the page of Gordon Liddy signing in to talk to whomever with under
protest written. It s a sign-in sheet. I don't think I brought it but I can get it to you.
I m sure you have the original because there was a sign-in procedure on the second floor
of the Congressional Hotel devised by Ben Marshall, our Security Officer, and I think
it was again something that made multiple copies at once. And people would sign in and
what they were doing there. And at the bottom of one page G. Gordon Liddy and written in
small letters over his name is under protest . I know they ll be a lot of talk about Liddy
later, and Dick Gill and others, and I don t know much except I have that particular
little copy of that document somewhere. So that s what we did. We brought it all in.
John relied heavily on researchers and that was from the time from the civil rights era,
he had a group of people, young again, gender roles of the times. In this case the sixties.
John worked with a small cadre of young lawyers who worked for the civil rights division,
including Bob Owen, Frank Allen, Brian Landsberg. A number of them, all of whom are still very
close friends. He then had a group of women, college graduates, who were quote researchers
, and those people included Mary Lee Campbell and Dorothy Shelton and others. And this group
paired off in at least five and maybe more marriages. Naftali: Yeah. Landsberg. Barden:
That all exist to this day. I don't think Owen Fiss. Well anyway, some of them were
very, very interesting. So when he came to do the Impeachment Inquiry he knew that once
again he d wanna use that model because it worked very well and it accorded with his
sense of the world. And I was lucky enough to be hired to run that little outfit - a
leap of faith on his part, I must say and got to work then with John, with Bob, with
the people who were running the little areas of subject matter interest. But this is one
of my favorite little John Doar-isms. Early in the project, February 18th, 1974, I wrote
John a memo about the research assistants and that they had started and what they were
doing. And I had certain questions that I put to him in the course of my memo. So I
got back a memo that has his writing on it, and at the top there s the following little
poem: Are they careful? Do they pay meticulous attention to detail? Do they take nothing
for granted? Do they organize their work? And are they neat? Are they stubborn? underlined.
And then as you go through and I have different people assigned to different subject areas
and lawyers. Here s another little John Doar-ism about their assignments: The good ones will
be like gold. They should be assigned to help the best lawyers. And we really did have quite
the extraordinary team, I must say, of people who were very talented, very hard-working,
very dedicated and very smart. And it wasn t like there ended up being, oh, you have
to use this person. It was a society of equals most definitely so. Naftali: Do you remember
some of their names? Barden: Oh my. Yes, of course. Larry Keeves. Barbara Campbell. Muriel
Pugh P-U-G-H who is now Muriel Morrissey, having returned to her maiden name. Jonathan
Flint. Liz Donegan. Liz came our way she was hired by Sam Garrison but Sam didn t have
enough for her to do and so she kind of worked her way down to the library. Lovely woman.
Very hard-working. Very quiet. Michael Hughes. Jen, then Orloff, now Piercy. Sally Regal,
who had worked, I think, for the Chairman in his office. And she was a little ball of
energy whose name will come up again later on. Wonderful. Young woman. Younger than everybody
else. Tiny little person. Just fabulous. I think that was everybody. Oh, John Peterson,
who was very interested in all things involving President Nixon and that, and has remained
so to this day. A friend of Francis O Brien s. Lovely man. Lovely man. And we worked together
in a small room twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week almost. We were in there with
the file cabinets. And they had desks. People would go home and sleep when they had to and
just work all the rest of the time. That s all we did for those however many months.
To the point where I once fell asleep in the tub. I once went home to take a nap at, you
know, six o clock, thinking I d come back at eight, and never got up again. I mean,
we really I feel asleep. I took my sister out to dinner one night when she was visiting
and feel asleep at the dining table. I mean, we truly did nothing but work. And we worked.
We worked. I mean, sometimes thirty-six hours at a stretch. At one point the Press Secretary,
Ziegler, was ranting and raving about how the Impeachment Inquiry wasn t doing its work
and it should really hurry up. I think it was March or something. And every Thursday,
as I recall, John had a staff meeting in the library. And I was sitting there as usual,
having no idea of what was going on in the larger world whatsoever. And John stood up
and said, Well, Ron Ziegler sent Maureen flowers this morning. You know, by way of apology
about making that comment that we weren t working hard enough. But at the time I had
no idea what he was talking about. So there we were in this crucible of everything - history
and personality and... And we got along, to know. We really did. We really liked each
other. In April of 2002 we had a reunion at my home in Philadelphia and everyone came.
And John came. And Francis came. And it was great. And we took some photographs, replicating
some pictures that we took during those years. And I m wearing Well, no. I take that back.
Never mind. I was gonna wear it but I didn But we had a lovely group. And unfortunately
Larry died soon after that lunch, but everybody else is still alive and kicking and we re
friends. Naftali: Did they go on to become lawyers your team? What happened? Did they
become lawyers or where they scholars? Barden: What would happen to them when Naftali: Afterwards.
After the impeachment. Barden: Oh, well Muriel and Barbara and Jon Flint went to law school.
A lot of them went to work immediately for Frank Church s Committee, which was the Senate
Select Committee on Intelligence. There was a whole cadre of them that did that. Larry
went on to do some interesting He was involved in politics to some extent. Worked for Ed
Koch for a while and made a lot of money in private industry of some sort before he died.
And wasn t even working at that time. Jon Flint does not practice law. He s a business
person of some sort in Massachusetts. Also extremely successful. Came to the party in
a car that waited for him during the party and took him back to the airport. Wonderful,
delightful, wonderful man. Oh my goodness. Muriel s a law professor now at Temple. Barbara
works for an organization called Oh, it s a healthcare ll think of it Families USA.
Does healthcare stuff. Michael, I m not sure. I think he s worked for the government for
a long time. And I m not sure what Liz was doing. And Robin has her own firm. She went
to Stanford Law School. Did extremely well. She s an extremely smart woman. Capable. And
is a Principal in a civil rights law firm in California. So everybody has gone on to
have interesting careers and good lives. You know, you just form relationships that you
never Even if you don t see the person for twenty years. Doesn t matter. Because we had
so much in common. Naftali: Maureen, tell us Let s just track what would happen to a
document. So let s say you had the material coming to you from the Senate Watergate Committee,
and in fact there was a ton of material. Did they actually give you copies? Or did they
give you originals? Barden: Oh, Tim, I can t remember. I m sorry. Naftali: That's okay.
Barden: What we have is in the archive, in those boxes. I doubt they gave us originals.
I seriously doubt it. But on the other hand it seems like an awful lot of Xeroxing. I
don't remember that we had to do copying ourselves, but if we got copies it s possible that maybe
we sent them out. I just am failing on that. I m sorry. I d have to look at the stuff to
see. Naftali: That s okay. Barden: Once we got it, because the lawyers were divided up
into teams, they would take the material, check it out of the library and review it,
and make notes on the basis of it either on chron cards or in other ways. And then the
team leaders had regular meetings at least weekly, maybe more often Evan and the guys
would be able to tell you at which they discussed what they were doing, and each person had
a small to medium-sized chunk that he or she was dealing with. And then they d return the
documents to the library. The one very, very critical role the library staff played was
in fact checking everything. So the way John saw our role was all the information came
into us; all the information when out from us; and everything that was publicly or presented
to the Committee or anything like that, was fact-checked by the researchers. So nothing
ever went directly from the legal staff - well, unless it was a brief or something like that.
But it terms of the Statements of Information or other things, somebody looked at every
assertion that was made and checked the documentation behind it to be positive that the assertion
that was being made was borne out by the evidence. Naftali: Well, given the number of those volumes
you must have been extraord- I imagine you fell asleep in the tub at the end of February
Barden: I don't even remember when it was. Naftali: I mean, end of April, early May,
because the Statements of Information are presented to the Committee on May 9th. So
that was a huge body of material. Barden: Right. In retrospect it was astounding. But
at the time, again, you just Everything is broken down into the discrete task that s
necessary. And I sat down with, I think it was with Fred, who was intimately involved
in a lot of this stuff Fred Altshuler. Naftali: Why? Why? Barden: But we came up with how
the books were gonna look. And I m pretty sure Bob Owen was involved. Certainly John.
I mean, it was kind of a moveable feast there for a little while. But we came up with what
these Statements of Information were going to look like. And then it was just, you know,
put one foot in front of the other. We did have a foolproof process almost foolproof,
because there is an errata document that was published after the fact. But I learned on
impeachment that you can only unless three different people, three different pairs of
eyes, hit a work product you cannot catch every typo, you cannot catch every comma.
You just can t. It takes three people. Now, maybe we were extremely tired. So maybe under
better circumstances it would only take two. But that was an interesting thing. And our
goal was perfection. That was the goal. So the book would be assembled by a combination
of the researchers and the lawyers. I m sure Bob Burney Evan looked at it at some point
in that process very carefully and thoroughly. The library staff would then go through it
again to make sure. And we bracketed the relevant portions of every document so it would be
easy for the Committee to look at it. And on the Statement of Information page, of course,
it has the assertion and then below it the source materials, which were then behind the
And I have a little note from John somewhere saying, you know, just one tab. So you have
Tab Number 1. And then 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4. The back-up did not have separate tabs. So
that was a decision he made at some point and a good one because otherwise you end up
with too many tabs. So the prototype book would be created and then handed over to be
duplicated. And then Sally, this little bundle of energy, and I guess How many Committee
members were there? Thirty-nine? Naftali: Yeah. Barden: Yeah. So we probably had forty-five
books because they d be other people there who needed them John, Mr. Jenner, so forth.
All of those people overnight would be sitting in a room about this size, at desks, with
an open loose-leaf book, with the dividers, with the documents, and each person would
assemble one book. And then somebody would trundle all those books over and put them
on the tables so the Committee members would have them when they sat down in the morning
with their coffee or whatever. And I never actually saw that Committee room So there
were certainly plenty pictures of it. And the first day was May 9th. And John came back
from the first day and everything had gone without a hitch. There was not one hiccup,
not one typo, not one page missing. Because you can see how important it was that people
weren t raising their hands all the time saying, Mr. Doar, I don't have Number 1.4. You know,
it would be so disruptive. So he took me and Barbara Campbell out to dinner that night
at Trader Joe No. That What was ? Trader Vic Naftali: Trader Vic s probably. Barden: Yes.
May 9th. And I don't know whether that was the night but it could have been. And this
really sounds like a made-up stupid story but it actually happened. He was driving us
somewhere. If it was that night it was to the restaurant. And I said, Oh my gosh. Look
at that. That s beautiful. What is that? It was a huge, beautiful garden. It was the side
of the White House. So we went nowhere. We went nowhere. Every once in a while I would
once or twice I would get in a taxi and go to Garfinckel s. And I think it cost eighty-five
cents because to go anywhere from Capitol Hill was very inexpensive in a taxi. And I
bought a suit and came back. Or whatever bought a blouse and came back to work. We went nowhere.
Absolutely nowhere. So John was very appreciative of the work that people did. And I have to
say and this is probably gonna be said by everybody but for him I mean, he set a tone
there that pervaded down to the absolutely most junior person on the staff, and that
was the President was called the President; this is not a witch hunt; we re gonna conduct
ourselves in certain respects and in certain ways and we re gonna do the best job that
anybody can do. And it just pervaded And the fact that he and Mr. Jenner had such a respectful,
close relationship was critical. And it was a happy place. It was a happy place, even
though and maybe because, you know, we were working all the time. That s all we did. And
we really grew to enjoy one another tremendously. The lawyers, everybody. You know, it was a
great But he was amazing. He was amazing. Naftali: How did you work change when you
started to get tapes? Barden: When we started to get Naftali: Get tapes. The original tapes?
I mean, copies of the original tapes. Barden: Well, you know, mine not much. Because Now,
when did we get those, Tim? Naftali: Well, I'm assuming that there were some tapes in
what the Special Prosecutor handed over to you in March. Barden: Right. Okay. Naftali:
And then you may have gotten more tapes after the White House published its transcripts
on April 3rd. Barden: Yeah, in April. Right. I think we did. Now, that process happened
We were not To my memory we were not directly involved in that. I m checking for Evan. We
re trying to re gonna get some firm-up who the people were who listened to the tapes.
But there was a young man named Jeff Banchero who was he did not work with the library staff.
I think he worked more with the people who were making the books. But I think he kind
of rose to the top there somehow if memory serves me. And he was one. And there were
a couple of others. And their work was off to the side. They were preparing these transcripts.
So there was an operation parallel to the library operation than went on there. The
library only got involved when the Earl Nash event occurred. I guess we got involved because
somebody came into the library and said, s Earl Nash? And we all said, What?! So we weren
t really involved. Clearly, I do think that was a critical document, that tape comparison.
Critical, critical document in terms of hastening what eventually happened. And of course once
the White House was forced to turn over those tapes unexpurgated, that was the end, we know.
But we were not really involved with that. So hopefully some of the other folks will
have a better recollection. Naftali: So when you were fact-checking you were just fact-checking
documents, not transcripts. Barden: Well, no. I guess it would have been transcripts
as well. I mean, they must have become part of the documentation. But I m sure they did.
I m positive they did. They had to. They were critical. But they just came into us and were
treated whatever we had in that regard, whether it came from the staff or other sources like
that April 30th book, just became part of what we were handling, you know. In other
words it was handled just like the Senate Select Committee. We weren t involved in preparing
anything, our particular group. Naftali: Do you remember was there any anticipation or
concern before the vote, before the Committee took its vote? Barden: No. Now, I should say
I don't remember, because I took a couple of days off. This was a terrible mistake but
I needed to get away and I went out to see my folks at the Jersey Shore. They were there
on summer vacation. And I wasn t there during the open sessions. Because our work You know,
we got a breather. And of course at that point we were all thinking, Oh my goodness. We have
to do this again. And so it was you know, we were kind of husbanding our resources.
But I think it just became clearer and clearer as the days when by, especially when you had...
You know before the vote we had some of these Republicans coming out and saying they had
been convinced. So the lawyers will have to tell you better whether there was concern,
but my feeling, and what I was picking up to the extent I picked up things from John
and the lawyers, was a feeling of great confidence moving forward. Confidence in the process.
Confidence in the work we were doing. And confidence that it would bear out. One time
I got to go to a meeting with John. And I don t remember why. They would bring people
over during the hearings and stuff but I have never had time to do that. But I don t remember
why I got to do this, but it was wonderful. He had a meeting with the southern Democrats.
Walter Flowers, Barbara Jordan, and I don t remember who the other people who were there
were. It was a small group of people. And I remember coming out of there very struck
by the degree of respect and confidence that those folks were displaying toward John and
the great respect, of course, with which he treated them. But they were critical Block
at that time was such a different time, you know. And that was a striking event, because
it was one of a kind and it was very interesting to see these Committee people up close. Naftali:
And this was I mean, it s hard to situate, but was it around June or July or just before
the vote or Barden: Tim, I just can t remember. I think it was probably before the presentation
of evidence. Naftali: Oh, so before May 8th. Barden: I think so. Naftali: Before May 9th,
I mean. Before may 9th. Barden: I think it was early. Because I think that after that,
I don t know when it would have happened. I think it was early. Naftali: There was a
minority staff. Barden: Right. Naftali: Would they send requests to you too? Barden: Yes.
Sure. And they were great. You know, you didn t have this feeling I didn We really I certainly
didn t get to know Sam Garrison. He was kind of a strange fellow. He was just very seemed
like an introvert. So he wasn t particularly friendly but he wasn t that friendly to anybody.
He was just there. Mr. Jenner was a character, a one-of-a-kind. When he was there he would
work really late and sometimes I d see him down in the lobby of the Congressional Hotel
waiting for a taxi with his shoes off. Because he would take his shoes off at his desk and
he wouldn t be able to get them back on. So he would carry his I seem to remember that
they were loafers. He d have his loafers in his hand. He d have his fancy little whatever
you call that thing that men wear on their Naftali: Okay. You mean the triangle like
Barden: Like where you put a handkerchief. Naftali: Yes, handkerchief. Barden: And that
would match That would be a gaudily colored pattern that would match the inside of his
jacket. And I don't remember particularly if his socks were Naftali: And his stocking
feet. Barden: Yes. Often! Often! But he was dear. He was always so nice and friendly and
funny. We had a birthday party for him. I think his birthday was in June. In the library.
I think it was in the library. Big cake, and everybody was there. And he was a great gentleman.
And then Bill Weld was very friendly and very nice. And I honestly don t remember who the
other people were in the minority. They did have an area of their own, which was sort
of across the hall from John s office, I think, if I remember right. But they were very much
integrated into the work that was being done. There was no feeling of us and them at all.
And that is, you know, a hats-off tribute to John and Bert Jenner and Mr. Hutchinson
to some degree I guess, as well as Rodino. I mean, it really was m making this sound
very utopian and I'm sure that there were issues that never came to my attention because
of the nature of the job I had. But the sense of the place was we have work to do; we re
gonna do it, and we re gonna do it fairly, and we re gonna to do it well, and we re not
gonna waste time squabbling. From my point of view. Now, that was a unique point of view.
And my job was surely to serve everyone, and there was never any distinction made at all
between... Whatever anybody wanted they got. Naftali: Did members of the congressional
staffs ever come to the library and use the library? Barden: No. The only person We had
dealings with Janet Howard, who was an administrative person. Very nice, very cooperative, very
essential to keep things moving. But no. To my memory and I think I would remember we
never saw anybody. I don t know if Jerry Zeitman ever came. I just don t remember that ever
happening. Naftali: I was just wondering if the members themselves, you know, used the
library. Barden: I don't remember that ever happening, no. Neither one. If they did they
would be on the sign-in sheets. But it was pretty much just us. Naftali: Before the Committee
interviewed and they did nine interviews, I think did you put together briefing books
for the lawyers? Barden: I don't remember doing that. I don't remember. We might have.
If we did it was the work of the researcher assigned to that section, together with the
lawyer assigned. And I m sure we used the green or the blue cards rather. No, the green
cards, filed chronologically by person. I m sure we used them in whatever we did but
I just don t have a specific recollection. Naftali: Something that the viewer will find
it hard to understand but you understood at the time, you didn t know how the process
would end. Barden: Naftali: So once the Committee voted and approved three articles Barden:
Right. Naftali: Of impeachment, what did you think was going to happen next for the library?
What did you think you would be doing? Barden: Well, I thought we would be doing more or
less what we had already... Well, I thought we would be preparing background material
for every witness called by the government and every or called by whoever it would be.
That s a slip of the tongue of a former Assistant US Attorney. But called by Naftali: The House
really. Barden: The Committee. Naftali: Yeah. Barden: And then preparing, you know, material
for cross-examination. So I thought it was going to be very similar to what we d been
doing already but just slicing and dicing everything in a different order. Naftali:
And did you have a chance to speak to anyone from the Senate about ? Because, of course,
the Senate if the President had not resigned he would have been tried by the Senate. Barden:
Yes. Naftali: If the House had approved the Committee s three articles - Barden: Right.
Naftali: And that s one of the three articles it would have moved to the Senate and the
President would have been put on trial in the Senate. Barden: Right. Naftali: Presumably
the Senate would have had to collect information. Barden: Right. Gear up. Naftali: Gear up.
Were there any preliminary discussions that you d participated in with the Senate? Barden:
No. Not that I was part of. I don t know whether John was talking to anybody. I don't know.
It happened so fast. I guess they would have had to schedule the trial, and presumably
we would have had a little lead-up time to get to it. But there were Hillary worked on
the constitutional And John Labovitz, who was a Washington lawyer, worked on the constitutional
and the impeachment precedents. And they may have done some work figuring out exactly how
this was gonna go. Or somebody did. It did not involve us. Naftali: Are you talking about
the document that was done in February? Barden: Yeah. Well, they did that but then they Naftali:
They did the one in February. Barden: I think they also studied the Johnson You know, the
precedent that existed. And maybe there was some talk there about nuts and bolts and what
we were gonna do. But I was not involved in it. Naftali: To study the Johnson - we re
talking about the Andrew Johnson impeachment - did you have to borrow materials from the
library of Congress? Barden: If we did I wasn t involved. I don't remember being involved
in that. That material I don t think that whatever they got was kept in the library.
If it was I had nothing to do with it. And they didn t have a researcher either, to my
knowledge. We were really working more on the facts than on the Naftali: When you say
they you mean John Labovitz and Barden: John and Naftali: And Hillary Rodham - then Hillary
Rodham. Barden: Yes. And they probably had some other people working with them on that
but I m not sure who it was. We called it Constitutional and Legal C & L is what that
was referred to as. And that kind of went... And I think maybe Joe Woods was involved in
that as well; was supervising that. But it was not we were not Because it was more It
wasn t quote proactive . It really was much more legal analysis of existing materials
that were not in any way sensitive or So that was a separate project. Naftali: Judge Sack
told me about a meeting of the entire staff. How often did Barden: I think it was every
Thursday. Naftali: The entire staff? Barden: No. I guess I don't even know. Not too often.
Maybe four or five times. Naftali: Because it would happen in the library, he said. Barden:
Yes. It would happen in the library. John was very big on He thought those Thursday
meetings were important to keep everybody focused. And I guess, you know, when you re
running the show it s good and camaraderie and so on. But then as far as bringing everybody
in, I think those things happened when there was a big event. So I m quite sure he did
it after we finished the presentation of evidence, because he wanted to thank everyone. And that
was such a team effort that everybody would have been involved in that one. And, of course,
there was one after the President resigned. That was huge. And I m sure there were a couple
of others. Naftali: Could you tell us about that one, please? Barden: Pardon? Naftali:
Could you tell us about the one after the President resigned? Barden: Well, I just remember
You know, we were all stunned. There was this feeling this adrenalin outflow. And it was
very subdued. I mean, it certainly wasn people weren t jumping up and down or anything like
that. Far from it. It was that same decorous spirit imbued that meeting as well. And, you
know, truth be told we were sad, because we were geared up to do this next thing and we
were a lean and mean fighting machine by then. And so it was sad. You know, we realized we
were coming to an end of an experience that had been wonderful for all of us. So we were
trying to take all that in. You know, it had as much effect on us personally, I think,
as it did on our realization that the country was, you know, setting off on a different
course. They got us into I certainly have a ticket and I think everybody who wanted
to go was able to go to the swearing-in of President Ford, which was pretty exciting.
But it was a somber occasion, in my memory. Naftali: What did this experience teach you
about our system of government? Barden: Well, I was so heartened in both cases really Attica
too because Rockefeller appointed that panel and that panel, including Walter Rothchild,
came back and criticized Rockefeller, and that was big. And again, a tribute to Bob
McKay, I think, who was the head of it. Here the same... I mean, I think we all felt just so proud of what had happened and that
it had been done the right way. And that we had a government which you know, the pressure
Nixon had done really bad things and the pressure just kept getting ramped up and ramped up.
And, you know, putting one foot in front of the other and not taking no for an answer,
and having the judicial system and the executive branch and the legislature all working together
toward this goal. It was really Really, Tim, I don't think I mean, I m a true believer.
And that experience was critical to that. And I think we all came away feeling that
way. It was almost a holy feeling about having been part of something that was so fine. And,
you know, I think that is a story to tell now. And I have this crystal- because things
are so contentious and difficult. Not that there weren t difficult moments there. I m
sure there were. I personally wasn t privy to them but I m sure people will tell you
of those. But people there was a commitment to the process. And I think we all saw ourselves
- and I think John brought this to it - we saw ourselves as servants of that process
and as obligated to do the best by that process, you know. As really having a trust. And in
1994, I believe, John had a dinner in New York for Bernie Nussbaum after he left his
role as White House Counsel. And it was a huge dinner. There must have been fifty people
there. I think it was one of those fancy clubs in New York. Cosmopolitan Club or one of those.
And John has a system at dinners where s old-fashioned. The women stay put and the men move every
course. So you get to talk to different people throughout the dinner. And Bernie was there
with his then wife, Toby, who died about ten years ago, I think. And she had stayed in
Scarsdale during impeachment with their children. But she and Bernie were extremely tight and
she was part of the process. And I remember her saying, I think to the whole table but
certainly to me, It could never have happened What happened in 1974 could never have happened
in today s Washington. But that was 94 and we re almost twenty years beyond that. So,
you know, it makes me sad. I don t know what I also remember John saying at the end of
the Inquiry that he thought that one of the most exciting places to be at that time would
have been as a member of the House of Representatives, going forward. Because, you know, there was
all that reform zeal that came in there and we were all pumped up on it. You know, it
was just it was a wonderful time. And it would be very interesting to sit down and think
about what s happened since then. Naftali: I want to ask you. You were working with and
you were young at the time too you were working with some of the youngest members of the Committee
staff. Barden: Yeah. Naftali: To what extent had Vietnam shaped them? I mean, if you ve
gotta put people into a per cent Barden: Right. Seventy Naftali: Seventy-four. The draft s
over. The demonstrations are over. But they only happened a few years earlier. In fact
some of them had participated, no doubt. I mean, this was a very political moment in
our country s history. What do you remember of ? I mean, did you get to know them and
their backgrounds and what they thought? Were some of them veterans? Barden: John Peterson
had been in Vietnam. He never talked about it. The rest We were an idealistic bunch and
I venture to say we still are. But, sure, we were all children of the sixties. I mean,
we had been d certainly been to Washington numerous times demonstrating and I m sure
some of the others had as well. I think the Vietnam experience the triumph of our generation
in, as we saw it, forcing us out of Vietnam Well, there was probably a little bit of hubris
involved there but certainly we saw ourselves that way. I think that spirit carried into
everything we did. We felt powerful. We felt like we could make a difference. And I think
to that extent it was there as the legacy of the sixties and the Vietnam era, but it
wasn t any more concrete than that. I don t think there were that many veterans on the
staff. There may have been some of the lawyers but I just don t know. Naftali: Because you
tried to have a balance of You wanted, I mean, Republicans and Democrats Not that being serving
in Vietnam in that era was a litmus test at all. But when you were recruiting for the
library how you did maintain a balance? Or did you? Barden: No, we didn t. We really
didn t. I mean, we took We were looking for people who we thought would work hard and
work well with other people and not have So we didn t want anybody who was such a strong
personality or - although we had some strong personalities in there - but it was a quick
process and it was a somewhat I can t remember other than Liz. And I had forgotten that she
had come our way via Sam Garrison. I really did forget that. As far as the others, I know
what some of their politics are. I don't know all of them and I don't even think it ever
came up in the conversation. Naftali: Did your sense of the Nixon administration evolve
as the material came in? And if so, what do you remember? Because I asked Judge Sack this
question. He had an a-ha moment. Barden: Well, no. For me, no. I mean, I read the papers
every day. I lived in New York City. And I was at a dinner party the night of the Saturday
Night Massacre, where this news came in and everyway was I lived in New York at the time.
Everybody was stunned and shocked. So we were all on the edges on our chair all the time
over this. And President Nixon was not a favorite of the people of my generation. So it really
was I guess I would have to say that I wasn t capable of having an a-ha moment in those
months because I was just trying to stay awake and make sure that we d got done what we needed
to do. For some of the lawyers perhaps there will be. Getting to read the speeches that
were drafted for the Chairman, and some of that, you know, put things together a made
you say Wow, this is really happening. But other than that, no. Naftali: Some of your
colleagues have commented that the friendships that developed were so strong amongst this
group because of the enforced silence. Could you talk a little bit about the effect of
Mr. Doar s commitment to secrecy; the effect that that had on making you closer and tighter
as a group. Barden: Well, it absolutely did. I mean, there s funny quotes that we put in
the scrapbook of, you know, somebody who was dating Larry Keeves saying, s the most boring
person the world. All he does is work and he can t talk about anything else. You know,
he can t talk about that and he can t talk about anything else. And there was a headline:
Tight lips are a mark on Judiciary Committee staff . And there s a picture of John, who
has a very tight lip-line anyway. Bob Sack, who was kind of the He had a lot of to do
with the spirit of the place. He s a very loving person who enjoys other people a great
deal. And he said once that he thought another part of the reason we were so close is that
it was a self-selected group. Because how many people do you have in the world who will
just drop whatever they re doing? I mean, these men were young men building law practices
and families. Drop whatever they re doing and go to Washington. How many of them have
spouses who are going to let them do that? How many So in that it was a self-selected
group. And then the fact not only I think as much as the secrecy was we never did anything
else. See, for me, I came from New York. I knew nobody. My whole peer group was the people
who were there. That was true for Bob, for Evan, for Bernie. I mean, they may have had
a friend here or there but they moved in there from elsewhere. Dick Gill. So we were each
other s peer group right from the beginning. And there s an interesting Mike Conway, a
wonderful lawyer from Chicago. His wife came, and his children, and she s quoted in an article
that was published after the Inquiry as saying, He would never tell me a thing. He said, Just
don t ask me anything because I m not gonna tell you. I know you would slip and tell somebody
something. And so I think it definitely drove us closer together and it s one of those things
that it s gotta be an ironclad rule or on the other side is perdition. Because once
you start where do you stop, you know? So I think that was part of it. But I think there
were a lot of The geography of the place made us closer. The nature of the work made us
closer. I mean, just such a group of delightful people that, you know, you ve got that going
for you right from the beginning anyway if you think about it. Naftali: Did you have
parties? Barden: Did I have Naftali: Parties at the time. Barden: No, not til the end.
I mean, we had a birthday party for Mr. Jenner. I guess we had a coffee machine in a central
place, and so you d kind of congregate around the coffee machine. I don't remember a lot
of parties though. John would take Barbara Campbell was somebody who grew up in his hometown.
He was like a surrogate parent to her in some ways. And so how would take us out to dinner
sometimes, but other than that we just worked. That s all we did. We worked. Naftali: You
mentioned a scrapbook. Barden: Yes, we made a scrapbook at the end. If there s no copy
in the archives I ll have a copy made for you. It was one of the last things I did and
it s a great book, if I do say so myself. I ll get a copy for you. You would like it.
Naftali: Well, we the library. We d love to have one. Barden: Yeah. Well, John has the
original but I ll get a copy made. It s great fun to go through it. It reminds us of things,
you know. Naftali: Maureen, have we missed any stories you wanna record? Barden: Is that
Naftali: Have we missed any stories that you wanted to record? Barden: Gee, I don't think
so. I think we got lots of stories. It was certainly John used to say to me, In life,
Maureen, you ve got three great parades. And this was a great parade. It really was. And
continues to be, thanks to you. Naftali: Maureen, it s been an honor and a privilege. Thank
you very much. Thank you. Barden: My pleasure. Thank you. Naftali: Thank you. PAGE PAGE Maureen
Barden Oral History Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum PAGE Filename Speakers
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