Monday, April 19, 1971
Richard Nixon, Richard Kleindienst
White House Telephone


President Nixon: Yeah.

Operator: Mr. [Richard] Kleindienst, Mr. President.

Richard Kleindienst: Hi, Mr. President.

President Nixon: Hi, Dick, how are you?

Kleindienst: Good, how are you, sir?

President Nixon: Fine, fine. I'm going to talk to [Attorney General] John [Mitchell] tomorrow about my general attitude on antitrust.

Kleindienst: Yes, sir.

President Nixon: And in the meantime, I know that he has left with you the IT&T [International Telephone & Telegraph] thing because apparently he says he had something to do with them once.

Kleindienst: [Laughs.] Yeah. Yeah.

President Nixon: Well, I have nothing to do with them, and I want something clearly understood. And if it is not understood, [Assistant Attorney General Richard] McLaren's ass is to be out within one hour. The IT&T thing, stay the hell out of it. Is that clear? That's an order.

Kleindienst: You mean the order is to—

President Nixon: The order is to leave the goddamned thing alone. Now, I've said this, Dick, a number of times, and you fellows apparently don't get the message over there. I do not want McLaren to run around prosecuting people, raising hell about conglomerates, stirring things up at this point. Now you keep him the hell out of that. Is that clear?

Kleindienst: Well, Mr. President—

President Nixon: Or either he resigns. I'd rather have him out anyway. I don't like the son of a bitch.

Kleindienst: The question then is—

President Nixon: The question is, I know, that the jurisdiction—I know all the legal things, Dick. You don't have to spell out the legal—

Kleindienst: [Unclear] of appeal filed.

President Nixon: That's right.

Kleindienst: The brief has to be filed tomorrow.

President Nixon: That's right. Don't file the brief.

Kleindienst: Your order is not to file a brief?

President Nixon: Your—my order is to drop the goddamn thing. Is that clear?

Kleindienst: Yeah, I understand that.

President Nixon: OK.

Kleindienst: [Unclear.]

President Nixon hangs up.


Original tape courtesy of the Nixon Library. This transcript is a working draft. Please let us know if you find important errors.