JOHN EHRLICHMAN Biography - Polititians


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Name: John Daniel Ehrlichman                                                               
Born: 20 March 1925                                                                         
Died: 14 February 1999                                                                     
John Daniel Ehrlichman (March 20, 1925 – February 14, 1999) was counsel and               
Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs under President Richard Nixon.             
He was a key figure in events leading to the Watergate first break-in and the               
ensuing Watergate scandal, for which he was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction           
of justice and perjury. He served a year and a half in prison for his crimes.               
Born in Tacoma, Washington, Ehrlichman was an Eagle Scout and recipient of the             
Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. In World War II, Ehrlichman won the                       
Distinguished Flying Cross as a lead B-17 navigator in the Eighth Air Force.               
After the war, he enrolled in UCLA, graduating in 1948. After graduating from               
Stanford Law School in 1951, he joined a Seattle law firm, becoming a partner,             
where he remained until 1968 when he entered politics full-time. He was a devout           
Christian Scientist.                                                                       
Ehrlichman worked on Nixon's 1960 presidential campaign, 1962 California                   
gubernatorial campaign and was an advance man for Nixon's 1968 presidential                 
Following Nixon's victory, Ehrlichman became the White House Counsel (later                 
replaced by John Dean). He held this post for about a year before he became the             
Chief Domestic Advisor for Nixon. It was then that he became a member of the               
inner circle of Nixon's closest advisors. He and close friend, H. R. Haldeman,             
whom he met at UCLA, were referred to jointly as "The Berlin Wall" by White                 
House staffers because of their German last names and their penchant for                   
isolating Nixon from other advisors and anyone seeking an audience with him.               
Ehrlichman created "The Plumbers", the group at the center of the Watergate                 
scandal, and appointed his assistant Egil Krogh to oversee its covert operations,           
focusing on stopping leaks of confidential information after the release of The             
Pentagon Papers in 1971.                                                                   
After the start of the Watergate investigations in 1972, Ehrlichman lobbied for             
an intentional delay in the embattled confirmation of L. Patrick Gray as                   
Director of the F.B.I.. He argued that the confirmation hearings were deflecting           
media attention from Watergate and that it would be better for Gray to be left "twisting,   
slowly, slowly in the wind." The quote served as the embodiment of one of                   
Ehrlichman's main functions during his years in the White House, to seek and               
destroy Nixon's enemies at virtually any cost, a function that would overshadow             
his domestic efforts in a White House consumed with foreign policy.                         
White House Counsel John Dean cited the "Berlin Wall" of Ehrlichman and Haldeman           
as one of the reasons for his growing sense of alienation in the White House.               
This alienation led him to believe he was to become the Watergate scapegoat and             
then to eventually cooperate with Watergate prosecutors. After Dean's testimony             
before the Senate Watergate Committee Nixon fired Dean and demanded the                     
resignations of both Ehrlichman and Haldeman on April 30, 1973. Both men                   
Ehrlichman was convicted of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, perjury and                 
other charges on January 1, 1975 (along with John N. Mitchell and Haldeman). All           
three men were initially sentenced to between two and a half and eight years in             
prison. In 1977, the sentences were commuted to one to four years. Unlike his co-defendants,
Ehrlichman voluntarily entered prison before his appeals were exhausted. He was             
released from a Stafford, Arizona prison in 1978 after serving a total of 18               
Following his release from prison, Ehrlichman held a number of jobs, first for a           
quality control firm, then writer, artist and commentator. Ehrlichman wrote                 
several novels and served as the executive vice president of an Atlanta                     
hazardous materials firm. In a 1981 interview, Ehrlichman referred to Nixon as "a           
very pathetic figure in American history." His experiences in the Nixon                     
administration were published in his 1982 book, Witness To Power. The book                 
portrays Nixon in a very negative light and is considered to be the culmination             
of his frustration at not being pardoned by Nixon prior to his own resignation.             
Shortly before his death, Ehrlichman teamed with novelist Tom Clancy to write,             
produce, and co-host a three hour Watergate documentary, John Ehrlichman: In the           
Eye of the Storm. The finished, but never broadcast, documentary, associated               
papers, and videotape elements (including an interview Ehrlichman did with Bob             
Woodward as part of the project) is housed at the Richard B. Russell Library for           
Political Research and Studies, at the University of Georgia in Athens.                     
Ehrlichman died of complications from diabetes in Atlanta in 1999 after                     
discontinuing dialysis treatments.