I want to emphasize that my sympathy, even empathy, with young Nixon aides did not extend to people at the top who had choices, such as Haldeman and domestic policy adviser John Ehrlichman.
As I watched Michael Cohen on television, I saw somebody whose conduct was inexcusable. As he admitted, he gave Trump his complete loyalty for glory and money. His eyes were open. He also committed serious crimes for his personal benefit, including multiple instances of bank fraud. Even Haldeman and Ehrlichman did not act for personal gain. I welcomed Cohen’s conversion, but could never like or respect him.
Cohen differs from John Dean, who could have saved himself and Nixon if he had lied and testified that the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office building was the work of low-level zealots, like G. Gordon Liddy. No one else tied Dean and his superiors to the cover-up. Dean had decided to tell the truth at great risk to himself before anyone had accused him of anything. In fact, the Senate Watergate Committee had no evidence on Dean when he started cooperating.