by Robert Morrow
Received June 6, 2013 and posted June 10, 2013
On the night of New Year’s Eve Dec. 31st, 1963, at the Driskell Hotel, Lyndon Johnson and Madeleine Brown, one of his longtime mistresses, had an interesting conversation. Madeleine asked LBJ if he had anything to do with the JFK assassination. Johnson got angry; he began pacing around and waving his arms. Then LBJ told her: it was Dallas, TX, oil executives and “renegade” intelligence agents who were behind the JFK assassination. LBJ later also told his chief of staff Marvin Watson that the CIA was involved in the murder of John Kennedy.
Lyndon Johnson would often stay at the Driskill (room #254 today) and LBJ is confirmed by his presidential schedule as being present at the Driskill Hotel the night of 12/31/63
History is proving that Lyndon Johnson played a key role in the JFK assassination. An important book is LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination (2011) by Phillip Nelson. Roger Stone, an aide to Richard Nixon, is writing a book pinning the JFK assassination on LBJ. Stone quotes Nixon as saying “Both Johnson and I wanted to be president, but the only difference was I wouldn’t kill for it.”
By 1973 Barry Goldwater privately telling people that he was convinced that LBJ was behind the JFK assassination.
Lyndon Johnson and the Kennedys hated each other. So why was LBJ even put on the 1960 Demo ticket in first place? The old wive’s tale is that it was to balance the ticket and win the electoral votes of Texas. The reality is that JFK was set to pick Sen. Stuart Symington of Missouri and had already had a deal with Symington to be VP that was “signed, sealed & delivered” according to Symington’s campaign manager Clark Clifford. Then something strange happened on the night of July 13, 1960, in Los Angeles. According to Evelyn Lincoln, JFK’s longtime secretary, LBJ and Sam Rayburn were using some of Hoover’s blackmail information on John Kennedy to force JFK to put Johnson on the ticket in a hostile takeover of the vice presidency.
JFK told his friend Hy Raskin, “They threatened me with problems and I don’t need more problems. I’m going to have enough problems with Nixon.”
LBJ & Hoover were very close and literally neighbors for 19 years in Washington, DC, from 1943-1961. Both men were also plugged in socially and professionally to Texas oil executives such as Clint Murchison, Sr, H.L. Hunt and D.H. Byrd.
From that point on, for the next 3 and 1/3 years the Kennedy brothers and LBJ were engaged in a sub rosa war, even though they were ostensibly a political team. On the day of the ’61 inauguration, LBJ protege Bobby Baker told Don Reynolds that JFK would never live out his term and that he would die a violent death.
For his part, Robert Kennedy spent the remainder of JFK’s term trying to figure out a way to get rid of the power-grasping LBJ. The first opportunity to do this was the Billie Sol Estes scandal of 1961. Estes was a cut out for LBJ doing business and had received $500,000 from LBJ (which tells us how important Estes was). LBJ and his aide Cliff Carter manipulated the federal bureaucracy for Estes to ensure that he got exclusive grain storage contracts and numerous other special and highly lucrative favors. Estes says that he funneled Johnson over $10 million in kickbacks.
Henry Marshall was a US agricultural official who was investigating the corruption of Estes, particularly his abuse of a cotton allotment program. In January, 1961, LBJ, Cliff Carter, Estes and LBJ’s personal hit man Malcolm Wallace had a meeting about what to do about Henry Marshall. LBJ said, “It looks like we will just have to get rid of him.”
Side note: the first person I know who accused Lyndon Johnson of committing a murder was Gov. Allan Shivers who in 1956 personally accused LBJ of having Sam Smithwick murdered in prison in 1952. Smithwick was threatening to go public with information about the Box 13 ballot stuffing scandal of 1948 which gave LBJ the margin of victory over Coke Stevenson in the Democratic primary.
Henry Marshall was murdered on June 3, 1961. He was shot to death 5 times with a bolt action gun and his death was astoundingly ruled a suicide at the time. The Marshall murder & cover up shows the depth, breadth and absolute ruthlessness of the LBJ organization. Billie Sol Estes died recently on May 14, 2013.
Historian Douglas Brinkley has said that by 1963 JFK and his vice president LBJ had no relationship at all. That is not correct; in fact a sub rosa war was being waged between the Kennedys and LBJ. It was an adversarial, death struggle relationship.
In the fall of 1963, the Bobby Baker scandal exploded into the national media. Bobby Baker, who as the secretary of the Senate was a virtual son to Lyndon Johnson, was being investigated for a vending machine kick back scam and numerous shady deals. Baker was known for providing booze & women to the senators. LBJ denied any relationship with Baker (who had named two of his kids after LBJ) while at the same time sending his personal lawyer Abe Fortas to run (control) Baker’s defense. Evelyn Lincoln told author Anthony Summers that the Kennedys were going to use the Bobby Baker scandal as the ammunition to get rid of LBJ.
Robert Kennedy had a two-track program to get rid of LBJ. Phil Brennan was in DC at the time: “Bobby Kennedy called five of Washington’s top reporters into his office and told them it was now open season on Lyndon Johnson. It’s OK, he told them, to go after the story they were ignoring out of deference to the administration.” James Wagenvoord, who in 1963 was a 27-year old assistant to LIFE Magazine’s managing editor, says that based on information fed from Robert Kennedy and the Justice Dept., LIFE Magazine had been developing a major newsbreak piece concerning Johnson and Bobby Baker. This expose was set to run within a week of the JFK assassination. LBJ aide George Reedy said that LBJ knew about the RFK-inspired media campaign against him and was obsessed with it.
RFK’s other “get rid of LBJ” program was an investigation by the Senate Rules Committee into LBJ’s kickbacks and other corruptions. Burkett Van Kirk was a counsel for that committee and he told Seymour Hersh that RFK had sent a lawyer to the committee to feed them damaging information about LBJ and his corrupt business dealings. The lawyer, Van Kirk said, “used to come up to the Senate and hang around me like a dark cloud. It took him about a week or ten days to, one, find out what I didn’t know, and two, give it to me.” The goal of the Kennedys was “To get rid of Johnson. To dump him. I am as sure of that the sun comes up in the east,” said Van Kirk to Hersh.
Literally at the very moment JFK was being assassinated in Dallas on 11-22-63, Don Reynolds was testifying in a closed session of the Senate Rules Committee about a suitcase of $100,000 given to LBJ for his role in securing a TFX fighter jet contract for Fort Worth’s General Dynamics.
Three days before the JFK assassination, JFK told Evelyn Lincoln that he was going to get a new running mate for 1964. “I was fascinated by this conversation and wrote it down verbatim in my diary. Now I asked, “Who is your choice as a running-mate.’ He looked straight ahead, and without hesitating he replied, ‘at this time I am thinking about Gov. Terry Sanford of North Carolina. But it will not be Lyndon.’”
At this point I should add that I think the CIA/military intelligence murdered John Kennedy for Cold War reasons, particularly over Cuba policy. The fact that the Kennedys were within days of politically executing & personally destroying Lyndon Johnson could very well have been the tripwire for the JFK assassination.
The Russians immediately suspected that Texas oilmen were involved in the JFK assassination. They and Fidel Castro both feared they were going to be framed for it by US intelligence. By 1965 the KGB had internally determined that Lyndon Johnson was behind the JFK assassination.
Hoover wrote to LBJ about this in a memo that was not declassified by the US government until 1996:
“On September 16, 1965, this same source [an FBI spy in the KGB] reported that the KGB Residency in New York City received instructions approximately September 16, 1965, from KGB headquarters in Moscow to develop all possible information concerning President Lyndon B. Johnson’s character, background, personal friends, family, and from which quarters he derives his support in his position as President of the United States. Our source added that in the instructions from Moscow, it was indicated that “now” the KGB was in possession of data purporting to indicate President Johnson was responsible for the assassination of the late President John F. Kennedy. KGB headquarters indicated that in view of this information, it was necessary for the Soviet Government to know the existing personal relationship between President Johnson and the Kennedy family, particularly between President Johnson and Robert and “Ted” Kennedy.”
Tagline: Robert Morrow, a political researcher and political activist, has an expertise in the JFK assassination. He can be reached at Morrow321@aol.com or 512-306-1510.
1) Brown, Madeleine Duncan. Texas in the Morning: The Love Story of Madeleine Brown and President Lyndon Baines Johnson. Conservatory Press, 1997. Page 189.
2) Schlesinger, Arthur. Robert Kennedy and His Times. Houghton Mifflin Company, 1978. Page 616.
3) Nelson, Phillip. LBJ: The Mastermind of the JFK Assassination. Skyhorse Publishing, 2011.
4) Dickerson, Nancy. Among Those Present: A Reporter’s View of 25 Years in Washington. Random House, 1976. Page 43.
5) Hersh, Seymour. The Dark Side of Camelot. Back Bay Books, 1998. Page 126 and 407.
6) Epstein, Edward Jay. Esquire Magazine. December, 1966.
7) Estes, Billie Sol. Billie Sol Estes: A Texas Legend. BS Productions, 2004. Page 43.
8) Dallek, Robert. Lone Star Rising: Lyndon Johnson and His Times 1908-1960. Oxford Univesity Press USA, 1992. Page 347.
9) Brinkley, Douglas. Speaking on Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2012.
10) Brennan, Phil. “Some Relevant Facts about the JFK Assassination,” NewsMax, 11-19-2003. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2003/11/18/152526.shtml
11) Reedy, George. Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir. Andrews McMeel Publications, 1985.
12) Wagenvoord, James. Email to John Simkin dated 11-3-09. Web link: http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=14966
14) Lincoln, Evelyn. Kennedy and Johnson. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1968. Page 205.
15) Hoover, J. Edgar. Memo to Lyndon Johnson with FBI leadership carbon copied. 12-1-66. Web link: http://www.indiana.edu/~oah/nl/98feb/jfk.html#d1
From Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger (1978):
“In 1967 Marvin Watson of Lyndon Johnson’s White House staff told Cartha DeLoach of the FBI that Johnson “was now convinced there was a plot in connection with the assassination. Watson stated the President felt that CIA had had something to do with this plot.” (Washington Post, December 13, 1977)