01x02 - United States vs. Nixon

Episode transcripts for the TV show "The Seventies". Aired: June 2015 to August 2015.*
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"The Seventies" is a documentary series that looks back on this remarkable and controversial decade. The Vietnam w*r, Watergate scandal, music industry, Iran Hostage Crisis, and the rise of foreign and domestic terrorism are just some of the events this series covers.
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01x02 - United States vs. Nixon

Post by bunniefuu »

Did someone put up a lot of money to have the Democratic headquarters infiltrated?

And if so, who and why?

Justice will be pursued no matter who is involved.

Do you have information implicating President Nixon in a cover-up?

I'm sorry, I have no comment.

The President of the United States demanded that the Attorney General f*re the Special Prosecutor.

That is the definition of tyranny.

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.

Well, I am not a crook.

I don't think there was ever any discussion that there wouldn't be a cover-up.

Congress must move ahead with impeachment proceedings.

There can be no whitewash at the White House.

I think what we have to do is to feel it out.

We're going to have to find out what the mood is.

In 1972, Richard Nixon is very much at the top of his game, and is in a position to achieve his goal of being the greatest President in American history.

The comments before about Mao...

He had desegregated all the Southern schools.

He had ended the draft. He created the E.P.A., the Cancer Institute.

And he had the greatest arms control agreement in American history.

Not a bad record, and the American people thought so.

Air Force One, the Spirit of '76, has just landed at Peking International Airport.

It is a historic moment.

The official beginning of his visit to China.

China was considered almost a different planet.

And the idea that any American President would go to China was considered a fantasy, probably, at best.

In terms of foreign policy, it was sort of a moon landing.

I think one of the results of our trip, we hope, may be the walls that are erected, whether they are physical walls like this, or whether they are other walls of ideology or philosophy, they will not divide peoples of the world.

In Richard Nixon's own mind, this was a script.

It was designed to result in an overwhelming election victory in the November election.

Who do you think you'll vote for for President this year?


Richard Nixon.


Yeah, Nixon.


Is anybody else running but Nixon?

The President was a political animal.

The President was phenomenally skilled.

He was able to handle virtually anything.

Five men wearing white gloves and carrying cameras were caught earlier today in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington.

They were caught by a night watchman and they did not resist arrest when the police came.

They apparently were unarmed and nobody knows yet why they were there.

The film in the camera hadn't even been exposed.

In any case, they're being held.

The Democratic National Committee is housed at the fashionable Watergate Complex.

The break-in apparently planned well in advance.

Files were ransacked and papers removed.

Also in this area, ceiling tiles had been removed for the suspected planting of bugging devices.

It was Saturday morning June 17th. The phone rang, it was about 6:30.

A colleague of my mine, Chuck Work, was on the phone.

He said, "hello, it's Chuck. We have a hot one."

We have a burglary at the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

And most unusual of all, the burglars, five of them, are wearing suits.

The arraignment of the five middle-aged men was slowed down by the fact that each had several aliases.

Four said they were from Miami.

The fifth said he lived in the metropolitan Washington area.

Three were originally from Cuba.

The facts presented so far raise a number of intriguing questions, such as did someone put up a lot of money to have the Democratic headquarters infiltrated?

And if so, who and why?

The President's press secretary said of this incident, "I'm not going to comment from the White House on a third-rate burglary attempt."

"Obviously," he said, "we don't condone that kind of second-rate activity."

When the first reports came about the burglary at the Watergate, I didn't think very much of it.

But more and more facts began to come out.

This is a police photograph of James W. McCord.

McCord is a former CIA employee. Now he runs his own private security service.

And guess what else he is.

A consultant to President Richard Nixon's Re-Election Campaign committee.

McCord and his accomplices, meanwhile, have been charged with second-degree burglary and released on bail.

But I don't think that's the last we're going to hear of this story.

It's one of the most shocking actions, I think, that's happened in this country in a long time.

But I must say that it's the legacy of years of wiretapping, and snooping, and violation of privacy in which the government itself has been too deeply involved.

Both Democrats and Republicans played with pranks, and tricks all the time.

The difference in Watergate was that these people were foolish and they got caught.

No one in the White House staff, no one in this administration was involved in this very bizarre incident.

Nixon said this is being investigated by the Congress, by the FBI.

But even more importantly, I've had my own White House counsel, John Dean, conduct an investigation, and he's reported to me that nobody presently employed in this administration had anything to do with this.

Well, this is the first I heard of my investigation.

And my reaction is, "wow."

Seven people were indicted today, the five who were caught by the police, along with two others, G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.

I had never met Liddy, nor had I met Howard Hunt.

I didn't know who they were when I was in the White House, but when the break-in occurred I said, "oh, no," because I knew at once, instinctively, it was our guys.

G. Gordon Liddy, finance counsel to the Nixon Campaign Organization.

Ex-FBI, ex-treasury, ex-justice, ex-White House consultant.

And E. Howard Hunt, Jr.

Ex-CIA, ex-Bay of Pigs planner, ex-White House consultant.

They thought they were James Bond. We didn't think they measured up.

It was closer to the typical g*ng that couldn't sh**t straight.

Prosecutor Earl Silbert read the names of 60 government witnesses.

The list included only one low-ranking White House lawyer and several former employees of the Committee to Re-Elect the President.

If you don't know Richard Nixon's psychology, if you don't know his background, you could never understand why the White House reacted to Watergate the way it does.

From day one, there was a great sense that we were under siege.

And we were not deceiving ourselves that the press did not like us.

Both houses of Congress did not like Nixon.

That is the truth. And the question is how you deal with it.

He tries to build a little like mafioso group out of the Oval Office.

People like Haldeman and Ehrlichman.

Guys that will take the b*llet for you. Pure loyalty. They fell under his spell.

President Nixon created what you'd have to call a paranoid atmosphere in the White House.

You're supposed to get your enemies.

They took it literally.

If the President says you've got to go get our enemies, well, we've got to go get our enemies.

Nixon, he did not know that they were doing the break-in.

But once it happened, he was convinced they had to engage in a cover-up.

By August 29th, Nixon is deeply involved, to my surprise in all the key elements of the cover-up.

Who do you think gave the orders to bug the Watergate?

Well, the persons whom the grand jury indicted in Washington, D.C. last week gave the orders to do it.

You don't think they were following orders, then?

No, I don't.

There's nobody higher?

There has been no evidence presented that anybody did that.

I think the opposition is disappointed that after such a thorough intensive investigation that seven persons were indicted.

At the time, most of the press was satisfied that the Nixon White House had nothing to do with this Watergate break-in.

I have full confidence in the integrity of President Nixon, and in his determination and ability to resolve the Watergate matter to the full satisfaction of the American people.

Now this is when the Washington Post really distinguished themself from the rest of the press pack.

October '72, the headline said that the Dirty Tricks Operation had been run out of the White House.

That's a pretty good story.

They don't really cr*ck the case.

What the Post does very effectively was they kept the story alive when nobody else was paying any attention to it.

Using innuendo, third person hearsay, unsubstantiated charges, anonymous sources, and huge scare headlines, the Post has maliciously sought to give the appearance of a direct connection between the White House and the Watergate.

A charge which the Post knows, and half a dozen investigations have found, to be false.

Thank you very much.

I want to ask one question.

Fairly early on, we were running into a wall of silence.

We were being stonewalled, that became clear.

None of the seven would talk to us.

The White House was basically paying hush money to keep the Watergate burglars silent.

Hunt is asking for money.

And if the money isn't forthcoming, these people aren't going to remain silent.

Haldeman, Ehrlichman and yours truly were obstructing justice.

But nobody was thinking about the criminal law. We were thinking more about the politics of it all.

All of the burglars stay quiet.

Nobody else is indicted, which is exactly what the White House's strategy was.

The strategy was containment.

If it doesn't get widespread coverage in the country as a whole, then we'll be able to handle this.

This is about the government.

This is about credibility. This is about bugging.

This is about deception. This is about the White House.

And this is how you stop it.

With your vote.

While Senator McGovern is out campaigning tirelessly, trying to get his message across to the people, Mr. Nixon gives the impression of remaining above the campaign.

Sitting in the White House carrying out his Presidential duties, and leaving the hard campaigning to Vice President Agnew.

The fascinating thing about the role of Watergate in the 1972 election is people want to trust the king.

You know, people don't want to believe this about their President.

Pennsylvania, a decisively important state for the Democrats, gone tonight to the Republicans.

Kansas, Connecticut, Texas, Michigan, Delaware, Arkansas and North Dakota. Those are the states that we show for President Nixon.

Four more years!

Four more years!

That was one of the greatest victories any President has ever had, carrying every state except Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

I think that the shadow on his victory is the Watergate affair, and I believe that a great many people very close to the President would like to have him move on that as one of the high priorities of his new administration.

Either have these people exonerated or get them out and persuade the country that the taint is gone, as there is a real taint there.

The jury in the Watergate case reached a quick verdict late today.

Nixon campaign counsel Gordon Liddy and campaign security chief James McCord guilty on all counts in the break-in and bugging of Democratic National Committee headquarters.

Liddy, convicted on six counts, faces a possible 35 years in prison.

McCord, with two more counts against him, a possible 45 years.

They were all found guilty. All of the seven men who were originally indicted.

But one of them starts to cr*ck.

Is your client going to spill the beans on the Watergate affair to the judge?

I've advised Mr. McCord to be guided solely by his own conscience and convictions.

He'll do just that.

McCord isn't so willing to go to prison and not speak up.

He feels higher-ups shouldn't get off Scot-free.

McCord wrote Judge Sirica a letter.

It it, he says other people not yet named were involved in the break-in at Democratic National Headquarters.

McCord says there are efforts being made to keep us quiet.

And there are people responsible who are much higher up than us.

And you're being denied that information.

I think what bothers us as Republicans is that there is apparently so much more to be revealed.

And every day, every week, when something else happens it's one further dagger in the heart.

By and large it was a national consensus.

Listen, the President is saying one thing. The prosecutors are saying another thing.

There are a lot of very serious accusations in the air.

Let's get to the bottom of it.

Senator Sam Irvin of North Carolina was chosen today by Democrats in the Senate to conduct a full investigation of the Watergate case.

Once that Senate committee convenes in February of '73, it's the first time that people were going to have to testify under oath.

This was not good for the President.

I go in on March 21st to see Nixon and I lay out the mess we're in.

Telling him I thought there was a cancer on his presidency.

And my hope is by laying it out as brutally as I can, that he'll bring his fist down on the table and he'll say, "this is unacceptable. We have to end this."

To my surprise, I am unable to convince him.

Dean had been caught up in this, and had done things that really involved him in the obstruction of justice.

And I think they had decided he was going to be the sacrificial lamb.

John Dean was in way over his head.

And then when he realized this ship is going down, he jumped.

This morning, without the President's approval, Dean issued a statement.

In which, among other things, he declared, "some may hope or think that I will become a scapegoat in the Watergate case.

"Anyone who believes this," Dean added, "does not know me, know the true facts, nor understand our system of justice."

Mr. Dean, do you have information implicating President Nixon in a cover-up?

I have no comment this morning. I'm sorry.

We started having secret conversations with John Dean.

He was disclosing this sprawling conspiracy, to put it mildly.

When I broke rank and started dealing with the prosecutors in early April, I had the naive belief that by breaking rank, they would do likewise.

John Dean kept upping the ante. "I want immunity. No? Okay, I'll tell you this."

As we were leaving, I just remember this lawyer said, "John has something to tell you."

And Dean told us this same group had broken in to the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

And as he says it, he says, "your jaw just dropped beneath the floor!"

Right across the street in the park.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg, who had been a defense consultant, decided that the w*r was wrong and so he took this vast volume of secret papers and he leaked it to The New York Times.

I felt that as an American citizen, I can no longer cooperate in concealing this information from the American public.

The Pentagon Papers never mentioned the name Richard Nixon, but its leak drove Richard Nixon nuts.

I think it is time in this country to quit making national heroes out of those who steal secrets and publish them in the newspapers.

This is a product of the President's paranoia about his ability to control his own government.

They actually broke into the psychiatrist's office of Ellsberg.

Now, come on. Somebody's psychiatrist office files are raided by people who were commissioned by the White House?

It's one thing to disclose breaking into the offices of the Democratic National Committee.

It's another to have broken into the offices of a person's psychiatrist.

And the public would really have an adverse reaction to that.

Much more so than the Democratic National Committee headquarters.

I hope that whatever comes out, they get it over with, they find out what it is, and it teaches us some kind of lesson, because this country is coming on to its 200th anniversary, and I want to be proud of it when it does.

And I'm not too proud of it right now.

That's when I went to Nixon and I said get up and clear from this thing.

Whoever's going to have to go ought to go now.

Good evening. The biggest White House scandal in a century, the Watergate scandal, broke wide open today.

The two closest men to the President, H. R. Haldeman, his Chief of Staff, and John Ehrlichman, his Chief Domestic Adviser, have resigned.

The President's White House legal counsel, John Dean, has been fired.

Reportedly Dean is implicated in efforts to cover up the Watergate scandal, and he may implicate Ehrlichman and Haldeman.

Good evening.

I want to talk to you tonight from my heart on a subject of deep concern to every American.

Today, in one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency, I accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates in the White House.

Bob Haldeman, John Ehrlichman.

He thought by throwing out his inner circle, he would be left alone.

He was throwing his people under the bus so the bus wouldn't h*t him.

Justice will be pursued fairly, fully and impartially, no matter who is involved.

Richard Nixon wants to control everything, but he's extraordinarily delusional.

I mean, he really doesn't seem to understand that he's digging himself deeper and deeper into the crime when he's trying to dig himself out.

We must maintain the integrity of the White House.

And that integrity must be real, not transparent.

There can be no whitewash at the White House.

In May of 1973, Earl Silbert is preparing to hand the case over to Archie Cox.

And he says there are 39 principals involved in this case.

This is number 39, Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States.

What if this trail leads into the Oval Office at the White House?

Well, as I replied then, the trail should be followed wherever it leads.

Watergate Senate hearings.
Good morning. This is the Senate caucus room in Washington, D.C.

And it's jammed this morning. Jammed with spectators.

News men, senators and their aides. And the scene adds to the sense of drama as the Senate opens what is likely to become the most serious investigation it has ever made.

I was glued to the hearings like everybody else.

I was watching my friends go up there and testify, and trying to understand what happened.

I think there was no question that the cover-up began that Saturday, when we realized there was a break-in.

I don't think there was any discussion that there wouldn't be a cover-up.

The President said there is no problem in raising a million dollars.

We can do that, but it would be wrong.

Neither Mr. Haldeman nor I were criminally involved in this matter in any respect.

People are seeing this underside of the White House.

This kind of Gothic reality that they never dreamed existed.

Men in trench coats showing up at phone booths with bags of money.

It comes from way up at the top?

Yes, sir.

I believed that he was talking about the President.

Good morning.

Although this is not ABC's scheduled day to provide live continuous coverage, we are going on now with the hearings because the witness will be John Dean, the 34-year-old lawyer who one year ago was just another anonymous official in the White House, but who today is a very well-known figure indeed.

The truth, so help you god?

I do, so help me god.

If people knew one thing about John Dean, he was the guy that knew what was going on in Watergate.

So when it was announced he was going to testify, people really thought that this was the moment the thing was going to blow wide open.

I told the President about the fact there was no money to pay these individuals to meet their demands.

He asked me how much it would cost.

I told him I could only make an estimate that it might be as high as a million dollars or more.

He told me that was no problem.

He also looked over at Haldeman and repeated the same statement.

This was the first time that a White House staffer had ever contradicted, with criminal consequences, contradict the President on live television.

There was also maintained what was called an "enemies list," which is rather extensive and continually being updated.

The idea that the White House draws up a list of enemies and is prepared to use the agencies of government...

This very, very serious scary stuff.

John Dean talked about a list of enemies that was compiled at the White House.

Number 1, Arnold Picker of United Artists, described as a "top Muskie fundraiser."

Second, Alexander Barkan...

Once the enemies list was revealed, Daniel Schorr, a CBS news correspondent, is reading off this, and he reads his own name.

17, Daniel Schorr of the Columbia Broadcasting System in Washington.

The note here is, "a real media enemy."

I remember thinking at the time, what is going on?

Is this really believable?

You're fully aware, Mr. Dean, of the gravity of the charges you have made under oath against the highest official of our land, the President of the United States?

Yes, I am.

And being so aware, do you still stand on your statement?

Yes, I do.

When I'm finishing my testimony for the Senate, I read it and I said, "you know, it's my word against Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Mitchell and the President.

Those of us who've been attending these sessions would surmise that there is another witness someplace in the building.

A witness will be called, and as to who it will be, I think we're just going to have to wait and see.

Butterfield, are you aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the President?

I was aware of listening devices, yes, sir.

When he answered yes, everybody in America just froze.

Like, "uh-oh. Tapes? What tapes?"

As far as you know, did Mr. Ehrlichman or Mr. Dean know about the existence or the presence of those devices?

That would be very unlikely. My guess is that they definitely did not know.

From that day forward, the story of Watergate takes on a whole different complexion.

And the happiest man in America at that moment is John Dean.

What would be the best way to reconstruct those conversations, Mr. Butterfield?

Well, in the obvious manner, Mr. Dash.

To obtain the tape and play it.

Slowly, this smile comes over my face.

I said, "get those tapes as fast as you can."

Before they disappear.

This afternoon I received from the White House a letter declining to furnish the eight requested tapes.

Careful study before requesting the tapes convinced me that any blanket claim of privilege to withhold this evidence from the grand jury is without legal foundation.

Nixon had a legitimate argument that Congress shouldn't be able to delve into the private discussions of the President in the White House.

That's a legitimate constitutional argument.

But to invoke executive privilege to cover up cover up a third-rate burglary was suspect.

Now both the Senate Watergate Committee and Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox are taking the White House to court in an effort to gain access to those tapes.

As the weeks have gone by, many have urged that in order to help prove the truth of what I have said, I should turn over to the Special Prosecutor and the Senate Committee recordings of conversations that I held in my office or on my telephone.

However, a much more important principle is involved in this question than what the tapes might prove about Watergate.

He gathers his legal team, his advisers, and a number of them say, "Mr. President, if you destroy these tapes "it's an admission of guilt. And also, theoretically, it could be obstruction of justice."

He felt it would suggest he was implicated in Watergate and he had something to hide if he refused to give them up and destroyed them.

And that's probably true, but he still should have done it.

The President gets contradictory advice, and he the moment passes. He doesn't destroy the tapes.

So he fights not to release the tapes.

Judge Sirica says the evidence is not yet conclusive as to why the President hasn't fully complied with subpoenas for those tapes, and that there is a distinct possibility of unlawful conduct.

What he is doing is kind of depersonalizing it all.

In saying, "if I release these, it will do irreparable damage to the office of the presidency."

Well, for one thing, the President still has not said, at any time, "listen, John John Dean is lying and I have the tapes to prove it."

Well, maybe there is more on those tapes than the President would have us believe.

After hard deliberation and much prayer, I concluded several days ago, that the public interests and the interests of those who mean the most to me would best be served by my stepping down.

There is evidence which shows that Agnew was taking political kickbacks, not only while governor of Maryland, but also while he was Vice President.

What is your reaction to the resignation of Vice President Agnew, just announced?

I said, "uh, who?"

Agnew, just, I don't know too much about him. But Nixon stinks.

There were developments at the White House today that indicate some kind of major decision is near on the constitutional issue of the White House tapes.

Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, he wanted the tapes. He wanted the tapes themselves.

And there's an impasse.

Yesterday Mr. Nixon ordered Cox to stop going to court to try and gain access to the tapes.

Today Cox held a news conference that said in effect that since the President was defying the court, he was going to defy the President.

Last night we were told that the court order would not be obeyed.

That the papers, memoranda, documents of that kind would not be provided at all.

Archibald Cox let the President have it.

He said this is obstruction of justice and that was the turning point.

There was a limousine on the west side driveway of the White House this afternoon, with the number 77. It turned out to be Eliot Richardson's limousine.

And when reporters spotted him leaving the White House, they knew that some sort of denouement was in progress.

General reaction to the developments today?

Well, there'll be an announcement out of the White House later on. I can't say now.

There will be? Does it have to do with the resignation of the Attorney General?

Well, it might.

In breathtaking succession tonight, the following historic events occurred.

The President of the United States demanded the Attorney General f*re Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox.

The Attorney General, Elliot Richardson, refused and resigned.

The President then ordered the assistant Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus, to f*re the Special Prosecutor. Ruckelshaus refused.

The President immediately fired Ruckelshaus.

Solicitor General Robert Bourke quickly was named acting Attorney General.

Bourke was ordered to f*re Special Prosecutor Cox.

He did.

It was unbelievable. Literally unbelievable, except that it was real.

You kept thinking that couldn't be, you know. But it was.

I can make no further comment now, other than that our offices have been sealed by the FBI.

How could you possibly bring this man to justice if it was within his power to call the investigation to a close?

Please, everyone. No one is allowed in.

Basically the President has seized full control of the Special Prosecutor's office, and is in full possession of potentially incriminating evidence that could lead to the conviction of his closest associates and to his conviction.

And that is the definition of tyranny.

There could be no doubt this was a constitutional crisis.

This was a President trying to stand above the law.

And I remember thinking at the time, the country's not going to stand for this.

I think it's amazing that the country is not already fighting in the streets.

He's divided the country that much.

Events of the past few days leave us little choice but to move ahead with preparation for impeachment proceedings.

Do you think the President should be impeached?

Yes, sir, I do.


I can't trust him.

At the time, the idea of impeaching the President was a pretty radical idea.

It hadn't happened in over a century.

Impeachment does not mean removing the President from office.

It does mean putting the President on trial in the Senate to determine his fitness to continue in office.

The whole country is going bananas over this.

I went by a Howard Johnsons today. You know what the flavor of the month is?



What is it about the television coverage of you that has so aroused your anger?

They say that one can only be angry with those he respects.

He obviously was having some sort of mental breakdown.

It became clear that there was something very wrong with Nixon.

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook.

Well I am not a crook.

An awful lot of people want the President to resign.

They really don't want to put the country through an impeachment drama.

So they want to create an atmosphere that essentially forces his hand.

The Senate Watergate Committee named a new Special Prosecutor.

Conservative Texas Democrat Leon Jaworski.

Whatever I conceive to be necessary in order to perform my function properly, I'm going to ask for it.

And if I don't receive it, I'm going to proceed to undertake to get it.

Jaworski comes to Washington, is presented with all the evidence.

Couple days later he goes off to the White House and he says, "I think the President has to get a criminal lawyer."

I think it's not excessive to say that we've been put through too much.

Either the Congress or the President by his own patriotic decision should relieve the nation of a burden that's grown too heavy to carry any longer.

The effect of this was a huge dip in public support for Richard Nixon.

But the White House thought that it could solve the tapes problem by producing transcripts.

The idea that he's going to release these transcripts...

Richard Nixon thinks that he's finally going to be able to cauterize the wound.

From the text, quote Dean, "I think there's no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we've got.

We have a cancer from within, close to the presidency, that is growing."

The tapes show that the President is involved at the times that Dean said he was.

It shows that Dean's memory is prodigious.

Dean: I would say that these people are going to cost a million dollars over the next two years.

The President: You could get a million dollars. You could get it in cash. I know where it could be got.

Now, when individuals read the entire transcript they may reach different interpretations.

But I know what I meant and I know also what I did.

Richard Nixon's problem is they keep on subpoenaing more and more tapes.

He says he's not going to give them up unless the Supreme Court demands him to.

The Supreme Court today heard arguments in the historic case of the United States of America versus Richard Nixon, President of the United States.

The television camera saw the two main players in this classic confrontation arrive.

First, James St. Clair, President Nixon's attorney.

Then, Leon Jaworski, the Special Watergate Prosecutor, to argue his case against the President's refusal to surrender 64 tapes and documents.

It is a strange notion that the President of the United States is the defendant and the government of the United States is the prosecutor.

Jaworski was even cheered by some in the crowd as he entered the Supreme Court building.

Much as a Roman gladiator entering the arena to do battle.

It was a product of this peculiar moment when the U.S. government had to test the constitution to find out what limits there were on Presidential power.

If it came down to the Supreme Court of the United States making a decision against the President, would he obey or would he put himself in a confrontation with the Supreme Court?

I don't know of anyone here or at the White House or anywhere else who knows the answer to that.

It would be hard to imagine a more memorable day in the history of constitutional law than this one.

At 11:00 A.M., the Supreme Court tells the President he was wrong to withhold those tapes.

At 7:00 P.M., the President announces that, of course, he will obey.

At 8:00 P.M., the House Judiciary Committee opens its doors to the national television audience for its final impeachment debate.

Now, the American people, the House of Representatives, and the Constitution demand that we make up our mind.

All those in favor, signify by saying aye.

All those opposed, no.

Mr. Donahue.


Mr. Bruce.


Mr. Kastenmeier.


It was a Saturday night, and it was sort of near sundown when they voted the first article of impeachment.

And the room was quiet.

Mr. Rodino.


Peter Rodino went in the back and cried.

We took it very seriously.

And with that vote, Mr. Nixon became the first President in more than a century, and only the second in all of our history, to confront removal from office through the only means provided in the Constitution...


I stood by Nixon and felt that he should remain in office.

But then we discovered the tape of June 23rd. This was fatal.

Good evening. President Nixon stunned the country today by admitting that he held back evidence from the House Judiciary Committee, keeping it a secret from his lawyers and not disclosing it in public statements.

Mr. Nixon issued transcripts of three recorded conversations he had with H. R. Haldeman on June 23, 1972.

Six days after the burglars were caught in the Watergate.

The facts came out. Yes, the President himself not only was he involved in this, but he directed this criminal operation.

The problem with that tape was not that it implicated Nixon so much in the Watergate thing as in it contradicted what had said. He had not told the country the truth.

The news has caused a storm in Washington, and some of Mr. Nixon's most loyal supporters are calling for his resignation.

I'm aware of the intense interest of the American people concerning developments today and over the last few days.

Tonight at 9:00, Eastern daylight time, the President the United States will address the nation on radio and television from his Oval Office.

As you probably can see behind us, we have a large number of people who have been standing by to watch the various television networks.

Most here out of curiosity and concern.

Only the CBS crew now is going to be in this room during this. Only the crew.

No, there will be no picture.

Just a few moments. We have 40 seconds to go now.

The President has taken his place at the table in the White House where he's going to speak.

Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shape the history of this nation.

Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me.

But as President, I must put the interests of America first.

Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow.

Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.

When you weigh what happened against the potential of President Nixon, this is almost the dictionary definition of tragedy.

By taking this action, I hope that I will have hastened the start of that process of healing, which is so desperately needed in America.

Good morning, this is Today in Washington, Friday, August 9th.

The nation awaits the swearing in at noon Eastern time of our 38th President, Gerald Ford.

And the departure from political life of Richard M. Nixon.

He and his family are expected to leave by air for their home in California later this morning.

And we expect to see their departure from the White House.

In departing the presidency, Richard Nixon is leaving us with one notable legacy.

Proof that the American system does work.

That there is equal justice under the law and that public office must always be regarded as a public trust.

I walked out to the helicopter where the old man gave the double V.

Putting the best face on the worst moment of his life.

Trying to show that he was not broken.

And so I'd go in the helicopter and take off for the last time.

It was over.

We think that when we suffer a defeat, that all is ended. Not true.

Because only if you've been in the deepest valley can you ever know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain.

And so I say to you on this occasion, others may hate you.

But those who hate you don't win unless you hate them.

And then you destroy yourself.
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