Tricky Dick

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Transcript Tricky Dick

Tricky Dick
Interview from 1977 (after the Watergate Scandal)
FROST: So what you are saying. . . the president can decide that it's in the best
interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.
NIXON:Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.
FROST:By definition.
NIXON:Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something
because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal
peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president's decision in that
instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a
law. Otherwise they're in an impossible position.
FROST:So, that in other words. . . the dividing line [between right and wrong] is
that in fact, the dividing line [of] the president's judgment?
NIXON: Yes
It has often been said that in the United States we have the rule of law, not
men. What do you think this means?
Does President Nixon's statement that "when the president does it [something
illegal], that means that it is not illegal" support the idea that the United
States has the rule of law, not men? Why or why not?
AN IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY
• EXECUTIVE = MOST
POWERFUL BRANCH OF
U.S. GOV’T DUE TO:
 GREAT DEPRESSION
 WWII
 COLD WAR
• NIXON WANTED TO MAKE
EXEC. BRANCH EVEN
MORE POWERFUL . . . TO
MAKE THE PRESIDENT
LIKE AN “EMPEROR”
• CAUSED TENSION WITH
CONGRESS
AN IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY
• REFUSED TO SPEND $ FOR
PROGRAMS HE OPPOSED
• INVADED CAMBODIA WITHOUT
CONGRESSIONAL APPROVAL
• KEPT AN “ENEMIES LIST”:
– USED THE FBI AND IRS TO HARASS
POLITICAL OPPONENTS
• NIXON’S PERSONALITY WAS:
–
–
–
–
–
–
SHY
INSECURE
ALOOF
SECRETIVE
PARANOID
VINDICTIVE
All the President’s Men
• RELIED ON A SMALL
GROUP OF LOYAL
ADVISORS:
– H.R. HALDEMAN
(WHITE HOUSE- CHIEF
OF STAFF)
– JOHN EHRLICHMAN
(DOMESTIC ADVISOR)
– JOHN MITCHELL
(ATTORNEY GENERAL)
• BELIEVED THEY WERE
ABOVE THE LAW
THE PENTAGON PAPERS
• Internal Govn’t investigation
finding released to newspapersAmong other things, papers
showed:
• LBJ began planning to wage overt war
in 1964, a full year before the depth of
U.S. involvement was publicly revealed
• Johnson ordered the bombing of North
Vietnam in 1965 despite the judgment
of the U.S. intelligence community that
it would not cause the North
Vietnamese to cease their support of
the Viet Cong in South Vietnam.
THE PENTAGON PAPERS
• SHOWED THE GOV’T
LIED ABOUT VIETNAM
• PUBLISHED IN THE NYT
• OBTAINED FROM DANIEL
ELLSBERG (FORMER
DEPT. OF DEFENSE
EMPLOYEE)
• NIXON ADMINISTRATION
ASKS SUPREME COURT
TO BLOCK PUBLICATION
• COURT UPHOLDS NYT’s
FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The “Plumbers”
• “PLUMBERS” = TEAM OF WHITE
HOUSE INVESTIGATORS
CREATED TO:
 PREVENT GOV’T SECRETS FROM
LEAKING TO THE PRESS
 HELP ENSURE NIXON’S 1972 REELECTION
• BURGLARIZED OFFICE OF
ELLSBERG’S PSYCHIATRIST TO
GET DAMAGING EVIDENCE TO
DISCREDIT HIM
A BUNGLED BURGLARY
• WATERGATE HOTEL,
WASH. D.C., JUNE 17,
1972
• “PLUMBERS” CAUGHT
BREAKING INTO THE
DEMOCRATIC
NATIONAL
COMMITTEE HQ
• PLANNED TO
PHOTOGRAPH
DOCUMENTS AND
WIRETAP PHONES
A BUNGLED BURGLARY
• TIES TO WHITE
HOUSE:
 JAMES McCORD, LEAD
“PLUMBER”, WAS A
FORMER CIA AGENT
 ALSO WORKED FOR
THE COMMITTEE TO
REELECT THE
PRESIDENT OR
“CREEP”
 PAPERS FOUND ON
BURGLARS LED BACK
TO WHITE HOUSE
STAFF MEMBER
A BUNGLED BURGLARY
• A COVER-UP OF THE WHITE
HOUSE CONNECTION
BEGAN:
 WORKERS SHREDDED
DOCUMENTS
 NIXON URGED THE FBI TO
STOP INVESTIGATING THE
BREAK-IN (WOULD HARM
NATIONAL SECURITY)
 “CREEP” PAID “HUSH”
$ TO THE WATERGATE
BURGLARS
WOODWARD & BERNSTEIN
AT THE WASHINGTON POST NEWSPAPER:
 YOUNG REPORTERS BOB WOODWARD AND
CARL BERNSTEIN CONTINUED TO
INVESTIGATE
 LINKED NIXON ADMINISTRATION TO THE
BREAK-IN
 HELPED BY FBI INFORMANT CODE NAMED
“DEEP THROAT”
 A SERIES OF ARTICLES BECAME THE BOOK
ALL THE PRESIDENT’S MEN
BERNSTEIN & WOODWARD
THE ELECTION OF 1972
THE ELECTION OF 1972
• DEMOCRATS RAN
GEORGE MCGOVERN:
 ANTIWAR CANDIDATE
• NIXON CAMPAIGN:
 CLAIMED HIS POLICIES
WERE BRINGING PEACE TO
VIETNAM
 SAID McGOVERN WAS IN
FAVOR OF “ACID, AMNESTY
AND ABORTION”
• NIXON WINS IN A
LANDSLIDE:
 520 TO 17 IN ELECTORAL
COLLEGE
 60.7% TO 37.5% IN POPULAR
VOTE
THE COVER-UP UNRAVELS
• DURING THE TRIAL OF THE
“PLUMBERS”, McCORD ADMITS
HE LIED UNDER OATH
• McCORD NAMES JOHN DEAN
(LEGAL COUNSEL TO NIXON) AND
MITCHELL AS BEING INVOLVED
• RESIGNATIONS AND FIRINGS:
 DEAN, HALDEMAN, & EHRLICHMAN
• NIXON CLAIMS HE DIDN’T KNOW
ABOUT THE BREAK-IN
• NIXON APPOINTS A SPECIAL
PROSECUTOR TO INVESTIGATE
(ARCHIBALD COX)
THE COVER-UP UNRAVELS
• THE SENATE SETS UP
ITS OWN
INVESTIGATION
• WHITE HOUSE CLAIMS
“EXECUTIVE
PRIVILEGE”:
 CONGRESS CAN ONLY
QUESTION PAST OR
PRESENT EMPLOYEES
WITH NIXON’S
APPROVAL
 VIOLATION OF “CHECKS
AND BALANCES”
STARTLING TESTIMONY
• DEAN REVEALS NIXON
INVOLVED IN COVER-UP
• DENIED BY NIXON
• ALEXANDER BUTTERFIELD
REVEALED THAT NIXON TAPED
VIRTUALLY ALL WHITE HOUSE
CONVERSATIONS!!!
• BOTH THE SENATE AND
PROSECUTOR COX DEMAND
TO HEAR THE TAPES!
BATTLE OVER THE TAPES
• SATURDAY NIGHT MASSACRE:
 COX TAKES NIXON TO COURT FOR
THE TAPES
 NIXON FIRES COX (PROSECUTOR
THAT NIXON HIMSELF APPOINTED)
 COX IS REPLACED BY LEON
JAWORSKI
 JAWORSKI IS ALSO DETERMINED TO
GET THE TAPES
• MEANWHILE . . . VICE PRESIDENT
SPIRO AGNEW RESIGNS:
 TAX EVASION, EXTORTION, BRIBERY
WHILE GOVERNOR OF MARYLAND
 GERALD FORD BECOMES NEW VICE
PRESIDENT
• Above photo shows the location of the oval office and the Nixon hide
out office where he bugged himself and the residence where he sat
in the Lincoln bedroom and listened to the tapes.
NIXON RELEASES THE TAPES
• 7 PRESIDENTIAL AIDES ARE
INDICTED FOR PERJURY AND
OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE
• NIXON OFFERS TO RELEASE
WRITTEN SUMMARIES OF
TAPES
• INVESTIGATORS DEMAND
ORIGINAL TAPES
• NIXON REFUSES, CLAIMING
“NATIONAL SECURITY”
• COURTS DISAGREE WITH
NIXON
• NIXON TELLS THE AMERICAN
PUBLIC : “I AM NOT A
CROOK.”
http://www.youtube.com/watch
?v=sh163n1lJ4M
NIXON RELEASES THE TAPES
• HOUSE JUDICIARY
COMMITTEE
APPROVES
IMPEACHMENT ON
THREE CHARGES:
 OBSTRUCTION OF
JUSTICE
 ABUSE OF POWER
 CONTEMPT OF
CONGRESS (TAPE
REFUSAL!)
• NIXON TURNS OVER
THE TAPES:
 SOME TAPES “MISSING”
 ONE TAPE HAS AN 18
AND ½ MINUTE “GAP”
• The 18 And 1/2 Minute Gap
On the first tape requested from
Nixon's secret taping system
• The 18 and 1/2 minute gap in the
Nixon tapes occurs on tape 342, a
meeting on June 20th, 1972
between H.R. Haldeman and
President Nixon in the Executive
Office Building. This is just three
days after the Watergate break-in.
• The White House claims the gaps
was made accidentally by Rose
Marry Woods when she answered
the telephone during a period of
time she was typing transcripts of
the tape. It was later determined
that the eraser was made by hitting
the erase button nine times.
NIXON RELEASES THE TAPES
• NIXON MAKES MORE TAPES PUBLIC THAT
SHOW:
 SIX DAYS AFTER THE BREAK-IN NIXON KNEW ABOUT THE
BREAK-IN AND AGREED TO HELP COVER IT UP
 HAD LIED TO CONGRESS, THE PEOPLE, AND EVEN HIS OWN
LAWYER!
• THE EVIDENCE WAS OVERWHELMING
• THE HOUSE OF REPS. MOVED TO IMPEACH
NIXON
THE EFFECTS OF WATERGATE
• BEFORE THE IMPEACHMENT VOTE
BEGAN NIXON RESIGNED (AUGUST 9,
1974):
 ADMITTED NO GUILT
 ONLY “ERRORS OF JUDGMENT”
• 25 MEMBERS OF THE NIXON
ADMINISTRATION SERVED PRISON
TERMS RELATED TO WATERGATE
• DEEP DISILLUSIONMENT:
 PUBLIC AND PRESS REMAIN CYNICAL
TOWARDS POLITICIANS AND GOV’T
FORD PARDONS NIXON
• BLANKET PARDON:
 NO INDICTMENT
 “OUR LONG NATIONAL
NIGHTMARE IS OVER”
• PUBLIC REACTION:
 ANGER – SEEMED LIKE
FAVORITISM
 SUBORDINATES IN
PRISON BUT NIXON
PARDONED
 FURTHER
DISILLUSIONMENT &
DISTRUST OF
GOVERNMENT
 FORD DEFEATED IN
THE ’76 ELECTION