tv Watergate Break- In 45th Anniversary CSPAN August 22, 2017 2:17am-3:43am EDT
with a look at watergate. among the speaker former senator lowell weicker who was part of the select committee tasked with investigating the watergate break in. he joins former congressional staffers to talk about their work in the early to mid-70s and some of the pair lels between president richard nixon and the current trump administration. moderated by lesley stahl. this discussion is under an hour and a half. >> i'm gordon freedman. thank you. three or four months ago maybe we should get people together i. i thought that's a good idea. i started trying to find people. it was difficult. then stuff started happening in dc that was vaguely reminiscent to some of the things we worked on. and all of a sudden everybody seemed to want to show up.
this is just fantastic. on a personal level. raise your hand if you were on the the committee staff. this is pretty amazing. so, we said good-bye to each other 43, 44 years ago. and when i got ready to do this i called jim hamilton who was my boss back then. i say jim, i mean it i'll have it in tomorrow. he says gordon you better have it in tomorrow. so it was just like no time has passed for a lot of us. the other thing i was struck with, when we broke up. i don't know how many remember this. sam dash had a final meeting and we were all stuffed into his office. and he said this is has been the most important thing that's happened in my life and i'm sure it will ever happen in my life. and will happen in yours. i'm thinking well i'm like 21, 22 years old i hope there's something that happens. but now looking back, it becomes this thing becomes very real. one of the ways i was trying to
think about it is then the truth was a solid. it was something you worked on, you could count on you could you could find it. in the intervening years every couple years it became more and more relative. and now it's like water or air. and i this it's very important that we're back in this room together and think about what happened during that period of time. i don't know how many of you remember that i took pictures and i had a camera around my neck a lot. and so this is one you just won't see when a news photographer shows up of senator irvin. and then an in honor of our friends don and howard and fred. i saw that picture. these republicans they posed better than the democrats. i have to tell you, i have been through all the pictures. i realize that 43 years ago i put away 600 negatives and in
sleeves and i started desperately loolking for that box. i have now done it. we have a nice reservoir of photographs going up. and we also lil and i the group which is a pr agency that has given us wonderful help. we have a wonderful web site called watergate committee.com. there isn't a good historical reference. we expect after today we're getting continue to be a voice. and i'm happy everybody could be here. i'm thiled you could do this. >> i am too. >> let me. these people probably don't need a lot of introduction. start with governor weicker. so any of us on the committee remember weicker eer was a demure person. didn't have much to say. so lowell was the fire brand in many ways. and went on to have every office you can hold in connecticut
including governor ship. and we're just really happy you can be here today. rufus in many ways is the unsung hero of the watergate committee. because it's great to put a bumpk of people on a dais and have tv cameras show up. but you can't imagine what somebody would have to do to make all of that happen inside of the senate. and to be able to negotiate to put us all in on auditorium. i don't know how you did it. in addition to being deputy chief counsel flt he had to clear all the obstacles and assuming you made a few trips between senators offices on the campaign. yeah. travel budget for that. anyway, so rufus went on and has been just instrumental in politics in north carolina, secretary of state, attorney general. couple runs to governor. >> one was enough.
>> okay. >> it was a bad year, gordon. >> all right. dave dorsen was a prosecutor in new york. and found himself on the watergate committee. and dave and jim hamilton and terry who is not with us today were the three people that ran the three investigative groups in on the watergate committee. and david dealt with campaign finance, and issues around that. and jim with watergate break in and terry with dirty tricks and other things that reached into the investigative realm. that we probably still don't know about. david, each person here has had some experience that's gone forward. david actually worked on a lawsuit for john dean against gordon lid di and his author. a liablist thing. got to know john dean well. he's written a number of books now. just finished one on antonin
scalia. and is an active writer and still quite a bit at work. jim hamilton has had an active law practice. represented senator who was one of the committee members. and then has gone on and in addition to his legal work, vetted almost every vice president shl candidate going back a number of years and other folks. people very active out of the watergate. and with that, lesley stahl i think you have a good idea about. obviously 60 minutes. and she also was is this your first second, third job when you got to cbs. covering watergate. >> second. >> so i'm going to let her start off and we'll go from here. thank you, everybody. >> gordon. when we're all done we're going to give a special thanks to gordon for pulling this
together. definitely. but before we get into reminiscing. can we do a round in which each one of you in your own words describe watergate and its significance. how would you explain it? anybody want -- >> i'll start. it's the first time in anybody's memory that somebody challenged the president of the united states. up until richard nixon, the position was and nobody questions the president. after watergate, everybody felt they could go ahead and question a president of the united states. in other words we established the fact the president is not above the law. and up until that point that wasn't the case. >> well the reason i want to tell gordon if he thinks someone else was a best pose r for pictures, he's wrong. i think the significance of
watergate was that you showed between two people, irvin and baker. that you can get together and make something happen. it hasn't happened since that time. i have gone back and looked at every single scandal. not a one has done what watergate did. we put that together in two months. which people that the aged very nicely by the way. i think it shows that we don't have to have reicher and political discourse and that's the thing i take home every night. >> i think you're right. >> well i'll take off of where they left off and say this was an opportunity for the american people to see the government in action at its best. i think sam dash, senator irvin and baker put together a vivid demonstration, a story, that taught the american people what
was going on in a way that everyone can understand and could evaluate for himself or herself what was wrong with the nixon administration, and how the government could go about correcting it. the government not an outside force. >> i think watergate was significant for a number of reasons. first of all it dealt with the very fabric of what we are as a nation. our values and distaste for corruption. secondly i think it was successful because sam dash knew how to tell a story. he started the low level and built it up to. and doing the summer of 1973, watergate was the best soap opera on television. and of course, the other reason that watergate was successful is that we found the white house tapes. >> we're going to get around to
the tapes. that's huge. we all know that. the magnitude of the wrong doing was impressive because there were break ins, the white house tried to the criminal justice system. tried to get the fbi to burn documents and involve the secret service. you wrote the white house was corrupt through and through. it was that bad. it was a swamp. >> well i think it was a swamp. of course we know that lodged in the nixon white house were the plumbers. who attempted all types of misdeeds including for example the break in of psychiatrist office. but there were other plans for the brookings institute and places like that. and of course they tried to unsuccessfully to break into watergate before the break in. that actually got them caught.
but i think the tapes have revealed that many people in the white house, they were all in on the cover up. and that's quite amazing as we look back. >> senator weicker you were telling me about patrick gray. at the fbi. because the white house tried to get the fbi to come into the cover up. >> yeah well patrick was the acting director. and nixon people tried to take him over to do their dirty work. and this was an especially poignant scenario. since here was a man who was a submarine commander in the u.s. navy. and had gone on one dangerous mission after another and excelled and was a hero. he comes back to his country,
serves in a political position, and he's used. i managed to have pratt tell his story to the press. because i wanted him to get out in front of the news that was to follow and fortunately number one he did that, and fortunately number two he did not go ahead sdp suffer a prison sentence as many of the other conspirators did. >> you told me that senator irvin was the absolute perfect person to run the this committee. because of his mind, because of his character, and because you didn't say this but because of his eyebrows. >> i didn't say that. >> why do you say he was the perfect person. >> i think he was -- senator baker said that no one knows
that senator irvin was a graduate of harvard law school. and irvin said yes nobody knows that. and he came across as very folksy but with a razor sharp mind. he was conservative, he was the states rights in the 60s and early 70s. so while a disadvantage to many people, it exhibited him as a middle of the road democrat or american. who would be acceptable who whose account would be acceptable and accepted by the people of the united states. unlike somebody who would have come across as a partisan liberal antinixon person. senator irvin imbodied the important tradition. of the united states. >> rufus, you were his right hand man.
senator irvin. and i no that he let his guard down with you. tell us what he was thinking through the hearings. and what kibd kind of a man you found when, because you knew him so deeply. >> when you travel with a man for ten years, number one i had to seep in bed with him. i said i'm not going o sleep with god. i put one cheek of my butt on the bed. one on the floor. i had to get up and go to the bathroom to get my sleep. but the man was chosen because people could believe his word. i never saw him go back on his word. there's a good book by karl -- he's a professor at. irvin being very anticivil rights, and then very pro,
propersonal rights. it was all part of the man. there's no pretense there. and he did say to me one time a little bit about nixon. nixon swore him in. i told the senator about having been invited to the white house when i was the chief counsel and staff director of the separation of power subcommittee. nixon invited us. he greeted us coming in. and they didn't all of a sudden whatever got in the car and started talking to himself. i mentioned it to somebody coming back up. that's strange i said to i said senator he got in the car and was talking to himself. i always thought it was very strange. and he from the get he had remember this. irvin had a battle with richard nixon for almost five years on
military spying on civilians and pounding funds, being an imperial presidency. so while it was not personal, senator irvin just did not trust the man. >> right from the beginning. the amazing thing is that in those days, really we did have a middle. we had the conservative democrats, and we had the liberal republicans. and the country had a middle. we have completely we have lost that. it's gone. it just went up in smoke. and i don't know that you can really do what you all did. if there isn't a middle. does anybody want to comment on that? >> you have to talk to each other in the first place. i don't think the rivalry or the partisan ship was any less when i was in the united states senate. but, thu is a big but, when the bell rang and it was the end of
the day, you used to go off and have drinks together. republican and democrat. and that's where the business was done. you talked and did the dealing and whatever have you. so the time you came back on the floor, you had a solution. now days they don't talk to each other during the session, after the session. at no time. and how can you get anything done. you can't. >> right. >> we had parties back then. they said there and didn't get condemned for it. if you stay in washington for two days at a time, you become a washington creature. and it's all what it should be in the opposite. >> i guess before the senate hearings, there was judge. and i wonder how important you think the judge was in teeing up or allowing the committee to go forward. i was in the courtroom i just want to say. because i covered that, too.
and he took over the questioning of the burglars. and it was stunning. i kept saying to myself judges can't do that. he started to squeeze them to squeal on the higher ups. how important do you think he was in watergate? >> well i think he was very important. but i'm not sure that we would have been as happy applauding him if the shoe was on the other foot. judge abuse td his power plain and simple. he took over the questioning. >> he did abuse his power. >> he posed an as tro no, ma'am mall sentences. ultimately when the leaders of the nixon white house were on trial he assigned the case to himself. judge was known as maximum john. he was not a good judge. i still don't think they was a good judge. what he accomplished was
admirable. i have spent many hours thinking we paid a price for that. and we have to be careful not to let the ends justify the means. without the judge it's questionable whether we would have had watergate. great work out the way it did. but i don't think his legacy should be carved in bronze alongside of people like sam irvin. >> wow. >> i think he would have probably been censored by the bar by some things today. i know that for a fact. i do think, though, that he did set in motion the accord. i thought how can a man like that do this stuff. i think it was blind hero worship. they had a syndrome about richard nixon. >> or litty. their leader. >> people with good reputations
get into that fix. >> rufus mentioned mccord. one thing that got the ball rolling in watergate is mccord wrote a letter to the judge. that said there had been perjury in the trial and treason. the forests are going to fall. that got everybody interested. >> that's because the judge squeezed him and -- actually up until his panel i always thought -- i was shocked by it but i thought he was a hero. his reputation is not what you're saying. >> we already made news. >> he accomplished something. and another person who deserves some miserable credit for this is gordon litty. if he pleaded guilty we wont have watergate. he was a one man self-destructive mechanism. announcing he used mccord, publicized the fact in walking down hall ways that he didn't
something wrong. blunder after blunder and the ultimate was going to trial which allowed all this to come out which the judge pushed everybody. so there are extraordinary twists and turns that have not been explored in this dimension. >> i think it's worth remembering that the first watergate trial was tried in the theory that the only people involved were the seven defendants. and the senate didn't believe that. >> the judge didn't believe it either. >> and that's why the watergate committee was established. >> well, the judge was squeezing the burglars and then the nebs layer and next layer and kept saying you have to tell me about the higher ups. you talk about sam dash organizing, telling the hearings in a way that told a story. but was the purpose the same, was the purpose to squeeze your witnesses. in other words did you always
have the president in mind, were you always pointing in that direction? >> no. i think when we started, we didn't think this thing was going to go very high. maybe john mitchell because he had been the head of creep. the committee to reelect the president. i think quite frankly we were all astounded as the evidence started coming in and particularly after we talked about to john dean. about what was going on in the white house. it snowballed quickly and at least in my mind got to be a much bigger thing than we anticipated at the beginning. >> from john dean on, everything pointed. so this was little known, in fact i didn't know about it until three days ago. senator weicker lived directly across the veet from john dean. did any of you know that? he kept this a secret. so tell us about that. because i think you told me that he approached you and this is
how his testimony the whole thing came about. >> well, actually i put the word out that i wanted to talk to john. he was represented by shafr. of maryland. and dean wasn't talking to anybody. and all of a sudden one evening when i was actually at the theater here in washington, somebody came to me and said that he wanted to talk. and so i was taken to his home. and there was john dean. i didn't meet him across the street even though he lived there. i didn't know him. and at that home, he told me the full story. now before he told that to me he said lowell, are you sure you're not in trouble? and i said what do you mean? he said well the nixon committee
gave x number of dollars to various senators senators that were running for public office, and they gave them to each senator personally. that violated the law and they're going to go ahead and dump this on your head and other senators, other senators also. well, fortunately for me, i had been campaigning in upstate connecticut, and when they made the offer of the money from the white house i couldn't be there. so my campaign manager accepted the donations, which absolved me from any wrongdoing in the matter. so i turned to john and i said, "john, i have no reason to believe that there's anything they have that's going to harm me." he said, "okay," and then he sat down and told me roughly the entire scenario. at that moment we became good
friends, and from time to time would talk to each other on the street that we lived. >> and did you make the connection to sam dash? how did it get to sam dash? how did john dean -- >> that they're going to have to talk to because i know sam was talking to them before i talked to him. >> i think john -- sam writes about it in his book. i think sam was approached by charlie schafer who indicated that dean wanted to talk. then it was a series of meetings. first i think was schafer and then with john. just between -- initially between sam and john. >> before we go into what he told you and how that all came about, i would like to ask a similar question that i just did about sirica. how do you all view john dean? is he a hero? did he cross lines? anybody, david? >> first of all, i think john
dean is the biggest hero of watergate. he is the only person whose actions were not against -- were not or for in self-interest. i was an investigator, i was assistant chief counsel. i wanted to make watergate look big. the prosecutors, their job was to prosecute. the only person who in a sense committed political suicide and acted against his self-interest because he would not have been caught if he didn't come forward was john dean. it is great to be up there on television asking questions, but that doesn't take any heroism. that's just being lucky and perhaps doing your job pretty well. john dean, as i want to repeat -- jim probably knows it better than i do and may disagree. i don't think we would have ever made a case against john dean if john dean had not come forward. and if john dean had not come forward, we wouldn't have gotten
the higher ups. >> well, i may have a slightly different view about this. >> good. >> i don't think john was a choir boy. john was in a messy situation and he was scared to death that he was going to be made the scapegoat, so he did have an interest to protect. he didn't want to be the one who was responsible for the coverup, so he came and talked to us. sure, it did the nation a great service, but it also did john a great service because i think it lessened his prison time and all of that. so i have mixed feelings about john. >> well, i think he's a great guy. >> i think so. >> and he sent some questions in for the panel. >> before you ask the questions, i want to say i got to know john very well. i think he was the hero of
watergate as much as anybody could be that was on the other side, but he was a good man and he did the right thing at the right time. i think he ought to be given credit for it. >> ready for the questions from john dean? >> yep. >> okay. john offered to float the name of one of the staff attorneys as a supreme court nominee under bush 2, but the fellow declined the offer. was it, a, rufus. b, fred thompson. c, david dorsen. or, d, sam dash. yes? >> i'm going to say it was dash, although these are brilliant guys here. i wouldn't let them off my golf ball, i'm going for sam dash. >> not rufes. >> not david dorsen, no. >> okay. you want the answer?
>> uh-huh. >> the answer is fred thompson. he declined the offer, telling john that he never liked practicing law. >> there you go. >> another question. why did sam dash insist on a private meeting with john dean on the eve of alexander butterfield's appearance before the committee? john was out of town and sam made him fly back so that they could meet right before the testimony. sam did this because, a, he thought butterfield's testimony was a setup by the white house to undercut john dean's testimony? b, he wanted to know who they could subpoena in order to protect the tapes and keep them from being destroyed, or, kc, h wanted to know if john thought butterfield was a reliable witness in. >> i think the person that first
advanced that was gene boice who led the team when the tapes were discovered. i had no earthly idea. i didn't know sam met with him before. >> right, it is a secret john is telling for the first time. >> i was going to say. >> do you have any idea, out of the three? >> i didn't know it either and i'm a little surprised, and you may want to get into this, but sam and i had met with john the day after the tapes were discovered, which was two days before butterfield testified. so -- >> that's the meeting he's talking about. >> yeah. >> that's the meeting he is talking about. >> oh, that's the meeting he is talking about? >> yes. >> well, i can tell you what -- >> i know you were there because he told me you were there. >> i will tell you what that meeting was about. >> go ahead. >> because sam called me that saturday morning -- i forget the date -- and said, "guess what we learned last night? let's go tell john dean." so sam picked me up and we went over to john's house in
alexandria, he had a townhouse. john had no reason to know why we were coming, and john and mo, who was always very well put together even on a saturday morning, met us at the door. we went upstairs to their living room and john and mo sat down on a couch, and sam was sitting to the left and i was standing at a mantle piece because i wanted to see what john's reaction was when sam told him that we had the tapes. his reaction when sam told him was to break into this wide smile because he knew those tapes were going to support what he had to say, what he had already testified to. >> i'm going to read you what he sent me. >> okay. >> that is the meeting. he said it was on the eve, but sam made him fly in for this meeting. he said, sam dash was deeply
worried that all of the committee was being set up by the white house and that the white house knew that the tapes were going to be undercut john dean, and he says in this answer that jim -- that dash brought you along and positioned you in a place to watch his face specifically to see his reaction when he found out that the tapes were there and that you saw the big smile. so that's what he said. there are a couple of others but they're too long, so we're going to move on. by the way, when john dean testified, 60 million americans watched him. when comey testified, 19 million. so john dean was a big deal. >> 9 or 19? >> 19 or 90? >> 19, 1-9 for comey. 6-0 for john dean. >> 19? >> 19. did i misspeak?
>> more tvs. >> what? >> more tvs. >> in those days? >> or fewer. >> i want to talk about how everybody, including i think some of you have talked about it today, how today everybody talks about the great bipartisanship back there, but as a reporter sitting there my impression was that the republicans for the most part -- and not all of them, but the republicans for the most part did everything they could to insulate the president. they were like drone bees in the hive protecting the queen. they tried to discredit witnesses who testified and tried at one point to blame everything on john dean. so i would like you to comment on what was going on behind the scenes in terms of democrats versus republicans on this committee. >> well, i can speak for the
republican side because it was clearly differentiated. ed gurney was 100% behind the president from beginning to end. howard baker started off being with the president and made regular visits to tell him about the hearings. however, baker started to see that there were problems and when drew fr whhe withdrew from that position on the committee and he did it full circle. i started off being for nixon, i didn't believe he could do anything like he was being accused of. after giving myself a thorough history lesson on his politics in california, i understood that nixon could do some very bad
things and i went to the point where the evidence was overwhelming as to what a bad man he was. that's the history of the three republicans. >> you're a hero, lowell. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> did you all know that fred thompson was going to the white house and getting questions and bringing them back? >> yes. >> you all knew that? >> no, i didn't know it. >> you didn't know it? but did you -- >> i'm sorry, i did know it at the beginning. as i said, there was a regular communication. >> i didn't -- i knew it -- fred and i were good old country boys and i didn't think it was all that bad because everything was on tv and he didn't have any secrets telling anybody, so i found it sort of normal that somebody would go talk to the president. if you knew how the hearings worked, by the time you got down to the end, as senator weicker
will tell you, with ed gurney every question in the world had been asked. irving never worried about that because he thought we had nailed enough before we got down to people like ed gurney with all of the good questioning from guys like these two, and he didn't worry about it. he knew it. i knew about fred. fred and i talked. i said, how's the food down there, fred? >> at the white house you mean? >> what about leaking the private stuff? >> i missed fred. i think he was a decent, honorable human being. >> i'm going to jump ahead because we have a second half of -- this is going to be broken in half. how many of you think that if there had been no tapes that nixon would have lived out his term? all of you? >> what's -- >> if there weren't tapes, nixon would have been president until the end of his term. >> i agree with that. >> why do you think he didn't destroy the tapes?
anybody have a theory? >> vanity. the man couldn't stand to think, "i'm going to destroy my beautiful, imperialistic words." that's simply an old greek wore, huberus. >> i wanted to do a book. >> i think to a large extent he thought the tapes were not going to harm him. that's what i understand. i can't remember where i got that idea from, and it is just like clinton inviting an investigation of whitewater. 99% or 97% is innocuous, but no one cares about that. so when you invite someone to do that, you are inviting them to concentrate on the 3% that's going to be bad, and it is quite possible -- because i don't think -- as john dean said,
obstruction of justice was not job qualification to becoming counsel to the president. i think they were somewhat blinded by the whole thing and didn't appreciate the seriousness of what they were doing. >> wow, i bet that's right. >> i actually think -- nixon had some good lawyers, and i'm sure in some private cases they mentioned the words objection instruction of justice. so i suspect there were legal reasons he didn't tear up the tapes. >> i take a little bit different point of view here. we had already written the report, or at least i had and i think most of the other members had, before the release of the tapes. about 90 -- yes, about 90% of what i wrote and the committee wrote was fact. in other words the tapes didn't really add that much. now, as a good backer-upper
okay, but i know it didn't affect me. >> david is going like that. >> well, just the tapes were disclosed in the middle of the senate watergate hearings in 1973. >> no, we didn't get 'em. >> we didn't get them but we discovered them. we never got them. >> you're saying what was on them. >> what did happen before we wrote the report, lowell, we did have a transcript that was prepared by somebody -- i think maybe somebody in the white house. >> the ones they released, a limited number of transcripts, white house-prepared transcripts. we learned about the tapes in june of '73. >> with butterfield's testimony. >> yes. >> we're going to talk about how watergate relates to today in one minute. last question before we make a switch. i want to know if each of you while the hearings were going on actually felt the enormity of what you were doing, felt the historical significance of it? were you thinking that, oh, my
god, we're going to bring down a president? were you consumed with the bigness of it? >> i will say that i certainly was. a 31-year-old farm boy, being hauled down the street in the back of a police car to deliver a subpoena. after the tapes came out -- >> to whom? >> to nixon. i said, you know, this is pretty enormous and it dawned on all of us. we were in sort of hushed tones as i recall. we said, really, is this going up to the president? i know senator irving was. he said, you know, i just don't believe that the president of the united states of america can do all of the things that john dean said he did. well, he did more.
yes, i was awestricken. >> lesley, i think that after dean testified we became aware of where this might go and how it was an enormous matter in the history of the nation, but probably not before dean testified. >> right. >> there was a lot of speculation. but after dean testified, yes. >> but was it a weight on you? >> we actually believed dean because he met with dean privately for a long time, but i get involved a little bit before the time he testified and we spent hours and hours going over every line of that testimony. i remember i was with him one night until 4:00 a.m., and he got pushed on it. when that process was over, i believed him and sam dash believed him, and it turns out we should have believed him because he was right. >> i think the country believed him. >> yeah. >> the enormity -- >> i'll just say i thought that
john dean was an amazing witness. he had a photographic memory, but it was not instantaneous. he was able to sit down and work things out at the end of that, he had a photographic impression of what was going on, but it wasn't a simple matter of just remembering. i could not see until the tapes came out -- and we were worried about the tapes being a red herring, how we were going to get any further because i think we all assumed everyone would dispute dean. yes, it was terribly weighty, but it was a long time before i saw that there might be some serious, serious consequences. maybe not until the saturday night massacre. >> you know, the tapes, dean didn't convince everybody. i remember joe alsop called him a bottom-dwelling slug. >> joe alsop. well, we are -- as i said, we're going to turn to the question of how all of this relates to
today. jim is going to recuse himself because of a representation that his firm is engaged in, and we're going to have a substitute come up. this is ron rotunda, everybody, who was on the committee. he was -- [ applause ] >> he was sam dash's legal scholar, and today he's a law professor. so i'm going to start with you, ron. can you hear? >> i will talk loud. if you're a litigator you talk too loud. >> the question is the déjà vus are piling up, obstruction of justice, executive privilege, firing people who are engaged in the investigation. former director of national intelligence james clapper says watergate pales in comparison to the trump-russia scandal.
in legal terms, what we've seen so far, do you agree with that? >> actually, i don't. people forget that we're talking about impeachment for george h.w. bush, for george w. bush, talk about double impeachment. of course, impeachment for bill clinton. it is like there always is an impeachment, and we have a lot of innuendo. that is if the president -- for example, if he gets on the phone with putin and says, "what can we do here to manipulate election results," that's like really bad. but firing the fbi director, think about this. john kennedy tells j. edgar hoover, i don't like your investigation of martin luther king. you've been investigating for years, so you're fired. would we say he's obstructing that investigation? the guy's fired but the investigation still goes on with somebody else. or if obama tells the fbi director, i don't want you to spend time on allegedly illegal
immigrants. i want you to talk about -- investigate crack cocaine, and comey doesn't do that so you fire him. when we talk about obstruction, and the obstruction involving richard nixon was not that he eventually got rid of l. patrick ray or fired archibald cox. it was the allegations that he was paying push money to keep quiet, that he's -- his aides were saying apparently on his behalf, keep quiet and the president will issue an executive pardon afterwards. that's obstruction, paying somebody to change testimony. firing somebody that you have a right to fire, whether he does it because comey is a showboat or he doesn't like the way comey is acting, if you think about it, it doesn't change the investigation at all. that is comey never figured this out, but rod rosenstein was in charge of the investigation, and the fbi agents are out there questioning people. they still are after comey's fired.
comey is not doing any shoe leather work here to get people. then rosenstein hires, appoints a special prosecutor, but that prosecutor actually reports to rod rosenstein. so this isn't -- and one thing that frankly made my jaw drop is when comey says -- asked about a "new york times" article that was very important, it was around january or something like that. he said, almost everything in that article is false, and that floored me because it is "the new york times." you know, it is a paper of record. they were sloppy. somebody lied to them and they didn't catch it. so i don't see it at all. all you've got is innuendo. >> david? >> well, i think it is too early. keep in mind that the committees of congress are just getting
started. i'm trying to think of where we are today in terms of watergate, but it is very early. i think there's a lot that we don't know, and i hope we will find out but it is -- it is potentially serious. and there's another dimension, and that is that watergate was essentially -- was really a domestic political power-play. we don't know what the trump thing is about. is it foreign policy? is it money? is it money? is it money? i don't know what it is. [ laughter ] >> i think we will find that out eventually, but it is just too early to tell. another thing that -- just a footnote, i believe that when archibald cox was fired they abolished the special prosecutoral office.
this supports what ron was saying that when you fire the fbi director you don't fire -- you don't dissolve the fbi. so i think firing or abolishing mueller's position and force would be serious business. i think there's a difference between abolishing -- firing the director and abolishing a prosecutor. >> just to add one little thing. people forget that saturday night he not only fired cox, i think he had fbi agents surround the special prosecutor's office and nobody could go in. >> right. >> that's like a lot different, you know. we haven't seen that. >> the watergate committee -- tell me if i'm wrong -- did issue a subpoena for the tapes. is that the one you delivered, rufus? >> that's correct. >> and a court said, no, you couldn't do it, but when the special prosecutor or the prosecutor -- i don't know if he was special -- when he issued a subpoena, the court said okay.
>> well, they were both the same subpoenas, however, it was not cooked enough yet. when the supreme court ruled unanimously that the tapes had to be turned over, we were almost out of business. so we didn't need them. it was the special prosecutor. >> no, but i'm making the legal case. is it now settled law that a congressional committee cannot get -- force a president to turn over evidence, but that a court can? is that settled? is that the way the law -- >> it was never settled. >> i'm sorry, what? >> i think it is an excellent point. i think this is perhaps ron's area. whether there is -- the senate watergate committee subpoenaed the tapes, we didn't get them. the special prosecutor subpoenaed the tapes, did get them. does that create a rule that strongly favors or maybe infinitely favors turning over presidential material to a
special counsel, a special prosecutor rather than to a congressional committee? >> well, you know, later judges can try to distinguish the earlier cases. we've never had a case where the court has ordered the president to turn over material to a congressional committee. that's just never -- >> well, they tried and failed. >> well, not just -- now, the impeachment committee subpoenaed the tapes from the president, but they announced they were not going to court. we have the sole power of impeachment. we don't need a court. the president turned them over, but that is -- i think that's because of the public. i think the real heroes of watergate that watched all of this tv and they were impressed and made their voices heard. >> but is there a legal -- is it settled that a congressional committee can't subpoena a president and a court can? >> nothing is settled, but it is going to be hard for the committee to get this evidence. >> i think -- actually, jim
hamilton wrote a book, "power to probe" which is still relevant. if i'm not mistaken i don't think it is settled. i think it is up in the air. >> do any of you think that mueller, if he still has a job, will subpoena the president's tax returns? >> why would he need them? >> well, money, money, money is the issue. he needs it. >> may show the president made profit during the negotiations. i will let you -- if you let me build a hotel, i will let you plant a listening device in the oval office. >> i guess everybody would like to see his returns, me included, but you have to have more than like i would like to see everything you have done and hoe me the tattoo no one else knows is there. you have to have a little more in the case of income tax returns. courts have been careful in trying to protect those. he might be able to get them. it might be that he would send
an auditor over there to look at them, but i don't know now whether that would be relevant. we would have to wait and see what happens. >> okay. do any of you foresee that we are heading in any way to a constitutional crisis? was watergate a constitutional crisis? >> got all the makings, but as my wife likes to say it is not cooked enough yet. i think she picked that up from my mother. we are going to -- you've got to keep remembering that watergate and today's happenings are occurring because of an imperial presidency. i'm not judging anybody, but there seem to be a lot of parallels there of misuse of all
of the things -- lesley, it seems to me like the folks at the white house go and read all of the sins of watergate and replicate them. >> wow. >> see them, check them twice. i have never seen anything like it in my life. >> it is a coverup. >> it is crazy. >> it is crazy. >> you know something happened and you rush out and repeat it. >> it is stunning. >> many a i wronam i wrong, sen? >> well, i wouldn't draw a parallel. we have yet to have all of the facts on what is going on. i think to try to equate the two is wrong. i think that watergate was what it was. was it a constitutional crisis? the answer is yes. you've got all of the answers that everybody was looking for. again, what was established at watergate is what's important even now, which is you could
question a president of the united states. that had never happened before. god knows if you went into the histories of previous presidents there would have been plenty to find, but they never were. they were never queried. so for the first time the american public knew that they could have at a president. that's the precedent i think important. now, as today's events, far too early to tell, but it is clear one thing holds. you're questioning a president of the united states, and that is the legacy. >> if i could just add a little thing. the election of 1800 -- you're too young to remember it. it took months to select the president. a more serious constitutional crisis then i suppose. then the election of, what is it, 2000 with bush-gore, it took weeks to pick the president. they thought it was a constitutional crisis.
remember this. the good lord protects fools, children and the united states of america. there will not be a constitutional crisis no matter what happens because we'll be protected. we always have in the past. >> we now know who the optimist is on this panel. >> if you want to -- there actually is a list of about maybe ten or so presidents who have given testimony, not -- often not in person but by oath that is -- was painstakingly collected from otherwise unpublished sources -- by me -- and it is in volume two of my six volume treatise at better book stores anywhere. no, i mean actually it is -- it will be in a law library. there are actually collections. but senator weicker is also correct that it wasn't big news when ronald reagan testified under oath over iran contra
because watergate settled that issue. there isn't any notion now ha the president can't be treated like ordinary, or when bill clinton testified in the grand jury. as a courtesy they did it in the white house instead of in front of the grand jury room. so i think that part of this is settled. >> that's what the senator says. >> yes, it is settled. >> david, were you trying to say something? >> no. >> okay. we'll move on. i want to ask you about that fawning, icky cabinet meeting the other day. because when i saw that over and over -- we all saw it, right, the cabinet meeting? >> i didn't. i've been traveling. what? >> oh, okay. well, the cabinet met and every single person except general mattis kind of said that they love the president and he was a genius and he's done wonderful things. but when i saw that, i got to wonder about the 25th amendment and i began to think if you have a bunch of high-powered
billionaires who have succeeded and have incredible resumes and they're humiliated and shamed and they're embarrassed, is it possible that they would vote for the 25th amendment, and then what happens? first of all, is it possible that they would do that because the majority of the cabinet would have to vote for this? and then what would happen? who knows in legal terms? you're shaking your head like it is never going to happen. >> well, it is never going to happen. these people, i don't think they -- that's their worst nightmare, someone is going to say, do you want to vote the president out of office. does pence want to be president? i think they want to hide. >> what if he gets down to 18%? >> i don't think it matters really. i was sitting here thinking one comparison with watergate. they found a maniac and put him in charge of subverting the
democratic campaign -- that's gordon liddy. here they found a maniac and they put him in the white house. >> i thought it was a skit. >> i just want to tell you -- >> a skit of a bunch of sycophants. >> well, it was stunning. i did some research on the 25th amendment, and the cabinet majority can vote for that, but the president has to agree. if the president doesn't agree, then -- and the cabinet comes back and votes for it again, then two-thirds of both chambers of the congress have to endorse it. so it ain't gonna happen. >> you heard it here first. [ laughter ] >> anybody want to talk about -- you know, a lot of laws came out of watergate.
there was campaign finance and there was the prosecutor's law, and there were others, and they're all been diluted since then. >> they've all been what? >> diluted. either they're not there anymore or they're diluted. so i wonder what the legacy -- i know you've said that we can now question presidents and stuff. is there any other lasting legacy, positive or negative? certainly it changed the press, there's no question about that. >> well, i think the campaign finance laws would have been -- that's the supreme court's doing. i think if hillary clinton had won the campaign finance laws would have been revived. i mean i think a lot of these are just the product of our complex system of government. the supreme court said 5-4 that free speech trumps campaign finance laws. actually, i've written a book
too which says that's not so clear. just like ron's book, you have to go to -- it is a book called "the unexpected scalia." you also have to go to law likes to find it. >> you know, guys, when i pitched my book i told a joke. >> but you're lesley stahl.find >> you know, guys, when i pitched my book i told a joke. >> but you're lesley stahl.to f >> you know, guys, when i pitched my book i told a joke. >> but you're lesley stahl.>> y pitched my book i told a joke. >> but you're lesley stahl. >> i'm going to ask one last question and then turn it over for some questions from the audience. has your view of the investigation, what happened, the outcome, any part of that changed in the last 45 years? >> if i may say looking out over this office, this room filled at that time with very, very young people who were thrust into some very big things, and they conducted themselves with great
val or. i'm amazed nothing went wrong with some of them i know, but my view has not changed. it was the only time in history where a committee -- and senator weicker mentioned that a moment ago -- we all got along. this overblown about people running to the white house and snitching, there wasn't anything to snitch because the hearings were so open. we were getting sometimes 40,000 pieces of mail a week. i hired three of you out there to do the mail. >> can you imagine if there had been e-mails and social media, oh, my gosh. >> yes. i still think that it has relevance, or why do we have about 30 things with a gate attached to the end of it? >> yeah, you're right. let's hear from -- go ahead. i'm sorry.
>> people don't remember this. in the old days there would be some big news, the three networks and pbs would throw their other stuff off the air and they would show the u.n. general assembly, whatever, and their ratings dropped. they didn't have commercials and so on. for us, the ratings increased and the networks charged their advertisers more. the reason i think it is important, one big lesson of watergate is that we do what the people say. they were upset with this and everything else follows. the other lesson -- >> that's a great point. >> what? >> that's a great point. >> yeah, i mean that's very important. they're the real heroes, you know. we didn't invite them all here, the american people, because it costs too much. but the other thing is the people who done wrong, i remember at the time john dean was just a few years older than i was, and he still is. [ laughter ] >> and i thought, you know, what
if -- because i remember all of these meetings with the president, because that's kind of aweinspiring, i get to see the president of the united states. he remembered- inspiring, i get the president of the united states. he rememberedinspiring, i get t the president of the united states. he remembered them. nobody citiedecided, let's be e. they just took baby steps, and then another baby step, and then said, i'll cover it up, it doesn't matter. that's for the grace of god goes i. we have to think to get our bearings when we take little baby steps. the basic rule goes back to kindergarten, what if my mother knew, and if she did and you wouldn't want to do it, then you really shouldn't do it. these people, there was a rationalization. they justify, we want to get the president's program through and all of that, but they did really little steps and then at some point it was a really big step. >> quickly? >> yes. >> one thing i think i have to
say, and that is the watergate committee is responsible for one of the great misconceptions of the last 45 years. the real reason for the coverup was not the burglary, it was the break-in in dr. fielding's office. the reason john dean told me was that no one in the white house could be tied to the break-in. however, the white house is named, including erlickman's signature, were all over the break-in, the burglary of dr. fielding's office, who was daniel elsberg's psychiatrist. one thing he told me when i was teaching a course on water great at duke was that history is wrong and we perpetuated it not out of spite or anything but we didn't know about the elsberg break-in. the progression was the burglary, the coverup, but that's not what happened.
the real problem was that the pentagon papers were out. that was big news. that was a problem, and the white house signed off on it, people in the white house signed off on it. i think history from now on should moderate what we said when we didn't have all of the facts and recognize -- if that's correct, and john dean convinced me it is correct -- that the reason for the coverup was the break-in of dr. elsberg's office and not the burglary of the dnc. >> from today on it is no longer watergate, it is fieldinggate. i'm going to see who in -- is mike mattigan here, a member of the minority staff? >> i'm here. >> do you want to ask a question, mike? >> i don't think i have any questions. i do want to add something for fred who is not here to defend
himself. i know he and the senator had their differences here and there, but he has a great respect of you, senator. this idea that somehow he was given documents and questions to be asked as some sort of puppet is nonsensical. he is -- was an accomplished trial lawyer. i had been a trial lawyer, a federal prosecutor for five years, so had howard. it is correct that the white house did give and tried to give -- and fred would throw them in the trash or look at them if they had some value, and he would proceed as he -- as the great lawyer and individual that he is. so i wanted the record clear with regard to that. >> thank you. excellent. is scott armstrong here?
scott? >> well, this is not a question as much as it is a response to mike and some other things. people have forgotten a couple of things that contextually are important. after dean had testified and we had heard from the attorney general and erhlickman, there was still to cooperation for him. we started looking for satellite witnesses, people that were not principals but were one or two removed. in the course of doing that in early july one of the stenographers -- and in those days you have to remember when we were segregated in many ways in washington, all of the women in the staff were basically -- would have been lawyers ten years later, but they were stenographers. one of them came to me late one night, and they were about to deliver something to howard leibergood's office and said, i
think you should look at this, you should see this document. it was a typed account, it was fred's account of his interactions with fred bizark who replaced john dean. it was really the coverup by the white house. she said, i won't give it to you but i will lay it out. she laid it out on howard's desk. remember, we had the carol, so i could stand outside the carol and read it. it was a remarkably detailed document of what questions should be asked of dean and what should be pursued, basically trying to hang him up on some henry peterson thing. but the most remarkable thing was it had quotes of what nixon said to dean and dean said to nixon. struck me as interesting. i got a copy of it through other channels, not that copy that night, and we started asking people about it. one of the next people we interviewed was alexander butterfield. we went through all of the systems that butterfield -- because he controlled the president's desk effectively. we went through all of the systems, and then i pulled out the memo and i gave it to him.
he looked at it and he said, wow, this has quotes in it. said, this is interesting. i said, where could this come from of all of the things that you described? he said, it didn't come from any of those. he kept hedging and he finally set it down. then don sanders was questioning, we were doing his round, and don appropriately asked him that dean had suggested at one point in talking with nixon, nixon had lowered his voice and kind of got over in the alcove and dean had the impression that they -- that the conversation couldn't be recorded. did dean know what he was talking about. to which butterfield responded, no, said dean wouldn't have known. then he picked up the document and he said, that's where this came from. i think he thought we were bipartisan more than we were, trying to trap him in some sense. he said, as you guys -- i guess you know, all of the president's offices are bugged, they have taping devices.
>> he said "i guess you know?" he thought you knew? >> i said, yes, of course, but can you tell us your account? [ laughter ] >> a reporter's technique. >> and there was some other context, too. early in the -- there was a lot of friction, a lot of non-bipartisan activity. i was asked by sam dash to follow a member of the republican staff to the eob, and i was follow -- follow that cab, follow that cab. i got there and couldn't get in eob, and i got back to dash and said i guess we can't prove he's meeting with bizark. i said, let me borough your phone. i called bizark's office and i said, i understand -- i think it was jim jordan was there, he came to the phone. he said, why are you calling me here? i said, just to prove you were there. he resigned the next day. there was a lot of friction.
that's just contextual. the other thing which i think we've forgotten -- and i would love it if somebody wants to talk about it, but we did solve watergate. we figured out it was the hughes ribozo money, and we were about to have hearing on it because we figured out howard hughes paid off ribozo. he had gone to herb at the time the hearings were started and asked him to come up with money so he could return it to the hughes people. he did, in fact, return it but instead through us, through the watergate committee. it obviously wasn't the same money because he had spent that. these hearings were about to happen when tommy corcoran who represented howard hughes paid a visit to senator irving, and all of a sudden the hearings were cancelled. i asked the senator why, and he
said, i also discovered howard hughes got money to hubert humphrey and i didn't think we should destroy the two party system. so it was about corruption, nixon's corruption, and there was not -- i agree with david, by the way, about the nature of the coverup, that the coverup acted as a different thing. but why was the burglary happening, we did get to that. so i think it is important to remember. >> now, scott played a very, very important role in the committee which should be acknowledged. >> well, i know he did because i was getting a lot of sources on the committee to leak me stuff day after day after day. scott set a trap to catch my source. i'm not kidding. he told me, my source told me that the white house -- that the committee was going to subpoena rosemary wood and that they were sending u.s. marshals to
completely surround the white house, be it a every single gate around the white house in case she slipped out the back or out the side, and that there were u.s. marshals all over the place. my source had been so accurate day after day, so scott -- so, anyway, cbs news sends cameramen all around the white house. they're taken away from the pentagon, they're taken away from every other place in the city, and they're calling up saying, there's no marshal here, there's no marshal here. i'm panicking because it is supposed to be the lead story that night, and i get scott on the phone and i say, scott, can you confirm this story for me? it is 6:25, we're on the air at 6:30. he starts laughing. he says, gotcha. gotcha. in other words he planted the story with the guy he suspected. anyway, we're going to end with gordon, but are there any other questions? >> i would of love to make a comment. >> tell us who you are. >> in public life for 34 years.
i came to just pay my respect to lowell weicker because one of the things i think you all are missing is to be a republican and speak out against a republican is a profile in courage. none of you seem to sense that. lowell made many enemies in the process within his own party and hurt his own political future. so that's one point i want to make. the second point i want to make -- [ applause ] >> and the second point i want to make is i'm stunned not all of you wouldn't have recognized that this was a huge, huge constitutional crisis because you were seeking to remove from office someone who was elected by the american people. when did that happen before? if you had failed to convince enough people in the country that this needed to happen, you wouldn't have had had republican support, you wouldn't have seen him removed from office, and it would be depressing.
the parallels i see today are you don't have lowell weickers in the republican party that are speaking out against the outrageous things that are happening, and our kids are beginning to think it is normal that a president would act this way. [ applause ] >> you know, i think one of the most important things that has been said here is that our system of democracy really does work and the people really do run things. i've seen it a million times, and watergate is a great example, and your point is so well-taken. you didn't introduce yourself? >> i'm chris hayes and i got elected to office in '74 as a state representative for 13 years, and with lowell's help i got elected to congress for 21 years. it was the best 21 years of my life, and my biggest disappointment in public life was when he did not win in '88.
i will tell you if he had won i think george bush, the first, would have won reelection because lowell would have helped bring people together like he did with president ford. >> hear-hear. i'm going to let gordon wrap it up unless there's another question. >> i'm don stamper. i was a research assistance, rufus hired me. the question i wanted to ask you, lesley, is what's your impression of this? you were there this whole time. i remember seeing you do stand-ups in front of the committee. what was your take as a member of the press? and you have, of course, a good news ark and historical arc to make an assessment? >> when someone asks me about watergate, i remember this sort of mass of; >> when someone asks me about watergate, i remember this sort of mass of. >> when someone asks me about watergate, i remember this sort of mass of excitement in that
hearing room amongst all of us. there were movie stars that came, ceos showed up. everybody wanted to have a peek at what was happening in that room. it was the center of all life, and if you were inside it was raw excitement every day, electric excitement. we were all friends. it wasn't just the democrats and the republicans, it was the press as well. you know, notes would start. somebody would start to write something funny, and it would go up and down the press table, then it would go up to the committee and then it would come back around, and as everybody read whatever the joke was they would laugh. i just remember this sense of oneness, you know. we were all in this together in a funny way. i'm going to ask gordon to ask a question and wrap it up. >> all right. so i have a question, but i also will wrap up the trump piece for a minute.
so when i was a young staffer -- i don't know why jim and david gave me the responsibility for doing this, i had a lot to do with going through the campaign files that were placed in the national archives. raise your hand if you worked on those files. okay. so we would troop down to the national archives and go through files people thought would be routine campaign stuff. all of a sudden an h.r. holderman memo, a john ehrlichman, i'm a kid in college looking at this. the point i'm making is there's a lot to be gained from a campaign file, even if it doesn't have hard evidence in it. i don't know, i haven't heard a thing about looking at the trump files because my sense is intentions and interactions, context are in those documents. i just offer that. my question to the panel is do we have to go through this every time there's a questionable
campaign and the president comes in, and eat they might have been the person that perpetrated it or they might have to investigate the person they ran against? it seems like just a terribly stressful thing to put the country through when we have so many complex problems. do we just rely on the good form of most presidents not to get us here, or do we need mechanisms? >> or, finally, is this just such an extraordinary presidency? >> i don't know. i don't think we need any additional mechanisms. the mechanism that we have and is not used is voting. just take a look and see the interest of the american people in their own elections. i mean when you're down around 50%, then a majority becomes 25%
or 26% or 24%, and you get some pretty crazy people, you know, at that level. so i have to say to you that if i was going to put the emphasis anywhere, it would be urging the american people to vote, and i don't think you need anything -- anything additional. >> lesley, i relate it all to the 24-hour cycle, and i think when i talked to you last i said we never seem to have had a kardashian presidency. >> you did. >> i agree with lowell, that the campaign finance laws and the special prosecutors -- the special prosecutors in particular were an outgrowth of watergate. the idea was, look, if you have a president and you apoint someo someone in the executive branch to investigate the president, wouldn't it be better if we have someone totally independent. the answer was no.
i think really there's a tremendous burden of proof on anybody that wants to change the system, and i think a little too much experiment in that direction caused a lot of harm to a lot of innocent people. >> i don't think we need anymore laws. we have been passing laws for about 200 years, you would think we would be done. we don't need more laws. we could have a little more self-restraint, and we don't want to have the custom of banana republics criminalizing political differences. we have had efforts at criminal prosecution of the governor of new jersey, wisconsin, texas. it would be nice if everybody kind of exercised a little more self-restraint, but i don't know if that's going to happen. somebody thought it might get worse before it gets better. i think it just might get worse and it won't get better. that's just the world we seem to
live in now, a much more polarized world. >> wow. we're going to end on that. >> i hate to end on a downer. >> exactly. >> could i say one thing? >> yes. >> i'm a former special agent, u.s. treasury department. we -- >> speak up. >> a former special agent, u.s. treasury. we had one rule, follow the money. we followed the money in the nixon case to b.b.rebozo's off-shore bank which we could not touch. my rebozo's off-shore bank which we could not touch. my question is where's trump's money? >> that's an end. [ applause ] >> well, i just want to say one thing to get back to the point that i made and also relates to everything else going on.
out of 350 million americans, hilary clinton and donald trump? >> i rest my case. that super it up. american history tv continues in prime time tuesday night with a focus on women's history. our line-up includes a look at the influence of former first lady florence harding. that's followed by a discussion on the women's suffrage movement. later, a historical account of poet phyllis wheatley, an 18th century slave, who became the first african-american to have their poetry published. watch these programs and more tuesday night on american history tv starting at 8:00 eastern here on c-span3. this week on c-span. tuesday at 10:00 p.m., live coverage of president trump's rally in phoenix.
wednesday at 8:00 p.m., former presidents george w. bush and bill clinton on leadership. >> i always thought i would have a better life. i could have somebody else have a better life, too, and i liked it. i just -- and i got lucky. i don't care what anybody says. all of these people that tell you they were born in a log cabin they bit themselves are full of bull. >> thursday at 8:00 p.m., with the budget as something for congress to handle, we will look at pending proposals for the federal budget. friday, a profile interview with agriculture secretary sonny purdue. >> my political history was i tell people when i was born in 1946 in perry, georgia, they stamped democrat on your birth certificate. i made a political decision -- and i call it truth in advertising -- in 1998 to change parties and became a republican at that point in time. >> followed at 8:30 p.m. by a conversation with black hat and defcon founder jeff moss. >> there were no jobs in information security for any of us. only people who were doing
security were maybe people in the military or maybe banks. so this is really a hobby. well, as the internet grew and there were jobs and people were putting things online and there was money at risk, all of a sudden hackers started getting jobs doing security. >> watch on later those involved with investigating the watergate break in discuss their work and the impact of that event 45 years later. now look at the first national debate on slavery and race between members of congress in 1790. we'll hear from history professor paul polgar who explains how that debate set the tone for race in america for several decades. this is just under an hour. >> today, we're going to start with paul polgar, who is a long time colleague of mine. he started interning with the first federal congress pct