Skip to main content

tv   The Presidency White House Watergate Tapes  CSPAN  August 12, 2019 3:31pm-4:58pm EDT

3:31 pm
provided america unfiltered coverage of congress, the white house, the supreme court and public policy events from washington, d.c. and around the country. so, you can make up your own mind. created by cable in 1979. c-span is brought to you by your local cable or satellite provider. c-span, your unfiltered view of government. this month marks 45 years since president richard nixon resigned from office. american history tv continues now with geoff shepard, a principal deputy to the president's lead defense lawyer. he taught a class at temple university titled "watergate revisited: an insider's view "". and he talked about having to tra transcribe the tapes. this is an hour and a half. we're not talking about
3:32 pm
current events and we're not really focusing on the chronology of watergate, because what i'm trying to tell you is what happened behind the scenes, the back story at the white house where i worked and the special prosecutor's office where i've done a tremendous amount of research in finding out what their thinking was and what the documents showed. so, it's an insider's view. and i'm the insider. so i'm responsible for all of the views. let's take a quick review of the preceding nine presentations, so i can try to convince this will all made sense. the first week, we introduced some people and then we ended with three surprising refusing las veg revelations. there were secret meetings going on between the judges and prosecutors. a lot of them. you don't know what is the bigger surprise, that they were meeting in secret or that they
3:33 pm
were writing the memos. and i have the memos. john dean, john dean, who was the chief effect officer of the cover-up, and then switched sides and became the lead government witness. john was sentenced from one to four years in prison for his role, in the leadership role in the cover-up. but as it turns out, he never spent a night in jail. and the jury and maybe the american public was led to believe he was being punished. but in reality, he was not. he was kind of a setup. and third, what i've uncovered and what i believe is what really drove nixon from office were secret allegations the prosecutors made about nixon's personal involvement in watergate. they happen to be erroneous, but they were made in secret, so we didn't know, and we couldn't refute them. and the reason they were made in
3:34 pm
secret was because they had no witness who could testify to their allegations. so, they could say well, a phone call occurred, there was a meeting. but they had nobody to go on the stand and say nixon said. so, they did it in secret, so we didn't know. then beginning in week two, we kind of did an introduction to the three most important time periods, where what you saw on tv differs so much from what was going on behind the scenes. and then we spent a week on each of those. first was the aftermath of the break-in arrest, when we launched right into the cover-up. i mean, the people who were responsible for bringing you the break-in were terrified of being discovered. so they launched and orchestrated the cover-up. the cover-up soon collapsed. it went on for six or eight months, and it should have collapsed. but when it collapsed people
3:35 pm
scattered, some came in tried to get immunity for their role. others were surprised and tried to pitch in and help and get caught like in the briar patch, but weekade, we did nixon's demise. two weeks from when it starts with the supreme court decision on the tape case. and culminated with nixon's dramatic and historic resignation. in the course of that, we didn't go in a direct line, we talked about three important diversions that most people donfully participate. in the white house, we lost constitutional memory of what happened earlier and that exhibited to our confusion. on the prosecutor's side, the career prosecutor who had broken the cover-up, were unceremoniously removed and
3:36 pm
gagged and specially recruited prosecutors were hired, brought in. who, in my view, targeted individuals instead of crimes. and the whole nature of the prosecution changed. we spent some time on the prosecutor's two-prong attack on nixon. when they concluded they couldn't indict him, their efforts failed to figure in out ho get their information, that they had obtained through the grand jury, up to the house judiciary committee. and then when nixon resigned, they focused once again, on how they could indict him. and we went through that, all the documents that show this focus which leon jaworski characterized as this drumbeat that nixon must be reached at all costs. and the prosecutors were going to from crimes but they took it upon themselves. we saw this from the bob
3:37 pm
woodward interview, with the notes. the prosecutors took it won themselves to get nixon because they were so sure he had personally approved the payment of blackmail to howard hunt. and turns out he didn't. and the final thing we did in that diversion, was the plumber's case. that's the break-in daniel elseberg's shrink's office. it seems connected step it was the same people who conducted that break-in, that conducted the watergate break-in. all kinds of national security complications. it turns out that the government had done this sort of thing. whether you agree or disagree is entirely up to you. but the government had done national government break-ins without court authority for the previous 30 years. and prosecutors knew it. but one prosecutor in particular, a harvard professor,
3:38 pm
wanted to change that policy. and he undertook the prosecution for that purpose. and finally, just last week, we talked about the cover-up trial and i laid out my case for -- which came after nixon retired. why i thought they did not receive any semblance of due process. what happened was, in a highly publicized era, the fifth amendment, bob haldeman convicted on all counts. the judges cheated. the prosecutors cheated. the jury was hardly a jury of their peers. even the appellate court got corrupted in the effort to secure positions. that factors up into the bleadig
3:39 pm
of these conclusions. we're going to switch now to the tapes. the tapes are fun. and i have a lot of personal experience with the tapes because i transcribed them. so, a lot of stuff went on before we didn't talk about me. but i'm heavily involved in the tapes. so, let's start with the system. the taping system was installed in february of 1971. two full years into the nixon administration. its existence was disclosed and the system disabled when alex butterfield testified. shortly thereafter, a subpoena arrived. the ervin committee. we agreed to produce the nine
3:40 pm
tapes for the prosecutor, following the saturday night massacre. and that was followed by the revelation that two of the recordings never existed. on one, the telephone wasn't tapped. on the other, the tape reel had run out of tape. and a third tape had an 18-minute gap. which do this day, we can't explain and no one else is able to explain. very suspicious. the prosecutor secretly transmitted 12 games on march 1st. that's the date of the watergate indictment. i don't know where they got the other three. but if their report, they say we sent up 12 tapes. maybe they had some other segment or something es. there's no record of us getting them more than nine tapes.
3:41 pm
the grand jury had indicted these people and the prosecutor said, you know, we need 64 more. we decided that we had better release the conversations of what people thought was on those tapes was worse than the tapes themselves. so, on april 30th, we released the transcripts of 50 meetings. and a detailed 50-page defense of richard nixon. then the house judiciary committee, too months later, in june of '74 released their transcripts of eight nixon/dean meetings. and we'll go through these. these are very interesting developments. the supreme court in july upheld the subpoena for the 64 tapes. we released the transcript of the smoking gun. nixon resigned.
3:42 pm
and then in december, the congress seized all of the nixon's materials. the presidential recordings and materials preservation act seized the tapes and all of its documents. and they've been under the direction and control of the federal government ever since. now, as we say, litigation followed. clearly, nixon's tapes and nixon's documents, but the government was going to make up as much as money can for seizing his papers. and that litigation went on for 30 -- 25 years. up to the supreme court twice. and it was finally settled in 2002, the settlement is sealed. but the rumor is, the government paid the nixon taeestate. he died in '94. they paid the mixon estate $20 million. so, when you see pretty buildings out at the nixon
3:43 pm
library, that's how they paid for hem. shortly thereafter, peace broke out, you've got the nixon museum in loma linda with no presidential papers. you've got the archives holding the papers in washington, d.c. and julie nixon and gerry ford negotiated a deal where they amended a budget resolution to no longer require the nixon papers to be held within ten miles of the capitol. everybody knew what was going to happen. the nixon foundation gave the use of the nixon library to the national archive. and the national archives agreed they'd put the papers out there. so while the laws that govern it are slightly different. it's now a real presidential library. and if you want to listen to the tapes onsite, you go there to
3:44 pm
lob yorba linda. and if you want to listen to it, you go there, to the prosecutor, because they weren't working on the white house staff. so you could do it there. or two sites online. and we'll come back to them in a few minutes and you can listen to the tapes, if you want. okay. what about nixon's system? well, every person since 1940 has used recording devices. franklin roosevelt, when he held a press conference, he'd call in the written press. talk to them in the oval office. they'd go and write stories. and he'd get upset because they wouldn't say what he said. they'd change the stuff. so he had a naval corpsman sit in an air conditioning staff under the oval office taking shorthand of what he said, and he was ultimately replaced by a west ti westinghouse camera based on
3:45 pm
wire rope. a little thin woven wire that was both a movie camera and an audio recording. they only wanted the recording. archives still has some of those, but they don't have the device, so they don't know how to play them. so, they have early roosevelt recordings. truman didn't like the system. they didn't pull it out, but truman didn't like it. he tried once or twice. what you get in the truman administration is the maid cleaning the desk inadvertently turns it on. you don't get much out of truman. eisenhower, he taped the president, he taped people he tended not to trust. it's very selective. kennedy tended to tape recreational activity. and those tapes were removed -- huh? huh? pretty good. they were removed by robert kennedy the day kennedy -- the day jack kennedy was
3:46 pm
assassinated. he went in and took the system and the tapes. and they stayed in private hands until after the government seized nixon. and they approached the are kierchs aare kierc archives, you know we have tapes. they have filtering devices and ultimately they have donated some to the archives. and we have no idea whether there are some held back, whether they were doctored but they're clearly tapes. johnson took a different approach. what he looked to do is tape conversation negotiating for votes. he'd call his staff and say see i have his vote. there's a two-volume set on the johnson tapes but he re moved to them afterwards. they were played and taped over.
3:47 pm
so it wasn't done as a record. then you've got two stories about what happened to nixon. one story which is nixon's is that don kimball, head of pepsico was taking to lbj and saying is there anything you wish you would have done differently besides the war. and johnson said, yeah, i wish i had taped more. i'm trying to write a biography and i can't remember it. i just can't get stuff in order. kimball came back and said, you know, we ought to start taping. bob halder han sa eeman said, n talked to kimball about this. they were trying to keep a historic record. and the first thought is have the staff guy sitting in a meeting write up what happened. what happens was it was too
3:48 pm
biased. and then the president, with this brilliant reaction or something else, they couldn't trust it. they were going to have vern walters, the executive director of the cia in the smoking gun tape. a photograph memory, have him sit in, in the meeting and afterwards write it up. they thought it would foul up the idea. they decided not to do that idea either. then came this idea of why not tape. you know, what the rehell. it's operating for 2 1/2 years. they first tapped the oval office and cabinet room in february '71. two months later, they lapped the telephones. selective telephones and hideaway office. each afternoon, nixon would go to talk with two or three most intimate staff members. there are 950 reels of tape with
3:49 pm
the capacity for 3600 hours. but sometimes, they change the tape and it's only half used. sometimes, somebody's vacuuming and the tape is picking up the vacuuming. so there's about 3,000 hours of tape. it was put in as a reference aid for nixon. nixon wasn't going to work after he left office. he was going to be one of the youngest ex-presidents in our history. he was going to write books. that's what ike did. so, these are solely to refresh his recollection of what was going on. no tape had ever been preferenced or used by the president until the system was disclosed. the secret service kept doing it. they just kept piling up tapes but there was not, let's go back. he'd been in all of the meeti
3:50 pm
meetings. he remembered how things work. it was automated. this was brand nah. techniq brand-new. boy can it bite you, headquarters has a locater board. and it's six lights named. the president is in the residence, he's in the oval office, he's in the west wing, he's in his hideaway office in the eob, he's on the grounds, or he's off the grounds. so the secret service can look and know immediately where the man is. if, and only if, that light was on did a secret service agent turn on the recorder. now, i used to think it was wired into the locater board, but that's not true. at least that's not what they say today. they say when the president came into the oval office, the secret service turned on the machine. and then it was sound activated.
3:51 pm
so we miss the first two or three words every time it spools up. zwirp and i think, zwirp and second. i mean, you miss a couple words. okay? and finally, i'm at the very bottom now. you got to turn way up because he's not giving a speech. he's just talking to somebody. then the valet puts down a cup of coffee and the mics are right on that blotter. it goes off in your ear like a cannon and scares you. or nixon puts his feet up on the desk, and he doesn't clear it before he does that. so you're fighting over a word, you know, trying to get the word. and boom, that's how it went. okay. this is really kind of cool. when the time came to figure out
3:52 pm
which tapes were wanted, they keyed off what's called the president's daily diary. and what the secret service does -- i don't know if they do it today, but they sure did it then, and you can find these online. they document what the president does every minute of the day. this happens to be the day that dean comes in for the cancer on the presidency speech, maybe march 21st. there's maybe two or three of these for every day. president had breakfast, okay. the time. president did this, president did that. so you know when he was likely to have said or met with somebody relevant to watergate. the first thing the special prosecutor did was get these daily diaries. so the special prosecutor and fred are keying off this same source. you know what's going on publicly. now, did the president meet with dean? did he call dean?
3:53 pm
did he talk to henry peterson? you know, when did ehrlichman go in? was he ever in touch with john mitchell? it's right off these sheets. and you can get the sheets. we showed you the dean meeting, he's shown his meeting with haldeman and dean from 10:12 to 11:55 but it also says haldeman was there all the time, but he wasn't. haldeman was at a small meeting in advance, left, and came back in for the half hour. you can tell off the tape. so like everything else in our government, in your life, in your family, we're dealing with human beings. human beings make mistakes. this secret service record is not perfect because we know that haldeman wasn't in the meeting all the time, okay? so we started with transcription challenges. there's vast differences in audio quality of the tapes.
3:54 pm
if it's a telephone tap, it's clear as a bell. there's only one person on the other line. there's the president. you can get it. you play it back and forth. you can transcribe that. if it's in the oval office and they're at the desk, it's pretty good because there's four mics in the blotter and there's one in the lampshade. lean forward. we can pick you up. so if he's talking to somebody at his desk, pretty good. if they're over at the yellow couches in front of the fireplace, they're not pretty good. so you have troubles. every afternoon he goes to his old hideaway office in the eob. those are terrible. they're just terrible. you cannot understand. you just -- you can't hear them. the second thing that makes it difficult is there's different sony tape recorders hooked to each device. so the meetings in the old eob
3:55 pm
are on one tape reel. the meetings in the oval office are on another, and the telephone tap is someplace else. so you can't follow the president through the day. at least when we were working on it. now, today, they got the tapes all arranged electronically. but back when we were transcribing them, the first trick was find the conversation. you had the daily diary. fred would say, go find this one, and he would have listened to it. go to two for a second. oh, i skipped one. the national archives maintains that the transcripts are not the historic record. the historic record is the tape and the oral sounds that you get off the tape. there are no official national archives transcripts. they'll show you the transcripts that were prepared by the
3:56 pm
prosecution. they'll show you the ones we prepared. they'll show you the ones the house issued. but the archives, itself, doesn't do that. it's interesting. i used to think they should cut and snip the conversation so you could follow the president through the day. but you can do it now off the daily diary if you go in the national archives. it tells you the tape that's relevant to each thing that he does during the day. when we agree -- we're down to me, my favorite topic. when we agreed to turn over the tapes, fred took me aside, the counsel to the president, and he said, you know, they've done the first cut on these transcripts, but we're going to have to turn these over and we had blessed well better know what's on these tapes so we don't get surprised. they've just transcribed them like you take shorthand. you can follow the conversation and reach for those words that
3:57 pm
they didn't spend any time on. so i have personally spent hundreds of hours playing the tapes. okay? starting with the october 23rd is when we announced we would turn them over. we didn't actually turn them over for another month, month and a half because we took the transcripts, they could figure out what was going on. so i polished rose woods and marge acker's transcripts, and i was working from -- because once we turned them over to the court -- copies made on a high-speed device out at the national security agency, which turned out to not make really good copies because they were done in high speed and it blurred the sounds. on my machine the erase function was removed, so i only worked from copies, except for the
3:58 pm
smoking gun. i couldn't erase, and there's this buzz, and you just can't get rid of this buzz, so we bought a graphic equalizer that would take out that one megahertz sound. so the conversation got a little bit vague, but you didn't have that one buzz. and fred would have listened to it before, given it to rose to do the first cut. so they would tell me on reel -- i'm making this up -- on reel number 42 at 220 feet into the reel, that's where the conversation begins. we want you to -- here's the transcript. we want you to test it against the tape recording, so i didn't have to find the specific reel that the conversation was on, but the footage changes every time you rewind, so we got a little bit smarter and we put a piece of paper in the reel, you know, where -- to find the
3:59 pm
conversation. a half hour, just to find what you were supposed to transcribe, and then i want to talk about the expletives deleted because this is where it fit on the slide. when we went to release, the president had a habit of swearing, and we didn't think it was presidential, so the decision was made to remove the swearing. only for the president. we didn't care if somebody else swore in the presence of the president. and what he did was use the adjective, god damn. he used it all the time. "lock the god damn door," you know, when he was talking to people, so they were going to pull "god damn." and i was doing it, you know, pull this out of the transcript. and i went to fred and i said, you know we're pulling an adjective.
4:00 pm
now, when this gets printed people are going to think there's another word there. you know that other word begins with an "f" and it's going to look much worse. why don't we pull the word, god, and leave the word, damn, so they don't think he was swearing like lyndon johnson used to swear, okay? with two exceptions the entire time, all he does is god damn. and that went up the flag pole. i did not discuss these things with the president. i talked to fred, fred talked to the president, and the answer comes back down, nope, pull the whole phrase, and it's -- nixon felt it was worse to use the lord's name in vain than to have people suspect he used some other words, and upon reflection, maybe he was right. i mean, he was really worried about his mom. his mom had passed away, but the idea he had been swearing, and he didn't even know it, you know, it was so natural.
4:01 pm
he was so habitually swearing. but it's entirely possible that you could make a case that his core believers were very religious people and this would have been worse. in any event, that's the saga. i am the expletive deleter. so we come on the -- april 30th, 1974, we released the transcripts of 50 conversations, and i title this "the illusion of anticipated certainty." everybody thought the tapes would resolve all the ambiguities, and they didn't. they didn't resolve any ambiguities, and they raised a whole bunch more, but this is a picture of president nixon, and he's got 50 3-ring binders because we wanted it to look like a lot. so each taped conversation is in
4:02 pm
a separate binder. and then we stayed up all night right after his speech. he says, you know, we're going to give this to the house tomorrow. we stayed up all night with a single xerox machine making additional copies of what was going to be passed out. this is the official copy. okay? we didn't have many of these. it's pretty thick. okay? this is my book. i am the author of this book. i don't get credit. there's no byline, you know, transcriptions by geoff shepard. but i have a letter. i know that many long and difficult hours went into the preparation and publication of this submission of recorded presidential conversations which i presented to the committee and the judiciary of the house yesterday. i just want to thank you for your assistance on this most demanding project. i'm grateful for your spirit of cooperation and patience on such short notice, and particularly for the excellence and professional skill which marked
4:03 pm
i just ran across that recently. it sat in a dusty corner, but you can see it's my book. now, there's lots of mistakes in the book because we were working off these high-speed copies, and you just couldn't hear, but i can promise you there was no fudging on the transcripts. we didn't alter what we were presenting to the public. you couldn't get enough of these, so the "times" and the "post" published their own. we have pictures. i have one. i thought -- i just bought this. i thought i was going to be able to say that they eliminated the defense, the first 50 pages, which was buzhardt's part of the president. they put in other commentary. i have the "washington post" version on order. i still will leave no stone
4:04 pm
unturned looking for prejudice on the post. okay. what happened? well, one, this wasn't the first time we thought of doing this of releasing the transcripts. we were going to do it in december because there was this argument, you know, were the transcripts worse than what people thought was on them? and you know, what we were getting, what we were being hit on for hiding the transcripts. the primary purpose of their release was to undercut john dean's testimony. john dean had testified to the urban committee, to all these things. tapes show that much of that was not true. not correct. the prosecutor -- i told you before, i showed you, it's in one of my books. the prosecutor had a memo prepared earlier that year, which detailed some 19 material discrepancies between john dean's irving testimony and what's shown on the tapes. so it wasn't this phenomenal memory.
4:05 pm
the purpose was to say, look, the guy's not right. what the guy is saying is not true, and it included buzhardt's 50-page analysis saying if you listen to all these tapes, the president said this, president said this, president decreed that, president told pat gray to do this. and you'll not find anything that says the president gave an order or acknowledged criminality. it's just not there. okay? remember when i was talking about that prosecutive memo that the prosecutors prepared and shared with the house judiciary committee, and it listed all the stuff they thought nixon had done wrong and how a jury could make a simple -- a simple leap of faith that the president was guilty and then they could find him guilty, and then at the end there was the paragraph that said now the proper memo has to present the other side? this is the other side. it was done. it was out in the public domain. they could have attached it
4:06 pm
without any trouble at all and given it to the house. they didn't. well, what happened? i'm on number 4 now. there were four sets of removals. we said expletive deleted, we said inaudible, and we said unintelligible. and it shows up a lot, particularly in the eob conversations because you just can't hear. we also said several times material unrelated to presidential actions deleted, and i had a little discussion with fred buzhardt about that one because i didn't -- i wasn't bound by that. and he said, me neither, but if the president says this shouldn't come out because it had nothing to do with watergate, we marked it and it didn't come out. now, when the house did their versions, they didn't listen to that, but those are questionable
4:07 pm
removals, but they were marked. the news coverage, you may remember this. the news coverage was that it showed the president to be unpresidential, but he wasn't noble. he wasn't giving speeches like the founding fathers did in constitution hall. he was conniving, and he was all too human, and that -- the press had nothing to do with dean. there wasn't a single article, to the best of my knowledge, on buzhardt's defense. the media just pivoted and said, well, he shouldn't be president because he doesn't act like a president in private. and i maintain -- i don't have it on this slide -- it's just -- it's so fascinating. the tapes are the president thinking out loud. very private. says whatever comes to his mind. what he decides to do is in the presidential documents, in the messages, in the speeches.
4:08 pm
now, if you believe in a supreme being and believe the supreme being knows your thoughts before you get there, before you have them, imagine the dilemma the supreme being is going to have when you show up and say, you know, i was a pretty good guy because he knows what's going on up here. the supreme being may know what's going on in your mind. that's what makes the tapes so intriguing. it's really nixon thinking out loud. it's not noble. it's not posturing. these weren't designed for public release. okay. there are other sources. there we are. there's a book by stan kutler, one of nixon's fiercest critics. he's passed away. he transcribed the abuse of power tapes. and there's some controversy because he's been accused of
4:09 pm
cleaning up john dean's role on several occasions on the tapes. there's a professor down in texas named luke nichter who's published two books, the yellow and the green, on the nixon tapes and he runs out of his own pocket and you can go through and sort through the articles. neat guy. he's the current expert on the tapes, and then the nixon library has the tapes out in yorba linda, and you can go online. it's not that hard. i tried it over the weekend, and you can listen to the tapes. again, they don't give you the transcripts because the archives -- this is part of the archives. the archives doesn't believe the transcripts are official. you can access what other people said about them, but you can't access an official version of the -- of the tapes. i want to cover this, why didn't
4:10 pm
nixon destroy the tapes, because we might run out of time. we're going to go through some of the tapes, but i don't want to run out of times. so most people would agree if the tapes hadn't become public, nixon would have survived, that he would have finished his time in office. so why didn't he destroy the tapes? and this is all speculative on my part. one, when butterfield testified he revealed it to the house on friday. he didn't even bother to tell al haig until sunday afternoon that he had done this because he didn't think they were going to call him, but they called him for monday morning. nixon is at bethesda naval hospital with 104 degree temperature. he has pneumonia, and the people come out to chat, and he got conflicting advice. he says in his book, "nixon's memoirs," that it was ted agnew
4:11 pm
who said you should hold a press conference and build a bonfire in the rose garden and burn the tapes because privacy above all. i remember john connally said that, but nixon's book said it was ted agnew. but the political advice, well divided, was these are going to come out, you better get rid of them now. he got divided advice from his lawyers. his former law partner who was the house liberal said these are going to be evidence. they will come after you if you destroy them. you've told us you're not guilty, so you shouldn't be afraid, and if you destroy them, i will have to leave with great fanfare. i can't stay if you destroy them. and fred buzhardt said, you've got to be kidding. burn them, burn them now. you'll never keep them secret
4:12 pm
and they'll cherry pick them. nixon hesitated, and the subpoena hit. so then i'm down on number 4, they become subpoenaed four or five days after -- first nine after their existence was disclosed, and i was talking to fred about it once, he said after we got the subpoena, nixon wasn't going to violate the subpoena. i think nixon believed that the claim of executive privilege, back up to 2, would preclude disclosure. i mean, the importance of privacy in the oval office, they'd never make him disclose. he also believed that on balance, they would show innocence. he hadn't done anything criminal. thought he'd go up to the pearly gates, on balance i had a decent life, i think, and then down on 5, there was no assurance. remember, it happens all around him. he's not involved in taping.
4:13 pm
there's no assurance there aren't duplicates somewhere, so he could do this great fanfare and then stuff starts popping up. i tend to believe number six. after they put the system in -- number 6 says would destroy reference records needed for post-presidency books. after they put in the taping system, they stopped making notes, so if he burnt the tapes, he lost 2 1/2 years of records that he was going to need to write his books. so in a way if he burnt the tapes or destroyed the tapes, he was ripping up his pension plan because that's what he was going to do. and finally, nixon didn't know how the system worked. he didn't know where the tapes were stored. he didn't know how to erase them, anyway. so the idea of nixon destroying the tapes by himself is a nonstarter.
4:14 pm
i talked with fred about this, too, you know, his temperature keeps going up, you know. and this is toward the end. this is after the supreme court decision on july 24th that says you've got to turn them over. i said, you know what, what about this? and he said nobody's going to do it for him anymore. if he wants to destroy the tapes, he has the ability at his hands, and i said what do you mean? i mean, you know, there are 900 tape reels. he says all you need is an electromagnet, and you wave it around in the tape room, and that's it. you don't have to destroy them. you just disable them. but even that would have been a challenge for a non-technical president. so what we're going to do now, we're going to comment on six tapes. okay?
4:15 pm
the 18-minute gap. the conversations leading up to his resignation and the smoking gun. so we'll start with tape one, tape one of six, the 18-minute gap, and i'm intimately involved so since we can't solve what happened, i'm going to tell you my role. rose woods admitted she'd inadvertently erased three to five minutes from this tape. she was working from an original. the phone rang, she reached. you probably saw the picture on the cover of "newsweek," the rosemary stretch. that's all fake. that was in the ceremonial office. she wasn't transcribing in the ceremonial office. there was a little closet where they left it set up, and rose woods or marge acker would go there and get silence to work on these tapes with headphones, and the difficulty was -- we said we're going to turn the tapes over on october 23rd, buzhardt discovers the 18-minute gap. he told me -- now, other people
4:16 pm
say that can't be. it didn't make sense -- but buzhardt told me on november 23rd that he discovered the gap when the specialist from nsa was making the high-speed copies and said there's a gap we can't explain. he then went to jaworski, said we got this gap. if you'll work with me, we can figure out who did it. buzhardt thought it was rose woods and jaworski says, good luck, we have to go tell sirica right now. they go to tell sirica who says what fun, got to have a court hearing this afternoon. we have to disclose the existence of this right away. that precluded catching anybody, and the only person who could testify was buzhardt, and he didn't like being put on the stand while the lawyers had a field day cross examining him
4:17 pm
about a gap on the tape that he had discovered but hadn't caused. so he told me that he thought it was rose. he wouldn't talk to her, told through intermediaries, you better go get a lawyer, you know, go lawyer up, and then after rose testified during this evidentiary hearing and denied any involvement other than three to five minutes, she came back to the white house and was throwing furniture around and upset and buzhardt thought maybe she's right. maybe she didn't do it. so he got that nsa guy, nsa guy. they went into rose's office after hours and tested the machine and the guy could make the machine buzz. so buzz, fred buzhardt says to me, you need to find a tape
4:18 pm
expert who can testify that that's the problem. that's what i was supposed to do. i talk about haig's thanksgiving calls. see that down there. with our best friends, a couple who works on the white house staff. we're going to have thanksgiving dinner at our house and go to williamsburg for thanksgiving holiday. and the toast, thanksgiving toast, and the phone rings, and i assume it's family, i'll get rid of this. that's back when we answered the phone. i'll get rid of this. well, it was al haig, they discovered the 18-minute gap, he wanted to staff up. that was the first of four phone calls from al. i never made it back to the thanksgiving table, and my job was show up, get the staff, get in on friday after thanksgiving, find a tape expert who could testify what was wrong with the machine, and we did. we found a guy from westinghouse who showed up on saturday and
4:19 pm
what later became clear, although we're feeling our way. remember those tensor lamps? i told you this before. there used to be these tensor lamps that consumed a massive amount of amperage. if the tensor lamp was plugged into the same outlet, double outlets, as the tape recorder, the -- too much amperage, a faulty electrical outlet and a faulty bridge rectifier in the tape recorder, clearly caused the buzzing. whether it caused the erasure nobody can say for sure. we got two letters from clubs saying we had the same problem with the same machine, it ate our tapes so you guys aren't lying. but we couldn't prove it. we had these tape experts, and the tape experts looked at the machine, and they said this machine is broken, and they sent it out to have it fixed at the shop, the guy throws away the broken part, cleans the machine,
4:20 pm
and the machine wouldn't buzz. so the government, itself, destroyed the evidence. that's why nobody ever got prosecuted because the evidence was destroyed, but it -- there was a 78-day -- i'm back on number 6 -- evidentiary hearing, and then a grand jury referral, there couldn't be any document and there's no satisfactory resolution. we just don't know. except for john dean's book came out, appendix "a," he says it may have been a big cause but it's historically insignificant because the white house didn't know anything three days after the break-in so they couldn't have been talking about anything important. go to tape two. tape two is this discussion that ehrlichman and haldeman have. this is friday night. howard hunt's going to be sentenced. he's asking for more money. we're going to build what happens in his blackmail demand, but this is a conversation, it
4:21 pm
goes on for an hour. i had a rough time finding it. i transcribed it 45 years ago. i have very distinct memories, and there's no transcript, and luke nichter arranged for me to be able to hear it again, and i had on my headphones over the weekend preparing this transcript. and the only thing that's funny about it is at some point nixon says, where is it? i'll get it. there it is. the president in the middle, he says you know what i mean, the congress, the people, the harvards and the yaleys, they don't know how to react to the philosophies. these two people are discussing watergate. they don't have a care in the world. they don't think they're involved. they know john dean's worried about mccord, but they don't care. and i maintain this is like
4:22 pm
silver blaze where the inspector says is there anything else you want to call my attention to? and sherlock holmes says incident of the dog in the night. the inspector says there was no incident of the dog in the night. and sherlock holmes says, yes, that's the curious thing because the dog didn't bark, therefore, he had to know who the people were who were coming in to murder. here they are a week before the cover-up blows. there's no talk about good heavens, how are we going to cover ourself, what's going to happen, what are we going to do? they didn't know what was going on. they didn't know what john dean was doing. my view. tape three, this is the end of john dean's cancer on the presidency meeting, meets for almost two hours. the prosecutor says at least ten times they discussed the possibility of paying the blackmail and nixon didn't reject it out of hand, therefore, he must have approved it. it's just not on the tape. these are the end two
4:23 pm
paragraphs. what they conclude, it's very clear, blackmail won't work because hunt will never go away. we've got to figure out how to disclose this, get mitchell down here, and let's come up with a plan. so the president says we'll call peterson, that's the head of the criminal division, and tell him we want you to get to the bottom of the god damn -- the expletive deleted thing, call another grand jury or anything else, correct? you've got to follow up and see whether kleindienst can get sirica to hold off the sentencing because we have new developments we're going to announce. haldeman says at the end of the meeting john dean's point is exactly right, the erosion here now is going to you, and that's the thing we've got to turn off. at whatever the cost, we've got to figure out where to turn it off at the lowest cost, but whatever cost it takes, so what you have at the end of that meeting, you can say, well, they changed their mind. at the end of the meeting is clearly we're going to have to disclose the question that's
4:24 pm
out. next day -- that evening, that wednesday evening they meet and the prosecutors are saying -- haldeman's already called mitchell, tell mitchell to pay hunt. but they're right in the middle of not know whing what to do. and they're right back keen off of disclosure. but they don't know what john dean has done. they don't know all his criminal acts. so dean in this key meeting is negotiating for immunity, for his own immunity. and what he says is what we really ought to do is immunize some people, let them go to the hill and explain the story so the point is to get the story out, not to prosecute people criminally, and he might have added, particularly me. they don't think they -- the rest of the people don't think they've done anything wrong,
4:25 pm
so they dismiss it out of hand. so here he is. i'm just going to read the red part, but i put it in context. "that's why i raised the point of this immunity concept again. you, the president, you're concerned there's something lurking here. it's been brought to your attention. now is the time to get to the facts. people have been protecting themselves. dean can't get the information. people wouldn't give it to him. there are indications there are other things. you'd like to get all this information out but it's not going to come out if people take the fifth before a grand jury." down again at the bottom, the president speaking, this is -- here's what is going to say. i've been instructed by the president. we're going to put together exactly what happened. you won't be prosecuted for it because that's not the point. the point is to get out this information. he's negotiating for his own immunity and they reject it out of hand. this is just the next page of the transcript. haldeman says the hue and cry would be this is a super
4:26 pm
cover-up. before they were trying to cover up information. now they've got guilty people so they've immunized them. and dean says well, i'm not sure how many people would come out guilty, you know, me. and ehrlichman says well, the perception is the important thing. so then you go down to the bottom and what they like is the idea dean's going to write a report. he's the one who came in and told the president earlier that day all this bad stuff has been going on. you give me a written report. i will use that report as my basis for calling for a new investigation. that's where this meeting is going, and finally they bring mitchell down. now, mitchell's been gone since two weeks after the break-in. they think it's all over the tapes -- they think mitchell may be tainted. he was head of creep when this thing happened. what they're doing, they're bringing mitchell down to say the decision has been made we're going to disclose, you know, john. we're going to disclose, and
4:27 pm
we're going to call for a renewed investigation, and they go through that, but the most intriguing thing -- i'm hurrying up because we're running out of time -- is the quote from that same meeting. this is the old eob, the house printed its own transcripts, okay? they said they had better equipment. they had better quality tapes. they may have, and they discovered what's called the stonewall quote, and they put it out for the first time, and it says -- this is nixon talking to mitchell -- "i don't give a shit what happens. i want you all to stonewall it, let him plead the fifth, cover up or anything else, if it will save it, save the plan." that's the whole point. so they say this is proof positive nixon was in on the plan from day one. it's right there in black and white. now what's so intriguing, this is an eob tape. you just can't hear, so you hear what you want to hear.
4:28 pm
you want him guilty? you hear those words. you want him not guilty, you hear other words. these are the words i heard even back then. this is not something i made up over the last weekend. at the time -- and i have them parallel. "i don't give a shit what happens. go down and stonewall it. tell them --" he's talking to mitchell. "tell him he pled the fifth. cover anything else if it will save them. if it will save it for them, that's the whole point. now previous in the conversation he talks about sherman adams, and he was vice president when sherman adams was caught with a vicuna coat and ike wouldn't even talk to him. he was out on his tail within a day. and nixon's point to mitchell is he never got a chance to explain. he was just banished. we're going to call for a new investigation. each person can make their own decision on what they're going
4:29 pm
to say. i don't care if they stonewall it, plead the fifth, cover up if it will help them, but we're calling for a new investigation. okay? now that's a dramatically different interpretation. you may have noticed that. but here's what's intriguing. this is the next paragraph from that taped conversation, and this part is clear. okay? "on the other hand, i prefer you do it the other way, to have the truth come out. i would particularly prefer to do it the other way if it's going to come out, anyway, and my view and the jackass people they got up there to call, they're going to. the story they get out through leaks, charges and so forth and innuendo will be a hell of a lot worse than the story they're going to tell just by letting it out there." this is proof, in my mind, i'm a nixon advocate, that nixon is moving toward and has decided we're going to disclose. we're going to get the dean report, and we're going to disclose this stuff.
4:30 pm
dean goes to camp david to write the report, yep, no, dean goes to camp david to write the report, decides he can't write it without incriminating himself and that very weekend switches sides, retains his own criminal lawyer, so i believe the tapes show a perfectly defensible presidential reaction. you came in. you told me this stuff is going on. i didn't know about it before. here's what i want to do. but john has been running the cover-up, and he can't have disclosure, so it goes another way. nobody else believes me. last tape, tape six, the smoking gun. we have just a couple more minutes because this is key. this is why he resigned, remember? smoking gun. i transcribed it. robert allen, who's a texas oilman, forwards four checks that david manuel ogarrio has
4:31 pm
cut, cashier's checks, and he forwards them to maury stans on april 5th. dwayne andreas, totally unconnected, he's a ceo, big democrat. chairman of humphreys' re-election campaign, sole trustee of chairman of hubert humphreys campaign. sole trustee of hubert humphreys' blind trust, huge democrat playing both sides because he thinks nixon's going to win, 25,000 in cash left in his miami condominium before april 7th. april 7th is the day the campaign finance law goes into effect. after april 7th you've got to disclose the donor. before april 7th you don't have to disclose the donor. if you want to be unannounced, get your money in early, creep has raised $10 million before april 7th.
4:32 pm
lots of people want to give but not be publicized. ken dahlberg who's head of midwest fund-raising goes down to the andreas apartment. i'm on number 3. he takes the $25,000 in cash and doesn't want to be wandering around with that much cash. so he buys a cashier's check in his own name. he gives the cashier check to maury stans at creep. so now stans has four cashier's checks from a mexican lawyer and one from a bundler that works for the committee to re-elect. and they're worried because they come to stans' after april 7th. money's been left before, but they're received by the committee after, so they call in a genius lawyer, gordon liddi, and said, gordon, what are we going to do?
4:33 pm
gordon says don't worry about a thing, i'll take care of that. just in case i'm going to take the checks down to miami and launder them. he goes to his newfound friend who does the break-in and goes to his bank and wants to cash the check and the bank is the republican national bank of miami. this is number 7. the bank doesn't happen to have that much money sitting around in $100 bills, so they call over to the miami fed and they send over 50,000 blocks of money, you know, the federal reserve here in philly, blocks of money down there. liddi gives the cash back to the creep treasurer, hugh sloan, keeping 3,000 bucks for his expenses. sloan put it is in the safe. weeks later liddi withdraws some of that same money for his watergate break-in and gives the money, 5,000 bucks worth, of these uncirculated $100 bills to the cubans.
4:34 pm
they get arrested red handed. the money's in their hotel room. they got the key to the hotel room. they go across in the hotel room they find these $100 bills, and the fbi says, well, we better figure out where this money came from. okay? that's following the money. okay. then you get haldeman going in to tell nixon how we're going to stop this. they don't care that the fbi's traced the money to creep. the guys at creep are -- they're already drowning. they worry because they've called ken dahlberg and dahlberg is going to have to reveal dwayne andreas' name, and maury stans has promised this would never happen. they're trying to figure out a way to shut the investigation of how the money got to creep, not how creep got the money. and so haldeman says and this
4:35 pm
is -- see, there's three dots at the end. this is a little bit earlier in the tape. "the fbi's investigation is going in a direction we don't want it to go." they chitchat, and the president asks, "they've traced the money? who did they trace it to?" haldeman says they traced a name but they haven't gotten to the guy yet. that's because the guy is calling maury stans saying help me, help me, help me. would it be somebody here says the president, and the president says ken dahlberg and the president's reaction who the hell is ken dahlberg, he gave $25,000 in minnesota, and the check went to this guy, barker, the cashier's check. it isn't from the committee, though, from stans? yeah, it is. it's directly traceable, and there's some more from the texas people that went to the mexican bank. they'll get their names today, and what they're trying to do is shut off that part. that's what the president agrees to in the smoking gun.
4:36 pm
get the cia to tell the fbi not to interview these two guys, ken dahlberg and david ogarrio. so then you switch to other sources that aren't on the tape, okay? here's maury stans. he did a book. "it's possible to select the most ironic of all the cynical events of watergate final act of nixon's downfall came when he was forced to release the smoking gun tape which in his own words tied him to the cover-up. something which he denied all along. the simple act was to thwart the fbi investigation of the mexican money by directing the cia to block the path." next one, ben-veniste and sirica they're talking about the trial. he says it's extremely rare for a defendant at any time to confess guilt under cross examination. haldeman did no less. part of the conspiracy was defrauding the u.s. through using the cia to tell the fbi. in defending his actions, haldeman admitted he sought to
4:37 pm
fbi office of investigation. haldeman tried to explain as stemming from a political concern about the origins of that contribution." haldeman's telling the truth and sirica is mocking him saying he tried to dismiss this terribly incriminating event. pat gray in his book, pat gray is no friend of nixon. he does a book with his son called "in nixon's web" and he's talking about the next day. in the middle of our meeting dean called me wanting to be
4:38 pm
dean called me wanting to be sure we were still holding back on interviewing ogarrio and dahlberg, i told him we were, but we were meeting at that moment and we might do something else." this is pat gray, "nervous and worried i might lose the chance, i blurted out mr. president, later conversation with nixon, there's something i want to talk to you about. walters ask i feel people on your staff are trying to wound you. they didn't know what they're doing. the full photograph, there was perceptible pause. nixon said pat, you just continue your aggressive and thorough investigation. your aggressive and thorough investigation. that was the end of the call, and that's the last time gray talks to the president. so then he says the next day, dahlberg gave a sworn statement. he goes in the next paragraph and ogarrio turns out to be a responsible mexican attorney and there's nothing to prosecute, and finally, i read this to you before, i'm just going to skip it. dean gets around in his 2014 book to say, well, son of a
4:39 pm
gun, the lawyers misunderstood all along, the smoking gun's been misunderstood. if nixon's lawyers had known what was going on, nixon would have been able to survive. down at the bottom, had nixon known that, he might have survived his disclosure to fight another day. in short the smoking gun was shooting blanks. so that's the smoking gun. that's the sixth of the tapes i promised to go through. your heads should be spinning, but you can find these quotes online. our -- all these slides are posted on the website. so what about the tapes? this is my last slide. i use a biblical analogy. you can -- i mean, there's 3,000 hours of tapes. you can -- you can quote or find something to prove anything you want. it's just -- it's just all over the place because nixon's thinking out loud. haldeman in his defense wrote a
4:40 pm
letter from prison and he said, you know, you shouldn't hang people for casual statements. this isn't an act. this isn't a written document. people -- people express thoughts all the time. they're written on the wind, and i think number three, you need to think the tapes nixon thinking out loud. remember, this is our conclusion on this part, if nixon had been in on the cover-up, much less directing it, the proof would be all over the tapes, but it's not all over the tapes. they're delightfully ambiguous. you strive for the next word. when i was transcribing them, it was like reading a novel. you didn't know what was going to happen on the next page, but there's nothing definitive on the tapes. that gets us to our q & a. i thank you for listening. i have one thing to do before we start. the question was asked toward the end why did i think it was
4:41 pm
so significant that the trial would have been different in baltimore or richmond? and i want to go over that just a little bit more. on the appeal, the defendants made a big thing out of this. they paid for a survey, and they felt the survey showed the likelihood of conviction was 50% less in baltimore or richmond, okay? why is that? well, remember, nixon won every state, so, except the district and massachusetts. 60% of the people in maryland and virginia would have voted for nixon, and while the trial would be in baltimore or richmond, the jury pool is whatever u.s. attorney district that's in, so like we're in the 3rd district of pennsylvania, the eastern district of pennsylvania, part of the 3rd circuit, it's huge. it goes up to wilkes-barre.
4:42 pm
you'll get all kind of people from different walks of life who weren't watching watergate every hour of the day. the district is ten miles on a square diamond. there's no suburbs. at that time it was really, really low blue collar. the people with means lived in beth bethesda or arlington or oldtown alexandria. you got a different group of people, 80% of whom voted democratic. so it was hugely different jury pool, and i was talking about the intensity, you know, and if you watched watergate, you watched watergate, but i'd suggest it's the difference between watching the olpics and living in the olympic village where every meal, every innuendo, that's what washington was on watergate. 52,000 column inches of news,
4:43 pm
85% of which was negative. so not getting a fair jury was -- wasn't criminal, wasn't criminal, it just -- it's hard to say that there was due process. that concludes my chitchat. we'll go to questions. ma'am. >> i don't understand why nixon wouldn't have defended himself, you know, with that smoking gun tape. was it more important for him to protect his democratic contributors than to save his presidency? >> certainly not at the time that the tape came out. nixon had lost control of his defense. he -- when they first got the subpoena for the 64 -- the question is why didn't nixon defend what was on the smoking gun tape. forgive me. he had -- when he first got the 64 tape subpoena, he said to fred, there's some i need to
4:44 pm
hear. you don't have to listen to these tapes, and fred said i was wondering about the ones nixon wanted to hear. he listened to that tape and decided he was not going to let that tape go. he was very worried about the tape. now, i happen to think he didn't realize all the background. haldeman wasn't around, maury stans wasn't around to explain, but he clearly went out of his way to avoid disclosing that tape. and then when the supreme court decides and he tells buzhardt go listen to that tape, and buzhardt -- buzhardt is just appalled. he's devoted countless hours to defense of the president, and the way he interpreted it -- the way most people interpret it, you know, he's agreeing to get the -- to tell the cia to get the fbi not to interview these guys, and from that moment, from the moment fred heard the tape, nixon lost control of his defense. there wasn't anything nixon could do.
4:45 pm
he couldn't come out and say, i can explain everything because the lawyers -- the lawyers said when you announce this, the most important thing is you say you never told us. we've been defending you, and you've been hiding this from us and from the american people. now, maybe in a different environment phil lacovara does an interview after nixon's gone, and he says one of nixon's problems was he wasn't well-liked, so when he got into troubles he didn't have this goodwill to fall back on. and jaworski writes a note saying how dare you say that, we got this guy good. but it's just -- nixon didn't have the facts i had. he didn't have the full story and he was absolutely without defense, except his family. absolutely without defense at the time we heard that tape. ma'am.
4:46 pm
>> with these tapes, nixon was regardless of whether he referred to them or even knew where they were as you said, he was the only one when they were actively being taped who knew that they were taping, correct? it was an assumption whether misfired or didn't work or anything else, he would have been of the assumption that they were working when he was in those designated areas. >> yes, is that your question? >> no. >> okay. >> if he were under that assumption, if he were the only one in the room having the conversation who knew that he was being taped, there might -- there might be a reason where he issues, you know, a rather bland statement and lets other people say things that are -- >> okay. okay. fair enough. let me summarize just for a second.
4:47 pm
since nixon knew about the system and most others, haldeman knew, ehrlichman didn't, but haldeman knew. couldn't he have been conniving, couldn't he have hedged his own statements and let other people put their necks in a noose? i think it would be fair to say that nixon forgot it was going and didn't think any other human being would ever hear them anyway. there was at one point a rumor that he had asked haldeman pull the system, and they thought better of it, and he thought it was taken out. i haven't come across that, but i've heard the rumor at the time, but he didn't think they'd ever become public. now, having said that, there comes a time when he's been reminded the system is going, and that time is evident to me in a tape dated april 16th with john dean, when he says always
4:48 pm
tell the truth. you remember i didn't know anything when you came in, and he's feathering his own story, but i found no indication of that before. you know, in our system of justice, the jury gets to see the witness. you get demeanor credibility, and if you can't do that, you get the recording. they never just give you a transcript. and we think juries can ascertain whether someone's lying or not or conniving. the prosecutors in their notes in that what i call their smoking gun memo, they conclude early on that john dean's cutting it trying to save himself, and that's why they won't give him immunity. i don't mind your observation. it's just if you track the tapes and if you have 3,000 hours, i
4:49 pm
don't think you'll find it before april 16th, but he -- he clearly knew at one point. he's a busy man. he's got lots to do, and he doesn't believe anybody knows. sir. >> one of your early slides showed your first involvement with the tapes, i believe, and you said it was october 23rd. >> yeah. >> but on the slide it said this year, 2019. >> oh, i'll correct it. i'm sorry. >> what year was -- >> no, i started right after the saturday night massacre when we agreed we'd turn over nine tapes. >> so what year was that? >> '73. >> okay. thank you. >> buzhardt said we've got to know what's on those tapes, but i was doctoring these five minutes ago on the slides, but thank you for bringing that to my attention. i deny everything. ma'am. >> so it's my understanding that the preservation of presidential
4:50 pm
documents act doesn't get passed until after watergate. >> yes. >> so why did nixon not claim executive privilege on the tapes? claim executive privilege and prevent their being turned over. that was the fight over the first nine tapes where the grand jury subpoenaed nine within days of the disclosure of the system. sirica after hearing an argument upheld it was appealed by nixon to the d.c. circuit, and the -- we argued executive privilege, and the d.c. circuit said don't make us decide. go work out a compromise, and that's where cox came up with this idea of third-party
4:51 pm
authentication, and then when we lost, we refused that offer, and after we lost at the circuit level, we said, oh, let's go back to the original idea, and he didn't like the idea anymore having won, but that fight we lost at the circuit court and because of the saturday night massacre, we didn't take the appeal to the supreme court. the 64 tape was roughly the same thing presented in a very odd way. the argument was nixon has the power to order the prosecutor not to come after these tapes. he's head of the executive branch, so we don't have to issue the order. it's enough that we could, and the other side is saying, listen, if you want to take the political risk of saying i can't have these tapes, more power to you. the house is sitting there waiting to impeach you.
4:52 pm
now, it's settled law until earlier last week, it's settled law that the house and the senate can't extract documents that the executive branch doesn't want to give. that's pure executive privilege. they have the ability to impeach, and we're watching that get shaped up again. another question, sir? >> said on the tapes or not on the tapes, and all the other factors why did he lose the support of the senate republican leadership such as baker and goldwater and others?
4:53 pm
>> the question is why -- how did nixon lose his support? he had no support from baker from day one. baker wanted to run for president and decided in his own issue that he could snuggle up to sam ervin and look better, and that's why he hired as his counsel his campaign adviser for his last election. goldwater, goldwater was very disappointed in what else was coming out. goldwater's one of the three who comes down and says you've got to resign because we're going to get massacred in the next november election. what nixon really had going for him up until the end was the southern democrats, and they were keen off of fred buzhardt who was one of them, and as long as fred was able to assure them having listened to all these tapes that there was nothing definitive on the tapes about nixon's guilt, the south, the southern conservatives, democrats, the committee chairman would stick with him.
4:54 pm
and then there's this key spot where george wallace turns. i mean, you know, ronald reagan, governor of california, no involvement whatsoever, every time something new came out, they'd rush out and say, do you still support him? do you still support him? and reagan adopted what became known as the 24-hour rule. whenever something came out, he'd wait 24 hours to be sure that was the only shoe that was dropping before, and it gets hard if you're -- we couldn't get any lawyers to come defend nixon because the press would camp out at their house, you know, and interview their wife or their kids at school, you know, how can your father defend the felon president? it's a herd mentality. we'll get to it in lecture 12, but when you get this kind of ground swell, it's very, very hard to fight or to counter.
4:55 pm
nixon wasn't popular anyway. he had no friends in the media, none whatsoever. other questions? well, thank you much for coming. what we're going to do next time, next time we're going to talk about what i think is the prosecutorial and judicial abuse. i've been telling you about these secret meetings. we're going to go through those documents they wrote so you can get a real appreciation of the deals the judges were making on the side that denied the people a fair trial. thank you for coming. [ applause ] >> all week we're featuring american history tv programs as preview of what's available every weekend on c-span3. the lectures in history, american artifacts, real america, the civil war, oral histories, the presidency, and special event coverage about our nation's history.
4:56 pm
enjoy american history tv now and every weekend on c-span3. an event celebrating the 116th congress which started its term in january. house speaker nancy pelosi was among the speakers. the program also featured remarks by historian who looked back to a polarizing era in discussing her book the field of plood, violence in congress and the road to civil war. that's at 8:00 p.m. eastern here on c-span 3. bringing you unfiltered content
4:57 pm
from congress and beyond. a lot has changed, but today that big idea is more relevant than ever, on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind. american history tv continues now with the discussion on judicial abuse in the watergate scandal. we'll hear from principle deputy to the president's lead defense lawyer. he held this lecture at temple university. it's an hour and a half. what we're going to talk about today, we're going to hit with a sledge hammer what i think are the judicial and prosecutorial abuses that covered the cover-up trial. i understand people were convicted. but you need to understand tha


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on