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tv   All the Presidents Men Revisited  MSNBC  June 17, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm PDT

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i did not think he fully realized the facts and implications of those facts with the people at the white house as well as himself. >> you had the president's counsel. he was the president's lawyer. you can't have anything worse happen to you than your own lawyer against you. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency. and if the cancer was not removed the president would be killed by it. i also told him that it was important that this cancer be removed immediately because it was growing more deadly every day. >> john dean's testimony was on for four days. it was mesmerizinmesmerizing. people were missing airplanes. people were standing around furniture stores that sold tv sets watching in the windows. >> i told him the cash that had been at the white house had been funneled back for the purpose of paying the seven individuals to remain silent. >> and dean wasn't pulling any
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punches. >> a recipient of wire tap information and also received information. >> i said to myself wow everything john dean is saying in that committee i hope they know it is true. >> the counsel was retained at that time. >> what date was that? >> that was on the 25th, as i recall. >> we absolutely believed what he was saying and the more evidence we got the more it confirmed what he was saying. >> meeting of march 21. as i have indicated my purpose in questing this meeting particularly with the president was that i felt it necessary that i give him a full report of all the facts that i knew and explained to him what i believed to be the implications of those facts. >> we had white house logs of meetings. so when he said i met with the president on march 21st we could look at the log and say he
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certainly did. >> how do you expect us to resolve the truth in this matter when you state one story and you testified here and made yourself subject to cross examination and the president states another story and he does not appear before this committee? can you give us any information as to how we might resolve this? >> mr. chairman, i think this. i strongly believe that the truth always emerges. i don't know if it will be during these hearings. i don't know if it will be through the process of the history, but the truth will come out someday. >> it is very hard to think about the president not being believed and john dean being believed. so if it came down to he said he said the president was going to win. >> president nixon and his counsel john dean now appear to be at odds over the watergate
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scandal. >> one nixon aid knew how to prove who was lying but no one asked him. >> while in the barbershop i am watching the hearings as was everyone every place. this is the morning of monday the 16th of july. i was really quite relaxed until i got that phone call. we are going to want you to come up here and testify. a senator wants you to testify at 2:00. i said you can tell him i'm not coming. so on the tube i see this guy go in behind the senators and whisper. and it's those big bushy eyebrows of his. you can see them going up and down. and he wasn't pleased. you can tell that. he tells this young man something and the guy leaves. predictably right away the phone rings. and he said i just told the
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senator what you said and he said if you are not in his office at 1:00 he will have federal marshals pick you up on the street. that's exactly what he said. >> carl stern is outside the senate caucus room and maybe can tell us more about mr. butterfield and what he is expected to tell the committee. >> there was a lot of speculation that something was cooking as far as what he was going to say. because we were deviating from the schedule. >> we believe his testimony will have to do with white house procedures. >> that room was full of people, boyfriends with girls standing on their shoulders, people yt window ledges up there. cameras all over the place. >> i would like to change the usual routine of questioning and ask minority counsel to begin questioning. >> the caucus room was packed full of famous names and celebrities.
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a circus atmosphere. >> i understand you previously were employed by the white house. is that correct? >> that's correct. >> during what period of time were you employed by the white house. >> i would like to preface my remarks, if i may. >> i'm sorry, go right ahead. >> i do not have a statement as such i would simply like to remind the committee membership that whereas i appear voluntarily this afternoon i appear with only some three hours notice. >> i was enjoying my hair cut at 11:00 today. >> are you aware of installation of listening devices in the oval office of the president. >> i tried to think is that direct? that is direct. that's a very direct question. i'm not trying to sound dramatic here, but i knew then that the jig was up.
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>> i was aware of listening devices, yes, sir. >> i was under the assumption that this tape recording system was still deep dark secret at the white house. that secret was well kept. you think his secretary never knew about the tapes. henry kissinger never knew about the tapes. >> two people told me about it before it became public. i called bradley at home at 9:00 on saturday night i believe and said nixon taped himself. what should we do? then said i wouldn't bush one on it. it is a b plus story. i won't work on it. i took sunday off and monday they called butterfield. they answer the question. am i telling the truth?
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is the president telling the truth. what else happened? the prosecutors immediately subpoenaed the tapes. nixon is early advised to destroy the tapes. lers are you one sneeze away from being voted out of the carpool? try zyrtec® it's starts working hard at hour one and works twice as hard when you take it again the next day. stick with zyrtec® and muddle no more®. dental professionals recommend using an electric toothbrush. for an exceptionally fresh feeling choose philips sonicare diamondclean. hear the difference versus oral b. in a recently published clinical study, philips sonicare diamondclean outperforms oral-b 7000, removing up to 82% more plaque and improving gum health up to 70% more.
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the discovery of the nixon tapes would ignite a new battle ground in the watergate drama. >> nixon's attorney general appointed a special prosecutor. the special prosecutor demanded nixon hand over eight of the tapes. >> eight specific tapes of conversations either in the president's office or on his
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telephone. >> nixon not only refused but on a saturday night in october 1973 he also ordered his attorney general to fire the special prosecutor. the attorney general was appalled. he said no and resigned. then the president told one of his assistants to call the deputy attorney general. >> i picked up the phone and he said he wanted me to fire cox. i said i'm not going to do it. >> refused in a moment of constitutional drama to obey a presidential order to fire the special prosecutor. >> first attorney general to say i'm not going to do that and then resign and then the next person who is the deputy attorney general, one of the great people in the nixon administration, one of the most ethical men i have ever known, too, was not willing to do it. >> the deputy attorney general also resigned. >> there will be an announcement out of the white house later on. >> does it have to do with the
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resignation of the attorney general? >> it might. you will have to get it from there. >> he said your commander in chief has ordered you to do this. i don't know what that added to the discussion. he said, well, who else is around. i said bob bork is here. he was the number three guy in the department. he was the last one really eligible to do it. >> the commander in chief found someone willing to carry out his orders. >> and i have asked all personnel in the department to stay and help keep the department from going in this difficult time. >> so ended what would become known as the saturday night massacre. >> one said the motive was to remove constitutional confrontation. >> richard nixon violated the law, he compromised the office and he violated the compact that we thought we had with him. >> before he did all of this he must have considered the probable reaction in congress
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including the possibility of impeachment. >> there with some of us who felt the presidency was getting out of hand. the saturday night massacre was a signal to the american people that a president was putting himself above the rule of law and they demanded action. >> and the public outcry to the saturday night massacre was so significant. >> just the insanity of the saturday night massacre like who does that? how could you think you could get away with that? it's not stable. >> people tend to want to have power and keep it. power still tends to corrupt. >> presidents by the nature of the job are just unlikely to ever shed any of the executive power that their predecessors have accrued to the office. every president since jimmy
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carter has expanded the powers of the presidency. and when president obama ran for office he had as part of his pitch as a candidate what was wrong with the expanded executive power that was asserted by the bush administration especially on national security issues, things like torture and secret prisons and all of that stuff after 9/11. he hasn't given any of that power back now that he is president. >> tonight i would like to give my answer to those who have suggested that i resign. i have no intention whatever of walking away from the job i was elected to do. >> after four months of legal squabbling the presidential tape recordings were delivered today. we won't hear them until all discrepancies have been accounted for and today that situation grew worse, not better. >> much worse. nixon had handed over the tapes but there was a catch. >> i was in the white house. things were fairly quiet.
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i got a call to go to ron's office. i go up to ron's office thinking it is something routine and he is rattling his coffee cup. that is when we learned about the gap in the tapes. we had been told just about three days earlier that the worst is behind us and suddenly there was an 18 1/2 minute gap in the tapes and all hell broke loose again. >> conversation in question took place three days after the watergate burglars were caught and the prosecutor thought it was important. >> we know the gap was a conversation about watergate because it was with the president and he took notes. >> the president's presidential secretary was recalled to explain how she accidently erased 18 minutes of a conversation with the president three days after the watergate break in. >> it didn't happen by accident
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would have been our first suspicion. >> i was the lawyer who questioned rosemary woods about the gap. pictures of me were always head to toe. my male colleagues shoulder up. that's how it was. rosemary woods represents really the majority of women at that time. you could be a nurse, a teacher, a secretary or you could be a house wife. those were your choices. i was a very early professional and there we were head to head combat basically. >> said it was a mistake. a record button hit accidently. >> she described that she pushed the wrong button. she had to keep her foot on the pedal. >> mrs. woods used the machine
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to show how it happened. >> when i asked her to demonstrate he pushed the button and kept foot on and supposedly reached back about six feet to get the telephone. her foot came off with just the mere movement. >> the white house intention that the talk between the president was accidentally erased would give more ammunition. >> to hear something so obviously untrue changed a lot of the american public's view of the whole situation. >> rosemary woods would stand by her story. bob woodward would later write the 18 1/2 minute gap became a signal for the entire problem. the truth had been deleted. the truth was missing. ♪ ♪ award winning interface. award winning design.
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bloody mess. nixon was a wounded president. all the president's men was a very violent movie. it was violent in a different sense. you didn't see anybody shot or blown up or poisoned. but people were out to kill each other. >> get out your notebook. >> the weapons were telephones, type writers and pens. >> your lives are in danger. >> so as a result we would accent wait the volume in all of those instruments. >> i love the scene when redford playing the part of bob woodward sees carl reworking his story. >> what are you doing with it?
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>> i'm just helping. it's a little fuzzy. >> i know exactly what i need. >> not here. i can't tell. >> may i have it? >> yes. >> i'm not looking for a fight. >> i'm not looking for a fight either. >> having known both of them, that was so true. that's what goes on in news rooms. >> if you are going to do it, do it right. i don't mind what you did. i mind the way you did it. >> the thing that i think you captured so well was his assuredness about how right he was at the same time where he had to push woodward. you are rewriting me because you are a better writer. and you do it without even thinking. >> woodward was didactic.
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he would go a, b, c, d in his investigative work. burnstein would go a, b, h. >> we had the luxury of a fab dynamic institution in the "washington post" at its peak. >> there has been such a carry in american politics you will have some under handed dealings, nothing comparable to this. >> ended up they ushered in a new era of journalism that opened up the white house in a way that would have made lbj and fdr very uncomfortable. >> could the post do a story like watergate now? what is your -- >> you know, in today's world that story would catch fire much faster. the minute the break in occurred you would tweet it. both sides would seize on it. it's an election campaign. they would be using it
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immediately as fodder for their both sides in the battle. everybody would chase it. there would be bloggers. as a result it would be much harder to do what you did probably because there would be such -- it would clamp down much faster. >> it's a great question how watergate might unfold in the current news environment. >> you could look at the glass half full argument and say with all of these people on twitter and all of these reporters the 24 hour news cycle, big story began to emerge. it would never be two lonely guys pursuing it forever. the entire pack of the cyber universe would bay like wolves until it happened. >> they used to say a reporter was only as good as their phone numbers. we can hunt and stock sources so many different ways. the tool box that i have available to me as a reporter,
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digital voice recording, e-mail, social media. we can true tell them in real time. when they say something we can be googling what they are saying. we have access to all known thought one click away. ability to surround source in a way that they only dreamed of. >> the internet is a tool just like a type writer is a tool, telephone is a tool. at the end of the day journalism requires incredibly dogged persistence on the part of journalists who are seeking the truth. >> we worked over here. >> the noise of type writers and smoke of people who smoke. >> 38 years ago. >> why did things get -- >> every day bob and i would go have a cup of coffee together in the morning in a vending machine
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room off the news room. >> it sure is quiet in here. >> on this particular day not that long after the break in i put a dime in the coffee machine. that's what it cost then. i literally felt this chill go down my neck. literally. made my hair stick up i think. i turned to woodward and i said this president is going to be impeached. woodward looked at me and said you're right. there's nothing more important to me than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. and with their price match, i know i'm getting the best price every time. now i can start relaxing even before the vacation begins. your vacation is very important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah!
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breaking news this hour for you. nbc news has just learned that the seven missing sailors from the uss fitzgerald have been found dead after the ship collided with a merchant ship off the coast of japan early saturday. search and rescue crews located the sailors in flooded compartments aboard the ship. the bodies are being taken to a naval hospital where they will be identified. right now we are told their families are being notified. we will stay on top of that
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story. now back to "all the president's men revisited." [ applause ] i would like to add a personal word with regard to an issue that has been of great concern to all americans over the past year. i refer, of course, to the investigations of the so-called watergate affair. i believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. one year of watergate is enough. >> but as hard as nixon tried, watergate would not go away. >> the meeting will come to
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order. the committee on the judiciary is authorized and directed to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach richard m. nixon, president of the united states of america. >> it took the american people to force congress into action. this was not like what happened with president clinton where special prosecutor said you should do an impeachment. there were those of in congress that wanted to take an action. it was when the american people broke down the wall of resistance and said you have to do what you can do under the constitution. >> the american people were losing patience. and the congressional committee was furious. they knew they had only scratched the surface. there were thousands of hours of recordings. nixon was refusing to release any of them. >> president nixon today defied
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subpoenas demanding that he produced tapes and papers in his possession and the country moved closer to a clash between the white house and the congress and the courts which will be unprecedented in american history. >> it became clear he wasn't going to produce them voluntarily. he is taking all of this flack. there must be some damaging things on there. i was concerned that he might dispose the tapes. that in and of itself could be a criminal offense. burning the tapes, destroying the tapes. >> nixon never thought the tapes that he was making secretly would ever surface publically. they would always be for private use. >> it was never designed that they would come out so there is spontaneity and free flow of people talking about their authentic conclusions. and it's horrifying. >> you have made it perfectly clear you don't intend to
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release the tapes. >> perfectly clear? >> perfectly clear. >> it would be up to the supreme court to make the decision. but july 24, 1974 the court issued its ruling. >> the supreme court has just ruled on the tapes controversy. it is a unanimous decision 8-0 ordering the president of the united states to turn over the tapes. >> the court voted unanimously, unanimously to require the tapes to be released. some of those members of the court had been appointed by richard nixon himself. you had the court system acting in a nonpartisan, credible way regardless of politics. >> imagine that in the politicized supreme court that we have had in our recent history. >> while nixon tried to put on
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pretend act that operations were going on as normal, they weren't. they were disintegrating every day. >> three days after the supreme court ruling house of representatives took the step most dreaded by the president. impeachment. nixon's fate now rested in the hands of the committee. >> today i am an inquisitor and hyperbole would not overstate the feeling i feel right now. my faith in the constitution is whole, complete and total and i am not going to sit here and be an idle peck staspectator to th destruction of the constitution. >> some republicans who voted for the impeachment, some democrats who voted for the impeachment, they were putting their political lives on the
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line. all of us were putting our reputations on the line. we voted on the impeachment and it was one of the most sober and solemn moments in my life and i think in the life of everybody on that committee. everybody understood the stakes for the country. that's what this was all about. and it was above party. it was what was good for america and what our democracy required. >> aye. >> it was the republicans that ultimately provided a real measure of putting country ahead of party. >> nixon held his ground. he insisted he knew nothing of the cover up, but among the thousands of hours of tapes one conversation recorded shortly after the break in would destroy what was left of his credibility
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and his presidency. >> on that investigation the problem area because the fbi is not under control and their investigation is now leading into productive areas. >> what finally catches him is when the tapes are released, the smoking gun tape puts the lie to the statement that he had no advanced knowledge. >> on the tape you hear tiksen saying to direct the cia to stop an fbi investigation. >> don't lie to them to the extent but say that they should call the fbi and don't go any further into this case. >> those words clearly led to an obstruction of justice. >> and i was always amazed at the president's nonchalance.
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he didn't seem to care. i wanted to say to him, my god, man, do you know what you just said? do you know those tapes are rolling? >> after the smoking gun tape came out the president lost all support republican as well as democrat. republicans went to him and said you have to resign. we cannot support you anymore. >> it was republicans finally who made sure that nixon had to leave office. marching down to the white house. >> we sat there in the oval room and the president acted like he just played golf and just had a hole in one. you would never think this guy's tail was in a crack. >> nixon said how many votes if i'm impeached in the house? how many votes in the senate? about 20. goldwater said very few and not mine. >> the 37th president of the
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>> standing by now for president richard millhouse nixon, 37th president of the united states. >> you got an extra camera in case the lights go out? is that nbc? >> that's enough. thanks. >> in just a moment now the president of the united states will begin his speech, perhaps his last speech from the white house. >> good evening. >> we watched it sitting on the floor eating bologna sandwiches and having a sense of unrealty. >> from the discussions i have had with congressional and other leaders i have concluded that because of the watergate matter i might not have the support of the congress that i would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and
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carry out the duties of this office in the way the interest of the nation would require. >> i was just awe struck at the whole thing. very little sense of self. it was really about the magnificence of what had occurred in terms of the right thing. >> therefore, i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. vice president ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office. >> our first reaction really was he is not president anymore. he is just a citizen. now we can indict him. that is what we thought. >> the morning he resigned i remember i walked down the street and bought a bottle of scotch. >> earlier today the east room of the white house was the scene of an emotional meeting between the president, his cabinet and
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the aides who have stayed with him during all of these years of mr. nixon's tenure in the white house. >> you have this president who is bitterly resentful of what had happened to him in his political career overlaid with a shakespeare yn level of paranoia. he was willing to engage in extraordinary acts to preserve his power. >> all presidents are human beings. i assume they will have faults and flaws. i assume they will make mistakes. i assume that once they are caught in their mistakes because of who they are and the kind of people they are, they will try to cover up those mistakes. >> i was in the east room of the white house when he made the very bittersweet speech with his family gathered around him. >> i look around here and see so many in this staff that, you know, i should have been by your
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offices and shaking hands and would have loved to have talked to you and found out how to run the world. everybody wants to tell the president what to do. boy, he needs to be told many times. but i just haven't had the time. >> he is not looking into the camera. he is kind of staring off and going into the stream of consciousness about his mother who was a saint. >> i guess all of you would say this about your mother. my mother was a saint. >> that's the most honest speech i have ever heard any politician give. i'm standing there much, much thinner younger version of myself, crying. >> we think that when we lose an election, we think when we suffer a defeat that all has
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ended. >> it's really sad, really sad. i don't think any president has been more wrongly than nixon ever. i think he was a saint. >> always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them. and then you destroy yourself. >> ultimately what comes through on the tapes and what comes through in nixon's actions is his hate, his vengeful hate. and in that last farewell he gives that self-revealing line that hate will destroy you. >> this piston of hate, this all encompassing desire to get the
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opposition to wire tap, to spy and destroy, to sabotage the ugliness of warfare was brought to american politics by richard nixon and the day he resigned he kind of seemed to get it. seemed to say i destroyed myself. >> there were no tanks in the street. there were no armed men around the white house. we had this exceptionally peaceful transition of power at a very traumatic time in our lives. the presidency was secured by the decency of gerald ford and by the extraordinary strength of the constitutional law that defines what the presidency is. >> there was this relief that
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somehow the system had worked. and then there were in the after math a lot of reforms that were put in place. the media changed, investigative journalism had been an incidental situation prewatergate, post watergate. it almost becomes a standard. presidents before watergate had been really by most reporters had been given a presumption of innocence. in the after math they are almost presumed guilty. it really dramatically changes the relationship of the news media with the president. >> the system had worked including the role of the press but really the idea that the system had worked in this amazing way that a criminal president had been forced to leave office, the principle that
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nobody in this country is above the law including the president of the united states. >> for nixon and the nation one question remained unanswered, would the president be called into court? it's just a burst pipe, i could fix it. (laugh) no. with claim rateguard your rates won't go up just because of a claim. i totally could've - no! switching to allstate is worth it. ♪ ♪ award winning interface.
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after nixon left office, we learned that the watergate break-in, that third rate burglary was not an anomaly, that the nixon administration was involved in a whole range of questionable activities. >> breaking and entering,
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wiretapping, destruction of documents, forgery of state department documents and letters, secret slush funds, conspiracy to obstruct justice. all of this by the law and order administration of richard nixon. sounds bad when you put it like that, huh? >> in the end some 40 people pled guilty to some watergate-related crimes. 16 others went to jail. >>, you know, to this day i'm not quite sure when i enter the conspiracy to obstruct justice -- that's one of the things i'm actually trying to figure out when did i cross the line, had when did i enter that illegal conspiracy? no question i went across it. >> there's really that break down on the part of us that were given those assignments. >> not quite sure exactly where i'm going to be for the next few months, but i'm going to miss y'all. >> it also requires you to ask the ethical questions.
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is this right? is it respectful? is it responsible? is it fair? we didn't ask any of those questions. and what we should have started with is is it legal? we were so caught in trying to serve the president's needs and desires that we did not ask those questions. >> i gerald r. ford do grapt a full, free, and absolute pardon onto richard nixon for all offenses against the united states -- >> president's pardon of richard nixon stunned the nation. nixon's legal problems were now over. >> when the president does it, that means it's not illegal. >> by deaf snigz. >> exactly. >> the former president was still not accepting responsibility. three years after resigning nixon was paid to participate in a historic interview with david
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frost. in the end an inevitable question came up. >> do you feel yowl ever obstructed justice or were part of the conspiracy to obstruct justice? >> he would not -- he would not really admit anything, not even mistakes. he was really stone walling everything. he was beginning to look like the haunted nixon of the actual watergate hearings rather than the californiian ex-president. finally, i said to him why don't you go farther than the word mistake. >> what would you express? >> and i threw aside by clib board and i said there are three things you've got to say. the first that in fact you did go to the very verge of criminal alt and secondly that you let down your oath of office. and thirdly, i put the american people through two years of
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needless agony and i apologize for that. and i know how difficult it is for anyone and most of all you, but i think that people need to hear it. and i think unless you say it, you're going to be haunted for the rest of your life. >> you're wanting me to say that i participated in a an illegal cover-up, no. >> the key to nixon really is his dislocated relationship with truth. >> if true, greatest words ever written in journalism. >> what is the truth? what is the truth? what really happened? >> you're probably pretty tired, right? well, krougs be. go on home, get a nice hot bath. rest up 15 minutes, and get your
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asses back in gear. we're under a lot of pressure, you know, and you put us there. nothing is riding on this except the first amendment of the constitution, the freedom of the press, and maybe the future of the country. not that any of that matters. >> arguably maybe the best movie on reporting. >> what i didn't expect was the echo of the movie to last that long. to this day i hear about it. >> you know of course this kind of thing is going to happen again. and it's going to happen in a much, much bigger scale. >> whether you talk about fdr or whether you talk about nixon or whether you talk about kennedy or whether you talk about clinton, we have presidents that seem to be in politics for the right reason but presidents that also have a fatal flaw. richard nixon's fatal flaw
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brought him down. >> people in high office tend to not want to lay themselves open to enemies and acknowledge embarrassing things or mistakes they have made or tend to want to lie when they feel they can get away with it. all those things have been around long before watergate and still are around. >> it was an age-old story of an abuse of power and forgetting that you're accountable to the people that put you there. and there'll be more, and we'll survive. >> what pulses through the nixon story is the question why. when he was elected, the goodwill of the nation and the world, it was his. that's the sadness of the nixon presidency of what could have been. >> woodward and burn at the scene are among the most famous journalists of our age.
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their names will always be associated with the downfall of a president. 40 years later it's a way to ask what the greatest political scandal in history means to us. >> it's an evolutionary tale, and we've evolved and we're older. we brought very different baggage to the story, and it meshed. >> so this was when you were 29, 30 years old. you'll never see a story like this again. >> who knows. >> it's a tale to maybe inspire a generation. a generation that's now learning about watergate for the very first time.
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due to mature subject matter, viewer discretion is advised. america's prisons, dangerous, often deadly. there are 2 million people doing time. every day is a battle to survive and maintain order. >> down, on your feet. down. >> among the nation's toughest, california state prison, corcoran, severely overcrowded and plagued by racial tension. we spent months inside where officers try to maintain order with an institution with a notoriously violent past. this is "lockup, corcoran, extended stay."

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