tv All the Presidents Men Revisited MSNBC July 3, 2017 8:00pm-10:01pm PDT
calm and steady about it. over the long pull we'll probably be all right, that no president is stronger than the whole country. and this is not a popular decision. >> you can see our entire interview with dan rargt the last word, msnbc.com. and that is the last award leaks. secret tapes. special prosecutors and presidential paranoia. when i hear those words today, they have a familiar echo to me. 40 years ago i made the movie "all the president's men" about how "washington post" reporters bob woodward and carl bernstein chased the watergate story from break-in to cover-up to the first president to resign his office. the story of the scandal stayed with me. and a few years ago i produced a documentary about woodward and bernstein's detective story to uncover the truth. and it struck me as prophetic and worth repeating today. we thought watergate changed america and our political process.
but did it? ♪ good evening. president nixon reportedly will announce his resignation tonight. vice president ford will become the nation's 38th president tomorrow. that word comes unofficially from aides and associates -- >> the president has been part of politics for 28 years now. part of the national political scene for about 24 of those years. and this appears to be the final day of his administration. >> tonight at 9:00 eastern daylight time the president of the united states will address the nation concerning developmentsoday and over the last few days. this has of course been a difficult time. >> this is indeed an historic day.
the only time a president has ever resigned from office in our nearly 200 years of history. you see the white house there. in just a few moments now president nixon will be appearing before the people perhaps for the last time as president of the united states. >> have you got an extra camera in case the lights go out? >> 15 seconds to air. >> i know. >> this was much worse than we thought. nixon was worse than we thought. what happened was worse than we thought. >> he violated the law. he compromised the office. and he left a deep and wide black mark in american presidential history. >> no, there will be no picture. just take it right now. this is right after the broadcast. you got it? come on. okay. that's enough.
my friend ollie always wants to take a lot of pictures. i'm afraid he'll catch me picking my nose. >> i can't believe that guy was president of the united states because he is just branded in our national memory as a crook. and i think it's really important to understand the wrong approach to executive power that led nixon to those crimes. >> you want a level, don't you? yes, yes. good evening. this is the 37th time i have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of our nation. need any more? >> there was good in him. he had been a good vice president. but he was a fatally flawed man and a fatally flawed president. >> richard nixon, a guy who had been a hero to millions of americans, here's a guy who received more votes than anybody else in the history of this country.
but the richard nixon that they supported through the years was not the richard nixon that they thought they knew. >> every generation has to lose their virginity, and it was just the day that my generation did. but to think that we're the only generation that had that experience is probably the mistake that a lot of generations make. >> he is already before the cameras now. president richard milhous nixon, 37th president of the united states. >> throughout the long and difficult period of watergate i have felt it was my duty to persevere. >> watergate doesn't go away because it was so extraordinary, it was so hidden. >> we act like it can't happen again. and it did a lot of stuff after. there was a lot of hoo-haing and passing la, giving speeches. but if you ask me do i think we learned anything from it, no. >> i have never been a quitter. to leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to
every instinct in my body. but as president i must put the interests of america first. >> the president had been driven from office because the american people p learned the truth about richard nixon. but how we learned the truth, that fascinated me. nixon's do you feel had begun two years earlier when five men were caught spying and wiretapping at the democratic national headquarters at an office complex called watergate. over at the "washington post" two rookie reporters, bob woodward and carl bernstein, picked up the story. their investigation would unfold like a political thriller. and so i thought that the part that they played in exposing the scandal would make a movie, maybe even a good movie.
>> action. >> in hollywood terms woodward and bernstein were the good guys. and their weapon was the written word. >> did he confirm it? >> absolutely. >> we've got to tell bradlee. >> i played bob woodward in the film. carl bernstein was played by dustin hoffman. >> one of the things i had observed with carl is that he smoked so incessantly, and carl was always -- always had ashes on his tie and his shirt. and i said, that's got to be in the movie. >> is there any place you don't smoke? >> 40 years later the two investigative reporters are back in the "washington post" newsroom. i joined them for a reunion with ben bradlee. >> i'm glad to see you. >> their former editor. >> like a working reporter. >> it's the first time in decades we've all been together. >> hello, robert. >> how are you?
>> it's tempting to think that watergate could never happen again. but these two reporters and their editor know better. >> come on. i look pretty damn good considering. >> yes. it's only 40 years ago. >> is it? >> i wanted to dig deeper into their story and to see what if any impact it had on our culture today. >> let me get these guys out of the newsroom. >> "vanity fair" photographer annie leibovitz is here to document the three men who took on our president. for bob woodward watergate started much the same way most stories do, with a phone call fromdito his e >> the moment, the time i got the call about 9:00 a.m. on saturday morning june 17th. >> that's good. no one flashed a message to me this is going to be one of the most important days of your life. >> i was in the office that day. and i saw all this commotion around the city desk on this
saturday morning. went to find out what it was. and there was this moment in history that became known as watergate. ♪ >> woodward and bernstein, for those of us who were in the profession, i think we were quickly in awe of what they were doing. >> i became truly inspired by both their incredible investigative reporting and their storytelling. >> i remember thinking when i first read the woodward and bernstein articles where's this going. especially coming in the midst of all the turmoil that was playing out in the streets around the country. >> president nixon's first term
in office had been marred by loud, frequent, and sometimes violent protests. largely against the vietnam war. >> it really did seem like the world was unraveling, growing up in a suburban existence with parents who saw chicago in 1968 erupt into flames, saw people burning their draft cards, saw a sexual revolution, saw a drug revolution, saw woodstock come into their homes. >> when i joined the nixon white house, there were a lot of demonstrations against the war. it probably was some of the most intense times i think our country had ever faced. i mean, often we were feeling like we were in a state of siege. you felt it physically. and we knew that we were going to have to protect the white house.
there was a lot of discussion about using troops, directly facing the demonstrators, which i felt could lead to direct confrontations and conflicts. and so it came to me, why don't we do what john wayne did, let's just circle the white house. with buses. not wagons but with buses. which is what we did. >> so did you want to be on the side of jane fonda or john wayne? my parents chose john wayne. and therefore, they were for nixon and nixon was on the side of law and order. ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever ♪ more than ever we need nixon now ♪ ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever >> nixon's law and order platform was very popular. in the coming election he seemed a shoo-in for a second term.
>> i again proudly accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> by the summer of 1972 nixon's campaign machine was in full force. but amidst the hoopla his re-election committee would suddenly become entangled with a mysterious illegal break-in. >> five men were arrested early saturday while trying to install eavesdropping equipment at the democratic national committee. >> well, it was the sunday after the burglary. we were the only two who showed up in the office. >> i was in the office that day. i was writing a profile. and i said, this is a better story than the one i'm working on. and i think i'd like to work on this. >> and it turns out that one of the men has an office in the headquarters of the committee for the re-election of the president. >> james mccord, the lead burglar, had been in the cia in the security business for decades and now was the head of security athe nixon campaign.
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discover was that nixon's re-election committee was engaging in a campaign of espionage and sabotage against the democrats. woodward and bernstein were beginning to pull back the curtains on a strange and shadowy world. and i wanted to know how they were doing it. i got really intrigued with the idea of making a film about woodward and bernstein because one was a jew, the other was a wasp, one was a liberal and the other was a republican. what interested me was beyond that the hard work they did together to get at the story. so i gave woodward a call. he was pretty chilly on the phone. i said hi, this is bob redford calling. he said, yeah. and i said, i wanted to know if i could meet and you your partner because i have this idea i want to share with you. >> woodward came to me and said that redford had called. and i put together who redford was. and was interested in talking to us or whatever.
i said we're busy, we've got to do this story. >> for woodward and bernstein it wasn't only that the break-in seemed fishy. there was something just as odd about the white house response. >> presidential press secretary ron ziegler called it a third-rate burglary attempt. >> ron ziegler calling it a third-rate burglary, that was the tipoff to us. there seemed to be nothing third-rate about it except they got caught. >> they raised the stakes so high. with this third-rate burglary nonsense. it was apparent that something here was really rotten. nixon assigned his top lieutenants the president's men the task of managing the fallout from the break-in. among them chief of staff bob haldeman and presidential adviser john ehrlichman would become the guardians of the clandestine activities. ehrlichman begins to monopolize more and more of their time.
we know that because nixon had a secret tape recording system in the oval office. >> what's the dope on the watergate incident? >> there's nothing new. >> because i think the country doesn't give much of a [ bleep ] about it. and most people around the country think that this is routine, everybody's trying to bug everybody else. it's politics. >> the great thing about this is it is so totally [ bleep ] up and so badly done that nobody believes that we could have done it. that's right. it's just beyondprehension. >> well, it sounds like a comic era. it would make a funny [ bleep ] damn movie. it reay is like a comic opera. it would make one hell of a movie. but not very funny. >> haldeman and ehrlichman knew what they had to do, cover all the tracks leading to the white house. they started by enlisting another of the president's men, legal adviser john dean, to monitor day-to-day changes.
>> after the watergate break-in i really very quickly become the desk officer at the white house on watergate. i'm the person who others below me report and i in turn report up to haldeman and ehrlichman. >> any further developments on watergate? >> john dean is watching on an almost full-time basis and reporting to ehrlichman and me on a continuing basis. and no one else. there's no one else in the white house that has any knowledge at all. >> so they're deeply involved. it is a classic criminal conspiracy. >> as woodward and bernstein had suspected, the first clue to that conspiracy would be found at the republican committee to re-elect the president. the treasurer was hugh sloan. >> we'd raised $60 million, which was the most successful fund-raising to that point in history of any presidential campaign. >> but some of the committee's practices were starting to make sloan uneasy. >> hugh sloan, he was right out
of republican central casting. clean cut, seemed to always have a shirt and tie on. but he was troubled. because he was the one who was giving out the money. >> i was fine with everything up to the point i was directed to give cash to specific individuals. >> sloan would soon learn that some of the campaign money raised by the re-election committee had found its way into the hands of the watergate burglars. >> the keep was the money and finding these people who controlled these funds and figuring out what they did with the money. >> by now woodward and bernstein weren't the only ones following the money. the fbi was on the trail. and more importantly, a grand jury had begun its own investigation. and everyone wanted to talk to hugh sloan. >> the cash that financed the watergate break-in, five men had controlled of the fund. >> bernstein and woodward recommended the right thing to
do was tell the whole story so they can print it. >> we're not asking you to be our source 37 we're asking you to confirm it. >> i'm not your source on haldeman. >> a little bit of the good guy bad guy routine. >> let's say we wrote a story that haldeman was the fifth guy to control the fund. would we be in trouble? >> would we be wrong? >> they established through conversations and other means that i would have acknowledged basically five people as having the authority to tell me to dispense funds. and one of them was bob haldeman. >> let me put it this way. i would have no problems if you wrote a story like that. >> you wouldn't? >> no. >> okay. yeah. >> if you are looking for a phrase that defined what the execution of watergate was, it was a haldeman operation. it was driven by nixon. but operationally it was haldeman doinghat.
>> on october 25th, two weeks before the election, the "post's" front-page headline pointed the finger at the number one man in the president's inner circle, bob haldeman. woodward and bernstein reported that under questioning by the grand jury sloan had testified that haldeman controlled the campaign's secret fund. it was a journalistic coup. but they were wrong. >> i'd never been asked a question about bob haldeman. >> sloan in fact had not named haldeman in his testimony. the white house pounced. >> i don't respect the type of journalism, the shabby journalism that is being practiced by the "washington post." i use the term shoddy journalism, shabby journalism. i've used the term character assassination. >> this was their opportunity to discredit the "post," woodward and bernstein and bury the story. >> they came after us. ziegler, the press secretary.
so we knew that at that point the stakes were very high and we were the targets. >> all i know is that the story that ran this morning is incorrect -- >> we made a mistake. we [ bleep ] up. we had an intellectual understanding of the facts of the story and haldeman's role in watergate, but what was in the "washington post" was untrue. we should not have allowed that to happen. >> i was angry at myself and carl and how we got it wrong. and we thought maybe we are going to have to resign, maybe we should resign. i mean, we were kind of at the end of our rope. >> for woodward and bernstein the path to the truth had just gotten longer and harder. clouds can't connect? michael, can we get this data to...?
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republican headquarters at the shoreham hotel in washington. >> i've never known a national election when i would be able to go to bed earlier than tonight. [ cheers and applause ] >> and please repeat after me. i, richard nixon, do solemnly swear. >> i, richard nixon, do solemnly swear. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> looking back at the early watergate reports, it's hard to believe that nixon was completely unscathed. >> to the best of my ability. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> imagine a president getting away with that unfolding scandal in today's political environment. >> preserve and protect the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> woodward and bernstein went back to their desks, put their heads down, and continued to grind away at the story. >> i knew that i was going to be judged, the paper was going to be judged on this story. and therefore, you know, i think
you could get away with not being 100% accurate on day one. but you had to be as close as you could get and you had to be closer the next day and then closer the day after that. >> they knew that haldeman was controlling the campaign's secret fund. the question was who was controlling haldeman? i was amazed by woodward and bernstein's resolve. there's nothing glamorous about what they were doing. but i thought it was important to portray the tedium, the hard work, and of course the feelings about the film from a studio standpoint was non-commercial. newspapers, typewriters, phones. mm-mm. washington, uh-uh. >> and bob did something which was brilliant. he said these guys, even though they're from separate -- you know, diverse backgrounds, think of them as one. particularly when they're interviewing people. he said let's learn not only our own lines but let's memorize the
other guy's lines. >> what's this? what are you -- sloan. >> sloan was treasurer of the committee -- >> his wife did what? >> his wife is pregnant and she made sloan quit because apparently he no longer wanted to be part of it. >> we've got to go see sloan. >> make a note of it. what have we got? where is that -- >> each of us would come in at any time. we would take one half of a sentence, we'd finish it -- >> how do you know that? >> because she said it. right here. she said at the time of the break-in there was so much money floating around that i know that he got part of it. >> i tught it waone of the most exciting and most successful things that we did in that film. >> like woodward and bernstein dustin and i couldn't have been more opposite. >> mr. redford. how are you? >> i'm good. >> it's been too long. >> one of the things i remember you telling me was that you had trouble, even you at that time, had trouble getting a studio to say yes because they all said we know the ending, so why should we do "all the president's men"?
>> they said why do we do 24 when we know what the outcome is? i said that's not what the story about, it's about the two guys. >> that's right. >> and what they did that nobody knew about. >> and you said it was a detective story. >> detective story that -- but the main thing, and i think you felt the same way, was the alchemy of the two guys, considering their differences. and one of the tough story points for me was how to deal with nixon. how do you portray someone so twisted on the inside and so straight-laced on the outside? ♪ >> richard nixon is now the guy who when you see photos of him even at his prime you cannot believe he was ever president of the united states. >> he seemed to me to be the kid in the schoolyard whom all the other kids picked on, and i identified with that. >> who was nixon? nixon. nixon was a party guy, an animal.
you know, to me nixon was a caricature, unfortunately. and man, i had my nixon down. you know, 10 years old, walking around the house, you know, just -- b-b-b-b-b, i am not a crook. now i have a much more complex view of the man and his presidency. >> president nixon created a brand new federal department, the environmental protection agency. >> the question who is richard nixon is almost imponderable. i looked at him as one of really the great minds that has ever really been in the presidency. he had achieved some extraordinary breakthroughs. i mean, his opening to china. detente with the soviet union. >> the sad truth is i think nixon would by today's standards be considered maybe a conservative democrat. maybe at some levels a radical leftist. [ phone ringing ]
>> hello? >> here's one of the men around the president we don't hear much about. alex butterfield, deputy assistant, who handles much of the paperwork. >> my first meeting, i can't tell it without acting it. nixon came out from behind his desk and looked very tentative. he had no idea what to do. so he began to gesture. >> okay. >> no words came out. no discernible words. it's just this deep guttural rrrrr. this is the president. i couldn't believe it. >> alexander butterfield would play a crucial role in the watergate investigation. he had direct knowledge of the secret taping system in the office. >> haldeman came to me and he said the president wants a tape recording system. the secret service has a technical security division, electronics guys and communications guys. so that's who i went to.
the first thing he indicated, he intimated that they had done this before. he didn't say we did it for johnson, yes we did it for this president or that. and he also indicated these things usually don't work out very well. >> get those files. are we going to go after some of these democrats or not? bob, please get me the names of the jews. can we please investigate some of the [ bleep ]? >> he was a paranoid man. he was sure that people were out to get him. i'm sure some people were out to get him. but he gave them a lot to get him with. >> he wasn't glamorous. he wasn't social. this kind of awkward and very smart, but it's hard to get past the tapes. and what you hear on the tapes and the rambling and the paranoia. and just the insanity.
>> conspiracy. using it by any means. we are going to use any means. is that clear? >> i really didn't know richard nixon when i went into the house. i had a public image of him. and as he gets more comfortable with me, i start to see a rather dark side to this man. and i realize very quickly he's a man who harbored tremendous animosity toward his enemies literally. he doesn't forgive. he doesn't forget. and he wants to get even. and i wouldn't want to be on the other side right now. >> the real nixon is on those tapes. it is a road map of his mind. it is a road map of his presidency. >> for woodward and bernstein the road map would lead to an erie underground parking garage. and their next big break. there woodward met with a highly placed government official who
had a deep understanding of what was going on in the white house. he would become known as deep throat. >> just follow the money. 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. visibooking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah! pain is sometimes in my hands, be a distraction. right before a performance especially. only aleve has the strength to stop minor arthritis pain for up to 12 hours with just one pill. this is my pain. but i am stronger. aleve. all day strong.
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most memorable figure in the watergate scandal. when woodward and bern-city's book "all the president's men" came out guessing deep throat's identity turned into a cottage industry. >> i have to do this my way. you tell me what you know, and i'll confirm. i'll keep you in the right direction if i can, but that's all. just follow the money. >> deep throat was a blessing that i didn't want to mess with. >> in my day it was simply known the double cros in our present context it means infiltration of the democrats. >> i just felt it was a wonderful piece of drama. >> i want to talk about watergate. >> we're not supposed to talk about that subject. >> sometimes he just was not very forthcoming. and a couple of key times he was. >> clear from the book and i hope from the movie that it's somebody who was conscience-stricken.
somebody who crossed lines that somebody in that sort of responsible position rarely crosses and crossed for the best of reasons. >> he gave us a solidity in what others were telling us that might have sounded unbelievable given how crazy some of it was. >> i didn't know what deep throat even looked like. didn't know if it was a man or a woman or a dog. >> the deep throat mystique. right? i mean, a, it's embarrassing. it's deep throat. like it's named after a porn movie, right? the nickname deep throat was prurient and dirty from the beginning. and yet because it was so important to the story everybody talks about deep throat this and deep throat that in this very casual way. >> the term "deep throat," everything was on deep background, meaning you could use it but not with any kind of attribution at all that would indicate where it came from. >> i wouldn't quote you even as an anonymous source. you'd be on deep background.
>> the fascination with that one source i think was driven in part by the anonymity, right? that we knew what happened in the administration. we knew through "all the president's men" how woodward and bernstein ferreted out the story. we knew all these other things. and the one thing we didn't know is the identity of this one source. >> i tend to think that no deep throat no movie. i think there is something so incredibly bondish without it that without that i'm not sure we get the hollywoodization of the story. because he to me was probably a crucial element in, you know, "follow the money." >> deep throat was woodward's contact, and it took him a while to let bernstein in on the secret. >> he said i have somebody who works at the justice department who's in a very advantageous position. he told me a bit about him, didn't tell me exactly who he
was or we wohere h. >> he didn't want to talk on the phe because he knew about what was going on with wiretaps and how they would go af journalists. so he said we have to meet. it struck me at the time as kind of odd. but again, i was just beginning this process of washington reporting. it sounded reasonable to me. let's meet at 2:00 a.m. in this underground garage. >> in this garage under the cover of night deep throat began to allude to a far-reaching conspiracy deep in the heart of the white house. >> it involves the entire u.s. intelligence community. fbi, cia, and justice. it's incredible. >> deep throat was a great help in that he confirmed information that we had obtained elsewhere for the most part, and it gave us a better idea of how big the conspiracy was.
>> deep throat was out there and we began to hear about it from the ground up that bob had this special source. >> when will the rest of the world know who is deep throat? >> when that source passes away or releases us from our agreement and pledge of confidentiality. >> the inevitable question, who is deep throat? >> we've said deep throat is a man. >> you can rule out some suspects like diane sawyer, a former nixon press aide, now network anchor. woodward says deep throat was a man. >> you've built a fairly strong case for the identity of alexander haig. >> do you have any idea who deep throat is? >> deep throat is in my opinion a collection of people. >> how the secret of deep throat lasts for so long and the answer is neither of us told our ex-wives. >> during our filming woodward casually mentioned that the actor hal holbrook's portrayal of deep throat was pretty close to the whole thing. so when i asked him who the man was, he just smiled. >> other guesses over the years -- nixon campaign aide john
sears and fbi official mark felt. >> i never leaked any information. i didn't give anybody any documents. and i'm getting pretty fed up with the whole thing. >> mark felt certainly caught some people's attention. he was the number 2 man in the fbi. and he looked the part. >> no. no. i am not deep throat. and the only thing i can say is that i wouldn't be ashamed to be. >> three decades later bob woodward went to visit mark felt. the elde his daughter on a quiet street in a suburb of san francisco. coincidentally named redford place. >> i was talking to a friend of mine, and for some reason we started talking about watergate and he asked me about my father, and i started telling him about all the reporters calling and i said, you know, as a matter of fact, one reporter i think he said his name was bob woodward from the "washington post" came to the house to try and get an interview with dad and try to find out if dad is deep throat.
and my friend said, joan, bob woodward knows who deep throat is. and that's when i started thinking, oh, my gosh, maybe dad could be deep throat. but dad denied it. he said that he wasn't deep throat. and i said, dad, you've got to tell me the truth. please tell me the truth. i need to know. tell me. and so he did. he looked me in the eyes and said all right, if that's the way it's going to be. he said all right. i am. i was. that person. >> i got a call from "vanity fair" where i'm a contributing editor and told that in the next few hours they were going to break a story saying that felt was deep throat and would i confirm it. >> carl came down to washington, and we talked about this, should we reveal it, should we confirm
it. what's the obligation now? then ben bradlee stepped in and said it's out, it's over, you need to confirm it. and so we did. >> felt was the number two man at the fbi when he says he became the source to help reveal watergate, the scandal that helped bring down richard nixon. >> my dad, i know him so well, and he's a great man. he's so kind. he's so attentive to other people and loving. and we're all so proud of him. not only for his role in history but for that, for the character that he has, the person that he is. >> clearly there was an element of the conflicted man, the divided man. but then when i saw him on the doorstep, the video of mark felt and his pajamas and walker with the smile on his face, the smile i've never seen him smile. he was not a happy person in all the years i've dealt with him.
>> it turns out to have been liberating for us, for the truth, for felt because now you know, there was an awful lot of speculation in those 30 years including by many of our peers and colleagues that we made this up. >> this was an element of clarity and closure, answering a question that had persisted for a long time. >> deep throat begins to guide woodward and bernstein through an elaborate maze of covert activities. gradually, the reporters begin to connect watergate to many more of the president's men. by the beginning of 1973 congress could no longer ignore the scandal. their investigation would boil down to one simple question. >> what did the president know, and when did he know it? and one unfortunate ride on the gravitron, your grandkids spot a 6 foot banana that you need to win.
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the senate tonight voted 77-0 to establish a select committee to investigate the watergate bugging case. the committee will be headed by -- >> barely eight months after wo woodward and bernstein. >> the story started with a reporters nosing around a suspicious break in. and is now an examination of the nixon white house. >> i know we are obstructing justice. >> they didn't want to hear it. erlichman said, john, there's something putrid drinking water out there in old town wre you live. i said no, john, i'm just a
realist. we got problem. >> on march 21st john dean gave nixon a blunt assessment of the damage that watergate was doing to his presidency. >> he had his feet on the desk when was looking around his shoes at me. >> i have the impression you don't everything i know and it makes it very difficult for you to make judgments only you can make. >> after that remark his feet were solidly on the floor. and i had his full attention. i knew at that point he knew something but i didn't know how much. >> there is no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we got. >> i'm warning him we have problems. there is not good news. >> we have a cancer within -- close to the presidency that's growing. it's growing daily. >> he just kind of absorbs that
for a minute and thinks about it. as the conversation goes on, i don't know where this will end. it's just going to keep going up. >> the senate investigation was closing in on the president. to distance himself from the cover up, nixon needed scapegoats. >> one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency, i accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates at the white house. two of the finest public servants it as been my privilege to know. >> when he gets rid of them he is also planning his defense. >> the watergate scandal broke wide open today. the two closest men to the president have resigned. >> he thinks this will protect him and he will claim he had
noun nothi known nothing about a cover up. he is sorting this all out until he decides he has to let everybody go. and then of course he fires me. >> on may 17th the senate held its first public hearing. the president's men were summoned to the senate chamber. each was asked had the president of the united states broken the law? >> what did the president know and when did he know it? >> i don't think there has been a moment as riveting as the watergate hearings were. >> i did not grow up with the memory of having seen it, obviously. but it was this way that my mom talked about my childhood. he was home with a baby on the hip and what she did for my infancy was feed me and watch watergate.
>> i was making the film "the great gatsby' and you would watch the hearings. the hearings were so interesting. what was interesting is the drama and the tension and the certain area of mystery. what's going to happen? >> do i understand you are testifying the committee to re-elect the president and those associated with him -- >> the watergate hearings were an absolute unifying television experience for the entire country. >> this is a special report -- >> i can remember watching it and thinking, man, they're interrupting soap operas, you figure this must be something enormously fundamental to our democracy. >> most thought the dramatic testimony would come from erlichman but it would be john dean. >> they knew we did have an
option. we could at that point drag the wagons around of a giant lie that would protect everybody willing to lie. >> i didn't run around trying to bribe anybody or shred documents. we preserved the documents. >> the president, erlichman and i made no attempt to take over the watergate case. the view was that the truth must be told and quickly. >> when i testified -- i knew clearly, was i in or out was the question? and i decided i could not play that game. i made mistakes. 'd gotten ourselves in a deep problem and further lying and living that lie isn't something i'm comfortablwith. thanks for the ride around
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do you swear that the evidence that you should give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> like most americans i, too, was riveted by john deed's testimony. your name is john w. dean iii? >> i remember being struck by how methodically he presented nixon's pattern of deception. >> when the president called -- and we had a lively discussion. i told him at the conclusion of the conversation that evening that i wanted to talk with him as soon as possible about the watergate matter because i did not think he fully realized all of the facts and the implications of those facts for 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 mesmerizing. 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 punches. >> a recipient of wiretap information and halterman also.
>> 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 requesting 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 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 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's 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 scandal. >> one nixon aid knew how to prove who was lying but no one had 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. in urban's ear. 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 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 chock full of people. boyfriends with girls standing on their shoulders, people in the window ledges up there. cameras all over the place. >> i'd like to change the usual routine of questioning and ask minority counsel to begin questioning mr. butterfield. >> the caucus room was packed full of famous names and celebries and whatnot, kind cir. >> 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. i do believe you have -- go right ahead. >> although i do not have a staumt 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? yeah, that's direct. that's a very direct question. i'm not trying to sound dramatic here, but i knew then that the jig was up. >> 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. when you stop and think, rosemary woods, his secretary, never knew about the tapes. henry kissinger never knew about the tapes. john erlichman 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? ben said i wouldn't bust one on it. it's kind of a b-plus story. okay. the boss says b-plus. i won't work on it. i took sunday off and monday they called butterfield. ben came by and knocked on my desk and said, okay, it's better than a b-plus. am i telling the truth? is the president telling the truth. what else happened? the prosecutors immediately subpoenaed the tapes. the senate subpoenas them. nixon is early advised to destroy the tapes.
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wat watergate. 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 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. >> ruckleshouse refused in a moment of constitution of drama to obey a presidential order to fire the special watergate 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, bill ruckleshouse, one of the great people in the nixon administration, one of the most ethical men i have ever known, he, too, was not willing to do it. >> the deputy attorney general
ruckleshouse, also resigned. >> there will be an announcement out of the white house later on. >> does it have to do with the resignation of the attorney general? >> it might. you will have to get it from them. >> haig said your commander in chief has ordered you 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. bork was the last one that was really eligible to do it. >> the commander in chief found someone willing to carry out his orders. bork fired cox. >> and i have asked all personnel in the department to stay and help keep the department from going in this extraordinarily difficult time. >> so ended what would become known as the saturday night massacre. >> one white house source said the motive was to remove a constitutional confrontation as quickly as possible. >> 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 including the possibility of impeachment. >> there with some of us who felt that the imperial president was 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 just not stable. >> people in high office tend to want to have the power and to 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 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 kpekstive power that was asserted by the first bush administration especially on national security issues, thinks 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, however, until all the 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. and i got a call to go to ron ziegler's office. i go up to ron's office thinking it's something routine and ziegler is clearing his throat a lot and is kind of rattling his coffee cup and 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 watergate prosecutor thought it was important. >> we know the 18 1/2 minute gap was a conversation about watergate because it was with haldeman and the president because haldeman was amy me tick louse note taker 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 would have been our first suspicion. >> i was the lawyer who questioned rosemary woods about the gap. >> are you discussing testimony tomorrow? >> i don't want to comment on it. >> i'm called the mini skirted bitc bitch. 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, you could be a secretary or you could be a housewife. those were your choices. i was a very early professional and there we were head to head combat basically. ms. woods said it was a mistake. a record button hit accidentally while she took a phone call. >> she described that she pushed the wrong button. she had to keep her foot on the pedal.
>> mrs. woods used the machine to show how it happened. >> when i asked her to demonstrate, she pushed the button, kept her foot on and supposedly reached back about six feet to get the telephone. her foot came off with just the mere movement. there was no way it was believable. >> the white house iention that the talk between the president and haldeman was accidently erased would give more ammunition to the president's critics. >> 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 symbol for nixon's entire watergate problem. the truth had been deleted. the truth was missing.
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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. there's more. >> and the weapons were telephones, typewriters and pens. >> your lives are in danger. >> so as a result we would accentuate the volume in all those instruments. >> i love the scene when redford
playing the part of bob woodward sees carl reworking his story. >> how's it going? what are you doing? >> polishing it. >> what's wrong with it? >> nothing, it's good. >> what are you doing with it? >> i'm just helping. it's a little fuzzy. >> may i have it. >> 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. >> just aware of the fact you've only been here nine months. >> 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. here's my notes. if you're going to hype it. hype it with the facts. 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, totally
intuitive and instinctive, how he had to push woodward. and how you have to rewrite me because you're a better writer. and you do it without even thinking. >> woodward was didactic. he would go a, b, c, d in his investigative work. and bernstein would go a, b, h. >> we had the luxury of a fat dynamic institution in the "washington post" at its peak. >> there has always been some which i cannery in american politics, you're always going to have some underhanded 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 jfk and fdr very uncomfortable. >> could the post do a story like watergate now? or do 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 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
after the white house 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, 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. playing back to them. we have access to all known thought one click away. ability to surround a ferret out a source in a way that woodward and bernstein 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. i'm here. >> you're here. and i'm here. >> yeah.
>> and it was the noise of typewriters and it was the smoke of people who smoked. >> 38 years ago. >> why did things have to change? >> every day bob and i would go have a cup of coffee together in the morning in a vending machine room off the newsroom. >> it sure is quiet in here. >> and on this particular day, not that long after the break in, i put a dime in the coffee machine, which is what it cost then. i literally felt this chill go down my neck. i mean 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 oh, my god, 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, with great summer deals up to 40% off. visit booking.com. booking.yeah!
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in recent months. the president has been briefed on the situation. more than two dozen states have refused to fully comply with a request from president trump's election commission. maine, maryland, louisiana, and arizona have said they will not fully comply with that request. back to our program. [ 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 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 a special prosecutor said you should do an impeachment. there were those of in congress that wanted to take an action. but the powers that be refused. 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. to reign in the imperial president. >> 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 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. there's a reason why he's drawing the line. he's taking all this flak, there must be some damaging things on there. i was concerned -- we were concerned that he might dispose of 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
kind of a 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 release the tapes. >> perfectly clear? >> perfectly clear. >> it would be up to the supreme court to make the decision. on july 24, 1974, the court issued its ruling. >> the supreme court has just ruled on the tapes controversy. and how is that ruling? >> 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. so you had the court system acting in a nonpartisan way, in
a credible way, regardless of politics. >> imagine that in the politicized supreme court that we've had in our recent history. >> while nixon tried to put on the 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 be fictional and would not overstate the feeling that 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 spectator to the sub versn, dtr thetion of
the constitution. >> aye. >> mr. conyers? >> aye. >> some republicans who voted for the impeachment, some democrats who voted for the impeachment, they were putting their political lives on the line. all of us were putting our reputations on the line. >> aye. >> we voted on the impeachment. 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 and his presidency. >> on that investigation the democratic party thing, we're back in the problem area because the fbi is not under control and they have their investigation is now leading into some 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 nixon telling haldeman 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. 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. barry goldwater, 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. and goldwater said -- >> very few, and not mine. >> the 37th president of the united states was facing the ultimate disgrace. for a man who craved power the question was would nixon continue to fight? haus doll! happy birthday, sweetie! oh, millies. trick or treat! we're so glad to have you here. wh if we treated gat female scientists like they were stars? ♪ yasss queen! what if millie dresselhaus, the first woman to win the national medal of science in engineering, were as famous as any celebrity? [millie dresselhaus was seen having lunch today...] ♪
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blonds, they say, photograph better than brunettes. >> standing by now for president richard mill house -- milhous 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. 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. quite frankly. >> 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 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. no gloating. 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 okay, he's not prosecuesident anymore. he's 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 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 seahawks -- shakespearean 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, very poignant, very maudlin 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 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. and, boy, he needs to be told many times. but i just haven't had the time. >> he is not looking into the camera. he's kind of staring off and going into this 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. and 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 ended. >> it's really sad, really sad.
i don't think any president has been more wrongly persecuted than nixon, ever. i think he was a saint. >>lways rember 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 sv sven -- vengeful hate. and in that last farewell he gives that self-revealing line that hate will destroy you. >> that this piston, hate, this all-encompassing desire to get the opposition to wiretap, to
spy, to 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, yeah, 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 in 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 were this relief that somehow the system had worked.
and then in the aftermath, a lot of reforms that were put in place. the media changed. investigative journalism had been an incidental situation pre-watergate. post-watergate it almost becomes a standard. presidents before watergate had been really by most reporters, been given a presumption of innocence. in the aftermath, they're 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, that the principle
that 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 now be hauled into court? for mom" per roll more "doing chores for dad" per roll more "earning something you love" per roll bounty is more absorbent, so the roll last 50% longer than the leading ordinary brand. so you get more "life" per roll. bounty, the quicker picker upper and now try bounty with new despicable me 3 prints. only in theaters. i'm not going to let it paichange my life. air. aleve is proven stronger on pain than tylenol 8 hour. and only aleve has the strength to stop tough pain for up to 12 hours with just 1 pill. this is my pain, but i am stronger. aleve. all day strong. you're searching for something. like the perfect deal...
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government 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. john ehrlichman, bob haldeman, john dean and 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 was a real major breakdown in personal integrity as well as organizational integrity 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 you all. >> it also requires you to ask the ethical questions. is this right? is it respectful?
is it responsible? is it fair? we didn't ask any of those questions. and we should have started with 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 grant a few, free, and absolute pardon on to richard nixon for all offenses against the united states which he -- >> president's pardon of richard nixon stunned the nation. nixon's legal problems were now over. >> when the president does it, that means that it is not illegal. >> by definition. >> exactly. >> the former president was still not accepting responsibility. three years after resigning nixon was id to participate in a histic interview wvid ith da frost, the british television journalist. in the end an inevitable question came up. >> do you feel yowl ever
obstructed justice or were part of a conspiracy to obstruct justice? >> he would not -- he would not really admit anything, not even mistakes or whatever. he was really stonewalling completely. he was beginning to look like the haunted nixon of the actual watergate hearings rather than the californian ex-president. finally, i said to him why don't go further than the word "mistake"? >> what would you express? >> and that was a real gobsmacking moment. and i threw aside my clipboard. and i said there are three things you've got to say. the first that in fact you did go to the verge of criminality and secondly that you let down your oath of office. and thirdly, i put the american people through two years of 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, you should be. go on home. get a nice hot bath. rest up 15 minutes, and get your 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 keep hearing about it. >> one thing about watergate it was going to change the culture of washington. it did no such thing. 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 brought him down. >> people in high office tend to
not want to lay themselves open to their enemies and acknowledge embarrassing things or mistakes they have made. they 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 bernstein are among the most famous journalists of our age.
their names will always be associated with the downfall of a president. 40 years later it's a moment to ask what the greatest political scandal in modern political history means to us. >> it's an evolutionary tale, and we've evolved and we're older. bob and i 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. you know? >> who knows. >> it's a tale to maybe inspire a whole new generation, maybe. a generation who are now learning about watergate for the very first time.
the entire thing has been a witch hunt. >> this is not a witch hunt. this is a search for facts. >> the fbi is investigating whether there was any coordination between the campaign and russia's efforts. >> the whole russian thing, that's a ruse. >> there are three investigations. these are not hoaxes invented by democrats. >> it should be over with. in my opinion, it should have been over a long time ago. >> has the dismissal of mr. comey in any way impeded any investigation. >> you cannot stop the men and women of the fbi from doing the right thing, protecting the american people and upholding the constitution. >> what trump is going to find out eventually is that the rules do apply to him, and it's going to come by way of bob mueller. >> the president of the united states is under criminal