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tv   Book Discussion  CSPAN  December 30, 2014 11:50pm-1:10am EST

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them out of context. and on march 21, 1973, here we are now back on june 23 on june june 2372 he is trying to get the fbi to kill the investigation and that is not what he's talking about but talking about having the fbi stay out of something they have no business investigating, which his campaign financing. this includes the impeachment committee will finally say hey this is beyond what we are willing to defend and that was
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the one that ended his presidency when it did surface because they did do a cover up. >> how to that 18.5 minute gap happened. >> it is pretty clear from the expert panel that there was an intentional situation. and i decided to put an appendix who had access, the fact that there were five to nine who intentionally erase the content. it occurs on a tape on june 20, 1972 which is his first day back in the office. it is his first conversation after the arrest.
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and i think it is very flexible. it's something because of the timing of when this comes up that again shows his defense that he knew nothing about until march 21 is alive. but it is ironic that more conversations that same week occurred, this happened to be one and he had to flush it out and that is when they decided to erase it. i also included everyone who had access to that tape at that time and it runs with some people that are well-known, some that are still alive. >> when was the taping system and play in the white house? >> no, it wasn't.
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the reason that it goes in is pretty basic. he had a system in the white house and his staff took regular notes and wrote this up before and then afterwards what happened, focusing on anything to tell anybody that was in there with the decision was and then he would have a contemporaneous record of it so a person can go out of the office when he had a number of staff in that system broke down pretty quickly what happens next
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is not covered in the tapes and this was the killer, if you will. johnson had a switch that he could control and nixon if he was in the room the recording equipment comes on. and camp david is was activated as well. and that is the taping system that is key to the voice were key to the locator system.
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and so it only plays if he is in the room. in other words of the cleaning crew is in the oval office talking while they are cleaning, it will not start the taping system because it leaves the president there with his locator button. even al haig later became his chief of staff had no idea it was voice activated system and didn't learn about it until they had told about it by alex butterfield. and that was actually in response to my testimony in which was recorded. >> when did you leave the white house? >> i left with ehrlichman on april 30. i was very open with my colleagues and the fact that this isn't going to work in
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april of 1973 he removes all of us. and so it's very interesting to you can tell how frightened he is because he doesn't want anyone to turn on him. and at that point i have never talked about the president present to my lawyer or the prosecutors or anyone else. i didn't know if it was pillaged. we haven't worked that out yet. i started this process to find out how he could make a mix out of the presidency. that was the driving force. and he is not as coupler and as sharp as we thought he was and
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he leaves evidence that is conspicuous. and i'm wondering how many areas of his presidency when people and students and scholars go through they are wednesday where else to does this apply. was he useless about his staff. and maybe some of these other of competence are really the result of the staff so he kind of take charge of it and it's a mess. >> what was it like to work in the white house when he listened to the tapes and a lot of conspiracies in a lot of different groups working. i knew a little bit about that in the johnson white house.
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there was a unique feature that was somewhat fatal and what it was a need to know white house if you were working on something you were for britain to talk about it. kennedy: >> very quickly, the numbers are on the screen if you would like to participate. the call-in program went john dean. check out our numbers they are divided by time zones. when did the white house -- the watergate hearings have been when were you testifying and what happened to you after that? >> the watergate hearings started in may of 1973.
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i don't testify until june 25. i'm an early witness and i have been cooperating with the committee. they knew the general areas of my testimony. they had no idea that i would bring in some of my testimony a 60,000 word document. and i never would've made it 50,000 words. it would've been closer to 6000 words. nevertheless i ended up spending the entire day reading it in a monotone to keep my voice. and also i don't want to emphasize anything more than the others and so i said i'm just going to put it out there. so my first day was eight hours of reading and the next four days was question and answer. >> then what happens. >> very quickly, and i apologize to our viewers.
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.. much did it cost you financially to go through that? >> i have never really try to figure it out. i hired a lawyer, and he was fair. fair. i was in a position where i could afford it. so it was and also i had a_lawyer i had a next line lawyer and he insisted we do it his way or no way and he for a long time pushed for immunity and it turned out to be a smart move. it delayed things, gave me time to prepare testimony, gave us time to see how things were going to shake out and ultimately when it came down to what the government could or could not do with me they would have had great difficulty prosecuting me because of
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the immunity. immunity. i have the case that oliver north would later have where it was clear the court said you cannot said you cannot have it both ways. you can't have somebody )) testify under immunity and then turn around and prosecute them. it has to be one of the other. i have been informally immunized by the prosecutors formally by the senate and as my lawyer said it will take them years to even figure out they can't do it if they want to litigated. i didn't start down this road to beat the rap. i will take responsibility for whatever i've done. i wish you and your good lawyering that gives me the options. so that sorted itself out. >> of what were you convicted and what was the penalty? >> i pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice which is the only offense i know. i was originally sentenced to two to four years. i testified in the trial of
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ehrlichman and others, and others and it looks pretty clear that the judge was trying to make it look like i would get the strict sentence. i i was in the witness protection program for a year and a half. i don't actually go to jail or prison. i am in the safe house and and every day they bring me into the prosecutor's office it is not exactly a hard time. time. i eat in restaurants and sleep in this place at night and that i i picked up the next morning by the marshals my so-called incarceration lasts 120 120 days and the judge says time served. >> you have been patient. >> very patient, since 1963
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when john kennedy was assassinated. just trying to get to the bottom. i hope you i hope you don't cut me off. am i still on the air? >> we are listening. go ahead. be quick. >> thank you for mentioning oliver north. all the way from john kennedy's assassination i i don't know if you have seen the new photos of george bush senior and dealey plaza on the day kennedy was assassinated, through watergate when george bush senior asked nixon to resign through iran contra when george bush senior. >> ronald where are you going with all of this? go ahead and wrapup. >> i want to compliment john dean for having the guts to say any of this because so many people have been killed their books about how many
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people have killed. >> a lot going on there. we are goin lose i would be amazed but their were hundreds of people. >>host: how do conspiracy theories connecting dots that may or may not have been a part how does that begin? >>guest: some of the most aggressive conspiracy theories are pushed what i call conspiracy. entrepreneurs who write books about them, sell books about them, always fatally flawed because the conspiracy theorist does not want all of the hard information. there is never an answer. if you if you show them at true fact they will invent a false fact to replace it. it is a sad information defined a set situation because they have too much currency
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simplistic answers to complex problems, distort history, and not healthy for the body politic. pushed primarily by conspiracy entrepreneurs. >>host: jack in providence, rhode island on book tv with john dean. >>caller: good afternoon. let's be candid. the media hated nixon in particular the "washington post." the roosevelt administration corrupted. loaded with communists. i would like to get into watergate. tell watergate. tell me about this lady, the lady from asia. the helped him with the south vietnamese negotiating
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concerning the paris peace talks. >>host: thank you very much. >>guest: he makes is a lot of things. i have no expertise. i have nothing in the material i looked at the behavior being some how a back channel to make a deal with nixon promising south vietnam a better deal than lyndon johnson. a lot of hot air and conspiracy theories. >>host: mark felt became known. >>guest: not really for this reason. the conversation in this book
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where i have gone over to talk to henry peterson. told me that he was leaking. general counsel from one of the major news organizations time magazine was getting better information or the "washington post" has been worried about the fact they might be getting involved in obstruction of justice printing false stuff to tell me that he was leaking. he said, i have not talked to the attorney general, but he should have it at the white house. house. i gave a full report, so nixon knew about it. it was true. abcawun next call for john dean comes from jonathan in california.
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hello. >>caller: hello. if he had not leaked information, what the cover-up had succeeded and president makes and gone on to finish his second term? >>guest: i do not think so. inside information really very broad. a couple of good books about him. there is one called week. he really wants the job of director. the old hoover cronies help him with this. i do not think this would have made a lot of difference. while he while he is aggravating the situation and has an fbi that at times is out of control and leaking information that makes it apparent that the acting director does not have control in the big
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picture i do not think it changes anything. >>host: michael. >>caller: good afternoon. when you testified i was 12. for one thing i remember is when you told people that you've hoped that it did not prevent young people from becoming active in politics. well, i did and and have been ever since, and i wanted to ask you what has happened to john dean since watergate in your personal career as well as anything in politics? >>guest: i had i had a successful career in business in california where i lived. i was able to retire at 60 years of age. i i am now on my eighth book since retirement. i write columns, do a fair amount of lecturing and am active in politics through
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the perspective of a commentator. a commentator. >>host: how could nixon have survived it? >>guest: very easy. truths. the people who later should have gone day one. he does not learn about the break-in until march 17 when i tell him. he he should have been told that and have the options. but he just could not do it. he adopted the cover-up and took it for granted. you can here him. he is not active in it but approves every action of the cover-up until he gets deeply active. the end of the first cover-up and then the cover-up of the cover-up.
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>>host: terry in indiana on book tv. >>caller: years ago i heard i believe it was john ehrlichman claimed that he was providing information to the democratic party. did you hear anything about that? >>guest: never heard that. never did. >>host: to diary entries have come out recently. have have you had a chance to peruse? >>guest: not new entries. he did a new version of the diary. he would dictate these things. i listened to a number of atoms. i was listening to all of them. it is sort of a flat voice where he is often in a car a
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car or something like that being driven home in dictating the days events. he was very disciplined and detailed. it is a wonderful document that was buried for years. years. i doubt watergate would have sorted itself out if he had not buried this. so it was lost for years. just before he passed away he started working on it, cleaning it up did not delete anything but making sure people understood how it worked and cleaning it up. it is a valuable document. it is great to understand something not clear from the tapes. >>host: when you were sitting in the oval office and told her was a cancer growing around his presidency, what was that like? >>guest: i remember
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feeling conflicted. someone said hunt is demanding $120,000 or he we will talk about things he did on march 19. 19th. before that i had just started dealing with nixon february, february 27. i am taking his temperature and he is taking mine. i am not sure how much he knows and he is pushing me to write a bogus report harder and harder. i. i say, this man really needs to understand as graphic terms what is happening and why it is happening, and it is criminal. i i did not mince words with him. the surprise to me is that
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makes and reacts the way he does not respond when i tell him that someone is committing perjury that we should not be committing perjury. i tell him these people we will cost $1 million, which is about five and a half five and a half today, and he says, i know where we can get that. perjury is a tough rap to prove. we are not going to worry about that. i am surprised at his reaction. the next event in the sequence that occurred when james mcclure, one of the men arrested during watergate released a letter saying there had been perjury at trial and he jumped into watergate with both feet which forces nixon to take action. sending the defendants up to congress. they will get get 30 or 40 year sentences for
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a bungled burglary. he put the hammer to them. those events for snakes and to deal the situation and bring it to ahead >>host: who was the judge and how did he get the case? >>guest: he was the chief judge of the united states district court for the district of columbia. he got the case, while it normally would come up in rotation, he picked this for himself. he may have gotten the original break-in trial for those who were arrested in watergate through the normal system and as chief judge taken the option to stay with the successor trial. he became as knowledgeable as any judge. he he is a republican and takes on the president of the united states
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no question about it. he pushes the limits as a federal district judge with some of his actions example 40 year sentences for break-in. that pushes the fifth amendment right a long way. so he so he does not necessarily get the hall of fame for being a good judge. he gets a lot of credit for pushing this to a conclusion because of his actions. >>host: do people under 50 no who you are? >>guest: we have talked about this. before i do the lectures the class i do it in the instructor says, call your call your parents or grandparents and see if you should attend this lecture. and they all show up. >>host: here is john dean's latest book "the nixon defense: what he knew
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and when he knew it". you you are watching book tv on t-1. >> t-1 bringing you book tv each night and prime time. time. authors of books about the presidency of richard nixon.
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>> and now from washington dc's politics and prose bookstore elizabeth drew talks about her book originally published in 1965 covering the dissolution of the next and administration from september 1973 until august 1974. this is about an hour. >> they were lovely. it is lovely to be back here. first time since my last bovi >> it is lovely to be back here. first time since my last book. always welcoming to me. i have to tell you, publishers and authors scratch and crawl. place. but they always say you are on to me and it is lovely. brad and melissa have carried on the tradition that carl began
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with the energy and all of you coming tonight is a testimony to the job they do and the reverence for books that we all share. richard nixon is a hard man to let go of. i remember as a child in black and white fuzzy television seeing this odd man on the ticket for vice president and there was a problem of him taking money from a secret fund. he was talking about his daughter's dog and i thought he is interesting. he never stopped being interesting. richard nixon was never boring. he was probably as interesting in his after-presidency as he was during his presidency. i chronicle in the book the
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beginning with sparrow agnew being in trouble and i had said to my editor at the new yorker the very justly legendary william sean who said what are you thinking of writing next and i said i have a feeling we will change vice presidents and presidents within the year. this was a wild thought at the time. and so we agreed i would write a journal, not a diary, but watch the events and talk about them, we didn't know where it was going. as he said at the time we don't know how to change vice presidents. we don't know how to change vice presidents, we didn't know how to impeach a president, we didn't know how to get another president, it was all kind of made up as we went along. and one of the most distressing
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things now is the loose way in which the word impeachment is tossed around. and i may not get to this but if there was such a thing the way nixon was almost impeached because the model coming from the center and being bipartisan. the country could accept it because it was arrived at in a very fair way. so richard nixon had no choice but to resign finally. he held out and held out but the republican senators went to see him and didn't want to conduct a trial. they wanted to get it over with and wanted jerry ford in there before the election. so he got on the helicopter to go to the western ranch house, retire and never be heard from again -- so we thought. well, that is not my nixon.
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when he got to california he was understandablely deeply depressed. he worked for decades to get to the highest place anybody in the country politically can get to and it all went smash. he kind of knew in his head he did a fair amount to bring it on. but he always believed people were out to get him. this was what brought about his downfall. he could not tell the difference between opponents and enemies. and this was a big problem for him. but he was depressed and not well and had something from a trip to the middle east. but he wasn't going to give up. he saw himself as being treated lesser and lower than others.
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he was poor. his family was dysfunctional which wasn't a word then but this was a dysfunctional family. he had been looked down on as a kid, he was awkward, he read a lot, wasn't poplar and never had friend. strange person to go into politics but he was so determined about everything. he was determined this wasn't going to be the end of richard next nixon. he was going to work into the lime light again. this situation would have crushed most people but he drew up a plan. a number of aids were sent out to california with him at the government expense and they drew up a plan called wizard. it was to be the resurgeance of
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richard nixon as a statesman. he was smart enough to know how do you get to be a statesman? people listen to you on foreign policy, but on education or environment or these things and those issues bored him anyway. he taught with the soviet union and china. china was the one dearest to his heart really. so he began to make speeches. he began to take trips. he went to china and he issued pronouncements like he was still president or thought he was. our nixon didn't change though. he would write a secret letter to the president on his trip and it would be leaked to the press and it would be in the papers.
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and he had the interviews the famous interviews with david frost which were not portrayed correctly in the movie. he didn't confess. he than began to get bored with that. moved to new york where he was before after loosing the california governorship lost the presidency in 1960 and everybody thought he was gone. but he is never gone. i wish he were back now because he was so much fun and so interesting. in any event, he moved to new york and he and pat nixon, she was thrilled to be out of politics at last. she hated it. they brought a brownstone and were vetoed at various co-ops. and he decided he would have a
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series of dinners with the pooh-bahs of new york counselors and bankers and former relations and whatever. well these dinners are discovered in the last few years. he would have these dinners and everything was clockwork. at 7:00 he met people at the front door. they went upstairs they mixed drink and he was proud of the dry martinis he made. this guy wasn't into small talk but they chatted the house was done in chinese decor, the food was chinese the chefs were chinese, and everything was chinese and afterwards they
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would go upstairs and there would be more chatting and nixon would look up at 10:30 and say it is 10:30 and i promised i would get david cohen to the house of prostitution by 11:00 so we have to stop and everybody needs to leave. but the word of this was all over new york and everybody wanted to come. he became a celebrity. he didn't like the atmosphere for his grand children and moved to new jersey. he was okay there. there was another generation to cultivate. he had a series of dinners in saddle river where he would, roger stone you may have read about but he was the operative, and they invited journalist too young to be engaged during
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watergate. and he could be very impressive. he could talk with a microphone and he was name dropy about foreign leaders i have known but everybody was very impressed. in the end he won on his own terms. he had a funeral he would have loved. the current president and three ex-presidents came henry kissinger joked giving his talk, bob dole had a tear coming down from his eye. bob dole, during the trouble was asked if you would like to make an appearance in kansas and dole said a flyover would do. my nixon would have threw these guys. he knew kissinger was bad
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mouthing him. john gardner said to me, elizabeth, write it so that 40 years from now people we will no what it was like. it cannot be recaptured. i don't no that i wrote it
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any differently with that in mind. i did not not no where or whether i would be in 40 years. this is not an anniversary book. i wrote to peter mayer of overlook press. he he wrote back and said it is idiotic. he wrote back saying he will issue it in hard back. and i said a little afterwards to clear it up and the afterwards is a 10,000 word edition of the new material and i look back on what was watergate and what was it really? it was crimes for a break in that was plotted by the way, this is when i was doing my reporting many years later, it was the fourth attempt of these burglars to get in the
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watergate. they planned a grand dinner the first time to get in the building and up to the head quarters and one thing led to another and it didn't happen. the next time they went up they got there but no equipment to pick the lock. one of the burglars mr. martinez, went back to miami to get a lock pick and they came back and went in over the labor day weekend -- no the memorial day weekend that summer. but as often the case, pardon by enlish they screwed up and put the tap on the wrong phone and took pictures that were blurry and one of the burglars took us to john mitchell former attorney general who was head of the committee to relect the
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president, and mitchell's reporter said these stink. go back and get better pictures. then they went in and were caught. think about watergate and think about this. we had a whitehouse where the president came in with a lot of hate a lot of people he hated and a lot of people who he assumed were enemies, so on his wish they hired this bunch of strange people a former cop from new york whose first job was to tail ted kennedy because that is who nixon thought would be his opponent in 1972 so we wanted to get the goods on him. he always wanted to get the
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goods on people. the main person he wanted the goods on was the person who leaked the pentagon papers. kissenger was worked up over this and wanted nixon worked up as well. nixon knew about this. he was more concerned with the follow being found out than the watergate break in. and that is the burglars the plumbers they were called they were plumbing for leaks, they went out to california and raided the office of dan's psychiatrist. imagine that. a whitehouse sending someone out to examine someone's psychoatric files. but there were no files. they broke in okay and had their picture taken. hunt and libby had their picture
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taken and were proud in front of the doctor's office door and were using cia equipment, cameras, voice changers wigs so the cia got the pictures and said what is this? that is what the cover-up is really about. unfortunately for the country, the plumbers messed up everything they did or we would have been in far deeper trouble. living through watergate was an amazing time. things were coming at you all of the time. we didn't have cable or it would have been total chaos. we had the morning paper, and the radio with an occasional bulletin and the evening papers and news. we had the gossip as well. have you heard this?
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it was just like that all of the time. there was a saturday night massacre and i refused to call it that but it was like being in a banana republic. the president ordered cox be fired who is demanding the president turn over the tapes. nixon has refused and fired. next up the deputy is up and he refused and was fired. this went on through the night and the bulletins were coming in. it was banana republic time. it was very disturbing. he didn't know where we were. the fdi is surrounded the head
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quarters of the office and you just never knew what was coming next. i did a reflection on this later about what kind of people were these and how did this happen. and i would say we didn't have time to think about that then. i tried to and i have various reflections through the book about where are we do draw from this and what kind of country is this? how can this be? there is too much going on. think these things through. we are absorbing things one after another and trying to prepare ourselves for months of the bitter struggle to come. someone close to the administration said the story of the nixon administration is one of people who were in over their heads. there maybe something to that but it doesn't explain it. there was a fanatic quality of the nixon men.
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one can't escape the thought that the president set the tone. my feelings throughout this, and you can look at many situation and say you don't have to know who knew what, when but who set the tone and how did this come about. one can't escape the thought the president set the tone man with a striking lack of deep human communications, he went through life like he was in constant combat and accused opposition with vindeta and so did his staff. we have people's whose judgment trust we but nixon doesn't seem to have an inner jury of people he can trust.
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he was very interesting but very strange as well. just to see what it shrike to follow nixon is see what he is telling us. he talked in orlando to a group of editor and to give you a sense of the language of this plan david, you tell me when it is time to pull the plug, okay? we were in a disclosure stage, we learned the break-in was june 17th. and nixon came back from florida where he had a place also in the keys. he came back and had meetings that day and we know he called john mitchell but this is when the cover-up began. we didn't know that when because
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the tapes and transcripts didn't come out until later that summer. they told us a lot but there was more to come and more that i learned in the last couple years. tonight the president disclosed he did call john mitchell on june 20th to cheer him up after they were caught. we discovered 18.5 minutes missing and tried to pin it on his secretary. it didn't work. she couldn't do it. in the end it was him at camp davis davis. that is not anywhere except when i put it all together. he goes into detail about why the tape ran out and he explains
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his system was a little sony they had. and he said he rubbed a flag in his lepal. and i remember garner saying we should all wear the flag pins and put the decals on our cars. but the democrats and liberals were not that smart. he said the equipment president johnson had was much better material. he added i am not criticizing, you see it would be hard to do that. but an editor asked him about his reactions of the discovery
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of the tapes not existing and he said this is a great disappoint disappointment because i wanted the evidence out. they were designed to stop leaks of information that were putting national security in danger. and senator irving and baker agreed they should not be closed. they were a critique of the johnson administration and management of the vietnam war. it raised questions about the vietnam and nixon and kissengo continued for five years and got the same deal in the end. ask how watergate could happen the president replies '72 was a busy year. the consumption of fuel was being held down. he was in disney world which is
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fitting. he said the backup plane wasn't used so he didn't use much fuel. he said if the backup goes down it is down and they don't have to impeach me. then he said this i want to say this to the television audience i made mistakes but never profited from public service. i have earned every cent and never obstructed justice. and he said he welcomes this because people need to know the president of the united states isn't a crook.
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i am not a crook. this was the president of the united states. there was a period we were raffing in the same way. it was scary. we didn't know. some journalist's phones were tapped. a friend of mine is a wife of a columnist and learned that her close conversations were being listened to at the justice department or in the whitehouse. this wasn't funny. a friend of mine went out in the front lawn and the paper wasn't coming and she said they stopped the paper. nothing became proscary. the president suggested they blow up the brookings institution because he believes and he was told by ace plumbers that some papers leftover from the pentagon papers were in the
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still office of two men and they should set a fire and then the in the confusion go in there and get the papers. someone on the staff had the sense to stop this. but that was rare. so you had what i learned later, you had a president who was a very heavy drinker and was drunk a lot of the time. and he was on a medication called dilantin that was for convulsion and not for deperception -- depression -- and it enhances the effects of alcoholism. he would pick up the phone at 3 a.m. and call david and say this is the president, fire everybody on the sixth floor of the state department this is an order. slam. call him back and saying that
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order is repealable. slam. now it was up to people to decide whether or not carry out his orders. this was a scary thing. we learned about this later. i have a passion about the subject of impeachment. it is thrown around easy now. it is dangerous and serious people go about it seriously. he would have been impeached by the house but he had a following. he had an important following and republicans wanted him out of there to go away. but didn't want the followers coming at them when they were up for re-election. so they were saying where is the smoking gun?
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i happen to hate the concept of a smoking gun because it makes too simple and simplifys -- simpleifies -- it. this was a tape found ordering him a sense of obstruction and that gave the republican senators the chance to say you have to go because they didn't want to deal with it any longer. the moral of the story is watch out. we had several occasions during the interim that distinguished journalist would go see him and say there is a new nixon. no, there wasn't. read these stories with some care. we had some reforms that stayed with us and some that didn't but it got campaign finance on the
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agenda. other things happened as well. i have a passion for the subjectic and want to keep the book ahive and i hope you want your children to read about it. we have generations that have no idea what happened in this time when the constitution was truly at stake. and hope if you have read it before you will enjoy it again. i found myself laughing as i read it again. and i hope i have made a contribution to history and your children's understanding of our history. thank you. [applause] >> from generations to generations and this is perfect for lots of reasons. we will begin the question period. just go to the microphone. feel comfortable, say your name
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and elizabeth will begin to answer your questions. >> don't be shy! >> i am gregory from the caribbean. the most important question i have is do you believe based on your own experiences that what happened to nixon and ronald reagan having an affair and talked potentially impeach him. but the important question is a
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constitutional question in my opinion. did you believe that watergate might potentially show there are problems with the united states constitution and maybe there is too much power within the office of the president and that you know if you have people there thrown to the president things quickly get out of control in comparison with a parliament system and the prime minister is more controlled. i am wondering if you would talk about what you think about that. >> i have thought about it a lot and wrote about in this book too. the founding fathers were smart men but there was a lot they could not imagine. they said high crimes and misdemeanors and i want to talk
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about the time spent on the james madison moon and it was a discussion that went on. your own country, you are right. i actually co-broadcast on pbc with woody woodriff and they made the decision that the country had been through an impeachment and you should not do one again. but i think there is a huge different. this was a serious operation that went against congressional law. watergate was a series of events and across the board. i am often asked what about now. this is nothing. we have had nothing remotely like it where the president imself condoned these not just criminal activities but set the whole atmosphere of fear and vengeance.
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and there was nothing like it. i pray there is going to be nothing like it. i pray we hold the president accountable and get after the congress if they are not doing so. and get after if they are going crazy on one particular issue because they are looking for corruption and they cannot find it. it should balance out and in the end it did balance out there. the constitution worked -- barely. but it works. and i cannot think of a better system. and i am also very concerned about ideas for tinkering with the constitution and first amendment and that is another subject anyone can play. you don't want to put politics with the first amendment or any of it. >> hi i am richard. do you think there is any truth to the thought when nixon was sick and he was sort of not
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taking his own life but not necessarily fighting to live? >> no i don't think -- you all heard the question? i don't think so. nixon wasn't a quitter. i actual had the final section with a quote of his saying a man is in space when he is defeated and he is defeated had he is finished and i never quit. he was as down and out as a person could be. imagine the shame and horror of being driven out of office. but he didn't quit. i have some admiration for that. it would have crushed most people but he kept going >> i will elenor. as you say, this does show -- watergate does show the
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constitution would be upheld but i also feel that watergate, and probably coming after the vietnam war, or during the end of it, really kind of robbed us of respect for our institutions which, i think has been a very long running thing that opened the door for the problem is the government ideas that have been floated every since. in order words, ronald reagan and the current republican party. >> well that is a long way from there to here. in fact richard nixon was probably the last republican president who believed the government could do good things. he was no liberal. he was a centerist kind of guy. he leaned to the conservative side but have a democratic
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congress who were very strong on environment and strong on a number of issues and so he compromised and a lot got done domestically put it bored him to tears. you can take watergate as you see it. you can see the institutions working and in the end this man and government who went so astray and there were three articles of impeachment first being obstruction of justice and the second was abuse of power and to me that is where the story was and should be today in certain circumstances. not here but maybe in certain states. but that under the administration of this person these things went on and they were very careful about what
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they put in this abuse of power. i think we can recognize it when we see it. it didn't discourage me. i didn't think it was the triumph everyone was seeing because we almost didn't get it done. i thought jerry ford did the right thing in pardoning nixon. he said enough of watergate is enough. enough wallowing in water get he put it and the country has to move on. i agree with that. can you imagine if he had years of nixon trial? he would not paid attention to little else. i have a very distinguished friends who said it is wrong and he should have been held to judicial accounts. we can go on and on and people have their opinions.
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a lot of his people went to jail. most of them went to jail. and seeing the parade of all of these men going to jail and there was an accountability that went on. >> my name is ted covy. i was a college student back and can still remember watching president nixon when he resigned. i have read quite a few books on watergate and i guess what i want to ask you as an author of one of those books is there anything we still don't know about watergate? anything you think still needs to be answered that hasn't come out? >> i don't think so. because i think in the end it wasn't the little bitty details. i could get arrested for this but i didn't care who deep throat was. what is the difference. the story was what nixon and the whitehouse were doing. it was intrigue of who was
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leaking to these very very hard working and very smart, good reporters. but, no. there is nothing that i am curious about that there is some detail i don't know. i think we have enough to understand it. i hope that is what this book does. i hope it follows the events but always reflects on them as they are happening and afterward i go back to what was watergate, who was richard nixon and i think i have him at last. he was a complicated person and he was. but he was fascinating. imagine lincoln? he was the most fascinating president i know of and he makes an extroidinary story. i am not a conspiracy type person and i think we have the big picture which is the important picture.
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>> my name is jack. chris buckley's wonderful phrase i am a self-loathing republican. >> you don't have to be. >> it happens i was running the nrcc during the watergate trauma and so forth. and therefore i was in a very tense position. but i am taking this microphone for two reasons. i want to compliment you and say you have done a great way describing nixon. he had a character flaw we would all admit. i had a lot of differences with bob holdman. i hated his god damn guts but i am convinced he is the one that stopped the idotic presidential
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local orders more than anyone else. he did what a good chief of staff should do disregarding his boss' orders when necessary. >> i have not seen recorded anywhere who stopped it. not a lot was stopped afterall. some of the middle of the night calls where you get together saying what do we do now it is the boss again. but except for the brookings order i don't know of any during that period that were stopped. there was actually a horrible plan drawn up called gem stone and even hoover thought it was a bit much and he would not implement it. but bit by bit it was implemented. so there were not a lot of gov governors or people that understand boundaries around the place.
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>> as you know like you i am a watergate junkie. there are a lot of us around. i agree with you that it wasn't destined that nixon get caught and taken out of office. it might not have happened but for a series of lucky happenstances and having the right people in the right place at the right time. i agree with you on a lot. >> good. >> i am still troubled about the darryl ford question. because the first one who tried to do something about stopping the watergate investigations was gerald ford when the first investigations started in the house. >> how else do you think he became vice president? >> that is going to be my bottom line question. do you think that he was -- that there was a quid pro quo and i
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know a lot of people that looked at it, with the people from the courage award which are the ones who awarded the honor to gerald ford, came out and decided that what you said should win the day he helped the country avoid a protracted fight. but do you think there may be more we don't know? >> i don't think so jim. the question is was there a deal and it was very very much a question when ford pardoned nixon had they made a quid pro quo and there were investigations into it and no one found anything. the president went before the hill, before your committee or subcommittee, to testify on what happened. jerry ford was picked i believe, a lot of people were nominating themselves because
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they saw a good opening there, likely, because he was safe. he was good ole jerry. he wasn't a big critic of nixon and everybody thought of him as decent guy and this turned out to be true. good ole midwestern from michigan and i am from ohio so i am partial to midwesterners. he was no sparkling figure. i decide the scene when nixon announces who is going to be his vice president after they got rid of agnew for accepting cash into the executive vice president office from contractors in maryland. so agnew was out.
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he was no star but set the right tone and the pardon was right to say let's keep it behind us and keep going. there was a big discussion and argument with the new prosecutor as to whether or not nixon should be prosecuted. i don't know what would have been gained by that. i don't know how the man could have been shamed anymore. he would have written another book, and he did, as impeachment was closing in on him, and we thought of a concern name thrown around too much he said of the great depression greatest books have been written from jail talking about mind
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comp. i don't think anything rhetorical was there. are we done? >> there is a question. >> i am ann. i wondered if you had a nutshell theory on why nixon was so paranoid? >> i stayed away from psycho-babble. you cannot get into somebody's head. it started very early. very early he felt people were looking down on him. he wasn't surounded by a lot of love. his father was vituperative and celt kept failing. and his father was very cold and -- mother -- and it was difficult to win her approval. even after becoming president, i think she finally said something nice. he had two brothers that were tb
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and died and she focused on him. who knows what happens in people's head but he grew up resenting and resenting and he didn't know when to stop. there is a wonderful little writing he did that i have in the afterwards about how it starts out as a piece of cake you work out resentiment and it is easy and you get carried away and you realize you don't need to stop but you should have stopped. he did it much better than i am doing. i don't know why. it was just clearly there. he was very very bigoted and this came out in the tapes. this affected things as i went back and read the tapes about members of congress on impeaching him or not. this was a scary project. but the language on the tapes. they heard lbj had bad language but was a piper compared to nixon. there was a hatred of blacks and
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jews and language wasn't fit to repeat. >> i am going to get the last question. but first a story. many of you will remember a fellow by the name of herald carlswel who was an appointee to the supreme court who was rejected because they said meadocracy is entitled to representation on the court. and someone by the name of richard harris wrote three articles for the new yorker and it turned into a book. it was a case study of how he
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was defeated. everyone mentioned in that book and every organization in that book mentioned who opposed him was audited on their tax returns. that was under richard nixon and john connolly as the secretary of the treasury and that is indeed what happened. some of those organizations their tax-exempt status was threatened. so it is a live example of how we move to vindetta and inmies and distinguish between aopponents and enemies. my question elizabeth, is this was a remarkable period of people rising to great public service. and going well beyond what was expected of them, people in the congress, people in the stabs of
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the congress. share a little bit about that with us. people need to know there is such a thing as public service and outstanding public servants. >> and you don't know where it is going to come from. i dedicated this version of the book to those who rose to the occasion. the publishers put it on the copyright page so you have to struggle to find it. but thank you, david, because that was one of the most important things that happen here. there was fuss over the urban committee hearings because sam urban talked constitution a lot but was a bit of a ham so it was a great show and he showed the country this parade of bizarre people who were popilating the whitehouse or running around doing deeds for them or deep
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sixing material in the potomac river and someone told him to deep six the material that was found. all of these bizarre things. but when the got to the house it was serious and very important. and there was a relatively new chairman of the house judiciary committee. peter. he was from new york and the press being with us everyone said he must be mobbed up. but no body could find anything. he was a very quite man. modest. and he set the tone. he hired somebody who was 27 at the time. he can't be here tonight. francio o'brian who was a great guy. he lied about his age at the time saying he wa


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