tv Book Discussion on One Man Against the World CSPAN December 22, 2015 8:00pm-9:05pm EST
politicking prose along with my wife melissa. on behalf of the entire staff, thank you so much for coming. a few quick administrative notes. now would would be a good time to silence yourself owns or other things that might go beep. when we get get to the q and a part of the session we invite anyone to ask questions. we ask that if you have a question, first you put it in the form of a question, second you make your way to this microphone up here. we are videoing both for our own youtube page and c-span tv is here this evening, they would like to be able to hear your question. at the end, before you get your book signed our staff would appreciate it if you would fold up the chair that you are in and lean it against a bookcase or pillar. the topic this evening is richard nixon whose tragic presidency is profiled in a new book by tim weiner that is
receiving a lot of attention. tim is an experience, prize-winning journalist who we are familiar here within washington. he was here for 15 years, he spoke before for his previous book. he he got into the newspaper business after it masters degree in journalism at columbia 36 years ago. by the early 1980s, he landed at the philadelphia choir where he worked for a decade on a range of assignments both domestic and foreign. in 1988 he won a won a pulitzer prize for national reporting. he was a will awarded for a pentagon budget use for defense research. that series led to tim's first book, blank check. the pentagon's black budget. he joined the new york times and
mid- 1990s, cover national security issues. he he once described as nukes, spooks, and cooks. during that period, he co-authored this by called betrayal, later he served as correspondence for the times in mexico and traveled on assignment to a range of other garden spots as afghanistan, pakistan, kenya, the sudan, and a number of other places. his third book, legacy of ashes, the history of the cia came out in 2007 and won the national book award for nonfiction. not long after that he left the newspaper but not the world of reporting and writing. he is now the director of the nonfiction residency program at
the curious institute in new york which is about to open. he will also be at princeton this fall teaching. he will teach a course on the cia, of course he continues to turn out books on very challenging subjects. three years ago, the book enemies he tackled the history of the fbi secret intelligence operation. in his new book, one man against the world, the tragedy of richard nixon he revisits the spectacular fall of one of our most controversial and complicated presidents. drying on documents declassified over the last year's tim looks back on the vietnam war and at the watergate scandal and most of all the tormented, complex figure who is central to those tumultuous years. in one review it was quote no one who reads this incisive book will be nostalgic for next and, no matter how disastrous his successors. i did learn just a moment ago
that tim and his family have at least a personal connection to the next ten years. tim when he was a teenager accompanied his dad to the march on washington. when when they got back to their car they noticed somebody taken down the license plate, his dad worried that he would get a ticket. he didn't get a ticket but he did get audited for the next three years. ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming tim weiner. [applause]. thank you brad, thank you everybody here who works at politics and prose. whether they are selling books, buying books, or reading books, this is one of the greatest bookstores in the united states. i think everyone knows that.
[applause]. speaking of next and successors, during my years as a reporter i did have a chance to interview president ford, who succeeded improperly partisan. also jimmy carter who is elected after gerald ford's short accidental residency. a couple of years later, during the reagan era senator bob dole saw at a state event, carter, ford, and the sense sent all gathered together. he said, look there they are, speak no evil, hear no evil, and evil. [laughter] and, on that note. i would like to go back about 45
years and i think many of you will remember this passage in our history. richard nixon had been president for 14 months, the war in vietnam was not ending as he had promised during his campaign and he decided to take some extremely drastic measure which led to a series of disasters unlike any our country had experienced, probably since the civil war. it's the spring of 1970, nixon was sleepless, soul-searching, insomnia return. i do do not think he ever slept general alexander haig, his military aid
said. he dealt with the night by drinking. the president by day fell into a dark state talking with chief of staff haldeman bypass presidents he suddenly started planning the precise details of his own funeral. he had predicted that 1970 would be the worst year of his first term. he proved. his popularity plummeted 11 points that march. the endless war was the cause. the toll of the vietnam was taking was measured in military caskets and wounds of the mind. an increasing number of veterans were shellshocked or heroin addicted. when they returned they found the war had come home with them. a battle within the american body of politics. all of the wild, americans, americans were still dying in combat, a thousand every month. on march 19, 1970 henry
kissinger told custard about a telephone conversation he had with the president. kissinger told nixon that there was not very much we could do militarily to force vietnam to settle or surrender. the president demanded a new set of war plans, hard option and he wanted on his desk that day. kissinger became frantic. the written notes of the white house council convened on march 23 to convey the conundrum. mr. helms, the director cia said the enemy believed we might bomb north vietnam something might be a a chi. mr. kissinger asked how it could be conveyed to north vietnam non-. they said it would be clear if we actually did some bombing. then came a cool out of nowhere, that we go right winged military took power in cambodia.
the communist forces started heading toward the communist capital 200 miles northwest of american military headquarters in saigon. nixon extinct if we embrace the right-wing leader of the cambodian coup, a general no one knew well but with a name like could forget, long knoll. president nixon asked me to draft several telegrams containing extravagant expressions of friendship and support required marshall greene, he was secretary of state. i was concerned that long knoll would read into those messages a degree of u.s. military support and commitment that exceeded what our government could deliver on. also regarded long knoll as lacking any qualities needed to lead his country out of its nest. does any of this ring a bell?
sms deep and daily in cambodia nixon ordered the cia to the fight, quote i want helms to develop and implement a plan where maximum assistance for assistance in cambodia. helms said that he would support with untraceable money and guns, and arsenal of communist weapons like ak-47 assault rifles. this proved difficult. cambodia had no american ambassador, no station chief, no cia military officers on the ground. casting around the world, the cia called upon john stein, a veteran cia officer with plenty of paramilitary experience in africa but none in indochina. stein reported back to the white house shortly thereafter, he he got straight to the point. quote here is another small
southeast asia country where no one knew what was going on. the new cambodia regime had come to the conclusion that someone had to help them and that someone was the united states, with more fighting on their hands the only way to give them a bucking up was 10000 ak-47 rifles and a swiss bank account. nixon approved 1500 assault rifles rifles and $10 million in untraceable cia cash for long knoll, down point a down payment far greater then to come. if it fell, laos could collapse under communist control. the crisis demanded immediate action but offered no solution. kissinger. kissinger had to plead for the president's attention. poor kay, holderman noted,
sardonically in his march 14 diary entry, no one will pay attention to his wars. it looks like laos is falling. on march 15, kissinger met for three hours with them, helps, and key members of the national security council. the president kissinger noted wasn't inclined to let laos go down the drain. helms and the cia, helms was blunt, the u.s. and cia had to have the left-wing military to widen the war without telling congress. the cia director apologizing for the full garrity i told the president i realize this was a crappy decision. in light of all the factors seem desirable. nixon commented, it had been necessary to do on pleasant
things and this was one more that can be taken on as well. there is going to be no one announcement the president said. we are just going to do it. we do not have to explain. the political situation at home was no better than the military situation abroad. secretary of defense worn the and on tuesday, march 31 the senate was prepared to cut off funds for american airstrikes in laos and cambodia. nixon responded, responded, i will fight such a limitation to the death. the senate also rejected the nomination of judge jeannie harrell, the second of 23rd rank -- to the supreme court. ranking republican republican and senate judiciary committee famously sends and said there a lot of mediocre people and judges, lawyers, they are entitled to a little representation, aren't they? [laughter] not on the supreme court the senate decree.
nixon blamed for the tone deaf nomination. the attorney general's price selection haynesworth was rejected for his record of racism but he took his wrath out on the senate. quote multiple, unsolvable problems, bearing in. they responded to the senate resistance with rage. set up a political attack he commanded, have to declare war. the president ordered to retired new york city police officers overseen by john eric men, to conduct undercover investigations of the senate poem. notably ten the kennedy, burch buy-in william proxmire as part of what nixon called an all out
hatchet job from the democratic leaders including the use of the internal revenue service to investigate their finances. the ex-cop nixon hires were members of the white house staff handling special assignments like irs audits and tough tony who is paid off the books a secret campaign cash doled out by nixon's personal lawyer and bagman. tough tony, told tenant kennedy for nearly two years the department of dirty tricks was on the case. but april 19, the communist were 20 miles from the cambodian border. president nixon, and hawaii to greet the astronauts returning from a nearly a nearly fatal apollo 13 moon mission was briefed by admiral john mccain, the commander-in-chief for the
general pacific. admiral mccain whose son was still preserved were captivated next and with the hair-raising report, the president ordered admiral mccain to return with him on april 20 and meet with kissinger. mccain's briefing was grim. if the communists took cambodia, south vietnam would be next in the war would be lost. mccain emphasized the need for speed, he thought the united states should send every weapon they could find to south vietnam's troop should attack across the cambodian border with squadrons of b-52s should bombard the communists. the joint chiefs of staff quickly assemble tons of weapons for the cambodian army. that was the easy part, now the president needed a plan for the invasion of cambodia and the destruction of what the united states called the central office for south vietnam.
it was the communist nerve center of bamboo pentagon, constructed constructed beneath that the jungle canopy. they thought if you could blow up then you could cripple the enemy's capacity to command and control the market forces in south vietnam. admiral mccain said the united states should destroy it and when the damn war. nixon and the joint chiefs of staff never understood that the pentagon there was not a place, it cannot be bombed, it had no fixed address. it was a small mobile group of communist officers act be located only by the radio signals that transmitted. that location can only be fixed by the antenna they use for the transmission which could be many miles away from the men who are on air.
the enemy always seem to know when the b-52s were coming. north vietnam's intelligence on american's on american's intention was far better than americans on the enemy. nixon did not sleep for more than an hour to the night of tuesday april 20 first. before down he dictated a disturbing noted kissinger. i think. i think we need a bold and cambodia assuming the way feel today, it is 5:00 a.m., april april 22. i do not believe will long knoll will survive there is however a chance he might. in any event, we must do something. nixon immediately ordered large cross-border attacks by south vietnam into cambodia was support from american artillery and fighter jets. had not yet talked about the ground forces attacking and cambodia. his work councils were split three ways. secretary of defense and secretary of state wanted the invasion limited, restricted to
the soldiers of south vietnam. kissinger favored an attack on two cambodia sanctuaries across the border but without american ground troops. the military wanted a full assault on cambodia and the headquarters with american soldiers leading the charge. so did vice president whose personal qualities included lack attacked. he said he objected to all of the pussyfooting, nixon resented the implication that he is not being tough enough. the pussyfooting remark provoke nixon to go on an all out attack. the joint chiefs of staff never drew up a formal plan for the cambodia operation. there was not time. the next day, the next morning, morning, at 7:20 a.m., nixon still sleepless, summoned kissinger, admiral tom and the
cia director to the white house. in a fury, the president said the secretary of state rogers and secretary of defense were sabotaging plans for the invasion. haldeman noted in his diary, the president is moving too rashly without thinking through the consequences. kissinger called helms to ask what he thought of the decision, he replied it seemed to me if he was prepared for the fallout is the thing to do, he obviously was. the secretary of state rogers and secretary of defense continue to object to the invasion of cambodia. on april twentieth, the, the president ordered them into the oval office. attorney general john mitchell lay down the law to them. there'd be no arguments, there'd
be no dissent. in silence, they were were dismissed from the oval office. mitchell wrote quote the president stated the purpose of the meeting was to advise those present in the decision he had reached, there is no discussion quote mac on thursday april 30 the present address the nation announcing the invasion capitol hill. this is not an invasion of cambodia nixon said, a classic nixonian contradiction, i say tonight, all the offers and approaches may previously remain on the conference table whenever hanoi is ready. but if the enemy response to our conciliatory offers for peaceful negotiation includes increasing
attacks. we live in an age of anarchy both abroad and at home, we see mindless attacks on all of the great institutions which have been creative by free civilizations in the last 500 years. here in the united states great universities are being systematically destroyed. small nations from all over the world find themselves attack from within not from without. if, when the chips are down the world's most powerful nation, the united states of america asked like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions for life. secretary of state rogers was in his hideaway office on the state department that night. as nixon concluded his remarks about the u.s. appearing to be a pitiful, helpless giant, secretary of state snapped off the tv set muttering, kids are going to retch.
he saw what they had. the morning after the speech was mayday. the storm had started on the nation college campuses, students strike it, new march on washington was set for the next week. after suffering another insomniac night he showed a map where forces are in cambodia. i made a very uncharacteristic on the spot decision nixon recorded. i said, i want i want to take out all of the sanctuaries, make whatever plans aren't necessary, do it, knock them all out, so they cannot be used against us, ever. leaving the briefing -- to some of the offers and the pentagon that the president seemed unhinged.
haldeman concurred, he was really beat he wrote in his diary few hours later. he needed good rest. leaving the briefing, trailed trailed in the lobby of the pentagon by a few recorders nixon compared american soldiers, they're they're the greatest with american students, these bumps blowing up the campuses. the statement he later realized only added fuel to the fires. on monday, may 4 haldeman went to nixon's executive office was some bad news. something just came over the wires about the demonstration haldeman said. the national guard open fire and some students were shot. are they dead? i'm afraid so haldeman said.
for had been killed and nine injured by the gunfire at the ohio campus. haldeman's diary recorded the presidents reaction, he is very disturbed, afraid his decision set it off, it's really sad to see this added to his worries about the war. he is on a tough women he knows it. this makes it a lot worse, he has to take the heat for having caused it. have easily realizes but won't admit his remark was very harmful. a telephone conversation later that day with kissinger, nixon said we have to stand hard as a rock reset. if countries begin to be run by children, god help us. kissinger played the tough guy, haldeman recorded, kissinger just wants to let the students go for a few weeks then move in and clobber them. how they could be hit with anything harder than the bolus of the national guard is not the question. kissinger very concerned that we
not given in any way think the president can really clobber them if we just wait for cambodian success. i now quote from a national security agency on the invasion of cambodia. quote, that cambodian was a unmitigated disaster. the the most famous or infamous event was the attempt to get cousin but he was always on the move. always on the way to get out of the way b-52 strikes which as we know were predicted with great accuracy by north vietnamese intelligence and repeated strikes over the years never did any damage. kissinger in-house expert on hanoi, stearman remembered vividly what he heard the reports next was going after him. by the time i stopped laughing, i also like crying stearman said. i then wondered who had briefed the president on this. turned out to be kissinger.
quote, cousin was a floating crap game, there's no way he'd be able to capture it. what do you think it was about anyway? is mostly a bunch of files like be moved in hours. the press got hold of this hours within two weeks, it became common knowledge of the american people the pressure from the white house and the pentagon to bomb became immense. the military system was unable, they were able to evade every b-52 striking ground maneuver. the report concludes, this is from the national security agent, american bombs tore up miles of jungle and troops wander through a trackless of
cambodia. they never caught up with headquarters which move safely to to central cambodia head of the advancing allies. protests against the invasion of europe to not only students but university presidents, not only scraggly leftist but wall street lawyers. not merely a handful of staffers but hundreds of state department officers protested. you post his conduct to the war. national day of protest in a week, nixon and he had to mobilize political support from his political allies. enter charles. the 38-year-old lawyer has signed out as a white house counsel eight months before as a liaison with labor unions and other special interests. quote, the strength for the jugular made him a lightning rod in my own frustrations.
when i complained i felt confident something would be done, i was really disappointed. colson's job is himself put it was to attack and counterattack. in that role, nixon set, nixon set a tape, he will do anything. i mean anything. colson now achieved his point of her warfare, he joined a meeting convened by the and in the white house and taking action in the spirit of kissinger's encouragement to really clobber them for the presidents political enemies he telephoned his contact at the new york city construction council. on friday may eighth, hundreds of hardhats carry lead pipes and crowbars attacked antiwar protesters and broad wall street, cracking heads and breaking bones. whether 70 people were injured. the hardhats hardhats got an invitation to the white house and brennan became nixon's labor secretary. this footage of it ran on the
evening news tens of thousands of protesters were gathering in washington from across the country, trucks are transported soldiers for the executive office building for the night and two rings of buses barricaded the white house. nixon was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. he stayed up all night that night, quote agitated and on easy and his in his own words. frantically making weather 50 telephone calls. finally calling upon his valet to accompany him to the lincoln memorial so he could wrap with the young people protesting the war. word spread quickly at 4:00 a.m. that the president was on the loose. the white house aide was on duty that night, kroeber vividly recalled 4:30 a.m., i was in the secret service command post in the last came the words, search
flight is on the line. that was was the secret service code name. i punched in the number and said the president is out and about, i think think he's on the lawn in the rose garden. eleanor said go over and get assistance right now. i tried and i found out where the president was going to fall to the lincoln memorial. could not have gotten there more than five minutes after he did and found him in discussion with ten or 15 young people from all over the east coast to protest the war. the only reliable words exist in real-time accounts and three women who talk face-to-face with him. lynn, ronnie, and joan, quote he did not look anyone in the eyes, he was rambling. he mumbled on and on, spar sentence structure, there was not. somebody would ask them to speak
up and that would jolt him out of wherever he wants and he would kind of look up and shake his head and go back to her he started. then he would get his at his feet and he was gone again. there was no train of thought. nothing he said was coherent. at first i felt off and that change right away to respect and then as he kept talking, it went to disappointment and disillusionment, and then i felt pity. he was so pathetic and then just planed fear to think that he was the president running the country. nixon was flushed, drawn, exhausted, i saw him probably the most psychologically exposed, raw day of his presidency. nixon went to the capital at 530
and wanted to show his chambers to his valet who had never been inside. haldeman corralled him at 6:15 a.m., the president demanded of plate of corn beef hash, he got it. haldeman urged him to get some rest but nixon cannot sleep. he rattled about the white house all day without purpose as it peaceful protest of 100,000 people were around him. holman wrote in his journal that day, weirdest day so far. very weird. the president completely beat and just rambling on too tired to go to sleep. i'm concerned about his condition, he has had very little sleep for a long time. haldeman added that he had demanded the president take a five day week but that proved futile.
more of the same, he just keeps grinding away. he will not admit it but he is letting himself slip back to the old ways and then hitting the bottle. nixon, desperate for respite was drinking heavily at night after night, after night. we'll stop there. >> [applause]. >> thank you very much. >> and a book like this, you do a lot of research before you start writing. next and has a lot of men around him. >> as he did. >> at my question is, the patent thing, if any or any other people play in his life. >> patrick sent, of course and richard makes nixon had been
heard from us 40 years at this point. nixon spent far more time with his chief of staff, hold them and then with his wife. theirs was a relationship that had begun with a two-year, futile courtship with pat ryan who -- there is no love. henry kissinger once famously said, of richard nixon, can you imagine what this meant could have been if anyone had ever loved him. >> i was interested in the quote you gave from the haldeman diary which i know nothing about, but he appeared from what you said to be a little different from the hard-nosed people that you
think of surrounding nixon. i'm wondering, just generally what you think of haldeman and what his role really was? >> anybody who remembers haldeman remembers that he had a military buzz cut, looked tough as nails. he wrote and recorded a diary every day. he spent sometimes five and six hours a day with the president. is there really is it written and recorded nearly 1 million words. about one quarter of them were classified top secret until last year. he was very funny. he was very smart. like many of the men who served richard nixon, he was loyal, blindly loyal and for his loyalty he went to prison.
diaries make amazing reading. they are are smart, they're funny, they're vivid, and they are heartbreaking. >> i never thought i would say this but you made given me the only reason i can think of to vote for donald trump. i would love to see her book. [laughter] >> you're on. >> i saw you and evan thomas a very good discussion and i read evan's book but i have not read yours but i want to read it. thomas, i don't have us i don't know how much of a stretch it was but thomas really seems to have reached for some positive
things, the positive things the environmental, he cites the dramatic desegregation of southern schools and under them. it was initiated by johnson. >> initiated by the supreme court. >> nevertheless, there is a dramatic move during the nixon administration, correct westmark. >> there was some change. >> thomas was dramatic. >> we are still working on race issues in this country, 50 years after the fact. ethnic would say, let me say this about that. richard nixon signed the environmental protection act because congress had passed it by veto and the american people marched on earth day. on april 1970. immediately before the event was recorded here, but the invasion
of cambodia. he said on tape, the environment is not an issue with a dam to us, liberals on the left want to use it to screw corporate america. he signed it nonetheless. he had no choice. as far as desegregation goes, the supreme court had, by this time issued 15 years of decision saying the united states had to move, remember brown versus board of education with all deliberate speed. fifteen years later they are moving very slowly with all deliberate speed. you'll remember president eisenhower windex was vice president set troops to arkansas to desegregate the schools. this is only 12 years later. it is true there was desegregation under an, there's actually fantastic resistant within the white house to do this. nixon tried to have it both
ways. but he said himself, i cannot talk to black people unless their uncle tom's. the only black official who ever served under him said nixon believed in nothing, he did whatever was politically speedy. that is what is on the record. >> let me just ask one question. you had research on next and, could i ask you to cite five positive, personal traits? >> no man could father to brilliant beautiful daughters, julie and patricia and be all bad, that's too. [laughter] >> i don't like the way you count.
>> nixon genuinely believed that he could be a world figure who could change history. that's where the title of my book comes from. he genuinely believed he could end the vietnam war by going to china, going to moscow, clinking glasses with a communist tyrants of the two greatest chemist powers on earth and somehow change the world. and at the ward. he had a grand strategy. it did not work, but you can credit him for having a huge dynamic vision. >> hopefully all presidents have that same aspiration. >> not all of them. [laughter] >> okay fourth, he had the good grace to realize that it was the interest of the united states to leave and not put us through the
agony of an impeachment and conviction in the senate. that took personal courage and humility. no president has ever stepped down willingly from office. can you imagine what we would have gone through, as our bicentennial approach? if there had been an impeachment of congress, which there would have been and in the senate. that is for. [laughter] >> well he did get rid but only after he pleaded no contest for bribes he took when he was vice president. let's call that foreign have.
but only in the key of g. he could play anything but only in the key of g. that's the that's the best i can drop the top of my head. thank you [applause]. >> in your book, one of the most interesting people and most confusing was henry kissinger. could you comment on your feeling and his role as an enabler and also what was real about him because i got very confused? >> kissinger is a very confusing person especially if you read his memoirs. let me try to explain. i have interviewed kissinger and effect, my mother was born 11 months after henry kissinger in the same little town. i know where he came from, i know what he went through, fleeing nazi germany, i know he
had a deep sense that history was a tragedy and that human beings were fatally flawed. kissinger, you have to understand was the tactician, nixon was the strategists. this is why i told the general this that you have to admire him even though he failed. kissinger is probably tied for first place among the reason nixon started taping himself in the white house. this is hard to understand, but it's true. next install the taping system and it wasn't just the white house, the white house, house, the executive office building, camp david, all telephones. for two reasons. one, he thought he thought no one would ever find out about them until he
left office and he left a multimillion dollar memoir in the tapes. no washington washington memoir next makes himself comes out to make him anything less than a brilliant man. kissinger was interested in power and through proximity to power, through proximity to the president, and unflagging work. heroes of german refugee to become secretary of state under's in. for better, or for worse. >> i have a follow-up question for your previous response. i understand why nixon made the
tapes, but i never understood why he kept the tapes. >> and i can tell you. >> please. >> on tape nixon says destroy the tapes, after their existence was revealed. why didn't he do it? he never believed the supreme court would ever rule that he would have to turn them over. cannot even conceive of it. second of all, this was the dilemma, this this was also recorded on tape. only send could have destroyed the tapes. claiming they were his executive property and by executive privilege he could destroy them or erase them, or make confetti out of them. but he did not. then the question became, no one knew what was on these tapes, well he did and that sometimes he forgot that the tapes were
rolling. so then the question became after their existence was exposed up for the watergate hearing, one of of the four people who knew that they existed, what are we going to do with them? presidents, lawyers, meet lawyers, meet in the white house and they say, are we going to have a bonfire on the white house lawn of these 4000 hours of tape? was going to strike the met? anyone who is not the president who struck the match would've instantly been indicted for obstruction of justice because some of these tapes are under subpoenas. >> to have anything on the sabotaging of the peace negotiation with vietnamese. >> hell yeah!
>> to me it makes the watergate looks like child's play. >> it's chapter three of the book in case you are interested. the gentleman is referring to in the weeks before the 1968 election, eight election, president johnson was trying to negotiate a cease-fire and he called a bombing halt in vietnam. next thing, from the summer onward have been in contact with the embassy of south vietnam through his campaign manager, sending word through the south vietnamese embassy in washington to the presidential palace in saigon, don't make a deal with the democrats or with hubert humphrey, nixon's apartment in the 1968 election, wait for for us you will get a better deal. lyndon johnson know about this because the fbi had the south vietnamese wired and the nsa had the presidential palace in
saigon wire. so they were were hearing both ends of the conversation. the south vietnamese ambassador is getting communication from the president of south vietnam, and they're talking back and forth in the investors saying listen, nixon said wait. you will have a better deal. and he says absolutely, i totally agree, and on the eve of the presidential election, this close to a deal in paris, the south vietnamese walk. lyndon johnson who recorded his telephone calls says, five days before the presidential election, and i quote, this is treason. it is definitely a against the law, is called the logan actors called in 1798 for private citizens to conduct diplomacy on behalf of the united states. if if this had, it would have swung the election. the polls were going like this.
nixon won by seven tenths of a% of a vote. the evidence was too secret to reveal on the eve of a presidential election gathered by the nsa. no 11 knew what the nsa was. people thought it stood for no such agency. to admit that the fbi was tapping south vietnamese, they have a war council, the secretary of defense and secretary of state is there, they'll say we cannot do this. it will blow the country up. it had already been a bad year, 1960, kennedy had been murdered, martin luther king have been murder. on the eve of the presidential election the president same his political opponent has committed a federal offense by sabotaging peace negotiation. the country would be torn apart worse than it was if you
remember 1968. it's all recorded, it's all in black and white. it's a pretty terrifying story. >> did humphrey know before the election. >> after. lbj knew and he was righteously angry. >> it was obvious to many people in the white house and the staff that nixon was on his, seriously unhinged. i am wondering is there anything in the constitution to remove someone who is so seriously mentally disturbed, side from impeachment. isn't there. >> well, no. yes he took a lot of sleeping pills on top of his ensemble he a, top of alcohol, but the constitution says the president can only be removed if he is
literally, nine compost mentis and on his hospital bed dying. if you know your history you would know woodrow wilson spent a year and a half unable to speak because of a stroke right after world war i. but but no one knew about it. the 25th amendment says the president can be replaced if he is essentially unable to carry out his duties because of physical ailment. it does not say anything about the president be and not. >> is a time for an amendment? >> oh, good luck getting a pass. you kind of have to be nuts to run for president these days. >> with respect to your saying that foreign have positive things that richard nixon did was step down rather than impeachment, my question is, did richard nixon know ford was going to pardon him before he
stepped down? >> the question have been broached a week before next and left office. by his new chief of staff general alexander haig. by the way it's the only person ever went from kernel to four-star general of five years without being in combat. unless you count clinical combat. it is ambiguous. the evidence is ambiguous. president ford absolutely did it on the stack of bibles that there is any deal cut. here was the dilemma he faced. if ford had not pardon sent there is no question that and would have been indicted for obstruction of justice among other crimes. that would've been a pretty ugly process is our bicentennial anniversary approach.
there's no precedent for that in american history. the criminal conviction of a former president. so, ford ford was trying to bind up the nation's moon, they are long national nightmare is over, let's put this behind us. he thought he was doing the right thing. he guaranteed that he would not be elected on his own right two years later. i actually asked jerry for this question face-to-face, in 1982. i'm almost repeating verbatim what he said. as i recall it, he said the country had been through so much pain, why prolonged suffering. that's the best we know. >> one of the question i thought about from time to time is whether nixon's behavior could
perhaps be explained by thorough analysis and unbiased analysis of his behavior early in his career, for example jerry ford one because of -- i wonder if he had some role. >> with a real is what i'm asking? >> but again is in paris peace talks case, the evidence was too secret to revealing court. his was convicted of perjury. the second trial biden nine he had ever been a member of congress. he was never convicted of espionage. >> for years he wrote a book which is on readable how innocent he was.
>> the evidence was declassified when the cold war was over and there's no question that alger or the soviet underground from 1932 until 1936. however, for a lot of americans, did anybody anybody here remember the 1930s? but up your hands. okay, there is a real question as to whether hitler or stalin was going to run the world right? so some people pick sides. it is a terrible choice anyway you cut it. >> raise the question of this is perjury is trying to raise the question of nixon role. >> it was crucial. it made him he became type or foot first place with jay or hoover, he had been in congress for four years and then he became ike's vice president.
that's a that's a pretty rapid rise from nowhere. >> they didn't actually get along that well. he belonged to that now extinct breed called the liberal republic. >> okay, thank you. >> you're welcome. anybody else? any questions, step right up. >> hello, so my dear uncle tim, caps on the bag, i'm about 20 pages into the book and i was telling my friends and family that i'm surprised by the scope or the narrative that you chose for this. nixon's by 30 by page 200 vietnam is dominated the narrative, even events like going to china are relatively little coverage. on page 20 says today is the day
watergate was broken into. so it makes it a pretty particular scope in my opinion. even to call it a biography of nixon's presidency might be too broad. we'll note now about how you into declassified material,, at what point it was reason behind the decision to ultimately focus on the two most devastating aspects of his presidency? >> and ..
good and used b-52 bombers. burglaries, break-ins, political sabotage to destroy his enemies. in the end, that's what brought him down, trying to fight the war at home and that's what i really learned. i didn't set that up. [laughter] sir. >> we have time for one more. >> okay, make it a doozy. >> the case that demonstrates --
you demonstrated his unsavory anti-semitism and nixon and get a number of his closest advisers , of course kissinger, safire, the garment and a number of others and then when israel was in deep trouble in 73 nixon really pulled israel out of the fire. so how do you reconcile this? >> i think you are talking about two different strains in the man's character and the man's actions. nixon was a hater. it's all on tape. he hated blacks, he hated liberals, and once you were on his you know what list, his enemies list you were there and on the other hand the united
states supported the creation of the state of israel and congress the united states never wavered in that supported in those days the chechens and syrians were supported by the soviets. there is a terrible moment during the 1973 war that you refer to win indeed after a number of snafus and emergency airlift of weapons was organized from the united states to tel aviv. the soviets are detected by american intelligence shipping nuclear warheads through the dardanelles to the mediterranean the national security council kissinger the chairman of the joint chiefs meet. nixon, that week had come the saturday night massacre which
the attorney general, the assistant attorney general quit because nixon ordered them against a lost to fire the special prosecutor of the investigator of watergate so while this is happening next in his upstairs in the residence and six unelected officials put the united states on a nuclear alert one step short of eminent war. so there was some decision-making that was part of american foreign policy that went contrary to his own biases. what he called the establishment he didn't like people who went to harvard and he didn't like people who were quote intellectuals. he told kissinger several times in the states you know, write this on a black word 100 times.