« Slow Burn

S1 Ep. 8: Going South


What had to happen for the Watergate scandals to end Richard Nixon’s career? And was his downfall inevitable? In the final episode of Slow Burn’s first season, Leon Neyfakh assesses the president’s desperate final campaign to save himself—and the people and institutions that finally brought him down.

Slate Plus members get a bonus episode every week. Find out more at slate.com/slowburn.

Learn more about your ad choices. Visit megaphone.fm/adchoices

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Richard Nixon liked, Spiro Agnew, because you presented himself as an uncompromising champion of law and order in nineteen sixty eight Agnew as the governor of Maryland when Riots Bro that you're in Baltimore after the assassination of Martin Luther King Agnew put them down by bringing in thousands of national guardsmen. And U S army soldiers. We are local police state police but relies troops on the sea and control we know now has never been more than the mob is no ally of civil rights. Really. Six thousand people were arrested over the course of four days. Six were killed. When it was all over Agnew, invited a group of civil rights leaders to the state office building in Baltimore. He proceeded to give a speech in which he chastise them for being anti white radicals. It isn't evil conditions that cause riots but evil men. He said a cannibal. The only alternative to white racism is black racism.
next in Jos, Governor Sparrow, Agnew of Maryland for his vice by them Nixon's running maiden. Nineteen sixty eight one of Agnes primary was to lure in white. Southern Democrats and the leaders of the southern delegation said there were absolutely delighted to have one this victory. The recruitment of these acted voters was known as the southern strategy in person that strategy during the sixty eight election mixing took full advance, Jabez future Vice president's knack for stirring racial resentment, it was the perfect division of Labor Nixon, kept his hands clean or Agnew said everything Nixon silent majority wanted to hear when Watergate hit Spirit new applied his over the top rhetorical style to defending Richard Nixon times the presidency is like being a jackass caught in a hailstorm to just stand there and take it
President election has been standing there and taking it ever since Senator Urban has been doing, is rain dance and at Washington Committee rules in July nineteen, seventy three, bureau, Agnew, that pillar of law and order found out that he was under criminal investigation involved or possible charges of bribery, extortion and tax evasion. He and some of his closest political associates, our under scrutiny, in an investigation of an alleged kickback scheme involving building contracts that are possible. Said Agnew. It started taking bribes and nineteen sixty two continue to do so, as vice president. Here is journalist, Elizabeth drew Watergate for the new Yorker the vice president sitting in his office. For in the executive office. Building next to the wild with people up with these envelopes, full of cash at this point clearly and unequivocally
I am innocent of the charges against after of negotiating with prosecutors as well as White House lawyers. Agnew pleaded no contest under the tree Of his deal he would serve no prison time, but he would after resigned vice presidency Book Washington Journal, it was withdrew rights. The vice president's ouster caused a frenzy since capital that the rest were louder than usual, that the city felt drunk We were kind of on a high we'd, never been anything like this before and we don't know where we're going on to started, doing research for the show I hadn't idea that Nixon's vice president was forced out of office during the climax of Watergate in a bright scandal that was totally unrelated to water. Yet it was just this separate controversy that happened to unfolded exact same time as other even more consequential controversy, but how so could it be really think about the past year we ve had process for five major news stories every day
those stories, don't feel separate. If you like, Having some plots in the same chaotic, narrative, Agnes resignation, which came ten days before the Saturday night massacre is part of the world gate story. Nothing was it served as an accelerant hoping to it the fire storm and ultimately pushed Richard Nixon towards its downfall worked in two ways: first was practical and political while Agnew, as vice President Nixon regarded him ass, his impeachment insurance. Idea. Was the Democrats wouldn't dare try to remove Nixon because did they get Agnew, were they hated even more when Agnew's faced with the relatively inoffensive Gerald Ford that bit of In theory, no longer applied act. Forced resignation did something else too. It made the puzzle Letty of Nixon himself being removed from office, see much less far fetched Here's Nicole Hammer story the universe you Virginia, who studies concern If politics, it still probably. You seemed crazy to think about
President resigning, but Just had this incident, where a vice president had been forced to resign and and here I know the unprecedented path. Some becomes easier to imagine other unprecedented things happening. Had to happen for Nixon's removal from office to go from unthinkable to possible to certain What prompted Nixon's enablers protectors to abandon him once and for all, and despite He done any scenario in which Richard Nixon couldn't survive Watergate. This is slow burn. I'm your hosting Leon, Nate locked up the value of the high representative begin today of a president.
A huge challenge that taste the countess Olenska high crime. In his demeanor, though I had fixed up as a bloody Democrat Burgos Republic episode, aid going south. Elizabeth Holtzman really didn't want to be in the House Judiciary Committee in nineteen, many to the thirty one year old Democrat from Brooklyn had just unseated a guy who had been the chair of the committee for almost twenty years. Holtzman thought her constituents would prefer. Have their new congresswoman focus on other things you want to see. The people who are responsible for the selection process? I got nowhere and when they put me on the house, Judiciary Committee, my heart sank and I said This is not an auspicious beginning here. I am I first legislative effort I'd lose? It's been would go on to serve for terms in Congress and later become Brooklyn district attorney, but first she added
something else. You can be sure that I will never scratched didn't Claude to get on that committee. I had had an inkling of impeachment, but I had no inkling and the powers that be had no inkling. The president, then no inkling either then impeach. It was going to happen, remember Nineteen: seventy two: when Nixon was re elected, very few people, cared about Watergate the cover had been so successful that nobody understood that the press the United States, could be involved five months after the the great the Watergate Nixon was real. By landslide at the time the second inauguration, his approval rating stood at sixty eight percent, the Senate hearing for breath. Ass in the spring and summer of eighteen, seventy three by August Nixon's approval rating plummeted to thirty one percent, two months later, Nixon fired I shall prosecutor investigating Watergate enforced The attorney general and his deputy after that mixes up
reading, was down to about twenty five percent. It didn't come out of nowhere when, on November fifteen nineteen, seventy three Congress voted to Kate, one million dollars to staff a formal impeachment inquiry. The house had it glorified on money requested by the committee for a study of impeaching. The president, the reporter wrestling describe this as a deceptively bureaucratic procedure when that earn. Three paragraphs in the papers. In fact, present pointed out It was hugely significant one of the first concrete steps the government had taken towards impeachment would have been an unimaginable fantasy scenario was now. She'll government operation, but a significant government budget. Money would be spent on lawyers and researchers, just like and what are the committee members This house committee would have a professional staff that work behind the scenes, but where is the The hearings have been a televise spectacle. The house would mostly conducts its business in private
for the second time in our history, a committee of the House of Representatives begins debate on articles which may result in the impeachment of a president, not since the impeachment Andrew Johnson in the last century. Have we been faced with a situation like this there? thirty, eight house members overseeing the impeachment inquiry twenty one down rats and seventeen Republicans together Pour over the evidence against Nixon talk about how it should be interpreted and FF really, at the very end, hold a public hearing to presented pollutants the american people, after that the thirty. Eight members would vote on whether to recommend Nixon's impeachment to the full house of Representatives and while the high could carry out the impeachment. With a simple majority vote actually removing Nixon from office with Denmark the Senate to conduct a trial and vote to convict with a two thirds majority. That was the basic roadmap beyond that, though, the protocol for impeachment was
fuzzy Congress had unimpeached president more than a hundred years. No one really knew how the process was supposed to work. Here again is Elizabeth drew there was a book by man unravel burger unemployment a very obscure booked up until then, if I ran to the bookstore to get it because nobody knew what to do or how to do it or what it would be. And so this was the huge challenge that faced the Congress Raoul, this book was a highly technical legal treatise that happened published just a few months before the Watergate Breakin in, but we give November in eighteen. Seventy three a bookstore Georgetown down had sold out of it three times: described in one newspaper editorial sitting on some of the most fashionable coffee tables in Washington The horsemen and a number of colleagues read the book to they really were starting from scratch: we had to learn about the car The additional requirements for impeachment constitution, says president can be impeached for treason,
bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanours. I went to Harvard LAW School and no one ever taught us what crime. Misdemeanor was so well a high crime, exactly where the framers constitution referring to a specific category of criminal offences. War was my crime, just a really bad thing that a president shouldn't do even though not necessarily illegal holtzman thought. The answer is clear: the four Where's obviously, could have been making reference to the? U S criminal code, because there was no: U S criminal code when they wrote the constitution, the high ground Misdemeanor was really a political crimes, not a norm. Crime. It's not like shooting your wife for your husband or run somebody overcomes you're drunk, but it's an abuse of power after waiting themselves with the legal theory behind impeachment. The committee members said about evaluating the evidence. There was quite material to cover, including everything. Send it Watergate? Hearings have generated, testament some grand jury proceedings and the way
those tapes that I've been subpoenaed by the special prosecutor's office according Jimmy President's book how the good guy Finally one there was so much paper in the house, judiciary, committees headquarters, but the official architect for the capital adequacy and workers to reinforce the floor. The lawyers on the committee staff spent months organizing all this paper into big black binders these by It contains so called statements of information which the committee members would read through and discuss the state. Have information were written in a deliberately straightforward style with zero analysis. The first one really just said that on January twentieth, nineteen sixty nine rich. Dixon was inaugurated as the thirty seventh president of the United States. Later There was juice, your stuff, including data, about how it Nixon Foot soldier had delivered thousands of dollars and hush money to one of the Watergate brokers by leading on envelopes full of cash inside airport lockers, even Elizabeth Holtzman never thought highly of Nixon in the first place was floored by the immoral behaviour describing the statements of information.
As we heard more and more of the statements of facts at the staff presented to us all of a sudden I felt ass though our sinking into quicksand there There was no bottom to this that the nome, of instances of criminality of misconduct of abuse of power were just endless. We were just sinking sinking sinking in this matter. It was a really kind of awful feeling. It's been- was part of the committee's liberal wing on the opposite side. Were ten or so hard core Nixon loyalists in an interview conducted me or the impeachment inquiry had probably got started. The senior wicked member of the committee said there is no evidence, justify impeachment, but there is no doubt that the Democrats will do their best to find some. The Nixon lowest had their own way of looking at the evidence. One of them Charles Wiggins from California, said after listening to the tapes, but there wasn't when anything implicating the president and spitting on the street.
Is going to have rough guy. Any illusions about bipartisanship partisanship have already gone. The way ahead, shapes up is fierce and bloody. Democrats verses. Republicans All this partisan rancor created a problem for the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, a new The Democrat named Pierrot Dino Ro Dino believed that this impeachment inquiry had to be a bipartisan endeavour. The committee was gonna, recommend impeachment there had to be democratic, and Republicans on board with the decision Rhodesia. Sense was that if you on a partisan action here. The country will never accept it and so it can't be just the liberals, or does the Democrats versus the Republicans? You need start a civil war should that members of a political party would ever support their own guys. Impeachment sounds like a nice, a dream, but the House Sherry Committee, Circa, nineteen. Seventy four could not the easily divided into two opposing sides. There were liberals in the committee you like was withholds. Men who oppose Nixon and wanted him gone, and there
so conservatives like Charles Wiggans, who appeared to be dead. On defending him. No matter what the evident said, but did you sure committee also included some members whose politics were harder to pin down by today's standards. For political, misfits somewhere conservative Democrat so represented districts and the south, where Nixon was popular. Other for modern Republicans, who didn't always vote with Nixon in. Clearly have any loyalty to him, where these guys we're going to come down on impeachment was not at all obvious, including to them. Just to give you an example of the kind of person were talking about Walt flowers endemic from Alabama represented a district that sixty six percent in favour of Nixon nineteenth me too, flowers was also supporter of the notorious segregationist Governor George Wallis, who genuinely undecided. In the question of impeachment. At one point, flowers went down to his home district in Alabama and talk to judgments about what they thought should happen to the president.
After three terms in Congress. He knows a great number of these people by name has respect for their opinions about impeachment Watergate I say I entreat you: might get off his bag and go to work. Another, ambivalent congressmen was Hamilton fish, junior Republican from New York. And had won his district by large margin in nineteen. Seventy two, but fish frequently broke with the president and his constituents were pulling. Fifty fifty on impeachment fish make up his mind about Nixon's guilt until just before the committee's work, wrapped up for once in the meantime fish fly bars and the other undecided members didn't really know about each other the nature of ambivalence, people who feel aren't usually very good at banding together for their cause, as his MID July, fish believed incorrectly. That turned that he was one of just two Republicans seriously considering voting for impeachment. It was a very quickly feeling fish said later? I,
question my judgment. If everybody else had decided against impeachment Committeemen like fish were a tougher spot than someone like Elizabeth Holtzman. In my dear dragged it was a democratic district, so I wasn't gonna pay a price for going for impeachment their distress, since voted for form, Nixon and they're gonna vote to impeach him to overturn, went their constituency voted for. I was gonna, be hard boat undecided congressmen were wild cards, precise, because they are unsure how they vote they held the power determine what committee would move to impeach Nixon or choose to. Let him slide for period in nineteen. Seventy four that made them important politicians in America more after the break. If you're looking to reduce unnecessary trips out and trying to
Lloyd, sold out grocery stores and check out son basket. It's a perfect and delicious solution for the times we are living in some basket delivers fresh, healthy, delicious meals straight to your door, and some basket has delicious recipes for all kinds of dietary preferences, including paleo gluten free, mediterranean, vegetarian and more. They make it easy inconvenient. With everything proportions and ready to prep and cook, you can enjoy a dinner full of organic, fresh produce and clean ingredients in as little as fifteen minutes. No matter how much or little experience you have in the kitchen each week some basket offer a wide range of meals to choose from, so you can try mouth watering dishes, such as price in stake strip, let his copes with pickled, icon and carrots
roasted salmon with me, so glazed, eggplant and black been to study the blow with cabbage slaw on guacamole. You can order from any meals across their menu skipper weak whenever you need to, or even double up on your favorites. It simple and easy, with no gushes right now, some basket is offering thirty five dollars off your order. When you go right now to Sun Basket, dot com, slash so burn and enter promo code, slow burn at check out that some basket dot com, slush slow burn and enter promo code, slow burn for thirty five dollars off your order: son basket, dot com, slush, slow burn and enterprise code slow burn. While the House Judiciary Committee weighed the evidence, Richard Nixon was thinking about how to save as presidency. He decided that best chance of political survival lay in the south, with a conservative
White Democrats, who lived there and still kind of liked him the calculus was this: if Nixon Cookie, all seventeen Republicans in the house, Judiciary Committee. Behind him. He would need to pick up Just two of the southern Democrats that would make impeachment vote, a tie, an inquiry would be dead, and if the matter did come to a full house vote Nixon's only her prevailing. There was winning over southern Democrats the present standing in the polls is slightly higher in the south and in the rest of the country, and so six years after putting Spiro Agnew as part of the southern strategy to help whew segregationist, Nixon set off on his final campaign good evening Next I was on the road today making us with approval rating near record lows not just for him, but for any President history Nixon What a natural Tennessee Huntsville Alabama and Houston Texas in Nashville he appeared at the grand or opera and he played God bless him gonna piano years. It was Who, who is there
Did the strangest thing he approached the piano like it with his hands on her phone as if they were paused, while in the air, like you, just answered a lion or something it was really weird as president in deep trouble, and he was clowning around, and it was. It was kind of out of body experience in Alabama mixing, appeared in front of some forty thousand supporters alongside the States Governor George walls Nixon addressing the crowd here in the heart of deputy way. Buying Heart of America is good the character, a strong, and we are going to continue to be right back Washington, the vice around the White House, was tightening. Remember how's Judiciary Committee was just one of the government bodies that had Nixon in its sights
the other one. You remember from previous episode, the Watergate. I shall prosecutor's office having Five, the Saturday night Massacre, the team of young lawyers assembled by Archibald Cox, was now what for a new boss? his name was Leon Jaworski and he ended up Uprising, the members of Cox's army, who had initially doubted him when Jaworski was fronted with evidence that the president had engaged in criminal activity. He was aggressive, we flinching in pursuit of the case after listening to the tapes Nixon it handed over in response to the cock Subpoena Jaworski went, after the White House in MID April of seventy four and subpoenaed sixty four more. The White House has until Monday to answer Georgie Subpoena. At the same time, the White House is concerned about you were skis. Nineteen. Seventy four subpoena kicked off another legal battle over the oval office, tapes, Once again, the Nixon White House refused to obey the special prosecutor subpoena and once again mix tried to sell the courts and the public on a compromise. On April twenty ninth nineteen, seventy four
Nixon announced in a televised address that he would be releasing not the tapes themselves, but twelve hundred pages of transcripts They include the relevant portions of subpoenaed conversations that the report- that is a that relate to the question what I knew about Watergate or the cover up and what I did about now. These transports would be edited other, but on the other hand, there are the a lot of them. Nixon underscored this point by making his announcement alongside an imposing stack of fifty green binders when the train were published by the government printing office the next day. They were an immediate sensation transcript shores of all and all for almost two hours. The president debated the wisdom of fresh money payments for Howard Hunt and in the end his answer was yes. First papers and news networks highlighted the most salacious bits. Dana I'm not talking about documents. You see I'm talking about something we could spread, as
You say at a March twenty seventh meeting. He said I somehow feel I'd like to resign. Let agony be present for a while. He d love it. Administration, made some desperate attempt to spin white house better John Mclaughlin, a Jesuit priesthood, on the whole Mclaughlin group said that the relentless vulgarity in the transcripts was form of emotional drainage, clearly suffering not suffering? Was beautiful. Lochlann said the mortal suffers more believable. He becomes to me. This line of reasoning did not catch on most Reaction was more in line with that of Senate Republican leader, Hugh Scott, who said the Watergate, transfer, revealed a shabby disgusting, immoral performance by all in vain and you never heard him him, meaning the president's say. What's the right thing to do, the country once the right thing to do under the law. It was always kind of
You get away with this, and how can we stone wall here, and it was just you know, eggs, thieves, conspiring and plotting and scheming newspaper started printing, the transcripts in their entirety in huge inserts and special sections. The present tape, transcriptions had become an instance best seller. They should have a trivial came out with a special forty four page section today with all of A quarter of a million words in the transcript Tribune had that on the street Then one day after the transcripts were released the times in the post, both package, the transcripts paperbacks became instant best sellers, three million copies in print just one week after the transcripts were released and our staged a marathon reading before long everyone, making jokes about export have deleted. The prudish free is that the Dixon administration had used to make the transcript seem. A little less horrible than a hundred years. Historians may look at it and ass back. A ninety Seventy four, what an expert
deleted, was going on exports We're not the only thing the Nixon team had deleted. The press had also omitted or altered a number criminal exchanges. Remarkably, he even did this with transcripts of tat. That he had already provided to the special prosecutor's office and which the House- Sherry Committee members had already heard in one of the two prepared by the White House. Nixon quoted as saying that he had been advised to use flexibility in order to get off the cover up lying on the tape members. Many could hear him saying that the administration should use flexibility in order to get on with the cover up, here's holtzman, is almost laughable that the President release these transcripts, which were so crude in the sense that they were not sophisticated efforts to protect him. I mean yeah, they changed the words they deleted words. They tried to create transcripts of wood exonerate him, but we had the tapes and those tapes could be public. So what were they think it an hour?
crazy, several men the committee took such offence at this third rate, active deception, that they shared the discrepancies with the press. There have been his recently that parts of the country version differ widely from the transcripts released by President Nixon report of an omission in the presidential transcript concerning the payment of hush Nato Watergate conspirators and there is you're wasting your time, a White House spokesman due to the leaks as evidence that the committee was running a partisan witch hunt, Pat Buchanan, here too, the president suggested the journalist to look into who is doing the leaking, and why is a news story? It's news and information. American people have a right to know, and I think the obligation is on the part of the national press to run down the source of those leaks one of the White House. His hopes in releasing the transcripts, had been to get the special prosecutor's office off the president's back and to avoid a supreme court showdown over the tapes but Leon Jaworski was not satisfied. Edited trend,
did not count as evidence, and, furthermore, twenty of the sixty four conversations that I've been subpoenaed were reflected in the transcripts mixes. Refusing to hand over the rest on May thirty first nineteen. Seventy four, the tapes case made it to the Supreme Court during oral arguments. A lawyer for the White House tried to make the same points about executive privilege in the separation of powers that people had been ring for nearly a year justices, were not buying it at eleven o clock this morning, the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously against the President of the United States July twenty. Fourth, the court ruled eight zero, but the president had to turn over. A piece of evidence that Leon Jaworski had asked for the time. The Supreme Court's July. Twenty fourth ruling was uncanny. I've been the same day. The House Judiciary Committee was scheduled to begin its public hearings debating a resolution recommending wrote, but the House of representatives. Does it
Richard Nixon, president of the United States or high crimes misdemeanours. So I started Will your average Wednesday. By this point, the committee have been examining Evans behind closed doors for about three months there Complaints in the media about how long deliberations were taking But these were real deliberations. Undecided wildcard, you really did struggle to make up their minds anyway agonizing decision, particularly for Republicans because Dixon had a base. It was rapidly deteriorating still had one and they and convince themselves if these were high crimes of manders and what would be the precedent if you weren't, held accountable and what would be the political consequences for them if they vote, to impeach the man. It was only about a week before the hearing started that different members found each other and started talk. Awesome themselves about the case for impeachment,
there were seven of them turned out three concerns Democrats, including wild flowers and for model. Publicans, including Hamilton fish there Group of seven, would be referred to as the fragile coalition, though some called it. Unholy alliance, when the pub hearings began also revealed to their colleagues and the forty million people watching at home how they are planning to vote each one. Come to the conclusion individually and then, together that Richard Nixon had to be impeached here, is wild flowers delivering his opening statement. What if we fail to increase Do we in grey or ever in the very fabric of our constitution, a standard of cod, in our high stop. Is that in the least, is deplorable and at worst is impenetrable. The most celebrated speech of the impeachment hearings came not from any one in the fragile coalition. From a little known Democrat from Texas, aimed Barbara Jordan in her
ten minutes statement. Jordans, oak and mournful tones about the stain that Richard Nixon had left in the presidency. Shares him as a man swollen with power and grown tyrannical but would made Jordan speech. Stand out was the way she framed it as an ethic American Jordan said she understood that when the constitution was written, she not considered full human being I felt somehow for many years that George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, just left me out by mistake. Through the process of amendment in rotation in court decision have finally been included, and we, the people Jordan's point, was that, despite history, he still believe in the constitution, felt sorrow at seeing its averted by Richard Nixon today I am an inquisitive all hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the sullenness this that I feel right now. My
even the constitution is whole. It is completed its programme and I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator. The diminution this aversion. The destruction of institution. On the night of Saturday July, twenty seventh committee chair Peter Road Dino called for a vote on whether the press It had obstructed justice as part of the Watergate cover up and whether the institution require that he be impeached for it. Mr me, Mr Erdogan I so much. Already the committee voted for impeachment the process Four continue with a full vote in the house. Mr Collins, came to calling the role for the vote. You could hear it Peter drop? It was so quiet and so everyone had the sense of the occasion
Here they were voting to hold the presidency in contempt of the constitution. Mr Prodi, known The final tally was twenty seven in favour and eleven against the eight votes included the Republicans and three Democrats in the fragile coalition plus two more republicans on top of that. The unthinkable had arrived with by partisan support the committee would be recommending impeachment I just remember it's just feeling very uncomfortable and sad. Anybody relished it. I don't think anybody took any pleasure in it. I don't think one single Democrat danced and down with joy In that way, it was just a very sober moment. Minutes after the committee's vote
The sergeant and arms for the House of Representatives rushed over to Peter Road. You know someone had called. Capital police. He said and told them Plain heading straw for the building where the vote had just taken place. The plane, I suppose, we just taken off from national Airport, it was being flown by car. Cause pilot routine hurry to clear the hearing room. Then region It was office and looked out his window, the play, never came. New York Times reported that, as Regina left the committee's headquarters that night he broke down in tears under different circumstances, richer x and might have still had a sliver of a chance. He was possible, if unlikely, but the The House of Representatives could reject the recommendation. The Judiciary committee, the Senate who could decline to convict Nixon getting Two thirds majority is never easy, but Nixon's defeat at the Supreme Court
but the president knew the sixty four tape that he now had to provide to. The special prosecutor's office before tape that he now had to provide to the special prosecutor's office contained definitive proof that- had participated in the Watergate cover up from the very beginning that proof was on. A tape from June twenty third nineteen seventy to less than a week. After the Watergate Breakin captured. Station between Nixon and his chief of staff each hour Haldeman Oh, it became known as the smoking gun tape Nixon could be. Instructing Haldeman to enlist the director of the CIA unconvincing. FBI to stop investigating the break him the FBI. In said, that's go any further into this case period. Dixon said: that's the way to put it, do it straight Dixon, had listened to this tape and he kept its contents grant from his lawyer and its closest aids
finally told him what was on it in the way it is. Court decision He did so knowing that the game was almost certainly over on Friday August, second presidents man began the excruciating process of telling the White House is most loyal defenders, but the newly discovered evidence told Charles Wiggans Republican, who had insisted the president wasn't even guilty of spitting on the street. We can set the June twenty third tape had to be made public immediately. If the White House didn't do it, he would President Nixon stunned the country today by admitting that he held back evidence from the House Judiciary Committee, the President issued a statement about the evidence he kept secret, saying this was a serious, active omission or what, I take full responsibility and which I deeply regret. Your following Monday, Bob Woodward and Karl Bernstein reported in the Washington Post at the White House was Truly some new and damning piece of evidence in response to the Supreme Court ruling.
Charles begins when on television and announced through tears that he could no longer stand at the President. I am prepared to conclude that the magnificent public career Richard Nixon must be terminated in voluntarily, and I shall support Those portions of article, one of the bill of impeachment, adopted by the Judiciary Committee Which are sustained by the end of August is nineteen SAM, for facing certain impeachment and removal from office. Richard mixed. Informed, the country that he was quitting. I would have preferred to carry through to the fence Whatever the personal agony of would have involved. I have never been a quitter
the leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. But as president, I must put the interest Of America first therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow and then just like that he was gone. So a happy ending right. The system worked investigate itself politicians chosen with over party affiliation, the president's missed these were exposed and he was forced out of office as we ve heard. None of this happened gently, but I've been wondering since I started working on the show is: could it have and in some other way,.
Was Nixon's ouster the inevitable result of checks and balances working as intended. The country does get lucky when I look back at the time line of Watergate when I take stock of everything that happened tween breaking on June seventeen nineteen. Seventy two Nixon's resignation. Two years and two months later,. All I see our moments when things could have gone in a different direction. The washing. Post could have assigned the story of the breakin to reporters were less aggressive than Woodward and Bernstein gave or could have chosen not to write a letter blowing the whistle on the cover up John He could have decided not to turn on his boss you could have had a worse memory. Nick could have decided not to install taper quarters in the oval office or and it Watergate Investigative could have not found out about them or mixed. To destroy those tapes as several good bye to do. Oh Democrats could have not had a majority in both the Senate and the House, that's a big one going through that list
It makes me think that it wasn't some law of nature or even some law, politics that prevent Nixon from getting away with Watergate. It makes me think that if a few things had broken a little differently you could have served out a second term put the whole or behind him. On the other hand, even if thing about Nixon's downfall, preordained that doesn't mean it just a random outcome, either The system really did work or more accurately there were people. Inside the system, who did what they could as a result. Above interconnected institutions, the press, the courts, the Department of Justice Congress. All of them their part to bring about the ending that we now take for granted. Even if we did you get lucky Is that still an argument for hope? I Gerald Hour or two solemnly swear that I will faithfully actually give that I will. I fully accept the office of President of the United States, the Office of President of the United States.
Day, Richard Nixon resigned Gerald Ford sworn industries replacement Ford would become Nixon's. Vice president, after Spiro Agnew's resignation about six months earlier had long been unabashed defender of the president, and he continued Jim form unequivocally until the bitter end remember that back in nineteen, seventy two when forty ass minority leader. He made himself very you What are the president by helping to squelch congressmen right patents, early investigation into Watergate on September? nineteen seventy four four, Nixon one Morgan turn, Gerald Ford. Have granted by these presents to grant a fool, an absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon. Odin extended to any and all crimes that Nixon might have committed during his time in the White House, for just by saying the country couldn't afford to go through any more years of scandal. Who is bad
Seven Nixon's top AIDS have been indicted back in March, if prosecutors, after Nixon himself The nightmare we just never end when and got his pardon. He told his wife That was the most humiliating day of his life. Three weeks later former president sold the rights to memoir for two point: five million dollars. That's it the first season of slow burn thanks for listening, stick around for some news about what's coming next slow burn has been a production of sleep plus slaked membership programme, I shared some of the amazing stuff I found while researching the series two and seven bonus interviews with people who watch that I'll go down this week,
I've got an interview with a family from New Jersey. Two brothers were kids during Watergate, and their sister was in her early twenties. These three were so obsessed with the Senate. Watergate hearings they made Entire scrap book about it and they made there and drive them to Washington. They could see the hearing. Person now there grown. The conversation I had with them shows just how personally people took the story, how profoundly it shapes the conception of the world. On Wednesday or be doing one last facebook chat about Watergate honestly plus group page and is more to come for plus members, including apart. Ask version of a slow burn live show at the Watergate. Hotel thanks to Of you who have joined over the past few months, you're, not a member, yet find out more sleep. Dot com slush, slow burn slow burns produced by me and Andrew Parsons are script that Josh, the being Gabriel, is the editorial rapturously plus the armor
Her slow burn by Teddy Blanks chips are theme. Music is bad. To the old House by Nicholas Ostrom thanks to the NBC News Archive. Presidential Library, museum and Mama. Admit it lanting regional, moving image archive the ADI you heard in this episode. The full list of books particles I commend areas used to research. This episode on our show page as usual, were grateful to slates chow to Rachel Withers June Thomas and Steve like time we all wanna. Thank some other people who have been instrumental in making this show what it is, it Turner and Jacob Weisberger, believing the project Jeffrey for producing asleep, plus episodes justly Africa, pushing them with me terribly. For designing the perfect artwork Evan Vila Jason, the embryo credit? Well for all their help in the studio Andrea, Linsey Jason De Leon for advice on how to write script thanks Eric Miranda from NBC Archives, Ryan, petty from an Ex library.
Andrew Maiden, MIKE Pascal Mary Wilson, Andrew Newman and Rigour BAR and Katy Waldman Mark Marylin Williams, Dan trader better, thanks to a bluebell for naming the show and to forest Whitman But the idea special thanks to my wife, Alice, Greggory Gregory, putting up with me for the past five months: enjoyed, slow burn, leave us rating and a review and apple podcast. It helps me listeners by Michel as for what's next well, this feed will be quiet Little bit but make sure you stay subscribed will be. Later this year with slow burn season. Two. The impeachment of Bill Clinton.
Transcript generated on 2020-07-22.