tv Watergate Break- In 50th Anniversary CSPAN June 30, 2022 12:07pm-1:39pm EDT
i'm so glad to see you and welcome you to the 50th anniversary of the watergate break-in. my i am so glad to see you, and welcome you to the 50th anniversary of the watergate break in. my name is rufus edmonton. can you imagine a parents give me a name like that. they wanted me to suffer. i am the deputy chief counsel on the senate watergate committee. the man i worship most in public life and we were also proud to work for it.
on may 17th 1973, out of this very room, the hearings began for the watergate scandal. these hearings touched the heartstrings of america and molded what we thought would be the future of constitutional government. as then minority leader mike pence said, no one in the entire senate was better equipped to handle this thing called watergate than irving. i worked for senator sam j irving for ten years, and i can personally attest that things were different than then they are now. civility rained up. remember that word, civility? and all the people who were here some 60 years ago know that that was the case. too much civility is absent today.
consider the level of vitriol in the political discourse that exists in government today. and even in the halls of congress. i cannot emphasize enough the importance of the relationship between democratic senator mj irving and republican howard baker, vice chairman. welcome to tennessee. they made a patch in the very beginning that this would be a nonpartisan hearing. the sole purpose of which was to uncover the truth. it's hard to imagine this happening today, because it required a level of heads and plain old fashioned civility. they proved that a congressional committee devoid of malice and political bias could fulfill its function of informing the public with legislation that would prevent this egregious scandal from ever happening again. they knew that only a well functioning separation of
powers could ensure democracy and our great country for generations. today, we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the watergate break in, which carl bernstein and -- they called a minor event. about that size in the washington post. in my mind, the pivotal linchpin of solving what senator irving called a national tragedy was the discovery of a secret taping system installed in president nixon's white house, and other presidential offices. these tapes proved that white house counsel john dean who testified before the committee for days had been telling the truth and laboriously over the days, revealing that nixon and his leadership team were deeply involved in a massive cover-up designed to conceal the watergate affair. a chain of events that included
the commission of crimes. did we learn a lesson? i fear not. the committee found the money and found the two sums of unaccountable campaign money eroded democracy. today, we have the same problem. the citizens united decision, in my mind, would be the worse -- opened the floodgates for corruption. just as with watergate, today's electoral process is awash in shameful amounts of money. democracy will survive. the senator said this, and remember this, it is quote the last best hope of mankind. in his eternal struggle to govern himself decently and effectively, and in my view, democracy will prevail because it must. thank you.
[applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, i want to call up here really quick some of the folks that made this possible. they are called sponsors, and they are people that gave of their human earthly wealth to make sure you had a good time. if you will come up one at a time, jean boyce, who is the assistant council sitting here. john -- john elmore, investigator. mike carpenter, investigator. come on up here. michael herschmann, deputy chief investigator. stephen liu pulled, the renowned canadian. how in the did he get down here? i will never know how he got on, but somehow he did.
here is one of those, okay. investigator. jim stewart, investigator. assistant chief counsel, jim hamilton. he was a neighbor from south -- i started to say south america. south carolina will be fine. now gordon friedman. come on up here, gordon. gordon has helped keep these things together for so many years. we had a 20th watergate reunion here, and i remember him smoking away on his cigarettes. and running jean and karl. every time i saw him, she was running a high heels faster than i could run. gordon has been working on a
watergate website. it's called watergate dot org. he's worked with the 45th, and he has been instrumental in the 50th. gordon, is there anything more you can tell us about this? >> well, watergate dot org, just go there. because what happens here tonight is wonderful. but it's what we do after tonight to keep our eyes open and voices in the public sphere about these issues. they are not going to go away with the current situation. it's something we have to face. >> let me just repeat that. what happens here tonight is important, but what's really important is what happens afterwards. we have to really be vigilant looking forward. there are some loopholes in the constitution, and in our judicial system. and really, it's up to the public at the end to be responsible and to have a voice. so we are going to have watergate dot org, and we are going to start a nonprofit to keep the lights on.
thank, you rufus. >> thanks for all your help. rachel and judy danish, stand up and let us say hello to you. their father, sam dash was -- he and i worked really hard together. he never quit to eat, i don't know when he ate. he was a fantastic chief counsel and could have been anybody to put their. it couldn't have been anybody better to put their than the chief counsel that i -- i didn't mean that at all. so i want to also say that we think amy and right. her company help us put this on. her company is named newton street publications and cheryl --
>> stacy baker is here. >> who? >> oh, is cissie baker here? that's harry baker's daughter. oh my god! i love your father. one time, cissie, i was running for governor and he called me and said i will come up for or against you, whichever will help. i said, well, senator, come over and please come up for me. he didn't quite -- he didn't go down that hard. his joey reid here tonight? i think he was in here a moment ago. bob woodward is somewhere hiding. or did he leave? there is my friend, bob woodward. bob?
i won't bother -- come up just a minute. i've got to tell you guys what to do for change. come up here. i just saved of a cap in the fall of [applause] [laughter] all right, you boys are at it. -- >> we supposed to say something? we weren't expecting to speak. and i'll just say the following. this was a triumph of democracy, what occurred in this room. [applause] and every aspect of this country is great culture
was involved. press, the legislative branch, the judiciary, both parties gore, the supreme court, and it worked. and i think if that were to be a legacy of water being watergate, this would be a moment of greatness that we like today. thank you. a [applause] >> i remember after carl and i had done our stories in the washington post, and most people did not believe them. they thought it was inconceivable. and i got a call from senator urban's office that said, come on up, want to talk. and so i went into his office and he said, we are going to investigate watergate.
mike mansfield had selected him to do it. and he said, gee, we'd like to have your sources. gore [laughter] >> and i said, gee, we're not going to give them to you. because i think that would break down a barrier between the government and a free press. and he said, i understand, but we are going to do it anyway. and literally, what he said, maybe we'll find out what jeb magruder did he. kept the bar really low. and then he conducted what is the gold standard of congressional investigations. nixon miscalculated, as many of you recall. nixon said, i'm going to invest invoke executive privilege and
why not let -- , early turn and -- testify. then nixon, in one of his many delusion, thought, no, i'll let them testify, they'll help me. and of course they came up and tour nixon apart and then this led to the discovery of the tapes and of course irvine, i'm sorry to go over three minutes, but you're used to it. okay. the great thing other than the investigation that senator even did is his final report which is four or 5000 pages. and in it, he asked the question, what was watergate? and he answered it. and he said, watergate works an attempt to subvert and destroy the process of selecting presidential candidates and
president, exactly. and then he goes through this. you know he, wouldn't -- ever invaded the tough questions. and he said, why watergate? why did this happen? and his answer, and it's the end of his report, the last four power. thank you. >> great, great. [applause] thank you. i want to mention a good friend of mine the dean of the coward law school, which leonard came up. i called him on the phone, i said, the, you need to go to washington. he said, okay. i don't know -- but there he is, being rich leonard of the camel university
law school and former federal judge. [applause] and now, ladies and gentlemen, you get a program that i think you will quite like and i'm not going to jump on anybody and choke them to death. i will make certain in quivering moments, if you start going over, richard, and so i will [laughs] someone just gave me the finger? [laughs] i think that's richard benvie. jill wine banks, who is on the next panel, and jill you need to come up here. and kick it off. in fact, i want to tell you about this lady. having been a lawyer for a long time i, think she explains complex legal issues better than any guy have ever seen on tv. jill, come up please, and
convene your table. and you have with you, of course, my friend, richard benavisti, the deputy chief prosecutor of the special prosecution team. and jim hamilton, our jim hamilton that camel one of the issues of the three pronged motivate right to get investigation, a longtime friend. and we are looking for miss holzman. how are we going to handle that, amy? >> -- would be here but we have congresswoman -- . >> good lord, i love my congresswoman -- ross. and i want to call up also my congresswoman, debra ross, from the second congressional district in north carolina. she's a brilliant lady. [applause] [laughter] and the
next panel will be gene voice, who's going to tell you how this, how they discover the tapes. this is after this panel. so jill, you are the boss here. >> hi, everyone. i know that you all want to be mingling so we are going to keep our program tight. but i am very happy to be here. and -- can you all see? or should we move chairs so that? okay? it's all right. we are going to talk about what watergate was all about from both the senate point of view, and i'm sorry that former congresswoman liz wholesome holtzman isn't here. i've spoken in part of her have, gotten to be friends with her, and so some of the things i think she would have said.
that will try to finish up quickly. and so we have, as you've already heard, richard ben funnest who will always be rick even though he hates when we say that and he's going to really retaliate by calling me jelly bean, so i'm preempting him and of course, jim hamilton, who is going to be wonderful and congresswoman deborah ross who will talk about some of the things that need to be done now and maybe can talk about some of the things that we did after watergate in terms of congressional legislation that has been undone by the supreme court. let me start with you, jim. you have described the what hearings, which it's hard for me to believe, having only seen them on television, that it was in this room. because it seems so small, compared to what i saw. but you've described it as being the most successful, the most consequential, and the most riveting of all
congressional investigations. that certainly is true in american history, it is lasted 51 days. and 80 to 85% of all american households watched. and they were riveted. and they didn't watch for an hour, they watched for a minimum of 30 hours. obviously we're in a slightly different time, but i want you to talk about, maybe, just quickly, five reasons why you think that that was the most riveting and most consequential. there's a microphone. >> it's right here. >> okay. why don't you take one? maybe should stand up so we -- . yeah, just stand, right there. yeah. >> -- >> no, no.
try this one. it's on. >> how about now? okay. technology has never been my strength. you know, i think that there are maybe five reasons why the senate committee was the most successful, the most riveting, and most consequential in history. and that we just described to -- very briefly. the first is the scope of the wrongdoing that we found. because watergate was not only the break-in and the cover-up, it was a series of noxious dirty tricks. a lot of them aim to, by the way, at ed musky, because he was the strongest candidate against nixon. there were massive illegal campaign contributions. and then there was something
called the response of this program, which gordon friedman, over there, found in the national archives, which is a scheme to use the bureaucracy to reelect nixon. fortunately, a lot of members of the bureaucracy just bought, they weren't going bought, they weren't going to long with it. the second reason, i think it, that watergate was so successful was the cast of characters. just think about the people involved. i mean, for the committee you had them ervin, who was a folk hero. you had -- was a war hero. on the other side you had richard nixon, who, to be the best known man in america, was still one of the most mysterious man in america. you head for cubans who had bay of pigs and cia backgrounds, who had done all types of
nefarious things. you had gordon lady liddy and howard hunt who never saw a fund destined, new various scheme that they wouldn't follow, no matter how, how doomed to failure it was. and then you had the trio from the white house, chuck olson, john ehrlichman, bob haldimand, who would make you the hay stand up on the back of your deck when you heard them testifying. the third reason that i think watergate was so successful was there was good staff work. -- let's give credit to sam dash. his daughters are here. let's give credit to sam. [applause] sam new, some knew how to tell a story. and that's what he did. the summer of 1973 watergate was the best sober on television.
oh it was -- television, as the new york times said. one day, 60 million people heard john dean talk about a cancer growing on the presidency. the fourth reason that i think watergate was so successful, and reverse has already mentioned this, was that it was done in a way where partisanship was secondary. it was a legitimate effort to find the truth. let me give you just a few facts that may be today in this in the context of what's going on now seeing incredible. the watergate committee was set up by a vote of 77 to nothing in the united states senate. [applause] the decision to subpoena president nixon after we found the tapes and then to sue him when he stiff does was by a unanimous vote of the
watergate committee. the questions that were asked to uncover the tapes, both in the private section session, and in public hearing, or questions by republican staffers. which iand the watergate commie reported that bob referred to this, huge report, which i think was a 1200 pages of text and then many upended that many appendices, that was adopted by unanimous vote by the committee. with this happened today? gee, i don't think so. and of course, the final reason that watergate, the watergate committee was such a great success was that we discovered the white house tapes that brought down a corrupt president. isaac g is going to talk to you about that. thanks, bill. [applause] >> break, let me
call on you to talk a little bit more about the role of the watergate special prosecution office, and why we were so successful, both in the trial and in you -- can stand in front of you want with that, or. >> -- . >> oh! >> let me say thing about let me say anything about watergate. let me do this. all three branches of government, the special prosecutor, and an implacable press, were responsible for the extraordinary results, unique, i think, for any country in the world, to investigate itself, come to in conclusion that
ultimately rid us of a corrupt president of the united states and terminated his second? term. was the result of the laws that were on the books being applied by extraordinary people, extraordinary people who stepped up and did the work. , now, it could have ended differently at any point if nixon had destroyed the tapes that we subpoenaed, even up to the moment that we were to get them. i think he would have survived, served out the rest of his term wounded, yes, but he would have survived. and let me suggest to you that this country would have
survived nixon's second term. whatever you say about nixon, and there's a lot to say about his criminality and his penchant for authoritarianism, he was an individual who had a sense of shame. at the end of the day, his sense of shame was on display. watergate did not pose a threat to the continuation of our government as we see it. i cannot say the same about donald trump. donald trump was and is an existential threat to our democracy, short and simple. it was the individuals operating within our system who
were responsible for the conclusion of the watergate saga. our ability to get the tapes and then to pass them along to the house impeachment committee along with a roadmap prepared by our dear friend and colleague, george frampton, who is here tonight. stand up, george. say hello. [applause] we built on the great work that the senate committee did and we expanded on it and we were able to get evidence that they were denied, and that evidence put the nails in richard nixon's coffin. let me conclude my remarks by calling out the names of their heroes of watergate who are no
longer with us. judge john j sirica. senator sam ervin. [applause] sam dash. [applause] peter rodino. [applause]. john dore. [applause] archibald cox. [applause] henry ruth. [applause] james neil. [applause] leon jaworski, and catherine graham. [applause] may we find those heroes to guide us through the
troubling months and years ahead. thank you. [applause] >> and of course, richard meant to include senator howard baker. [applause] but he has captured something that was really true, which is it was a time when their words of bipartisanship, there were facts that mattered, all the networks had the same facts, it was an extraordinary time of compromise. democrats and republicans dying together and work together and got things done. it was unanimous support for that legislation that followed the trial and the hearings, and we aren't there now and i think that's what's really so sad is that we don't have those people
coming forward and now we. need that. but let's go on with the questions. i want to ask one more question of you. richard, you're not done yet. come back up. one of the issues we were successful in of course prosecuting the aid and we named richard nixon as an unindicted unindicted coconspirator which was in part necessary in order to introduce the tapes into evidence in the trial he. he had to be a co-considered a conspiracy. this is wasn't a vindictive act in, it was unnecessary active. it was also part of what this evidence showed. and we worried about things like jury nullification, if the aids were being tried, and the leader wasn't. and there was a big debate in the office about whether he should be indicted twice, once as a sitting president, and once was the day he resigned. and in the period before he got
pardoned. >> and so i'd like you to you, know, richard and i do not agree on this. i was for indictment both times, both as a sitting president, and again, after he resigned. and i look back now and i was on the panel with gerald ford's son and benton becker, who was a young lawyer from gerald ford's office, would never deliver the offer of pardon to richard nixon. and always very touched by both of their comments and about the fact that gerald ford made but becker make it clear to richard nixon that if he accepted the pardon he was admitting guilt. and he carried with him a supreme court case that said that. and i softened a little bit about it, maybe it was a good thing to let the country to move on and to pardon. but i look back now and i was right then. because i think that there might have been a difference if richard nixon had been indicted.
maybe more of a message would have been sent to a future wrongdoers in the white house. i don't know that, i can't say for sure that anything would have changed the behavior we are now seeing in the january 6th hearings. and because it's so contemporaneous, i think it's important we look at that aspect. so would it have made a difference? i don't know. was it the right thing to do? it was certainly something the evidence supported. but you want to say something about that? and before you, i also want to say there's another 50th anniversary, which is the 50th anniversary of a good thing that richard nixon did, which was title ix, which opened up opportunities for women not just in support, but particularly in sport. so thank you, richard nixon. [applause] >> so, let me unpack all of those questions and answer one of them. the decision to name richard
nixon as an unindicted coconspirator sir is an interesting story and involves some insight inside baseball. we were the first to listen to the first tranche of tapes produced after the saturday night massacre, incidentally, the event that i think was the most responsible for the change in americas opinion about richard nixon. i think even after the spectacular hearings in this room by the ervin committee, most americans were still prepared to give richard nixon the benefit of the doubt. all of his aides contradicted what john dean was saying. it was he said, he said, times three. and so, without the tapes, i don't think richard nixon would
remotely have been forced to remind resign his office in the way he was. but we listened to the so-called cancer on the presidency speech in which john dean, to his great credit, and tempted to get nixon to realize that the cover-up couldn't last and that he, nixon ought to call an end to it, have the individuals who were responsible for violating the law already come talk forward and take their medicine, including dean. and nixon asked dean, well, how much will it cost to keep it going? and instead, well, 1 million, 1 million dollars over the next two years. and nixon said, well, suppose i could get the million dollars and you could find a way to deliver it to continue to keep
the watergate burglars quiet, paying them hush money? don't you think that makes sense? and dean, oh well. and all of a sudden, nixon asked a rhetorical question. don't you think you ought to get hunt paid the amount he is demanding, and get it done fast? and that was it. we looked at each other and he said, nixon cannot survive this. he has, in his own words, through his own mouth, irrefutable provided evidence that he has joined the conspiracy. if he wasn't a member before, he sure as is now. and over, in an overt act has been committed immediately
after telling deemed to go forward. and was paid, and off to the races. so said to leon, we know you don't want to name nixon as a defendant. we understand the constitutional process of impeachment is preferable and it's in the constitution, and there is a remedy to remove a corrupt and criminal president. but on the other hand we have evidence here right in front of us that richard nixon joined the conspiracy as a conspirator. we can't not use that evidence. and i know you don't want to get ahead of the curve and name nixon in the indictment has an unindicted coconspirator. but how about if we put it before the grand jury to vote
on who the unindicted coconspirators are and that the grand jury's vote to authorize you, the on, to name nixon at the appropriate time in the proceedings as him under unindicted coconspirator. and he agreed. and in fact it was at a very, very intense cocktail party at jill's home that we broached this question, and leon agreed that it was the right thing to do. time past, we kept it a secret. there were no leaks from our office at watergate. sorry, bob and karl. [laughter] the truth. >> --
[laughter] >> why did he say? i didn't hear that. and i'm probably glad i didn't hear it. so some six weeks later, james sinclair, the president's lawyer, was on the sunday morning tv show, saying, that our subpoena, the trial subpoena for 64 new tapes, including the so-called smoking gun tape, should be denied because all of this evidence was hearsay. it couldn't be admissible at trial. well, leon and i, and fill a cover went over to the white house. we met with sinclair. and general haig, nixon's chief of staff in the macro. and you know, you're not getting anywhere with these argument. these tapes are coming into evidence. because take a look at this. and we handed it to sinclair,
the transcript of the grand jury's vote to name richard nixon as an unindicted conspirator. and that was the end of that argument. [applause] >> -- okay you, don't get to the congresswoman? >> of course, debra was, my god! the -- . >> definitely don't want to stop before we get to her. we are running long, so we are going to try and cut. originally we were going to have this horsemen here. she's running for office and had a complication and couldn't be with us. and i know that she would agree that the roadmap that we provided, that richard just mentioned, was a very helpful in saving a lot of time before the judiciary committee in terms of investigating what crimes might have been
committed that were impeachable. and she would also talk about the post watergate legislation that as i mentioned really did make a difference. because a lot of the reason that the watergate happened was all the dirty money that was floating around, all the cash in the white house safe that let them do things like operation gemstone, without thinking about how much money they were spending on it, whether it was a worthwhile campaign expenditure. but why do want to talk about no mostly is like this holzman holtzman, congresswoman rust stepped into a quite dramatic situation. she was a new member of congress from. and january 6th happened. and she was one of the first people who proposed impeachment which this also was a brand new brand-new in congress had taken a seat on the committee when she replaced congressman sellers, and was also involved
in drafting impeachment. so i want to have you talk a little bit about drafting the impeachment and how you got into that and what do you think but also address what legislation you think we need now based on the january six hearings and where we are. do we need to bring back some of the watergate legislations? are there other things? it seems to me there's a lot of other things. everything from the emoluments clause to the electoral college act that were never really issues. i never feared that we would lose our democracy or our right to have our vote counted until richard nixon. worried about that doesn't mean that he wasn't a criminal and that it wasn't terrible. but now i worry about democracy. and if you're worried about democracy, we need to take legislative action. so i would like to have you come up. thank you. >> well, thank you. [applause] and it's a real honor to be here with you, and to just take a few minutes to tell you a little bit about what it was like to just be
sworn into office. remember, we were sworn in during covid. and we really had not gotten to know each other or our colleagues very well. i, just to be very clear because we are on the historical record, i did not draft the articles of impeachment. and to be clear, it was an article of impeachment there, was only one article. my colleagues david cicilline and ted lieu and jamie raskin did that. but the position that i was in was that i had served in your state legislature and when the speaker asked me what committees i might be interested in serving on, i listed the rules committee, not knowing that once january 6th happened, the rules committee had to be quickly constituted and there was one democratic spot open which had been donna sellers, and i was the only one
who expressed interest. and so the speaker's office called me and asked me if i would take that position. i agreed, we had a zoom caucus. i was put into my position and with one, within one hour, ginger mcgovern, and the chair of the rules committee said, welcome to the world committee, you must be here tomorrow morning at 10 am, we are going to impeach the president. [laughter] and so, my very first committee meeting in congress was to approve the article of impeachment. my very first speech on the house floor was to recommend impeachment, and to justify that by saying that donald trump was unrepentant. and he continues to be unrepentant for what he did, going to your issue of shame. the biggest difference, as you've heard now, is we do have a bipartisan committee in that
we have this cheney and adam kinzinger doing yeoman's work. i actually think that the hero -- and we all saw this today -- was mike pence. mike pence saved our democracy, he risked his life to save our democracy. [applause] and he will go down in history as the most important vice president we have had in this country. the moment that was most heartening -- i was locked in my room in wall was because they told us we couldn't leave -- was when we heard that mike pence, nancy pelosi, and mitch mcconnell called us back into session to certify those electors. and the speeches made on the
senate floor by many republicans were some of the most proud speeches that i've have heard, and gave me a lot of hope even though i had been locked in my office. i am unfortunately pessimistic about whether we will pass a raft of reform legislation like what came after watergate. we have not even been able to pass the john lewis voting rights act to correct what the supreme court has done to our voting rights. notwithstanding what president trump agitated advocated for and so many of our legislatures have done to diminish peoples voting rights. of course, we need to reform the electoral count act, a fact that we have to talk about emoluments clause, and the fact that a president would
basically pump out his office for his personal gain is a shame and a tarnish on this country. i do want to say that, you know, this also -- we're talking about watergate -- but after bush versus gore, the country came together and passed the help america vote act. and we did that under president george bush. and so, what we need, as rufus said, is a return to civility, a return to regular order, it return to comedy comity. hey, i'm running again, and i hope to be here for a long time, i hope that we will learn the lessons from january 6th and that people of goodwill from across party lines will step up and do the right thing. and there are people of goodwill. they just need to speak out and get it done, as to the voters.
[applause] >> i think we've got three. -- >> i don't want guiltily. she has one more gone good commentator, and -- she takes a very, very difficult legal process and turns it into plain english, as dunn's my friend, debra. you can see why we asked deborah to speak. this is one more brilliant individual who have i have high votes for her quest in the house, angela. i thank this panel very, very much. and we're going to move on. >> thank you. thank you. we'll talk again soon. >> ladies and gentlemen, i sent in my opening remarks that i thought the most important part of the watergate hearings was the discovery of the taping system.
and i still that, still believe that, because i'm going to agree with rich ben-veniste and others. had nixon, at a certain point, been able in his own perverted way to say, i'm sorry, some of my people did some bad things, i want you to ask for your forgiveness. the american people are very forgiving and i agree with you, mister president, he would have had some very good marks on his records. epa, which i think that has been extremely helpful. i think we'd probably be more at war with china if it were not for opening it up. he opened up dialogue with russia. but alas, i tell young people coming into see me and i ran 11 times statewide, that the most important thing about public office and running forward as a vaughan noses, if you must
surround yourself with people who will not act stupidly. richard nixon had the most stupid crowd around him that you could ever dream of. and in any manner whatsoever, and they could've won awards forward i. think of the panel there knows the stupidity. jim, did you have the dirty tricks? some of the things we never even mentioned they tried to do, and why did that occur? that occurred because they had bundles of money that they needed to throw away at something. so that goes back to my point. i want jean boyce, who was assistant counsel on the senate watergate, from raleigh, north carolina, and who, by the way, in a couple of weeks on july the 12th, will be 90 years old -- [applause] -- gene, i would like for you to tell this wonderful gathering how in the
world the tapes were discovered in that committee meeting. come up, it's yours. [applause] >> i'm reminded first of all of the money warnings when it came back to washington after discovering the tapes on friday the 13th, the day after my birthday on july the 12th. his is on july the 12th. i'm eight-year-old. there's a decade older than rufus. >> ten years! >> [laughs] >> but i never will forget walking up the whole monday morning after discovering the tapes on friday and reporting it to reverse and telling everybody to keep your mouth shut, keep quiet, don't reveal it, walking down the hall, coming into a bunch of reporters come running down the hall, said boys, what's going on? they changed the witness list. you look like you know something. what is going on? i said, you know meant, when i
told you good morning, i told you everything in the world i know [laughter] and they didn't believe that. but it went on. -- running relate and i don't want to take up too much time, but i'll do the best i can. and all of the things that i would talk about take a long time because it's money but circumstances. but you know the one circumstance is that we are all here, one single circumstance. a piece of duck tape. no, i'm sorry. second piece of duck tape. [laughter] there would've been a break-in to start this whole thing and we would've been here because if it wasn't for a second piece of duck tape being put on the stairwell door and the not generated coming and see his, after taking up the first taped, seeing somebody put a second tape on. that is a circumstance that brings us all here. now that's just one circumstance.
i've gotten some many more to tell but we just don't have time. and i'm always reminded being here of after discovering those tapes on friday on late friday and reporting to reverse and senator and everybody what had been going on and what the truth was and what we have discovered, going back to raleigh, i drove back every friday afternoon, came up every morning, money morning, and then state. lacey -- was in the car with me. i still have my diary of july the 13th, friday, and i wrote one thing on this diary, i still have a copy of it, and it says, butterfield interview. well, i'll be. [laughter] i'm here now and my comment still is i'm here now, but i'll be down. [applause] only because i had it raleigh address.
no other reason. my friend mike andrews, who became a congressman, came in one day and said, gene, i'm going to run for congress, our next need a campaign manager. and i reached for my contribution. and he said, i don't want to contribution, i need you to be my campaign manager. and i said what. yes it can, i go -- i don't know anything about campaigns. he said, all i need is one thing, i need a campaign manager with it raleigh address because there's more for this in with counties and there are in -- and one reason was why i came in and became his campaign manager, don't know anything about campaigns, i was a lawyer, came to washington. i never drink but it went to cocktail parties because in january, there's not much else to do. but guess who i kept running into at the cocktail parties? [laughter] was a lawyer friend of mine, rufus, who said,, i've got three attorneys on the warrior gate committee but none
it been in court and none knew about the investigation and clean please come over and for not join us and there's something going on and i came in and joined him. i don't think you -- about that. that was a circumstance too, and so life is so full of circumstances. and there is a lot more i could say but we are running so short on time, i am going to quit. but i would not be here tonight with you had it not been for one of those things. alexander butterfield did it on my witness list. when i joined the committee, there were three lawyers who did not have any trial or investigative experience. rufus was one of them, he filled in to be the number for attorney in late january. i gave in because it was so interesting and having a friend and asked me to do something
for him, i couldn't say no. so i joined the committee. they change the witness list, there were three lawyers with 60 witnesses on the list. and that is published. when i came on the before lawyer, there were 60 witnesses and divided them up to 15 apiece. on my witness list, they were number four, coming in late january, who was on my witness list? alexander butterfield. now, if that's the circumstance, that is a real and pure accident. rufus said you've got five minutes. a friend of mine said, no, rufus, you give gene more than five minutes. he gave me six minutes, i think. i've probably already taken up the time. but -- >> jean, tell them about --
and what happened after. that's where people don't know. what happened in that executive committee. you never put somebody on the witness stand unless you know they are going to say. no one appeared and he was in an executive session. i'm not going to say practiced, but -- so tell them, jeanne, about what exactly happened in that committee room. >> in the committee room, there were four of us. i was the chief counsel in their. i had my assistant counselor, he was a republican party minority counsel. i had an investigator, and i had a young lady who took notes. fortunately, she made a mistake
and shredded the notes by mistake. she re-wrote them from memory. but anyway, that is another circumstance. but it went along. we had that interview. what had happened, i interviewed john lee. they made a statement to me and i was over to his apartment in a virginia, and they said i did this, this, and this. i was there with the president one-time in the oval office. i felt like i was being recorded. that was just a comment, i felt like those little things, they stick to me. it felt like it. there must be something to that. i interviewed haldimand, and then interviewed butterfield. reported to my minority council, i was a democratic majority counselor.
he was a great guy, he died but 20 years ago bless his heart. and i said, don, let's see if there is a tape recording in the oval office. when john's turn came, the investigator goes first. the investigator, i'm not sure when i'm going to say about him. he went three hours in or ask the right question. when it got to dawn, who he said mr. butterfield, is there anything about there being a tape recording in the oval office? and butterfield's comment, i was afraid you all were going to ask this. and i've been told that i've got to tell the truth. my memory is bad, but those words stick right with me. that's exactly what happened. and he told the truth. not only was there a tape recording in the oval office, but there was one in the executive building in another office. mainly, there was one in camp david down in virginia, where the president went on vacation. the thought occurred to me on july the 13th, 1973.
oh my god, the oval office, that's one thing. executive office, that's another. but camp david? six months ago, the premier of the soviet union stayed in camp david. when my turn came, i said mr. butterfield, the camp david thing, that bothers me because we have visitors there. he said, no, when the president is not in the room, the oval office -- there is no recording. it records automatically but only when the president is there. i said, thank god. another world war was not going to come about. but anyway, i hate to hurry up, but you've all been here a long time. there's a lot more circumstances because i want you to think about your circumstances as well. and those of you are past life,
the circumstances that got you here today are really unique. and i'd say i don't give legal advice anymore, but my general advice is, be prepared for the circumstances. be careful how you handle them. they are coming, and they are going to be some good ones and some bad ones. it's going to be your choice how to proceed from there. if you have any questions, i'm not in a hurry, but you all have been here a long time. [applause] >> gene voice doesn't need to be in a hurry. there is something else i must tell you about jean. gene instituted, along with the workers in congress the first computerized workings of any committee on the congress. they worked out a witness system on computers, and this
man was responsible for it right here. steve, leopold has a question for you, gene. speak up, stephen. >> jeanne, for the record, so people understand, it was you who suggested don sanders that the question be asked about -- [inaudible] is that correct? >> oh yeah, that's correct. don was great but the system was, the investigator goes first. he went three hours and into a question. but when it got to the minority counsel, his turn was, and i had prompted them on what i had
learned from butterfield about -- i felt like i was being recorded. and butterfield, who knew what was going on, he was there and john sanders asked him about it. and don appropriately got credit by asking that question. i was involved, but don ask the question. >> [inaudible] >> well, yes, i suggested it. but he asked it on behalf of the united states of america. >> beautiful. that's why gene boyce has lived to be 90 years old. >> i'll give you a hint.
when asked if i grew up in y'all raleigh, my answer is no, not yet. >> ladies and gentlemen, we are moving along. we've had such wonderful people tonight. mark philistine, he is the chair on broadcast journalism at the university of maryland. up here is mark. my old friend, larry mayer, a former reporter and editor of the washington post. he was here every day of the hearings and he said he has written a book. he's got me in it as a character and he will not tell me what it is. i see trouble looming. we also have martin serene, a syndicated columnist. and they are going to analyze the role in watergate of the journalism, and the changing
watchdog role between then and now. i am going to call right now over here mark philistine. you go right here and take over. you'll be better talking into this. >> thank you. mark, do you want to come up to? >> thank, you i am honored to be here. martin shrimp covered watergate at the time, including these hearings. and i guess you hit a brush with fame when you are booted off the trip to china. they showed him making antisemitic comments about you. we were going to have very sostman here, the watergate editor. he appeared to appear, and sadly he passed away earlier this month. so our condolences, especially to the family, who wonder i understand is here. so larry, let's start with you.
you worked with barry. could you tell us a little bit about him, and about his role in watergate. >> i do want to say a word about barry. barry was like the quarterback that every football team would like to have. he was calm, he was smart, he had great instincts. and he asked great questions. he didn't give orders, he made suggestions. and most of the time, his suggestions were brilliant or at least very good. every once in a while, like winston churchill, he had a bad idea. but when he had a bad idea, he was willing to -- his ego didn't get in the way
and you could talk him out of it. barry, unfortunately, until he died, didn't get the full credit that he deserved for the role that he played. he really directed the post coverage of the early days, and he may not get this in the movie, but there was a lot of resistance within the washington post, and barry was there to make the case and argued for it. and he presented the evidence so that the story could move forward, so that bob and karl and the rest of us could do our work. and barry directed us. bob, carl, jean between ski, me, and in a lesser way -- and i don't know if the outcome
would have been the same without him, but certainly, he played an essential role. he was my first editor, my best editor. and on top of all that, he was really a first rate human being. and i am really sorry -- [applause] several times in the last couple of weeks since he died, i have been -- i have come upon and i have been dying to call on him. he's been out of reach. i would give anything if he were here today instead of me. [applause] >> so, and barry -- was very critical of this sort of media methodology that grew up around what a great.
marty, can we talk about that just a little bit? you know, we sort of live in the shadow of all the presidents men. and we've already heard from bob and karl briefly and woodward and winston. if they had not existed or if the media had been as differential during watergate at it was, say it, in the 1950s, how would things have turned out? would it have been any different? >> these would have been different, but in the end, what happened would have happened anyway, because someone somewhere would have always stepped up to do what needed to be done. you know, one of the -- before i go into the rest of it, i just want to say about the football analogy from barry sullivan, who was a friend of mine, as well, very was a like
having a quarterback who was also the coach right there on the field he, was that good. what i wanted to suggest to you was that in the watergate era there were a number of news organizations that we're doing watergate reporting, and doing some very good water gate reporting. bob and kyle have always been the first to say so. but one thing that was missing was when newsday and the l.a. times and so many other organizations did some very significant work it was published but it wasn't published where washington was reading it. and that was a significant fact that helped. it's ultimately the reason i eventually took ben bradley's third and fourth overture and left newsday and went to the washington post and became a
colleague of bob and carlson. that was one of the reasons why. but i would like to tell you about what it was like to be in the press corps in that era. i happen to experience firsthand some of the excesses of the nixon white house, and it was written about in a number of books. this had nothing to do with watergate. it was before that. bob haldimand was called into the oval office by richard nixon. and nixon told him, newsday is doing in investigation on me and bebe rebozo and our finances. bebe rebozo was his best friend and bankrate keeping your skin. and all of them and said to him, who's doing the investigation? and nixon said, those two.
it is on the nixon tapes. and all of them and said to him, marty sham? and he said yeah, some guy named greenberg or greenbaum or something like that. at that point, i have to interject the other fellow leading the investigation in fact and -- of the whole team i, was part of it, was bob greene, g.a.r. iain e., a big irishman, who is now buried in the and the our lady of the who high catholic church in long island. but as far as nixon was concerned, who is investigating he seeing his finances? the jews. that's how he felt. [laughter] i think eventually the investigating would have been done. but what bob and caused it to, and the genius of what they did, was to be ordinary old school reporters and that coupled with their own instincts really helped.
they went and knocked on the doors and didn't go to secretaries to try and set up interviews and. they went to people's homes at night, which i always understood was that the only way you are going to get a lot of people to talk because they don't want to be seen talking to you during the daytime. and that only difference, the big difference. they had -- bob and karl had a big hole series of very fine stories that other people had snippets of here and there. i had some as well. but nothing compared to the best work they did which was just shoe leather. and the courage to just keep at it when you were first turned down and then turned down again, and this didn't work out, and that didn't work out, and they kept doing it. that was the strength. and they'll also be saying what larry said, barry sussman pushing, dealing with them and
others, that made a huge difference too. and that was a great combination. the rest of us were pretty much one and two loan reporters doing work. bob and karl were the hub and the core of a team. and that, that helped make their assignments clear. >> -- thank you. >> [applause] well, i want to reiterate or put it somewhere differently, something that richard ben-veniste said earlier. for all of this, i envision a three legged stool. there was the press, media, there was the judiciary, the legal process, and there was the legislature. and we all did our jobs and
functioned as we should have. and at one point, i was kind of accosted by and fbi agent who was one of the investigators of war the gate and, he said to be, he said, you know we had all that we! had all that. and i said, yeah, but we didn't have it. and the public didn't have it. you know it. we got it out there. and that, to the great credit of a bob and karl and barry was that we did get it out there and we had two important readers at least. john j sirica, who was indignant during the trial, which are covered, and kept pestering the prosecution to get answers to who did this one, did they do it? why there are paid, et cetera.
and he kept asking the same question. and we had a reader on capitol hill, sam ervin, who was also interested. and it was that combination, any one of those legs failed, we wouldn't have had watergate. and as other speakers have said before me, i'm really fearful for what the future has. the media will still be there, the judiciary may still be there, and i'm not so sure about the legislature. the culture of this country has changed, and changed in ways that are not necessarily for the better. i think the public has become jaded or indifferent and we can put it out there, but if people don't respond and take action, then it's all for naught.
[applause]so if watergate happen today's >> so, if watergate happened in today's media landscape, social media, mainstream media fractured, polarized, partisan, local newspapers dying, how would it be covered today? marty? >> well, unfortunately, i think it would be covered two ways. first, there would be some journalists who learned from carl and bob and who went about doing the legwork and that needed to be done. but if they -- and if they got their story published in the los angeles times, the chicago tribune, or newsday, you'd be able to see it.
and that's a huge difference that didn't exist before because i felt like we did our exclusive, sometimes it was like putting a story in a bottle and tossing it to see. our readers -- and there was a huge circulation -- did see it. but others didn't and sometimes did get an associated press summary of what you wrote, which nobody like that. we'd like to have our own whence and our own insights, but mainly our own facts laid out there for all to see and the way you organized it. but the other way that watergate would be covered if it would happen today, unfortunately, it is the way it happens on television, which is where shows are not based on reported stories that are carefully put together and enough and assembled with the berry salzman and hillary mayer and others with their
correspondence working out a package and putting it out there so you can get it in a clear and logical way. that doesn't happen on tv much more. cnn, msnbc, fox, especially, it happens that you bring someone on who investigated the matter and wrote about it and you quote a sentence or two from the story, and then you ask him questions about it, what they think about what they wrote, and how they feel about what they think. and so on and so forth. and we're not going in a good way when it comes to that. it would be so much better if reports did real reporting and the stories spoke for themselves, including television reporters, who are excellent sometimes, and great producers, who could put together the packaging, and you'd understand it much more clearly. and you don't get people summing up how they feel about what they think.
[applause] >> i think there is more consensus than about facts and truth. what you need is almost a quarter common currency to go from. so -- >> and an understanding. >> please talk in the mike we, can't hear. >> and an understanding about what is truth. we can't figure out what truth is, that we have divided segments let. we just add one more thing, mark, about that. because it's also true that now if you ask, if you ask a reporter to do something and they get it done, it's great. but when you have when you, when you have it in a media where clicks on the internet what's governing things, you sometimes lose the context that you need to pursue what it needs to be pursued. >> thank you. so, i'm going to wrap this up
with one last question and an observation. so for larry, and marty. so, looking -- how is has the watchdog role of journalism changed now in the last 50 years? >> well, i think, as marty has indicated, one of the critical ways that it's changed is that there are so many elements in the media now and as i was thinking about this event and thinking about the changing role of the media, the one, one of the most critical things -- and in washington you may not appreciate this -- is the decline and death in a lot of cases of local newspapers.
my first job was for the times herald record in middle town, new york. and the lawyer for the paper used to say that if there wasn't a fire to cover we would like one so we could write about it. and there was some truth to that. we were aggressive. my second job was with the louisville times. and we were owned by the same company that owned the korean general. they were the morning paper, we were the afternoon paper. they didn't take us very seriously but we took ourselves very seriously, and we were aggressive, and always looking for own opening where we could squeeze our way through and get something on the front page. the louisville times doesn't exist anymore, and there are a lot of local papers that don't exist anymore. and if they do exist, they may or may not have bureaus in washington. i am not remembering the name
of the paper or the congressman, but about ten or 15 years ago, there was a local paper that did an exposé of a crooked congressman who eventually went to jail. and it was through the reporting of the washington bureau, who were paying attention to this congressman. they are not there anymore. that is a real loss. we are going to pay for it, literally as well as figuratively. >> well said, larry. larry took the place i was going to go, to. the fact of the matter is -- i will take it from a different perspective, because i have a different sense of what will be covered and what won't be covered. what will be covered is the next watergate. what will be covered is the next series of trump scandals
or whoever makes them, and that sort of thing. what will not be covered, unfortunately, are those same scandals which are small, where everybody lives, the zoning board, et cetera, et cetera. that's not going to be happening as much now. bob greene who i mentioned before is news days investigative pulitzer reporter. he did his best reporting for local investigations, where the newspaper backed him up. if he was going to get in trouble, people would have to come right at you to try to make trouble for an investigative reporter. and if they took you to court, he would have a team of lawyers and so on standing up there before the newspaper. that is the way it went. i don't see that really happening in local coverage, as much as before.
and we are all going to pay the price, every time we go home to our homes on the cul-de-sac's or downtown, or in the rural areas, or wherever. we are all going to feel that. [applause] >> just to wrap up here, you all are real heroes to me. when i was a kid in high school watching watergate hearings, and the impeachment hearings, and what came down. and you won. watergate has a happy ending, if you will. but nixon got a kind of revenge on us all. fox news, that was nixon's idea. he wanted a conservative network where they could get their message out. and it was his acolyte roger ailes who made it happen. nixon started this whole notion that the deep state, the cia was really behind watergate. the liberal media, this was a
coup to oust him from power. and roger stone, who cut his teeth on the nixon campaign would bring that to fruition today. there is a clear road from nixon to trump, to june 17th, to january 6th. thank you. >> i think you will all agree we have had a fantastic discussion tonight from the wonderful people here. i want to thank you all very much, and thanks for the sponsors again. i hope that we will live to see another reunion. let me tell, you my biggest boo-boo in watergate. after the tapes were discovered, senator irving met in his office with the committee. and i was in there. and they said, well, how are we going to get the tapes? and somebody said, well, i
don't know. i guess we are going to have to subpoena them. congress had never subpoenaed -- before. and all of a sudden, senator ervin say go get the president on the phone. so i walked into the room and i dialed him up. the rosemary wood number that i knew. i said, miss wood, this is deputy chief counsel calling on behalf of senator ervin. he would like to speak to the president. now, you have to remember all this time that nixon wanted to say that everybody was out to get him. he would say the committee was out to get him. so i am waiting on the phone for rosemary wood to respond. and here comes this voice. hello, senator ervin. this is richard nixon. i was so taken aback i said, mister president, hold on. senator ervin wants to get you. i was like, oh my god.
i have never publicly told that that i know of. so i have to confess my big boo-boo. but everything worked out. it's funny how each of these speakers tonight has told you that the three branches of government were like a team of beautiful horses working together. now, there were conflicts here and there, of course there were. but it shows that when people decide to be civil to one another, and i was here ten years before watergate occurred. people stayed in washington then. the senators stayed here, jill. they went to parties together. they ate together. we had all sorts of things. and now, what do they do? they come in on tuesday, they leave on thursday. what do they do all they are gone? they raise funds. debra will tell you. it's just never ending, and it is all about the money chase.
watergate break in, a conversation on two individuals who played a key role when it came to the prosecution and defense of watergate. joe joins us. a former special prosecutor. more recently, the author of the book watergate girl, a fight for truth and justice against the criminal president. jeff shepard joins us. he was a chief deputy to nixon's lead lawyer during watergate. his most recent book, titled the nixon conspiracy. watergate and the plot to remove the president. good morning to you both. thank you for the time. >> good morning. >> so, remind us where you were on this date in 1972. june 17th. >> i was in the middle of a five-year term of office at nixon's white house staff. i was the youngest lawyer on the staff. i knew everybody involved, although i didn't know people in the break-in. the break-in was not of particular concern to me. i had a full-time job, i was working on domestic policy issues, law and order. and lifmo