Wednesday, June 5, 2013

June 4, 1973

The Senate Watergate hearings resumed after a long recess. There are plenty of important witnesses, but it's clear both inside the White House and outside that John Dean, scheduled soon, will be the star witness -- and will implicate the president in the cover-up.

So today Richard Nixon starts a more serious preparation: for the next week, he listens to hours and hours of the White House tapes. More people are learning of the tapes; in the new White House, it's not restricted to just the chief of staff, but in addition to Al Haig, Ron Zeigler now learns of the tapes, as does WH counsel Len Garment and Fred Buzhardt, who is basically Nixon's on-staff defense attorney.

For the Watergate Committee, the big issue today is a request from Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox that the committee put everything on hold for up to three months so that Cox can move on the prosecutions, and Sam Ervin's decision to refuse that request. It's an interesting question. Which is more important: the prosecution of any criminal activity, or exposing the truth as soon as possible? Of course, there's an institutional struggle, too; rarely is Neustadt's observation that the Constitution established a system of separated institutions sharing powers more obviously true.

At any rate: Ervin would win this round, and the next set of hearings would continue.


  1. Jonathan, could you post again--or but on the side, links to the entire series? (My brother, whose journalism career was just beginning then, is interested.) Thanks.

    1. Oh, and you can do it with the Watergate tag, although it comes in reverse order and captures a few other posts.

    2. Thanks. How I missed the tag is something we need not go into.


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