tv The Rachel Maddow Show MSNBC January 1, 2018 6:00pm-7:00pm PST
chicago and cleveland and detroit ask baltimore and great american cities and think about how great places can be made even greater now. i'm hoping that still is possible in the future. leaks. secret tapes. special prosecutors and presidential paranoia. when i hear those words today, they have a familiar echo to me. 40 years ago i made the movie "all the president's men" about how "washington post" reporters bob woodward and carl bernstein chased the watergate story from break-in to cover-up to the first president to resign his office. the story of the scandal stayed with me. and a few years ago i produced a
documentary about woodward and bernstein's detective story to uncover the truth. and it struck me as prophetic and worth repeating today. we thought watergate changed america and our political process. but did it? ♪ good evening. president nixon reportedly will announce his resignation tonight. vice president ford will become the nation's 38th president tomorrow. that word comes unofficially from aides and associates -- >> the president has been part of politics for 28 years now. part of the national political scene for about 24 of those years. and this appears to be the final day of his administration. >> tonight at 9:00 eastern daylight time the president of the united states will address the nation concerning developments today and over the
last few days. this has of course been a difficult time. >> this is indeed an historic day. the only time a president has ever resigned from office in our nearly 200 years of history. you see the white house there. in just a few moments now president nixon will be appearing before the people perhaps for the last time as president of the united states. >> have you got an extra camera in case the lights go out? >> 15 seconds to air. >> i know. >> this was much worse than we thought. nixon was worse than we thought. what happened was worse than we thought. >> he violated the law. he compromised the office. and he left a deep and wide black mark in american
presidential history. >> no, there will be no picture. just take it right now. this is right after the broadcast. you got it? come on. okay. that's enough. my friend ollie always wants to take a lot of pictures. i'm afraid he'll catch me picking my nose. >> i can't believe that guy was president of the united states because he is just branded in our national memory as a crook. and i think it's really important to understand the wrong approach to executive power that led nixon to those crimes. >> you want a level, don't you? yes, yes. good evening. this is the 37th time i have spoken to you from this office, where so many decisions have been made that shaped the history of our nation. need any more? >> there was good in him. he had been a good vice president. but he was a fatally flawed man and a fatally flawed president. >> richard nixon, a guy who had been a hero to millions of americans, here's a guy who received more votes than anybody else in the history of this
country. but the richard nixon that they supported through the years was not the richard nixon that they thought they knew. >> every generation has to lose their virginity, and it was just the day that my generation did. but to think that we're the only generation that had that experience is probably the mistake that a lot of generations make. >> he is already before the cameras now. president richard milhous nixon, 37th president of the united states. >> throughout the long and difficult period of watergate i have felt it was my duty to persevere. >> watergate doesn't go away because it was so extraordinary, it was so hidden. >> we act like it can't happen again. and it did a lot of stuff after. there was a lot of hoo-haing and passing laws, giving speeches. but if you ask me do i think we learned anything from it, no.
>> i have never been a quitter. to leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. but as president i must put the interests of america first. >> the president had been driven from office because the american people p learned the truth about richard nixon. but how we learned the truth, that fascinated me. nixon's downfall had bun two years earlier when five men were caught spying and wiretapping at the democratic national headquarters at an office complex called watergate. over at the "washington post"
two rookie reporters, bob woodward and carl bernstein, picked up the story. their investigation would unfold like a political thriller. and so i thought that the part that they played in exposing the scandal would make a movie, maybe even a good movie. >> action. >> in hollywood terms woodward and bernstein were the good guys. and their weapon was the written word. >> did he confirm it? >> absolutely. >> we've got to tell bradlee. >> i played bob woodward in the film. carl bernstein was played by dustin hoffman. >> one of the things i had observed with carl is that he smoked so incessantly, and carl was always -- always had ashes on his tie and his shirt. and i said, that's got to be in the movie. >> is there any place you don't smoke? >> 40 years later the two investigative reporters are back in the "washington post" newsroom. i joined them for a reunion with ben bradlee. >> i'm glad to see you. >> their former editor.
>> like a working reporter. >> it's the first time in decades we've all been together. >> hello, robert. >> how are you? >> it's tempting to think that watergate could never happen again. but these two reporters and their editor know better. >> come on. i look pretty damn good considering. >> yes. it's only 40 years ago. >> is it? >> i wanted to dig deeper into their story and to see what if any impact it had on our culture today. >> let me get these guys out of the newsroom. >> "vanity fair" photographer annie leibovitz is here to document the three men who took on our president. for bob woodward watergate started much the same way most stories do, with a phone call from his editor. >> the moment, the time i got the call about 9:00 a.m. on saturday morning june 17th. >> that's good. no one flashed a message to me
this is going to be one of the most important days of your life. >> i was in the office that day. and i saw all this commotion around the city desk on this saturday morning. went to find out what it was. and there was this moment in history that became known as watergate. ♪ >> woodward and bernstein, for those of us who were in the profession, i think we were quickly in awe of what they were doing. >> i became truly inspired by both their incredible investigative reporting and their storytelling. >> i remember thinking when i first read the woodward and bernstein articles where's this
going. especially coming in the midst of all the turmoil that was playing out in the streets around the country. >> president nixon's first term in office had been marred by loud, frequent, and sometimes violent protests. largely against the vietnam war. >> it really did seem like the world was unraveling, growing up in a suburban existence with parents who saw chicago in 1968 erupt into flames, saw people burning their draft cards, saw a sexual revolution, saw a drug revolution, saw woodstock come into their homes. >> when i joined the nixon white house, there were a lot of demonstrations against the war. it probably was some of the most intense times i think our country had ever faced. i mean, often we were feeling like we were in a state of siege. you felt it physically.
and we knew that we were going to have to protect the white house. there was a lot of discussion about using troops, directly facing the demonstrators, which i felt could lead to direct confrontations and conflicts. and so it came to me, why don't we do what john wayne did, let's just circle the white house. with buses. not wagons but with buses. which is what we did. >> so did you want to be on the side of jane fonda or john wayne? my parents chose john wayne. and therefore, they were for nixon and nixon was on the side of law and order. ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever ♪ more than ever we need nixon
now ♪ ♪ nixon now ♪ more than ever >> nixon's law and order platform was very popular. in the coming election he seemed a shoo-in for a second term. >> i again proudly accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> by the summer of 1972 nixon's campaign machine was in full force. but amidst the hoopla his re-election committee would suddenly become entangled with a mysterious illegal break-in. >> five men were arrested early saturday while trying to install eavesdropping equipment at the democratic national committee. >> well, it was the sunday after the burglary. we were the only two who showed up in the office. >> i was in the office that day. i was writing a profile. and i said, this is a better story than the one i'm working on. and i think i'd like to work on this. >> and it turns out that one of the men has an office in the headquarters of the committee for the re-election of the president.
>> james mccord, the lead burglar, had been in the cia in the security business for decades and now was the head of security at the nixon campaign. and we thought wait a minute, what's going on here? >> woodward and bernstein never imagined that answering that question would lead them smack into the oval office. ♪
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and with just a single word, find all the answers you're looking for - because getting what you need should be simple, fast, and easy. download the xfinity my account app or go online today. on august 1st, 1972 i picked up woodward and bernstein's third article on watergate. it said that one of the watergate burglars had gotten
money from the nixon campaign. what the reporters would soon discover was that nixon's re-election committee was engaging in a campaign of espionage and sabotage against the democrats. woodward and bernstein were beginning to pull back the curtains on a strange and shadowy world. and i wanted to know how they were doing it. i got really intrigued with the idea of making a film about woodward and bernstein because one was a jew, the other was a wasp, one was a liberal and the other was a republican. what interested me was beyond that the hard work they did together to get at the story. so i gave woodward a call. he was pretty chilly on the phone. i said hi, this is bob redford calling. he said, yeah. and i said, i wanted to know if i could meet and you your partner because i have this idea i want to share with you. >> woodward came to me and said that redford had called. and i put together who redford
was. and was interested in talking to us or whatever. i said we're busy, we've got to do this story. >> for woodward and bernstein it wasn't only that the break-in seemed fishy. there was something just as odd about the white house response. >> presidential press secretary ron ziegler called it a third-rate burglary attempt. >> ron ziegler calling it a third-rate burglary, that was the tipoff to us. there seemed to be nothing third-rate about it except they got caught. >> they raised the stakes so high. with this third-rate burglary nonsense. it was apparent that something here was really rotten. nixon assigned his top lieutenants the president's men the task of managing the fallout from the break-in. among them chief of staff bob
haldeman and presidential adviser john ehrlichman would become the guardians of the clandestine activities. ehrlichman begins to monopolize more and more of their time. we know that because nixon had a secret tape recording system in the oval office. >> what's the dope on the watergate incident? >> there's nothing new. >> because i think the country doesn't give much of a [ bleep ] about it. and most people around the country think that this is routine, everybody's trying to bug everybody else. it's politics. >> the great thing about this is it is so totally [ bleep ] up and so badly done that nobody believes that we could have done it. that's right. it's just beyond comprehension.
>> well, it sounds like a comic opera. it would make a funny [ bleep ] damn movie. it really is like a comic opera. >> it would make one hell of a movie. but not very funny. >> haldeman and ehrlichman knew what they had to do, cover all the tracks leading to the white house. they started by enlisting another of the president's men, legal adviser john dean, to monitor day-to-day changes. >> after the watergate break-in i really very quickly become the desk officer at the white house on watergate. i'm the person who others below me report and i in turn report up to haldeman and ehrlichman. >> any further developments on watergate? >> john dean is watching on an almost full-time basis and reporting to ehrlichman and me on a continuing basis. and no one else. there's no one else in the white house that has any knowledge at all. >> so they're deeply involved. it is a classic criminal conspiracy. >> as woodward and bernstein had suspected, the first clue to that conspiracy would be found at the republican committee to re-elect the president. the treasurer was hugh sloan.
>> we'd raised $60 million, which was the most successful fund-raising to that point in history of any presidential campaign. >> but some of the committee's practices were starting to make sloan uneasy. >> hugh sloan, he was right out of republican central casting. clean cut, seemed to always have a shirt and tie on. but he was troubled. because he was the one who was giving out the money. >> i was fine with everything up to the point i was directed to give cash to specific individuals. >> sloan would soon learn that some of the campaign money raised by the re-election committee had found its way into the hands of the watergate burglars. >> the keep was the money and finding these people who controlled these funds and figuring out what they did with the money. >> by now woodward and bernstein weren't the only ones following the money. the fbi was on the trail. and more importantly, a grand jury had begun its own investigation. and everyone wanted to talk to hugh sloan. >> the cash that financed the watergate break-in, five men had controlled of the fund. >> bernstein and woodward recommended the right thing to do was tell the whole story so
they can print it. >> we're not asking you to be our source 37 we're asking you to confirm it. >> i'm not your source on haldeman. >> a little bit of the good guy bad guy routine. >> let's say we wrote a story that haldeman was the fifth guy to control the fund. would we be in trouble? >> would we be wrong? >> they established through conversations and other means that i would have acknowledged basically five people as having the authority to tell me to dispense funds. and one of them was bob haldeman. >> let me put it this way. i would have no problems if you wrote a story like that. >> you wouldn't? >> no. >> okay. yeah. >> if you are looking for a phrase that defined what the execution of watergate was, it
was a haldeman operation. it was driven by nixon. but operationally it was haldeman doing that. >> on october 25th, two weeks before the election, the "post's" front-page headline pointed the finger at the number one man in the president's inner circle, bob haldeman. woodward and bernstein reported that under questioning by the grand jury sloan had testified that haldeman controlled the campaign's secret fund. it was a journalistic coup. but they were wrong. >> i'd never been asked a question about bob haldeman. >> sloan in fact had not named haldeman in his testimony. the white house pounced. >> i don't respect the type of
journalism, the shabby journalism that is being practiced by the "washington post." i use the term shoddy journalism, shabby journalism. i've used the term character assassination. >> this was their opportunity to discredit the "post," woodward and bernstein and bury the story. >> they came after us. ziegler, the press secretary. so we knew that at that point the stakes were very high and we were the targets. >> all i know is that the story that ran this morning is incorrect -- >> we made a mistake. we [ bleep ] up. we had an intellectual understanding of the facts of the story and haldeman's role in watergate, but what was in the "washington post" was untrue. we should not have allowed that to happen. >> i was angry at myself and carl and how we got it wrong. and we thought maybe we are going to have to resign, maybe we should resign. i mean, we were kind of at the end of our rope. >> for woodward and bernstein the path to the truth had just gotten longer and harder. [ cheers and applause ] statins lower cholesterol,
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mr. nixon's landslide tonight. >> according to our cbs news estimate, president nixon has been re-elected. and let's go now to the republican headquarters at the shoreham hotel in washington. >> i've never known a national election when i would be able to go to bed earlier than tonight. [ cheers and applause ] >> and please repeat after me. i, richard nixon, do solemnly swear. >> i, richard nixon, do solemnly swear. >> that i will faithfully execute the office of president of the united states. >> looking back at the early watergate reports, it's hard to believe that nixon was completely unscathed. >> to the best of my ability. >> and will to the best of my ability. >> imagine a president getting away with that unfolding scandal in today's political environment. >> preserve and protect the constitution of the united states. >> so help me god. >> so help me god. >> woodward and bernstein went
back to their desks, put their heads down, and continued to grind away at the story. >> i knew that i was going to be judged, the paper was going to be judged on this story. and therefore, you know, i think you could get away with not being 100% accurate on day one. but you had to be as close as you could get and you had to be closer the next day and then closer the day after that. >> they knew that haldeman was controlling the campaign's secret fund. the question was who was controlling haldeman? i was amazed by woodward and bernstein's resolve. there's nothing glamorous about what they were doing. but i thought it was important to portray the tedium, the hard work, and of course the feelings about the film from a studio standpoint was non-commercial. newspapers, typewriters, phones. mm-mm. washington, uh-uh. >> and bob did something which was brilliant. he said these guys, even though they're from separate -- you know, diverse backgrounds, think of them as one. particularly when they're interviewing people. he said let's learn not only our own lines but let's memorize the other guy's lines. >> what's this? what are you -- sloan. >> sloan was treasurer of the
committee -- >> his wife did what? >> his wife is pregnant and she made sloan quit because apparently he no longer wanted to be part of it. >> we've got to go see sloan. >> make a note of it. what have we got? where is that -- >> each of us would come in at any time. we would take one half of a sentence, we'd finish it -- >> how do you know that? >> because she said it. right here. she said at the time of the break-in there was so much money floating around that i know that he got part of it. >> i thought it was one of the most exciting and most successful things that we did in that film. >> like woodward and bernstein dustin and i couldn't have been more opposite. >> mr. redford. how are you? >> i'm good. >> it's been too long. >> one of the things i remember you telling me was that you had trouble, even you at that time, had trouble getting a studio to say yes because they all said we
know the ending, so why should we do "all the president's men"? >> they said why do we do 24 when we know what the outcome is? i said that's not what the story about, it's about the two guys. >> that's right. >> and what they did that nobody knew about. >> and you said it was a detective story. >> detective story that -- but the main thing, and i think you felt the same way, was the alchemy of the two guys, considering their differences. and one of the tough story points for me was how to deal with nixon. how do you portray someone so twisted on the inside and so straight-laced on the outside? ♪ >> richard nixon is now the guy who when you see photos of him even at his prime you cannot believe he was ever president of the united states. >> he seemed to me to be the kid in the schoolyard whom all the other kids picked on, and i identified with that.
>> who was nixon? nixon. nixon was a party guy, an animal. you know, to me nixon was a caricature, unfortunately. and man, i had my nixon down. you know, 10 years old, walking around the house, you know, just -- b-b-b-b-b, i am not a crook. now i have a much more complex view of the man and his presidency. >> president nixon created a brand new federal department, the environmental protection agency. >> the question who is richard nixon is almost imponderable. i looked at him as one of really the great minds that has ever really been in the presidency. he had achieved some extraordinary breakthroughs. i mean, his opening to china. detente with the soviet union. >> the sad truth is i think nixon would by today's standards be considered maybe a conservative democrat.
maybe at some levels a radical leftist. [ phone ringing ] >> hello? >> here's one of the men around the president we don't hear much about. alex butterfield, deputy assistant, who handles much of the paperwork. >> my first meeting, i can't tell it without acting it. nixon came out from behind his desk and looked very tentative. he had no idea what to do. so he began to gesture. >> okay. >> no words came out. no discernible words. it's just this deep guttural rrrrr. this is the president. i couldn't believe it. >> alexander butterfield would play a crucial role in the watergate investigation. he had direct knowledge of the secret taping system in the office. >> haldeman came to me and he said the president wants a tape recording system. the secret service has a
technical security division, electronics guys and communications guys. so that's who i went to. the first thing he indicated, he intimated that they had done this before. he didn't say we did it for johnson, yes we did it for this president or that. and he also indicated these things usually don't work out very well. >> get those files. are we going to go after some of these democrats or not? bob, please get me the names of the jews. can we please investigate some of the [ bleep ]? >> he was a paranoid man. he was sure that people were out to get him. i'm sure some people were out to get him. but he gave them a lot to get him with. >> he wasn't glamorous. he wasn't social. this kind of awkward and very smart, but it's hard to get past the tapes. and what you hear on the tapes and the rambling and the paranoia. and just the insanity. >> conspiracy. using it by any means. we are going to use any means. >> i really didn't know richard nixon when i went into the house.
i had a public image of him. and as he gets more comfortable with me, i start to see a rather dark side to this man. and i realize very quickly he's a man who harbored tremendous animosity toward his enemies literally. he doesn't forgive. he doesn't forget. and he wants to get even. and i wouldn't want to be on the other side right now. >> the real nixon is on those tapes. it is a road map of his mind. it is a road map of his presidency. >> for woodward and bernstein
the road map would lead to an erie underground parking garage. and their next big break. there woodward met with a highly placed government official who had a deep understanding of what was going on in the white house. he would become known as deep throat. >> just follow the money. his son-in-law -- secret talks with russians. the director of the fbi -- fired. special counsel robert mueller's criminal investigation has already shown why the president should be impeached. you can send a message to your representatives at needtoimpeach.com and demand they finally take a stand. this president is not above the law.
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deep throat would become the most memorable figure in the watergate scandal. when woodward and bern-city's book "all the president's men" came out guessing deep throat's identity turned into a cottage industry. >> i have to do this my way. you tell me what you know, and i'll confirm. i'll keep you in the right direction if i can, but that's all. just follow the money. >> deep throat was a blessing that i didn't want to mess with. >> in my day it was simply known as the double cross. in our present context it means infiltration of the democrats. >> i just felt it was a wonderful piece of drama. >> i want to talk about watergate. >> we're not supposed to talk about that subject. >> sometimes he just was not
very forthcoming. and a couple of key times he was. >> clear from the book and i hope from the movie that it's somebody who was conscience-stricken. somebody who crossed lines that somebody in that sort of responsible position rarely crosses and crossed for the best of reasons. >> he gave us a solidity in what others were telling us that might have sounded unbelievable given how crazy some of it was. >> i didn't know what deep throat even looked like. didn't know if it was a man or a woman or a dog. >> the deep throat mystique. right? i mean, a, it's embarrassing. it's deep throat. like it's named after a porn movie, right? the nickname deep throat was
prurient and dirty from the beginning. and yet because it was so important to the story everybody talks about deep throat this and deep throat that in this very casual way. >> the term "deep throat," everything was on deep background, meaning you could use it but not with any kind of attribution at all that would indicate where it came from. >> i wouldn't quote you even as an anonymous source. you'd be on deep background. >> the fascination with that one source i think was driven in part by the anonymity, right? that we knew what happened in the administration. we knew through "all the president's men" how woodward and bernstein ferreted out the story. we knew all these other things. and the one thing we didn't know is the identity of this one source. >> i tend to think that no deep throat no movie. i think there is something so incredibly bondish without it that without that i'm not sure we get the hollywoodization of the story. because he to me was probably a crucial element in, you know, "follow the money." >> deep throat was woodward's contact, and it took him a while to let bernstein in on the secret. >> he said i have somebody who works at the justice department who's in a very advantageous position. he told me a bit about him, didn't tell me exactly who he was or where he worked. >> he didn't want to talk on the phone because he knew about what was going on with wiretaps and how they would go after journalists. so he said we have to meet. it struck me at the time as kind
of odd. but again, i was just beginning this process of washington reporting. it sounded reasonable to me. let's meet at 2:00 a.m. in this underground garage. >> in this garage under the cover of night deep throat began to allude to a far-reaching conspiracy deep in the heart of the white house. >> it involves the entire u.s. intelligence community. fbi, cia, and justice. it's incredible. >> deep throat was a great help
in that he confirmed information that we had obtained elsewhere for the most part, and it gave us a better idea of how big the conspiracy was. >> deep throat was out there and we began to hear about it from the ground up that bob had this special source. >> when will the rest of the world know who is deep throat? >> when that source passes away or releases us from our agreement and pledge of confidentiality. >> the inevitable question, who is deep throat? >> we've said deep throat is a man. >> you can rule out some suspects like diane sawyer, a former nixon press aide, now network anchor. woodward says deep throat was a man. >> you've built a fairly strong case for the identity of
alexander haig. >> do you have any idea who deep throat is? >> deep throat is in my opinion a collection of people. >> how the secret of deep throat lasts for so long and the answer is neither of us told our ex-wives. >> during our filming woodward casually mentioned that the actor hal holbrook's portrayal of deep throat was pretty close to the whole thing. so when i asked him who the man was, he just smiled. >> other guesses over the years -- nixon campaign aide john sears and fbi official mark felt. >> i never leaked any information. i didn't give anybody any documents. and i'm getting pretty fed up with the whole thing. >> mark felt certainly caught some people's attention. he was the number 2 man in the fbi. and he looked the part. >> no. no. i am not deep throat. and the only thing i can say is that i wouldn't be ashamed to be. >> three decades later bob woodward went to visit mark felt. the elderly man was living with his daughter on a quiet street in a suburb of san francisco. coincidentally named redford place. >> i was talking to a friend of mine, and for some reason we started talking about watergate and he asked me about my father, and i started telling him about all the reporters calling and i said, you know, as a matter of fact, one reporter i think he said his name was bob woodward
from the "washington post" came to the house to try and get an interview with dad and try to find out if dad is deep throat. and my friend said, joan, bob woodward knows who deep throat is. and that's when i started thinking, oh, my gosh, maybe dad could be deep throat. but dad denied it. he said that he wasn't deep throat. and i said, dad, you've got to tell me the truth. please tell me the truth. i need to know. tell me. and so he did. he looked me in the eyes and said all right, if that's the way it's going to be. he said all right. i am. i was. that person. >> i got a call from "vanity fair" where i'm a contributing editor and told that in the next few hours they were going to
break a story saying that felt was deep throat and would i confirm it. >> carl came down to washington, and we talked about this, should we reveal it, should we confirm it. what's the obligation now? then ben bradlee stepped in and said it's out, it's over, you need to confirm it. and so we did. >> felt was the number two man at the fbi when he says he became the source to help reveal watergate, the scandal that helped bring down richard nixon. >> my dad, i know him so well, and he's a great man. he's so kind. he's so attentive to other people and loving. and we're all so proud of him. not only for his role in history but for that, for the character that he has, the person that he is. >> clearly there was an element of the conflicted man, the divided man. but then when i saw him on the doorstep, the video of mark felt and his pajamas and walker with
the smile on his face, the smile i've never seen him smile. he was not a happy person in all the years i've dealt with him. >> it turns out to have been liberating for us, for the truth, for felt because now you know, there was an awful lot of speculation in those 30 years including by many of our peers and colleagues that we made this up. >> this was an element of clarity and closure, answering a question that had persisted for a long time. >> deep throat begins to guide woodward and bernstein through an elaborate maze of covert activities. gradually, the reporters begin to connect watergate to many more of the president's men. by the beginning of 1973 congress could no longer ignore the scandal. their investigation would boil down to one simple question. >> what did the president know, and when did he know it?
[ typewriter sounds ] the senate tonight voted 77-0 to establish a select committee to investigate the watergate bugging case. the committee headed by -- >> barely eight months after they published the first article, the senate created a select committee to investigate the watergate scandal. the story started with a couple of young reporters nosing around a suspicious break-in and grown into a full pledged examination of the nixon white house. >> i know we're obstructing justice. i have told them that. they didn't want to hear it. one point, he made a wonderful classic remark.
i couldn't ferg. he said there's something putrid in the water where you live. i said i'm just a realist. we have problems. >> march 21st, john dean walked into the oval office to give nixon a blunt assessment of the damage watergate was doing to his presidency. >> he had his feet on the desk. and as he often did, kind of looking around the shoes at me. >> i have the impression that you don't know everything i know. and it makes it very difficult for you to make judgments that only you can make. >> and after that remark, his feet were solidly on the floor. he had slid his chair up and i had his full attention. i knew at that point, he knew something. >> there's no doubt about the problem we've got. >> i'm warning him. it was not good news to share. there's a kans owner the
presidency. >> we have a cancer close to the presidency that's growing daily. >> he kind of just absorbs that for a minute and thinks about it. as the conversation goes on and i say, you know, mr. president, i don't know where this will end. it's just going to keep going up. >> the senate investigation was closing in on the president. to distance himself from the cover-up, nixon needed scapegoats. >> one of the most difficult decisions of my presidency i accepted the rez isignations ofo of the closest associates in the white house. two of the finest public servants it's been my privilege to know. >> when he gets rid of halderman and urlichman he's planning the defense. >> two closest men to the
president have resigned. >> he thinks it will protect him and he will claim that he has known nothing about a cover-up until i told him on march 21st. so he's sorting this out until the end of the month and decides he's just got to let everybody go. and then, of course, he fires me. >> may 17th, the senate held the first public hearing. one by one, the president's men were summoned to the senate chamber. under cross-examination, each was asked, had the president of the united states broken the law? >> what did the president know, and when did he know it? >> i don't think there's ever been a moment in american non-fiction television history as riveting as the watergate hearings were. >> i did not grow up with the memory of having seen it, obviously, but it was this omnipresent thing in the way my
mom talked in my childhood a. young mother, home with a baby on the hip and what she did for my infancy was feed me and watch watergate. >> i was sitting in a dressing room making the film "the great gats by." and to keep yourself from going mad, you watch the hearings. and that was fine because the hearings were so interesting. you couldn't stop and what was interesting the drama and the tension and the certain area of mystery. when's going to happen? >> do i understand that you are testifying that the committee to re-elect the president, those responsibilitied with him -- >> the watergate hearings were an absolute unifying television experience for the entire country. >> this is a special report from -- >> i can remember watching that and thinking, man, they're interrupting soap operas? wow. you figured that this is must be something enormously fundamental to our democracy. >> most of us thought the most
dramatic testimony from halderman and uhrlichman was it was john dean who trance fixed the country. >> we could at that point drag the wagons of a giant lie that would protect everybody who was willing to lie. who was willing to lie? >> point is i didn't run around trying to bribe anybody. >> the president and i made no attempt to take over the watergate case. the view of all three of us through the whole period was that the truth must be told and quickly. although with did not what the truth was. >> so, when i testified -- >> counsel will call the first testimony. >> thank you. >> john dean iii. >> i knew clearly was i in or out? i decided i could not play that game. i have made mistakes.
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your one a day is showing. save up to $8 on one a day. see sunday's paper. do you swear that the evidence that you shall give shall be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god? >> i do so help me god. >> like most americans i, too, riveted by john dean's testimony. >> would ask your name is john w. dean iii? >> that is correct. >> i remember being struck by how methodical he presented the pat earn of deception. >> when the president called me and we had a discussion i told him at the conclusion of the conversation i wanted to talk with him as soon as possible
about the watergate matter because i didn't think he fully realized the facts for the people at the white house as well as himself. >> you had the president's counsel, people forget, he was the president's lawyer, you -- you can't -- you can't have anything worse happen to you than your own lawyer turning against you. >> i began by telling the president that there was a cancer growing on the presidency. and if the cancer was not removed the president himself would be killed by it. i also told him that it was important that this cancer removed immediately because it was growing more deadly every day. >> john dean's testimony was on for four days. it was mesmerizing. people were missing arms. people standing around furniture stores that sold tv sets watching in the plate glass window it is television. >> i told him that cash has been at the white house funneled back for the purpose of paying the seven individuals to remain