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tv   All the Presidents Men Revisited  MSNBC  December 23, 2018 4:00pm-6:00pm PST

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sign bofleeding, like unusual bruising. eliquis may increase your bleeding risk if you take certain medicines. tell your doctor about all planned medical or dental procedures. eliquis, the number one cardiologist-prescribed blood thinner. ask your doctor if eliquis is what's next for you. 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 presidents men" about how "washington post" reporters woodward and bernstein chased the watergate break-in to the first president to resign from office. the story of the scandal stayed with me. i produced a documentary about
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woodburn and bernstein's detective work. 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 has 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
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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? >> two minutes and 15 seconds to air. >> 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.
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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. >> can't believe that guy was president of the united states because he is just branded in our memory as a crook. it's important to understand the wrong approach to executive power that led nixon to those crimes. >> 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 anymore? >> there was good in him. he had been a good vice president, but he was a fatally flawed man and a fatally flawed
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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 they supported through the years was not the richard nixon that they thought they knew. >> every generation has to lose their virginity. it was just the day my generation did. to think we're the only generation that had that experience is probably the mistake that a lot of generations make. >> he is ready before the cameras now, president richard millhouse 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 did a lot of stuff after it. a lot of hoo-hawing and passing
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laws and giving speeches. did we learn 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 had learned the truth about richard nixon. but how we learned the truth, that fascinated me. nixon's downfall had begun two years earlier when five men were caught spying and wiretapping at the democratic national headquarters at a complex called watergate. over at "the washington post," two rookie reporters, bob woodward and carl bernstein picked up the story.
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their investigation would unfold like a political thriller. and so i thought the part they played in exposing the scandal would make a movie. maybe even a good movie. >> action. >> in hollywood terms, woodward and bernstein remember the good guys and their weapon was the written word. >> did he confirm it? >> absolutely. >> 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 incessently and carl was always -- always had ashes on his tie and his shirt. 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.
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i joined them for a reunion with ben bradlee, their former editor. it's the first time in decades we've all been together. >> hello, robert. >> how are you? >> it's temtsing to think that watergate would never happen again, but these two reporters and their editor know better. >> come on. i look pretty good considering. >> only 40 years ago. >> i wanted to dig deeper into their story and to see what if any impact it had on our culture today. >> you want me there? >> annie leibowitz is here to document the three men who took on the 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, no one flashed a message to me,
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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 see 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 is
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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 card, saw a sexual revolution, so 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.
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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. circle the white house with buses. not wagons, but with buses, which is what we did. and 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 or never ♪
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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 197, nixon's campaign committee. they would soon become entangled with a mysterious break-in. >> five men were arrested early saturday while trying to install eavesdropping equipment at the democratic national committee. >> 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. i said this is a better story than the one i'm working on. 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
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for the re-election of the president. >> james mccord, the lead burglar, had been in the cia and the security business for decades. and 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. about mys. but believe me... i'm not your average consumer. that's why i switched to liberty mutual. they customized my car insurance, so i only pay for what i need. and as a man... uh... or a woman... with very specific needs that i can't tell you about- say cheese. mr. landry? oh no. hi mr. landry! liberty mutual customizes your car insurance so you only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ ito take care of anyct messy situations.. and put irritation in its place.
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♪ ♪ 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
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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 radical liberal and the other was a republican. what interested me was, beyond that, was 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 you and 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
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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 tip-off 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.
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watergate 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
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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 it on an almost full-time basis and reporting to ehrlichman and me on a continuing basis. >> all right. good. >> 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.
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>> 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 key 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 control of the fund. >> bernstein and woodward
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showed up and 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. 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.
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>> 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.
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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. let's be honest. every insurance company tells you they can save you money. save up to 10% when you bundle with esurance. including me, esurance spokesperson dennis quaid.
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♪ but now with 496 electoral votes to his credit on the verge of a landslide win -- >> we can see the dimensions of mr. nixon's landslide tonight. >> according to our cbs news estimate, president nixon has been re-elected.
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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. >> 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
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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 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.
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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 no one 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, he'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,
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we know the ending, so why should we do "all the president's men"? >> they said why do we do this 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.
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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 of 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 ]
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>> 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 with the president, 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 oval 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.
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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 up 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.
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and just the insanity. >> they're killing me. >> 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 of 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
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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. once i started looking for it was a no-brainer. i switched to geico and saved hundreds. that's a win. but it's not the only reason i switched. the geico app makes it easy to manage my policy. i can pay my bill, add a new driver, or even file a claim. woo, hey now! that's a win-win. thank you! switch to geico®. it's a win-win. so shark invented duo clean. while deep cleaning carpets, the added soft brush roll picks up large particles, gives floors a polished look, and fearlessly devours piles. duo clean technology, corded and cord-free.
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you protect our future. get a new subaru, like the all new forester, and charities like the national park foundation can receive two hundred and fifty dollars from subaru. (avo) get zero percent during the subaru share the love event. i'm richard lui with the top stories. it's day two of the partial government shutdown. acting white house chief of staff mick mulvaney says the shutdown likely to continue into the new year. 800,000 federal employees will be without pay until congress reaches a deal. defense secretary jim mattis out two months earlier than expected. president trump announcing he's replacing mattis with his deputy and former boeing executive patrick shanahan. that starts january 1st. now back to "all the president's men revisited."
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♪ deep throat would become the most memorable figure in the watergate scandal. when woodward and bernstein'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.
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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
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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 about 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 awhile to let bernstein in on the
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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
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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 was? >> 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
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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
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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
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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 who helped 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 in his pajamas and walker with
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the smile on his face, the smile the likes of -- i'd 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?
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i know we're obstructing justice. i've told them that. they didn't want to hear it. at one point, he made a wonderful classic remark, i couldn't forget. he said john, there is something putrid in your drinking water
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out there in old town where you live and i said no, john, i'm just a realest. we got problems. >> on 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 had his feet on the desk as he often did and looking around his shoes at me. >> i have the impression you don't know everything i know and it makes it very difficult for you to make a decision only you could make. >> his feet were solidly on the floor and he slid his chair up and i had his full attention. he knew something i didn't know much about. >> there is no doubt about the seriousness. >> i'm warning him he has problems. this was not good news i was about to share, there was a cancer on his presidency. >> we have a cancer within the
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presidency that's growing. ist growing daily. >> he kind of absorbs that for a minute and i say mr. president, i don't know where this will end. it's going to keep going up. >> the senate investigation was closing in on the president. to distance himself from the coverup, nixon needed scapegoat scapegoats. >> in one of the most difficult decisions in my presidency, i acre cemented the resignation of two of the finest public serve vanlts, it has been my privilege to know. >> they have resigned. >> he thinks h will protect him
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and he will claimth will protecm and he will claimis will protec him and he will claim he knows nothing about a coverup until march 21st. he's sorting this out until the end of the month until he decides he's got to let everybody go and of course, he fires me. >> on may 17th, the senate held the first public hearing, one by one the president and his men were summed to the alcohol beer. 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 has ever been a moment as riveting as the watergate hearings were. >> i did not grow up with the memory of having seen it obviously, but it was this thing in the way my mom talked about my childhood because she was a young mother, home with a baby
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on the hip and what she did for my infancy was feed me and watch watergate. >> i was sitting in a dressing room 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. what was interesting is the drama and tension in the certain area of mystery, what will happen? >> do i understand that you are testifying that the committee to reelect the president and those associated 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 it and thinking man, they are interrupting soap operas? wow. you figure this must be something enormously fundamental to our democracy. >> most of us thought the most dramatic testimony would come
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from halderman but in the end it would be john dean. >> they knew we did have an option we could drag the wagons around of a giant lie that would protect everybody who was willing to lie, who was willing to lie. >> the point is i didn't runaround trying to bribe anybody. i didn't runaround trying to sled documents. in matter of fact, we preserved documents. we made no attempt to take over the watergate case. the view of us is the truth must be told and quickly but we didn't know the truth. >> when i testified. >> counsel we call the first witness, mr. john w. dean the third. >> i nuclearly was i in or out was the question. and i decided i could not play that game. we made mistakes. we got ourself in a deep problem
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would ask your name is john w dean, iii. >> that is correct. >> i remember being struck by how he presented nixon's pattern of destruction. >> i told him to the conclusion of the conversation that evening that i wanted to talk with him as soon as possible about the watergate matter because i did not think he fully realized all
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the facts and the implications of those facts for the people at the white house as well as himself. >> you hear the president's counsel, people forget he was the president's lawyer. 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 be 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 airplanes. people were standing around furniture stores that sold tv sets watching in the plate-glass windows, the television. >> i told him the cash that had been at the white house had been funneled back to the re-election committee for the purpose of paying the seven individuals to
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remain silent. >> and dean wasn't pulling any punches. >> a recipient of wiretap information and haldeman also. >> i said to myself wow everything john dean is saying to that committee, i hope they know, it is true. >> the counsel was retained at that time. >> what date was that? >> that was on the 25th, as i recall. >> we absolutely believed what he was saying and the more evidence we got the more it confirmed what he was saying. >> meeting of march 21. as i have indicated, my purpose in requesting this meeting, particularly with the president was that i felt it was necessary that i give him a full report of all the facts that i knew and explained to him what i believed to be the implications of those facts. >> we had white house logs of meetings. so when he said i met with the
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president on march 21st, we could look at the log and say, certainly, he did. >> how do you expect us to resolve the truth in this matter when you state one story and you testified here and made yourself subject to cross-examination and the president states another story and he does not appear before this committee? can you give us any information as to how we might resolve this? >> mr. chairman, i think this. i strongly believe that the truth always emerges. i don't know if it will be during these hearings. i don't know if it will be through the processes of history, but the truth will out some day. >> it's very hard to think about the president not being believed and john dean being believed. so if it came down to he said/he said, the president was going to win. >> president nixon and his counsel, john dean, now appear to be at odds over the watergate scandal. >> one nixon aide knew how to prove who was lying, but no one
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had asked him. >> while in the barbershop i am watching the hearings, as was everyone, every place. this is the morning of monday the 16th of july. i was really quite relaxed until i got that phone call. we are going to want you to come up here and testify. a senator wants you to testify at 2:00. i said, you can just tell him i'm not coming. so on the tube i see this guy go in behind the senators and whisper in urban's ear. and it's those big bushy eyebrows of his went, whoop. you can see them going up and down. and he wasn't pleased. you can tell that. he tells this young man something and the guy leaves. predictably right away the phone rings. and he said i just told the
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senator what you said and he said if you are not in his office at 1:00 he will have federal marshals pick you up on the street. that's exactly what he said. >> carl stern is outside the senate caucus room and maybe can tell us more about mr. butterfield and what he is expected to tell the committee. carl? >> there was a lot of speculation. obviously something was cooking as far as what he was going to say because we were deviating from the schedule. >> we believe his testimony will have to do with white house procedures. >> that room was chock full of people. boyfriends with girls standing on their shoulders, people in the window ledges up there. cameras all over the place. >> i'd like to change the usual routine of questioning and ask minority counsel to begin the questioning of mr. butterfield. >> thank you. >> the caucus room was packed full of famous names and celebrities and whatnot, kind of a circus atmosphere, frankly. >> mr. butterfield, i understand you were previously employed by
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the white house? is that correct? >> that's correct. >> during what period of time were you employed by the white house? >> i would like to preface my remarks, if i may. >> i'm sorry. go right ahead. >> although i do not have a statement as such i would simply like to remind the committee membership, that, whereas i appear voluntarily this afternoon, i appear with only some three hours' notice. >> i wanted them to know i was enjoying a haircut just at 11:00 today. >> are you aware of installation of listening devices in the oval office of the president. >> i tried to think is that direct? yeah, that's direct. that's a very direct question. i'm not trying to sound dramatic here, but i knew, then, that the jig was up. >> i was aware of listening
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devices, yes, sir. >> i was under the assumption that this tape recording system was still deep, dark secret over at the white house. that secret was well kept. when you stop and think, rosemary woods, his secretary, never knew about the tapes. henry kissinger, as close as henry was, never knew about the tapes. john ehrlichman never knew about the tapes. >> two people told me about it before it became public. i called bradley at home at 9:00 on saturday night i believe and said nixon taped himself. what should we do? ben, said, i wouldn't bust one on it. it's kind of a b-plus story. okay. the boss says b-plus. i won't work on it. i took sunday off and monday they called butterfield. i remember, ben came by and knocked on my desk and said, okay, it's better than a b-plus.
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>> from then on, it's a fight for the tapes. am i telling the truth? is the president telling the truth. what else happened? the prosecutors immediately subpoenaed the tapes. the senate subpoenas them. so nixon is early advised to destroy the tapes. which is a crying shame. only pay for what you need. ♪ liberty. liberty. liberty. liberty. ♪ it's just a cough. yeah right, and i was born yesterday. (indistinct announcement over pa system) i'm a baby! what? treat your cough seriously with robitussin dm max. it soothes in seconds and delivers fast, powerful cough relief for hours. robitussin. because it's never just a cough.
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we're gonna need the if we'element of surprise. mas, go team. [ snow crunching ] [ load crunching ] [ whispers ] this is the loudest snow ever. the discovery of the nixon tapes would ignite a new battle ground in the watergate drama. it went something like this. nixon's attorney general had
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appointed a special prosecutor, archibald cox, to investigate watergate. the special prosecutor demanded nixon hand over eight of the tapes. >> eight specific tapes of conversations either in the president's office or on his telephone. >> nixon not only refused but on a saturday night in october 1973 he also ordered his attorney general to fire the special prosecutor. the attorney general was appalled. he said no and resigned. then the president told one of his assistants to call the deputy attorney general. >> i picked the phone up and it was al haig. he said he wanted me to fire cox and i said i'm not going to do it. >> ruckleshouse refused in a moment of constitution of drama to obey a presidential order to fire the special watergate prosecutor. >> first attorney general to say i'm not going to do that and then resign and then the next person who is the deputy attorney general, bill ruckleshouse, one of the great people in the nixon administration, one of the most ethical men i have ever known, he, too, was not willing to do
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it. >> so the deputy attorney general, ruckleshouse, also resigned. >> there will be an announcement out of the white house later on. >> there will be? does it have to do with the resignation of the attorney general? >> it might. you will have to get it from them. >> haig said your commander in chief has ordered you do this. i don't know what that added to the discussion. he said, well, who else is around? i said bob bork is here. he was the number three guy in the department. bork was the last one that was really eligible to do it. >> the commander in chief found someone willing to carry out his orders. bork fired cox. >> and i have asked all personnel in the department to stay and help keep the department from going in this extraordinarily difficult time. >> and so ended what would become known as the saturday night massacre. >> one white house source said the president's motive was to remove a constitutional confrontation as quickly as possible. >> richard nixon violated the law, he compromised the office and he violated the compact that we thought we had with him. >> before he did all of this he must have considered the probable reaction in congress including the possibility of
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impeachment. >> there with some of us who felt that the imperial presidency was getting out of hand. the saturday night massacre was a signal to the american people that a president was putting himself above the rule of law and they demanded action. >> and the public outcry to the saturday night massacre was so significant. >> just the insanity of the saturday night massacre like who does that? how could you think you could get away with that? it's just not stable. >> people in high office tend to want to have power to themselves and they tend to want to keep it. power still tends to corrupt. >> presidents by the nature of the job are just unlikely to
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ever shed any of the executive power that their predecessors have accrued to the office. every president since jimmy carter has expanded the powers of the presidency. and when president obama ran for office, he had, as part of his pitch as a candidate, what was wrong with the expanded executive power that was asserted by the george w. bush administration especially on national security issues, thinks like torture and secret prisons and all of that stuff after 9/11. he hasn't given any of that power back now that he is president. >> tonight i would like to give my answer to those who have suggested that i resign. i have no intention whatever of walking away from the job i was elected to do.
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>> after four months of legal squabbling the presidential tape recordings were delivered today. we won't hear them, however, until all the discrepancies have been accounted for and today that situation grew worse, not better. >> much worse. nixon had handed over the tapes but there was a catch. >> i was in the white house. things were fairly quiet. and i got a call to go to ron ziegler's office. i go up to ron's office thinking it's something routine and ziegler is clearing his throat a lot and is kind of rattling his coffee cup and that is when we learned about the gap in the tapes. we had been told just about three days earlier that the worst is behind us and suddenly there was an 18 1/2 minute gap in the tapes and all hell broke loose again. >> conversation in question took place three days after the watergate burglars were caught and the watergate prosecutor thought it was important. >> we know the 18 1/2 minute gap was a conversation about watergate because it was with haldeman and the president and haldeman was a meticulous note taker and he took notes. >> the president's presidential secretary, rosemary woods, was
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recalled to explain how she accidentally erased 18 minutes of a conversation with the president three days after the watergate break in. >> it didn't happen by accident would have been our first suspicion. >> i was the lawyer who questioned rosemary woods about the 18 1/2 minute gap. >> are you discussing testimony tomorrow? >> i don't want to comment on it. >> i'm called the mini skirted bitch. that was my name. pictures of me were always head to toe. my male colleagues are shoulder up. that's just how it was. rosemary woods represents really the majority of women at that time. you could be a nurse. you could be a teacher. you could be a secretary, or you could be a housewife. those were your choices. i was a very early professional and there we were head to head combat basically. ms. woods said it was a mistake. a record button hit accidentally
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while she took a phone call. >> she described that she pushed the wrong button. instead of pushing stop, she had pushed record. she had to keep her foot on the pedal. >> mrs. woods used the machine to show how it happened. >> when i asked her to demonstrate, she pushed the is button, kept her foot on and she supposedly reached back about six feet to get the telephone. her foot came off the pedal just with the mere movement. there was no way it was believable. >> the white house intention that the talk between the president and haldeman was accidently erased would give more ammunition to the president's critics. >> to hear something so obviously untrue changed a lot of the american public's view of the whole situation. >> rosemary woods would stand by her story. bob woodward would later write the 18 1/2 minute gap became a symbol for nixon's entire watergate problem. the truth had been deleted.
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watergate was becoming a bloody mess. nixon was a wounded president. "all the president's men" was a very violent movie. it was violent in a different sense. you didn't see anybody shot or blown up or poisoned. but people were out to kill each other. >> get out your notebook. there's more. >> and the weapons were telephones, typewriters and pens. >> your lives are in danger. >> so as a result we would
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accentuate the volume in all those instruments. >> i love the scene when redford playing the part of bob woodward sees carl reworking his story. >> how's it going? what are you doing? >> polishing it. >> what's wrong with it? >> nothing, it's good. >> what are you doing with it? >> i'm just helping. it's a little fuzzy. >> may i have it. >> i don't think you're saying what you mean. >> i know exactly what i mean. >> not here. i can't tell. >> may i have it? >> yes. i'm not looking for a fight. >> i'm not looking for a fight either. >> just aware of the fact you've only been here nine months. >> now, having known both of them, that was so true and that's what goes on in newsrooms. >> if you are going to do it, do it right. here's my notes. if you're going to hype it. hype it with the facts. i don't mind what you did. i mind the way you did it. >> the thing about bernstein that i think you captured so well was his assuredness about how right he was, at the same
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time, totally intuitive and instinctive, how he had to push woodward. and how you have to rewrite me because you're a better writer. and you do it without even thinking. >> woodward was didactic. he would go a, b, c, d in his investigative work. and bernstein would go a, b, h. >> we had the luxury of a fat dynamic institution in the "washington post," it was right at its peak. >> there has always been some chicannery in american politics, you're always going to have some underhanded dealings. nothing comparable to this. >> ended up they ushered in a new era of journalism that opened up the white house in a way that would have made lbj and jfk and fdr very uncomfortable. >> marcus, everyone asks the question, could the "post" do a
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story like watergate or do watergate now? what is your -- >> you know, in today's world that story would catch fire much faster. the minute the break-in occurred, you know, you would tweet it. both sides would seize on it. it's an election campaign. they would be using it immediately as fodder for their both sides in the battle. everybody would chase it. there would be bloggers. as a result it would be much harder to do what you did probably because there would be such -- it would clamp down much faster. >> it's a great question how watergate might unfold in the current news environment. >> you could look at the glass half full argument and say with all of these people on twitter and all of these reporters the 24-hour news cycle, a big story began to emerge, it would never be two lonely guys pursuing it forever because the entire pack of the cyberuniverse would bay like wolves after the white
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house until it happened. >> they used to say a reporter was only as good as their phone numbers. we can hunt and stock sources so many different ways. the tool box that i have available to me as a reporter, digital voice recording, e-mail, social media. we can truth tell them in realtime. when they say something we can be googling what they are saying. playing back to them. we have access to all known thought one click away. ability to surround and ferret out a source in a way that woodward and bernstein only dreamed of. >> the internet is a tool just like a typewriter is a tool, a telephone is a tool. at the end of the day journalism requires incredibly dogged persistence on the part of journalists who are seeking the truth. >> we worked over here. i'm here. >> you're here. and i'm here. >> yeah. >> and it was the noise of
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typewriters and it was the smoke of people who smoked. >> people smoking. >> 38 years ago. >> jesus. >> why did things have to change? >> every day bob and i would go have a cup of coffee together in the morning in a vending machine room off the newsroom. >> it sure is quiet in here. >> and on this particular day, not that long after the break in, i put a dime in the coffee machine, which is what it cost then. and i literally felt this chill go down my neck. i mean literally, made my hair stick up, i think. i turned to woodward and i said oh, my god, this president is going to be impeached. woodward looked at me and said oh, my god, you're right. right - [narrator] the typical vacuum head has its limitations,
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president trump is expected to make a final decision by i would like to add a personal word with regard to an issue that has been of great concern to all americans over the past year. i refer, of course, to the investigations of the so-called watergate affair. i believe the time has come to bring that investigation and the other investigations of this matter to an end. one year of watergate is enough. >> but as hard as nixon tried, watergate would not go away. >> the meeting will come to order. the committee on the judiciary is authorized and directed to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist to impeach richard m. nixon, president of the united states of america.
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>> it took the american people to force congress into action. this was not like what happened with president clinton where a special prosecutor said you should do an impeachment. there were those of us in congress that wanted to take action, but the powers that be refused. it was only when the american people broke down the wall of that resistance and said you have to do what you can do under the constitution to rein in the imperial president. >> the american people were losing patience. and the congressional committee was furious. they knew they had only scratched the surface. there were thousands of hours of recordings. but nixon was refusing to release any of them. >> president nixon today defied subpoenas demanding that he produced tapes and papers in his
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possession and the country moved closer to a clash between the white house and the congress and the courts which will be unprecedented in american history. >> it became clear he wasn't going to produce them voluntarily. there's a reason why he's drawing the line. he's taking all this flak, there must be some damaging things on there. i was concerned -- we were concerned that he might dispose of the tapes. that in and of itself could be a criminal offense. burning the tapes, destroying the tapes. >> nixon never thought the tapes that he was making secretly would ever surface publically. they would always be for private use. >> it was never designed that they would come out so there is kind of a spontaneity and free flow of people talking about their authentic conclusions. and it's horrifying. >> you have made it perfectly clear you don't intend to release the tapes. >> perfectly clear? >> perfectly clear. >> it would be up to the supreme
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court to make the decision. on july 24, 1974, the court issued its ruling. >> the supreme court has just ruled on the tapes controversy. and how is that ruling? >> it is a unanimous decision, 8-0, ordering the president of the united states to turn over the tapes. >> the court voted unanimously, unanimously to require the tapes to be released. some of those members of the court had been appointed by richard nixon himself. so you had the court system acting in a nonpartisan way, in a credible way, regardless of politics. >> imagine that in the politicized supreme court that we've had in our recent history. >> while nixon tried to put on the pretend act that operations were going on as normal, they weren't. they were disintegrating every day. >> three days after the supreme court ruling house of
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representatives took the step most dreaded by the president. impeachment. nixon's fate now rested in the hands of the committee. >> today i am an inquisitor and hyperbole would not be fictional and would not overstate the solemnness that i feel right now. my faith in the constitution is whole. it is complete. it is total. and i am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the constitution. >> aye. >> mr. conyers? >> aye.
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>> some republicans who voted for the impeachment, some democrats who voted for the impeachment, they were putting their political lives on the line. all of us were putting our reputations on the line. >> aye. >> we voted on the impeachment. it was one of the most sober and solemn moments in my life and i think in the life of everybody on that committee. everybody understood the stakes for the country. that's what this was all about. and it was above party. it was what was good for america and what our democracy required. >> aye. >> it was the republicans that ultimately provided a real measure of putting country ahead of party. >> nixon held his ground. he insisted he knew nothing of the cover up, but among the thousands of hours of tapes one conversation recorded shortly after the break in would destroy what was left of his credibility and his presidency. >> on that investigation the democratic party thing, we're back in the problem area because the fbi is not under control and they have their investigation is now leading into some productive
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areas. >> what finally catches him is when the tapes are released, the smoking gun tape puts the lie to the statement that he had no advanced knowledge. >> on the tape you hear nixon telling haldeman to direct the cia to stop an fbi investigation. >> without going into detail, don't lie to them to that extent. but say that they should call the fib and don't go into further into this case. >> those words clearly led to an obstruction of justice. >> and i was always amazed at the president's nonchalance. he didn't seem to care. i wanted to say to him, my god, man, do you know what you just said? do you know those tapes are
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rolling? >> after the smoking gun tape came out the president lost all support, republican, as well as democrat. republicans went to him and said you have to resign. we cannot support you anymore. >> it was republicans finally who made sure that nixon had to leave office. barry goldwater, marching down to the white house. >> we sat there in the oval room and the president acted like he just played golf and just had a hole in one. you would never think this guy's tail was in a crack. >> nixon said how many votes if i'm impeached in the house? how many votes in the senate? about 20. and goldwater said -- >> very few, and not mine. >> the 37th president of the united states was facing the ultimate disgrace. for a man who craved power the question was would nixon continue to fight? uh uh - i'm the one who delivers the news around here.
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president trump announcing james mattis will be leaving two months earlier than originally planned. patrick shanahan will temporarily take over the position starting january 1. a massive tsunami devastates coastal towns in indonesia leaving more than 200 people dead and hundreds more injured. it swept away hotels, homes and a group of people attending a beach concert there. for now, back to "all the president's men revisited." esid. i don't remember exactly where i was or what i was doing the night nixon resigned, but i
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remember the feeling. relief. >> okay. sir? >> you are better looking than i am. why don't you stay here? blonds, they say, photograph better than brunettes. >> standing by now for president richard milhous nixon, 37th president of the united states. >> you got an extra camera in case the lights go out? where did we get it from? is that nbc? get these lights properly? my eyes always -- you find when you get past 60 -- that's enough. thanks. >> in just a moment now the president of the united states will begin his speech, perhaps his last speech from the white house. >> good evening. >> we watched it sitting on the floor eating bologna sandwiches and having a sense of unreality, quite frankly. >> from the discussions i have had with congressional and other
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leaders i have concluded that because of the watergate matter i might not have the support of the congress that i would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interest of the nation would require. >> i was just awe struck at the whole thing. no gloating. very little sense of self. it was really about the magnificence of what had occurred in terms of the right thing. >> therefore, i shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. vice president ford will be sworn in as president at that hour in this office. >> our first reaction really was okay, he's not president anymore. he's just a citizen. now we can indict him. honestly, that is what we thought. >> the morning he resigned i remember i walked down the street and bought a bottle of
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scotch. >> earlier today the east room of the white house was the scene of an emotional meeting between the president, his cabinet and the aides who have stayed with him during all of these years of mr. nixon's tenure in the white house. >> you have this president who is bitterly resentful of what had happened to him in his political career overlaid with a shakespearean level of paranoia. he was willing to engage in extraordinary acts to preserve his power. >> all presidents are human beings. i assume they will have faults and flaws. i assume they will make mistakes. i assume that once they are caught in their mistakes because of who they are and the kind of people they are, they will try to cover up those mistakes. >> i was in the east room of the white house when he made the
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very bittersweet, very poignant, very maudlin speech with his family gathered around him. >> i look around here and see so many in this staff that, you know, i should have been by your offices and shaking hands and would have loved to have talked to you and found out how to run the world. everybody wants to tell the president what to do. and, boy, he needs to be told many times. but i just haven't had the time. >> he is not looking into the camera. he's kind of staring off and going into this stream of consciousness about his mother, who was a saint. >> i guess all of you would say this about your mother. my mother was a saint. >> that's the most honest speech i have ever heard any politician give. and i'm standing there, much, much thinner, younger version of myself, crying. >> we think that when we lose an election, we think when we
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suffer a defeat, that all has ended. >> it's really sad, really sad. i don't think any president has been more wrongly persecuted than nixon, ever. i think he was a saint. >> always remember others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win, unless you hate them. and then you destroy yourself. >> ultimately, what comes through on the tapes, and what comes through in nixon's actions, is his hate, his vengeful hate. and in that last farewell he gives that self-revealing line that hate will destroy you. >> that this piston, hate, this
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all-encompassing desire to get the opposition to wiretap, to spy, to destroy, to sabotage, the ugliness of warfare was brought to american politics by richard nixon and the day he resigned he kind of seemed to get it. seemed to say, yeah, i destroyed myself. >> there were no tanks in the street. there were no armed men around the white house. we had this exceptionally peaceful transition of power in a very traumatic time in our lives. the presidency was secured by the decency of gerald ford and by the extraordinary strength of the constitutional law that
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defines what the presidency is. >> there were this relief that somehow the system had worked. and then in the aftermath, a lot of reforms that were put in place. the media changed. investigative journalism had been an incidental situation pre-watergate. post-watergate it almost becomes a standard. presidents before watergate had been really by most reporters, been given a presumption of innocence. in the aftermath, they're almost presumed guilty. it really dramatically changes the relationship of the news media with the president. >> the system had worked, including the role of the press but, really, the idea that the system had worked in this amazing way, that a criminal president had been forced to
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leave office, that the principle that nobody in this country is above the law, including the president of the united states. >> for nixon and the nation, one question remained unanswered. would the president now be hauled into court?
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after nixon left office we learned that the watergate break-in, the third-rate burglary was not an anomaly. that the nixon administration was involved in a whole range of questionable activities. >> breaking and entering, wiretapping, destruction of
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government documents, forged state department documents and letters, secret slush funds, plans to audit tax returns. conspiracy to obstruct justice. all of this by the law-and-order administration of richard nixon. it sounds bad when you put it like that, huh? >> in the end, some 40 people pled guilty to watergate related crimes. jon ehrlichman, bob halderman, john dean and 16 others went to jail. >> i'm not quite sure when i enter the conspiracy to obstruct justice. that's one of the things i'm trying to figure out. whendy cross the line? when did i enter that illegal conspiracy? no question i went across it. >> there was a breakdown in personal integrity as well as organizational integrity on the part of us that were given those assignments. >> i'm not sure where i'm going to be for the next few months, but i'm going to miss you all. >> it also requires you to ask the ethical questions, is this
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right. is it respectful. is it responsible. is it fair? we didn't ask any of those questions. we should have started with. is it legal? we were so caught up in trying to serve the president's needs or desires that we did not ask those questions. >> i, gerald r. ford. do grant a full, free an absolute pardon unto richard nixon for all offenses against the united states which he -- >> president ford's pardon of richard nixon stunned the nation. nixon's legal problems were all over. >> when the president does it, that means it is not illegal. >> by definition. >> exactly. >> the former president was still not accepting responsibility. >> three years after resigning, nixon was paid to participate in an historic interview with the british television journalist david frost. at the very end the inevitable question came up -- >> do you feel that you ever
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obstructed justice or were part of a conspiracy? to obstruct justice? >> he would not, he wouldn't really admit anything. not even mistakes or whatever. he was really stonewall completely and he was beginning to look like the haunted nixon of the actual watergate hearings rather than the californian ex-president. so once you go further in the mistake. >> what word would you use. >> that was a real gobsmacking moment. >> i threw aside my clipboard and i said well i think there are three things you've got to say. the first is that in fact you did go to the very verge of criminality and secondly that you let down your oath of office and thirdly, i put the american people through two years of
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needless agony and i apologize for that and i know how difficult it is for anyone and most of all you, but i think that people need to hear it. and i think unless you say it, you're going to be haunted for the rest of your life. >> you're wanting me to say that i participated in an illegal cover-up -- no. >> the key to nixon really is his dislocated relationship with truth. >> if true, greatest words ever written in journalism. what is the truth? what is the truth? what really happened? >> you guys are probably pretty tired, right? well, you should be. go on home. get a nice hot bath. rest up, 15 minutes. and get your asses back in gear. i'm under a lot of pressure you know and you put us there.
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nothing is riding on this except the first amendment of the constitution. freedom of the press and maybe the future of the country. not that any of that matters. >> arguably maybe the best movie on reporting made. >> what i didn't expect was the echo of the movie to last that long. >> one thing about watergate, it was going to change the culture of washington. it did no such thing. you know that this kind of thing is going to happen again. and it's going to happen in a much, much bigger scale. >> whether you talk about fdr or whether you talked about nixon or whether you talk about kennedy or whether you talk about clinton -- we have presidents that seem to be in politics for the right reason, but presidents that also have the fatal flaw. richard nixon's fatal flaw brought him down.
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>> people in high office tend to not want to lay themselves open to their enemies and acknowledge embarrassing things or mistakes that they have made. and they tend to want to lie when they feel like they can get away with it. all those things, i've been around long before watergate was ever around. >> it was an age-old story. of an abuse of power. and forgetting that you're accountable to the people that put you there. and there will be more and we'll survive. >> what pulses through the nixon story is the question -- why. he was elected. the goodwill of the nation and the world, it was his, that's the sadness of the nixon presidency. of what could have been. >> woodward and bernstein are among the most famous
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journalists of our age. their names will always be associated with the downfall of a president. 40 years later, it's a moment to ask what the greatest political scandal of means to us. >> we've evolved and we're older. bob and i brought very different baggage to the story and it meshed. >> is this was when you were 29, 30 years old. you'll never see a story this good again. >> who knows? you know? >> it's a tale to maybe inspire a whole new generation -- maybe. generation who are now learning about watergate. for the very first time. ♪ ♪
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it's been 15 years of frustration, of tears. fighting for what we wanted. how long can you keep reliving your sister's murder. >> it all began when this best-selling author married this elegant executive. >> they brought us together. made us a family. not only did she raise these children and have quite a accomplished corporate career, dinner for 50? she would do it. >> but in the wee hours of a winter night -- >> i found


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