thumbnail of 1974 Nixon Impeachment Hearings; 1974-07-26; Reel 4 of 6
Hide -
If this transcript has significant errors that should be corrected, let us know, so we can add it to FIX IT+
oh yes a piece button or are you sunni and
you know the gavel coverage of the house judiciary committee impeachment to date july twenty six nineteen seventy four years and black correspondent jim lehrer reading for all due to myself by the time this evening as out an article of impeachment maybe adopted by the house judiciary committee which charges the president of the united states with obstruction of justice in the watergate cover up that has the clear prospect of waste but that path for a final vote is still struggle potential snags and roadblocks before adjourning for dinner ninety minutes ago however the debate was almost complete on the article which was introduced by democrat paul sarbanes of mouth based on the give and take with in the committee it appears to have the support of the majority of the committee as many as twenty five or twenty six of the thirty members much of the committee's time today was taken up by a debate over whether or not the sarbanes article the specific enough and the lines of combat were clean and easily recognizable
and the debate today joe miles a different kind of debate from the opening round that we've had the past two days in that we have the congressman speaking eloquently about their concerns and their convictions about watergate and all of the various allegations involving the president that they use for the most part with a formal prepared addresses today they got down to the tough job of actually drafting articles of impeachment and so all of the passions and partisanship which have built up low these many months began to come out in a very natural way there were sharp exchanges and along with that a good bit of verbal punching what became clear i think were two things that presidents defenders will fight every inch of the way in every way to slow down and be ready all the impeachment trial and second it may be more difficult than for a scene like wait for the supporters of impeachment to agree on the language of impeachment in any event we may be in for a long evening before it finally becomes
clear just how the first article the article which embraces the charges under obstruction of justice against the president before that article is eventually voted on and perhaps finally approved the maneuvering still was going on at the capitol and as you can see our reporter couple of illinois is standing by her lawyers are vigilant and carolyn can you tell us what's been happening there is an effort right now behind again those same closed doors to try to save some of the route ruffled feathers that we've seen in operation of the afternoon and then enable the iron out some of the small differences i think there's been a lot of posturing in the earlier assertions today a lot of effort to a grandstand to reach the general public that now at about seven o'clock singing remember some of the members decided that would get together behind closed doors to see if they can iron out these difficulties to shake up something like an article of impeachment that can get general consensus in general agreement what specter's leaving maybe rather surprising if they can settle this behind closed
doors when they find very quickly that they got to get to the article itself and vote on the amendments as i understand it the amendments or changes in the amendments have not been very serious and they may have been generally agreed to in the background so we might be surprised by this committee that seems to be just lumbering along or creeping along they eventually get to a vote this evening and they get to it quite quickly now that they've gotten rid of all their their furs and bothered that we've had in the past jill carroll arnold let me ask you one more question because you have you recovered the capital for a long time and you obviously know that congressional committees can get bogged down on the most inane details of time reducing fairly optimistic we may indeed have the vote tonight i talked with the leader again as chief a francis o'brien just after the session ended and he seemed i think that there could be a vote tonight the way he laid out the scenario he said they expect that death charles wiggins will make a motion to strike very early in the evening that is just to
get rid of the entire article and i'll be a voter table that are laid aside and that will succeed and then they'll be open to amendments and he said that they really haven't ironed out behind the scenes details on the amendment so we can only go by the experts read you know say there's been pretty are pretty ride on just about all the information has given us and done if he's right that means we might have a very dramatic vote tonight on the first article once again about warn you that when you're dealing with a congressional committee there's always the unexpected thing that can happen between now and what we're predicting thank you carolyn and will be coming back to you were to find out what the latest information may be from time to time there is one thing a certainty that we can set it namely that there are now clearly enough votes to approve a resolution of impeachment probably by a margin of more than two to one there has been a good bit of jockeying but during the past few days we have seen how certain votes have shifted from the undecided or the uncommitted column
into the committed column or at least into the column word becomes fairly clear what it is likely the members will do we have a tote board which many new undoubtedly have seen before and have been following and our official counter juno is standing up the board now and jim what is your latest calculations well i think first of all paul rather than the deal that general area of impeachment generally on this one article it now spending and that they will debate further tonight and finally possibly probably vote on tonight this is where i haven't raced at this point first of all the raw numbers those that are now kinetic to vote out of a commitment either coming in their prior statements were coming out and what they said during the give and take they're in the day today yet twenty three and the icon and let's run through them quickly kastenmeier of wisconsin edwards of california the
chairman peter rodino of mass of the new jersey anderson of california rangel of new york books of texas i knew of massachusetts i really novel while jordan attacked says altman of new york that's penske allow owners of utah well sarbanes the sponsor of the substitute up article it is now the subject of the debate and eventually of the vote is of maryland is from maryland of course john conyers of michigan fan of massachusetts and it was larry wallie of california ahlberg a pennsylvania butler virginia republican foreign workers all open a republican of maryland man of south carolina democrat william cohen a republican from nine the two additions that two additions today the televisions today where man of south carolina very clearly said today that he would support this article the sarbanes substitute your article and cullen of maine republican who also said the science
away a twenty three sure about now on the names of those who have said they are definitely not support impeachment generally or the specific article of proposed by sarbanes hutchinson the ranking minority leader of michigan and charles williams of california seminal new jersey morehead of california lot of mississippi myers at of new jersey lot of ohio and reese smith of new york wiley name apollo edition today is as robert mclaury of illinois that i'm a corey as you as you probably know heard has said he would support articles of impeachment possibly contempt of congress possibly it and abuse of power but he said he said before he made it very clear today that he did not believe a president was guilty of obstruction of justice and he would never support this particular article are probably any other article in charge him with obstruction of justice so we have is eleven for
boats all republicans why over here by himself is a health threat like a wisconsin he is also a republican but the frantic as you recall said in the general debate that he could support articles of impeachment if they were properly drawn were drawn in a way that he could accept them what he said clearly that anger in the debate was it that that he couldn't support in the wording we can support the rottenness above the sarbanes amendment that could be that sarbanes substitute the article that could be a grind down or wording might be worked out in such a way that will eventually support this particular article but we lead him over by himself a definite maybe eyes and the three rather crucial people at this particular stage of the game for a cable that that most of the most of the leaders of the pro impeachment group would concede they must have an order to make this particular article singing when it goes to the house floor would be held in fish a republican from new york
tom railsback republican from illinois and walter flowers a democrat an alabama these three gentlemen have not declared themselves on this particular article five so to repeat very quickly that the measure votes twenty three i's a leavening is one now maybe their way and three maybe he's leaning towards pro impeachment article number one are laws about how that would do you would you agree with my job on the whole i would say jim i just have a few questions about mr butler i think also raise some questions this afternoon about the articles of impeachment without some specific lines drawn underneath and i just wonder whether he spends persuaded that that he can go ahead with it without more specificity which was a word we've been hearing so much i also feel in my bones and i can't get anything more than that victim <unk> flowers will not in a crunch make an
issue of this because they feel so strongly about it morality and the white house but i don't think he would be in the undecided column if it has to go along with eighty an article of impeachment without specific charges underneath i think he would vote for that article of impeachment and butler i don't know he's a stickler for protocol and that he may decide he might pass that one inmate he's in the wrong calling it that's just just judging by what he said later settled cowan and all it's like steak at the next step down here with your things that we were due to take your prospect of all of the flowers and move them over here possibly move onto a slide with breakup there were really been talking about is a point twenty three to twenty three we were about forty five to thirteen also i think a point that we shouldn't conclude from this is that
regardless of the combination regardless of the members who may be voting on this article at their sat there will be a majority or no matter how many republicans are how many southerners there's one other interesting thing which i think you point out gm here and that is that there are seven southerners on the judiciary committee and all but one all but won now indicate they are ready to vote for some form of an impeachment resolution and that the one exception course is trent lott of mississippi republican i think that they are james mann decision today that will vote for impeachment man from south carolina will have its effect and educators say the only two remaining babies then if we put flowers over here a possible probable and moving out of fish and the organ rolled back of illinois and additionally when we first started out our own our first night as i recall i think we had about twelve members who were in the undecided or
uncommitted column and now almost all of those almost all of those have fallen into the column for impeachment or at least indicated that the idea that they can vote for one or more articles of impeachment one thing more why we're here at this board i think it's of note we should note that in terms of the vote but in terms of the debate that we heard today and we're likely to hear more of the seine there's the bizarre the gentleman who are leading the fight too make the articles more specific in other words the republicans who are already committed against impeachment and coarse and et cetera who have indicated that their wooden boat her article no matter what it says and that they're the gentleman were asking the questions and more who were kind of all for the president particularly charles williams of california salmon new jersey and latin a lot i look like a jumper that that very fine rundown
what all others does indicate of course is that either die is cast inside the judiciary committee it is certain that some form of resolution will be sent to the house floor just when the committee will wind up its workforce is not certain that could come tomorrow or if the committee cannot complete its deliberations and it's floating by then of course it could go on into a sunday session chairman latino is indicative that possibility or it could or postpone its final action until next week after that we expect the impeachment resolution in whatever form it may finally emerged from the committee we expect that resolution to go to the house floor approximately on the house floor there could be a debate that would go on for a week or for possibly two weeks i believe carol and noses carolyn rose is standing by
at the hill the lineup told that it is ms kriz brawner has been action today at the federal court as a follow up to the supreme court decision or directing the president to turn over a sixty four tapes to the watergate prosecutor leon jaworski white house of course has said that it will comply with that order but there has been a dispute about when it would comply our white house man chris paul has some details on that course ms poehler yeah and the white house has agreed to turn over some of the subpoenaed takes on tuesday and his insurer district court judge johnson record of the last of the tanks will be processed as speedily as possible in action plan today after hearing in charge some records court a hearing requested by watergate special prosecutor leon jaworski and an attempt to provoke a court ruling on the time table for surrendering sixty four tapes and related material was subpoenaed for the watergate cover up trial which is scheduled to begin in
september my rather than issue or rolling them charts a record shows the walkout jaworski and presidential council james st clair and his jury will see if they couldn't reach an agreement and they get an hour and a half later st clair will make twenty tapes available to the court by next tuesday and his promise to report to judge the river by next friday on the status of the remaining forty four tapes if those tapes and not to be readily available soon after friday then judge the river will impose a specific time schedule kris was there any mention at all in the hearing this morning about the possibility of these tapes eventually ending up in the hands of absolute your committee the house of representatives the united states senate the impeachment process no there was there was no discussion about an open hearing now one percent behind closed doors of the jury room for something else and i don't know the only reference to the invasion why from josh ritter
wanted to know how mr sinclair could conduct an adequate defense of the lessons in many of the plays that issue and now the there was a statement from dura worn at the daily briefing and sample money in which he said the president had no intentions of turning the stage over that after this year a committee and said that that he felt that the committee should continue its work this of course is important that but in terms of reference to the committee because this was a subject of a long debate and eventually evolve just wanting not wear well robert florida republican of the eleanor suggested attended a leg if they could get assurances from the president by noon tomorrow that he wouldn't factor into the tape silver i guess there's a matter now that has gone by that boards and there's no indication of that just doesn't make any sense at all of the talk about turning to observe the judiciary committee one hand sinclair is telling the court is going to take some time to segregated states in the degrees to get the court and how
can they possibly done on the judiciary committee in a short period of time or states many of which presumably the president has a good instinct emphasize president must listen for those tapes before the transit apart from that crusade during a guarantee that today's debates our members made a point of saying that they felt the time was past when the president should be given any more time to turn over these these tapes that of course was that it was the subject of the amendment that was offered today to give the president another ten days if he would in an indication that he would provide the tapes for the general feeling in the committee was no we we subpoenaed material from the white house and the president has made it absolutely clear that he is not going to provide us with any additional material so why should we wait upon the president now to see whether he would give us any more maturity or
was it sinclair himself brought up in his recent press conference in california and that was the implication that some of the conversations that you quote one that might not be the case may have just run out of alabama opens mechanical problems and i have a feeling that we are you may run into that kind of cordon and run into that sort of problem and not getting everything tools that thinks it's kind of that i think also we should note has to there were talking about take stage for the committee take before the cancer rate i think we need to point out that the sixty four tapes that were subpoenaed by george keyworth for years trial the watergate cover up of the watergate cover up trial which is slated to begin september the night now sixty three though sixty four tapes are also under subpoena by the house judiciary committee however when you point out that after this was pointed out in the debate this morning without a visionary committee has subpoenaed another seventy some place they
have subpoenaed is ending and their refusal to receive back four hundred and forty seven or so were fake so on the committee keep in mind that there that the committee obviously an impeachment proceeding is investigating things other than watergate so that's the reason for the discrepancy a solo business gets very very wrong this might be a propitious time to bring out the revelation that still another tape has come out today disclosing that the president had threatened to fire george shultz as treasury secretary if he tried to prevent the internal revenue service from looking into the activities of some of his political enemies and according to this story the president is quoted as saying that after the election certain uncooperative officials would be led out of the administration in history goes on to say oh goddamn bunch go out and if he shows doesn't do it he is out as secretary of the treasury is the
way it's going to be or do there was a fascinating thing about that that story of course comes from the cops a newspaper chain no i'm the washington bureau and investment anybody been able to determine the day that particular portion of that tape is not yet fallen into the hands of the house judiciary committee in fact this morning a congressman rails back of the eleanor i mentioned very early the world's latest morning when i started literally in the debate that he mentioned that september fifteenth update and said you know he as the question almost won him we got to get the ones there's one particular this one particular segment now but keep the ninth grade and things are very complicated and this whole matter the issue of the irs and the alleged one of the proposed articles of impeachment and legend of the presidents abused power by exerting power of the irs are attempting to subvert at the workings of the
irs is not involved in article one which is going to be the subject of debate when we take up the hefty ally for seeing here in a few moments there's this article one is restricted only to the obstruction of justice count which involve watergate and watergate along the article number two is the one that alleges abuse of power and the irs matter keep going straight jim let's move on now to our distinguished resident experts tonight william battles done constitutional lawyer and teacher at duke university and martin diamond political science professor from northern illinois university they've been sitting in with us today and helping us draw conclusions and witness the proceedings of the judiciary committee and the problem is there was what conclusions did you have about this morning's session
well us of the ways that that's why we're so hesitant but has the speculation think this is one of the other of us might've been more forthcoming ball in terms of what we're going to say what we may be seeing tonight while there is always a tendency in looking at congress to be annoyed at its apparent backing and filling hesitations extols of delays it's very likely that once again they'll be later not actually start at eight o'clock but we've already made the point during the day that that's when they're working that's when they're doing they're going to work well the crucial work going on all day today is to move from a new record they're mature quite convinced proponents of engagement to a broader majority and the only kind of majority that can possibly win in the house and in the senate and in the minds and hearts of the american people and that's not just a question of bickering wheeling and dealing
a compromising in any low bargaining stance that's a question of a meeting of the minds of a gradual accommodation of legitimate concern and i went with considerable excitement because it's a terribly exciting process of considerable excitement to see if it's only some superficial changes that have taken place during the dinner hour or whether some very substantial developments that have occurred in politics the unexpected must be anticipated i was not like when i think that i think that the coalition will hold together and the majority has led from strength that is put forward in its that article which on the strength of the debate we're going to do in the last two days seem to share the broadest support instruction of justice count is an article maurer richard terrify the white house with my kids at mclean's american civil liberties union because it seems on its face to meet most of the record that
there had asked for of all kinds and down chile video debatable technicality of the character of the grave offense shouldn't lose closely resemble would not be identical with a prosthetic or a crime i most struck by a similarity of language that the growth in paris for the obstructing and impeded the administration of justice in certain fan thereafter that her respects a nearly identical language employed by the criminal code of the united states on the same couch and it is terrifying i think not for dramatic effect and somewhat advisable in in memory of the fact we're in lake and one of them the first lady remove about this process and then does become infected supposed to the ordinary criminal process or maybe even invited on roughly identical language when you speak of the us pacific detail which maybe in the article would like a lot more closely at that and so does the opinions of you to join because this obviously is the major agenda item now before they committed as a three
page document that covers the charge is going out of the general charge of obstruction of justice as has been indicated it was retracted and that compromise that is being managed the democratic side by congressman paul sarbanes of maryland this article charges the president following the watergate break in native as policy to quote delay and pleaded and obstruct the investigation of the break in drab then sites non lawyers nine ways the president allegedly implemented that policy let me take off some of these and we'll have a more specific discussion first by making false and misleading statements to investigative officers second by withholding relevant evidence and third by counseling witnesses to give false or misleading statements and let me just ask you gentleman some questions about these first rate do you
have any any general or specific conclusion well i think the report their consequence of the division of the committee earlier the republicans more specifically called illustrations although there's a live the president made false misleading statements that there's not been going to say about the statements were the who they were allegedly made are indeed the specific occasions when this episode as kurt was their point is that this article maybe two in the past muster in an ordinary court when there's an indictment or it's a rump agreement in some kind of civil proceeding but at that point where the difference of less efficient as long we've invited the house voted in the democrats make or it could be effective they have thirty eight volumes of evidence would support all the charges as detailed in the article itself and these of course are available to every house member who will be voting on impeachment well i think that's a wig responses that
occur to understanding what they've done because it does not adequately or notice the senator voted with the pentagon's by referring to thirty eight volumes of material was then recently come through them they're so like what it is the prosecution they rely upon which event which occasions and so i think this is a false issue when they are given us the sarbanes was that the impeachment articles so ron the audience at that specific beyond that they said that what they would do a i mean when they propose the articles of impeachment when i go to the house floor and will be accompanied by the report of the committee which will not be the thirtieth volumes actually the detail the kind of detail information that supports the heart of that accord that sarbanes that was sarbanes answer that was also peter rodino of that record there were several other members you're talking about the thirty eight by a sponsor and the chairmen were saying there will be a written report is that as is required why the
house committee was about the difficulty of the lead lines in the nature of the accusations against the president that you remark by representative hoping that there's a mosaic and many times you can put into the charge that there's a mosaic this pile and that pile and that pile siri item the problem is if we acknowledge our eyes this proceeding to law than those who want to restrict unspecified the charges were lucky if we make it to a broad that it will be too vague and too loose and perhaps insufficiently just to the accused in this case the president and the difficulty that the committee is wrestling with is how to stay sufficiently flexible insane and say a prudent plan would conclude that there was an obstruction of justice when you take the whole pattern of events and yet like that specific enough to have not only the appearance but the substance of equity and i haven't the faintest idea how they'll solve that problem i leave
that to the rest of you know wait for the event that let's move on now to your other charges which are mentioned in the in the article as drafted and is offered by democratic congressman sarbanes forth the president is charged with interfering or endeavoring to interfere with investigations by the justice department the fbi and the special watergate prosecutor fifth approving and condoning the surreptitious payment of money for obtaining silence or influencing witnesses you have any opinions about these two charges as mentioned in the article that we make one suggestion in the genital book of the law and that is condoning and acquiescent do not have a time and a place and that's part of the difficulty is that the president condoned the use james madison's language neglected to superintendent conduct of his subordinates were permitted them to perpetrate with
impunity when you commit and when you fail to superintendent you are condoning or acquiescing and there is at the moment in which the condemnation we're on or about july third nineteen seventy two he did come down a certain irony that failed too superintendent read a lot of other what happens is you say well that might've been an oversight and in june he could've you preps neglected and by early july well he might have forgotten but as the time goes by it's a pattern of acquiescence at the pattern of sustained permissiveness and that's what we democrats some of the republican accuses us setting and it's difficult for them to meet the past the legal specificity and the proceedings are fumbling and fumbling with his legitimate difficulty i think martin for being with us they're as the majority of the committee
were attempted literally true attempt to leave the island reading from a replacement refs such a super abundance of material one of a virtually confused by fewer welders but there are other problems with each member of the committee at least must be certain to his own conscience that he has a lot at least the general specifics that support these articles one speaks of interfering or endeavor and at a fear or conduct investigations and it is a fair question for its first test himself well how did it feel where in that way with home or if not maybe the different fragments of events are differential attractiveness to different members of the committee and we do get into a certain logic to impress here and if you get a majority voting for the proposition though no majority agrees on how you translate any particular set of events lie and say they didn't to move that one step further use a specific example let's say that that that number four
said that the president interfered with the investigation of the department of justice on june twenty nineteen seventy two by telling why there might be say only one third of the committee who feel that that particular that constituted interfering with the department of justice however there might be another third who felt that the conversation on june twenty thirteen the train will be up and boom there some of those are not so that's the reason for the democratic side or the pro impeachment side that they want to keep this ron rather broad language and while on the republican side the anti impeachment side they want those specific because i think if that's specific time place and i think they made a stand a chance at least of that is in the majority but there's no question that the proposal that we the strategy very well but i think for the reassurance of those who want to integrate it is largely political
differences is really not a legal difference for employment history the house when if it wishes simply impeach the president with no specific rounds at all and only thereafter nine percent of the man of the house managers are greater particulars nation so that what everyone's feeling about the propriety of a precedent for proceeding on for a general terms of the last out paul before you go on to the next the articles of the next the specifications and that within the articles let me point out to out to the viewers that the house judiciary committee live debate this evening wisconsin that began at thirty pm eastern time we are waiting that that conclusion and that opening hour we've now been informed that it may be a thirty as you can see for yourself the committee room as virtually they can do is they can i remember so as soon as we get closer to use as a memory short line in a forceful comeback of the hearing back
to back to the last fall i think you're optimistic we've had the last three three days but that's that's to move on or what we're doing or going down those specific allegations that are contained in a compromised article charging the president with obstruction of justice and we reviewed five of the specific allegations and now we're at six this charge is the president with endeavor and damage to the central intelligence agency number seven that information was disseminated from officers at the justice department to aid subjects who were being investigated for criminal liability well here we go back to one of the old old issues i think and that is was the president was the president responsible for some of the actions of his aides and did he tried to protect his aides and in so doing does this constitute an impeachable offense though well this festival are professional but again i think that in this
article majority even relatively circumspect and concerned there's nothing like that in the article aren't the signs for the theory of strict liability there is this it thank you no matter what the lack of personal for me that no matter what you did not know and that he should not have known and indeed as soon as he found out he took immediate reports there's no suggestions for liability here the outside i think the preventive aren't quite right this applies one version of applause best for preventive medicine where the president can dial learns something and should affirmatively then have taken some action to set it right at the investigation so far the employee and fails to do so therefore can build in that sense then he does at that point our lady's booty faithfully execute the law and he may be accountable exactly on the fear that is not a very radical theory of the
scope of impeachment well that's right no good discussion of the internet in that particular case well whether it whether it whether it would laugh over to a violation of the specific curriculum section fifteen or three of the obstruction of justice michael incidentally do so but that would that would require a more rigorous standard of proof before a federal jury could satisfy certain technical criminal elements it is not my view that they can win even himself gone by the action and whether or not congress have proven in a big event a simple terms again a private citizen uganda premises of your predecessors in uganda made you say they our friends really bubbly aaron's an issue of committed perjury ri and it'll pick up the fall and call somebody in turn those two guys that you've committed an act of obstruction of justice will not argue not in the investigation is simply not volunteered
but by not been anything i don't know if there's an affirmative duty honor to come forward with their is not an oath of west point residents cases you're saying in the president's critics he has a hundred years old that was the responsibility for upholding laws that limit put it in plain language rather than pick the present that's why we didn't have a president and the senate of the only as good as us we had a heck of a foreign government of them and we chose we're only as good as that uses an obligation lead on the elected office building beyond that not only in terms of the quality of the manly presents the same would be true for a police officer would not destiny take an oath of office to do certain things yes i think that a lot of the comparison really have to do the official one aspect soon vote to bring to the attention lovers in fort collins probable crime would be and they're likely to do any of the minimum could be fired individualize agreement will recall that the maximum outcome
of an impeachment proceeding is literally the fire the president have not verified but to get down to specifics there are two specific issues involved here want is the president receiving grand jury information from henry peterson of the justice department and then submitting that information to some of his closest aides and the other issue of course involves the howard hunt hush money episode now it is in dispute is whether the president or yet a lot of the payment of hush money there than this audio content is about the basic issue of the basic issue is that the president well along that he had knowledge of the world may be a bit of age russian say it then there's the question of compassion but however one
even assuming it was invite not as a criminal and purpose or not in order to protect himself in compassion for someone who however outrageously behave himself that tried to serve the president increased they'll have an affirmative duty their view of the future as na move on to the final two items in the article of impeachment number eight that the president made false or misleading public statements that were designed to deceive the american people into believing that federal investigations have been conducted into charges of misconduct at the white house by the white house and also at the president's re election campaign committee and number nine that dirty endeavor because defendants in those convicted to extract favored treatment in return for their silence for four therefore for a false
testimony the legitimacy of our action item number eight was the only one in isolation the kidney problems of making false and misleading public statements for the purpose of receiving the people of the united states and that's a big line is not a crime by itself but in the book how they'll all the rest of it is if it's the intention of the majority of his show that this is simply a piece of that mosaic say the saving the public was part of a larger concept of frustrating the processes of justice so that misleading the public and to serve your purpose it would appropriately fit the general fear i had the same difficulty if you get into the business of evaluating for some misleading statements statements by politicians let alone ourselves we're really in very difficult waters and politicians and sometimes under obligation to speak if not with your tongue then cautiously and with some this direction and
to do so for the general welfare so there was something very troubling about making an ad political crime on the part of the president does charge thousands leading figures but it is true taken in context with the other specifics lions collared lions wait for the others and thus may be considered a legitimate your eyes yes i was struck by the fact that the fat on the fact the second amendment in the debate congressman wally alleging worry over action that was taken of buying a stake president made in response to a question of press conferences that kind of savoring funding it's an unusual kind a charge of press conferences with his opinion of the alleged was also no i will think about this again here again what that is to be made is that there's obviously like a false statement that happened to the grand jury or an investigative officer he didn't consider building across well yes i got
a black and a recent population very considerable extent it is applied with something which may bring to it that criminality and converted into an impeachable offense specifically in this instance if the committee has persuaded that the reason the public was like you do agree with the reason was to make more effective the troubling to prosecute justice and they've demonstrated that formal criminal purpose of wrongful purpose of a very different parts of the president lied about their troops are located in wartime even though the public may be the senate's only the end of it they prepare for their mission in terms of progress really is a kind of inescapable item of important in the overall tournament that matter professor brownstein use the word criminality and we've all used the word crime or criminality during the day it's perfectly correct if it is understood to be political criminality political crisis the impeachment clause was drop by the founding fathers with great care to exclude criminal prosecution
and criminal punishment in england and it's this is only one of many examples of the way in which our practice different radically from the english press events and one was never in four brimming with precedents what the american intention is in england think the impeachment could be followed with losing your head with criminal prosecution of a criminal prosecution in criminal punishment carefully segregated from that and therefore it is addressed to political crimes unquote alexander hamilton crimes committed against the society as a whole so if we use the word crime we must share offer omar thinking all that goes with ordinary criminal law and that of course is the reason that in this article out the word policy issues rather than the word conspiracy in other words the elected president is alleged to have about the odd thing for the allstate of a coverup obstruction of justice and then he committed these acts of a policy rather than a conspiracy which is considered a year criminal law on illegal care
what's going on with her mr wally on what on earth is going on here and going to the prospects for getting through to a vote tonight alone and that's of the former not sure that's sort of a ladder for the prospects of getting through well i had hoped when we began this morning that we would be ready to vote on at least the first article is that we're so embroiled now and lawyer business rather than the people's business that it's unlikely we'll get to the substance of the purpose for which we've convened today which is to argue the facts and the evidence there has been very little of that has been an awful lot of lawyer argument about procedures very little argument about what can the president do and one of the dillon and until we get that are not likely to vote i understand that congress when wiggins is one of the president's stronger supporters is going to introduce nine motions to strike would you
explain to the general public what exactly that means what's been receiving will lose too remove from consideration nine allegations of presidential misconduct and emotion strike is the same as a motion to defeat that particular allegation of misconduct or a procedure that means he gets five minutes for every motion so those fall thirty seven others get five minutes argue against that it's a time consuming device and it certainly is for the purpose i think that's part of the strategy that is utilized when they know they're going to be defeated eventually i think with the name you know so maybe they can provoke members of the committee to acts of intolerance acts irritation
that will reflect upon the case that will ultimately be voted by the judiciary committee and the time you can cast an inspiration in the body the decision you can make the judiciary committee in those people they will make its product that the whole idea of these people who had these republicans have been arguing that you are denying to the president is due process that you're not going to give him the full evidence to support your case you're actually going to trial how do you count a dozen shows offenders best way to counter president does have his attorney present here and all the evidence that we have considered for the last eight weeks the bomb which is general allegations are predicated when we finally do file a report will be based upon the allegations of impeachment articles of impeachment
it will go to the house of representatives and two the president accompanied by a third sustaining that generalizations be specific far more specific and they are alleging in the articles lack in terms of their present description so that certainly is an argument that is not honestly they stand for i think a lot of people are wondering why the chairman of the committee is allowing this kind of delay and we're going to go on and could you explain what you know was really doing was an enormously for individual and the routine and started this proceeding with an absolute conviction that he would never permit to be said if you can call it that the presidents might have been jeopardized and the easiest way to sort of determination that is what's been jeopardizes to be heavy handed so as a result it was able to use
and i find this review the lengthy delay that you don't really get to the floor of the house so that the leadership has a clause but the other alternative would be to be subject of charges that he did not give the president's men on the committee ample time to make the president's case the case and so we believe all the time and then you know you give me your money why they called them to come out is most of the disputes and legislative balls come out a reasonable manner have their moments and reason irrationality
we're waiting we are conveying of the next session of the hostages your committee i must confess at this point as you can say they're just heard behind me here you can see that just a few members there i must confess though one finding you all love fest to the audience before going on the air tonight is you know as i opened the assignment on this evening was out an article of impeachment maybe adopted by the house judiciary committee and i really had the word will be nice at least that was the prospect of all that sort of thing and although prevailed upon me to change the word well may and on surviving the fall because now because it looks like we just heard from congressman walberg
background he's been an advocate of impeachment for many many months of practice is the one remembers that first job the proposal for impeachment over the fine of archibald cox special ordered prosecutors center and that he says is going to have this vote the rabble rousing my question is readers of experience from being a reporter at the capitol i remember one bill that was a major bill on it took a committee three months to mark up a bill that is to drop the language to put it in there and the precise detail that was needed to get it before so i don't think it's going to take that long to get the resolution but i don't think that we should do to deceive ourselves or the public into believing that necessarily this fight inside the
judiciary committee over how draft articles of them articles of impeachment is going to be resolved that easily and i think what has happened today maybe maybe to pop i want to ask our two guests who've been sitting here so patiently lo these many hours during today in and build adelstein was here yesterday of course the question i like to put to you is as we watch the judiciary committee inaction do you feel that that committee has not made basically good job in its approach to the impeachment investigations and the way it has gone about its business and i ask this in the light of an ally that history because this committee has not considered unclean resolutions since nineteen thirty six years not a single member on the committee who was on the committee the last time an impeachment issue was considered the fall out of dollars more comfortable and critical congress
simply same economically more intriguing but the fact is that i think the committee has been virtually exemplary the amount of time they've been devoted to it and i do agree with congressman wally really know the determination doctors offer the required thirty that all of an opportunity to arrive every possible point it may very well be interlocking experience with her as an inducement of caution i think also the character councilman everything that worked to have been reflected very well in the league the product is likely to show that ordinarily are i do not i have a very hard thing to congress amended i think it is the last part of the president not so much for constitutional reasons that's partly because of its own weather didn't happen to attend this occasion raised i think the committee is that that court and let me ask you they have the disease
and half agree and have disagree with professor journalist and i've been a longtime admirer of congress and i found that my happy duty within the academy to school to all my colleagues who constantly see congress perishing on the vine and remind them of this residual strength and this one observation on this side most of the time the people say congress is flat not to his business is because congress is doing its business energetically but contrary to the wishes of the people in congress is flat on its back that if they think it's an ideological difference frequently rather than an object of judgment of congress's ability and i've been delighted but the quality of this committee at the manifest serious than liberation of it says really fine bout of good solid partisanship good solid constituency concern and a real grassroots rising up the gravity of the issues not an easy a theological elevation of the furnace
painful movement up from constituents and wheeling and dealing which means that their results may be solved and not really gratifying to those who have won her another setback let me ask you this question because we have heard this argument many times about congress losing part of the presidency until battles that i just expressed in a certain sense but it certainly was true was it not that in the nineteenth century congress inserted itself much more forcefully than it has lately and congress did not wait upon the president for example to make his recommendations for legislation isn't it true that that the much of the pioneer legislation some of the great laws of this country really originated more with congress then but the white house now one has the impression that members of congress waiting
for the president to make his recommendations before they act i believe there has been a slight relative the great problem is that there's been an infinite increase in the quality of government generally local state and national and with that increase a vast amount does come out of the administrative agencies but when it comes from the administration it's like coming from the president that's coming from congress and president meeting but the administrative agencies congress has an input into the executive proposals and executive proposals or leave other things that can get more over the nineteenth century was by no means a period of presidential pass the congressional supremacy late nineteenth century look something like that but not like i'm not king andrew jackson one of the great issues in the middle of the century of her seventh century was booming complaint that a kind of monarchy government was frequently afflicted so the historical perspective makes our present moment
last election that we print ourselves and me well a more valid argument may be advanced by those who contend that congress is not really come into the twentieth century in the way that it should and that that is not always prepared to cope and deal with the issues that the defense budget for example i don't want to move too far because we are waiting now for the judiciary committee to me and to begin its night session but it does appear that we sure have perhaps a long wait there you see the committee wrong to see a few members who have come in and taken their seats on a large only a few and chairman peter rodino as for we go the defense budget let me ask you gentleman what effect you think television is having on this house judiciary committee are seen up to this point the baton different or not a lot of it
there's no question that some of the debate is david an authentic extent that it's more rhetorical are reemerging points that some declare themselves impatient with you've heard many times the whole idea of going to achieve credibility you agree with the viewing audience that there's a certain irony that feedback it's important and so on balance i think not histrionic and i think it not in proper that there'd be a certain thinking of the whole debate once again goes precisely to the extent that the point of view of being communicated is effective with those who watch and they in turn at least demonstrate that they are made the leader of one way or the other that seems to me a very lucid way in which we process all in to taliban operatives quite proper report on balance i think that free founder of expectation some that this would make it doesn't like melodrama or with another elevating experience the camera person and suddenly we were told today that the president is not watching the impeachment proceedings came up at his news
conference and a reporter asked one of the press aides at the white house why isn't the president watching the television proceedings and thirty eight responded is just his habit not to mr nixon apparently just does not watch television talk about you know i think it's a very mixed bag and what is interesting is the concrete proof was disappointed that during the course of the day that the televising does affect the behavior and the path you remember when the question came up it was so why the lights won't bother them the cameras will bother them and really the public deserve to hear and it won't have any effect it does have a significant effect on whether that effect is good i really am not sure of what makes me think it's a good effect is my own delight in being provided to the proceeding it in madison
enjoyed the opportunity to follow it and watch it we need you to give and take on procedural issues especially the give and take of procedural issues because that's when you have to figure out from the surface down to the root of what's going on that's when the political game is so fascinating but what is its effect on the public is their role in the end of the row present tense function of himself so private serious when deciding what's best for the country does it happen that doesn't want to or is it does he played at the gallery hopefully or is it the beginning of a process of public education or was it a process of public safety who doggone much and at some stage in the process of representative democracy the average person who's got other fish to fry on the living to make and kids to raise some stage in the process the public says we want to see what our representatives thing we want them to formulate the issue
to firm up the decision and bringing it to us and we'll decide somehow yay or nay on the basis of what they do that's happening now i'm just not sure what the television joe budden much do you both labor televising the proceedings on the house and senate floor assuming that we didn't get that far yes i worked there for thirty one for every level of the year with another of sufficient importance and i think it's a variety of more million views rather than their posturing and current a thoughtful us too much is at stake here and i think if there is another effect of movie to go about it all to one side of the room to talk about marty have that i have no doubt that in terms of the public's interest and what we're learning from fascination of this given to an incompetent have lived in the house and the senate to its another that you think it hasn't you think as an effect
also going back two point one million interview with iran that the therapy that this proceeding must emerge as a fair proceeding if there isn't if and if it is in fact that to be accepted regardless of opinions although i think that is going to be accepted by the american people and that the procedural fines that that what he was talking about and that we're seeing today the american public is not that aware of those images and then an understandably so that the perception of fairness or the appearance of this is extremely important and balance i think that will help avert that will be a good effect i think the people who do watch it only audience will dwindle of the people who do watch it will say that honorable men are slowly apparently coming to the conclusion that the impeachment process must go forward and that we'll have a powerful moral authority in the public all you want stereo the house passed committees in the house are generally
functioned over television lights were not on the many many many many occasions how would you judge the effect of it well i i really don't know what the effect will be a gentleman to be honest about it but the house has always been fearful of television the two bodies are quite different in their approach to televisions senators had television or is permitted cameras into its committee proceedings for twenty years the house goes for maybe three years the leadership on the house side has been much more skeptical about employing television as you know that has the senate leadership mike mansfield for example is has already made it quite clear that he favors televising a senate trial showed the house to impeach the president on the house side speaker carl albert has been much more bearish been much more reluctant to do that i think the theory i think the fear is that you would have some numbers
on the floor who would engage in and speech making for political purposes and so forth so we really don't know precisely what the effect will be an owl and top with carlos is standing by with congressman charles whitman is doing so what exactly you're welcome at the appropriate time to seek recognition of revulsion to strike first subdivision sarbanes of my purpose is seeking that it is merely to ask mr sarbanes he's the author of the sensitive to save live where when and in what was the facts support the general allegations mr reagan surely after all these weeks and we haven't you know what the facts are to support these charges and isn't this really just an average delay and obstruct
but i feel like there are really quite serious legal questions involved us go back to that first discussion has taken the better part of the evening what was the nature of this policy that's a very important factor for it as you understand all of the alleged misdeeds of mr wally is pointing to the president or someone else and before any of those mysteries can be attributed to the president and be considered as evidence in this case we have to establish a policy which is another way i think that saying the conspiratorial a plant the kind of that plan comes into existence is very important in deciding the relevancy of the various acts of others leaving the allegation elsewhere with intel president and after what was three hours of a job that you can't tell me when i don't know certainly the evidence is not clear and convincing as to when this plot
was hatched don't you think that all of the evidence that's come out in the report which will be attached to the articles of impeachment so it really just just quibbling over of phrase that you want you want it in the articles instead of attention now we have to vote tonight or tomorrow night on facts don't believe by the us we don't vote on contraception and delegates that we believe all the facts of the members are in fact tonight or tomorrow to vote for his business of delegating the responsibility speaking of our functions you don't really have a long history i think if nothing else it will cause some of the democrats who feel compelled to
impeach almost without reference to what the evidence has to reflect on what that evidence is and that's what we get and the next subdivision and our trust with you and your listeners will be objective and measure the kind of comeback that they are having to justify their sweeping allegation that he has withheld evidence so we'll see where that music i think iran that was congressman wiggins of california the president's primary defender on the committee i think the issue involved and that's the subject of the debate and the vote at the cars a lot of them are almost the sickest specific charges civic article alleging obstruction of justice was introduced by paul sarbanes of maryland was a substitute for the original democratic proposal that was introduced by donoghue of massachusetts now in the course of the day to day sarbanes was the man who had answered all the questions are most of the questions about the
contents of his substitute we want to go back and take a look at one of many say i wanna make three things very clear first the president's council has been here throughout the proceedings all of the factual material that the committee has considered all of the statements of information all of the summaries are provided to him on a daily basis just as they were provided to us so the contours in the details and the pattern in the inner relationship over factual matters has been spelled out fully to the president's counsel nothing has been concealed from him second this committee wants it makes its decision will have to make a recommendation to the floor of the house of representatives in at that point well what we bring forth will be supported by report which will have to detail the underpinning for the action that we've taken so the material again be spelled out there for the benefit of our colleagues in the house before they make your decision at this point or in a house that neither of those instances is a president yet on trial his only on trial in the
matter reaches the senate and finally won america's reach the senate the president's counsel in a position to say further specifications if he deems necessary although it's my conviction that his participation here and the further report will have to be prepared for the members of the house of representatives will fully provide him with all the material necessary to prepare a defense for the trial which will take place in the other body that was paul sarbanes of maryland make in response to this charge that the fed his article of impeachment was not was too broad was not specific enough that was filled with the hair on the session earlier today why we are awaiting the the opening of the night session was to be candidate is now retired and is now almost forty five minutes late there you see now turn has entered the room that he's now
taken his chair as forty five minutes turns forty five minutes all it's safe to say we cannot agree that they would caucus in and talking in private and unusual punishment the president with an obstruction of justice is also likely that after completing this is that an additional article or perhaps even to articles will be approved so when the impeachment resolution serves in or like where two or more
art right right the first human monica california i don't think this is
surprising and i think what today's debate really showed is that various members they agreed on the necessity of impeachment resolution each season what the impeachment resolution should include and so the problem is how do you get a majority of the thirty eight members to agree on the specific language and that's why this could become a time consuming process that was their ways at least a chance that the committee might well who won article this
article relating construction particularly with just the rest of the soviet era which is that he plans to introduce a series of motions to strike striking the time when the nba legend the president implemented a policy of justice and under the nine meetings that the president allegedly used to have to strike the main thing that is interesting about the
scene he is responsible the pope got it gentle lady
from practice ms jordan foreign language german jan and this committee spent two days receiving i'm listening to very eloquent argument we have talked about the constitution and we talked about the serious nature of the impeachment process and a law which was set there we were telling drove believed what we're talking about now was jealous committee has called upon on the consideration of articles of impeachment and apparently it is very difficult to translate its views of the constitution and to the realities of the impeachment provision it's understandable that this committee would
have procedural difficulty is because this is an unfamiliar and strange procedure but some of the arguments which was offered earlier today by sutherland the lives of this committee in my judgment of argument that unless argument due process we have we have not afforded the president united states due process as we have received word this impeachment inquiry then there is no due process to be found anywhere what we do is re committing under all obvious sparkle president available does not have to allow harmful to the president who participate in its proceedings but this committee because of its rays because they
wanted to be there because of his interest in due process if you will come on the president this at nbc is they use every day he was president was he gained was the silent know because of its judiciary committee passed a rule which allow the presidents council this week now one might say was fairly that is minimal due process all i'm saying is that the committee was under no compulsion to do that would be to do it so the president's counsel was here and received every item of information that's been interesting the presidents council suggested witnesses he wanted called unheard by this committee they were all told they were all heard the president's council was appointed the right to cross examine witnesses and i know that there
are rules been asked of the words was examined and that question what those of you know of the capacities and abilities of his design plan would certainly say that he cross examined witnesses to appear before this committee what else did you do use an activist annie replied in addition to making an oral argument in response to all of the material with this committee had received now we've heard a lot today about specificity about our case being zoned general that no one would be able to answer it that the president would not be advised of his rights and the battle would not be able to answer our prepare for his defense one was that the sign black belt that the case presented before this committee was presented enough for him to file a reply reef and to engage in oral arguments before this committee the
subpoenas we were very reluctant to issue a subpoena to the president united states but as president asked us for additional time to respond dr subpoena and we said we want you as president to have due process so why does your time is yours and we gave him the due process due process the vote due process quadruple we did that the president knows the case which has been heard before this committee the president's counsel of those cases we've been heard before this committee it is a useless argument to say that what we would do is to throw thirty eight or thirty nine books at the house and say you
find the offices with which the president has charged and say the same thing to the president we talk about a report we say that the record will evolve along with a bill of impeachment resolution of impeachment that report will be filed detail specify what did you arrive information so that no one can question whether the president has been advised of the allegations against him in journalism or write recognize the gentleman from alabama missed a flower in it i'll take the point where all i'm no symptoms aren't the chairman that there might be a false impression being communicated year that this there's two general and that we might be
engaging too much in iona lawyerly finances and now we might convince the people in this audience and in the faraway audience that fell thirty eight lawyers on one for many years with too many lawyers and our i would necessarily disagree with les paul i think one of the unwritten rules of this house in this committee is that you actively or a lawyer they own on the committee and perhaps just that that might one of dollars on a law license so that we get a little bit about who the committee but finding that and i don't intend to do do that at this for myself although some of my need to rely on that enter in the future more than we do now eyewitness later on one of dramas league at least at this time for the non lawyers in the in an audience and i'm not as much as i am in a fact right now is a flat
circle around right with you mr doerr oil and they give the force at the appropriate time and i want a woman as he preferred to live because i'm interested in and i think the american people are interested in that we have before us one article of impeachment that the operative paragraph actors ossie is that he is the second paragraph that begins on june seventeenth nineteen seventy two n go down through on all for covert activities about some twelve months later that's what the real charges there against the president but then we have the law rob something the convent over hitting the means used to implement that policy and specific find rather specific although they do not really that makes plans in places that are specific charges or you agree with mr will now
or you are with the military you itemize specifically the charges that would come under those narrow specific votes of paragraphs of article one of the proposed oracles of the week last year oh lord the policy and that was my discussion about what is what we need more than anything else is the discussion of the fights here as they relate to charges under this article
long and the chairman and so airtran and i hope that it will work on them we'll talk to others on this now that we will be able to discuss whit stuffy here with the various members of the committee the specific provable factual items of evidence that come under each one of the sub paragraph all are long and determine for ourselves here all as like we must all in an obvious un orchestrated manner of avon has been watching are misleading hear exactly when the fact that the charges and and that's the whole issue paul and i find that as the the more important thing in discussing whether or not the language girl that something was and often served with paul i think that's sufficient thirty million liters a fourth know one of the facts the facts there's a chart here at war the impeachment of the president announced
they are you know if i could just like this question to the door with a general and go back in the water just a moment levy the huge element which only to whether or not a specific allegation or charges made by reading article one of the starving thought that too if it were just an activity you know words and to conceal the existence of the scope of other local covert activity other words is simply reduce the charge to on june seventeen agents of the committee to reelect and that in the illegal entry what happened subsequently to the president using his powers his office to act directly and personally to his subordinates and agents delay him he struck an investigation in your opinion would that not be sufficient to face the president on notice that the specific charge against them and whether or not the other items listed on two pages are really edition please don't have to be live up with that for the benefit of me and
placing the president on one of his mind and the patients congressman cole is my opinion the second paragraph of sarbanes substitute is the operative paragraph it puts the president notice the low e the committee charges he's been as president of the united states you made a decision that policy that there will be a plan to cover a lot of music that in furtherance of that policy actually personally individually and also throws four associates and subordinates and it takes certain steps to further those files and that allegation it's sufficient in my judgment put the president united states on notice as to what this committee is considering
what this article charges the patients it's my understanding that you would be punished the house a complete and full report outlining detail the specifics which is jordan recently alluded to and also whether or not your opinion just think where would be entitled to file a bill particularly at which time un of them at the house of a furnished the specific to say on that request well i don't have with respect to the first that question i have no doubt that our report would do exactly that precisely that specifically with respect to the second
what the house might do consider me as prisons here committee a central issue in this case is to be the evidence last week the evidence the strength of the evidence i hope that in just a couple of questions to test ms jenna that we can we can move on from this issue this agenda in your opinion does this bill there's
an article on the sobbing substitute violated due process notice requirement first state and that's sufficient specificity all due process for cormorants of voters on that satisfies the constitution and for you that article one does put the president on the alert as to specific charges against her car crash through whatever the number is cam at this school for two hours notice so that he may be more fully place to handle this and his
record fb fb
1974 Nixon Impeachment Hearings
Reel 4 of 6
Producing Organization
National Public Affairs Center for Television
Contributing Organization
Library of Congress (Washington, District of Columbia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip/512-b853f4mf5c).
Episode Description
Videotaped coverage of the debate of the House Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Peter Rodino, Jr., on the articles of impeachment against President Richard Nixon. Includes approval of the first article of impeachment charging obstruction of justice. This is day 5 of the Nixon impeachment hearings.
Broadcast Date
Asset type
Event Coverage
Politics and Government
Nixon, Richard M.; Watergate Affair, 1972-1974
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Producing Organization: National Public Affairs Center for Television
Producing Organization: WETA-TV
Reporter: Lehrer, James
Reporter: Duke, Paul
Speaker: Rodino, Peter W.
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Library of Congress
Identifier: 2403151-1-1 (MAVIS Item ID)
Format: 2 inch videotape
Generation: Preservation
Color: Color
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “1974 Nixon Impeachment Hearings; 1974-07-26; Reel 4 of 6,” 1974-07-26, Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed May 27, 2024,
MLA: “1974 Nixon Impeachment Hearings; 1974-07-26; Reel 4 of 6.” 1974-07-26. Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. May 27, 2024. <>.
APA: 1974 Nixon Impeachment Hearings; 1974-07-26; Reel 4 of 6. Boston, MA: Library of Congress, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from