Ladies and gentlemen, may I have your attention,
Moderator Evan Semerjian has just called
tonight's meeting to order.
Good evening and welcome to The Advocates'
special program on impeachment. The question of impeachment of the President
confronts this nation for the first time in this century. It's a question
unlike those which this program deals with ordinarily. Merely to ask,
"Should the President be impeached?" which is our question tonight, is to
cast a shadow on the integrity of the nation's highest official. Therefore
in considering the question of impeachment we have a different format
tonight, one that places the burden of persuasion wholly on the shoulders of
the President's accusers. The question is a preliminary one: should a formal
accusation against the President be voted now by the House of
Representatives? Those favoring impeachment will present testimony and then
be rigorously cross-examined. At the end of this ninety minutes we'll ask
you in our audience to decide whether you believe the case for impeachment
has withstood that cross-examination. And now let me introduce tonight's
participants. The case for impeachment will be presented by Congressman
Jerome Waldie, Democrat from California and author of the most widely
supported resolution for impeachment introduced in the House. Congressman
Waldie will be presenting five witnesses tonight who he will introduce as
they appear. To cross-examine those witnesses we have a panel of three
lawyers. Heading the panel is Mr. James Hill, an attorney from Atlanta and a
familiar face to regular Advocates viewers. On Mr. Hill's right is William
Rusher, publisher of National Review; Mr. Rusher's association with this
program enters his fourth season. And on Mr. Hill's left is Professor Henry
Monaghan of the Boston University Law School and an expert on Constitutional
Law. And now let's begin. Congressman Waldie, would you make your opening
Should Richard Nixon be impeached? It is a measure
of how far we have gone along the path of having liberties in this land
corrupted by this President, and having had his office abused as terribly as
this President has abused the office that we're discussing tonight in
Faneuil Hall, the cradle of American liberty, the subject of the impeachment
of the President. Yes, I believe Richard Nixon should be impeached. I
believe the tyrannical conduct of this President in his abuse of office, I
believe the insensitivity of this President to the liberties of the people
demand his impeachment, and perhaps demand his removal from office. And in
furtherance of that case we will present five eminent witnesses who too
believe that the President has committed acts for which impeachment should
Thank you, Congressman. And now, Mr. Hill, let's
have your opening remarks.
There is a provision in our Constitution for
impeachment, but because it nullifies election by the people, the most
sacred guarantee of our Democracy, its use requires clearest evidence of the
highest crime. The Constitution speaks of treason, bribery, high crimes,
misdemeanors. The chaos of Civil War bred the only presidential impeachment
trial; it paralyzed our government for months and is finally recognized as
having been a purely political assault. As you listen to this case for
impeachment, look for a sensible theory, consistent with the Constitution,
one which can serve as precedent for the future. Be suspicious as we are of
the consequences of any theory based on politics, not actual crime; and if
it be based on politics, make sure it takes into account the President's
many political successes as well as political short-comings, and if it be
based on crime, be convinced that the evidence is clear now and not what may
appear from some future inquiry. Thank you.
Okay, now, Congressman Waldie, would you please
present your witnesses.
Yes, I call as my first witness Monroe
Mr. Freedman, welcome to The Advocates.
Thank you very much.
Professor Freedman is the Dean of the Law School of
Hofstra University and will testify as to a constitutional overview of the
impeachment process. Now, Dean Freedman, what is an impeachable offense, as
defined by the Constitution?
In the terms of the Constitution impeachment is
on the basis of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. I
was a little concerned with Mr. Hill's statement because until I heard him
say that it is in no sense a political matter, I was about to say that no
serious observer would make such a statement. The fact is that the phrasing
of the Constitution is ambiguous, as are many important phrases of the
Constitution, and we must look to the context of the Constitution in order
to understand what was intended. Most significant for me is the fact that
the impeachment process was purposefully taken out of the judiciary branch
where it was placed in an earlier draft of the Constitution and put into the
Congress, into the political branch of government.
Well, what are the impeachable offenses that you
believe the President has committed?
I think it's a mistake for us to focus on
particular acts in the context of the present question. In my view the
important thing, the overriding consideration is that this administration
has created a crisis of confidence in the executive branch of government and
that what is called for is the extreme constitutional sanction of
impeachment, if for no other purpose than as a symbolic cleansing of our
Well, as each offense is raised against the
President, we hear a chorus of response from those who maintain the
President has not committed an impeachable offense that this is not
conclusive proof, that we must await further evidence, or that this is just
one small charge. What do you respond to those who so claim?
I think that's part of the problem of going off
on the wrong path, of looking for specific offenses in a situation where we
have a national crisis of confidence. Now, I would say that it is incorrect
to talk in terms of burden of proof. Certainly, if we are going to, to speak
in terms of certitude, or beyond any shred of doubt and so on, would be
preposterous. In my view, though, what each member of Congress must do is
make a conscientious judgment in political terms, recognizing that he or she
is ultimately responsive to his or her constituency, that there is indeed a
constitutional crisis, a crisis of confidence in the executive branch.
Well, but aren't we getting dangerously close in
that situation to the contention that really we don't need any standards at
all; if you don't like the President, you can impeach him and send him to
the Senate for trial, or that if you dislike him because you're of a
different political persuasion, you can impeach him and send him to the
Senate for trial. Isn't that a danger in the standard you've proposed?
I don't think so. All of the words that you have
used in your question are yours and not mine. I think that the history of
this country, two hundred years with a single presidential impeachment, and
the issue being raised now a rare one, plus the deliberation that the
Congress is going through right now— the hesitation, the extreme
caution—illustrates that that is not a serious concern.
Finally, Dean, many people suggest that we should
never undertake impeachment, regardless of what the proof might be, because
the trauma of the impeachment process would so disrupt the fabric of
American life that it would outweigh the benefits to be gained. What is your
response to that?
Make this a brief answer.
I will. I confess that that is a position that I
have taken, but I feel that circumstances outbalance that, that the
traumatic effect of rolling, recurrent crisis and scandal week by week will
have a far more serious traumatic impact on our national life than the
impeachment process itself. The time has now come where that balance has
All right, thank you. Congressman. Let's go now
to Mr. Hill and his panel.
Mr. Monaghan will ask some questions.
Dean Freedman, in the past you said that one of
the few areas in which you agreed with Congressman Ford was on his
definition of impeachment. Mr. Ford said an impeachable offense is whatever
the majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given
moment in history, and as I understand you, you've reiterated that position
here today. I'd like to take a look at the language of the Constitution to
see if it's as ambiguous as you say it is and whether or not one can in all
fairness say that the impeachable offense is what the majority of Congress
thinks at any given time. Now, there are five provisions in the Constitution
that deal with impeachment, and we won't go through them all, but let's take
a look at three of them. Article III, Section 2 talks about the trial of all
crimes excepting cases of impeachment, which shall be by jury. Article I,
Section 3, paragraph 6 provides in relevant part that when the President of
the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside, and no person
shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of the members
present. Now, if impeachment is purely a political matter in your judgment,
does it make any sense to use words like "trial," "conviction," and why
should the Chief Justice preside over the trial?
Well, the question is in several parts. I think
that it does make sense to use phrases like "crime," "trial," and so on
because at common law impeachment was a crime. There were heavy criminal
penalties—imprisonment, substantial fine, even execution—so that it was a
natural enough thing for the framers to be concerned that if it were not
made clear that there was to be no trial by jury that there might be mistake
as to that.
But isn't it perfectly apparent that in common
law, if you're referring to the English common law, that the impeachment
always for the crime of treason, and it was always retrospective in nature
in the sense that it was the subsequent judgment on the conduct of a crown
official? But, well, let's pass that.
No, the answer is no. Blackstone disagrees with
Well, I don't . . . Well, let's pass that.
Because that is not the case; we obviously can't debate here what the
authorities were in common law.
Well, I can quote Blackstone to you on that
point. What he says is . . .
With respect to Article IV—if we may move on—with
respect to Article IV, Section 4, paragraph 1, the President, Vice
President, and civil officers of the United States shall be removed from
office on impeachment and conviction of treason, bribery, other high crimes
and misdemeanors. Now, if it's purely a political offense in the manner
which you talk about, why wasn't it sufficient for the framers of the
Constitution simply to say that the President . . . The framers were
lawyers. The vast majority of the framers were lawyers. They knew how to use
language. It's a lawyers' document. Why don't the framers simply say that
the President shall be removed upon a vote of a majority of the House and
two-thirds of the Senate?
Is this a question I get to answer?
I thought you answered them all.
The constitutional phrasing was drawn, quite
appropriately, from the common law. Blackstone, who was perhaps the leading
common law commentator, defines impeachment as a political crime—that is a
wrong against the body politic, and he says, "The first and principle high
misdemeanor is the maladministration"—and Blackstone underlines that word,
maladministration—"of such high officers as are in the public trust and
employment. This," he adds, " is usually punished by the method of
parliamentary impeachment," so it's perfectly reasonable that this language
would have been used, and it's perfectly consistent.
Apparently you think the language is not
decisive. Well, let's take a look at the drafting of these provisions in the
Constitutional Convention. Now, the Convention considered and rejected
malpractice and corrupt conduct as a standard, isn't that true?
Yes, that's right.
The Constitutional Convention also considered and
rejected malpractice or neglect of duty as a standard, isn't that
Most importantly, and most relevantly in terms of
what you just said, the Convention considered and rejected the standard of
That was taken out on Madison's objection because
Madison said so vague a term would be the equivalent of giving the President
tenure only at the sufferance of the Senate. Now, isn't it perfectly
apparent, from what the framers of the constitutional provisions did, that
they rejected standards which were clearly non-criminal or not
quasi-criminal, such as malpractice and maladministration and deliberately
inserted a much more rigorous standard of criminality?
No, I don't think that's so. First of all, you
noted that they rejected corruption, yet they used the word "bribery"; they
may have rejected the word "maladministration" and yet they adopted the
phrase "high misdemeanor" which embraces it. Madison himself, whom you
relied on, referred to a high misdemeanor as a situation where the President
neglects to superintend the conduct of his or her subordinates so as to
check their excesses, and I think we have a prime example of that.
I'm going to explore some there, Mr. Monaghan, thank
you. Let me just ask you, Mr. Freedman, on your standards, if there be any,
would you, if you were in the Senate, now vote to convict the President of
Mr. Hill, I don't mean to duck that question, but
the fact is . . .
Then don't; then just answer it.
That fact is that one cannot, I think,
conscientiously answer that because the Senators will act after a
I understand, but . . .
And I do not know, I cannot tell you frankly,
what my answer would be with a defense put on by the President, which we
have not seen now, and with a full case presented against him.
Mr. Hill, just to make it clear for the viewing
audience, when you're talking about a conviction, you're drawing a
distinction, aren't you, between the impeachment we're discussing tonight
and the subsequent conviction which could follow?
Yes, sir. I wanted to find out if the witness would
vote to put the country to that sort of thing when he was not yet confident
that the President should be convicted, and now I have the answer.
That's not my response. My answer is that it is
premature before trial to make that judgment. If you ask me whether I
believe that the House of Representatives should issue a bill of impeachment
which would initiate the trial in the Senate, I would say yes indeed.
All right, sir. Now, you have spoken of lack of
popularity, loss of confidence and public opinions; let's look at this
popularity. The last Gallup poll showed President Nixon with 32% approval,
did it not?
I confess I don't know.
Nor incidentally is . . .
You don't dispute it, do you, if you say there has
been this loss of confidence.
I cannot dispute that, but I would dispute your
use of the word "popularity"; that is not mine.
I'm sorry. Well . . .
Mine was "crisis of confidence" in the integrity
of the executive branch of government.
All right, sir. In 1951 President Harry Truman's
approval rate by the people was 23%, was it not?
I will accept your word for it.
Yes, sir. Well, you were the one who suggested this
criteria . . .
No, I beg your pardon, it was not a criterion
based on, as you characterized it, a popularity poll. What I am talking
about is the kind of language that has been used by responsible people of
both parties. Senator James Buckley referred to "a political crisis of the
most profoundly disturbing proportions." Senator Brooke, a Republican, has
called for resignation. Republican Representative Packwood has told the
President to his face, "Sir, you have destroyed your ability to lead this
country." The Wall Street Journal . . .
All right, Mr. Freedman, I have to cut you off
so that they can ask other questions.
I believe that that fills up the time, if Mr. Rusher
will ask a question.
Just very briefly, since our time is short, sir. I
do understand you to be saying that what we might call conventional crimes
need not be proved against the President for conviction.
That is certainly correct, yes.
But something that you've described, I believe,
generally, as maladministration.
Not maladministration pure and simple, and I
think this is why Madison rejected that phrase.
Then, very briefly . . .
But maladministration—that is, of such
seriousness as to bring about a crisis of confidence in the executive branch
Now, sir, if a President is guilty of things which
we may take, for the purpose of hypothesis, to be seriously against him, and
we are determining whether or not he should be impeached, wouldn't it be
proper also to consider the good things, the successful things that he has
done—in the case of Mr. Nixon, the fact that he did bring our prisoners of
war and our American soldiers home from Vietnam, the fact that we are
progressing from war in the Middle East to negotiation in the Middle East?
If we are going to have, in other words, the kind of broad standard for
judging this man that you want to impose, and by which you favor his
impeachment, shouldn't we consider what he has done that is good?
Make this a very, very brief answer.
The answer is yes, I have done so, Mr.
And you can't find anything.
No, no, I didn't say that.
All right, I'm going to have to interrupt.
Thanks very much, Mr. Freedman, for being with us tonight.
Well, I think one thing we've established— or at
least the panel supporting the President has established—is that his latest
appointee for the Vice President, Gerald Ford's judgment can't be trusted
very well either. I call as my next witness Mr. Thomas Emerson, Professor of
Law at Yale.
Mr. Emerson, welcome to The Advocates.
Professor Emerson will be discussing what
constitutes an impeachable offense, and he will also be discussing
activities on the part of the President that he believes amount to an
obstruction of justice. Professor, would you tell me what you believe
constitutes an impeachable offense under the Constitution?
Yes, in my view an impeachable offense—at least so
far as the removal of the President is concerned—is an offense, or a series
of offenses, which subvert the fundamentals of the democratic process. I do
not think it requires a criminal offense, or an indictable offense, but it
ought to be one which fundamentally undermines our political way of
Well, I presume you would agree that we've had such
a pattern of conduct on the part of this president. To be specific, I have
some reference to the Huston Plan; would you describe that and determine
whether it fits within your definition?
Yes, I think that is an example of gross
misconduct which justifies impeachment. In June of 1970 President Nixon
appointed a committee headed by Tom Huston, an assistant White House
counsel. The purpose of the committee was to prepare a plan for political
surveillance of various groups, mostly black groups and anti-war
demonstrators. The plan was submitted to the President on July 25 of 1970,
and it included as the method of maintaining this political surveillance
wire-tapping, bugging, burglary and opening of mail. The President approved
the plan, and I think that by doing so, he undermined the basic fundamentals
of the democratic process.
Well, was there any question in the President's
mind that those recommendations, and those acts so recommended, were
No, there was no question about that because
Huston, in the memorandum, had expressly pointed out that these methods
were, and I quote, "clearly illegal." Now, I should say that five days later
the President withdrew, or at least it is claimed that he withdrew, his
approval on the objection of J. Edgar Hoover. However, I should also add
that many of the proposals in the plan were put into effect later when the
plumbers' unit was organized.
The President apparently was alleged, and people
believed, that he contacted Judge Matthew Byrne while he was trying the case
involving Ellsberg, and that the contact was in an attempt to influence
justice. Do you want to comment on that allegation?
What happened there was that while Judge Byrne was
trying the Ellsberg case, John Erlichman, one of the President's chief
advisors, invited him to a meeting and asked him whether he would consider
taking the position of Director of the FBI, which was then vacant. At that
meeting President Nixon came into the room, was there for at least a minute,
and was fully aware of what was going on. Under the circumstances of the
fact that the trial was in progress, to offer a federal position to the
judge who was trying the case seems to me to be both an obstruction of
justice and an unfair invasion of the constitutional rights of the
Maybe one of the greatest . . .
One more question, Congressman.
Yes, maybe one of the greatest outrages the
President has perpetrated on the national fabric was his dismissal of
Archibald Cox as the Special Prosecutor. Does that constitute an impeachable
I don't think it's a constitutional offense, but I
think it was illegal, and Judge Gesell in the District of Columbia held that
it was illegal because it was in violation of the Departments of Justice's
own rules. Whatever it was, however, it was a clear breach of trust because
the President had assured the country that Archibald Cox would be
independent. I therefore think that it's clearly relevant to the question of
All right, thank you. Let's go now to Mr. Hill
and his panel for some questions.
Professor, does Huston, going back to 1970 at the
time of that Huston memorandum: was there not first a committee meeting
between the President, FBI Director Hoover, CIA Director Helms, Defense
Agency Director General Donald Bennett, and National Security Agency
Director Admiral Noel Gayler out of which those gentlemen asked Huston to
prepare some proposals? Isn't that what happened?
There was a meeting of that sort, yes.
All right, sir. And then did not Huston prepare his
memorandum and send it back and all of them approve it?
I'm not sure whether all of them approved
Well, one objected to it. Excuse me.
It was a memorandum submitted on behalf of
representatives of those four agencies, that's true.
And the President and the others approved it, save
FBI Director Hoover, isn't that correct, who objected to it?
Hoover at some point objected to it. I don't
think it's clear at what point.
And immediately—that is, within the week of Hoover's
objection—the President withdrew his approval and never implemented it,
isn't that correct?
That is correct, but he withdrew it not on
grounds that it was illegal, or on grounds that it was unethical or
unconstitutional, he withdrew it because J. Edgar Hoover pressured him to
All right, sir. And it was the object of the memo to
preserve national security internally by some means that you say would have
been illegal had it been implemented, is that correct?
It's all done in the name of national security,
Yes, sir, and national security is not of small
importance to this country.
No, of course not . . .
That's fine. At that time there were national
security leaks going on all over the country, weren't there? Papers being
taken and published and distributed about that were secret papers of the
There were matters happening in which the
government was quite interested, but the problem that I'm raising is the
method by which the government sought to pursue its interests; its methods
were unconstitutional. I'm not saying its ultimate aim was
Do you know of any of the other gentlemen that I
named who withdrew approval, other than the President?
Do you propose that they be impeached?
No, the President is clearly responsible for
this. It was said in the memorandum that it was illegal, he gave his
approval, that's his judgment.
Then you propose to impeach the one who withdrew his
approval and not impeach those who continued to approve, is that your
No, wait, I wasn't talking about impeachment of
various subordinates of the President. I thought the issue tonight was the
President's impeachment. If all that anyone of those ever did was to approve
that memorandum, that in itself might not be impeachable; it's in the
context of a whole pattern of misconduct that I'm stating that it's an
In 1972, in April, the Head of the FBI resigned, and
the President was searching for a new one, is that right?
As far as you know, would Judge Byrne have been a
qualified man? He was a former FBI agent and District Attorney.
It's quite possible he would have, yes.
All right, sir. Now, is it not the sole evidence on
any conversation about that that the Ellsberg trial was never
Of course it was never mentioned. It didn't have
And was not Mr. Ehrlichman, according to the sole
testimony, specifically told he might sound out Judge Byrne for that post or
his interest, provided he could do it without compromising the Judge's
The essence of the conversation was that— the
implication of the conversation was that—after the trial was over, and the
implication is that if the trial went well, then the Judge would be
considered for Director of the FBI. That seems to me is spelling . . .
That's the implication you get.
That's the implication I get and I think anybody
Did Judge Byrne, who you say as far as you know
would be qualified to head the FBI, meet twice with Ehrlichman?
Yes, he met with him two days later.
And did he publicize it?
Later . . . Not at the time.
But after he brought up the thought that he perhaps
ought not discuss that job further because he had criminal trial. Was he
ever approached again?
No, not after twice.
May a judge, trying criminal cases on a long
calendar brought by the government, ever be offered another post in the
government without running the risk of their being some effort to corrupt
He may never be offered a post that is so
distinctly related to his conduct in that case, no.
Mr. Emerson, I have been led by your statements to
suppose that you are going to allege that one of the reasons for impeaching
Mr. Nixon was his intimidation of the press. Is that one of your complaints
That's correct. We didn't get to that.
Can you, since it's in my time, do it as briefly
as you can, and let me ask you a question about it?
Yes. From the time that Vice President Ag-new
made his speech in Des Moines in the fall of 1969, attacking the press,
through the statements made by Clay Whitehead, the Head of the Office of
Telecommunications in the White House, the White House has engaged in a
campaign of attack and harassment and intimidation of the press and the
broadcasting industry. As it was stated in one of the memoranda which
Senator Weicker produced, their attempt was to break down the institution of
I ask you, sir, whether in your opinion the press
of this country is in fact intimidated?
The President intimidated?
No, has the press of this country, in fact, been
I think they have, yes. They have said so.
And do you think the institution of broadcasting
in this country has, in fact, been broken down?
Without a doubt. No, not broken down; I say they
have been intimidated. I don't think it was that successful.
They've been intimidated, but not broken
Is that correct? When Mr. Nixon, for example,
attacking the press directly, or certain segments of it, in his last
Washington press conference—did you watch that, by the way—on television
said that certain reports in the press were the most vicious and distorted
he had seen in twenty-seven years of public life, was his attack an
Not that in itself, no.
What do you mean, "not in itself"?
Well, I mean, that statement seems to me a fair
reply by the President to criticism of him in the press.
He has as much right to defend himself as anybody
else, doesn't he?
Yes, of course he does, but he does not have the
right to defend himself by using government agencies to harass and coerce
the press . . .
Mr. Monaghan, I believe, has a question.
I'd like to address myself, Professor Emerson,
to the firing of Mr. Cox. We're not required, are we, to accept Judge
Gesell's view that the firing was illegal?
No, but it clearly was illegal in the sense that
the Department of Justice's regulations would not comply with it.
Yes, but Elliot Richardson on the Dick Cavett
Show said that at worse the firing was only a technical violation of the
law. There's no doubt that had that regulation been repealed, as it was
repealed a few days later, that the Special Prosecutor could have been
fired. The most that can be made out of this is that it's purely a technical
violation. Isn't that true?
The most that can be made out of it was that it
was merely a breach of trust.
Now, that's a separate point. The first point
you made was that it was illegal, and I suggest to you that there's nothing
but a technical objection, at best, assuming that Judge Gesell is right.
Now, what's . . .
No, I don't think it's technical: if the rules
provide something, the rules should be followed. That is not
Two days later the regulations were repealed and
there's no doubt that he could be fired. The President simply didn't dot his
t's and q's, if you assume that Judge Gesell is right to begin with, as I do
not. Now, let's take a look at the question of breach of trust. I want to
take a look at the firing from the point of view of the President. Could the
President have fairly concluded that the Cox staff was not impartial and out
to get him? It's true, isn't it, that the White House has constantly
complained about leaks from the Special Prosecutor's office? That's true,
It's also true that yesterday's New York Times
reported nine of the top ten officials in the Cox strike force were liberal
Democrats, something not designed to inspire confidence in the President, I
This is not the basis on which the President
Now, we want to find out exactly what kind of
confidence the President ought to have had in Cox. But finally, of course,
we have Mr. Cox's unfortunate
One more question, Mr. Monaghan.
Couldn't the President have fairly concluded
that the time had come to get rid of the man whose track record rightly or
wrongly convinced the President that he was being the victim of a
That wasn't the reason he fired him; the reason
he fired him was because . . .
That's exactly the reason he gave. That's
exactly what was going on in the President's mind.
Well, have you finished your answer, Mr.
No. The reason he fired Cox was that Cox insisted
on obtaining memoranda and paper and documents from the President which the
President didn't want to give up.
On a claim of executive privilege, which was
subsequently rejected by the courts, and he wouldn't settle it. I mean, it
certainly seems decidedly unfair to the President to say that he was acting
irrationally from his own point of view.
All right, there being no question pending, I
want to thank you very much, Mr. Emerson, for being with us tonight.
I suppose the President could have fairly
concluded that that was the alleged reason for firing Cox, that he had too
many liberal Democrats around him, but he could have equally fairly
concluded that the reason he had to get rid of Cox was that Cox was getting
too close to establishing culpability of the President, and this simply
points out that those sorts of decisions will be made subsequent to
impeachment upon the trial of the articles of impeachment in the Senate. My
next witness is Congressman Paul "Pete" McCloskey.
Congressman, nice to have you with us
Congressman McCloskey is a colleague of mine. He's
a Republican Representative from California. He also is a former Republican
candidate for President of the United States, running against Richard Nixon
in the last primary, and he was a former District Attorney. He will talk
tonight about the probabilities, in his view, that the President has
committed specific violations of the federal criminal code. Mr. McCloskey,
will you tell me what the reasons for your introduction of the resolution of
impeachment might be? What do you believe the President has done warranting
Well, I'd like to accept Mr. Hill's challenge,
and try to enumerate specific felony statutes of the United States criminal
code, which I believe that the evidence shows that the President has
violated: not the innuendo or the speculation, but the facts that have been
admitted by the President himself. And I'd like to trace this against the
background of the Fielding break-in in September 1971 to which Egil Krogh
has just pled guilty to participating in a conspiracy to deny civil rights,
Section 241 of the Criminal Code. That crime occurred in September 1971, and
at some later time that we do not know the President learned of that crime.
Now, I don't hold him responsible for the commission of the crime itself
because we don't have evidence to indicate that he knew in advance that
illegal conduct was to be employed, but he has admitted in his speeches that
he learned of it subsequently. Now, against that I'd like to read three
sections of the Criminal Code: Section III states that whoever knowing that
an offense against the United States has been committed receives, relieves,
comforts, or assists the offender in order to hinder or prevent his
apprehension, trial or punishment is guilty of felony. Section IV reads that
whoever having knowledge of the actual commission of the felony, cognizable
by a Court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible
make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military
authority shall be guilty of a felony. And finally Section 1510 reads in
part: Whoever willfully endeavors by misrepresentation to obstruct, delay,
or prevent the communication of information relating to a violation of any
criminal statute of the United States by any person to a criminal
Mr. McCloskey, I'm going to have to interrupt you
here a moment, because we're running short of time. Do you believe that the
President has violated any of those sections, and, if so, would you state in
Yes, and let's go to his speech of May 22 when
he said he instructed Mr. Haldeman and Mr. Ehrlichman to insure that the
investigation of the break-in, the Watergate, not disclose the activities of
the White House Special Investigations Unit. This was the Fielding break-in.
On April 18 of 1973, during the Ellsberg trial, when Assistant Attorney
General Petersen sought to bring this matter before the Ellsberg Court, the
President has admitted to instructing Mr. Petersen not to go into that
matter. He has attempted to prevent the flow of this evidence, this
information, about a prior crime from passing before the Court and to
Now, we must get into the last question I want to
ask you. How does the question of the withholding of the tapes by the
President fit into this pattern you've been discussing?
Well, the tapes have occurred subsequent to all
these events, and they occurred subsequent to a ruling by the Court that
executive privilege would not lie to prevent the tapes from being introduced
in evidence. The Court ruling gives the President the power to contend that
the tapes should not be disclosed, but then a court can overrule him, and a
Court has. Nevertheless, even today General Haig, the men closely around the
President, the attorneys for the President are engaged in what appears
almost to be a conspiracy to obstruct justice today in preventing these
tapes from passing into the new Special Prosecutor's hands, Mr. Jaworski.
These have been asked for by Mr. Cox weeks ago and not produced.
Mr. McCloskey, if you were to present . . .
Make this very brief.
If you were to present to a grand jury today the
facts that you have testified to, do you think you could procure an
indictment against the President?
Very brief answer, Congressman.
I think any U.S. Attorney or District Attorney
in the country could obtain an indictment on the facts that I've
Thank you, Congressman.
All right, let's go to Mr. Hill and his panel.
On the floor of the House of Representatives on
June 6th of this year you stated, did you not, we should limit our
consideration, meaning consideration of impeachment, to instances of high
crimes of a felonious nature, defining the terms "high crimes" and
"misdemeanors" as the modern counterpart of felonies.
Yes, that's my opinion. I think that we owe
that obligation to try to rid this country of the history of impeachment as
a political measure.
I think we should use it based on criminal
I couldn't agree with you more. You also said that
with respect to the serious action of impeachment against the President of
the United States I suggest that we as members of the House should be
personally and individually convinced of the guilt of the President before
voting his impeachment. Did you say that?
That's my view, that . . .
May I ask what happened today, when you ran into
Professor Emerson and Dean Freedman and Congressman Waldie and found out
Well, I've known Congressman Waldie’s views for
some time, and I've known Gerry Ford's views that impeachment would lie on
whatever the Congress said. In my judgment we ought to hold ourselves to a
far higher standard.
I concur entirely, and so in your judgment,
Congressman Waldie and Professor Emerson and Dean Freedman are all mistaken
in attempting to turn impeachment into this gauzy kind of a preliminary, to
a guilt that is only going to be coming late, is that right?
Well, I don't go as far as they do.
How far do you go?
Well, I go to the fact that impeachment is
merely an accusation. We probably, under the historic law, need only show
probable cause. If we accept Ben Franklin's concept, impeachment is a
Then you've changed your mind.
Well, if you haven't, then you still think that
the members of the House should be personally and individually convinced of
the guilt of the President before voting his impeachment.
That's my view, yes, sir.
Thank you. Well, to come to the statutory crimes
that you do allege—and you confine yourself, I realize, to your own terms
here, limiting yourself to felonies. The President, according to his own
statement, as far as I know is uncontradicted on the other side, discovered
the break-in at the Ellsberg psychiatrist's office on what date?
We don't know that . . .
Well, what has he said?
He knew it at least by March 15th, according to
March 17th, I think you will find upon checking
You may be correct.
Right. And March 17th is the date, then, on which
he says he discovered this. Do you know of anybody else who says he
discovered it earlier?
So there's time for news to be made tonight.
No, but I think that the President, as he has
stated, occupying a position of high trust, that it's high time that he
recognized the first duty of a trustee, which is to make full
Now, we come to the question: having known from
the 17th of March, 1973, forward of the Ellsberg break-in, when did Judge
Byrne out of Los Angeles discover it, what date?
As far as we know, not until April 28th, when
Attorney General Petersen threatened to resign unless the President changed
his mind and made it available.
And since you mention not Attorney General
Petersen, but Chief of the Criminal Division Petersen
And Attorney General Kleindienst, I believe, also
appears to have known at about the same time, but Petersen, at any rate,
knew before the 28th, therefore, didn't he?
He knew ten days before the 28th . . .
That makes it the 18th of April, so that your
proposition for impeaching the President of the United States is that he
knew of a specific break-in from the 17th of March to the 18th of April this
year, by which time it had been communicated to the Chief of the Criminal
Division of the Justice Department of the United States, and for that delay
he should be impeached.
For thirty days the evidence indicates he
deliberately held from the Justice Department evidence of a crime.
Congressman McCloskey, are we not suggesting
embarking here on a purely political effort to reverse the recent
I've tried to make it clear that in my mind we
would demean the process if we made it a political effort to set aside the
All right, sir, let's look at the track record so
far. You introduced a resolution calling for the impeachment of President
Nixon, did you not?
How many Congressmen signed it?
I haven't asked others to sign it. It specifies
the four specific counts of felony and the one violation of his
constitutional oath when he authorized the burglary.
Were there not thirty signers: twenty-nine Democrats
and one—that is to say, you—Republican on your resolution?
Well, I'm honored if others have joined in it,
but I didn't know that.
All right, sir. Now, the matter is pending before
the House Judiciary Committee, is it not?
And that committee is organizing to consider that
resolution and others, is it not?
And it has taken two important votes, has it
I'm not aware of that.
One to give the Democratic Chairman full, unbridled
power to issue subpoenas, is that correct?
And how did the vote go, Congressman
I think that went purely on partisan lines, but
let me point out that three out of four of my Republican colleagues two
weeks ago voted $1,000,000 to staff this committee and to investigate
impeachment. The Republicans voted three to one to fund that $1,000,000 for
investigation. I think that's some idea of the seriousness with which
Republicans view the situation.
Is it not true that on that vote twenty-one voted
yes to give the Chairman unbridled power, all Democrats, seventeen voted
"nay," all Republicans?
Then they took another vote, and that was to give
the Republican Vice Chairman the same power, did they not?
I don't know that.
And didn't it go twenty-one voted no, all Democrats,
and seventeen voted "aye," all Republicans? As a politician, do you see a
trend developing, Congressman?
No, I frankly don't. In those procedural
maneuverings that occurred two weeks ago. I think as the weeks unfold, you
will find that despite disagreements between reasonable men, we are going to
see this turn into a non-partisan effort to ascertain the truth.
But it has some distance to go, hasn't it? Does it
concern you at all. Congressman, that you have a Congress with a majority of
the party opposite to the President, who has just beaten that party's
candidate in a general election by the people, and it is in that forum that
you propose to say that that election shall not stand and the elected
President go out? Does that concern you at all?
It really doesn't, Mr. Hill, because under the
Constitution all of us take an oath to uphold the Constitution. The
Constitution places this power in the House of Representatives, no matter
what its political makeup; it's one of the two special powers of the House,
one being to initiate revenue, the other being to initiate impeachment, and
I think we're going to face that duty as members of the Congress, subject to
our oath, not as members of any political party.
Mr. Monaghan has some questions.
Congressman, you said in the House that each
member of the House, not the Senate, should be personally and individually
convinced of the guilt of the President before voting his impeachment. Are
you satisfied that the President is presently guilty of criminal conduct in
his handling of the tapes?
No, I don't think the evidence is yet clear in
the handling of the tapes, but as the coincidences build up I frankly feel
that there is a growing duty of disclosure on his part.
Well, there certainly is some tension between
the position you're taking here and the position you take before the
Congress . . .
Well, I haven't suggested his impeachment yet
on the tapes matter. That is an unfolding obstruction of justice . . .
Well, you've just suggested it here. Let's take
a look at the question of the tapes. The tapes are presently under
consideration by Judge Sirica. You plainly don't think it's wrong for Judge
Sirica to continue hearing testimony or appointing experts to examine the
tapes, do you?
What would be the impact . . . And don't you
think it's irresponsible for the House to return articles of impeachment on
the issue of the tapes without waiting for Judge Sirica's ruling?
I think that they are parallel jurisdictions.
We're under no obligation to await Judge Sirica's ruling. We should not
impeach until we carefully consider, we ourselves should subpoena the tapes,
and I think we will in the next couple of months.
What would be the impact on impeachment
proceedings if the House returned articles of impeachment, which is the
proposition (on the tapes) which we are debating here? What would be the
impact on those articles of impeachment if Judge Sirica concludes that
there's no evidence, or insufficient evidence, to link the President with
One very brief answer, Congressman.
Well, the Congress pursues one track and the
Court another, and you trace this erroneously. We're not impeaching him on
the basis of the tapes yet, and I have not urged that there are grounds yet
to impeach him on the basis of the tapes. Those are evidentiary matters that
are beginning to indicate a pattern that a guilty person would follow, the
course that he is pursuing, but that's evidentiary only, and that is not
impeachable in its own right alone.
That's hardly consistent with what you set as a
Okay, thank you very much. Thanks very much,
Congressman, for being with us. Thank you. Now, before we continue, let me
explain to those of you who may have joined us late that we're using a
special hearing format tonight to consider the question of impeachment now,
placing the full burden of persuasion on those calling for the President's
impeachment, which Mr. Waldie advocates tonight. A panel of examiners, led
by Mr. Hill, have only the obligation to challenge through cross-examination
the testimony presented by the President's accusers. And now, Congressman
Waldie, will you continue with your case?
I was on the Judiciary Committee when the vote to
which Mr. Hill alluded—that represented a partisan approach to impeachment
in his mind—occurred. The seventeen votes of the Republicans, every
Republican voted against giving the Chairman the authority to get at the
President's information that he has been withholding, and that was
consistent with the action of the President, preventing anybody from getting
at the information that he possesses relative to impeachment. It perhaps was
a partisan vote, but the partisanship was on the President's side,
attempting to obstruct the ability to get at the evidence in this case. The
next witness that I will call is Mr. William Dobrovir.
Mr. Dobrovir, nice to have you with us
Mr. Dobrovir is a Washington attorney who has
drawn up a bill of criminal particulars against the President, involving
bribery and campaign offenses. Mr. Dobrovir, could you describe that
instrument that you drafted?
Well, it is a study of approximately 170 pages
in which are compiled all of the facts of public record, and in which are
analyzed the principles of law which concern the possibility, or the
probability, of President Nixon's criminal responsibility for violation of
law as shown by those facts. The study concludes not that there is presently
proof of his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but rather that there is
enough evidence to place him on trial for these offenses--that is, the
familiar criminal standard of probable cause.
Now, in that document you allege that the
President, there is reasonable cause to believe that the President had been
involved in bribery, is that correct?
That is correct. The evidence shows a consistent
pattern of obtaining money in the form of campaign contributions for
President Nixon's 1972 campaign, in exchange for governmental benefits, and
that is bribery.
Now, there are also some allegations that certain
contracts were influenced and certain favors were granted by the passage of
money, if I understand it. What did you mean by that?
Well, let's take a couple of instances. The milk
deal, as it is commonly called. The facts are fairly simple. In 1969 three
big dairy cooperatives put together a kitty of $100,000 and flew it out in
cash to California and gave it to President Nixon's personal lawyer, who was
at that very time putting together the money to buy the President's estate
in San Clemente. The purpose of that gift was, in fee words of the lawyer
for the dairy groups, to obtain a sympathetic ear at the White House. In
1970 the dairy people had interest in a question of reducing imports of
dairy products, so another one of their lawyers, who is an old Congressional
colleague of Mr. Nixon's, wrote the President a letter and said, "We're
putting together $2,000,000 for your campaign, and, by the way, we would
like the quotas of imports reduced." Two weeks after the letter was sent,
the quotas were reduced. In 1971 the dairy people were interested in the
question of how high the price support for milk was going to be. They
scheduled a meeting with the President for March 2 3rd in the White House;
on March 22nd they gave him $10,000 for his campaign. On March 23rd they met
with him. On March 24th they gave him another $25,000, and on March 25th the
price went up.
I want to interrupt you at that moment. You also
mentioned in your paper, allegations of bribery and extortion and
obstruction of justice and conspiracy, I believe, involving the President
and International Telephone and Telegraph. What is that about?
Once again the facts are really quite simple.
ITT is a conglomerate corporation; it grows and has grown by merging with
other companies. In 1969 the Assistant Attorney General in charge of the
antitrust division decided to move against conglomerates by seeking to
prevent any future mergers by ITT. ITT didn't like that; they wanted to buy
the Hartford Insurance Company, a $2 billion financial institution. And in
1971 they exerted a great deal of effort to get the anti-trust case dropped.
They promised $200,000 to the Convention of the Republican Party, then
expected to be held in San Diego. Ten days later the case was dropped—was
settled—by the approval of the Justice Department of the acquisition of the
Hartford Insurance Company. Ten days later they delivered $100,000, and
President Nixon, according to the testimony of the Deputy Attorney General
Kleindienst, intervened personally and ordered Mr. Kleindienst with some
rather rough language to delay the prosecution of the case at a time when
ITT needed more time in order to make its slush fund available and in order
to present its case for settlement.
Okay, with that interesting testimony, I think
that Mr. Hill and his panel have some questions now.
Sir, you quickly cited some dates and some
happenings and drew proprietary results from them. Could I fill in some with
you? Did you ever read Senate Bill S1277, introduced April 5th, 1971?
I have read that bill and a number of other
Were they to raise the milk price supports?
Higher than the President raised them?
Were they, among the twenty-seven Senators who
signed them, did we find Senator Gaylord Nelson, Senators Proxmire,
McGovern, Mondale, Tunney and Muskie?
And is it true, sir, that, according to the
identification of associated milk producers' political action groups, that
before that bill was introduced in early 1971, in October of 1970 those
people had given Senator Proxmire money?
Is it true, sir, that before that bill was
introduced, but just before, that same milk group had given Senator Mondale
Is it true, sir, that on four occasions in 1970,
before he introduced that bill in 1971, those same milk lobbyists had given
Senator Muskie money?
All right, sir, and then is it true that under the
pressure of those Senators, serving those constituents, the President
relented from his stand not to raise price supports and raised them less
than those Senators asked in that bill?
All right. What did . . . You know, sir, if you get
this crowd to take over the nation, I hope they do better than they did with
the Democratic party.
I just answered your questions, Mr. Hill.
All right, sir. Did the President not allow an
increase in milk price supports after those Senators and twenty-four others
introduced that bill?
Yes, but the bill wasn’t enough.
Wasn’t the bill calling for more support than the
increase that was granted?
The bill would have mandated, as I understand
it, 85% of parity, the figure which was then promulgated by the Secretary of
Agriculture, at the Present’s orders, he had now admitted, on March 25th was
the figure 85% of parity.
All right, sir. You have brought an action, I
believe, to get the President’s conversations about milk. Have you brought
an action against any of those Senators to get their private files about
their conversations with those milk lobbyists? And their money
The lawsuit, which I think you’re referring to,
in which I am Counsel, has alleged that campaign contributions from the
dairy industry to the President were the prime motivating factor in
obtaining this price increase. We have alleged in the lawsuit, as well,
because we like to be impartial, that there were indeed these same
introductions of legislation to which you refer in the course…
May I finish my answer, please?
In the course of the discovery in the case, in
which we have taken some twenty to twenty-five depositions and subpoenaed
volumes of documents, there has been no support for the claim that the
President’s decision was in any way influence by the so-called pressure from
Congress. And I think it’s probably fair to say that if the President was,
as he said, persuaded by a Congressional gun to his head in 1971, that was
the only time in the history of his administration that he has been
persuaded by Congress to do anything. The discovery in the case has revealed
a great deal of evidence that points more and more directly to the
President's principal servants, to Mr. Haldeman, to Mr. Colson and to Mr.
Ehrlichman, as being involved both in the collection of the campaign
contributions and in the decision to increase the price support.
All right, sir. George Meany met with John Kennedy
and Lyndon Johnson during their campaigns, didn't he?
I don't know. I suppose so.
Excuse me, are you next? I'm sorry.
The question is that he may have said some things
to them about what labor wanted; do you suppose he got any of it?
I'm not familiar. You can speculate and so can
Well, we won't ask you about that since you're not
familiar with what labor does. Let me ask you, though, are the familiar with
the variety of views we have heard over here as to what it takes to make an
I have listened to them.
Which of the various ones we've heard do you come
I think I probably come closest to Congressman
And then furthest, presumably, from Dean
Yes, as a matter of fact.
Tell me, sir. IT and T, this other bit of villainy
that concerned you so; the problem—at any rate, the case for Nixon
impeachment with respect to IT and T, involves taking the contribution that was
made, first pledged and then made, to the tune of $100,000 to the Sheraton
Corporation of America in San Diego for the purpose of—or at least
ostensibly for the purpose of— attracting the Republican Convention of 1972
to that city, and tying it up with the decision of the Justice Department
and the President in Washington, with respect to the disposition of the
anti-trust action against the IT and T, which is the parent corporation of the
Sheraton Corporation of America. That's fair to say. All right, then, with
regard to the money that Sheraton Corporation had to turn over to get the
convention to San Diego, I presume that as a sophisticated man, based in
Washington, you know that corporation hotels do put up pledges of money to
get political parties to have their conventions in their cities?
That is common. I think if you know anything
about the ITT Corporation, you know that no executive of that company makes
a move unless it is ordered by Harold Geneen, the Chairman of the Board of
Certainly not with regard to the $100,000. I would
dare say that there is nothing in the least extraordinary about either any
executive of Sheraton, or Harold Geneen, doing such a thing because all of
the hotels of good size do it in all of these convention cities. Now, isn't
Well, let me help you tie it up because . .
Just answer my question. I'll help you tie it up,
but you answer my question. Is it true or isn't it that hotels do that in
Well, of course it is. And isn't it also true that
over half of all the federal anti-trust suits are settled in one way or
A lot are, you bet your life. And isn't it true
that Archibald Cox—and I would suppose that even these enthusiasts for
impeachment might consider him a fair man—has said that the particular
settlement in ITT that you claim was a $100,000 bribe was desirable from the
standpoint of the government of the United States.
And didn't Erwin Griswold, who was the Solicitor
General of the United States under both Johnson, and, I think, later, Mr.
Nixon, and was formerly Dean of Harvard Law School, call it a very
substantial victory for the government of the United States.
Mr. Griswold was defending a decision.
And both of these men were wrong, and you are
right, is that it?
Shall we talk about Charles Colson?
No, let's talk about IT and T. Don't change the
Charles Colson, in a memorandum which has been
produced in the public records, stated that the settlement of the ITT case
would come close "to the very door of the Oval Office." He tied it directly
to the President. He said the President was involved.
Sir, I haven't said the President wasn't; I'm
inquiring whether or not the fact that he was has any connection with
$100,000 to get a convention in San Diego.
ITT officials have so said.
Dita Beard is the ITT official you're talking
about; I saw the memorandum too, and she was bragging, of course, because
she wanted to make her job important. But in point of fact there is no . .
One very brief question and answer.
One very brief one.
Special Prosecutor Jaworski has just asked the
White House for the tape of Mr. Nixon's phone call to Attorney General
Kleindienst, April 19th, 1971, ordering him to drop the IT and T appeal.
The order was later reversed but Jaworski wants to
hear what Nixon said. Wouldn't it be nice for the House to find out before
it votes impeachment on your recommendation?
Very short answer.
If the tape exists.
Okay, that's it.
And if the tape exists, they should ask for it
before voting to impeach.
If it hasn't been erased.
Thanks very much, Mr. Dobrovir. Okay,
It is true that we have produced witnesses that
have presented varying views as to what constitutes an impeachable offense.
We did so on purpose. What is so startling is that the case for impeachment
against the President is so gross, the facts so demonstrable that it
accommodates any theory for impeachment that we might present. The next
witness we'll call is Mr. Aryeh Neier. Mr. Neier?
Mr. Neier, welcome to The Advocates.
Mr. Neier is the Executive Director of the
American Civil Liberties Union, and he will testify tonight relative to
possible violations of the President of the Bill of Rights. Mr. Neier, you
and the organization that you represent—the American Civil Liberties
Union—have concluded that the President should be impeached.
Would you describe why you arrived at that
Yes, it was a decision that we arrived at,
recognizing the gravity of the step that we're taking and that we're calling
upon the country to take. I fall somewhere in the middle among the various
panelists who have spoken about the reasons for impeachment. My own view
is—the ACLU's view is—that impeachment should lie when there is a very
serious damage to the nation's constitutional fabric that is done by a civil
officer of the United States, a President of the United States.
Let me interrupt. Relate, if you will, that
standard to actions of the President of the United States,
Well, the ACLU picked such issues as the
President's secret bombing of Cambodia and his deception of Congress and the
American public on that issue. We picked his obstruction of the FBI
investigation of the
Watergate break-in. We picked the creation of the Special
Investigations Unit, the Plumbers, a secret police in the White House,
responsible only to the President, the approval of the Huston memorandum
calling for burglaries and wiretapping and mail covers; all of these kinds
of things, we think, constitute impeachable offenses. Taken together, we
think they constitute an overwhelming case.
What sort of activities did the Plumbers involve
Well, the Plumbers were involved in the Watergate
break-in itself—that is, Mr. Hunt and Mr. Liddy, members of the Plumbers,
were participants in that burglary. Mr. Egil Krogh pleaded guilty for the
break-in at the office of Dr. Fielding, Dr. Ellsberg's psychiatrist. Another
member of the Plumbers, again Mr. Hunt, has pleaded guilty to State
Department's cables, dealing with the assassination of President Diem in an
effort to make it look as though a dead President was responsible for the
assassination of President Diem of South Vietnam.
Will you explain how the President is involved in
those acts that appear to have been committed by others than the President
Well, the President himself has said that he
created the special investigations unit, the Plumbers. He said so in his May
22nd address to the nation. The President has said that he blocked the FBI
investigation when it came too close to the Plumbers. The President has said
that he blocked Henry Peterson when Peterson's investigation of the
Watergate break-in came too close to the Plumbers. The President approved
the very methods that were employed by the Plumbers when he approved the
Huston memorandum. The President's principal assistant, John Ehrlichman,
specifically says that he authorized covert operations to obtain Dr.
Ellsberg's psychiatric files. The President, it seems to me, has taken on
his shoulders complete responsibility for all of the acts of the
One more question and answer.
Yes. In the cover-up of the Cambodia bombing
activities, how do you determine that to be an impeachable offense? Aren't
presidents permitted to keep secrets and, in fact, to lie to the American
Well, I don't think presidents are permitted to lie
to the American people. I think perhaps all presidents have from time to
time, but I don't think any president has lied so seriously, so blatantly,
so systematically as this President. This President who claimed that we were
respecting the neutrality of Cambodia while we were bombing the daylights
out of Cambodia. It seems to me that this President has engaged in a grosser
deception than any other President, and he has deceived the Congress while
he was deceiving the American public.
All right, thank you very much. Mr. Hill and
the panel have the floor.
Mr. Neier, since we have no direct witnesses and
testimony of our own, I'll have to take a moment in my question, which is
about Cambodia, to state the case for the President which you perhaps
forgivably omitted to do. The President's argument was that the supply lines
of the North Vietnamese ran through a portion of Cambodia near the South
Vietnamese border, that in order to protect American troops fighting in
South Vietnam, it was necessary for the United States to bomb, across that
border, those supply lines, that this was done with the entire knowledge and
consent of the chief of the Cambodian government at the time, Prince
Sihanouk, who stipulated, however, that if it ever became public that this
was going on, this bombardment of the North Vietnamese supply lines in
Cambodia, then he would have to denounce it. Now, we may choose or not to
accept the President's version of the event, and his reasons for doing what
he did, and I might add that he said that respecting the request of Prince
Sihanouk, that he not publicly announce the bombing, he nevertheless did
tell several of the leading Members of Congress concerned with the armed
forces, and Senator Goldwater and Congressman Thomas Morgan of your state
have both declared publicly that they were so advised, and they are members
of the Armed Forces Committees, respectively of the two Houses. Now, I ask
you to accept for a moment--I'm sure you would disagree with the
explanation, but accepting it just for the moment--if it were true, would
there be anything bad, let alone impeachable about Mr. Nixon's action in
keeping the bombing secret?
Yes, I think there would be something very bad and
something very impeachable about keeping it secret from the Congress and the
American public. Well, I would ask you to think of the analogy of Mr.
Pompidou agreeing to bombing of France, and Richard Nixon sending American
planes to drop bombs on France, and at the same time deceiving the American
public and the American Congress about it. It seems to me that the American
Congress and the American public would think that the word of President
Pompidou, or the word of Prince Sihanouk, or the word of any one person,
does not permit the President to lie to them about this country's
involvement in war. Congress is given exclusive . . . jurisdiction by the
Constitution of the United States to take this country into war. Other
presidents have abused that particular provision of the Constitution . .
Congress . . . Well, don't . . .
This President didn't even allow the Congress to
have a say in the matter. The Congress never knew about the matter. Only
those people whom the President said had a right to know, or a need to know
. . .
Mr. Neier, I'm going to have to stop you if I'm to
have any more questions at all. The President, in this particular case, was
telling leading members of the Congress. Should Senator Goldwater and
Congressman Morgan also be impeached, since they conspired with him to
conceal this thing?
Why shouldn't Congressman Waldie, or why shouldn't
my Congressman, or why shouldn't your Congressman, have a right to know
about this, so that they can vote on the matter?
Suppose you answer my question, Mr. Neier.
Are there to be just a few mandarins . . .
Answer my question.
The answer to your question is that the laws of
this country have been held to say that a civil officer of the United
States—that is, someone subject to impeachment—does not include a member of
Congress, so therefore there is no impeachment process that is relevant,
therefore there is no way of asking if that should happen.
Otherwise they should, however, be subjected to
the same . . .
I'm saying that any officer of the United States
who deliberately concealed the United States involvement of war committed a
grave wrong against the Constitution; that those who are susceptible to
impeachment, such as President Nixon, are those against whom impeachment
should be brought.
And when President Eisenhower, who was a civil
officer of the government of the United States, after five years of U-2's
flying over the Soviet Union, making military reconnaissances of the Soviet
Union, found one of them shot down and proceeded to tell a flat-out lie to
the American people, to the world, and to the
Congress; should he too have been impeached?
Now, Mr. Rusher, I said to you before that I think
that every President, or most Presidents—I don't want to libel them all—but
most Presidents . . .
You only want to libel one of them.
Most Presidents have, in some way, concealed things
from the American public.
Concealment is not necessarily true, but that was
Okay, that was a lie. However, I said also that no
one has lied so blatantly and so consistently as Richard Nixon.
What about Eisenhower? Should he have been
Let me answer the question.
Well, Mr. Neier, I'm going to ask you to please
answer yes or no, whether you believe that, under the circumstances Mr.
Rusher put to you, would you believe in the impeachment of President
I would not have argued for the impeachment of
President Eisenhower for that because . . . and I want to finish the
Mr. Neier, now wait. I'm sorry. I want a
question to be put to you.
That's a yes or no answer, which I don't like to
We're having considerable difficulty in getting
yes or no answers. I'm a little concerned, with all the witnesses. I'm a
little concerned about your testimony with respect to the Plumbers. Now, you
began your testimony with the pejorative label that the Plumbers were a
Do the Plumbers have the power to arrest?
They were a secret police . . .
Yes or no, that's all that's required.
No one knows what power they have except the
President who gave them power to do what they wanted.
Do you have any evidence that they had the power
The President authorized them to engage in
Not burglary, the power to arrest. Isn't that
the essence of a police force?
Mr. Monaghan, they were given no legal power;
that's my whole point.
They're not a secret police.
They still engage in the functions of a
They're not a secret police agency.
They still engage in the functions of . . .
Is the FBI a police agency?
The FBI is a police agency.
I'm just going to ask for this to be handled on
a question and answer basis, Mr. Monaghan.
I don't know who that ought to be directed to.
Now, is it your position that the creation of the Plumbers was
Simply the creation, not what they did, but the
creation of the Plumbers?
Well, you can't separate what they were doing from
You certainly can separate the two.
No, you cannot. If they were created to do one
thing . . .
Yes or no. Just a yes or no answer to
All questions aren't susceptible of a yes or
no, Mr. Monaghan.
I'm being overruled on that also?
The answer is that the creation of an organization
. . . The creation of an organization . . .
Could Congress have authorized the creation of
If it had been bound by constitutional provisions,
I see. Could the President have ordered the
Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate national security
Not by means of burglaries.
I see. Couldn't he have ordered the
investigation—let's just focus on that—couldn't he have created a unit to
order the investigation of national security leaks?
Of course, but he chose not to because he wanted to
have an organization which would engage in burglaries.
If Congress could create such a unit, how does
the existence of the unit—the simple existence of the unit—violate civil
Because the unit existed in order to violate the
Fourth Amendment's guarantee against...
Is there any evidence that the President, excuse
me, is there any evidence that the President knew of the burglary?
There is . . . Yes . . .
Isn't the fact . . .
Yes, that the President knew of the burglary of Dr.
Ellsberg's office for 39 days and concealed that from the Court.
Is there any evidence that the President knew of
or authorized the burglary before it took place?
There is evidence that the President authorized
burglaries in the interest of national security.
Did the President—your testimony is . . . Isn't
it true that Mr. Krogh testified that he alone gave the order with respect
to the burglary?
I answered your previous question.
Do you know what the Plumbers were investigating
. . . With respect to Mr. Krogh isn't it true that Mr. Krogh's is the only
testimony we have on this subject, that Krogh said that he alone gave the
No, that's not the only testimony.
With respect to the burglary . . .
That's not the only testimony . . .
And he did not tell the President.
No. John Ehrlichman testified before the Senate
Watergate Committee that he specifically authorized covert operations to
obtain the psychiatric files of Dr. Ellsberg.
One very brief question.
Let me ask one question if you would, Mr. Monaghan.
Was it an impeachable offense for the President of this nation to train,
orchestrate, transport, and assist the invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs,
and when that was happening, issue statements from his office that the
United States of America had nothing to do with it?
I would go back to the answer to my first question,
and I would say that if that action had been taken as part of a series of
actions which ripped apart the fabric of the Constitution, then I would say
that taken in toto, those are acts . . .
To add to that, that same President got us into
Vietnam until we had half a million people wallowing around over there.
Would that make it impeachable?
One very brief answer.
I don't think that President's actions with respect
to Vietnam were the actions that you described.
Thank you very much, Mr. Neier, for being with
us. All right, Congressman Waldie, that completes the testimony, and at this
time would you please present your brief summary.
We can take no more from this President. We have
had our sensibilities outraged too often by this President. He has abused us
too often. We now must draw the line in the only way that the people can
when they are burdened with a tyrannical president. We must implement the
people's sole constitutional remedy and impeach President Nixon. In doing
so, we not only cleanse our system of the ugliness of its present
corruption, but we also make it very—yes, if you will, perfectly—clear to
future presidents and to our present politicians that Americans demand the
morality, conscience and integrity in their leaders, and they do not have
such in President Nixon. As Mr. Cox said the night of that Saturday
massacre, it is now up to the Congress and the people to uphold the
principle that ours is a government of laws, not men.
Thank you. Thank you, Congressman Waldie. Now,
gentlemen of the panel, while you have no responsibility to make any
argument here, you may wish to comment on what you've heard tonight, and
I'll begin by asking Mr. Hill to comment.
I think it's typified by the fact that Congressman
Waldie said a unanimous Republican vote is partisan for the President, and a
unanimous Democratic vote is wholly impartisanship. But quickly, I think
that the impeachment gang struck out on this Huston memo—that is, trying to
impeach a President of the United States for considering and rejecting a
measure to secure our national secrets—struck out on considering a fine
judge, former FBI agent, to head that bureau, possibly insensitive, but
hardly impeachable. Nixon resisted Senators McGovern, Tunney, Muskie, and
others who urged huge milk price increases, finally giving a little under
their partisan pressure, hardly bribery. They struck out on his protecting
our servicemen from enemy weapons by bombing their routes through Cambodia
with Cambodia's permission. He should have been impeached if he hadn't done
it. They seek to capitalize on the fact that Richard Nixon is our
thirty-seventh imperfect President, because all have been human and not
divine. If that were grounds for impeachment, our last President would have
been George Washington. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Hill. Thank you. Mr. Monaghan,
your comment, please.
I voted against Richard Nixon in the last two
elections, and I don't have any cause to regret that. But the question is
not whether Mr. Nixon should have been elected in the first place; the
question is whether he ought to be removed now under articles of
impeachment, an extremely severe step. Now, you've heard a broad range of
issues debated here; there are varying degrees of importance. Some of them
surely should be investigated further. Nobody disputes that. And the House
has the apparatus to engage in that kind of an investigation, the House
Judiciary Committee. Now, what you've heard here is that there should be no
further investigation by the House. The point being offered to you is that
the House should now act and return articles of impeachment without
considering the testimony of a single witness or examining a single
document. Now, surely the case for impeachment must be extraordinarily clear
before one takes such a drastic step, and surely there's an extraordinarily
heavy burden on the proponents of such a step. I submit to you they have not
made their case. Let's look at their case. There's considerable disagreement
over the standards; laughingly passed off is that any theory will do to
convict President Nixon. Most importantly, we have this accumulation theory.
The accumulation theory reduces itself to this: throw enough things into the
pot, stir them up, and maybe some of the resulting paste will stick.
All right, thank you, Mr. Monaghan. Mr.
Ladies and gentlemen, you have heard tonight the
best case that could be made for Nixon's impeachment by five McGovern
Democrats, one embittered Republican—two Congressmen, two Law Professors,
two practicing lawyers—and what precisely does it boil down to? What single
instance of Presidential crime or high misconduct has been persuasively
demonstrated, instead of merely alleged? Is our press really intimidated?
Was Archibald Cox just wrong when he called the IT and T settlement a desirable
one? You know that Congressmen Waldie and McCloskey and the others
disapprove of Mr. Nixon's policies, but he was elected President, they
weren't. And I will make a prediction: that if they succeed in engineering
Nixon's impeachment on no better grounds than we have heard tonight, it will
tear this country apart for good. What is going on here is a power struggle,
pure and simple, and if we abandon the normal rules by which such struggles
are conducted, in favor of such politically atomic weapons as impeachment,
we will regret it till the day America dies. Thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Rusher. Well, as promised, we
now turn to you in our audience and ask you to participate in tonight's
debate. You've heard the accusations against the President, and you've heard
them subjected to close questioning. The question that remains for you to
decide is whether you believe enough of the case for impeachment remains
unchallenged to warrant an affirmative vote by the House of Representatives
on any of the articles of impeachment considered tonight. Should the
President be impeached? Send your yes or no vote on a letter or postcard to
The Advocates, Box 1973, Boston 02134. We're asking you, in effect, to say
what you think your Congressman should do on this question of impeachment.
If you believe Congress should vote affirmatively now on any of the articles
of impeachment, vote yes. If you believe that Congress does not have
sufficient basis for impeachment now, vote no. Remember that address: The
Advocates, Box 1973, Boston 02134.
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