26 days to the millennium: Nixon feeling pressure of Watergate | NevadaAppeal.com

26 days to the millennium: Nixon feeling pressure of Watergate

Kelli Du Fresne

Paper: Nevada Appeal – 26 days to the millennium – Monday, Nov. 5, 1973

Publisher: Donald W. Reynolds

General Manager: Jack D. King

Editor: John S. Miller

Advertising Manager: James Collins

Circulation Manager: Andy Ortiz

Production Manager: Paul W. Stuke

Published daily except Saturday at 200 Bath St.

A Nevada owned member Donrey Media Group.

On Nov. 5, 1973, President Richard M. Nixon is in the hot seat. He is planning strategy to quell accusations about his involvement in Watergate and its implications on his political career.

He is fast on his way to become the second president to be impeached – an event he avoided by resigning Aug. 9, 1974.

In this 1973 edition of the Nevada Appeal, many of Nixon’s longtime supporters were calling for him to be thrown out of office.

By July 1974 the House would hold impeachment hearings charging Nixon obstructed justice by delaying the investigation of the breakin at the Watergate Hotel and for attempting to hide the identities of those who ordered the breakin; abused presidential powers; and disobeyed court orders, one of which was his refusal to turn over taped conversations to investigators.

Nixon was the first president to resign from office, but the second to be threatened with impeachment

President Bill Clinton is the second president after Andrew Johnson to be impeached, though neither received enough votes to be convicted.

Watergate began June 17, 1972, with the breakin at the Democratic national party headquarters in the Watergate building.

Employees of Nixon’s re-election committee were arrested. Nixon at first claimed he had no knowledge of the breakin, but testimony from those arrested and the taped conversations showed he called for a coverup as soon as six days after the breakin.

The Appeal kept tabs on the controversy. In this issue from Nov. 5, there are four front page stories and editorials covering the issue. Under the headline “Ford: Nixon documents will establish innocence,” the paper printed the following United Press International story. Gerald R. Ford would find himself to be wrong about Nixon, but would pardon his friend a month after being named president himself:

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Vice Presidential nominee Gerald R. Ford predicted today at his confirmation hearing that President Nixon would survive the crisis which has led to demands for his resignation or removal, and would complete his term “with a fine record.”

But Ford said Nixon still must prove to the American people that he is innocent of any involvement in the Watergate scandal.

“I believe he’s completely innocent and there must be documents to prove that,” Ford told the Senate Rule Committee hearing on his nomination to succeed Spiro T. Agnew as vice president.

Ford said Nixon should lay those documents before the people. He avoided advising him how to do it, however. Sens. Barry M. Goldwater, R-Ariz., and Henry M. Jackson, D-Wash. , have suggested in recent days that Nixon appear before the Senate Watergate Committee to make his case.

Ford, the House Republican leader, said it would take the help of “many, many people” for Nixon to reestablish public confidence in his presidency. Ford said he would be anxious to help if confirmed as vice president.

He said Nixon’s record in office – particularly in foreign policy – has to be “sold better.” He made his remarks in response to a question from a fellow Republican, Sen. Mark O. Hatfield of Oregon, who asked, “Can Richard Nixon save his presidency?”

“I think so,” Ford replied. With help, he said, Nixon can convince America of his Watergate innocence and of his excellence and “finish office with a fine record.”

Ford said he still finds it hard to believe how much Watergate has hurt Nixon.

“It’s just unbelievable how the stupid, illegal acts of a handful of people should have this impact,” he said.

Ford also told the senators he “probably” would have resigned as did former Attorney General Elliot T. Richardson if faced with the same circumstances. He said he understood how Richardson felt compelled to leave office after Nixon had special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox fired.

“I assume if I was in that position I would probably do the same,” Ford told Sen. Claiborne Pell, D-R.I., who brought the matter up.

Pell said he was pleased with Ford’s answers. He said the nominee had “this quality of openness and honesty” which the American people are seeking.

Ford also was asked how he interpreted the conditions under which Leon Jaworski, selected by the administration to succeed Cox, could be fired. Acting Attorney General Robert H. Bork has said Jaworksi would not be fired without the consent of a consensus of eight congressional leaders – the Republican and Democratic leaders of both houses of Congress and the chairman and ranking Republican on the judiciary committees of both. Ford said he did not believe the approval of five out of the eight would be sufficient. “I would lean toward seven,” he said.

Ford also told the committee he felt both the president and the vice president should publicly reveal their private finances.

“It is my judgment that if members of Congress are required to make such reports I see no reason in the world why the president and the vice president should not have these same requirements imposed on them,” Ford said.

Other stories in this Monday issue included:

“Segretti gets six months”

WASHINGTON (UPI) – Donald H. Segretti, the mastermind of the political dirty tricks program during President Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, was sentenced to six months in prison today for violating federal election laws.

U.S. District Judge gerhard Gesell, who could have sentenced Segretti to three years in prison, also imposed a three-year probation.

Segretti pleaded guilty Oct. 1 to one count of conspiracy to distribute unlawful political material, and two counts of distributing that material.

Gesell imposed the sentence after Segretti, his voice subdued and broken, asked to be put on probation.

Seven officials from Nixon’s administration or his 1972 re-election committee were indicted on charges of conspiracy to cover up the breakin.

The testimony of former Presidential Counsel John W. Dean III, was particularly damaging to Nixon.

Dean admitted he had played a major role in the White House cover-up and that Nixon knew of his activities. Dean also revealed plans to use the Internal Revenue Service against White House enemies.

The headline read: “Dean tells probers he destroyed Hunt’s files” and was followed by:

WASHINGTON (UPI) – John W. Dean III said recently that he discovered and destroyed materials from the White House safe of E. Howard Hunt Jr. late in January after Hunt pleaded guilty to the Watergate bugging, federal prosecutors said today.

Richard Ben-Veniste, a lawyer for the Watergate special prosecution force, said Dean told government investigators Friday that he shredded two of Hunt’s notebooks and tossed a “pop-up address book” into a wastebasket.

the disclosure came amid intensified attacks on president and questions about his ability to continue governing.

Sen. Edward W. Brooke, R-Mass., called Sunday for Nixon’s resignation, saying “there is no question that President Nixon has lost his effectiveness as the leader of this country.” Brooke, who supported Nixon in 1968 and 1972, was the first Republican senator to ask the President to step down.

Ben-Veniste made the disclosure about Dean at the beginning of a hearing before Chief U.S. District Judge John J. Sirica, who is considering motions by Hunt and five other bugging conspirators to overturn their convictions.

Ben-Veniste said that Dean, who pleaded guilty Oct. 19 to a single count of conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Watergate cover up, told investigators last week he had discovered the Hunt materials in a file folder at his office that contained President Nixon’s estate papers.

Ben-Veniste said the materials – which Dean said he did not read – consisted of the address book and two cloth-bound notebooks that Dean said he “assumed” related to the break-in at the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist. He said Dean told investigators he “shredded the notebooks in a shredder” and tossed the address book into his wastebasket.

The materials apparently were among those found in Hunt’s safe immediately following the arrest on June 17, 1972, of five persons inside Democratic headquarters at the Watergate. Dean has testified publicly he turned over all the material from Hunt’s safe to the FBI with the exception of “political dynamite” documents that he gave to then-acting FBI director L. Patrick Gray.

Hunt sat stony-faced as Daniel E. Shultz, the lawyer for four Miami-area Watergate defendants – Bernard L. Barker, Frank A. Sturgis, Virgilio R. Gonzalez and Eugenio R. Martinez – argued for nearly one hour that they should be permitted to switch their guilty pleas to innocent because they had been duped by Hunt into believing the Watergate bugging was a legitimate government operation.

Shultz said Hunt had led them to believe they would be helping liberate Cuba by their actions because they were seeking information to establish that Communist money from the island had been contributed to Democratic coffers. Sirica said that when the men pleaded guilty Jan. 15, they all disavowed any CIA connection.