Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon's Downfall
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Forty years after the tumultuous events that led to Richard Nixon’s historic downfall, a new edition of the legendary Elizabeth Drew’s Washington Journal, featuring a brilliant new afterword
Originally published soon after Richard Nixon's resignation, Elizabeth Drew’s Washington Journal is a landmark work of political journalism. Keenly observed and hugely insightful, Washington Journal opens in 1973 and follows the deterioration of Richard Nixon’s presidency in real time.
With her unprecedented access to the top figures, Drew’s on-the-scene reporting is even more remarkable in hindsight, as Washington Journal does what no other book about that period has done or could do: captures the feeling of the period and reports in real time conversations with the key decision-makers as they made up their minds about the most fateful vote they would cast. It also shows us the sense of fear among both close observers and the citizenry, as well as their nervous laughter at the era's absurdities. Elizabeth Drew understands Richard Nixon as well as this most complex figure can be understood, and she shows how he brought himself down. In Washington Journal, Drew takes us along on what she calls "a wild ride through history."
This new edition of Washington Journal includes an important new afterword, which reveals the fascinating―and frequently hilarious―story of Nixon’s efforts to regain respectability after he’d been forced from office, and it also offers original insights into the meaning of Watergate and Richard Nixon. Rich with new information unavailable at the time, the afterword is a major addition to a truly unique and enduring work of reportage.
and charges by just one Watergate witness—John Dean—suggested that the President did act improperly.” The transcripts, he says, will lead to some “sensational” stories; there are parts that “will be in conflict with some of the testimony given in the Senate Watergate committee hearings.” He continues, “I have been reluctant to release these tapes not just because they will embarrass me and those with whom I have talked—which they will—and not just because they will become the subject of
what I think? I think he’s going to propel people here into voting for his impeachment, because the American people are going to be so outraged that he won’t coöperate with the investigation.” Railsback takes a telephone call, and reads his statement, which will be broadcast over the radio: “I think the White House announcement is most unfortunate. It’s certain to provoke a confrontation between the two branches of government, and the consequences will be bad for the American public and for the
at space, and says, softly, “Aye.” Wiggins says a quiet “No.” Hogan stares straight ahead and says “Aye.” Butler, not one for drama, says a quick “Aye.” Cohen says a quiet but certain “Aye.” Froehlich votes “Aye.” Rodino, who casts his vote last, undramatically says “Aye.” The clerk announces, “Twenty-seven members have voted aye, eleven members have voted no.” All twenty-one Democrats—including the three Southerners—and six Republicans have voted to impeach the President for the cover-up.
to his head.” Carl Albert is reported to want the House to hurry its approval of Gerald Ford as Vice-President. Morris Udall, an independent-minded liberal Democrat in the House, suggests, in a news story, that Congress hasten confirmation of Ford as part of an agreement that Nixon resign in Ford’s favor. The idea had been bruited about in the past few days, but this is the first time I have seen it in print. There have been proposals that various people—Rockefeller, Richardson—be made Speaker
could extend the doctrine of executive privilege to all two and a half million members of the executive branch. The Nixon Administration’s claim was unprecedented. There is no mention of executive privilege in the Constitution, and Presidents Truman and Eisenhower were the first to make any extensive use of it—against the onslaughts of the late Senator Joseph McCarthy. Earlier Presidents had impounded funds appropriated by the legislature, but President Nixon carried this practice, too, to new