10 Disturbing Government Cover-Ups


10. UFOs In World War Two
Churchill covered up UFO sightings during WW2 to avert mass panic. RAF pilots reported
an arrow-shaped craft hovering beside their planes near the UK coast. 09. Missing Hydrogen Bomb
In 1968 the Pentagon hid the loss of a hydrogen bomb from an air crash. Declaring the clear-up
complete, they left 1 bomb buried beneath the ice in Greenland. 08. Tuskegee Syphilis Study
Exposed in 1972, US studies hid syphilis diagnoses & denied 399 patients treatment. 128 men died
of the illness or related complications during the 40-year study. 07. The Dreyfus Affair
In 1894 Capt. Dreyfus was framed by the French government for treachery.
Antisemitic authorities accused the Jewish soldier of selling military secrets to Germany. 06. Chernobyl
The USSR hid the nuclear disaster which spread radiation across Europe in
1986. Gorbachev waited 3 weeks until forced to publicly discuss the incident. 05. Gulf of Tonkin
US authorities invented a Vietnamese attack on US ships in the Gulf of Tonkin. The attack
was critical in Congress’s decision to allow US military action. 04. Bloody Sunday
The UK government whitewashed an inquiry into 13 deaths at a 1972 protest.
In 2010 they revealed that the victims had’t provoked army fire as initially claimed. 03. Katyn Massacre
The USSR covered up the murders of 22,000+ Polish prisoners in 1940. They blamed the
massacre on Nazi troops but finally admitted responsibility in 1990. 02. Watergate
President Nixon denied knowledge of the 1972 burglars who bugged Democrat offices. He destroyed
evidence, before being impeached & resigning 2 years later. 01. My Lai Massacre
The US government covered up the 1968 murder of 504 unarmed Vietnamese civilians. The only
soldier arrested for the My Lai Massacre served just 3 days in jail.

Watergate and the law (1974) | ARCHIVES


Announcer: From the nation’s capital, Washington
Debates for the ’70s, a series of programs designed to bring together for an open exchange
of views and opinions, outstanding authorities on vital issues facing the world at the ’70s. The topic, Watergate and the law. How can we prevent Watergate from happening
again? Do we need new laws? Better enforcement of present laws? Is the president too powerful? Now, here is Peter Hackes. Peter: The word “Watergate” needs no elaboration. Its implications for the American legal system,
however, are not quite so clear. While everyone wants to avoid any repetition
of the affair, the changes necessary to our political, legal, and institutional arrangements
are hardly self-evident. Should law enforcement agencies, for example,
become more independent of presidents? How can government become insulated against
improper influence? Should there be new curbs on presidential
powers? Is it possible to have a truly independent
special prosecutor? How closely should government agencies be
regulated in such areas as wiretapping? Anticipating such questions, two senior members
of the Senate Select Watergate Investigation Committee, Senators Sam Ervin and Howard Baker,
asked the American Enterprise Institute to help identify the legislative implications
of the hearings held by the committee. The Watergate Committee requested the report
on what the committee calls the options or alternatives which might feasibly be open
for serious contemplation by the committee plus the advantages and disadvantages of each
option. AEI commissioned a study for this purpose
and named a panel of distinguished scholars to serve as consultants. The results of their task include a report
by the project director which has been published by AEI. The project director is Ralph K. Winter Jr.
of the Yale University Law School. Now we come to the second phase of the project,
a roundtable discussion of the issues by members of the panel who served as consultants for
the project. Taking part in this roundtable discussion
of Watergate and the law, are Prof. Harry H. Wellington of Yale University Law School. Prof. Wellington once served as a law clerk
to the late Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter and as a senior fellow at The Brookings Institution
in Washington. Ralph K. Winter Jr. is also a professor of
law at Yale and is an adjunct scholar at The American Enterprise Institute. Prof. Winter has also served as a senior fellow
at The Brookings Institution and is a consultant to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on separation
of powers. James Q. Wilson is chairman of the Department
of Government and a professor at Harvard University. He is the author of many works mostly dealing
with politics. Richard M. Scammon is Director of The Elections
Research Center of the Government Affairs Institute. Mr. Scammon served as Director of The U.S.
Bureau of the Census under presidents Kennedy and Johnson. Moderator of our discussion is Prof. Alexander
Bickel of Yale University Law School. Prof. Bickel, who preceded Prof. Wellington
as law clerk for the late Supreme Court Justice Frankfurter, is Chancellor Kent Professor
of law at Yale. He serves also as a consultant to the Senate
Judiciary’s Subcommittee on separation of powers. Now to moderate our discussion, Yale University
professor, Alexander Bickel. Prof. Bickel: In discussing various specific
proposals for reform and change, we will try I trust as we did at the first roundtable,
not to assume that something must necessarily be done. Reform and change are not self-evidently virtuous
aims. And Watergate, although certainly a grave
malfunction in the system, may just possibly not have turned up any fundamental defects
in it. Law-breaking has always been with us and it’s
a fair guess that it will be again. And yet it would be feckless to disregard
the fact that Watergate, at the very least, presents an opportune time for re-examination
of some of our structures and procedures and has created a favorable climate for reforms,
whether or not those reforms are necessarily related to whatever Watergate as such may
have revealed. So the first topic is the functions and powers
of the president to guard domestic security against rebellion, terrorism, and the like,
and national security against foreign enemies. The issue is really one of emergency powers
which may inhere in the president, the wiretap for example, and perhaps otherwise to impinge
on normal civil rights. Extreme claims have gone so far as to say
the president may do virtually anything short of ordering executions. Well, this side of such extreme claims, there
is an area, a debatable area, of inherent presidential powers. Now, the centerpiece of our discussion at
this roundtable, as at the first one, is the report by Ralph Winter entitled “Watergate
and the Law.” And I will, therefore, on this issue as on
other ones, call on him to lead us off. Ralph. Ralph: Thank you, Alex. I don’t know that there is a serious problem
as to presidential power where domestic security is involved. That is to say, I’m not convinced that the
criminal law, that the operation of the criminal law, is not sufficient to protect the nation
against whatever dangers there may be. And there certainly is danger in extending
presidential power in the area of domestic security because the principal way of extending
it really is to allow all kinds of surveillance and other kinds of activities like wiretapping
of people that the executive branch thinks are inclined to break the law. The president may well have extraordinary
powers whether it’s in a complete breakdown of law but certainly, just in the normal situation,
all too normal one might say, of terrorists and the like, I don’t think there’s any evidence
that any change is insisting or necessary. Where national security is concerned, a lot
of people think that presidential power is considerably greater than it is where it’s
only domestic security and by national security, I mean where there is foreign involvement. I would think, and I am prepared to defend
the position, that we ought not through legislation, attempt to restrict the president’s power
in domestic security beyond the restrictions that are now applied. I think there’s a dual danger in that. One is that any restriction is very likely
to contain ambiguous language which may, in fact, empower the president to do more than
he is presently explicitly empowered to do, rather like the problem that arises in the
War Power bill. The other is that I don’t think there has
been sufficient study, and I am not convinced, that the president doesn’t need a great deal
of flexibility where the national security matters are involved. Major governments do engage in various kinds
of activities which are unlike, which go beyond, normal law enforcement procedures. Talking about wiretapping of embassies, as
an example, without a warrant. I certainly don’t think that…another reason
that further restrictions are not necessary is I rather suspect that once we get four
years beyond Watergate, perhaps not even that far, these things are going to happen anyway
that a law that attempts to restrict the president too much will be a law that is broken. It will be a law that is not obeyed. We will get in the habit of not obeying it,
and we will find that indeed what we’re really afraid of, the abuse of this power, will begin
to happen because the law itself is too unreasonable. It seems to me that what we ought to do is
somehow impose procedures which elevate, as you’ve said, the threshold at which the executive
branch engages in these activities. We have to increase the political sanction,
in a way, for abuses of this power. And one way of doing this, I think, is to
assign explicitly, somehow, assign responsibility for ordering such acts so that we don’t have
what appears in the Watergate affair, have a situation in which subordinate members of
the executive branch who are authorizing things in the name of national security, a situation
in which subordinates may or may not have thought they had authority, a situation in
which those higher up may or may not have thought they could disavow what was happening. It seems to me you increase this threshold
at which the executive will do things when you launch sole authority for ordering such
acts in responsible officials. And the president, whether it’s wiretapping
because of foreign or military affairs, requiring a signature not only of the attorney general
but of the secretary of defense, the secretary of state, at any event, lodging responsibility
explicitly in accountable officials so we don’t encourage abuse by a great deal of confusion
as to who has authority to do what. Prof. Bickel: I might just add by way of clarification
that until 1972, am I right, the law on the subject was wide open. And the practice of wiretapping, at any rate,
breaking and entering I suppose, is quite a different matter, but wiretapping, had been
pursued in domestic security affairs since the administration of Franklyn D. Roosevelt. In 1972, the Supreme Court held that that
was unconstitutional without a warrant although Justice Powell, anyway, suggested that the
warrant procedures might be a little different than they are in a normal criminal case and
that Congress might provide for such warrant procedures. The question of whether wiretapping on a president’s
own authority without a warrant, in foreign security cases, national security cases, or
an embassy, whether that’s legitimate, whether that’s constitutional without a warrant, that’s
an open question. The court didn’t say, “No.” It didn’t say, “Yes,” and the question is
open. I take it that continues and I take it the
domestic wiretapping which the Nixon administration had engaged in as much as prior administrators,
perhaps more, perhaps less, I take it that that stopped. So there is some law on the subject and there
is an opportunity for some statutory intervention if Congress choose to do it. As things now stand, you have to get the same
kind of a warrant in a domestic security case as you would in a normal criminal case which
may be a little difficult. Ralph: Well, but to get the warrant, you would
have to show some probable cause for it, some information. The kind of statute that Justice Powell seemed
to have been talking about, I would think, is a statute which really authorizes warrants
where the particular officer of the government has the subjective belief that certain people
are inclined to violate the law. I mean it’s hard for me to see how one relaxes
the procedures without getting to that. And I think belief in information is just
too flexible. Prof. Bickel: Well, I’m not advocating that
kind of a statute. You’d still have the security of going before
a judge. So it’s a subjective impression of an executive
officer. It would have to run the gauntlet of a federal
judge of sharing it or not sharing, saying, “This is paranoia,” or “this seems real.” James Q. Wilson: There are various forms of surveillance in the area of domestic security that are not electronic in nature that involve, for
example, the infiltration of extremist groups somehow defined, of following, questioning,
developing dossiers on them. And I don’t think we should lead the discussion
on the implicit assumption that the law in this area is clear. As near as I can tell, the law in this area
is quite ambiguous if indeed it exists at all, that the Federal Bureau of Investigation
has for many years, and not simply under Mr. Nixon, felt it was its responsibility to maintain
fairly close surveillance over groups it defined as extremist in some sense. Now, if you happen to be a member of an extremist
group of the left who are opposed to this until it is pointed out to you that this surveillance
is also taking place under the Ku Klux Klan. And I suppose if you’re a member of The Ku
Klux Klan, you’re opposed to this until you realize it also takes place with the SDS. I don’t think, and I am not a lawyer, a point
which I hope to repeat many times this evening… Prof. Bickel: Got a real pride in that James Q. Wilson: Yes, it is. Thank you. That there is any law or that the law is sufficiently
clear nor am I certain, in my own mind, that we know yet how to draft an internal regulation,
much less a statute, that would place clear and feasible boundaries around this aspect
of investigative authority. And I think we have to acknowledge the ambiguity
of this area because this is one of the charges that has been leveled at this administration,
that it to an inordinate degree encouraged the Federal Bureau of Investigation and other
agencies to maintain active surveillance, the so-called [inaudible 00:14:30]. Prof. Bickel: I agree. There isn’t any law on the subject that I
know. There was a case in Chicago involving, I believe,
a friend of Frank Sinatra who was being shadowed. The FBI was just following him around. He was a mafia-type. And he went to court to get an injunction
that the FBI are following him around. James Q. Wilson: Mr. Giancana. Prof. Bickel: That’s the fellow. The thing ended very ambivalently because
it’s difficult to find, in the Constitution or anywhere, a right of privacy against being
observed, essentially, in public places which applies also to infiltration of groups, I
mean if you’re the Klan or the SDS, and you really recruit people, I don’t think the Constitution
guarantees you that the people you recruit are there in good faith. They are there because they agree with your
objective. It is, I agree, very difficult to imagine
the ground rules that would apply to this and very difficult to think of a country that
has no power to do this. Prof. Wellington: They do have some law respecting the traffic, for example, which looks inclined to a different
direction from the law having to do with wiretapping. So a very substantial amount of power to infiltrate
and to engage in entrapment. It’s very much the same Supreme Court that
they had been the same year. The Russell case was that ’72 that upheld
entrapment. Prof. Bickel: Well, up to a certain point. Prof. Wellington: Well, but a very substantial…yeah. I was wondering, though, whether… Prof. Bickel: Perhaps you better explain entrapment,
Harry. Prof. Wellington: Well, I wish I could but
entrapment is typically infiltrating and inducing in some fashion or another, someone to commit
a crime. It’s a fairly technical… Prof. Bickel: Like a narcotic sale plan. You suspect the fellow… Prof. Wellington: But it could also apply
to leftwing groups or rightwing groups. But the question I wanted to return to, I
have a great deal of sympathy with Ralph’s presentation with respect to the distinction
between domestic and foreign security matters. It makes good sense. You can write it out and you can suggest that
you should have different bodies of law with respect to one and the other. And one certainly can think of extremes, this
is clearly a domestic security problem, this is clearly a foreign security problem. Isn’t there a very real difficulty in separating
the two? Aren’t they very often intertwined in a way
that would make it quite difficult to say what was involved? Prof. Bickel: As in the Ellsberg case, for
example, where the claim was that they went after Ellsberg when they thought that he had
delivered a set of these to the Russian? James Q. Wilson: Some of the Pentagon Papers? M2: Yeah. James Q. Wilson: Or the Venceremos Brigade, a group of
domestic persons of an extreme persuasion who nonetheless made a trip to Havana when
other Americans had not made this trip. Now, is this domestic or foreign security
or is it security at all? I have a feeling, as a political scientist,
as I’m not a lawyer. Prof. Bickel: Oh, you’re not a lawyer? James Q. Wilson: No, I’m not. That… M2: We’re not political scientists, by the
way. James Q. Wilson: …that the Watergate atmosphere might
be not very useful time to engage in such legal clarification as might be necessary
in this area because it is a time in which, it seems to me, the perspective necessary
to make these judgments, may be lost because of the preoccupation with the real or alleged
involvement of the present president, present administration in furthering these activities. I happen to think the problem exists without
regard to administration and it might be useful to address the problem at a time when we can’t
abstract it from the nature of the incumbent. Prof. Wellington: Well, I think that all of
us in this room, being the calm types that we are and not overtaken by waves of hysteria,
can say a few things even though none of us is both a political scientist nor a lawyer. It does seem to me that the distinction is
shadowy and that’s a good thing and it’s a good reason for having the law on the domestic
side not loosen. Having it rather…keeping it fairly strong
because that increases the political risk to administrations that take actions in the
name of national security that may be treated as domestic cases. I would not like to see the law clarified
too much because the clarification may, in fact, reduce the risk, in a way, by going
along in one place rather than another. What I would like to see is any administration
making the judgment, “Well, we don’t wanna wind up in court over this and we will if
it’s not clearly national security.” That’s the kind of a system I would like. I mean I think the whole Watergate incident
does illustrate this that the Ellsberg burglary, in fact, was way too far over on the domestic
side. And it was the fact that it did get into court
that makes the political risk so great. Prof. Bickel: Well, not only that. It’s always nice to find a silver lining in
Watergate, to derive some benefit from it, but I think what Watergate will have done,
without the need for any law to express it, is to draw a line between, on the one hand,
infiltrating, shadowing, watching, entrapping, things that are done by government, by the
FBI, what-have-you, in public, so to speak, against activities that are themselves public
and that have committed themselves into the open, on the one hand and on the other, wiretapping,
let alone breaking and entering as in the other great case now [SP]. We know, with reasonable assurance, that even
though J. Edgar Hoover said, “No,” to the Tom Charles Houston plan, the FBI had in the
past itself engaged in some breaking and entering. I venture that the line, the bright line,
between shadowing, entrapping, infiltrating, and breaking and entering is pretty clear
now and clear to the FBI as well and clear across the board, domestic or foreign. No laws needed but it’s a very good thing
that had to happen. Prof. Wellington: But I meant to be coming
at this from the civil libertarian point of view and wondering whether perhaps the decision
of the Supreme Court requiring a warrant in domestic security perhaps ought not to be
extended to cover foreign security matters. The principal argument against it is it’s
extremely sensitive. You ought not to involve the court in it. But to the extent that you do involve the
court in shadowy areas where the two are intertwined, I wonder how much farther we’re going and
I wonder whether we might not be able to trust our judges so that we could extend that decision. Prof. Bickel: I would imagine that foreign
security though passes out at a number of situations. We all keep thinking of it as placing a tap
on the Russian embassy. And, you know, sure you can press Judge Sirica
with that but extend it a little further. It said some CIA or intelligence operation,
you know. If it’s some Ian Fleming plot or the spy who
came in from the cold and you’ve got lives in the question that you ask, you’ve got foreign
agents here, so forth. There was a case in the ’50s, the Colonel
Abel case, the Russian spy. And there’s a Supreme Court opinion, at great
length, which foreswears any need for warrants. They broke in on him and searched him without
a warrant. The court says, “Well, that’s a foreign matter. It’s a different matter.” And one does hesitate when you visualize it
that way, as a real intelligence operation rather than tapping the Russian embassy. It does become a little picky at the sight
of a judge passing on that, given the facts which is, I think, where the hesitation comes. Of course, the question is open. James Q. Wilson: Well, I know I don’t mean to suggest
that there is any kind of an easy answer, it’s a trade-off. And the question is how are we going to err? And I think I’m inclined to think that perhaps
we ought to err more towards requiring a warrant. It might be that we can, with time and experience,
have a different kind of finer kind of distinction than the gross distinction between this national
security… Prof. Wellington: Yeah, it’s certainly possible
to require them to come in on national security cases as well to disclose to the judge if
they can and if not, to hand the judge a sealed affidavit saying why they…indicating the
reasons why they can’t disclose and asking the judge to issue the warrant on their authority
which is not a wholly unaccustomed thing in the law. There is instances where judicial power is
invoked on the authority of the executive without going to trial with that. James Q. Wilson: But irrespective of how we go along
those lines, Ralph’s suggestion in his pamphlet seemed to make very good sense with respect
to requiring high-level people, that is where we are in the area where a warrant isn’t necessary,
there ought to be clear lines of authority. It ought not to just be done by the attorney
general. It certainly ought not to be done by people
in the White House who don’t have official positions except at the pleasure of the president. Peter: The question of presidential power
and its possible abuses by presidential appointees is not an easy one to solve nor is the matter
of national security when it comes to such things as wiretapping be it for domestic or
for foreign security purposes. Another matter of concern growing out of the
Watergate incident has to do with investigations of high-level government abuses. How independent can the Justice Department
be and what should be the role of an independent special prosecutor? Once again, Prof. Bickel. Prof. Bickel: The second topic that we’re
going to try deal with this evening relates more immediately to the Watergate experience
and it’s the problem of political control by the president, by an administration, which
can be exercised or can influence the Department of Justice and the administration of justice. The Department of Justice, of course, part
of the executive department. When it comes to prosecuting, for example,
close associates of the president himself as in the current instance, as happened in
the Truman administration, as happened in Teapot Dome in the 1920s, this is in this
respect not unprecedented. Obviously, questions are raised. At the very least, misgivings are legitimately
entertained about the administration, in effect, prosecuting itself. And so the questions arise, should we take
the Department of Justice, perhaps, out of the executive department? Make it independent in some fashion, not subject
to control by the president, or should we perhaps provide ways for appointing special
prosecutors? Institutionalizing them in some fashion? They also being entirely free and independent
of presidential control? Ways of doing that might include setting up
an independent prosecutor like that permanently as a permanent office or providing standby
authority for doing it. Well, these are the issues that we now address
ourselves to. And again, I’ll start with Ralph who had something
to say about it in the report. Ralph: Well, it’s always tempting in the wake
of an event like Watergate, contemplate separating the Justice Department from the political
branches for saying that the administration of justice cannot be affected by partisan
considerations. And I don’t mean to say that’s not attractive
by saying it is attractive. The problem is… Prof. Bickel: You’re not buying it? Ralph: The problem is, of course, that the
Justice Department also has very, very important policy decisions to be made. It has the allocation of resources, decisions
to be made should there be more money in LEAA, should there be more money to prosecute civil
rights cases or organized crime or should the money go into some other kind of litigation? What cases should be taken to the Supreme
Court? What the position of the government ought
to be in various constitutional questions. It’s a whole range of questions, which I think
one would normally want to be resolved by officials who are accountable to the people
through the president, one of the things presidents ought to run on. As we get down to individual pieces of litigation,
I would suppose the danger of partisan control is greater and perhaps the need for electoral
control is slightly less. I don’t mean to say it’s not there but I think
that the need for having someone who is a presidential appointee in every case before
the Justice Department is somewhat less although I strongly feel that in, as far as settlements
and consent decrees, and the like are concerned, the basic policies decided upon by the political
offices have to be enforced. It does seem to me, though, there are a few
areas, a few kinds of cases that come up in which special prosecutors and what I call
counsel, special counsels, and juries would be useful. I don’t think the case for a permanent special
prosecutor has been made. I think there is a case to provision for district
judges to appoint special prosecutors to aid in various investigations. I think where there is a conflict of interest
where high officials of the government are under investigation or where the opponents
of these high officials of government in previous elections are under investigation, then a
special counsel to a grand jury would be very useful. This seems particularly the case since Congress
seems in a mood to pass laws regulating elections, to pass laws which greatly increase the chance
of a whole range of political trials taking place in the United States in the future. I do not think this special counsel ought
to have the power to prosecute. I think that the decision to prosecute should
remain in the Department of Justice, that the indictment should be signed by the US
Attorney, and if the US Attorney declines to sign it, that the judge can make the presentment
public to the people. Again, the ultimate decision would be political,
subject to political sanctions if the Justice Department decided not to go ahead with a
strong case. But there are cases in our recent history
indeed in which district judges have tried to get the local U.S. attorneys to prosecute
civil rights demonstrators and the like, cases in which the Justice Department was clearly
ready in defying to prosecute. So I think there is a case for a reform here
although I feel the tremor of dissent to my right on the special prosecutor issue at least. Prof. Bickel: Well, to say that this is an
over-reaction to Watergate is to put it mildly and to say that it’s probably unconstitutional
is to just add icing to the cake. But I don’t wanna take up the whole time. I am opposed to the idea. I don’t know what our political scientist
friends think about it. I’ll just suggest to them, because I think
this ought to hit a nerve, that at the very least this would establish whether it’s a
permanent independent special prosecutor or some maybe 500 district judges all over the
country granted the power to appoint them at will, it establishes serious power, major
power, no joke, in irresponsible hands, in hands that are accountable to no one. And I think should if there’s any single thing
about the genius of our government and the fundamental meaning of separation of power
is really that there is no such thing. There is no power anywhere in government which
is unaccountable to anybody. The judiciary lifetime tenure, okay there
they are but otherwise, power is either legislative or executive. And that’s not because it’s elegant to divide
them that way but because those are two categories of accountability of power running from whoever
exercises it ultimately to democratic responsibility. James Q. Wilson: Except in the case of the courts. When you eliminate the judicial as a law-maker
and I would think, Alex, one would have to recognize, particularly in the last decade
of actions, that courts, quite frequently and willy-nilly, are placed in the role of
making law. And at the federal level, at least, no one
has seriously proposed that federal judges be elected for a limited term and then be
subject to re-election. Prof. Bickel: But the critique of judicial
activism always is bottomed, in the end, fundamentally, on this proposition. The trouble with judges making law rather
than deciding cases and making whatever law they make on the interstitially
for purposes of disposing of that case, the critique of it is that it’s irresponsible
power. James Q. Wilson: Let me make the case more strongly. If you look at the behavior of many federal
district court judges, you can only conclude that a significant fraction of them have decided
to appoint themselves school superintendent, zoning commissioner, health commissioner,
advocate, consumer representative, and ecological czar. Now, the suggestion is that they, in addition,
appoint themselves district attorney and chief of police. I think that the line could have been drawn
backways. This is probably a good place as any to dig
in your heels. But this does not mean I’m opposed to the
idea of the special prosecutor. I think for all reasons that Ralph Winter
has indicated, there are circumstances where we have to have a genuinely independent prosecutor. But though I have no particular proposal to
make, I’d like to ask Ralph why he did not propose, instead of district judges selecting
the prosecutor, some congressional procedure whereby given the consent of both houses perhaps
outside the normal committee structure since we do not want the committees to become not
only investigative bodies but also prosecutive bodies, that the Congress could not, under
certain circumstances as a regular matter, select special prosecutors. Or is that already so well-recognized that
no special provision is necessary? Ralph: I think they can call for the appointment
of a special prosecutor. They can pass legislation. I think that becomes too unwieldy. It involves too much political controversy
and the like surrounding the investigation. I just prefer a system in which district judges
have the power to appoint the special counsel. I would permit the Justice Department to appeal
if you want more control over the district judges and they don’t have the power to prosecute. They can run an investigation and the political
sanction will come into play when the presentment is made. Prof. Bickel: Do you know what enormous power
you’re lodging? The power of sitting there with a grand jury,
which of course the prosecutor directs, the grand jury doesn’t exist really aside from
the prosecutor. He’s got the power to subpoena anybody he
wants to, investigate anything he wants, harass, pull people in, and then issue a presentment
and accuse people in public without the possibility of their defending themselves. He’s just an enormous power. People have been hollering and crying about
the abuses of grand juries and about the great irresponsible power that they hold for years
now. And that was when the grand jury was, after
all, a tool of a district attorney or a U.S. attorney who was politically responsible to
someone. Now you would cut that loose and let any district
judge anywhere in the country appoint himself a fellow to wield that power. That seems to be an absolute enormity. Ralph: But honestly, I think grand juries
have too much power though. You ought to be talking about reforming grand
juries. I’m talking about… Prof. Bickel: No, you’re talking about giving
them more power. Ralph: No I’m not. I’m talking about giving some device to help
them operate more effectively. What I’m afraid of and the other areas we’ve
talked about, we have tried to get some kind of institutional arrangement that would impose
a heavy political sanction for those who engage in various abuses. I don’t think that sanction is very strong
when you’re in the pre-investigation stage. I think the possibility of abuse is much greater
in the pre-investigation stage than it is as you get further in developing the evidence. You know, the whole way the Watergate situation
broke does tend to indicate that, you know, the investigations can be carried on. It’s very hard to carry on an effective investigation
of high officials in the government. It’s hard for everybody in justice, it’s hard
for the prosecutors, it’s hard for the witnesses, it’s hard for everybody. Prof. Wellington: But I’m not at all sure
that the lesson of Watergate, as it will turn out, is that the ad hoc appointing of the
special prosecutor by the attorney general is not a successful device in extraordinary
cases. One of my difficulties with the proposal is
that I think it works at cross-purposes with what I think is an essential reform and that
is the real strengthening of the Justice Department in terms of having as the attorney general
and as the appointed assistant attorney general and solicitor general, men of very high quality,
of having career members of the Justice Department, lawyers in the Justice Department, a very
high status in the legal profession. Now, I think that we haven’t done enough in
that direction. I think part of the fault is in the law schools
really. It’s the notion, frequently, of a graduate
to law school is, “Maybe I should go to work for a short period of time for the government
in the U.S. attorney’s office, in the Justice Department and then get out and go into private
practice. I think we ought to pay better for career
attorneys. I think we ought to bestow on them status. I think that to have a institutionalized system
of special prosecutors must be demoralizing. I would think that an awful lot of very good
people who might otherwise find as a career the Justice Department would find it unacceptable
under those circumstances. Prof. Bickel: You know, it can be done, just
to interrupt for a minute. The Solicitor General’s office, for some decades
now, has been a career office in which people of high status in the profession served for
years on end, 10, 15 years. Why can’t that be done in other parts of the
Justice Department? That’s a great question [crosstalk 00:40:38]. Prof. Wellington: I think there are some places,
certainly Mr. Peterson is an example… Prof. Bickel: Yeah, they’re very good. Prof. Wellington: …but it doesn’t always
happen. It should be encouraged. Certainly the notion of separating the Justice
Department off and making it independent, the Ervin proposal, seems to me to be unquestionably
wrong. James Q. Wilson: Ludicrous is the word you’re searching
for. Prof. Wellington: It’s not legal jargon James Q. Wilson: I wanna descent from the proposition
that it would lower the morale… Prof. Wellington: I can but I just didn’t
wanna use it. James Q. Wilson: I wanna descent from the proposition
that it would lower the morale of professional lawyers in the Justice Department who have
this kind of provision around. I think they would like it. I think they would use it. I think it is a way for them to get out from
under the very, very tough procedure we now have of putting a…of filing a piece of paper
that’s printed in the sea and the code of federal regulation saying what a special prosecutor’s
jurisdiction is so that the special prosecutor is constantly put at odds with the Justice
Department over that jurisdiction that’s put in the position where he has to fight it. I think a professionalized staff in the Justice
Department would welcome such a proposal rather than have their morale lowered. This is not to say that I don’t want to professionalize
the staff. I mean well one thing is you’ve gotta stop
appointing campaign managers to the post of attorney general. You’ve just gotta stop that. Every administration has been…both parties
have been doing it. It is a terrible mistake. It’s an invitation to trouble because they
have too many partisan responsibilities. Prof. Bickel: We used to make them postmaster
general and you saw what happened and now we made them… James Q. Wilson: They couldn’t deliver the mail and now
we put them in the Justice Department. Prof. Bickel: That’s right, and now they deliver
justice. I want to return [crosstalk 00:42:25]. Male 2: And they can’t [crosstalk 00:42:25]. Prof. Bickel: I’d like to return to one point
that Harry touched on which I think deserves emphasis. What is it in your experience of Watergate,
corruption scandals in the Harry Truman administration, some scandals in the Eisenhower administration,
then back to Teapot Dome, what is it that persuades you that political pressures don’t
work perfectly well to solve the problem of the Justice Department sort of prosecuting
itself? Under Harry Truman, there was an episode with
a special prosecutor. He went out but prosecutions went on very
nicely. T. Lamar Caudle served his term in jail, etc.,
etc. Teapot Dome, a method for appointing a special
prosecutor, two special prosecutors, subject to Senate confirmation was worked out and
they prosecuted all you want. In this instance, with all the pressures of
Watergate, that’s the one difficulty that was met, that was met. The special prosecutor’s office has worked. James Q. Wilson: But it also seems to me, Alex, you’re
having another point here which is, again if I may speak for you, well, it seems to
me you’re saying is that the further the actions of government are removed from the electoral
control of the people, the more likely they are to ride roughshod over the rights of the
people. And the courts, at the federal level, not
at the state and local level where you do have, in many cases, elective judges, is not
necessarily a good way to do it but at least it’s different. At the federal level, the life term conferred
upon the judge with removal only under the most heinous of circumstances does inevitably
lead to a certain distance from the people. Now perhaps in the administration of justice,
this is wise but I can see your point entirely that sort of equipping each judge with an
extra duty mace, which is what you seem to be regarding the special prosecutor as, would
have consequences that Ralph wouldn’t agree with [crosstalk 00:44:26]. Prof. Wellington: No, hold on a second. Suppose the special prosecutor…wait. Suppose that the special prosecutor had been
appointed…suppose the special prosecutor had been appointed as he undoubtedly would
have been if this were on the books during the McCarthy era when Joe McCarthy was saying,
“The Truman administration is full of spies. The president isn’t prosecuting. They are his own people. Alger Hiss is Dean Acheson’s friend. This is all one circle there and he’s not
cleaning them out. So we need a special prosecutor to get in
there.” And so Otto Otepka or somebody gets appointed
special prosecutor until he finishes the case. He’d be there prosecuting red spies today
because the mood has changed, the policy of the country but he’s independent of it and
he’s going out there after spies. He’d be doing it today. James Q. Wilson: Well, in defense of Ralph… Ralph: Yeah, I wouldn’t mind if you guys let
me defend myself but go ahead, Harry. Prof. Wellington: It might be possible but
what was not undertaken here and quite appropriately not undertaken in Ralph’s [crosstalk 00:45:22]. Prof. Bickel: Any serious analysis of the
proposal? Prof. Wellington: What was not undertaken
was the drafting of the statute. Now, it might well be that some of the, if
I may say so, exaggerated consequences… James Q. Wilson: You may say so. Prof. Wellington: It might be cured were you
to put your mind to drafting the statute. I don’t mean to suggest that on balance I
think it’s a good idea but I think that it’s something to be considered and examined. Someone might sit down and try to write a
statute dealing with we might just say a word about the Constitution. Prof. Bickel: Yes, I was gonna say. I don’t wanna bore you with legal technicalities
but there are serious constitutional problems. Prof. Wellington: Well, right, and that might
be a reason for rejecting it because I share what I take it, you and Ralph and even political
scientists probably believe that there is some obligation for the legislature to consider
constitutional questions. And if on prudential issues, the balance is
not all that clear in one direction, they might stay their hand if they think it raises
a serious constitutional question. Prof. Bickel: And the serious constitutional
question, in a nutshell, is what is assumed away by Ralph, namely, whether prosecution
is an executive or judicial function. Ralph: Who is this Ralph we keep talking about? Is there such a person? Prof. Bickel: A man named Winter. He’s a sunshine soldier. James Q. Wilson: He’s alive and well somewhere. If I may now, Alex, if I may assume… Prof. Bickel: If I had been on the panel yesterday,
you would have gotten a lot of trouble. James Q. Wilson: If I may assume you away for a minute, first of all, I think there’s abundant authority to appoint a special prosecutor. And there is a provision in the Constitution
saying that Congress may empower courts to appoint various federal officers. Prof. Bickel: Secretary of state. James Q. Wilson: As you know I say in the pamphlet, they can’t do that but they can appoint officers… Prof. Bickel: Judicial officers, you’re saying
which is exactly… James Q. Wilson: …connected with the judicial function. This is connected with the judicial function… Prof. Bickel: That’s the question. That’s the issue. That’s the issue. James Q. Wilson: He has only investigative power. He does not have the power to prosecute nor
do I… Prof. Bickel: The investigative power is not
a judicial power. James Q. Wilson: …nor do I see, Alex, why it is this
particular power cannot be surrounded by safeguards like a requirement of finding of probable
cause, or other things like that. You know I… Prof. Bickel: Shifting around. James Q. Wilson: …I think it’s ridiculous to say they
were going to be 500 special prosecutors. Every district judge is gonna have his own
special prosecutors when we… Prof. Bickel: No, they are gonna be more than
500 because the number of district judges is rising. James Q. Wilson: I think probably Alex is right about
that one. Prof. Bickel: There are gonna be many more,
but you see how you beg the question. Sure, if this is a judicial…if investigation… Ralph: I wish I had a chance to beg the question. Prof. Bickel: You wrote the book. If we are true that investigation and prosecution
is a judicial function, then I agree. The Constitution does say, “Congress may empower
the courts to make appointments.” I would read that as limited by judicial or
neo-judicial functions although some cases have mistakenly gone further and that would
be fine. But the gut issue is whether prosecution and
investigation is a judicial function. You argued beautifully in arguing against
an independent Department of Justice, that investigation and prosecution are executive
functions. I think that’s true and I think that’s constitutionally
true and I think, therefore, there would be the most serious constitutional problem… Ralph: Where does the SEC or the LRB get its
power to investigate? They are independent. They are not controlled by the executive branch. I mean your argument is against all the administrative
agencies. Wipe them out. Prof. Bickel: No, no. Ralph: Not that’s that such a bad argument. Prof. Bickel: Well, that’s the scenic route
of last night. The place of the administrative agency in
the constitutional scheme, while somewhat dubious to begin with, is not what you would
propose for these special prosecutors. These are fellows appointed by the president,
they are confirmed by the Senate, they exercise quasi-judicial functions in one part of them
which makes them judges. And you can appoint judges and call them SEC
commissioners or you can appoint judges and call them judges. Ralph: The SEC has a lot to do about prosecuting
people. Prof. Bickel: They exercise, on the other
hand, some prosecutorial functions. In some administrative agencies, that’s separated
out. And strong arguments have been made that it
ought to be separated out in all of them and it’s a mistake to meld them. And they exercise, in other portions, what
are viewed as legislative functions as filling in details by, delegation from Congress, of
legislation and administering the legislation. Now, people had a lot of trouble with that
when it was first set up a hundred years ago. And one might wanna rethink that. It’s too late to rethink that but it’s certainly
no argument, no pandal for you to leap from the SEC to the different and aggravated constitutional
monstrosity of prosecutors appointed by Judge Harold Cox and Gerhard Gesell. Ralph: It seems to me that the SEC having
the power, as you describe it, to act as a judge, to act as a prosecutor, to act as a
legislator, that that power is a far greater offense against your view of the Constitution
and the kinds of very limited proposal…maybe they don’t even have the power to prosecute,
the special counsel I’m talking about. And I ought to say, Alex, that as you well
know and have not revealed to the audience thereby violating the Security and Exchange
Act of 1935, the state practice, there’s a long historical background of special [crosstalk
00:51:12] grand jury, you know. Prof. Bickel: States do all kinds of things. They mix all kinds of powers. I don’t think the law of Connecticut binds
the U.S. Constitution but at the very least, there’s a serious constitutional problem. It ought to give Congress pause and it ought
at least to give them sufficient pause to consider the equally serious policy and prudential
questions that have been raised by everybody else against your isolated position. Ralph: That merely shows who is the true reformer
on the Yale law faculty. James Q. Wilson: If I have time, Mr. Chairman, could
I emphasize one aspect of the consideration of the Justice Department that I think perhaps
not my fellow panelists but many people have misunderstood and that is that in thinking
about the Justice Department, we often see areas of success where in fact there are weaknesses
or failure and areas of failure where in fact there are strengths. I think it’s much easier for the layman to
draw erroneous conclusions about Watergate with respect to the Justice Department than
other areas because it’s a complex organization with, to be charitable, rather obscure functions
in the layman’s mind. For example, many people think that the system
of United States attorneys is a good idea because one of them indicted Mr. Mitchell
and Mr. Stans and Mr. Vesco. I happen to think that that’s not a revelation
of the strength of the system but an accidental feature of a system that is on the whole rather
bad. We do not have a, as Mr. Wellington said perhaps
not referring to this group, a serious professional development of trained lawyers in capacities
as U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys. What we have is a group of men who work for
United States senators. They don’t work for the president, they don’t
work for the attorney general. Others may conclude that the Justice Department
mismanages the antitrust division because antitrust prosecution is a perpetual motion
machine or something you can wind up and put on a track and it goes around automatically. The most important economic and political
judgments have to be made about what is the kind of case you want to prosecute. It seems to me that the intervention of the
president and the attorney general in the ITT case is entirely correct in a legal sense. That is to say they have every right to raise
serious political and economic questions, especially economic questions as to whether
breaking up ITT makes any sense or not. But whether they do it out of proper or improper
motives is an important question. But in much of the popular discussion, you
hear the impression that what we need is an automatic justice department, a little Lionel
train that goes around in a track and that it prosecutes every conspiracy to restrain
trade, and it prosecutes every organized crime racketeer, and arrests every heroine dealer. And that is not at all the way the system
can work or should work. And it really is that as much as anything
that leads me to believe that not only the notion of an independent Justice Department
is wrong but the notion that the Justice Department as now organized and managed, to refer back
to Mr. Wellington’s point, is one of the strengths of the system as we’ve now seen it. And all we need to do is insulate it from
political intervention. Prof. Bickel: Well, I think Harry was saying
that we need to raise its professional standards. What has been the matter with political managers
coming in, with the sole exception of Robert Kennedy in that respect, coming into the headship
of the Justice Department is that they haven’t brought in good people. They’ve brought in at the sub-cabinet level,
with exceptions, politicians and not professionals, certainly not people with standing in the
profession. And that’s bad and has no…is not to say
that the Justice Department ought to be outside of political control. Of course, it has to be. In fact, it’s one of the difficulties with
Ralph’s proposal because even the kind of case that he would give to a special prosecutor
raises issues of the same sort which are political issues, for example, the Agnew case. That would be… James Q. Wilson: One thing I can do short of speaking
and get attention… I will draw the line. Prof. Bickel: Well, the Agnew case would be
a typical special prosecutor case, wouldn’t it be? James Q. Wilson: Yes. Prof. Bickel: And yet a political judgment
had to be made. I think a correct one was made in the end
but one can’t think that it could have been made without political responsibility, namely,
to take a plea bargain from him to allow him to resign. These are things that can’t conceivably be
done and oughtn’t to be done by anybody who has no connection to political responsibility,
who’s not answerable to anybody, who is in turn answerable to the people. It’s just inconceivable. I think it’s certainly true that if you let
things go as they are, you expect, in situations of this sort, an administration to prosecute
itself as the president demonstrated when he fired Cox and as he could demonstrate by
firing Jaworski if he took that political risk. There is no way to run the thing within the
executive department outside his control. But for God’s sakes, I think it’s been demonstrated
where the countervailing power is and how effective it can be. Namely, it’s in Congress. He does enough of that and he runs the risk
of impeachment. Harry Truman fired Newbold Morris but he didn’t
go so far as to try to quash the prosecution of the people who had done wrong. And if he had, he would have been impeached
or he would have had at least a Senate select committee on his back. Peter: This roundtable discussion has brought
you the views of five knowledgeable experts who hold differing opinions on the basic causes
and possible cures for the American political spectacular called Watergate. It is the aim of the American Enterprise Institute
to illuminate the issues of the day by presenting many such viewpoints in the hope that by so
doing, those in the decision-making positions will benefit from such a free exchange of
informed and enlightened opinion. This is Peter Hackes in Washington. Announcer: “Washington Debates for the ’70s” is
created and supplied to this station as a public service by the American Enterprise
Institute, Washington D.C.

Richard Nixon – “I’m not a crook”


I want to say this to the television audience. I made my mistakes,
but in all of my years of public life, I have never profited,
never profited from public service. I have earned every cent. And in all of my years of public life,
I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too,
that I can say that in my years of public life,
that I welcome this kind of examination because people have got to know
whether or not their President’s a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

How does impeachment work? – Alex Gendler


For most jobs, it’s understood
that you can be fired, whether for crime, incompetence, or just poor performance. But what if your job happens to be
the most powerful position in the country, or the world? That’s where impeachment comes in. Impeachment isn’t the same
as actually removing someone from office. Like an indictment in criminal court, it’s only the formal accusation
that launches a trial, which could end in conviction
or acquittal. Originating in the United Kingdom, impeachment allowed Parliament to vote for
removing a government official from office even without the king’s consent. Although this was an important check
on royal power, the king couldn’t be impeached because the monarch was considered
the source of all government power. But for the founders
of the American Republic, there was no higher authority
beyond the people themselves. And so impeachment was adopted in
the United States as a power of Congress applying to any civil officers,
up to and including the president. Although demands for impeachment
can come from any members of the public, only the House of Representatives has the
power to actually initiate the process. It begins by referring the matter
to a committee, usually the House Committee on Rules and the House Committee on the Judiciary. These committees review the accusations, examine the evidence, and issue a recommendation. If they find sufficient
grounds to proceed, the House holds a separate vote
on each of the specific charges, known as Articles of Impeachment. If one or more passes
by a simple majority, the official is impeached
and the stage is set for trial. The actual trial that follows impeachment
is held in the Senate. Selected members of the House,
known as managers, act as the prosecution, while the impeached official
and their lawyers present their defense. The Senate acts as both judge and jury, conducting the trial and deliberating
after hearing all the arguments. If it’s the president or vice president
being impeached, the chief justice
of the Supreme Court presides. A conviction requires a supermajority
of two-thirds and results in automatic removal
from power. Depending on the original charges, it can also disqualify them
from holding office in the future and open them to standard
criminal prosecution. So what exactly can get someone impeached? That’s a bit more complicated. Unlike in the United Kingdom, impeachment in the U.S.
pits an elected legislature against other democratically
elected members of government. Therefore, to prevent the process
from being used as a political weapon, the Constitution specifies that
an official can only be impeached for treason, bribery, or other high crimes
and misdemeanors. That still leaves a lot of room
for interpretation, not to mention politics, and many impeachment trials
have split along partisan lines. But the process is generally understood to
be reserved for serious abuses of power. The first official to be impeached was
Tennesse Senator William Blount in 1797 for conspiring with Britain to cease
the Spanish colony of Louisiana. Since then, the House has launched
impeachment investigations about 60 times, but only 19 have led to actual
impeachment proceedings. The eight cases that ended
in a conviction and removal from office were all federal judges. And impeachment of a sitting president
is even more rare. Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 for attempting to replace Secretary of War
Edwin Stanton without consulting the Senate. Over a century later, Bill Clinton
was impeached for making false statements under oath
during a sexual harassment trial. Both were ultimately acquitted
when the Senate’s votes to convict fell short of the required
two-thirds majority. And contrary to popular belief, Richard Nixon was never actually impeached
for the Watergate scandal. He resigned before it could happen knowing he would almost certainly
be convicted. Theoretically, the U.S. government is
already designed to prevent abuses of power, limiting different branches
through a system of checks and balances, term limits, and free elections. But impeachment can be seen
as an emergency brake for when these safeguards fail.

The Parallels Between President Donald Trump’s Phone Call And Watergate | All In | MSNBC


FORMALIZED IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY.>>ALL RIGHT, CONGRESSWOMAN>>ALL RIGHT, CONGRESSWOMAN MAXINE WATERS, THANK YOU SO MAXINE WATERS, THANK YOU SO MUFF. MUFF.>>YOU’RE SO WELCOME, THANK YOU.>>YOU’RE SO WELCOME, THANK YOU.>>I’M JOINED BY AUTHOR OF>>I’M JOINED BY AUTHOR OF “IMPEACHMENT A CITIZENS GUIDE” “IMPEACHMENT A CITIZENS GUIDE” AND JILL WINE-BANKS. AND JILL WINE-BANKS. LET ME START WITH YOU AS SOMEONE LET ME START WITH YOU AS SOMEONE WHO WAS ON THAT WATERGATE TEAM. WHO WAS ON THAT WATERGATE TEAM. A LOT OF PARALLELS, RIGHT, TO A LOT OF PARALLELS, RIGHT, TO THE PRODUCTION OF THE INFAMOUS THE PRODUCTION OF THE INFAMOUS NIXON TAPES, THE FACT THAT THEY NIXON TAPES, THE FACT THAT THEY FIRST — THEY WANTED TO RELEASE FIRST — THEY WANTED TO RELEASE A TRANSCRIPT TO SOMEONE ELSE, A TRANSCRIPT TO SOMEONE ELSE, EVENTUALLY GOT SHAKEN OUT OF EVENTUALLY GOT SHAKEN OUT OF THEM. THEM. HOW ARE YOU VIEWING THE SOMEWHAT HOW ARE YOU VIEWING THE SOMEWHAT REMARKABLE DISCLOSURES THAT REMARKABLE DISCLOSURES THAT WE’VE SEEN SHAKEN LOOSE FROM WE’VE SEEN SHAKEN LOOSE FROM THIS WHITE HOUSE IN THE LAST 24 THIS WHITE HOUSE IN THE LAST 24 HOURS? HOURS?>>WELL, I’M WORKING ON A BOOK>>WELL, I’M WORKING ON A BOOK NOW, AND I’VE RECENTLY BEEN NOW, AND I’VE RECENTLY BEEN PAYING A LOT OF ATTENTION TO PAYING A LOT OF ATTENTION TO EXACT COMMENTS BY RICHARD NIXON. EXACT COMMENTS BY RICHARD NIXON. AND WHEN HE RELEASED WHAT BECAME AND WHEN HE RELEASED WHAT BECAME THE SMOKING GUN TAPE, HE SAID THE SMOKING GUN TAPE, HE SAID IT’S REALLY NOT SO BAD WHICH IT’S REALLY NOT SO BAD WHICH SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE WHAT TRUMP SOUNDS EXACTLY LIKE WHAT TRUMP IS SAYING, THAT THIS IS IS SAYING, THAT THIS IS BEAUTIFUL CONVERSATION, A BEAUTIFUL CONVERSATION, A PERFECT CONVERSATION. PERFECT CONVERSATION. IT ISN’T. IT ISN’T. THIS CONVERSATION IS A SMOKING THIS CONVERSATION IS A SMOKING GUN. GUN. IT CLEARLY LINKS HIM TO ASKING IT CLEARLY LINKS HIM TO ASKING FOR SOMETHING THAT IS ILLEGAL TO FOR SOMETHING THAT IS ILLEGAL TO ASK FOR, THAT IS THE HELP OF A ASK FOR, THAT IS THE HELP OF A FOREIGN GOVERNMENT FOR HIS FOREIGN GOVERNMENT FOR HIS CAMPAIGN. CAMPAIGN. SO THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT SO THAT’S ONE OF THE THINGS THAT IS VERY SIGNIFICANT TODAY. IS VERY SIGNIFICANT TODAY. ANYBODY WHO READS THAT CANNOT ANYBODY WHO READS THAT CANNOT HELP BUT CONCLUDE THAT HE’S DONE HELP BUT CONCLUDE THAT HE’S DONE SOMETHING THAT ENDANGERS OUR SOMETHING THAT ENDANGERS OUR NATIONAL SECURITY, ENDANGERS THE NATIONAL SECURITY, ENDANGERS THE SECURITY OF AN ALLY OF OURS SECURITY OF AN ALLY OF OURS AGAINST HIS FAVORITE PERSON, AGAINST HIS FAVORITE PERSON, AGAINST RUSSIA. AGAINST RUSSIA.>>YOU MENTIONED THE POSSIBLE>>YOU MENTIONED THE POSSIBLE ILLEGALITY OF WHAT’S MENTIONED ILLEGALITY OF WHAT’S MENTIONED HERE AND THERE’S REPORTING BY HERE AND THERE’S REPORTING BY WASHINGTON POST OF THERE BEING WASHINGTON POST OF THERE BEING CRIMINAL REFERRAL ABOUT THERE CRIMINAL REFERRAL ABOUT THERE BEING SOME KIND OF CRIMINAL BEING SOME KIND OF CRIMINAL CONDUCT HERE, BUT I’VE BEEN CONDUCT HERE, BUT I’VE BEEN THINK ABOUT A CONVERSATION WE THINK ABOUT A CONVERSATION WE HAD A MONTH AGO ABOUT HAD A MONTH AGO ABOUT IMPEACHMENT WHEN YOU MADE THE IMPEACHMENT WHEN YOU MADE THE CASE SOME CRIMES AREN’T CASE SOME CRIMES AREN’T IMPEACHABLE AND SOME CRIMES IMPEACHABLE AND SOME CRIMES IMPEACHED AREN’T CRIMES. IMPEACHED AREN’T CRIMES. HOW ARE YOU LEARNING MORE HOW ARE YOU LEARNING MORE BROADLY ABOUT THIS FRAMEWORK? BROADLY ABOUT THIS FRAMEWORK?>>IT’S CLEAR THAT THE>>IT’S CLEAR THAT THE IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES AREN’T IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES AREN’T LIMITED TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. LIMITED TO CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. IT’S ABUSES OF THE PUBLIC TRUST IT’S ABUSES OF THE PUBLIC TRUST AS HAMILTON PUT IT. AS HAMILTON PUT IT. SO AN AOR MISUSE WOULD BE AN SO AN AOR MISUSE WOULD BE AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE EVEN IF IT’S IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE EVEN IF IT’S NOT CRIMINAL OR ENLISTED FOREIGN NOT CRIMINAL OR ENLISTED FOREIGN HELP IN ENSURING HIS HELP IN ENSURING HIS RE-ELECTION, ALL OF THOSE WOULD RE-ELECTION, ALL OF THOSE WOULD BE EGREGIOUS BETRAYALS OF PUBLIC BE EGREGIOUS BETRAYALS OF PUBLIC TRUST. TRUST. AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY’RE AND WHETHER OR NOT THEY’RE CRIMES THEY WOULD BE IMPEACHABLE CRIMES THEY WOULD BE IMPEACHABLE OFFENSES. OFFENSES.>>ALSO HERE, JILL, AND THIS IS>>ALSO HERE, JILL, AND THIS IS ALSO SOMETHING I THINK ECHOED ALSO SOMETHING I THINK ECHOED WATERGATE IS SO MUCH OF THE WATERGATE IS SO MUCH OF THE PRESIDENT’S MISCONDUCT HAS BEEN PRESIDENT’S MISCONDUCT HAS BEEN OUT IN THE OPEN. OUT IN THE OPEN. RUSSIA, IF YOU’RE LISTENING, ET RUSSIA, IF YOU’RE LISTENING, ET CETERA. CETERA. HERE HE GOT CAUGHT DOING HERE HE GOT CAUGHT DOING SOMETHING SECRET AND IT SEEMED SOMETHING SECRET AND IT SEEMED TO ME PART OF WHAT IS MAKING TO ME PART OF WHAT IS MAKING THIS DIFFERENT PERHAPS THAN THIS DIFFERENT PERHAPS THAN PREVIOUS THINGS WE’VE SEEN WITH PREVIOUS THINGS WE’VE SEEN WITH THIS PRESIDENT. THIS PRESIDENT. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT? WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?>>WELL, I HAVE PAGES OF>>WELL, I HAVE PAGES OF QUESTIONS AND WITNESSES I WOULD QUESTIONS AND WITNESSES I WOULD LIKE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THAT LIKE TO FIND OUT ABOUT THAT COULD REALLY FILL IN THE CONTEXT COULD REALLY FILL IN THE CONTEXT OF THIS PARTICULAR VIOLATION OF THIS PARTICULAR VIOLATION WHICH IS EGREGIOUS. WHICH IS EGREGIOUS. BUT THERE IS ALSO EVERYTHING BUT THERE IS ALSO EVERYTHING ELSE THAT HE’S DONE, AND WHILE I ELSE THAT HE’S DONE, AND WHILE I URGE THAT WE FOCUS NOW ON URGE THAT WE FOCUS NOW ON SOMETHING — BECAUSE NOTHING HAS SOMETHING — BECAUSE NOTHING HAS STUCK TO HIM BECAUSE THERE’S SO STUCK TO HIM BECAUSE THERE’S SO MANY DIFFERENCES. MANY DIFFERENCES. EVERY DAY HE DOES SOMETHING EVERY DAY HE DOES SOMETHING DIFFERENT THAT’S BAD, AND SO DIFFERENT THAT’S BAD, AND SO NOTHING STICKS. NOTHING STICKS. SO YOU DO NEED TO FOCUS. SO YOU DO NEED TO FOCUS. BUT ON THE OTHER HAND IN BUT ON THE OTHER HAND IN WATERGATE THERE WAS A CONTEXT TO WATERGATE THERE WAS A CONTEXT TO ALL OF THIS, AND WE HAVE A ALL OF THIS, AND WE HAVE A PATTERN OF MISBEHAVIOR HERE BY PATTERN OF MISBEHAVIOR HERE BY PRESIDENT TRUMP AS WE DID WITH PRESIDENT TRUMP AS WE DID WITH RICHARD NIXON. RICHARD NIXON. IT WASN’T JUST THE BREAK IN AND IT WASN’T JUST THE BREAK IN AND THE COVER UP, IT WAS MANY OTHER THE COVER UP, IT WAS MANY OTHER THINGS AS WELL. THINGS AS WELL. IT WAS CAMPAIGN VIOLATIONS. IT WAS CAMPAIGN VIOLATIONS. IT WAS CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. IT WAS CONTEMPT OF CONGRESS. IT WAS ABUSE OF POWER. IT WAS ABUSE OF POWER. WE HAVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS WE HAVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS HERE, AND SO THERE MAY NEED TO HERE, AND SO THERE MAY NEED TO BE AT LEAST THREE POTS OF BE AT LEAST THREE POTS OF EVIDENCE THAT GET LOOKED AT AND EVIDENCE THAT GET LOOKED AT AND REVIEWED, BUT THIS ONE IS BIG REVIEWED, BUT THIS ONE IS BIG AND SEEMS TO HAVE CAUGHT THE AND SEEMS TO HAVE CAUGHT THE PUBLIC ATTENTION BECAUSE THEY PUBLIC ATTENTION BECAUSE THEY CAN UNDERSTAND AND BECAUSE IT CAN UNDERSTAND AND BECAUSE IT AFFECTS THE UPCOMING ELECTION. AFFECTS THE UPCOMING ELECTION. WE’RE NOT LOOKING BACK ANYMORE. WE’RE NOT LOOKING BACK ANYMORE. WE’RE LOOKING TOWARD IS THIS WE’RE LOOKING TOWARD IS THIS ELECTION SAFE OR IS THE ELECTION SAFE OR IS THE PRESIDENT GOING TO USE FOREIGN PRESIDENT GOING TO USE FOREIGN POWERS TO HELP HIM WIN? POWERS TO HELP HIM WIN?>>OF COURSE, THE NEXT PIECE OF>>OF COURSE, THE NEXT PIECE OF INFORMATION THAT WILL COME INFORMATION THAT WILL COME OUT — A FRESHMAN REP FROM NEW OUT — A FRESHMAN REP FROM NEW YORK, A REPUBLICAN WHO SAW IT YORK, A REPUBLICAN WHO SAW IT AND SAID I DO NOT SUPPORT AND SAID I DO NOT SUPPORT IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP. IMPEACHMENT OF PRESIDENT TRUMP. SHE GOES ONTO SAY I JUST READ SHE GOES ONTO SAY I JUST READ THE WHISTLE-BLOWER COMPLAINT THE WHISTLE-BLOWER COMPLAINT AVAILABLE. AVAILABLE. IT SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY IT SHOULD BE IMMEDIATELY DECLASSIFIED AND RELEASED TO THE DECLASSIFIED AND RELEASED TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. AMERICAN PEOPLE. ONE THING THAT STRUCK ME ABOUT ONE THING THAT STRUCK ME ABOUT THIS EXCHANGE AND YOU WORKED IN THIS EXCHANGE AND YOU WORKED IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, AND THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION, AND YOUR WIFE WORKED AS A U.N. YOUR WIFE WORKED AS A U.N. AMBASSADOR, AND YOU’VE BEEN ON AMBASSADOR, AND YOU’VE BEEN ON SORT OF THE INSIDE OF HOW POLICY SORT OF THE INSIDE OF HOW POLICY GETS MADE, THERE’S NOTHING ABOUT GETS MADE, THERE’S NOTHING ABOUT THE NATIONAL INTEREST, NOTHING THE NATIONAL INTEREST, NOTHING ABOUT U.S. POLICY. ABOUT U.S. POLICY. THIS IS LIKE DONALD TRUMP REAL THIS IS LIKE DONALD TRUMP REAL ESTATE MOGUL TRYING TO MAKE SOME ESTATE MOGUL TRYING TO MAKE SOME KIND OF DEAL TO BENEFIT HIMSELF. KIND OF DEAL TO BENEFIT HIMSELF.>>WELL, I WANT TO BE A LITTLE>>WELL, I WANT TO BE A LITTLE CAREFUL — YOU’RE RIGHT BUT I CAREFUL — YOU’RE RIGHT BUT I WANT TO BE A LITTLE CAREFUL WANT TO BE A LITTLE CAREFUL HERE. HERE. SO MISBEHAVIOR ON THE PART OF SO MISBEHAVIOR ON THE PART OF THE PRESIDENT OR FUTURE THREATS THE PRESIDENT OR FUTURE THREATS ARE NOT IMPEACHABLE. ARE NOT IMPEACHABLE. FOR THE PRESIDENT TO HAVE A FOR THE PRESIDENT TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH A FOREIGN CONVERSATION WITH A FOREIGN LEADER THAT DOESN’T DEAL WITH LEADER THAT DOESN’T DEAL WITH FOREIGN POLICY BUT BASICALLY FOREIGN POLICY BUT BASICALLY CONGRATULATIONS, THAT’S CONGRATULATIONS, THAT’S COMPLETELY FINE. COMPLETELY FINE. IF THERE ARE THINGS UNTOWARD OR IF THERE ARE THINGS UNTOWARD OR INAPPROPRIATE THAT’S ALSO FINE INAPPROPRIATE THAT’S ALSO FINE IN THE SENSE IT DOESN’T AMOUNT IN THE SENSE IT DOESN’T AMOUNT TO A HIGH CRIME OR MISDEMEANOR. TO A HIGH CRIME OR MISDEMEANOR. SO THE GRAVITY OF WHAT WE’RE SO THE GRAVITY OF WHAT WE’RE INVOLVED IN AND THE MAJESTY INVOLVED IN AND THE MAJESTY WHICH GOES BACK TO THE AMERICAN WHICH GOES BACK TO THE AMERICAN FOUNDING EVEN THE REVOLUTION FOUNDING EVEN THE REVOLUTION ITSELF, I THINK WARRANTS A FOCUS ITSELF, I THINK WARRANTS A FOCUS ON WHAT IS SPECIFICALLY THE ON WHAT IS SPECIFICALLY THE CONCERN HERE AND TO FOCUS ON ONE CONCERN HERE AND TO FOCUS ON ONE THING ALONE IS REALLY A GOOD THING ALONE IS REALLY A GOOD IDEA THAT IS ENGAGEMENT WITH A IDEA THAT IS ENGAGEMENT WITH A FOREIGN LEADER TO GET FOREIGN LEADER TO GET INVESTIGATION OF A POLITICAL INVESTIGATION OF A POLITICAL OPPONENT. OPPONENT. THAT IS DOUBLY HARMFUL FROM A THAT IS DOUBLY HARMFUL FROM A CONSTITUTIONAL POINT OF VIEW. CONSTITUTIONAL POINT OF VIEW. FIRST AS NRTSFERENCE IN OUR FIRST AS NRTSFERENCE IN OUR CAPACITY WITH SELF-GOVERNMENT CAPACITY WITH SELF-GOVERNMENT AND SECONDLY IT’S AN AND SECONDLY IT’S AN INTERFERENCE WITH THE LIBERTY OF INTERFERENCE WITH THE LIBERTY OF AN AMERICAN CITIZEN THAT IS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN THAT IS FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN AND HIS SON. HIS SON. AND SO THOSE ARE TWO PROBLEMS, AND SO THOSE ARE TWO PROBLEMS, AND THEY’RE EXTREMELY SPECIFIC AND THEY’RE EXTREMELY SPECIFIC PROBLEMS. PROBLEMS. IT’S NOT ABOUT PATTERNS OF IT’S NOT ABOUT PATTERNS OF MISBEHAVIOR, NOT ABOUT CLIMATE MISBEHAVIOR, NOT ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE OR DISLIKING 90% OF WHAT CHANGE OR DISLIKING 90% OF WHAT PRESIDENT TRUMP BELIEVES IN. PRESIDENT TRUMP BELIEVES IN. THOSE ARE PART OF LEGITIMATE THOSE ARE PART OF LEGITIMATE DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES. DEMOCRATIC PROCESSES. WE HAVE TWO SPECIFIC THINGS WE HAVE TWO SPECIFIC THINGS WHICH ARE WARRANTING AN WHICH ARE WARRANTING AN IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY.

“Smoking Gun”: Richard Nixon and Bob Haldeman discuss the Watergate break-in, June 23, 1972


>>NARRATOR: The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum presents A selection from the White House Tapes Conversation 741-002,
which took place on June 23, 1972>>BOB HALDEMAN: Yeah, that’s fine.
Now, on that investigation, you know, the Democratic break-in thing, we’re back to the-in the, the problem area
because the FBI is not under control, because Gray doesn’t exactly know how to control them, and they have — their investigation is now leading into some productive areas because they’ve been able to trace the money, not through the money itself, but through the bank, you know, sources — the banker himself.
And, and it goes in some directions we don’t want it to go. Uh, also there have been some things,
like an informant came in off the street to the FBI in Miami, who, uh, who was a photographer or has a friend who is a photographer who developed some films through this guy Barker, and the films had, uh, pictures of Democratic National Committee letterhead documents and things. So he’s got —
it’s things like that that are going to, that are filtering in. Mitchell came up with yesterday, and John Dean analyzed very carefully last night and concludes, concurs now with Mitchell’s recommendation that the only way to solve this —
and we’re set up beautifully to do it, ah, in that and that…the only network that paid any attention to it last night was NBC, who did did a massive story on the Cuban>>PRESIDENT RICHARD NIXON: That’s right.
>>HALDEMAN: thing.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Right.>>HALDEMAN: That the way to handle this now is
for us to have Walters call Pat Gray and just say, “Stay the hell out of this. This is, ah — there’s some business here we don’t want you to go any further on it.” That’s not an unusual development>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: and, uh, that would take care of it.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: What about Pat Gray, ah… You mean, he doesn’t want to?
>>HALDEMAN: Pat does want to. He doesn’t know how to, and he doesn’t have, he doesn’t have any basis for doing it. Given this, he will then have the basis. He’ll call Mark Felt in, and the two of them —
and Mark Felt wants to cooperate because>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Yeah.
>>HALDEMAN: he’s ambitious.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Yeah.>>HALDEMAN: Ah, he’ll call him in and say, “We’ve, we’ve got the signal from across the river to, to put the hold on this.” And that will fit rather well because the FBI agents who are working the case, at this point, feel that’s what it is: This is CIA.
[Telephone ringing in background]>>PRESIDENT NIXON: But they’ve traced the money to whom?
>>HALDEMAN: Well, they have, they’ve traced to a name, but they haven’t gotten to the guy yet.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Who is it? Is it somebody here?>>HALDEMAN: Ken Dahlberg.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Who the hell is Ken Dahlberg?>>HALDEMAN: He’s a — he gave $25,000 in Minnesota and, ah, the check went directly in to this, to this guy Barker.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, maybe he’s a… He didn’t, he didn’t get this from the Committee, though; this is from Stans.
>>HALDEMAN: Yeah. It is. It is. It’s directly traceable and there’s some more through
some Texas people in — that went to the Mexican bank, which they can also trace to the Mexican bank.
They’ll get their names today. And–
[pause]>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, I mean, ah, there’s no way — I’m just thinking, if they don’t cooperate, what do they say? They, they, they were approached by the Cubans. That’s what Dahlberg has to say; the Texans, too. Is that the idea?
>>HALDEMAN: Well, if they will. But then we’re relying on more and more people all the time. That’s the problem. And, ah, it does stop, if we could, if we take this other step.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right. All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: And, and they seem to feel the thing to do is get them to stop.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: They say the only way to do that is a White House instruction. And it’s got to be to Helms and — ah, what’s his name? Walters.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Walters.>>HALDEMAN: And the proposal would be that Ehrlich– [coughs] Ehrlichman and I call them in
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine.>>HALDEMAN: and say, ah —
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: How do you call them in? Well, we protected Helms from one hell of a lot of things. >>HALDEMAN: That’s what Ehrlichman says.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Of course, this is, uh, this is, uh — Hunt will, that will uncover a lot of [unintelligible]
When you open that scab, there’s a hell of a lot of things that “we just feel that this would be very detrimental to
have this thing go any futher.” This involves these Cubans, and Hunt, and a lot of hanky-panky that we have nothing to do with, ourselves. Well, what the hell, did Mitchell know about this thing to much of a degree?
>>HALDEMAN: I think so. I don’t think he knew the details, but I think he knew.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: He didn’t know how it was going to be handled, though, with Dahlberg and the Texans and so forth?
Well, who was the asshole who did that? Is it Liddy? Is that the fellow? He must be a little nuts.
>>HALDEMAN: Yeah.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: I mean, he just isn’t well screwed on, is he?
Isn’t that the problem?>>HALDEMAN: No, but he was under pressure,
apparently, to get more information, and as he got more pressure, he pushed the people harder to move harder
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Pressure from Mitchell?>>HALDEMAN: Apparently.
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Oh, Mitchell, Mitchell. Is that the point that you made? [unintelligible]
>>HALDEMAN: [unintelligible], yeah.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: All right, fine. I understand it all. We won’t second-guess Mitchell and the rest. Thank God it wasn’t Colson.>>HALDEMAN: The FBI interviewed Colson yesterday. They determined that would be a good thing to do.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: Uh, to have him take an>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Mm-hmm.
>>HALDEMAN: interrogation, which he did. And that — the FBI guys working the case had concluded that there were one or two possibilities. 1) That this was a White House– They don’t think there’s anything about the Election Committee. They think it was either a White House operation that had some obscure reasons for it — non-political. Or it was, uh, the Cubans and the CIA. And after their interrogation of, of Colson
>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Colson>>HALDEMAN: yep, they concluded it was not the White House so they are now convinced it is a CIA thing. So the CIA turnoff would–>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Well, I’m not sure of Helms [unintelligible]. I’m not going to get that closely involved.
>>HALDEMAN: No, sir. We don’t want you to.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: You call him. You got that?
>>HALDEMAN: Good deal.>>PRESIDENT NIXON: Play it tough. That’s the way they play it,
and that’s the way we’re going to play it.>>HALDEMAN: Okay.>>NARRATOR: For more information, please visit www.NixonLibrary.gov

Impeachment: Public opinion from Nixon to Clinton to Trump | IN 60 SECONDS


As the House Judiciary Committee widens
its impeachment investigation, where does the public stand? And how do today’s
polls compare to past polls about impeaching Nixon and Clinton? In a July
poll, 45% said Trump should be impeached and removed from office. The opinions of
Democrats and Republicans differ dramatically. Independents were split, 46
yes, 51 no. The year before Richard Nixon left office, 24% said that he should be
impeached. Using a different question a year later, 58% said the charges were
serious enough to warrant his being removed. In 11 polls, no more than 35
percent said that Clinton should be impeached. In each case, public opinion on
impeachment impacted congressional elections. Nixon resigned, and the
Republicans lost seats. For Clinton, impeachment efforts backfired —
he remained in office and Democrats gained seats. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi
has tried to slow walk impeachment talk because she knows it is a political
loser now without broader public support. Do you think Democrats will gain from an
impeachment inquiry? Let us know in our poll. Also, let us know what other topics
you’d like our scholars to cover in 60 seconds, and be sure to like and
subscribe for more research and videos from AEI.

25 Biggest Political Scandals In History


Politics can be quite a dirty business, leading
to some of the biggest scandals in history. Because of the many perks that are included,
such as fame, power, money, and honor, there are certain politicians that cannot control
themselves and give in to the temptations of corruption and greed. There are others
that are falsely accused or claims falsely exaggerated, but the scandal remains. Whether
Democrat or Republican, some of the more common scandals have to do with extramarital affairs,
excessive use of funds, improper utilization of taxes, and more. While these are far from
the only political scandals, these were some of the most newsworthy and influential scandals
of their time. I’m Mike with List25 and Here are the 25 Biggest Political Scandals In History
that truly stand out. 25.
The Profumo Affair was a 1963 British political scandal named after John Profumo, Secretary
of State for War. His affair with Christine Keeler, the reputed mistress of an alleged
Soviet spy, followed by his lying in the House of Commons when he was questioned about it,
forced his resignation and damaged the reputation of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan’s
government. Macmillan himself resigned a few months later because of ill health. 24.
Wilbur Mills was a popular US congressman, but things fell apart for him after getting
a DUI right after engaging in a scuffle with Argentinean stripper, Fanne Fox. To make things
even more comical, when he was pulled over, she was actually with him in the car. Before
the police officer could even say a word, however, she jumped out the back and dove
into a drainage ditch, after which she was taken to a mental hospital and left Wilbur
with some serious explaining to do. 23.
The Keating Five were five US Senators accused of corruption in 1989, igniting a major political
scandal as part of the larger Savings and Loan crisis of the late 80’s. Basically they
had prevented Charles Keating, Chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association,
from being audited in return for receiving campaign funding. Unfortunately for everybody
else in America, the association collapsed under the corruption, causing billions of
dollars worth of damages and ruining the senators’ reputations. 22.
From June 18-24, 2009, the whereabouts of politician Mark Sanford were unknown to the
public, as well as to his wife and the State Law Enforcement Division, which provided security
for him. He had told his staff that he would be hiking the Appalachian Trial but failed
to answer any phone calls. Not long afterwards, however, reporter Gina Smith ran into him
at the airport in Atlanta returning from Argentina. Apparently he had a mistress and had decided
to go pay her a visit. 21.
Long before his picture perfect royal wedding, Prince Harry attended a private party and
was photographed wearing an armband with a Nazi insignia. While this was only one of
many scandals the hard-partying prince was caught up in during his adolescence, it was
the most memorable for many, and led to an official apology by the prince and palace. 20.
In the Chappaquiddick incident on July 18, 1969, Mary Jo Kopechne, a female passenger
of U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted†Kennedy, was killed when he accidentally drove
his car off a bridge and into a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts. Kennedy
swam free and left the scene but Kopechne died in the vehicle. Early the next day, Kopechne’s
body and the car were recovered. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of
an accident after causing injury and received a two-month suspended jail sentence. The incident
became a national scandal, and may have influenced Kennedy’s decision not to campaign
for President in ’72 and ’76. 19.
Although President Chen Shui-bian wanted to see a strong and independent Taiwan, his
family’s (and his own) lack of self control managed to undermine many of his positions.
His son-in-law was caught money laundering and insider trading, his wife wired over $21
million to various banks in the world, and he was arrested after his resignation for
embezzlement of funds and receiving bribes. High aspirations don’t necessarily
make good leaders. 18.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was involved in a lot of messes in his 17 years
in office. He was known as a playboy, fraud, swindler, and gangster. Basically anything
bad…that’s what he was. The most famous of his escapades, however, were probably
the huge promiscuous parties he threw that have come to be known by the nonsensical term
bunga bunga. 17.
Moshe Katsav, former President of Israel, was accused of raping and sexually harassing
up to ten women. While he was still in office, police raided his house and seized computers
and documents. There were calls for him to resign or suspend himself from the presidency
which he refused to do. After stepping down, however, he lost his presidential immunity
and was promptly convicted of the crimes, only to be released five years into his seven
year term. 16.
When North Dakota Governor William Langer took office in 1932, he and five co-conspirators
required all state employees to donate part of their annual salaries to their political
party. This wasn’t prohibited by state law and was a common, traditional practice. However,
when donations were made by highway department employees, who were paid through federal relief
programs, the US attorney charged that the donations constituted a conspiracy to defraud
the federal government. Langer and his colleagues were eventually brought to court. Although
he was convicted of a felony and told to resign as governor, he ended up declaring North Dakota
independent, instituting martial law, and barricading himself in the governor’s
mansion until the Supreme Court would meet with him. Eventually, a settlement was reached
and a new governor was chosen. 15.
The election between George Bush and Al Gore was plagued with issues, but it wasn’t
until Florida bungled its voting system that the trouble really began. With the world watching,
Florida was in the spotlight until the courts stepped in and chose President Bush. 14.
Gary Condit, a former representative from California, was reported to have an affair
with Chandra Levy, an intern at his Washinton DC office. After she disappeared, he admitted
to the affair but denied anything to do with her disappearance. He was cleared as a suspect,
however, when Chandra’s body was found and police determine that Ingmar Guandique,
a Salvadorian immigrant, was responsible. However, charges against Guandique were later
dismissed for lack of evidence. 13.
On September 28, 2006, ABC News Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross reported that in
2005, congressman Mark Foley had sent email messages from his personal AOL account to
a former Congressional page, asking the page to send a photo of himself to Foley, among
other things. Foley’s office confirmed that Foley had sent the messages but said
it has a practice of asking for photos of individuals who may ask for recommendations
and that the page had requested a recommendation. Eventually, however, other pages ended up
coming forward and led to a severely tarnished reputation. 12.
Once thought to be an anti-apartheid hero, former South African President Jacob Zuma
fell from grace after multiple scandals hit his nine-year presidency. Most pronounced
was his relationship with the Gupta business family, which was reportedly responsible for
him rapidly hiring and firing finance ministers, leading to a decline in South Africa’s credit
ratings. In 2017, South Africa’s high court voted to reinstate 783 charges of corruption
and fraud against the president, leading to his resignation in February 2018. 11.
Although the National Enquirer isn’t known as the most legitimate news source,
they did manage to spill the beans on Presidential hopeful and Senator John Edwards’ affair with
videographer Rielle Hunter. The scandal was further complicated by Edwards’ use of
campaign funds to cover up the affair, his wife’s terminal breast cancer, and his admission
that he fathered a child with Hunter. 10.
According to published reports, investigators believe Elliot Spitzer paid up to $80,000
for prostitutes over a period of several years while he was Attorney General, and later as
Governor. Spitzer first drew the attention of federal investigators when his bank reported
suspicious money transfers, which initially led investigators to believe that Spitzer
may have been hiding bribe proceeds. The investigation of the governor led to the discovery of the
prostitution ring, after which he obviously resigned. 9.
Throughout his campaign and much of his presidency, President Obama faced wide spread rumors and
controversy regarding the validity of his Hawaiian birth certificate. While the release
of his short and long form birth certificates proved his Hawaiian birth, many conspiracy
theorists believe these certificates are forgeries. 8.
Infamous for his firm denial and then subsequent admission of having an affair with 22-year-old
White House aid Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton faced impeachment on the grounds of perjury
and obstruction of justice, although he was later acquitted. 7.
Suspecting Louisiana congressman William Jefferson of bribery, the FBI raided his offices in
May 2006, but he was re-elected later that year. On June 4, 2007, however, a federal
grand jury indicted Jefferson on sixteen felony charges related to corruption which led to
a 13-year prison sentence. The FBI’s search of Jefferson’s office was the first of its
kind and was disputed all the way to the Supreme Court – changing the way congressional investigations
can be conducted. 6.
In the era of the #MeToo movement, widespread reports began to come to light regarding sexual
harassment within the US government. One of the most shocking results of this newfound
attention was that tax-payers were funding settlements for sexual harassment against
congressmen and that all victims of sexual harassment in congress were made to sign an
agreement barring them from talking about the harassment. Due to this attention, congressional
policies and general public opinion has drastically changed. 5.
On July 14, 2003, Washington Post journalist Robert Novak, from information obtained from
Richard Armitage at the US State Department, effectively ended Valerie Plame’s career
with the CIA (from which she later resigned in December 2005) by revealing in his column
her identity as a CIA operative. Lewis “Scooter†Libby, adviser to then Vice President Dick
Cheney, was eventually determined to the be source of the leak and subsequently charged.
This led to a widespread discussion regarding the safety and security of confidential operatives. 4.
In 2013, it was reported that while Secretary of State, Secretary Hillary Clinton used a
private email server in addition to her secured government server for official government
business. During the 2016 presidential campaign, Secretary Clinton was investigated for her
use of this server for handling classified information. While the investigation led to
no charges, the political fury during the election and the later investigations into
how the investigation was handled make this a scandal that is still talked about today. 3.
After the conclusion of the 2016 Presidential Election, a joint task force of the FBI, CIA,
NSA, and the Department of Homeland security found that Russia had intentionally interfered
with the US Presidential election with the intention of improving Donald Trump’s chances
of winning. While it is now well accepted that Russia did interfere with the election,
the resulting special counsel investigation into whether or not President Trump’s campaign
was aware of Russia’s involvement is still open, making this our largest unresolved political
scandal on this list. 2.
Also referred to as Irangate, the Iran–Contra Affair involved US President Ronald Reagan’s
senior administration officials secretly facilitating the sale of arms to Iran, the subject of an
arms embargo. They had hoped that the arms sales would secure the release of hostages
and allow U.S. intelligence agencies to fund the Nicaraguan Contras. Unfortunately for
them, the plan was uncovered and led to a huge international mess. 1.
The Watergate scandal blew up after the June 1972 break in at the Democratic National Committee
headquarters in the Watergate office complex of Washington DC. The Nixon administration
initially attempted to cover-up its involvement, but it eventually led to Nixon’s resignation,
the first and only presidential resignation to date. There is still no conclusive understanding
of what they were actually trying to accomplish with the break in. Enjoying our lists? Be sure to click that
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