SENATE WATERGATE HEARINGS BEGIN-THIS DAY 1973

 

 

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On this day in 1973 the U.S. Senate began their hearings on the Watergate scandal- the hearings would last until August 7th. The three major networks at the time agreed to take turns in telecasting the hearings. This was must see televison- I was only 12 but I can remember spending a lot of that summer watching the hearings. A key moment was when White House assistant Alexander Butterfield was asked if there was any type of recording system at the White House. Butterfield was kind of reluctant to answer but did- saying that there was a new recording system in the Oval Office, Cabinet Room, as well as in the private office of President Nixon’s in the Old Executive Office Building. Without the tapes does Nixon survive his presidency? He would resign on August 8, 1974 after a long drawn out affair. When the Republicans in the U.S. Senate turned against him the gig was up. The system worked.

In the above picture the first man would become a familiar face- minority counsel Fred Thompson -who would gain fame as an actor and politician- and he ran for president for about 5 minutes once, Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee {supposedly Thompson is the one who supplied Baker with the famous “What did the president know and when did he know it?” line and Sen. Sam Ervin of North Carolina who led the committee.

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