Transcript of Film in "Battle for the Tapes" Section
The Senate Watergate Committee today filed a civil suit in Federal Court in an attempt to get President Nixon to give up his Watergate tapes.
President Nixon refused, citing executive privilege.
The United States Circuit Court of Appeals rules that President Nixon must release the oval office tapes to Judge John Sirica. The White House proposes a compromise which Special Prosecutor Cox declines. Cox is asked by Nixon to resign and refuses.
In breath-taking succession tonight, the following historic events occurred. The President of the United States demanded that the Attorney General fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was supervising the bringing to justice of all persons involved in the Watergate Case and related crimes. The Attorney General, Elliott Richardson, refused and resigned. The President then ordered the Assistant Attorney General, the Deputy to Elliott Richardson, William Ruckelshaus to fire the Special Prosecutor. Ruckelshaus refused. The President immediately fired Ruckelshaus. Solicitor General, Robert Bourke quickly was named Acting Attorney General. Bourke was ordered to fire Special Prosecutor Cox. He did.
This event has been dubbed, “The Saturday Night Massacre.” By late October, the House Judiciary Committee for Impeachment had widened its inquiry.
“…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.”
President Nixon today gave up those Watergate tapes, Fred Graham covered the story:
The controversy produced an historic moment as the White House finally turned the tapes over to Judge Sirica - 21 weeks after they were subpoenaed and amid a storm of controversy because 2 tapes are absent and a third has an18-minute portion that's been erased.
The President's personal secretary repeated again that she was responsible for accidentally erasing some of the tape. But she insisted that she erased only about 5 minutes worth and said she was surprised when told of the 18 missing minutes.