Sermon on the Hill: Sam Ervin Quotes from Watergate Hearing - Rolling Stone
Home Politics Politics News

Sermon on the Hill: A Sam Ervin Sampler

Watergate: A Summer Recess Reader continues with the wit and wisdom of Chairman Sam Ervin in the Watergate hearings

Watergate Hearing, Senator Howard Baker, Senator Sam Irvin, Majority Council Sam Dash, Senator Herman E Talmadge, Senator Daniel Inouye, James McCordWatergate Hearing, Senator Howard Baker, Senator Sam Irvin, Majority Council Sam Dash, Senator Herman E Talmadge, Senator Daniel Inouye, James McCord

Watergate Hearing: May 18th, 1973. (left to right) Senator Howard Baker, Senator Sam Irvin, Majority Council Sam Dash, Senator Herman E Talmadge and Senator Daniel Inouye listening to the testimony of James McCord.

Gene Forte/Getty

Samuel James Ervin, Jr., the son of a North Carolina lawyer, reluctantly left the judicial bench in 1946 to run for a state office vacated by his brother’s death; then reluctantly entered national politics in 1954 and straightaway led the fight to censure Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Cold War witch hunter. Courage had gone in short supply in the Senate at that time, but Sam Ervin seemed to have it to spare, as his military decorations from World War I—gallantry in action citations, Purple Heart and all—attested.

Today he faces the last of the Cold War warriors, Richard M. Nixon, with the same determined spirit. The contrast between the two men could not be clearer. It showed in every newspaper or magazine that ever ran photos of them side by side. The lines in their faces say plainly which man is accustomed to smiling. For the first time since the ill-managed McGovern campaign there is opposition to Nixon’s unprincipled lust for personal power, and an effective spokesman against the program of repression Nixon put into effect after he took over the White House.

More extraordinary than Ervin’s sense of humor is his uncompromising belief in the Constitution as a basis of government. A “strict constructionist,” presumably after Mr. Nixon’s heart, he has phrased his passionate Constitutionalism in resounding measures that owe much to Shakespeare and the Bible, but surely as much to the great jurists of Anglo-American common law.

“I don’t think we have any such thing as royalty or nobility that exempts them,” says Ervin of the White House, and one realizes how much the issues of the American Revolution are living ones to him and not eighth-grade clichés. He has been a consistent and eloquent enemy of such ominous inspirations as no-knock laws and military surveillance of civilians.

Ervin is a States’ Rights man on Constitutional grounds. Ironically, he is vilified by rightists who just a year ago were complacent “strict constructionists”: Jim Fuller of the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer reports his newspaper gets calls at all hours of the day and night, some from as far away as Houston, demanding that “that fat, senile old man” lay off the President. “The most common threat,” Fuller says, “is castration.” Ervin doesn’t look worried.

A Black Cloud of Distrust

[May 17th, 1973]

We are beginning these hearings today in an atmosphere of utmost gravity. The questions, that have been raised in the wake of the June 17th break-in, strike at the very undergirding of our democracy. If the many allegations made to this date are true, then the burglars who broke into the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate were in effect breaking into the home of every citizen of the United States.

If these allegations prove to be true, what they were seeking to steal was not the jewels, money or other property of American citizens, but something much more valuable—their most precious heritage, the right to vote in a free election. Since that day, a mood of incredulity has prevailed among our populace, and it is the constitutional duty of this committee to allay the fears being expressed by the citizenry, and to establish the factual bases upon which these fears have been founded.

The Founding Fathers, having participated in the struggle against arbitrary power, comprehended some eternal truths respecting men and government. They knew that those who are entrusted with power are susceptible to the disease of tyrants, which George Washington rightly described as “love of power and the proneness to abuse it.” For that reason, they realized that the power of public officers should be defined by laws which they, as well as the people, are obligated to obey.

The Constitution, later adopted amendments and, more specifically, statutory law provide that the electoral processes shall be conducted by the people, outside the confines of the formal branches of government, and through a political process that must operate under the strictures of law and ethical guidelines, but independent of the overwhelming power of the government itself. Only then can we be sure that each electoral process cannot be made to serve as the mere handmaiden of a particular Administration in power.

The accusations that have been leveled and the evidence of wrongdoing that has surfaced has cast a black cloud of distrust over our entire society. Our citizens do not know whom to believe, and many of them have concluded that all the processes of government have become so compromised that honest governance has been rendered impossible. We believe that the health, if not the survival, of our social structure and of our form of government requires the most candid and public investigation of all the evidence…. As the elected representatives of the people, we would be derelict in our duty to them if we failed to pursue our mission expeditiously, fully, and with the utmost fairness. The nation and history itself are watching us. We cannot fail our mission.

The Questioning of Maurice Stans

[Q] Why are there not complete records?

[A] Well, at one time, Mr. Chairman, some of the records were removed from the committee’s files and destroyed.

[Q] Why were they destroyed?

[A] They were destroyed because there was no requirement that they be kept, and insofar as contributors were concerned we wanted to respect the anonymity that they had sought and that they were then entitled to under the law.

[Q] Were they destroyed before or after the break-in?

[A] They were destroyed after the break-in, and I would insist, Mr. Chairman, that there is no relevance between the two.

[Q] You swear—you are stating upon your oath—that there is no connection between the destruction of these records and the break-in of the Watergate or any fear that the press or the public might find out from these records what the truth was about these matters?

[A] Well, let me speak only with respect to myself. I will say to you that there was no connection between my destruction of the summary sheets given me by Mr. Sloan and the Watergate affair.

[Q] Well, it was quite a queer coincidence, was it not?

[A] It would …

[Q] Rather a suspicious coincidence, that the records which showed these matters were destroyed six days after the break-in at the Watergate.

[A] Mr. Chairman, the adjectives are yours.

[Q] Don’t you think it rather suspicious?

[A] No, I do not think so, Senator.

[Q] Do you think it is kind of normal in the way of things to expect people who had records concerning outlays of campaign funds to destroy those records after five men are caught in an act of burglary with money from the committee in their pockets?

[A] On April 6th I asked Mr. Sloan to build up the records of all the contributors and he did so. I asked him on April 10th before I left on my vacation to balance out his cash account. He did both these things pursuant to my requests. Now, the fact that they came to me after the Watergate was pure and innocent coincidence.

[Q] Was Mr. Liddy the one who gave you the legal advice to destroy the records?

[A] Mr. Liddy was one of those who gave us legal advice. I remind the chairman in all fairness that at the time Mr. Liddy gave us the legal advice, he was in good standing as our counsel.

[Q] Why did you destroy the summary which Mr. Sloan gave you on the third of June?

[A] I have testified before that I had it on my desk for a few days, that I was interested in the names of the contributors because I wanted to be sure that we had a record of that.

[Q] What I am asking you is why you were interested in destroying the things you were interested in.

[A] For two reasons, Mr. Chairman, which I will try to explain again: Number one, it was possible to determine at any time from remaining records and from the recollection of people who had given that money. Number two: Under the law, there was no requirement that we keep these records.

[Q] Well, why destroy your previous records and why destroy your subsequent records and reduce yourself to the necessity of reconstructing something that you already had and destroyed?

[A] Very simply, for the reason …

[Q] It is too simple for me to understand, really.

[A] Mr. Chairman, for the reason that we were seeking to protect the privacy, the confidentiality of the contributions on behalf of the contributors.

[Q] In other words, you decided that the right of the contributors to have their contributions concealed was superior to the right of the American citizens to know who was making contributions to influence the election of the President of the United States. Mr. Stans, do you not think that men who have been honored by the American people as you have ought to have their course of action guided by ethical principles which are superior to the minimum requirements of the criminal laws?

[A] I do not have any quarrel with that, but there is an ethical question in whether or not I can take your money as a contributor with an understanding on your part that you are entitled to privacy in the contribution and then go around and release the figure to the public.

[Q] Will you please tell me why you disbursed $50,000 in cash to Mr. Lankler instead of by check.

[A] It is my recollection that he asked for it in that form because he wanted to mix it into the receipts of the party that was being held in Maryland.

[Q] In other words, they were holding a fund-raising dinner in the Vice President’s honor, and they wanted to make it appear that they took in $50,000 more than they actually took in, didn’t they? In other words, they wanted to practice a deception on the general public as to the amount of honor that was paid to the Vice President.

[A] Mr. Chairman, I am not sure that this is the first time that has happened in American politics.

You know there has been murder and larceny in every generation but that hasn’t made murder meritorious or larceny legal.

A Country Lawyer’s Imagination

[Q] How the emotional state or the psychological state of a patient, even if that patient was Ellsberg, could have any relation to national defense or relations to a foreign country is something which eludes the imagination of this country lawyer. Now, Mr. Ehrlichman, I’d like to ask you one question: Why, if the President has this much power, wouldn’t he have had the inherent power to have sent somebody out there with a pistol and have it pointed at the psychiatrist and said, “I’m not gonna commit burglary, I’m just gonna rob you of these records”? Wouldn’t he have had that prerogative, under your theory?

[A] I think this is the same question Senator Talmadge approached, and undoubtedly, in a situation such as I have put—for instance where you knew there was going to be an atomic attack tomorrow—undoubtedly a measure of that kind might be necessary. Now somewhere in between, somewhere in between, there is a line…. And you will recall, the Congress said “such means as the President will determine.” And that, I think, as Mr. Wilson pointed out this morning, was endorsed by the committee of which you are the chairman, sir.

Well, that’s not what that bill said. It said the President could exercise his constitutional powers according to his determination. It didn’t say he had any constitutional powers such as you state, because the court held in this case, the thing it held principally, was that you couldn’t exercise electronic surveillance without a warrant complying with the Fourth Amendment for the purpose of gathering intelligence about domestic subversion.

A Queer Kind of Morals

[From an interview, May 16th]

The purpose is to determine whether a conspiracy was conceived and hatched between White House aides and the Committee for the Re-Election of the President to disrupt and pollute the process by which Presidents of the United States are chosen….

The most precious value of civilization is the right of a citizen under the Constitution not to be unduly oppressed by his government. There are people that wouldn’t steal a penny of your money but who would steal your vote. That is a queer kind of morals.

It Is Not Enough to Say, We Were Bad Boys

[Remarks before the Senate, January 1970]

I regret to inform the Senate that I have received new information which, if true, gives yet more details of the military intelligence activities that have been directed against the American people. I have received information from a former Army intelligence agent that during the course of its surveillance of domestic political activities, the Army was not merely concerned with fringe groups which may have demonstrated a predilection for violence or illegal conduct. The individuals who were “targeted” for surveillance—spying, in common parlance—include a member of this body, the former Governor of Illinois, and a member of the other body; state and local officials; plus well-known political contributors of both parties, newspaper reporters, religious figures, lawyers and local and national political figures. These are only a few of the reportedly 800 individuals who were the targets of the military intelligence system in only one state, Illinois.

As reported to me, the reason for this surveillance was that the Army could determine the political proclivities of the individuals involved and forecast their reactions to certain situations. It was enough that they opposed or did not actively support the Government’s policy in Vietnam, or that they disagreed with domestic policies of the Administration or that they were in contact with or sympathetic to people with such views. Apparently, anyone who in the Army’s definition of “left of center” was a prospective candidate for political surveillance.

I believe it is necessary that the Army now disclose to the American people the full details of what they were doing and what they continue to do. It is not enough for them to say that they made a mistake, were bad boys and will not do it again. They must disclose in full what happened and why it happened and what has been done to insure that it will never happen again. Only by making a full disclosure will the American people be assured that the military will not at some time in the future assume again for itself the role of “defender of the Constitution.” That is a military role played all too often in other countries where the democratic traditions are weak and the principle that the military stays out of politics is nonexistent. It is intolerable in the United States.

Citation of Wm. Pitt

I have always found that my heart is attuned to the eloquence of one of the greatest statesmen of England, William Pitt. In a speech in the House of Commons on November 18th, 1783, William Pitt had this to say in respect to an argument that something should be done because it was necessary:

“Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human liberty. It is the argument of tyrants. It is the creed of slaves.”

The Truth Without Further Delay

I do not accept the suggestion of the prosecution that the Senate investigation will impede the search for truth. On the contrary, the preparation for the investigation on the part of the committee has greatly accelerated the revelation of the truth. The Department of Justice and those acting under its authority or undertaking to discharge its duties have had an opportunity to deal with the Watergate affair for almost a year. We cannot afford the delay incident to awaiting further action by the Department of Justice. The people of this land are entitled to know the truth without further delay and are entitled to have their government resume its operations in a manner to promote their interest.

A Rather Remarkable Letter

This is a rather remarkable letter about the tapes. If you will notice, the President says he has heard the tapes or some of them, and they sustain his position. But he says he’s not going to let anybody else hear them for fear they might draw a different conclusion….

I’ll have to confess he’s making it more difficult for me and members of the committee to continue to cling to the presumption of innocence by continuing to withhold evidence which could tend to show that presumption should be sustained….

I think that Watergate is the greatest tragedy this country has ever suffered. I used to think that the Civil War was our country’s greatest tragedy, but I do remember some redeeming features in the Civil War in that there was some spirit of sacrifice and heroism displayed on both sides. I see no redeeming features in Watergate.

John Mitchell’s Fondest Wish

[Q] Mr. Mitchell, when Senator Talmadge asked you concerning your political activities in respect to the Committee to Re-Elect the President while you were still serving as Attorney General, you pointed out that it was not illegal for you to do that.

[A] Yes, sir. That is correct, Mr. Chairman.

[Q] Yes. Now I think we might meditate just a minute on what St. Paul said. He said, “All things are lawful unto me, but some things are not expedient.” Don’t you think it rather inexpedient for the chief law enforcement officer of the United States to be engaging, directly or indirectly, in managing political activities?

[A] I do, Senator.

[Q] Yes. I had hopes that was what you were going to do, because when you appeared before the Judiciary Committee back on January 14th, 1969, you and I had this little colloquy: “Ervin: ‘To my mind, there is something incompatible with marrying the function of the chief political adviser and chief agitator with that of prosecutor of crimes against the government.’

“Mitchell: ‘Senator, I would hope that my activities of a political nature have ended with the [1968] campaign. I might say that this was my first entry into a political campaign and I trust it will be my last.’

“Ervin: ‘Thank you, sir. I commend your answer.’ ” I am very sorry that you didn’t carry out the purpose.

[A] Mr. Chairman, that would have been my fondest wish. Unfortunately, it is very, very difficult to turn down a request from the President of the United States.

“The Certain Circumstances” of Mister Mitchell

[Q] But isn’t it a rule of evidence that when a person refuses to produce evidence within his power to produce, that an inference may be drawn that the reason he does not produce it is because he knows it may be unfavorable to him? … It is a rule of logic, it seems to me.

[A] I would agree with respect to the search for truth. But as I say, there is another factor involved here, and that has to do with the separation of powers.

[Q] I don’t believe there is anything in the Constitution that says the powers of the Presidency should be separated from truth.

[A] I would have thought that the Founding Fathers who wrote the Constitution might have left that out by design.

[Q] Well, I don’t think it ever occurred to them that a President wouldn’t be willing to do just exactly like President Nixon said we all ought to do (in his 1968 campaign speeches), that is, “To seek the truth, to find the truth, to speak the truth and live the truth.” And was it your fond hope that the truth would overtake anybody other than the seven people in the original case?

[A] It was my fond hope that whatever came out of it would not mar the Presidency.

[Q] It was another President, named George Washington, who had an adviser named Alexander Hamilton, and Hamilton laid down two precepts. One was, “But you must avoid the imputation of evading an enquiry and protecting a favorite.” Was it conceivable that you were trying to protect the President?

[A] Protect the Presidency, not from the fact that he was involved, but the fact that the derivative activities of the White House might cast a cloud on the Presidency.

[Q] And Hamilton also stated, “It was my duty to state facts to the President.” You don’t feel like it was your duty to state facts to the President?

[A] Under certain circumstances, there is no question about that.

May the Storm Enter?

[In Reply to John J. Wilson]

I do not believe the President has any power at all except such as the Constitution expressly gives him or such as are necessarily inferred from the expression of those powers. I think the Constitution was written that way to keep the President, and, of course, the Congress, from exercising tyrannical power.

… Where you and I part company is on the facts. I think we have a rather anomalous situation here. Here was the Government—they were not prosecuting Ellsberg through the agents of the Department of Justice for giving papers to Russia. They were just merely charging him with stealing papers that belonged to the Government, as I recall. And here were some employees of the White House that go out and for some strange reason—they do not trust the Justice Department to do the prosecuting all by itself—so they decided they ought to go and try to steal some documents from the doctor of a man who was being prosecuted for stealing from the Government, which is quite a peculiar situation, really.

No, I cannot see the slightest relationship between Dr. Fielding’s notions of the mental state of Daniel Ellsberg and foreign intelligence activities. The only activity the doctor was engaged in was trying to determine what the mental state of his patient was. He was not engaged in any foreign intelligence activities, and I think—this is my interpretation of the Constitution—I think that for the Plumbers to try to steal the doctor’s notes was domestic subversion and not in defense of this country against foreign intelligence activities.

No, I think your (1950) steel case, which I think is one of the remarkable cases, they held in that case—and I am sure largely on the basis of a very persuasive argument that you made—that the President, even though the U.S. was engaged in war in Korea and needed steel in order that the men fighting that war might have weapons and munitions, and even though industrial disputes were about to close down the source of that steel, namely the steel plants, they held that the President of the U.S. did not have any inherent power under the Constitution to seize steel mills for the purpose of securing a flow of munitions and weapons to American soldiers locked in battle with a foreign force. If the President does not have any inherent power under the Constitution to seize steel mills in order that he might carry on a war and furnish the weapons and munitions that will enable the soldiers to fight and prevent the destruction of themselves at the hands of the enemy, I think that he has no inherent power to steal a document from a psychiatrist’s office in time of peace….

I recall a statement of William Pitt the Younger: “The poorest man in his cottage may bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail. The storm may enter, the rain may enter. But the King of England may not enter. All his forces dare not cross the threshold of the ruined tenement.” And yet we are told here today that what the King of England can’t do, the President of the United States can.

Not at Little Cost

[Remarks before the Senate on the “no-knock” laws]

The provision of the statute which requires that, after the officer has emulated the actions of a burglar and broken into a house without notice, concealing the fact that he has a search warrant, that he then must tell the owner of the house who he is, reminds me of the little ditty which goes like this: “I have often heard of Lidford law/Where in the morn they hang and draw/And sit in judgment after.”

In other words, the officer is not to announce his purpose under the statute. He can break into the house like a burglar. He is given the pious requirement after he has done the damage, after he has violated a man’s castle and after he has flouted the Constitution, that he must tell the owner of the house he is an officer of the law and that is the reason he broke into the house, in the example of a burglar.

Anyone who is familiar with the history of the United States remembers the great fight which James Otis of Massachusetts made in the courts here against the issuance of general search warrants and writs of assistance. We know that the American Colonists, when they came here, claimed they had the same rights as any Englishman; but then they were subject to acts of the British Parliament which allowed exceptions—such as this act would allow—without notice or announcement of purpose or presence. Even though eight out of nine Colonies refused to issue such warrants, this matter became one of the causes of the American Revolution, that is, Americans should not be tyrannized by officers of the law searching their homes under circumstances such as 702(b) would authorize.

This is one of the great freedoms our forefathers purchased for us in their struggle with England, which they undertook to preserve when they put the Fourth Amendment into the Constitution. I am going to try to preserve this freedom, which was purchased for us not at little cost.

That Not One Drop of Blood Should Be Lost

They set up a military commission and they tried this man, a civilian, in a military court and sentenced him to death. One of the greatest lawyers this country ever produced, Jeremiah Black, brought the battle to the Supreme Court. And he told them in his argument, which was one of the greatest arguments of all time, how the Constitution of the United States came into being.

He said that the people who drafted and ratified that Constitution were determined that not one drop of the blood which had been shed throughout the ages to wrest power from arbitrary authority should be lost. So they went through all the great documents of the English law, from Magna Carta on down, and whatever they found there they incorporated in the Constitution, to preserve the liberties of the people.

Now, the argument was made by the Government in that case that although the Constitution gave a civilian the right to trial in civilian courts, and the right to be indicted before a grand jury before he could be put on trial, and then the right to be tried before a petty jury, the Government argued that the President had the inherent power to suspend those Constitutional principles, because of the great emergency which existed at the time when the country was torn apart in the civil strife.

The Supreme Court of the United States rejected the argument that the President had the inherent power to ignore or suspend any of the guarantees of the Constitution. And Judge David Davis said, in effect, “The good and wise men who drafted and ratified the Constitution foresaw that troublous times would arise, when rulers and people would become restive under restraint and seek by sharp and decisive measures to accomplish ends deemed just and proper. And that the principles of Constitutional liberty would be put in peril, unless established by irrepealable law.” Then he proceeded to say, “For these reasons, these good and wise men drafted and ratified the Constitution as a law for rulers and people alike, at all times, and under all circumstances.”

The Four Gospels of Mr. Helms

[A] Well, you know, Senator Ervin, at that time there was no intimation that this was undercover work. What I understood Mr. Hunt had told General Cushman was that he wanted to conduct an interview, and there was no intimation that this was undercover work.

[Q] Well, now, here is a wig. You didn’t think that the wig was to improve the appearance—the pulchritude of Mr. Hunt, did you?

[A] I assume that in retrospect, because I didn’t remember about the wig at the time, Mr. Chairman, as I have testified, but I have assumed in retrospect that Mr. Hunt wanted to conduct this interview disguising himself as someone else, but that we didn’t know that at the time.

[Q] When a man undertakes to disguise himself, he is engaged in undercover work, isn’t he?

[A] Well, we run into a definitional problem, sir.

[Q] Well, you didn’t think he applied for this voice alteration device in order to sing a different part in the choir, did you?

[A] Mr. Chairman, my problem here is that at the time that this was going on, I do not recall having been told that he had been given a wig and a voice alteration device. I found that out in May of this year.

[Q] Now, there has been some examination where perhaps you and General Walters had some discrepancy, there was some discrepancy of a slight nature in the testimony you gave before, I believe, Senator Symington’s committee.

[A] That is right, and this misunderstanding was all hanging out there in the committee. I mean, this is just the problem of human recollections. I was told by some gentleman this morning that people seem to have a good forgettery when they get into this chair. I do not pretend to be any better or worse than anyone else and my memory is fallible from time to time.

This question is not asked intimating any criticism at all, because I just illustrated myself this morning that my memory is quite fallible. And although there are some other good men’s memories—I will strike myself out of the good men—but the memories of other people are fallible. And the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John tell us that when Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, ordered the crucifixion of Christ, that he wrote out a title and had it placed on the cross. And where it is reduced to writing, it is more apt to be accurate than just what we hear. And it is rather significant that the writers of these four gospels disagreed exactly what this title that was put on the cross said.

The 37th verse of the 27th chapter of Matthew says that the writing that was put on the cross read, “This is Jesus, the King of the Jews.” The 26th verse of the 15th chapter of St. Mark says a different version, it says, “The King of the Jews.” The 38th verse of the 23rd chapter of St. Luke has still a different version of what was on this title, and it says, “This is the King of the Jews.” And then the 19th verse of the 19th chapter, St. John, has a fourth version of the words of the same title, rather, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

And so I say that if these four good men could have different versions of the same words, it is quite understandable why you and I and other human beings might have sort of fallible memories about things sometimes.

At This Point in Time

[From the conclusions of John W. Dean]

[Q] I will ask you if the Americans who were to be the subject of these information- or intelligence-gathering activities were designated by such terms as “subversive elements” without further definition.

[A] It was very broad, that is correct.

[Q] And second, “selected targets of internal security interests.”

[A] Yes, sir, again that was a very broad description.

[Q] Now, was there anything in the document that told who was going to do the selecting? These selected targets of internal security interests? And that was left up, by the document, to the imagination or interpretation of anybody engaged in the intelligence work?

[A] That is correct.

[Q] And I will ask you, as a lawyer, if you do not think that surreptitious entry or burglary and the electronic surveillance and penetration constituted a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

[A] Yes, sir, I do.

[Q] Hasn’t it always been a violation of the Fourth Amendment under the decisions of the court to resort to burglary for the purpose of getting information? And hasn’t the Supreme Court recently held by unanimous opinion that the use of electronic surveillance and penetration to obtain information concerning persons allegedly guilty of subversive—of domestic subversive—activities is also a violation of the Fourth Amendment?

[A] That is correct, Mr. Chairman.

[Q] Didn’t those in the White House interested in President Nixon’s re-election and then the re-election committee classify among their enemies people who dissented from President Nixon’s programs?

[A] As I say, those who were able to command audience were singled out.

[Q] So we have here plans to violate the Fourth Amendment, which were approved by the President, according to Mr. Haldeman; we have people being branded enemies whose mere offense is that they believed in enforcing the First Amendment as proclaimed by the Supreme Court just about a week ago. I would like to invite your attention to this very short statement (from Mr. Buzhardt’s statement): “In February, however, with the Ervin committee beginning its work, the President was concerned that all the available facts be made known.” Do you know any action that the President took subsequent to the establishment of this committee and prior to the time this committee started to function, which showed his concern that all the available facts with regard to the Watergate be known?

[A] Mr. Chairman, I must testify to the contrary.

[Q] Just one other matter. Article II of the Constitution says, in defining the power of the President—Section 3 of Article II—”He,” that is the President, “shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.” Do you know anything that the President did or said at that time or between then and the present moment to perform his duty to see that the laws are faithfully executed in respect to what is called the Watergate affair?

[A] Mr. Chairman, I have given the facts as I know them and I don’t—I would rather be excused from drawing my own conclusion on that at this point in time.

One Day at a Time

[From an interview of May 18th.]

My mother used to say when I was a boy, “Sam, don’t try to reform people. Remember there is a lot of good in them, and try to bring that out.”

As you know, I like poetry—I had an older sister who was crazy about poetry and I got to like it too. One of my favorite poets was Walter Malone—he was a police judge in Memphis. He once wrote something I always remembered, in “To a Judge”: a line that we are all “fellow travelers to the tomb.”

Another thing that’s stuck in my mind was something an old black man said, I think in one of Dale Carnegie’s books. He said he had learned to “cooperate with the inevitable,” and that’s what I try to do. Live one day at a time, that’s good advice. No point in borrowing trouble from tomorrow, or holding regrets for yesterday. Live one day at a time, that’s good advice. There was a time when I was far from calm, and I got an ulcer. I read what causes ulcers and I changed. Some things you can’t change. It took me a long time, but now I live one day at a time and it’s better.

The Seventh Verse of the Sixth Chapter

[Observation During the Testimony of Frederick La Rue]

Men upon whom fortune had smiled with beneficence and who possessed great financial power, great political power and great governmental power, undertook to nullify the laws of man and the laws of God for the purpose of gaining what history will call a very temporary political advantage. Those who participated overlooked one of the laws of God, which is set forth in the seventh verse of the sixth chapter of the Galatians: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked; for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

In This Article: Coverwall, Watergate


Powered by
Arrow Created with Sketch. Calendar Created with Sketch. Path Created with Sketch. Shape Created with Sketch. Plus Created with Sketch. minus Created with Sketch.