Our podcast takes a very different turn this week with an excerpt from the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, the so-called “Watergate Committee.” This excerpt is from the hearings on 25 July 1973.
Right: On the hot seat: John Erlichman, Richard Nixon’s Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs.
The questioning here is by Sens. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) and Lowell Weicker (R-CT). Sen. Inouye is the only member of the Committee still in the Senate. His questioning was more directed toward the Daniel Ellsberg affair (the “Pentagon Papers”) than the actual Watergate break-in. This excerpt includes his famous “What a liar!” remark which he made off the record but was picked up by the microphones.
Watergate–and this committee’s hearings–continue to be a source of interest, both for me and others. Fred Thompson, the Committee’s Minority Counsel, made a presidential bid this year. Hillary Clinton–another presidential candidate–was on the staff of the House Impeachment Committee the following year. Watergate remains the central political drama of the generation now in power, and much of what that generation does is merely an echo of what transpired in places like the caucus room of the Old Senate Office Building (where these hearings took place) thirty-four years ago.