Thursday, 9 May 2019

well… they have to be paid. that’s all there is to that—they have to be paid

Two years to the day after the first impeachment attempt, prior to the break-in at the Watergate complex by a month, was referred to the Judiciary Committee but failed to progress, the House Judiciary Committee re-convened to open formal hearings against President Richard Nixon (previously here, here and here) on this day in 1974.
The first twenty minutes were televised before the committee retired to closed sessions until late July when gavel-to-gavel coverage resumed. Though unknown to the committee at the time whether or not Nixon had personally authorised payments to the Watergate burglars to cover up the administration’s involvement, it was ruled that paying blackmail constituted obstruction of justice. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the House of Representative passed three of five charges levied against Nixon—the second article of impeachment was abuse of power, malfeasance in office and thirdly contempt of Congress. Criminal charges against the president for expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia without legislative approval and failure to pay taxes were blocked by Republican members.