President Richard Nixon appeared on television throughout the United States almost exactly a year ago, on August 15, 1973, and told the American people that he was innocent of any wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal.
MV Nixon sits at desk to camera
SV Nixon talks
NIXON: "It has become clear that both the hearings themselves and some of the commentaries and comments have become increasingly absorbed in an effort to implicate the President in illegal activities that took place during my administration and in the campaign for my re-election. I accept full responsibility for them. I regret that those events took place, and I do not question the rights of a Senate Committee to question the rights of a President to the extent that this is relevant to legislative duties. However, it is my constitutional responsibility to defend the integrity of this great office against false charges. I also believe that it is important to address the over-riding question to what we as a nation can learn from this experience and what we can now do. I intend to discuss both of these subjects tonight. On May the twenty-second, I stated in very specific terms and I state again to every one of you listening tonight these facts. I had no prior knowledge of the Watergate break-in. I neither took part in or knew about the subsequent cover-up activities. I neither authorised or encouraged subordinates to engage in illegal or....
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Background: President Richard Nixon appeared on television throughout the United States almost exactly a year ago, on August 15, 1973, and told the American people that he was innocent of any wrongdoing in the Watergate scandal. He appealed to the people for support, but made no attempt to rebutt the charges that had been made against the White House. However, he did deny having had prior knowledge of the Watergate break in, and said he took no part in subsequent cover-up activities. This film is of that television broadcast.
This Monday (5 August, 1974) President Nixon issued a statement in which he admitted that he had kept back information about the Watergate cover-up, and that he was guilty of "a serious act of omission". He conceded that his impeachment by the House of Representatives is "virtually a foregone conclusion and that the issue will therefore go to trial in the Senate."
His statement was issued from the White House after a series of conference with his top advisors over the weekend. The statement said that the President recognised that the additional material he was now providing, might further damage his case. But he insisted that when the record was examined "in its entirety", it would not justify his impeachment or removal from office.
The statement referred to transcript of three conversations between the President and H.R. "Bob" Haldeman, who was then his Chief of Staff, on June 23, 1972, which was only six days after five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic party's headquarters in the Watergate building in Washington.
SYNOPSIS: Almost exactly a year ago, President Nixon denied prior knowledge of Watergate in a nationwide broadcast.