Evidence concerning President Nixon's reaction to Watergate developments was described as "dynamite" yesterday (Friday, 12 July).
SVs Petersen at hearing (6 shots)
CU McClory speaks
CU Seiberling speaking
SVs & GVs Hearing (6 shots)
CU St. Clair speaking
SCHERER: "Henry Petersen, Assistant Attorney General and fierce defender of the Justice Department actions in the Watergate case, Petersen was today's witness before the committee, there to talk of the briefings he gave President Nixon after White House aides began talking to the Watergate Grand Jury. Petersen talked with the President about a dozen times, in mid and late April last year. His testimony was considered essential today in assessing the President's mood and attitude about a cover up long after the President had admitted knowing details of White House involvement."
MCCLORY: "I think he's the most important witness because he was in direct personal contact with the President in connection with the Watergate investigation with regard to subjects relating to the break-in of Dr. Fielding's office, the Ellsberg doctor break-in, and these are subjects which are very critical to the whole impeachment inquiry."
SEIBERLING: "I don't want to go into the details of Mr. Petersen's testimony because I think that would not be according to our rules, but if I could characterise the impression that I have on the testimony as a whole, I would do it in one word: "Dynamite".
SCHERER: "Seiberling later softened his comments, simply to indicate that he was referring to the importance of those conversation, not any blockbusters from Petersen. The committee have made no final determination as yet, but indications from this afternoon's session are that there will be no public meetings, not even the climactic sessions later this month, when the committee will debate the actual articles of impeachment."
ST. CLAIR: "I don't mean to imply by any means that they ought to ignore the evidence, because quite clearly they would not."
QUESTION: "Do you think they'll recommend impeachment?"
ST. CLAIR: "You know I have given up a long time ago, trying to figure out what a jury is going to do."
QUESTION: "We had a report that Jerry Warren at the White House this morning indicated that he expected the committee would go for an impeachment. Does that change anything?"
ST. CLAIR: "I don't know how he could form any such judgement. I'm quite prepared to abide the event."
QUESTION: "But clearly the way he did it was by responding to a quesiton by saying that the President was aware of your remarks on the Hill, or Jerry Warren was aware of them, and that the President agreed with you that probably the committee would vote to recommend impeachement, but that he was confident that on the floor of the house the Preisdent would be vindicated."
ST. CLAIR: "Well, I met with the President this morning and he didn't tell any such thing to me, so I can't comment."
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Background: Evidence concerning President Nixon's reaction to Watergate developments was described as "dynamite" yesterday (Friday, 12 July). Assistant Attorney General Henry Petersen had been describing to a closed session of the House Judiciary Committee his conversations with President Nixon in April 1973, in which he briefed the President about the progress of the Watergate investigation.
At the same time, the White House was shaken by a mix-up between Presidential spokesman Gerald L. Warren and Mr. Nixon's lawyer, James St. Clair. It started when Mr. Warren announced that the President believed the House Judiciary Committee would recommend his impeachment.
This was subsequently denied by Mr. St. Clair. Back came Mr. Warren to admit that he'd made a mistake. Apparently, President Nixon had agreed with an assessment by Mr. St. Clair that the committee would recommend impeachment, but believed that the full house would reject the recommendation.
First, the House Judiciary committee's closed session. The "dynamite" description came from Congressman John Seiberling, who -- along with other representatives -- was closely questioned by newsmen about what was discussed at the closed session. His comments and those of Congressman Robert McClory are prefaced by an introduction from reporter Ray Scherer:
Meantime, Mr. St. Clair was being asked about the reaction of the White House to latest Watergate evidence:
SYNOPSIS: In Washington, the man in the limelight before the House Judiciary Committee on Friday was United States assistant Attorney General Henry Peterson. Though the session was closed, he was known to be there to describe briefings he gave President Nixon after White House aides began talking to the Watergate Grand Jury. It was expected to give an important indication of the President's attitude to a cover-up. Reaction came from Congressmen Seiberling and McClory:
While these developments wee taking place, the White House was shaken by a statement from Presidential spokesman Gerald Warren saying that Mr. Nixon expected the committee to recommend his impeachment. Apparently, he should have added that the President expected the full house to reject the committee's recommendation. Mr. Nixon's lawyer, James St. Clair, spoke on this and latest evidence: