Posted In: Lingering Questions on May 24, 2016

  • Regardless of whether you believe the revised thinking about the “smoking gun” transcript, the tape itself did not become public until August 5, 1974.  Yet, grand jurors had named Nixon an unindicted co-conspirator some six months before that and the House Judiciary Committee had voted to recommend his impeachment the month before the tape’s release.
  • The question then is just what did prosecutors say that led to these actions, since it could not have been the CIA/FBI gambit?  As it turns out, prosecutors concluded that Nixon had personally approved the payment of blackmail to Howard Hunt, shortly after learning of his demands from John Dean on the morning of March 21, 1973. 
  • They reached this conclusion solely on the basis of circumstantial evidence – since, indeed, the last Hunt payment was made that very night.  No witness, then or in the ensuing forty-five years, has come forward to assert this claim; everyone involved has continued to deny it ever occurred.
  • The prosecutors’ allegations, however, were made in total secrecy – so Nixon’s defense team not only were unaware of the accusation, but never called upon to refute it.  Had they known, they could have; had Nixon known that this was the basis for the prosecutors’ actions against him, he would never have resigned – since he would have known the accusation to be untrue.

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