Statement on the Impeachment of Richard Nixon

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“Statement on the Impeachment of Richard Nixon” 1974 Sam Ervin

One of the most important figures of the Watergate affair was Sam Ervin. In 1946, the Southern Democrat served a brief term in Congress after the death of his brother. In 1954 he entered Congress again after the death of U.S Senator Clyde R. Hoey, and Ervin remained in the Senate until he retired in 1974. In 1972, Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield appointed Ervin to chair the Select Committee on Watergate. Mansfield called him, “the only person who could have handled this assignment.” During his twenty years as a Senator, Ervin acquired a reputation as an authority on American Constitutional Law. Throughout his political career, Ervin was known to be very conservative; he opposed many civil rights and desegregation legislation, but he had independent judgment and unyielding dedication to constitutional principles. Ervin’s leadership was necessary for this task because he was visible to millions daily during the televised Watergate proceedings. “He had a folksy but tenacious grilling of sometimes reluctant witnesses.” He exemplified the best in American politics: fairness, honesty, a passion for truth, and a reverence for the Constitution. On the list of misdeed by the White House, number six, “They lied to agents of the FBI, prosecutors, and grand jurors who undertook to investigate the bugging and the burglary, and to Judge Sirica and the Petit jurors who tried the seven original Watergate defendants in January 1973…” was the most serious and threatening to the constitutional order. “The stage was set for a great constitutional struggle between a President determined not to give up executive documents and materials and a Senate committee and a federal prosecutor who are determined to get them," The White House claimed “Executive Privilege” when they refused to disclose the recorded tapes of President Nixon and his aides. Nixon and his advisors became arrogant...
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