Video from when the 18 minute gap in the Watergate tapes was breaking news

Found this old ABC news clip from when the 18 and 1/2 minute gap in the Watergate tapes was announced, which came about three weeks after the Saturday Night Massacre (where the special prosecutor was fired and the attorney general resigned). You may recall the popular wisdom that what destroyed Nixon wasn’t the crime, but the coverup.

11/22/1973: Gap in Watergate Tape (ABC News Archive)

Even though President Trump doesn’t have a great education in American history, he’s an old guy, so he’s been present for some of it. And he loves watching TV news. Surely, in his late 20s, he saw something like this. He has to know on some level that there are times when you want to stay out of the news, even though a desire to be in the news animates every fiber of his body.


NEWSCASTER: President Nixon is having his Thanksgiving dinner at his retreat in Camp David, Maryland. The president flew to Camp David this afternoon, along with Mrs. Nixon, their daughter Tricia and her husband Edward Cox, and Mr. Nixon’s close friend Charles Bebe Rebozo. [Rebozo was a real estate guy who probably helped Nixon commit fraud. This trip is about three weeks after the “Saturday Night Massacre” where special prosecutor Archibald Cox was fired – a firing that lined up with when Cox started to look at Rebozo.]

The White House said earlier today it is considering the question of delivering the subpoenaed Watergate tapes to federal judge John Sirica by Monday.

When the president met with Republican governors in Memphis earlier this week, Governor Tom McCall of Oregon asked a question: were there any more shocks or bombshells in connection with Watergate? The president said no, he knew of none. Then came yesterday’s revelation that one of the promised Watergate tapes is flawed and partly incomprehensible.

In Salem, Oregon today, George Sample, of station KATU, asked the governor if that was the kind of bombshell he meant.

GOV. MCCALL: I think it has to be classified as a bombshell because of what has gone before, where each event that is an untoward event over which the President and the White House do have control – that each one of those is the straw that, in a sense, re-breaks the camel’s back. I thought he was doing great, and I said so, on trying to make a full disclosure to the public and appearing as a believable person.

And it was on that basis I said, “Mr. President,” – I made a speech to that effect. Came home in my automobile, turned on the radio, and I heard the White House had called Elliot Richardson a liar. [Nixon’s ex attorney general, who resigned as part of the Saturday Night Massacre.] Are there any more bombshells? And the answer came, “none that we can forsee.” The White House called me the NEXT day and said, “there are no more bombshells.”

So I – I think it doesn’t take very much to knock down and to reverse a train toward a comeback, even as hard as the president’s working, and that this has had the effect of certainly slowing down his recovery as a believable chief executive.