Nixon on the 18 1/2 Minute Gap: “I Don’t Know How It Happened”

Thursday 10 November, 2011 at 3:18 pm Ken 5

Former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate grand jury testimony– released today by the National Archives and Records Administration and available for download–reveals nothing about the origin of the 18 1/2 minute gap in his June 20, 1972, White House tape.

White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman’s notes indicate the two of them were discussing Watergate.

“I don’t know how it happened,” Nixon testified under oath.

He did have some quotable moments.

“I said [to then-White House Chief of Staff Alexander M. Haig], let’s find out how this damn thing happened. I am sorry, I wasn’t supposed to use profanity. You have enough on the tapes.”

Nixon had recently been hospitalized and had anti-coagulants administered during his testimony. It gave him an opportunity to express some passive aggression (note his last two words).

“I think it should be recorded: I am taking anti-coagulants ordered by the doctors every day at twelve o’clock. That means if I am ever in an accident and start to bleed I will bleed to death unless the doctor is there within ten minutes. Want one?”

Now combing through the rest of the testimony for something more substantive.

Here’s some background on Nixon’s testimony.

 



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