Richard Nixon's relationship with the press, his secret tapes: Part 1

Nixon ordered the creation of the "plumbers" because he was convinced that the Pentagon Papers leak was just the beginning.
11:53 | 06/17/17

Coming up in the next {{countdown}} {{countdownlbl}}

Coming up next:

{{nextVideo.title}}

{{nextVideo.description}}

Skip to this video now

Now Playing:

{{currentVideo.title}}

More information on this video
Enhanced full screen
Explore related content
Comments
Related Extras
Related Videos
Video Transcript
Transcript for Richard Nixon's relationship with the press, his secret tapes: Part 1
. On June 17, 1972 there was a break in Ott watergate office complex. Five men were nabed here in Washington. It was the beginning of the political scandal of the sent tri. The president is going to address the nation and presumably announce his resignation. People will hear what the president has to say. This is the political story of the century. The president of the united States will begin his speech perhaps his last speem from the white house. He always saw enemies. He always saw people in the shadows. His Mo to I believe was do unto others before they have a chance to do unto you. That's enough. There was an obsession with leaks. You don't blame the leaks when facts come out that show wrong doing. Let me see it. Can we get these lights properly. He was not comfortable in front of a camera. One might even say he was afraid the people would see something he didn't want them to see. Had it not been for water gate I think he could have gone down as one of the more significant presidents in this country. We have 40 seconds to go now. We were witnessing the implosion of an American presidency. The president has taken his place at the table in the white house where he's going to speak. Here now the next picture will be the president of the United States. I have never been a quitter. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body. As president I must put the interest of America first. Therefore, I shall resign the presidency effective at noon tomorrow. It was total tragedy. Total disgrace. Here was a man who had fought all of his life to become the president of the United States. He totally destroyed it. If someone looked in the soul of Richard Nixon, he knew absolute absolutely that he was guilty. That was the tragedy of water gate. I don't come from a political family. I didn't think about the pobt of being president of the united States. My mother didn't take me into her arms an tell me someday you'll be president. Nixon is born in a dirt poor family. He applies to ivy league colleges. He can't get into any of them. He make it is round all the white shoe law firms in new York. He can't get hired. Richard Nixon was a fighter. There was a fire in this man. The people are sick and tired of it. They're outraged and they want something done about it. They're tired about an administration which instead of cleaning up is covering up the scandal. He goes from Navy to the house, to the senate, to vice president of the United States in six years. That's true a meet or risk rise. He wanted to prove something. He felt that political success would be the way to proof he was who he thought he was. I say we can't afford to have the white house has a training ground for an inexperienced man. He is beaten by the tell yes Nick Kriz ma tick John Kennedy. Nixon looks at Kennedy and he's everything he wants to be. Charming, cultured. Chris ma tick, confident. That resentment is what drives Nixon. It drives him to try again. It drives him every time he's knocked down and defeated. It drives him to stage the greatest come back in political history. I Richard Nixon do solemnly swear I will faith any execute the office of president of the United States. The American people oppose the continuation of this war. Everything was on fire in America. You had the Vietnam war that had been waging. Americans had been through a traumatic decade. Three high profile assassinations. It was enter rup shun of a furry around the country. Nixon was defined by the Vietnam war. You had movies and television aimed at Nixon being the villain of the era. How I love to be president Nixon. Nixon just always seemed completely out of touch when it came to popular culture. I hope they sock it to you. Sock it to me? ??? He had the ray coniff singers at the white house. Nixon offered a fairly simple view of the country. President Nixon stop bombing human beings. You go to church and pray. If Jesus Christ were here tonight you wouldn't dare drop another bomb. They saw Nixon as everything did he spiced. It's kind of like today. The terrorists of the far left would like to make the president of the United States a prisoner in the white house. Let me set them straight. As long as I'm president, no band of violent thugs is going to keep me from going out and speaking with the American people whenever they want to hear me. Nixon saw the world in black and white. You're either pro next son or anti Nixon. If you were anti Nixon he was going to get you. Never forget the press is the enemy. The press is the enemy. Write that 100 times. All presidents have a kind of tension a conflict and I would go so far as to say even hate members of the press. What Nixon had trouble doing is maintaining composure about those feelings. Don't get the impression you arouse my anger. I have that impression. You see one can only be angry with one those he respects. Nixon hated the press. "The New York Times" began publishing a partial text relating to the American origins in the involvement of Vietnam. In 1971 when Daniel elksberg leaks that to "The New York Times" Nixon being insistent that -- he's enraged at out of control. For a conspiracy the ris like Richard Nixon the publishing of those papers the day after his daughter's wedding is not an accident. He wanted lie detector tests given he wanted the name of the guys responsible. He wanted telephone taps. It's in that environment that the white house creates the plummers. They call us the plummers because we're there to stop the leaks at the white house. Richard Nixon ordered the creation of the plummers because he was convinced that the elseberg Pentagon papers leaks where was the beginning. They sent opera TVs to look at his psychiatrist's office. They thought the conversations elseberg had with the psychiatrist might be a source of great stuff to destroy his public reputation. The way we would have met that challenge back when I was in the FBI was we would have pulled what is called a black bag job a covert operation. What we were engaged upon is something that had the full and hearty support of the executive branch of the United States government. There was an E by approve and under that he had written in his own handwriting if done under your assurance that it will not be traceable. That was our written authority to go out and conduct that covert operation. These underlings they're responding to the boss' needs and desires. They have want to make him happy. So they push very hard. He doesn't ask them for the details of how they do things. Doesn't care about the details. He's creating a moral climate where almost anything goes. He is ultimately responsible for the climate in which these zealots operate. They're using any means. We are going to use any means. Get it done. I have want it done. People of that era taped. They taped their phone calls. Nixon would have known that presidents prior to him also from that generation taped. Next son continued the practice. He expanded it by making it sound activated. In the first couple days of taping there's a little discussion about the whole system. There may be a day where we have to have this. So I think it will work fine. It's a good system. Taping was done for the purpose of having it for the historical record. It was voice activated. Everything was taped which of course was probably stupid. There's a lack of confidence in the conduct of the war. If we start caters to these bastards they'll eat us aye loif. Alive. You've got to keep destroying their credibility. Second most Jews are disloyal. Generally speaking you can't trust the bastards. Without the tapes Richard Nixon would have survived. When they were revealed it proved from his own lips he orchestrated the cover up. Next -- I am to kill jack Anderson.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

{"id":48095096,"title":"Richard Nixon's relationship with the press, his secret tapes: Part 1","duration":"11:53","description":"Nixon ordered the creation of the \"plumbers\" because he was convinced that the Pentagon Papers leak was just the beginning.","url":"/2020/video/richard-nixons-relationship-press-secret-tapes-part-48095096","section":"2020","mediaType":"default"}