How Washington Post reporters uncovered the Watergate scandal: Part 4

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were working at the paper when they were assigned to cover the Watergate burglary.
8:01 | 06/17/17

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Transcript for How Washington Post reporters uncovered the Watergate scandal: Part 4
some cats just know how to roll. ??? The democratic national committee is trying to solve a spy mystery. Five men were nabbed in the democratic national headquarters here in Washington seemingly preparing to tap or bug the place. People weren't saying oh my god. This is clearly gonna implicate Richard Nixon. It just seemed bizarre. It would take some enterprising young journalists to ferret out the importance of the story. Woodward and Bernstein were assigned to this burglary just as a matter of routine. We've got this strange burglary. And I saw this commotion around the desk and was told there had been this break-in at democratic national headquarters. They were young reporters trying to make their way up the ladder in "The Washington post." When you talk about the people who made a difference when it came to watergate you talk about Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. They were two very different people. Woodward came from the Navy. He was a straight-laced guy. Bernstein, on the other hand, looked like a counterculture figure himself. I was supposedly the terrific writer. He was supposedly the great persistent reporter. Their skills complimented each other. They sent me to the courthouse where the five burglars caught in the democratic headquarters were being arraigned. The judge asked the leader, James Mccord, where did you work and Mccord went, CIA. It was stunning. And they discovered that Mccord, was a security chief for the committee to re-elect the president. Well, okay, folks. This was a political break-in. There was a note book belonging to one of the burglars that had the name in it, H. Hunt, W. House. We figured that W. House either had to be the white house or the whore house. The question was who was H. Hunt. I called the white house, and eventually got hunt on the phone, and asked why was your name in the address books of two of these burglars, and he got excited and screamed out good god, slammed down the phone and left town. And, of course, it turned out to be Howard hunt who had worked for the CIA, who had been hired at the white house really to undertake dirty tricks. You knew that this smoke that was billowing up from the oval office, there had to be some fire there. It's like a Dylan song, it don't take a weather man to know which way the wind blows. Presidential pres secretary Ron zieglar called it a third rate burglary attempt, and said it was nothing the president would ever be concerned with. Richard Nixon is obstructing justice from the beginning, but what will be known as the smoking gun was when he approves a plan to use the CIA to blunt an FBI investigation that is into the money the burglars had. It's clear this is done to save the skin of the white house. There was a source really up up. He was deep throat. My father was a super hero. He was a G. Man. He carried a gun. He was handsome as heck. He wanted people to know the truth. He was in the perfect position to understand what was coming in to the investigation as well as what he could observe maybe from above the investigation. I want to talk about water gate. All the president's men created a sense of danger. They were constantly risking things to find out the truth. Deep throat was very insistent we have a communication system that no one else could understand. If you watch the movie, wood ward put the flower pot on the balcony in a certain way that was a signal to the source he wanted to meet. I kind of looked at him cock eyed at first. The other thing the movie did was create the expression follow the money and put it into American culture. Deep throat made it clear the money was important. There was a trail to follow. Carl accomplished that a $25,000 check had gone into the bank account of one of the water gate burglars. The $25,000 check linked contributions to president Nixon's reelection campaign to the slush fund used to pay the burglars who broke into the water gate office complex. I said oh, my god. This now establishes an undid he niebl connection between the committee for Nixon's re-alec shn and the burglars. What became crucial was to get hold of a list of the employees. We would go to people's homes at night and knock on doors. I'm Carl Bernstein. He found the bookkeeper. In the movie all the president's men I think they reflected my feelings pretty well. It's for you. It's Carl Bernstein. When he first came to my door, I was pretty nervous. I didn't want him to be there. Could I just sit down for a second. I don't know why I didn't throw Carl out even though I was hesitant I wanted him to know. She knew a lot about the finances of the campaign. She knew about the secret fund. She was suspicious because there were all of these large amounts of money going to people. Was it all one hundred dollars bills. A lot of it was. It was supposed to be secret. I'm sure we counted in over 2 or $3 million. The great majority was cash. There were people who were authorized to distribute money from the secret fund. One of them was Mitchell. John Mitchell was the attorney general. He was a Nixon loyalist. The highest law enforcement officer in America controlled the secret fund that controlled the activities. Bradley said they're going to call him a crook. We took a deep breath and said -- I said Mr. Mitchell we have a story in tomorrow's paper I would like to read to you. He said go right ahead. I got as far as John Mitchell while attorney general of the United States controlled a secret fund. Mitchell said Jesus Christ all that crap you're putting that in the paper. If you print that Patty gram is going to get her Caught in a big father ringer. It was so vulgar and threatening. Then he said when this campaign is over we're going to do a little story on you two boys too and he hung up the phone. It's the most chilling moment I ever had being a reporter because he meant it. ABC news has projected that Richard Nixon has in fact been reelected to presidency for a second term. The question now is how big will Richard Nixon win. It was a giant landslide, and there was no reaction to the stories we did. It was a way of saying, watergate? Who cares? I don't know. Apparently nothing.

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

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