Cover-up of Nixon's campaign espionage begins to unravel: Part 5

The Senate voted to establish a committee to investigate the alleged political espionage in Nixon's election campaign.
5:19 | 06/17/17

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Transcript for Cover-up of Nixon's campaign espionage begins to unravel: Part 5
Mr. President, are you ready to take the constitutional oath? Vietnam cost 55 million lives. We finally have achieved a peace with honor. I know it gags some of you to write that phrase but it's true. So in January 1973, Nixon's kind of -- he's at the peak, the peak of the mountain. Place your left hand on the bible and raise your right hand He has a second inauguration I Richard Nixon do solemnly swear -- Richard Nixon won reelection not just handedly but very, very bigly if I may use that word. We stand on the threshold of a new era of peace in the world. The president as we've seen on this parade route waving at the crowd and that familiar double V. 55 floats. There was a cool confidence at the committee to re-elect the president that this would blow over. But still I think, the storm clouds are starting to gather. For six months the cover up was working, and so if you were investigating the story people looked at you as if you were a bit of a conspiracy theorist. I mean, why are you bothering with that? But Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein they're still pressing. They're digging deeper. They're digging harder. And so Nixon still has this residual fear that somehow it might not stop. It caused a firestorm within the white house because they said, "Oh, my god. Somebody's getting close." I want it clearly understood, that from now on ever, no reporter from the Washington post is ever to be in the white house, is that clear? Absolutely. None ever to be in. Now that is a total order and if necessary I'll fire you. I don't respect the type of journalism, the shabby journalism that is being practiced by "The Washington post." This is Bob Woodward at the "Washington post." The thing that's so powerful both in real life and in the movie, "All the president's men," is that people will do anything to conceal their involvement. People at the highest levels are much more involved than Woodward and Bernstein recognize. Listen I'm tired of your Games. I don't want hints. I need to know what you know. It's incredible. The cover-up had very little to do with the watergate. It was mainly to protect the covert operations. Get out your notebook. There's more. The last meeting with deep throat a lot was revealed. He kept saying, "The watergate burglary is not just 'one' isolated operation. This is a much bigger story than you think." Here was an inside mole who was reporting to the newspapers and so forth, and giving them all the scoop. That made it appear all very credible. While they stuck the knife in and twisted it pretty good, we gave the knife to them. Woodward and Bernstein were very important, they deserve all the accolades. They elevate the story so that the senate and others can take notice of it at a time when the cover up was working. The senate tonight voted 77 to nothing to establish a select committee to investigate alleged political espionage in last year's election campaign. That includes the watergate bugging case. We will cooperate fully with the senate just as we did with the FBI, previously in what was called the watergate matter. One of the president's first questions is, "What is all this off on the horizon, no larger than a man's hand? What is this committee?" The committee will be headed by North Carolina Democrat Sam Ervin. If it wasn't for the press, congress wouldn't have done anything about it. The story would have been covered up. Nobody would have ever heard about it. The white house strategy is to contain the damage to keep the legal responsibility held to seven people, the five burglars, and E. Howard hunt and G. Gordon Liddy. The usual thing in a situation like this, in the intelligence service, is that they will have bail provided for them, they will have counsel, legal counsel provided for them. They promised they would pay them and take care of their families, if they just went to jail and didn't reveal the involvement of the white house. So they were basically ready to plead guilty and keep quiet. Howard hunt, a former W.H. Consultant, pleads guilty to all charges in the watergate bugging trial. Mr. Hunt, if you could just come up to the microphone, let me know when all cameras are rolling. Mr. Hunt, is there anyone higher up involved in the conspiracy? I would testify as follows, gentlemen, that to my personal knowledge there was not. And they take the rap. They essentially cop to it hoping that the buck will stop there. One of the problems of paying hush money, is that no price is too big. And Howard hunt needed more, and needed more, and needed more. All of us were headed for prison, and that something ought to be done, should be done. And if they didn't, then dire consequences for the administration could result. That's a plain statement of fact, not a threat. John Dean says, "We've become like the mafia. Where does it end? We are being blackmailed by our own people." The cover-up was collapsing.

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

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