Political Insider

An AJC blog about Atlanta politics, Georgia politics, Georgia and metro Atlanta election campaigns. Because all politics is local.

‘Political Rewind’ replay: Watergate at 45, and parallels with Trump's Russia problems

Forty-five years ago this summer, a small team of burglars was found inside the offices of the Democratic National Committee – the first of a series of falling dominoes that ended with the impeachment of President Richard Nixon.

In today’s edition of GPB’s “Political Rewind,” host Bill Nigut and I interview former Watergate prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste, a survivor of the so-called “Saturday night massacre,” when Nixon attempted to thwart an investigation into the burglary and its cover-up by firing special prosecutor Archibald Cox.

That sense of deja vu your parents are feeling right now? This is where it comes from.

The televised hearings began the next year, in 1973. That’s when Americans discovered that Nixon had recorded his White House conversations with the suspected parties.

“We were incredulous. This was either an amazingly positive development for us – the opportunity to verify what others were saying about the Nixon administration’s involvement in a cover-up of really massive size,” Ben-Veniste remembered. “It was either that or a trap. It was possible that the announcement of the existence of tape recordings was something that the administration had cooked up.”

It was a fascinating hour. If you couldn’t catch it live, click below to listen now:

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About the Author

Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.