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So what was the "Saturday Night Massacre" in Watergate? I see

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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:02 AM
Original message
So what was the "Saturday Night Massacre" in Watergate? I see
some references to this lately, any of you who went through Watergate care to share?
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:03 AM
Response to Original message
1. Use Google
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Democrat 4 Ever Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:05 AM
Response to Reply #1
4. Wikipedia is our friend. Just a mouse click away from all sorts of
wonderful things.

Saturday night massacre
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
(Redirected from Saturday Night Massacre)

The "Saturday night massacre" (October 20, 1973) was the term given by political commentators to U.S. President Richard Nixon's executive dismissal of independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, and the forced resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus during the controversial and drawn-out Watergate scandal.

Cox, who was appointed by Congress to investigate the events surrounding the Watergate break-in of June 17, 1972, had earlier issued a subpoena to President Nixon, asking for copies of taped conversations which Nixon had made in the Oval Office as evidence. Nixon initially refused to comply with the subpoena, but on October 19, 1973, he offered what was later known as the Stennis Compromise asking U.S. Senator John C. Stennis to review and summarize the tapes for the special prosecutor's office.

Cox refused the compromise that same evening, and it was believed that there would be a short rest in the legal maneuvering while government offices were closed for the weekend. However, President Nixon acted to dismiss Cox from his office the next night a Saturday. He contacted Attorney General Richardson and ordered him to fire the special prosecutor. Richardson refused, and instead resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; he, too, refused and resigned.

Nixon then contacted the Solicitor General, Robert Bork, and ordered him as acting head of the Justice Department to fire Cox. Richardson and Ruckelshaus had both personally assured the congressional committee overseeing the special prosecutor investigation that they would not interfere Bork had made no such assurance to the committee. Bork considered resigning as well, but was persuaded by Richardson that this would leave the Department in chaos. Bork then complied with Nixon's order and fired Cox.

Congress was infuriated by the act, which was seen as a gross abuse of Presidential power. In the days that followed, numerous bills of impeachment against the President were introduced in Congress. Nixon defended his actions in a famous press conference on November 17, 1973, in which he said,

" all of my years of public life, I have never obstructed justice. And I think, too, that I can say that in my years of public life that I've welcomed this kind of examination, because people have got to know whether or not their President's a crook. Well, I'm not a crook!"
The Independent Counsel Act, passed in 1978, came as direct result of the firings. Nixon would later succumb to mounting pressures, soon resigning the Presidency.
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warrens Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:12 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. Which led to the poster, Impeach the COXSACKER
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 10:08 AM
Response to Reply #4
10. I didn't know that about Bork. I doubt he would have resigned.
I understand now why he wasn't suited for the Supreme Court. The bar was higher back then.
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GumboYaYa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
2. Nixon tried to get the AG to fire Archibald Cox, the special
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 09:07 AM by GumboYaYa
prosecutor looking into Watergate. The AG refused and resigned. So did his immediate subordinate, although I thnk he was fired. They had to get Bork to step in and fire Cox. It was a devestating political move by Nixon.
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cyn2 Donating Member (438 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:05 AM
Response to Original message
3. Nixon started firing people who didn't do what he wanted!
Edited on Thu Oct-20-05 09:11 AM by cyn2
sound familiar?
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:07 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. Wow. Uh yeah, that's been going on since 2000 nm
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NNadir Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:06 AM
Response to Original message
5. The special prosecutor at the time was Archibald Cox.
As is the case with Fitz, his ultimately superior authority was Elliot Richardson, who was Attorney General. Nixon ordered Richardson to fire Cox, since Cox was hot on Nixon's tail. Richardson resigned rather than comply.

For years there was a special prosecutor law setting up an idependent prosecutor who did not report to the justice department. Kenneth Starr was such a prosecutor. When the Bushie's took office predictably they let that law expire. Now we know why. They are all criminals.
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Gman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:44 AM
Response to Reply #5
9. Note that Democrats were in full agreement in letting the special
prosecutor law expire because it had been so abused in persuing Clinton with White Water and everything else Ken Starr could find (or not) to the tune of $60 million.
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MnFats Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 09:13 AM
Response to Original message
8. this may illuminate why Robert Bork is so scorned... fairness, Nixon was prepared to fire the whole f***** Justice Department, if he had to in order to find somebody that would fire Cox.

read some detailed accounts of the time. Nixon did not expect the shitstorm he got. in fact, many will tellyou that's when he sealed his fate.
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Hidden Stillness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 02:10 PM
Response to Original message
11. A Few More Details, From Memory
Well, the question has been basically answered on this thread, but I will add just a little bit more, as a memory of the thing. As the scandal started to really unfold, after almost a year, the hearings began to be covered on TV. At first, the Watergate hearings were only on PBS, which a lot of people don't remember; only later, as it started to expand and people realized there was a serious crime here, and that it led to Nixon, was it covered by the commercial networks. Also, Walter Cronkite at CBS was on the story as early as Woodward and Bernstein. This was when it really exploded, became a National obsession, etc.

For a long time, the problem was trying to figure if the "Plumbers" and the "Cubans"--basically Republican dirty-tricks committee (headed by Patrick Buchanan) code words for the burglars--were actually connected with the Republicans and the Committee to Re-Elect the President, (of course, they were), and what they had stolen at Democratic Party Headquarters, etc. During the hearings, Gen. Alexander Butterfield revealed that Nixon had a secret taping system in the Oval Office and recorded everything. As soon as that was revealed, it became the focus of the search. Nixon was ordered to hand over the tapes, did not, and claimed "executive privilege." There was a Court order and threat of obstruction of justice charges, and Nixon still did not, but with now drastically falling poll numbers, Nixon offered to release edited transcripts of what was supposedly on the tapes, claiming that the edits were only of swear words, etc.--of course, this was unacceptable, and the tension rose. The phrase for all these edits, very famous then, became "expletive deleted." Other phrases famous at the time, because of the Watergate hearings, were "unindicted co-conspirator," "specificity," etc.

The transcripts were released, finally by the White House, under threat of prosecution, but they were so heavily censored that they answered nothing and only made investigators madder. The tapes themselves were ordered released, and months later, when they finally were, there was a very famous 18-minute (I think it was) gap on one of them, a very long, suspicious delete, that was comically "explained" (along with a famous picture of Nixon's secretary Rose Mary Woods) as a "mistake" on her part, as she supposedly erased it by reaching with one arm, and her opposite foot pushed the button, etc.--a very famous, obviously lying, "explanation" of the deletion. Still, the tapes were damning, and proved Nixon was in on it, planning, right from the beginning.

Nixon was sacrificing people all over the place just to avoid cooperating with the Special Prosecutor--John Dean, Zeigler, Haldeman and Ehrlichman, etc., all fired--but still the investigation went on. Finally, Nixon was going to put an end to it and crush the whole thing by firing the Special Prosecutor. Eliot Richardson refused to do it, and resigned. Ruckelshaus resigned. It was a legal investigation of a crime, and the Republican Party was not completely made up of criminals then, as it is now. Then, on that Saturday night, (I suppose to try to not be noticed by the news, by being on a weekend evening--but of course, as soon as it happened, they broke into the TV schedule and the coverage was all about this crisis; live), that bastard Bork illegally fired the Prosecutor. Of course, then there was another Special Prosecutor to replace Cox, Leon Jaworski I think it was, who was just as good, and honest, as Cox had been. It changed nothing.

Nixon was a vicious bastard who had been slandering and destroying good people for career advancement all the way back to the days of Helen Gahagan Douglass and the House Un-American Activities Committee's slander against Alger Hiss--my parents hated Nixon for the vicious, lying smear against Helen Gahagan Douglass, which worked ("Pinko," etc.), and for all the other lies and crimes. One of their biggest crimes of that year 1972 was the systematic destruction, by lies, spies, planted hecklers, etc., of the Presidential campaign of one of the finest people ever to serve in Congress, who would have been a great President, and who was the strongest Democratic candidate, the late, great Sen. Edmund Muskie. What a terrible loss that alone was for the country. Republicans only get worse over time. Before, there were criminals like Nixon, McCarthy, etc., and the rest actually fought them too. Now, they are all Nixon, and there is no one on their side to stand up for the truth.

(By the way, texpatriot2004, thank you for your wonderful comments on the DU (Political) Poetry Thread. Sometimes you post these things you write, and you don't know if anybody is reading them, so it was really great--I was actually just exhilarated--to read your response on that thread. I also posted two other poems of mine, not political, on threads in the Writing forum, which I think they have now moved to the DU Groups section, so I can't post there anymore. One was on "So, What Do You Write?" and the other was a narrative on, I think it was called, "Untitled.")
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beaconess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 02:39 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. That's how I remember it as well - Saturday Night Massacre was turning pt.
Until then, the Watergate story was seen as somewhat peripheral - treated as little more than political gamesmanship. When Nixon upended the Justice Department in order to get rid of Cox - who was seen as a fair dealer (no Ken Starr there) - the media jumped all over it and people began looking closer. And the Nixon presidency unraveled steadily thereafter.
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newscott Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 03:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. I have made a similar point about the repeating of history
and why we can't ever trust Republicans on another board.

Glad I'm not the only who noticed.
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radio4progressives Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 03:48 PM
Response to Reply #11
14. Good Summary .. I believe the Cubans referred G Gordon Liddy/Howard Hunt
I think they were the plumbers and "Cubans" Black Ops that were involved with the Bay of Pigs debacle during Kennedy's office, and "some say" (convinced)were involved in Kennedy's assassination.

I thought Pat Buchanan was involved in the Committee to Re-Elect who hired these thugs (?)

In any event, two years ago PBS created an excellent documentary on this entitled Water Gate Plus 30 on DVD with all the special features and background selections. It is fairly in depth and covers all of this - highly recommended - obviously important to keep historical facts in check. I'll have to view it all over again just to clear up foggy memory on the "Plumbers and Cubans" .

I recall watching "WaterGate Plus 30", "The Fog of War", and "All the Presidents Men" all in one weekend - talk about an exercise in self induced depression! <sheesh> but just after that, the news came that Kerry stepped up to throw his hat into the ring, and for some silly reason i allowed myself to be seduced into believing that it was the blessings of the goddesses and that he would soon restore our country to it's more honorable course in the world and restore the blessings of our Constitution and a better democracy here at home.

Now I realize that the the full scope of corruption of the Neo Liberalism (read Neo Conservatism) had to be fully exposed before any such revolution should or would ever occur.

I hope for all our sake that time has finally arrived..

again I highly recommend acquiring the DVD set Water Gate Plus 30 from PBS - it's only $30 - and it's a very important historical documentary quite RELEVANT to what's going on in this administration. And by the way, SEVERAL of the SAME players of Nixon's WH are highly figured in the current administration.

for those who are not aware, you will be stunned.

which brings me to another thought: it occurs to me that millions of voters and supporters of the BushCo. were not even old enough to remember Watergate and who the players were at the time. That was another advantage this Regime had in the past two elections.

Parents! Make HISTORY a priority in yours and your kids education!

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liberalitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Oct-20-05 04:08 PM
Response to Original message
15. Me and my students LOVE this site
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texpatriot2004 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Oct-21-05 04:43 AM
Response to Reply #15
16. Groovy man. Thanks for hooking me up. I love the 70's nm
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