They were chaired by a veteran of the war to end all wars, a Harvard educated lawyer, who greatly studied, and valued the Constitution, a man, who often referred to himself as ‘a country lawyer.’ Samuel Ervin, senator from North Carolina, slowly spoke, and stuttered in a southern speech pattern. He was very capable.
John Ehrlichman was the chief advisor on domestic affairs to president Nixon. Ehrlichman gave authority to burglarise Daniel Ellsberg's doctor's (Lewis Fielding's) office to gather evidence on Ellsberg on reasons of national security. Ellsberg had been a Pentagon analyst. He came to the opinion, that, the war was wrong and should be ended. He lobbied Senators to release certain information, they did not. He went to a New York Times reporter. The story of the Pentagon papers broke, and Nixon and his cadre wanted revenge. In the hearings explanations were called for.
This was one of the many topics discussed in the senate hearings:
Senator Sam Ervin: The foreign intelligence activities had nothing to do with the opinion of Ellsberg's psychiatrist about his emotional or psychological state.The parry and thrust of Mister Ervin's words, in pique, were devastatingly effective. Ehrlichman's haughtiness was deflated by an obvious answer, an almost reflexive tautology, to an insulting and stupid question.
John Ehrlichman snottily: How do you know that, Mr. Chairman?
Senator Sam Ervin: Because I can understand the English language. It's my mother tongue.
Richard Nixon was a troubled man with ability, and more than a modicum of decency and dignity. There has, hardly, been a better Republican since. Nixon abused the Constitution, and deserved impeachment, and a guilty sentence, and removal from office. He saved the country, and himself, some of the ignominy by resigning. That being said, the events of the régime that seized power during the eight years, that have recently ended, deserves greater scrutiny than anything concerning Nixon and Watergate. It is a great scandal that there has not been many investigations.
The price of freedom is vigilance. Justice has not been active. Obama is but an amelioration of bushjr. The nation deserves more. To-day is the anniversary of our declaration of freedom, the Declaration of Independence. One can recall, on this remembrance of that clarion day, the freedom of our civil liberties against a corrupt, and tyrannical government. Senator Sam Ervin did his nation much service.
*What people remember as, “there’s a cancer on the presidency ”, was:
"I think, I think that, uh, there’s no doubt about the seriousness of the problem we’re, we’ve got. We have a cancer–within, close to the Presidency, that’s growing. It’s growing daily. It’s compounding, it grows geometrically now because it compounds itself."--John Dean, (21 March 1973 to Richard Nixon)