George Santayana smiles.
Back in 1972:
This week in 1972, a conversation took place which would lead to the most famous incident of evidence destruction by a presidential administration.
At 2:30 a.m. on June 17, 1972, five men were arrested while attempting to plant electronic surveillance devices in the Democratic National Committee headquarters, in the Watergate office building in Washington. On June 19, the Washington Post published a story by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein revealing that one of the five men was James McCord, who was a security contractor with President Nixon’s Committee to Re-elect the President (CREEP).
The next day, President Nixon met with his Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman, at about 11:30 a.m.
By the Spring of 1973, the Watergate coverup had begun to unravel. Haldeman resigned on April 30, replaced as Chief of Staff by Alexander Haig. On May 17, a Senate Select Committee on Watergate began hearings. Chairman of the Committee was North Carolina Democrat Sam Ervin, a lawyer who had a long-established record as a defender of civil liberties. Senate Majority Leader Mike Mansfield chose Ervin to head the committee because his integrity was respected on both sides of the aisle. The ranking Republican was Howard Baker of Tennessee, who would become Senate Minority Leader in 1977, then Majority Leader in 1981-84 with the Reagan landslide, and eventually serve as President Reagan’s Chief of Staff in 1987-88. Ervin and Baker set the constructive tone for the Committee, which focused on serious investigation, rather than partisan attacks on either side.
President Nixon had been using a voice-activated tape recording system for all Oval Office conversations, White House aide Alexander Butterfield revealed to the Senate on July 16, 1973. Presidents since Truman had recorded some conversations, but Nixon’s recording of everything was unique. Two days after Butterfield’s revelation, the taping system was dismantled, and the tapes put under Haig’s custody.
Now see if the next part sounds familiar:
Special prosecutor Archibald Cox had been appointed by Attorney General Elliot Richardson in May 1973. Cox and the Senate Committee both issued subpoenas for some of the tapes, but Nixon refused to comply, claiming executive privilege. Among the tapes at issue was the June 20, 1972, Nixon-Haldeman meeting.
Nixon then said he would review the tapes and decide which ones the committee would hear:
Nixon moved forward to implement his preferred alternative to turning over the tapes, a plan which the Senate Committee had been willing to accept, but Cox was not: Nixon’s long-time personal secretary Rose Mary Woods would type transcripts of the tapes. Nixon would remove portions which he considered irrelevant to the subpoenas. Mississippi Senator John Stennis would listen to the tapes, to verify the transcripts’ accuracy. Stennis, who had first entered the Senate in 1947, was a very conservative Democrat from Mississippi. His integrity was widely respected; he was Chair of the Senate Ethics Committee, and author of the Senate’s first Code of Ethics. However, Stennis was 82 years old, and hard of hearing.
But then there was a “malfunction.”
Without Stennis participating, the White House would release the transcripts the next year, in April 1974. But something would be missing. On November 17, 1973, the White House informed Federal District Judge John Sirica that the 18 1/2 minute Nixon-Haldeman conversation of June 20, 1972, had been erased. White House Counsel Fred Buzhardt told the Court that he no explanation for the erasure.
The Nixon gang claimed it was an error. Hillary doesn’t. She simply wiped her server clean.
Hillary Clinton wiped “clean” the private server housing emails from her tenure as secretary of state, the chairman of the House committee investigating the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi said Friday.
“While it is not clear precisely when Secretary Clinton decided to permanently delete all emails from her server, it appears she made the decision after October 28, 2014, when the Department of State for the first time asked the Secretary to return her public record to the Department,” Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said in a statement.
Clinton was under a subpoena order from the panel for all documents related to the 2012 attacks on the American compound there. But David Kendall, an attorney for Clinton, said the 900 pages of emails previously provided to the panel cover its request.
Kendall also informed the committee that Clinton’s emails from her time at the State Department have been permanently erased.
Clinton’s actions take on a Nixonian aura now. She destroyed information sought by a government committee. Nixon wanted to review the transcripts of the conversations an decide which ones would be turned over. Hillary went ahead and did it and it wasn’t in line with tradition:
In the letter, Mr. Kendall offered a defense for the process Mrs. Clinton had used to differentiate between personal messages and government records. He said that those procedures were consistent with guidelines from the National Archives and the State Department, which say that an individual can make the decision about what should be preserved as a federal record.
So, Mr. Kendall contended, the process Mrs. Clinton used was “not an ‘arrangement’ that is ‘unprecedented’ or ‘unique,’ but instead the normal procedure carried out by tens of thousands of agency officials and employees in the ordinary course.”
Mrs. Clinton’s review of her emails, however, did not occur when she was secretary of state or shortly after she left office. Last October, nearly two years after she left office, the State Department sent her a letter requesting all government records, like emails, she may have possessed.
She decided what was and what wasn’t personal and what was and what wasn’t government. Hillary did not review her emails upon leaving office. She destroyed them only after they were subpoenaed.
She destroyed evidence.
These are the not the actions of a person with nothing to hide. Hillary has bought herself a one way ticket down Nixon Boulevard. This is a cover-up.
John Ondrasik asks the million dollar question:
Lawyers, If Congress subpoenaed my Computer and I intentionally wiped it, what would happen to me? Serious Question.