Newly Released Transcripts Show a Bitter and Cynical Nixon in ’75
For 11 hours of secret grand jury testimony 36 years ago, Richard M. Nixon, a disgraced former president, fenced with prosecutors over his role in the Watergate scandals, bemoaned politics as a dirty business played by both sides and testily — as he described his own demeanor — suggested he was the victim of a special prosecutor’s office loaded with Democrats.
The testimony, which Nixon presumably thought would always remain secret, was released by the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda, Calif., on Thursday in response to an order by a judge. The transcripts offered a remarkable portrait of Nixon after he left office: bitter at his disgrace and cynical about politics. He presented himself as a victim of governmental abuses by his enemies during his long career in politics, and said that prosecutors, with an eye to ingratiating themselves with the Washington media “and the Georgetown set,” were out to destroy him.
“In politics, some pretty rough tactics are used,” he said. “We deplore them all.”
At one point, as he denied that his White House had engaged in anything out of the ordinary, he spoke with grudging admiration of what he said were the hardball tactics used against him by the Kennedy White House, asserting that it had directed the I.R.S. and other government agencies to discredit him as he ran for governor of California....
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