The Watergate scandal in the United States took a sensational turn late on Saturday (20 October) night when president Nixon sacked the independent Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox.
GV Capital Building
GV John Kennedy memorial PAN TO Watergate Building.
SV INT. Richardson
GV U.S. Court House
SCU Cox speaks,
TRANSCRIPT: SEQ. 3: Richardson: "Mr. Cox will have full independence, as far as I am concerned. He will be given upon his appointment full authority to investigate all aspects of the Watergate case itself, and other related matters.
Reporter: Mr. Cox, do you feel you've been given enough authority to be totally independent in this serious investigation?
SEQ. 5: Cox: I certainly do. The document speaks of full responsibility, it contains an engagement not to countermand -- interfere -- with any of my co-operativities, it directs other people in the Department of Justice to co-operate. And, in every conversation the Secretary and I have had, assures me that those words are to be taken literally, or more than literally, and I think, in addition, that it is inherent in my position.
Reporter: What if, in Senator Bird's words, this trail leads into the Oval Office of the White House?
Cox: Well as I replied then, the trail should be followed wherever it leads."
Cox: "But this changes it. And, I don't think I could properly go on without making it plain that there had been a change. And indeed, I would have no interest in going on, if there really was... a radical change. But it wouldn't be right to continue with the pretence that we have the old arrangement, while it was changed and instructions -- bearing on enormously important aspects of the duty -- had been given. And if they can be given once, they can be given in the future. And, I am afraid if I acquiesced even once, in the hopes of avoiding a confrontation -- then I Would find myself saying, well it isn't worth doing it this time either. So it seemed to me, that I ought to explain what was happening."
Initials APSM/2259 APSM/2313
ELLIOT RICHARDSON INTERVIEWED ON COX'S APPOINTMENT IN MAY 1973
ARCHIBALD COX AT PRESS CONFERENCE. OCTOBER 20TH 1973.
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Background: The Watergate scandal in the United States took a sensational turn late on Saturday (20 October) night when president Nixon sacked the independent Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox. Immediately the Attorney-General deputy, William P Ruckelshaus also refused to dismiss Cox and was fired by President Nixon.
The crisis came soon after Cox announced that he would not obey President Nixon's instruction to make no further attempts to try to obtain the White House tape recordings. These relate to the bugging of the Democratic Party's headquarters at the watergate hotel. The Appeals Court ruled that they must be handed over, but President Nixon has again refused to do this, offering instead a "compromise", an edited version "verified" by a Democratic Senator. Cox called' a news conference on Saturday to say that he rejected the offer. He added he was considering contempt of court proceedings against the President.
Cox was appointed in May by Richardson, who pledged then to uphold the special prosecutor's independence.
At his news conference in Washington on Saturday (October 20th) night, Mr. Cox declared that he did not intend to obey President Nixon's order to stop trying to obtain the White House tapes. He charged that the White House was trying to work a basic change in the authority he had originally been given. He also charged that the White House was trying to alter the system of justice in the United States, and said he couldn't go on without making it plain there had been a change, he could he maintain the pretence there had been no change.
SYNOPSIS: In Washington, the Watergate Scandal has brought a new rash of political casualties. President Nixon has sacked the independent Watergate prosecutor, Archibald Cox, and the Attorney General Elliot Richardson who appointed Cox in May has resigned in protest. When the appointment was made, Richardson pledged to maintain his independence.
Cox has refused to give up his attempts to get hold of the tapes. On Saturday, he told a news conference that the White House was trying to work a basic change in the authority he originally was given.