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I was not involved, says Nixon; RETRO REPORT.

AUGUST 1973 - How we covered...

PRESIDENT NIXON early today firmly denied he was involved in any way in the Watergate scandal. But he acknowledged that some subordinates took part in attempts to cover it up and other election abuses in 1972.

In his long-awaited defence of suggestions that he was implicated in the bugging and the break-in at Democratic Party headquarters, the president pledged he would improve the political atmosphere so that such abuses would never occur again.

The president in a televised speech from the White House at 2am did not name officials involved in the Watergate cover-up and he did not give a point-by-point reply to the weeks of testimony taken by the Senate Watergate Committee, which adjourned its hearings on August 7. He repeated a statement he made on May 22 that: "I had no prior knowledge of the Watergate operation. I neither took part in it nor knew about any of the subsequent cover-up activities.

"I neither authorised nor encouraged subordinates to engage in illegal or improper campaign activities.

"That was the simple truth."

The president opened by saying: "Now that most of the major witnesses in the Watergate phase of the senate committee hearings on campaign practices have been heard, the time has come for me to speak out about the charges made and to provide a perspective on the issue for the American people."

He said the Watergate affair had dominated the news media for more than four months, but in all the two million words taken by the Senate Committee "there is not the slightest suggestion that I had any knowledge of the planning for the Watergate break-in".

Edited by Tony Woolway
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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Aug 16, 2011
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