This eyewitness account of the impeachment process against Richard Nixon—which historian Robert Dallek wrote "could not be more timely"—holds lessons for now.
James Reston, Jr., took leave from teaching during the summer of 1973 to witness the Senate Watergate Committee hearings as he worked with his coauthor on what became the first full-length book to advocate for Richard Nixon's impeachment. During the following summer, he returned to Washington, DC, to witness the final act of the impeachment drama, attending the Watergate trials, Supreme Court deliberations over executive privilege, and House Judiciary Committee hearings to consider and eventually vote on articles of impeachment. In the exciting days after the smoking gun tape was revealed, Reston joined the throng of reporters at the White House, hungry for news of Nixon's response.
When he arrived in Washington, he decided to keep a diary. The Impeachment Diary is his contemporaneous account of those heady, uncertain times: when a president, having been investigated by a special counsel and Congress, was called to account for acts contrary to his oath and office, and fundamental questions about the Constitution were engaged. The diary offers lessons—both insights and cautions—for our own time. Former solicitor general of the United States and constitutional scholar Walter Dellinger has provided an introduction discussing the nature and meaning of impeachment and helping to draw the links between then and now.
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About the Author
James Reston, Jr., was the author, with Frank Mankiewicz, of Perfectly Clear: Nixon from Whittier to Watergate. He was the Watergate expert who assisted David Frost in his historic Nixon Interviews, and he consulted with playwright Peter Morgan in the development of the play Frost/Nixon, which was made into the movie of the same name. He is also the author of The Conviction of Richard Nixon and numerous other books, plays, and articles, including A Rift in the Earth, published by Arcade. He resides with his wife in Chevy Chase, Maryland.
Walter Dellinger is the Douglas B. Maggs Emeritus Professor of Law at Duke University and a Washington, DC attorney. He served as assistant attorney general of the United States and head of the Office of Legal Counsel from 1993 to 1996 and acting solicitor general of the United States from 1996 to 1997. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.