The Watergate break-in happened 45 years ago today

Almost certainly just before midnight the night of June 16, 1972, burglars entered the Watergate Complex to break into the Democratic National Headquarters. Shortly after midnight, June 17th, security guard Frank Wills discovered tape keeping a door from locking, and he called the police. See Wikipedia, and the wonderful book by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein (1974) and movie (1976) All the President’s Men. It was only the second book I’ve read twice, and I saw the movie again back in February thinking of this President and the denials sounding like a flashback to 1973. Déjà vu all over again.

Incidentally, I studied for the bar exam in 1973 while watching every minute of the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, colloquially known as the Senate Watergate Committee, on television. And I heard Alexander Butterfield reveal the taping system on Monday, July 16, 1973 to a question posed by Fred Thompson. Butterfield was the subject of 2016’s The Last of the President’s Men by Woodward. I pushed the reading aside and sat upright, muttering the 1970’s version of “WTF?” The bar for me was the next week.

I idolized Sens. Sam Ervin and Howard Baker. Baker made famous “What did the President know, and when did he know it?” I became a Watergate buff, and I was half surprised I passed the bar exam. I knew I was going to be a criminal defense lawyer since about 8th grade. They helped inspire me to be better.

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