Richard Gill Discusses the House Committee on the Judiciary Impeachent Inquiry, Part 3
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Richard Gill Discusses the House Committee on the Judiciary Impeachent Inquiry, Part 3

November 23, 2019


bjbj Naftali Okay. Dick, let s talk about
your experience with Hamilton Fish, please. Gill: Well, Congressman Fish, as you remember,
was a Republican member from New York, and came from about as patrician of Republican
line as you can imagine. There s been a direct descent from George Washington staff, there
s been a member of his every generation of his family has served in government since
the Revolution. And he is as much of a blue stocking was, I mean, he s died which I m
sorry to say but he was blue stocking Republican as you can imagine. He was a tall, elegant
man but he was open-minded. He really was concerned about this. He didn t approve of
what he was seeing and what he was hearing in the evidence. And he asked if he asked
John Doar if we if he could send a couple of us out to his home on a Sunday to visit
with him, to go over his concerns about the evidence to be sure he was right in his understanding
of where things led and so forth because every member of the Judiciary Committee was a lawyer,
all 38 of them. And so he as a lawyer, was trying to analyze through and as a Republican
he had, you know, he certainly was a lawyer but he also was a very, very principled man.
So Judge Sack and I were sent out to his home in Northwest Washington and it may have been
across a line in Maryland, I m not sure whether it was still in the district but anyway, his
wife had gone off somewhere for the weekend and so he had the house and he was using it
to just try to think and study and look at stuff. And so we spent the afternoon answering
his questions and he went and invited us out to the garden. It was a real pleasant time,
I mean, it wasn t too hot and somehow or the other the press got a hold of the fact that
some members of the staff were going to meet with one of the Republican minority and they
showed up on the street outside and Connie Chung was the newsperson with a camera crew
and all of this. And they wanted to know why we were there and when we had finished our,
you know, meeting with him, he said, Well, we might as well as relax, how about a gin
and tonic? And so we were sitting in the garden and they wanted to come in. He said, Well,
why not. Come on. And it was at a moment in time really a part of the thing where the
there was sort of a split about the Republicans as to because Bert Jenner became persuaded
that the President was guilty of many of these things and it almost became a co-majority
council with John Doar and some of the Republican members of the committee felt that they had
to have an advocate, if you will, and Sam Garrison was the designated person. And so
there was some speculation in the press about ill-will and axe jobs and was Garrison doing
this and that. None of which had any real consequence to the more important Constitutional
process but it was sensational and so Connie Chung came in and she asked Mr. Fish if she
could talk to him on camera about what was going on and he turned to Bob Sack and me
and said, Look, these two guys know a lot more about this than I do. I m learning from
them. They ve studied the evidence, ask them. We said, Oh, no, no, we don t get on camera,
we don t make comments, we don t have anything and so we stayed behind the camera but she
interviewed him and he had some very important and thoughtful things to say about the constitutional
process and about the sort of what had happened in the politics to get to this and the duty
of people, regardless of their political parties, to see the process out and then they asked
the raw meat questions about, well, what s going on on the committee about firing Mr.
Jenner and he said,. We didn t do that. And Sam Garrison s role and so he tried to knock
down all that talk. On the evening news, they have a little segment about the fact that
he was interviewed and that s all they put on. They completely ignored all the thoughtful
things that he had to say, all the concerns he had at a real high and proper philosophical
level. And I remember seeing went over to the hearing room the next day and ran into
Connie Chung and I asked her, I said, Why did you do that? Why did you select that,
which was just passing, sort of gossiping trash versus something meaningful that he
had to say. She says, I don t do it. She said the editors select. I put the whole film to
them and they choose it. I don t have editorial control. But I thought it was very sad and
disappointing, you know, that that was the way it got portrayed but I do remember Mr.
Fish he decided to vote against the President in the long run and Delbert Latta, who was
a Congressman from Ohio, I believe that s where he was from, had been put on the committee
as sort of the advocate, if you will, for the President. And he was button-holing Mr.
Fish and Latta was a short sort of stocky, bulldog kind of man versus Fish who was this
patrician, and he was saying to him that you ve gotta understand, us Republicans have to
stay together and we have to do this and you re a Republican and so forth. Mr. Fish drew
himself up to his and he was about 6 3 or 4 and looked down and he says, Mr. Latta,
do not presume to tell me what it means to be a Republican. And his family had been Republican
since Abraham Lincoln. And so we were it was in one of those little chambers behind the
thing and I thought, Wow, is that and then Fish of course voted in favor of the articles
of impeachment. Naftali You were there you witnessed this? Gill: Yeah, I was standing
in the room. We all used the same break room. Naftali And you are also a Republican? Gill:
Yes. Naftali That must have been a very interesting moment. Gill: It was and I was very proud
of Mr. Fish, obviously. I thought boy does that he didn t give a weasley answer, didn
t sort of say, well, you know, I m doing the best we can. We ll all he just was not going
to be berated about it. Naftali Tell me do you remember at all what his concern the concerns
that brought you and Bob Sack to see him that day? Gill: Tim, I this is awful to say but
I cannot. It was a Naftali That s all right. Gill: We spent probably three and a half hours
answering questions that he had about is this established in the evidence and is this linked
by error and are you satisfied from that the President really was involved. It was the
kinds of, you know, things but particulars, I m sorry to say, I cannot. Naftali Now, one
of the things I want to get back to Dick Cate s because one of his jobs, I m sure in the
same period, was to be giving seminars to some of the members, doing the same thing.
Gill: They did meet with various members. And interestingly, some members of congress,
who were not on the committee but expected to have to vote on the articles when they
reached the floor were asking for input. Congressman Bill Dickinson who was from Montgomery and
knew me, asked Doar if I could be sent over to his office to talk to him about it and
the path it was taking and I have a feeling that Mr. Dickinson was concerned as to how
it would play politically back home. I do know that Walter Flowers, who was a Democratic
member of the committee, asked me to come to his office and he said, Look, I want to
I don t want to he was going to make an opening statement as they each did he said I want
to be careful not to prejudge but I there are some clear areas of concern and he says
I think you, as a fellow Alabamian, will understand it s got to the people in Alabama are not
interested in the Cambodian bombing, they probably favor it and they probably think
they all ought to bomb them more so he says I don t want to focus on that kind of thing.
And he said, Do you mind drafting an outline for me? And I said, Well, of course I m happy
to. And Doar said it was all right and so I stayed up all night writing out a statement
that I expected him to use as an outline and I gave it to him at 6:30 in the morning or
something. You know, it was finished and I certainly thought it was rough. I mean, I
he read it that night. All he did was introduced he had a paragraph in advance about who he
was, where he came from, what his background he was trying to say this is where I come
from and he mentioned that a fellow Alabamian was on staff and then he started in at saying
I want to say what my concerns are and he went straight I was sitting in the room, I
was flabbergasted. I said, if I thought he was going to write it, I mean read it, I would
ve written it in a attempted to be as literate as possible but he virtually adopted it. I
mean, it was his decision to adopt it. I didn couldn t put words in his mouth but he was
satisfied with them and his remarks were generally favorably viewed at the time. Naftali His
statement was quite emotional, too. He was quite emotional when he gave it. Gill: Yeah,
he was. Naftali It was difficult for him. Gill: It was because he was a Democrat but
he was a southern Democrat who really was sort of a Republican in those days and it
was a hard thing for him even though politically he was on the Democrat side, he you know,
Walt Flowers died way too early. I don t think he lived 10 years, 12 years past that. He
had a great future I thought as a Senator but unfortunately. Naftali What part of Alabama
was he from? Gill: He was up from up in Tuscaloosa. Northwest Alabama. Naftali And you re from
what part Gill: Montgomery. Naftali Montgomery. Gill: Which is central. Naftali You mean you
were born in Montgomery? Gill: Yeah. I think I mentioned to you when we were just chatting,
among the Democrats on the committee, there were several that excuse me, among the Republicans
on the committee, there were several like Mr. Fish who were really troubled by it and
then there were some hard right pro Nixon people. I can I wish I could remember the
gentleman s name, he was an older Congressman but he was very much of a very hostile to
the whole thing Naftali Sandman? Gill: No, it wasn t Sandman. I ll probably come to me.
But in any event Naftali Moorhead? Well, anyway Gill: Anyway, I know he sat on the lower right
tier. I can picture it. But he was very rigid about his views on it and we kept saying,
in private sessions, that you probably don t want to stick your neck out too fair because
the evidence is going to be pretty strong and that s what Bill Dickinson wanted. He
wanted to say, look, if it s that strong, I don t want to come out and look like a fool
where I just say there s not a shred of evidence or anything. And so we tried to caution members
that at least keep an open line and I remember he as I say, was very but my office, in the
congressional office building was on the second floor so it had a little height and there
was a street between it and the Longworth Building and he came at the end after the
President had resigned. I remember him walking out and he looked up and he saw several of
us sitting in the office because there was a big plate-glass window and, to his credit,
he looked up and he said, You guys were right. And gave us a thumbs up signal. So that was
kind of an interesting tribute to the work of the staff. Naftali I know it would ve been
very difficult for him. Gill: Yeah, Daniels I believe was his name. Naftali Do you remember
where you were when you heard the President would be resigning? Gill: Well, we were in
the congressional office building because we set up some televisions to see the speech.
And don t remember how we certainly it was public knowledge that he was going to make
a speech and that was the speculation but we were all clustered around the television
screens. Naftali Were you surprised that he resigned rather than go through with the trial?
Gill: A little bit. Certainly he had been very combative publically about it that I
will not, you know, but by then it had all kind of come unglued with the tapes and with
the Supreme Court s decision against him and the need to produce further tapes. He just
didn t have any base left anymore. Naftali What was your reaction when you read the transcript
of the well, what became known as the smoking gun? Gill: That s one that Dick Cate s predicted
what was in it and sure enough it was. Predicted almost exactly that that would have to have
been there. So I don t guess I was surprised. I remember commenting to Dick that, Well,
here it is, this is your script. Naftali He was a great trial lawyer. Gill: He was. Naftali
What did he teach you about being a great trial lawyer? Gill: The kind of deductive
reasoning, you know, you can guess at facts that have to exist for one fact to connect
to another. Now, you have to prove it as part of a trial but he was really good at that
and he was really good at guessing at what witnesses would do and would say and trying
to work with him to get them to tell the things that you he just was a really skilled builder
of a fact pattern and the logic that underlay it. And of course he was a great communicator.
He was funny and charming and so I can t be Dick Cate s. I m just not of personality but
he was certainly a man that I knew would ve been a formidable person in a courtroom because
of that. Jury s would love him, courts would accept because he was earnest and funny at
the same time and Naftali Did you ever interact with Chairman Rodino at all? Gill: A little
bit. He was gracious enough to come over to our headquarters and meet us all, you know,
we worked for him, ultimately, through John Doar, and but not certainly not closely. Naftali
What about Francis O Brien? His chief of staff? Did you Gill: Certainly met. Same sort of
thing. More interaction there with Doar and Jenner than with us. Naftali Tell us though
because it is important to the story. What can you, from your own perspective, what can
you tell us about how Jenner changed or came to the conclusion that the President was probably
guilty? Gill: Well, I don t know if I can describe his mental process but Bert Jenner
of course was a very, very experienced, both trial lawyer and litigator, I mean, in the
broadest sense he was skilled and I use political in the I want to be careful about the word
I don t mean politics in the who you vote for sense but he had been head of the American
Bars Judicial Selection Committee for many years. people knew him everywhere, they trusted
him, he was head of a big Chicago firm. He was well-regarded. But he was a certainly
was somebody who would qualify as the honest man and his own when he listened to the evidence,
when he looked at the evidence, when he met with he was one he met with us with Judge
Byrne, he met with Henry Kissinger. He listened, he solved and he just said I can see what
s in front of my eyes and I can t be dishonest about it. I can m not here as an advocate
to try to color the evidence or shade it or misinterpret it and so he once he became convinced
of that, he said it s my duty to just as John Doar would ve thought it was his duty, the
evidence showed there was no involvement of the President. That Doar would ve ruthlessly
reported that. He wouldn t have been an advocate or partisan. And Bert, as I say, he functioned
after that as a almost a co-manager, if you will, of the inquiry. Naftali Do you I know
it s a long time ago but in order if you think about sort of the evolution of the inquiry,
do you think that Mr. Jenner came to this conclusion early on or are we talking about
after the tapes or after the White House released the transcripts or its transcripts? Where
was [inaudible]? Gill: Well, I don t know if I can place it precisely but I do know
that when the White House released its edited version of the transcripts that Bert thought
that that was dishonest. He said that s not candid and there s a reason for that. When
people aren t forthcoming and they re clearly attempting to alter the appearance of the
evidence. And that s a decisive fact to most trial lawyers. You have to ask why but I don
t know why and but I don t know exactly. Certainly he had access to hear the tapes and he was
one of those had access to everything, and I can t tell you exactly where in there but
certainly for most of the spring, after we got the tapes, he was pretty clearly aligned
with the majority side in the sense that and many of the staff who were Republicans were
also. Sam Garrison was an exception but I think Sam felt it was his obligation to be
the raw meat man and to challenge everything and to say wait, that s subject to a different
interpretation. Let s, you know, Naftali Do you remember some of the other Republican
staffers about what they were thinking? You said that Garrison was an exception so Gill:
Yeah. And I do think that the staff, certainly by the time we started presenting the evidence
and before the Congress, was pretty unified that everyone said of course everyone was
a lawyer who said that s what s fair in the evidence. There it is. And unless you were
just going to be willfully blind or partisan to the point of unreasonableness, you had
to conclude that and I think it was across the spectrum of the staff. I think, you know,
Hillary was a liberal Democrat but John would not he didn t hire partisans. I remember there
was some people who came into be interviewed who clearly said a thought and expressed that
they were there for the purpose of getting the President and that was their political
view and they wanted him out because of and John wouldn t hire those people. So Naftali
Do you remember him make giving a speech to the staff about the importance of non-partisanship?
Gill: He gave it to us individually. I don t know that I remember a general speech but
every one of us was told that as part of the interview process and when he told I know
when he told me I could have the job and he really said, If Frank Johnson recommends you,
you got the job. But he said, I want you to understand what the job is and what our viewpoint
is. And Naftali By the way, for the sake of the viewers, just tell us a little bit about
Judge Johnson. Gill: Well, Judge Frank Johnson is one of the icons of the civil rights era
in the judiciary in the south. He was the federal district judge in the middle district
of Alabama and presided over a great many of the landmark decisions about public access,
right to assemble, the Selma March, the Freedom Riders who were accosted by Klansmen and all
of those things were trials that went in front of Judge Johnson and he was a stern believer
that the law was the law. And he was as tough a judge in the courtroom but as nice a man
outside it as you could ve found and he and John Doar were friends. John was with the
Justice Department, Civil Rights Division and was sent to Montgomery and to Alabama
in general for those trials and they came to admire and respect and like each other
and they remained friends all their lives. Of course, Judge Johnson later became a federal
court of appeals judge and served on the 11th Circuit for a number of years before his death
but he s one of the great, great figures in American civil rights history. I say this
and I don t have any relevance here but my two partners that hired my law firms founders,
Judge Richard Reeves, was another one. He was on the 5th Circuit and the 11th Circuit,
and Judge John Godbold who actually hired me to practice law, and who was chief judge
of the 11th and 5th Circuits, they were icons, too, as were a number of them, Judge Wisdom
and Judge Tuttle but Frank Johnson was a standout. He was offered the FBI directorship but he
had some health problem and turned it down at that time. It would ve been a great appointment
but he was a great jurorist and a great man. Naftali You mentioned when we refer to Mr.
Jenner, you mention that he was in on the interview with, at that point, Secretary of
State Kissinger, you were there, too? Gill: I was because the interview focused on the
wiretaps and why they were authorized and whether they really were for national security
purposes and of course Dr. Kissinger didn t authorize all of them. He only asked for
or was connected to some of them but he was so senior that it wasn t appropriate for him
to be interviewed by younger lawyers like myself but because that was in my taskforce
area I sat in when Bert Jenner and John Doar interviewed Dr. Kissinger. And I sat in the
back of the room and kind of was on the wall but they thought it was important to talk
to him, just as they did with Judge Byrne, that he was interviewed by John and Bert on
a Sunday morning in Washington. He flew in from California. And, again, my job because
it was in my area, was to sit in and to give the background to John and Bert for the questions
they wanted to ask. Naftali Were these viewed as were these under oath? Gill: No, they were
not. Naftali And were they the transcripts of these interviews shared with the committee
or Gill: They weren t even all transcribed. But they would ve been we could ve converted
it to a testimonial form but that didn t come to pass but it helped us interpret the documents,
it helped us understand other things. Naftali Did Secretary Kissinger agree that some of
the wiretaps were not for national security purposes? Gill: Well, he defended the ones
that he thought were. He was very concerned about leaks out of the State Department. And
that s what had initiated the contact with the FBI, to try to find out who was leaking
sensitive material. He and I suspect truthfully, professed, that he had no idea that the program
had grown into other areas and that other people that once the FBI was on board for
wiretapping domestically, it would spread into the areas that it did. He said I had
nothing to do with that I did not ask for it I did not receive the reports I did not
get the materials I was not interested. Naftali Thank you. And what do you remember of your
reaction to the pardon? Gill: Well, I thought it was right. This didn t need to be criminalized.
There was enough national tragedy and enough personal tragedy. There was absolutely nothing
appropriate about trying to criminalize. That would ve turned it into a really nasty partisan
vendetta and exercise that just never should ve happened. And I thought it was entirely
appropriate. I m sorry it cost President Ford re-election, it probably did but he did the
right thing. Naftali Did you ever do any public service again after this? Gill: Not at that
level. I do of course locally. I m a judge, have been for 15 years for our state bar disciplinary
process. And local boards and all but, no, I ve not Naftali What did this experience
teach you about government? Gill: Probably some sense of patience and perspective that
things tend to work out even though at the moment of political of partisan fighting they
don t seem to be likely to. And that they re more good people there than the press would
have us think. Hamilton Fish is an example. If ever there s somebody who was the character
type, who ought to be in congress, he was it. And there were lots of them, Walter Flowers
was one. I mean, there were just plenty Peter Rodino was one. It also teaches you there
s a lot behind the scenes, a lot of jealousies, a lot of pulling and tugging, the unhappy
story with Jerry Ziefman, you know, was one example of that. And that some people are
probably not admirable and aren t going to be and you can t redeem them all. And but
overall, that process, I think was a high point in American democracy. It was a low
point from the sense that Presidents people got traffic and into it and it kind of spiraled,
you know, and it lost I think they lost their perspective. But I think overall it was a
cleansing process. Probably people have too casually suggested, since then, that their
political enemies ought to be impeached and none of that has happened I mean, there were
people who wanted to impeach George Bush, there were people, you know, that was the
Clinton business, all that. All of that was, it seems to me, of a much, much lower level
of gravity than what we had. And people behaved worse in these later ones. Naftali You mean
the politicians? Gill: Yes. Naftali You mentioned what do you want to say about Jerry Zeifman?
Gill: Well, remember Mr. Ziefman was a staff attorney. It may have been the committee,
general counsel, and when a special staff was chosen, he felt very aggrieved. He thought
it ought to have been assigned to him as the committee s council. He was not very helpful,
to put it mildly, toward the work that the impeachment staff was doing. He became resentful
about it and obstructive. And as in the years since, written a number of unhappy things
in journals and places about sniping at what he said was the work of the staff and how
it went down. And as opposed to a cooperative thing. Now, I can understand the ego involved
in it. This was a moment in history when he was at a place where he had an expectation
that this historical event would fall under his jurisdiction, and it didn t, and he did
resent it and he made that very clear. And I think that s too bad. Naftali As we conclude,
tell us, give us a work picture of Mr. Doar. What was it like to work for him? Gill: John
was and I would expect still is, very demanding of the purity of the work. He s intellectually
rigorous. He expected us to be. I remember including a fact in the Statement of Information
that I didn t have proper proof for and he privately said to me, Now that we can t have.
And I felt it was a very low moment for me but it was the right answer. I mean, he s
a remarkable figure really in American history. Both this and the civil rights work that he
did and yet he s very unassuming, he s very self effacing. He doesn t like public he doesn
t want to make himself the focus of the thing. I think history will write him down as a great
man and I hope we ll get him on tape with this because he has an insight that none of
the rest of us have. And, truthfully, none of the rest of us would ve sat for interviews
but for his permission because he had a strong ethic that you don and he at one time that
we were talking about a commercial undertaking and he said, You don t profit from government
service. You serve and you serve because that s what you re doing and that s what you re
supposed to do. And we all reassured that wasn t our purpose. We wanted it recorded
for historical; reasons and while it was personally important to us, to have it collected, it
we certainly weren t trying to get any money and if there was ever some book out of it
or whatever, we wouldn t take any money for it. So but John Doar is s an iconic figure
in his own right. And probably historically better known for the civil rights trials.
He handled the Mississippi murders, as well as the Alabama business and but I think he
s a great man and he but very modest man. Naftali Why do you think he hasn t gotten
the historical recognition for his work on impeachment? Gill: Partly because he doesn
t want it. He viewed it as a task that was given to him and to do, and to do his best
he knew how. He didn t seek any publicity, he didn t want it. I think he s avoided it
in fact but I don t think it could ve been done as effectively, as honorably, that is
without the partisanship, without the leaks and the, you know, all that going on and certainly
not as effectively and focused as it was except for John Doar and his leadership. Naftali
I know it s been a long time, but do you remember what it was that you wanted to add that he
told you to remove? Gill: I don t. It was something it wasn t that he objected he said,
I don t mind it being in there but you gotta have the proof and you don these documents
that you site as the proof, don t prove that. And I m sorry to say, I cannot remember it
but I had probably done a little extrapolation and I d drawn inferences and conclusions that
he didn t feel were properly supported and he was not going to have this wasn t an argument
by us, we weren t lawyers summing up something to a jury. We were stating facts and that
s what he wanted. Naftali How did your thoughts about President Nixon evolve over this period?
Gill: That s interesting. I don t know. As I said, I was a Republican, I voted for him,
I still think, historically, he has many, many positive features and I think will be
remembered for those positive features. I think he probably was among the oddest people
who ever occupied the office. Of course, I ve never met him. No one ever interviewed
him in our group and I think there s some strange people, probably, from a m just s
a historical thing, who occupied the presidency. Maybe you have to be to go through what you
have to do to get to be President. But I think he I think this was something that was such
a colossal misjudgment and maybe they were just too close to it. He had no chance and
I think and I m telling you something that s self evident. He was going to win that second
election there wasn t even a doubt about it. There wasn t any need to wiretap the Democratic
headquarters, there wasn t a need to break in there, there wasn t any need it was paranoia.
The they just didn t have to do these things but once it got going, the impulse to protect
your image, to hide it, to and the sense of power that you can do that, you can fix things,
you can get people to clam up or to tell other stories, you know, whether you manipulate
them with money or with pressure or with promises or whatever, just took hold and it became
it just ate itself up as it rolled on. But I don t have any special insight about President
Nixon. All of that is something that any number of people better qualified than me could ve
said. Naftali Well, I was just asking about your impressions as you did the work. Gill:
Well, all my impressions obviously are from paper and from hearing his voice on tape and
I just that s what I said about the tapes before. The tone of it. The conspiratorial,
almost locker-room, talk about how to and I m a prude about it but I don t mean the
profanity, that doesn t make any difference but I m talking about the sort of how do we
fix this and we can get to him this way and it s something that you have to hear in the
tone, as well as the words on the paper that are shocking in a way. Naftali Are there any
stories that you recall that I haven t listed today? Gill: I would throw in this is not
a story but I ll look at my notes real quick because I know we ve been here long enough
but this is a Hillary Clinton story as it relates to that. As I said earlier, Hillary
was a very junior lawyer and she was obviously extremely bright and capable and she pretty
quickly made herself indispensible. If you had a task that you needed to run to ground
and you wanted it done and you wanted it done right and quickly, you gave it to Hillary
to do and she did. And of all the lawyers at that level, who were hired just out of
law school and all, she s the one who became a central figure and we had a final night
gathering. A group of us stayed behind to write the final report because John Doar said
that, look, there s no comprehensive final answer. We ve got a lot of evidence and things
in the transcripts and it ought to be put together into a summation, if you will. And
so we stayed past the resignation and had a dinner with the Monocle, which is on the
Senate side, I don t know if the restaurant is even still there, but it was the three
it was Even, and Bob Sack and me and John Labovitz, who had done the legal research
and the constitutional research about impeachment and John Doar, Bert was not there. Bernie
Nussbaum was there and Hillary. So that you had the real senior people and the next senior,
which would ve been Sack and Gill and Davis and one junior, Hillary. And but she was had
made herself a part of the inner circle because she, as I said, could be relied on. I liked
her. I didn t agree with her politics. We joked with each other. I called her a left
wing pinko, she called me a right wing Neanderthal. And but we stayed up stayed over there and
ate and drank til they closed the restaurant up and they re putting the chairs up on the
table. They had to run us out we were there till midnight I guess the restaurant closed
at 10:00 or 10:30. But they let us stay. And everybody had had a lot of wine and things
and we all walked back across the capitol grounds because Doar had an apartment fairly
close and I ve forgotten where Hillary lived but and there was one last bus I could catch
out to Arlington, where my wife and son were, from federal triangle. But I just remember
walking back, this group, that s all of us that were kind of left behind and it had and
it was a special moment with them and all of those people have been special friends
forever. And Doar knit that group together. That doesn t have anything to do with the
merits of the impeachment or anything but like I say, she was a player by then. I hope
you re going to interview next in the next here John Labovitz because he did the and
I will give you that because I know you re going to. The last impeachment of anybody
that had occurred that was in which there was actually a trial, was a federal judge
by the name of Halsted Ritter who was impeached in the 1930s. And the congressman who was
the House Manager, which would ve been lead trial council is really what he was, was a
congressman named Sam Hobbs from Selma, Alabama, whose son was my senior partner, Judge Truman
Hobbs, who is a federal district judge now. And so the research as how number one, what
s an impeachable offense and how do you conduct a trial in the Senate, because nobody had
done it. There just weren where in Judge Hobbs had his father s archives and he sent me those
papers, the transcripts and the pleadings and how it went and they were made available.
They wasn t identical, obviously a federal district judge is not the President but which
Judge Ritter was I think he was from Florida but I m not sure but anyway, that coincidence
was just a quirk that that was available to us. But anyway, John Labovitz is quite a bight
man and he really I think did some important constitutional analysis. I do
have in my notes about the political matters
memoranda. I don t know if you want to mention that or not. Naftali Mention it. That s a
very good story. It s important. Gill: The Haldeman collected from his staff, people,
and others who would send him things called Political Matters Memoranda and it was all
kinds of just that, political matters, but in them, they got reports from the Gem Stone
files, which were the wiretaps and the break in reports from the plumbers and what they
found and so on. We published, initially, the entire collection and it s about that
thick, of the political matters memoranda and there s a lot of political dirt and skullduggery
and how do we get this congressman to vote our way and how do we get this person to do
things and what pressure can we bring to bear on them and if somebody misbehaved, cut them
off from access to the White House mess. I mean, those kind of things. And the Republicans
on the committee said it they cried foul. They said wait, this not right. Those things
don t have anything to do with the impeachment. That s just an embarrassment and that shouldn
t be published. And that tug of war went on. And the Democratic majority, I think, probably
because they imagined that such things probably existed from Lyndon Johnson s administration
and others, they said you re right, we ll withdraw all of that and only publish the
I think there are 19 of those that contain information about Gem Stone. And the rest
of it should be destroyed and it had already been published in those brownish grey books
and there were 5,000 copies that were made. Getting ready to put them in evidence. And
we were instructed to burn them all and have them destroyed. And we did almost all of them.
There are five or six copies left. I think you probably have custody of the original
documents now but this collection was saved by the senior members of the staff. Everybody
had one of their own, took them out of the pile of 5,000 and kept them as sort of a treasure
I guess. And they re all not relevant now at this time I mean, they re historically
interesting but most of the people in them are dead and gone and all that but what was
published was a little volume about that size versus the big volume. And I think I brought
you, for the archives, both versions. Naftali Thanks. Did you ever think of interviewing
Gordon Strachan? Gill: There was some pressure about it and I can t remember why we didn
t. Maybe the pressure of time, there was a lot of obstruction thrown up, legally, about
the ability to interview Haldeman and Ehrlichman and those people very close to the President
on executive privilege and all of that fight. And somebody like Dr. Kissinger s, I think
he wanted to make it clear to us that he was not involved in the political abuse side of
it and so he came but we didn t interview if Strachan was interviewed, I didn t participate
in it so I know I did participate in Colson and Krogh and Liddy and I don t know, some
more of those but let me just just for fun. Since this is probably the only time we ll
give you just one other quick Congressman Huntgate. Well, yeah, Bernie Nussbaum, who
you I guess going to interview on Saturday is a very rapid speaking New Yorker and partly
he thinks so quickly and is trying to get it all out. He was presenting some of the
evidence to the committee and he gets I mean, a thousand words a minute in and he was going
so quickly and finally the Chairman spoke and said, Mr. Nussbaum and everybody eyeballs
were kind of said it s approaching lunch. Said can you tell us are you going to reach
a stopping point and he said, Well, Mr. Chairman, yes, I recognize that. I ll try to be quick.
And Mr. Huntgate broke in and said, No, Mr. Nussbaum, don t be quick, be brief. And the
distinction is about it and I think you ll be fascinated when you meet Bernie, but I
think that s probably the major things I wanted to that I made notes about. Anyway, we were
proud of what the not the result, we didn t have a result we were looking for. We were
proud of the product and we were proud of the honorable way we think the staff behaved
in terms of conducting its analysis and no leaks and no politics and it s all attributable
to John Doar s leadership. It really is. Naftali Dick Gill, thank you very much for your time
today. Gill: Well, I appreciate the opportunity. I hope sometime my grandson might be interested
in reading all of everybody s stories. Naftali I hope so, too. Gill: Sure. Naftali Thank
you. PAGE PAGE Richard Gill Oral History Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum PAGE
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