President Nixon Watergate Letter

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Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
/tiles/non-collection/n/nixon_rodino_2_nara.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
/tiles/non-collection/n/nixon_rodino_3_nara.xml
Image courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration
In 1974, the House Committee on the Judiciary, led by Chairman Peter Rodino, held an inquiry on whether President Richard Nixon should be impeached. The House has “the sole Power of Impeachment” under the Constitution (Article I, Section 2). In preparation for these proceedings, the Judiciary Committee served President Nixon with subpoenas for tapes and diaries relating to the Watergate break-in. President Nixon responded with two letters to Chairman Rodino outlining the reasons why he would not comply with the subpoenas.

Although the letters are official records of the Judiciary Committee that should have remained with the records of the U.S. House of Representatives, the letters ended up in private hands and were scheduled for auction through a manuscript dealer. Seton Hall University Law School Library verified that the letters once resided in the personal Congressional papers of Chairman Rodino, along with other Judiciary Committee records from the Nixon Impeachment Inquiry, that have since been returned to the House. The manuscript dealer was persuaded to return the records to the House to prevent replevin enforcement. Replevin is a term used to describe the recovery of alienated records or records that may have been improperly removed from a collection. The letters now reside with the official House Judiciary Committee records at the National Archives and Records Administration.


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