In the early summer of 1974, Washington was a city awaiting the catharsis of the Watergate obsession. No one knew when the climax would come; but there was no longer any doubt of its imminence or inevitability. On July 19, the majority and minority counsels of the House Judiciary Committee joined in urging a Senate trial on one or more of four central impeachment charges. "Reasonable men acting reasonably," they maintained, "would find the President guilty."

Nixon was in San Clemente awaiting the unfolding of events he could no longer control. I flew to...

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