Rose Mary Woods, stonewalling presidents, rule of law

Rose Mary Woods stretch. Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum.
Rose Mary Woods stretch. Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum.

Trumplings are braying about how the Mueller Report totally exonerates Trump. Except 1) That’s not what Mueller said, 2) Barr is being super evasive about releasing the full report, which is totally not suspicious at all, 3) I think we have a Rose Mary Woods moment coming.

Rose Mary Woods was Richard Nixon’s personal secretary during Watergate. All conversations in the Oval Office were taped then. Nixon did everything he could to block release of the tapes. He stonewalled, screamed he was innocent, slimed accusers, evaded, yet in the end was forced to release them. They were damning and led to the end of his presidency. There was an 18.5 minute gap on one tape. Rose Mary Woods in a comically absurd episode, posed stretched across her desk, showing how she might have “accidentally” erased part of the tape.She was roundly mocked and ridiculed.

The House is going to get the full Mueller Report. And since Trump and Barr are trying so hard to prevent its full release, I’m guessing something quite damning is in it. Just like with the Watergate tapes. The ending will be the same.

Fiercely loyal to Nixon, Woods claimed responsibility in a 1974 grand jury testimony for inadvertently erasing up to five minutes of the 18?1?2 minute gap in a June 20, 1972, audio tape. Her demonstration of how this might have occurred—which depended upon her stretching to simultaneously press controls several feet apart (what the press dubbed the “Rose Mary Stretch”)—was met with skepticism from those who believed the erasures, from whatever source, to be deliberate. The contents of the gap remain unknown. Later forensic analysis in 2003 determined that the tape had been erased in several segments—at least five, and perhaps as many as nine.

In late July 1974, the White House released the subpoenaed tapes. One of those tapes was the so-called “smoking gun” tape, from June 23, 1972, six days after the Watergate break-in. In that tape, Nixon agrees that administration officials should approach Richard Helms, Director of the CIA, and Vernon A. Walters, Deputy Director, and ask them to request L. Patrick Gray, Acting Director of the FBI, to halt the Bureau’s investigation into the Watergate break-in on the grounds that it was a national security matter. The special prosecutor felt that Nixon, in so agreeing, had entered into a criminal conspiracy whose goal was the obstruction of justice.

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