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May 10, 1974 - Image 1

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-05-10

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THlE
Michigan Daily
Vol. LXXXIV, No. 3-S Ann Arbor, Michigan-Friday, May 10, 1974 Ten Cents Sixteen Pages
Committee meets in closed session

Judiciary
unit starts
Waterg ate
inquiries

WASHINGTON (30 - The House
Judiciary Committee met behind
closed doors yesterday for the
initial presentation of evidence in
its historic inquiry into whether
there are grounds for the impeach-
ment of President Nixon.
At a two and a half hour session,
committee members received evi-
dence covering the events leading
up to the June 17, 1972, break-in at
the Democratic National Commit-
tee headquarters. It included de-
velopments early that year of plans
by Nixon campaign officials to col-
lect political intelligence.
EACH OF the 38 committee members
received a thick black loose-leaf note-
book containing an index of all the ma-
terial collected by the impeachment in-
quiry staff.
The members also received another
notebook which included specific state-
ments bearing on the allegations against
the President and documents and tran-
scripts dealing with them.
Presentation of evidence began amid
a new flurry of calls for the President to
reconsider his decision not to resign and
to fight the impeachment attempt.
COMMITTEE Chairman Peter Rodino
(:-N.J.), and the ranking Republican,
Rep. Edward Hutchinson of Michigan,
reminded the members during brief
opening ceremonies of their weighty con-
stitutional responsibilities.
James St. Clair, President Nixon's
chief Watergate lawyer, attended the ses-
sion but took no active part.
As they left the closed session, Com-
mittee members declined to discuss what
they had heard.
RODINO BRIEFED reporters, saying
that there were a number of specific
references during the meeting to the
material developed by a federal grand
jury and turned over to the committee
by U. S. District Judge John Sirica.
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), joined
Rodino at the briefing and said none of
the evidence presented surprised him.
"There was no information revealed
to me that was new," said Conyers. He

added that it did contain "greater detail"
than he had seen before.
THE COMMITTEE is scheduled to
meet again at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday to
continue hearing evidence from the staff.
Rodino said that no White House tapes
were played during yesterday's presen-
tation. Playing of tapes is expected to
be part of the presentation next week.
The chairman said he hoped the com-
mittee could move into open sessions
after conclusion of this initial phase but
that no definite plans have been made.
RODINO'S and Hutchinson's opening
statements took less than eight minutes
to reAd and then the committee voted 31
to 6 to begin hearing the evidence in
closed session.
The six committee members who op-
posed receiving the evidence in closed
session were Conyers, Robert Drinan of
Massachusetts, Joshua Eilberg of Penn-
sylvania, Elizabeth Holtzman of New
York, Charles Rangel of New York and
Jerome Waldie of California, all Demo-
crats.
Rep. Walter Flowers (D-Ala.), was not
present for the vote.

At Photo
Peter Rodino (D-N.J.), chairman of the House Judiciary Com-
mittee, talks with reporters at the opening session of the
panel's impeachment inquiry yesterday.

Impeachment hearingsopen
with unexciting first meeting

WASHINGTON ')--As a high point in
history, the opening of the House Judi-
ciary Committee's hearings yesterday to
consider whether grounds exist for im-
peaching President Nixon left a bit to be
desired.
All the public could observe was some
bland and predictable speeches by the
chairman and the s e n i o r Republican
member and a p o 1 i t e and somewhat
pointless argument over House rules.
BUT SINCE it began back in January,
the impeachment inquiry has been more
one for the history books than the daily
news media - a slow accumulation of
facts, most of them already known,
which is now being laid before the mem-
bers.

Also building up has been the political
tension, and it was apparent in the zom-
mittee room in the bustling moments
before the hearing started. While the
Democrats chatted easily and visited
with the each other, the Republicans,
for the most part, sat in solemn silence,
declining to answer reporters' questions
about the suggestion of two House Re-
publican leaders that President Nixon
consider resigning.
One of the few Republicans who ap-
peared at ease was James St. Clair,
Nixon's lawyer, present by invitation of
the committee. He and the chief com-
mittee counsel, John Doar, have become
familiar adversaries in the long series

of battles over Watergate tapes the
committee wants. And they posed to-
gether for pictures, bantering good
humoredly.
THE COMMITTEE has arranged the
chairs at the counsel's table to put St.
Clair alongside Samuel Garrison, the
committee's deputy minority counsel, in
the middle. But St. Clair took his seat
at the end of the table and the two
associates he had with him pulled their
chairs around to flank him, leaving a
gap between the committee and the
White House counsel.
There were four lawyers present for
the committee, Doar, Albert Jenner and
See JUDICIARY, Page 7

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