8 August

Richard Nixon: 'Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.'

August 8, 2009 · 2 min read

Frost: By definition.

Nixon: Exactly. Exactly. If the president, for example, approves something because of the national security, or in this case because of a threat to internal peace and order of significant magnitude, then the president’s decision in that instance is one that enables those who carry it out, to carry it out without violating a law. Otherwise they’re in an impossible position.

Frost: So, that in other words, really you were saying in that answer, really, between the burglary and murder, again, there’s no subtle way to say that there was murder of a dissenter in this country because I don’t know any evidence to that effect at all. But, the point is: just the dividing line, is that in fact, the dividing line is the president’s judgment?

Nixon: Yes, and the dividing line and just so that one does not get the impression that a president can run amok in this country and get away with it, we have to have in mind that a president has to come up before the electorate. We also have to have in mind, that a president has to get appropriations from the Congress. We have to have in mind, for example, that as far as the CIA’s covert operations are concerned, as far as the FBI’s covert operations are concerned, through the years, they have been disclosed on a very, very limited basis to trusted members of Congress. I don’t know whether it can be done today or not.

Nixon’s views on presidential power: excerpt from an interview with David Frost

Today in 1974, President Richard Nixon resigned from office, the first US president to do so.



The global networks of neofascism

Phil Hearse explores the worldwide allegiances which bind rising fascist movements across the world into a coordinated force.

‘We are confronted by the threat of civil war’

Edgardo Lander talks to Red Pepper about the mounting tensions in Venezuela

Gilets Jaunes and the security state

Olly Haynes reports on the violent crackdown on protesters on the streets of France


Criminalising political opposition in Catalonia

Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte explain why the political trials this week only reveal the tip of the iceberg.

The age of environmental breakdown

There is only a small window of opportunity to prevent further catastrophic change, writes Lesley Rankin.

Zero-tariff Brexit: Another step towards Singapore-on-Thames?

Liam Fox's Brexit plans are a continuation of Thatcher's plans to decimate industry and agriculture, writes Nick Dearden