U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary Members and Impeachment Inquiry Staff
On February 6, 1974, the House of Representatives passed House Resolution 80, which authorized the House Committee on the Judiciary “to investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to impeach Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States of America.”
Soon thereafter, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter W. Rodino assigned Francis O’Brien from his staff to identify someone to lead the Impeachment Inquiry staff. After a national search, Chairman Rodino selected John Doar, a former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Special Counsel to the Committee. He was joined by Albert E. Jenner as Special Counsel to the Minority. Doar and Jenner put together a staff of relatively young lawyers and researchers, a number of whom rose to prominence in later years – including future Massachusetts Governor William Weld, future judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, Robert D. Sack, future White House Counsel Bernard W. Nussbaum and future Secretary of State Hillary Rodham.
Much of the focus of the staff was to produce a series of Statements of Information for the members of the Judicial Committee. These Statements of Information consisted of chronologies of events relating to the Watergate break-in and aftermath, allegations of misconduct relating to ITT, the so-called milk fund controversy, White House surveillance and campaign activities, use of the Internal Revenue Service to investigate opponents, the President’s tax deductions for the donation of pre-presidential papers, the bombing of Cambodia and use of government funds for President Nixon’s private properties at San Clemente and Key Biscayne. Some members of the staff also researched the historical precedents for impeachment, the questions of what is an impeachable offense, transcribed White House tapes and examined procedures for a possible Senate trial.
John Doar emphasized to his staff the importance of not talking about the Impeachment Inquiry at the time – an admonition that the staff carried with when the work was done. The staff member oral histories represents perhaps the first time staff members have publicly discussed details of their work on the Impeachment Inquiry.
This collection includes interviews with both members of the Committee and Congressional staffers.
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