ABC Evening News for Thursday, Jul 19, 1973
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(Studio) Senate Watergate hearings full of surprises. Today's may be most bizarre.
REPORTER: Harry Reasoner
(Capitol Hill) Question over Senate Watergate committee having access to White House tapes up in air. Earlier, White House aide Leonard Garment tells majority cnsl. Sam Dash no decision made by Pres, yet. During afternoon session committee chairperson Sam Ervin delivers surprise announcement. [ERVIN - reports Treasury Secretary George Shultz confirms that White House tapes to be available to Senate Watergate committee on President' orders.] Within moments, Ervin retracts former statement. Phone call hoax; caller an imposter. After Ervin's announcement on TV, cnsl. Garment assures Watergate committee that report untrue. [ERVIN - states in conversation with real Secretary Shultz, Shultz assured Ervin no call to him had been placed,] [Vice chairperson Watergate committee Howard BAKER - says he's upset and embarrassed, No harm to either party, however.] To impersonate government official is federal offense. FBI investigates.
REPORTER: Sam Donaldson
(White House) Ervin's announcement caused foot race to chief of staff Alexander Haig office. Haig on telephone with Shultz. Shultz denies call to Ervin or any such decision about tapes. Senior advisers urge President to consider naming independent observer to view portions of tapes and decide what should be released. John Sherman Cooper and John Williams being considered. President to answer Watergate committee 's request for White House tapes this wkend. [At press conference Ronald ZIEGLER - states White House cnsls. not reviewing White House tapes at this time.] Senator Hugh Scott suggests portions of White House tapes be made public, but not through Senate Watergate committee
REPORTER: Tom Jarriel