Through a White House, darkly

On December 22, 1973, an embattled President Richard Nixon met with the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the armed forces. It was a ceremonial meeting, not the sort where important decisions are supposed to get made. But one of the generals realized something was deeply off. Nixon was agitated. “He kept on referring to the fact that he [Nixon] may be the last hope, the eastern elite was out to get him,” the four-star general later said. It seemed the president was “trying to sound us out”—to see if, “in a crunch,” the generals would overthrow Congress and the judiciary, and keep the criminal president in power.

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