These prosecutors were hoping to bust open a political bribery scheme in local Maryland politics. LIEBMAN: I read his expression as saying, “I need this right now, like I need another hole in the head.” That was his expression like, “Jesus”, you know, “Jesus, sweet Jesus.”. And he knew that his real power base was the legion of supporters he had both in the public and in Congress, who loved what a hard-liner he was, who loved what a bomb-thrower he was, and who were willing to angrily support him basically through anything.
And -- as advised -- he also got himself a Bag Man: a longtime friend named Bud Hammerman. The Baltimore prosecutors raced to DC, they dropped that bombshell on Elliot Richardson during that meeting. BARNEY SKOLNIK (FMR. Had Vice President Agnew taken part in running that same criminal scheme while he was in that job? Bag Man. Biden's win means we get to do this whole thing again in four years.
And this is "Bag Man": the wild and untold story of the presidential line of succession, impeachment, indictment, and panic in the White House.
To the extent that Spiro Agnew is remembered in history, it’s for this sort of vague sense that he went down over tax evasion or something sort of benign. He had to.
But they knew they could no longer keep to themselves this criminal secret about the Vice President.
In terms of who exactly they thought they would nab though, the expectations-- at least early-on-- were relatively low: RON LIEBMAN (FMR.
Buckle up: The next two months are going to be terrible, Voters are finally paying attention to the judges they're electing. Leave the files here.
That’s next. Here’s Barney Skolnik, one of these federal prosecutors in Baltimore who helped crack the case: SKOLNIK: The scheme, it doesn't even deserve the, you know, the appellation “scheme”. We're thinking about corruption, none of this, the Attorney General needs or wants to hear!
And you can hear from him there that this was a little bit of a fishing expedition. And Agnew had at least one Bag Man, I think two, but he also took directly. He was Health Secretary before that.
It turned out that Agnew was also getting paid off by a Maryland engineering executive named Allen Green. And here we three Baltimore federal prosecutors are being told that the next guy in line, the guy a heartbeat away, he's also under a cloud! Subscribe through your preferred podcasting service. Not sure what to expect. So the President of United States, to put it mildly, is under a cloud. And (laughs) when we heard that, we were just, couldn't believe it! What he actually did though was way worse than that, to the point of being sort of bonkers.
And he's very interested in the evidence. Get daily news from local news reporters and world news updates with live audio & video from our team. He just crawled into the case, “So, what about this? Who were delivering him cash bribes, literally stacks of bills stuffed into envelopes.
He immediately crawled into the case with us. They were coming to Washington to tell him that-- at the height of Watergate-- the Vice President Spiro Agnew was conducting an active criminal scheme of his own from inside the White House. It would be conducted in-secret with the knowledge of only the people in that room. I think that's what, the level of expectation. They had the criminal scheme in their sites. Trump's election night lie was infuriating. When how could you expect that of anyone? He knew that the mood in the White House on the part of the President and his staff was quite bleak.
With the Watergate scandal gripping the nation, and President Richard Nixon on the verge of going down, a small team of federal prosecutors in Baltimore discover a bombshell that will rock a nation already on the edge.
These Baltimore prosecutors happened to draw as an Attorney General a figure in American political life who was equal to the moment. Russian hackers are targeting U.S. hospitals. So, it was shocking.
“The Client Decides: A Litigator's Life: Jackie Onassis, Vice President Spiro Agnew, Donald Trump, Roy Cohn, and More”, Eastlake Press, 2017, Coffey, Justin. There is no telling what any other Attorney General might have done in that situation. Unimpeachable integrity. Agnew took it, put it in the center drawer of his desk and closed his desk. To me it is the single most, it's the key to this whole saga: If Elliot Richardson had not been the Attorney General at that particular time, Spiro Agnew would have become President in August of ‘74. MSNBC breaking news and the latest news for today. So it wasn’t just a one-sided shakedown operation, it was a true quid-pro-quo, it was government-- federal government-- for sale. I mean, I'm certain of that. You know, “What's so important that I have to, you're interrupting my day and you won't even tell my secretary what it's about. But these prosecutors did have one particular fish in mind: they were after the head of the County government. Agnew-- as Governor-- enlisted his State Roads Commissioner to start awarding state contracts to the firms that would pay Agnew off. It also reflects the GOP's 2020 strategy. Which meant giving a Presidential administration that was famous for covering-up political scandals… the chance to cover-up one more. (AP Photo/File). Follow our rundown delivered daily right to your inbox, Sarah Silbiger / Bloomberg via Getty Images. And Lester Matz went to see the Vice President-elect with an envelope stuffed with cash in his suit jacket pocket. When he was Baltimore County Executive, Agnew had had the power to award local contracts. This wasn’t just posing that question to any Attorney General. His latest order proves it. And prosecutors soon discovered that Agnew was secretly accepting illegal deliveries of cash inside his Vice Presidential residence, as well as in the White House. Thanks for coming in. These young guys from Baltimore had not set out to find this, but what they soon realized they had rock-solid evidence of was that the Vice President was running an ongoing bribery-and-extortion scheme from inside the White House: LIEBMAN: It was shocking.
Here’s Ron Liebman explaining how it worked: LIEBMAN: After the election, the Vice President's office, temporary office was in the, in the basement I think of the Old Executive Office Building.
This local official Dale Anderson was their big fish and these prosecutors were now getting the goods on him and on this big bribery scheme in that specific County government. The GOP has to decide: save Trump or save America? The Baltimore County Executive at the time, who was a Democrat named Dale Anderson. Americans may soon refuse to trust the Supreme Court.
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