THE ADVOCATE 781
VOL. 76 PART 5 SEPTEMBER 2018
Q. Senator Cox, is not your intention in direct conflict with the president’s
orders to you, and if it is and you’re fired by the end of this news
conference, what happens then?
A. Well, I—there are a number of other technical questions. I was
appointed by the Attorney General under the statutes the Attorney General
and those to whom he delegates authority are in charge of all litigation,
including the obtaining of evidence.
I think there is a question whether anyone other than the Attorney General
can give me any instructions that I have any legal obligation to obey.
Second, under the Constitution, and the statutes, there are instances in
which not the president but departmental heads make appointments.
And I would think that was a proper inference that where departmental
heads are authorized by statute to make appointments that the same
departmental heads are the only ones who can make dismissals.
* * *
Q. Mr. Cox, I think, you believe that Attorney General Richardson will not
A. He may. You know, I’m not saying that no one can fire me. Of course,
eventually, there are ways of firing me. I don’t know what Attorney
Richardson will do.
Now, eventually, a president can always work his will. You remember
when Andrew Jackson wanted to take the deposits from the Bank of the
United States and his secretary of the treasury wouldn’t do it. He fired
him and then he appointed a new secretary of the treasury and he
wouldn’t do it, and he fired him. And finally he got a third who would.
That’s one way of proceeding.
* * *
Q. How could you expect to succeed in this job? How could you expect to
A.Well, I thought it was worth a try. I thought it was important. If it might
be done, I thought it would help the country. And if I lost, what the hell!
Q. Mr. Cox, there was a lot of talk this week by Republicans on the Hill
that, if the president defies a Supreme Court order to give up the tapes,
that then he would likely be impeached, or an impeachment action
would begin. Do you regard him as of this moment in defiance of an
appeals court order—a definitive appeals court order?
A. In my view, the president has stated that he would not comply with
the appeals court order. That is my view. I think it so likely that he is not
in compliance that it is my duty to present the question to the court. It
would then be for the court to make the determination. I’m not the last
word, thank God!
Nixon’s response was swift and predictable. He ordered Elliot Richardson,
the Attorney General, to fire Cox. Richardson, given the promises he
had made before accepting the role, refused and immediately resigned.
Nixon then ordered the Deputy Attorney General, William Ruckelshaus, to