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December 30, 2008
Treason is the highest crime an American can commit against his country. And that's what one president accused his successor of committing.
by Don Fulsom
Richard Nixon's treason to scuttle President Lyndon Johnson's 1968 Paris peace talks—much more than Watergate or his long-time ties to the Mafia—should stand as our 37th President's greatest sin. There's no better word than "despicable" (used by LBJ in this context) to describe Nixon's betrayal.
In a newly released Johnson phone call to Senator Everett Dirksen, just before the November 1968 election, the Senate GOP leader readily agreed with the President's treason conclusion about Nixon, and pledged to call his party's presidential candidate on the carpet on it.
Johnson himself – a number of times earlier, and later – scolded Nixon, who repeatedly denied any knowledge of sabotage and pledged to do nothing to hurt President Johnson's efforts to end the war. (When the phone was hung up after at least one of these Nixon lies, Nixon and his cohorts reportedly burst into loud and sustained laughter.)
The newest LBJ Library tapes tell the dramatic story of how Johnson blew his stack and nearly blew the whistle on Nixon's treachery.