Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz Inform the Full Sordid Story of Spiro Agnew
The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cowl-Up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Criminal within the White Home
By Rachel Maddow and Michael Yarvitz
After Richard Nixon picked Spiro T. Agnew as his working mate, Alice Roosevelt Longworth reportedly stated, “Promise me, Dick, that for those who’re elected, you’ll at all times make Governor Agnew journey with you in your airplane.” Such remarks had been impressed by Agnew’s unshackled commentary: for example, as governor of Maryland, saying that it could be a “great deterrent” to shoot a couple of looters and, as a vice-presidential candidate, calling a Japanese-American reporter a “Fats Jap.”
There was, although, a much less public facet of Agnew: He’d been getting kickbacks from Maryland public works contractors since he’d served as Baltimore County government; and sealed envelopes, filled with “wads of money,” stored coming even after he was sworn in as vice chairman. His downfall was the topic of an entertaining and informative podcast titled “Bag Man,” by Rachel Maddow, the MSNBC host, and Michael Yarvitz, a tv producer and journalist. They’ve now repurposed their analysis to jot down a breezy ebook of the identical title.
For a half-century, probably the most full account of the case was “A Heartbeat Away,” by Richard M. Cohen and Jules Witcover of The Washington Put up. Maddow and Yarvitz credit score their work however realized there was tons extra to inform, and plenty of contemporary materials to inform it with — notably “hours and hours and hours” of White Home tapes, secretly recorded, in addition to an audio diary dictated by Nixon’s chief of workers, H. R. Haldeman. None of this aural proof was accessible in 1973, when George Beall, the Maryland U.S. lawyer, and three younger assistant attorneys constructed the bribery case that led to Agnew changing into the one vice chairman ever compelled to resign.
After it was discovered that Agnew was a goal, Nixon and his new chief of workers, Alexander Haig, mentioned plans within the Oval Workplace to impede the investigation. Amongst these enlisted to assist was the Republican Nationwide Committee chairman, and future president, George Herbert Walker Bush, whose involvement was uncovered by the authors in a “memo to file” present in Beall’s papers, at Frostburg State College. After the Marylanders introduced what they knew to Legal professional Common Elliot Richardson — their errand, and admiring affection for Richardson, are engagingly described — there was no shutting it down. In the summertime of Watergate, confronted with the potential for a Nixon impeachment, Richardson made his precedence getting Agnew out of the road of succession as rapidly as doable.
Just like the hosts of a actuality present, Maddow and Yarvitz step from behind a 47-year-old curtain to tell the previous prosecutors what they’ve discovered. “Wow! Agnew stated my title! Oh, pleasure,” one says. “Makes my complete life worthwhile.” However whereas “Bag Man” the ebook is significantly extra detailed than the podcast, it essentially lacks a soundtrack for such spontaneous exclamations, and the sordid immediacy of listening to these White Home tapes — gems like Nixon speaking to Agnew about Beall and asking: “Is he an excellent boy? Why the hell did we appoint him?”
Agnew resigned in October 1973, 10 months forward of Nixon’s resignation, however his story didn’t finish there. He loved his “convicted/emeritus” standing, wrote a awful novel and tried to make a residing. In what Maddow and Yarvitz name “maybe Agnew’s most malodorous second act,” he requested a Saudi royal to assist him resist the “unremitting Zionist efforts to destroy me,” by paying $2 million right into a Swiss financial institution. In Might 1995, he attended a ceremony on the Capitol, the place his marble bust was added to the vice-presidential pantheon. I can report, as a witness, that nobody murmured a harsh phrase concerning the honored attendee. Maddow and Yarvitz, although, don’t maintain again. To learn “Bag Man” is to be reminded how fortunate the nation was to be rid of him.
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