Robert Bork became Nixon’s solicitor general in June 1973, 12 months after the Watergate burglary. Then Bork, fresh from Yale Law School’s faculty, met Nixon: “Apparently unsure if he was really dealing with a conservative Ivy League professor, he assured me his conservatism was something of a pose to keep others from moving too far left.”
Conservatives knew this.
In the summer of 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew asked to see Bork, but “really had nothing of substance to say.” Bork would soon learn why Agnew wanted to establish a relationship. A few weeks later, Nixon’s chief of staff, Al Haig, asked Bork to become Nixon’s chief defense counsel concerning Watergate matters, and told Bork that Agnew was under criminal investigation for accepting bribes while governor of Maryland, payments that continued while he was vice president.
While pondering Haig’s offer, Bork sought the advice of a Yale colleague, with whom he spoke on a “dark, semi-rural road” in suburban Virginia: “It’s an indication of the paranoia of the time that I really wanted to be someplace where it was impossible to be overheard.”
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