In 1973, the nation was captivated by a televised hearing taking place in the US Senate. On 17 May the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities opened its hearings on the Watergate Break-In and subsequent cover-up of same by the Nixon white house. 319 hours of the hearing were broadcast on television and 85% of the public tuned in at some point in the proceedings. UW-Madison Professor, Stanely I. Kutler wrote extensively on the topic in such books as, The Wars of Watergate.
In this photo, retired CIA Officer and Watergate Burglar James McCord, demonstrates before the committee, how to tap a phone. McCord famously wrote to Nixon White House Aide Jeb Magruder that if the Watergate cover-up were to be exposed “…every tree in the forest will fall, it will be a scorched desert.” When it was over, 69 people would be brought to trail, 48 would plead guilty.
The following video link gives a flavor of what the heating were like. Not all witness were high government officials or well-known political operatives. Here, Senator Howard Baker (R-TN) questions Ms. Sally Harmony, a member of the secretarial staff, regarding the ‘Gemstone Plan,’ a far reaching scheme hatched by Watergate conspirator G.Gordon Liddy to gain intelligence on political opponents.