The Watergate Scandal began early in the morning of June 17, 1972, when many burglars were arrested in the office of Democratic National Committee, which was located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington D.C. The robbery was not an ordinary one as the burglars were connected to the President Nixon’s reelection campaign and they were found stealing documents and wiretapping phones. The president took aggressive steps to hide the crime but his role in the act was revealed in August 1974, which led to his resignation.
Origins of Watergate
The origins of Watergate break-in lay in the hostile political climate of United States. During President’s Nixon campaign for re-election, the country was in midst of Vietnam War, leaving opinions severely divided.
In August, President Nixon delivered a speech, in which he swore that his White House personnel were not involved in the act. Most of his voters trusted his words and consequently, he was reelected as the President by a massive margin in November 1972.
Many of Nixon’s aides, which included White House counsel John Dean testified in front of the grand jury about crimes. They also testified that the President has taped every conversation secretly, which took place in the Oval office. Moreover, prosecutors would have strong evidence of President’s guilt if they could acquire those tapes.
President Nixon was unable to protect the tapes during the summer and fall of 1973. Furthermore, his lawyers found it difficult to protect the tapes during summer and fall of 1973. His legal team debated the President had the privilege to keep tapes to himself. However, Judge Sirica and independent Archibald Cox, and Senate Committee were all eager to get their hands on them.
Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein
The scandal was a lucrative offer to almost every media personnel. However, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were acknowledged for covering the details of the Watergate Scandal. The way they reported led them to won the Pulitzer Prize and was also the foundation of their best-selling book “All the President’s Men” The two acquired most of the information from what an anonymous whistleblower they called as Deep Throat, who was later revealed in 2005 as be W. Mark Felt, a former associate director of the FBI
Saturday Night Massacre
Tensions began to ramp when Prosecutor Cox refused to stop from asking for the tapes. President Nixon ordered that he should be fired, which led to resignation of several Justice Department personnel in protest. These events were known as “Saturday Night Massacre” and took place on October 20 1973. Consequently, Nixon gave up some of the tapes but not all.
On March 1, there was a grand jury appointed to by a new prosecutor who indicted seven of President aides on different charges, which were related to Watergate affair. However, the jury was not sure as to whether they could indict a sitting President and termed Nixon as “unindicted co-conspirator.” The situation got serious for Nixon when Supreme Court ordered him in July to turn over the tapes. On the other hand, House of Representatives voted to impeach President for creating hindrances against justice, power, criminal cover-up and several violations of Constitution.
President Nixon’s Resignation
After much ado, President Nixon released the tapes, which offered undeniable evidence of his association in the Watergate crimes. Ultimately, he resigned from Presidency on August 8th and left the office the following day as he faced almost certain impeachment. Two months later after President Gerald Ford was sworn in as President, he decided to pardon Nixon for any crimes committed. Some of the people were convicted and sent to federal prison. It is imperative to note that Nixon never admitted to any criminal acts but he did acknowledge the use of poor judgment.
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