Watergate

By: Linda Chen

How it began

The start of the Watergate break in lay in the foundation of the US in 1960. By 1972 when Richard Nixon was running for reelection the US was still in the Vietnam War and citizens were deeply divided. Although the election was a landslide for Nixon it was later founded that there was many hidden secrets. Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were the first to break this news to the public.


In May of 1972 members of the Nixon's Re-election committee went to the Democratic National Committee's Watergate Complex and stole top secret documents and bugged the phones.


It was later on June 17 when the group returned to the complex due to the failure of the wired tapes. As the group were preparing to break into the office with a new microphone a security guard noticed that they had taped the building’s locks. The guard called the police who arrived just in time to catch the robbers.

Watergate: Cover up

It was not clear that the burglars were connected to the president although many people were suspicious when detectives found copies of the re-election committee’s White House phone number among the burglars belongings.


In August, Nixon gave a speech in which he swore that his White House staff was not involved in the break-in. Most voters believed him and in November the president was re-elected in a victory.


It was later found that Nixon had not been truthful. It later came to light that Nixon was not being truthful. A few days after the break-in he arranged hundreds of thousands of dollars to the burglars (to keep their mouths shut). Then he hatched a plan to the CIA to prevent the FBI’s investigation of the crime. (This was a more serious crime than the break in, it was an abuse of presidential power)


By that time people including Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and members of the Senate began investigating the crime. They started suspect that there was a larger scheme that was not yet to be revealed. At the same time some of people who worked with Nixon began to crack under the pressure of the cover-up. Nixon’s aides including White House counsel John Dean was testified before a grand jury about the president’s crimes, they were also testified that Nixon had secretly taped every conversation that took place in the Oval Office. If prosecutors could get their hands on those tapes they would have proof of the president’s guilt.

Nixon and the End of His Presidency

Nixon struggled to protect the tapes during the summer and fall of 1973. His lawyers argued that the president has a privilege that allowed him to keep the tapes to himself but the Senate committee and an independent prosecutor named Archibald Cox were all determined to have them. When Cox refused to stop demanding the tapes Nixon ordered Cox to be fired leading several Justice Department officials to also quit in protest. Eventually Nixon agreed to surrender but he never gave all the tapes just some.


On July the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. While the president was not too happy, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for obstruction of justice, abuse of power and criminal cover-up. Finally, on August 5, Nixon released the rest of the tapes, which provided evidence that he was indeed in the whole Watergate crime. Knowing that he will be impeached Nixon resigned as President on August 8.