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Richard Nixon

Richard Nixon

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Richard Nixon

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  1. Richard Nixon

  2. We’ve talked about Richard Nixon before.

  3. He was the president elected in 1968 on the promise of finding an “honorable peace” in Vietnam.

  4. While Nixon was heavily involved in fighting communism in Vietnam, he also had to deal with America’s old communist enemies the Soviet Union and China.

  5. For a number of reasons, the Soviet Union and the Chinese government were not on good terms by 1970. Nixon believed he could use this to America’s advantage.

  6. Detente Nixon pursued a policy of lessening tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. To that end, he hoped to forge a relationship with China. Given what we’ve said, what did Nixon hope to accomplish?

  7. In 1972 Nixon became the first U.S. president to officially visit the communist People’s Republic of China. He met with Mao Zedong and the both agreed to continue to move toward a formal diplomatic relationship between the two nations.

  8. Leonid Brezhnev, the leader of the Soviet Union, was concerned about a possible Chinese-American alliance and moved to ease tensions between his country and the United States.

  9. The two nations agreed to limit their long range nuclear weapons.

  10. SALT I Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty - Froze the number of strategic ballistic missile launchers at existing levels, -Provided for the addition of new submarine-missiles only after the same number of older intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) had been dismantled.

  11. They also forged the “Great Grain Deal” in 1972 The U.S. agreed to sell $750 million worth of wheat, corn, etc… to the Soviets. So what? Who cares?

  12. For all of the things Nixon was doing to limit communism and nuclear war, he had some huge problems at home he had to deal with.

  13. Nixon was paranoid that his administration was surrounded by “enemies”, critics of the government that included members of the media, Democrats, the anti-war movement, etc…

  14. Believing that the executive branch needed to be protected, Nixon gathered a close circle of trusted advisors around him.

  15. Nixon’s suspicious and secretive nature caused the White House to operate as if it really were surrounded by political enemies. One result of this mind-set was the creation of an “enemies list,” a list of prominent people seen as unsympathetic to the administration.

  16. When someone in the National Security Council appeared to have leaked secret government information to the New York Times, Nixon ordered that wiretaps, or listening devices, be installed on the telephones of some news reporters and members of his staff.

  17. Leaks to the press continued. Former Defense Department official Daniel Ellsberg’s leak of the Pentagon Papers was the last straw for Nixon.

  18. He organized a special White House unit, nicknamed “the Plumbers”, to stop government leaks. In September 1971, the Plumbers broke into the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist, hoping to punish Ellsberg by disclosing damaging personal information about him.

  19. As the election of 1972 approached, Nixon’s campaign team established a fund raising committee designed to collect as much campaign money as possible before a new law required such contributions to be reported.

  20. That committee was known as. . . CREEP The Committee to Re-elect the President

  21. In March 1972, a group within CREEP made plans to wiretap the phones at the Democratic National Committee Headquarters at the Watergate apartment complex in Washington, D.C. The job would be done by Nixon’s plumbers.

  22. The operation, led by G. Gordon Liddy, was unsuccessful in its first attempt. During their second attempt on June 17, 1972, they were caught by the police and five men were arrested.

  23. Although Nixon had not been involved in the break-in, he became involved in its cover-up. He illegally authorized the CIA to try to persuade the FBI to stop its investigation of the break-in, on the grounds that the matter involved “national security.” Nixon’s advisors launched a scheme to bribe the Watergate defendants into silence, as well as coaching them on how to lie in court.

  24. Nixon’s campaign against the Democratic candidate George McGovern was unhurt by the scandal, as the public focused on the President’s successful first term record.

  25. At the trial of the Watergate burglars in early 1973, all the defendants either pleaded guilty or were found guilty.

  26. At the same time, two young Washington Post reporters, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, were working to track down information to uncover the Watergate story.

  27. In February 1973, the Senate voted to establish a select committee to investigate the scandal.

  28. During the Senate hearings, Alexander Butterfield, a former presidential assistant, revealed the existence of a secret taping system in the President’s office. The taping system had been set up to provide a historical record of Nixon’s presidency. Now it could be used to show whether or not Nixon had been involved in the Watergate cover-up.

  29. Nixon refused to turn over the tapes to Congress or to the Special Prosecutor appointed by the Justice Dept. to investigate the White House.

  30. In the midst of the growing scandal, Nixon’s vice president, Spiro Agnew was accused of the unrelated crimes of evading income taxes and taking bribes. Agnew resigned in early October 1973.

  31. Agnew was replaced by Congressman Gerald Ford.

  32. As millions of Americans watched the Senate hearing on television, Nixon’s approval rating dropped dramatically.

  33. On July 24, 1974, in the case of U.S. v. Nixon, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that President Nixon had release the tapes.

  34. When the tapes were played it became obvious that important sections had been erased.

  35. On July 30, 1974, 7 Republicans joined a Democratic majority on the House Judiciary Committee to approve three articles of impeachment: • - obstruction of justice • - abuse of power • - subverting the Constitution • These articles were then sent to the full House for debate and approval.

  36. After conferring with Republican leaders in the Senate, it became clear to Nixon that he would most certainly be convicted of the charges and removed from office.

  37. On August 9, 1974 Richard Nixon became the first President in U.S. history to resign from office.

  38. Gerald Ford took the oath of office having never been elected as either President or Vice President.

  39. Fin.