Nixon The Watergate Scandal
Nixon’s Adm. = very secretive + pushed issues as a power broker • Disregarded Congress and made enemies • “Imperial Presidency”
“All the President’s Men” • A group of advisors that believed in growing Pres powers, very loyal to Nixon, and often felt above the law
On June 17, 1972, five operatives, “the plumbers,” broke into DNC HQ at the Watergate Hotel in DC • They were caught! • Wanted to “bug” the DNC for secrets
The “Plumbers” Trial • January 1973: the trial begins and Judge John Sirica believed that the burglars did NOT act alone • One involved directly admitted that he lied under oath!!!
Nixon Reacts on April 30, 1973 • Dean, Ehrlichman and Haldeman resign • Elliot Richardson named new AG and called a special prosecutor to investigate
The Senate Investigates • “President’s Men” are called to testify as well as many others
“What did the President know and when did he know it?”-Sen. Baker
Dean indicated that Nixon knew about the break-in • Yet, Mitchell testified just the opposite • Former aide mentioned “tapes” of Presidential conversations … where were these tapes???
Cox Takes Nixon to Court • Cox wanted those tapes and took the Adm. to court in October 1973 • Nixon tells Richardson to fire Cox
Agnew Resigns!!! • Due to his own scandal about accepting bribes and tax evasion, VP Agnew resigned from office
Richardson resigns!!! • The Deputy AG refused and was fired! • Cox was eventually fired, but his replacement, Leon Jaworski, wanted the tapes too!!!
Effect of the SNM • The House Judiciary Committee examined the possibility of impeachment • 84 members suggest 16 articles of imp.
New VP Gerald Ford • Nixon replaced Agnew with House Minority Leader Gerald Ford
“...I am not a crook” • Nixon went on TV to tell the nation that he had NO part in the Agnew scandal • “People have a right to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I am not a crook...”
Indictments: March 1974 • Criminal charges abound • Indictments handed down for conspiracy and perjury for some of the President’s Men
The Transcripts Come Out • The tape’s transcripts were released on April 30, 1974, but were edited • They revealed a vulgar, unconcerned Nixon
On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY ordered that the UNedited tapes must be released because they were NOT a nat’l security threat that the President feared
Impeachment • Soon the House Judiciary Committee approved 3 articles of impeachment: • obstruction of justice • abuse of power • contempt of Congress
The Tapes • August 5: revealed that Nixon knew about the break-in and agreed to the plan to obstruct the FBI as early as July 1972!!! • 18 Minute Gap!!!
August 8, 1974 • With overwhelming evidence against him, Nixon decided to resign the presidency at noon the next day • Gerald Ford would take over. • He admitted no direct guilt, got on Marine 1 and flew off
So ended the worst Presidential scandal in US history • Americans changed their view of the Presidency • They were more cynical and distrustful of the gov’t from then on…