The Watergate Scandal The Downfall of a President
The President’s Men • When Nixon took office, the executive branch was the most powerful branch in the government – it had taken on an air of imperial or supreme authority. • As he distanced himself from Congress, Nixon confided in a small and fiercely loyal group of advisers. John Ehrichmann Chief Domestic Adviser HR Haldeman Chief of Staff John Mitchell Attorney General
The Five Burglars The Five Burglars • June 17, 1972 5 men were arrested after breaking into the DNC headquarters in Washington DC. • Eventually linked to CRP – The Committee to Re-elect the President. • They were placing listening devices (bugs) and gathering information on the Democratic National Committee’s election strategy
Senate Watergate Committee • The Senate Watergate Committee was a special committee convened by the US Senate to investigate the Watergate burglaries. • The Committee played a pivotal role in gathering evidence that would lead to the resignation of President Nixon. Chairman Sam Ervin (D)
John Dean • White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon from July 1970 - April 1973. • He was the first Nixon administration official to accuse Nixon of direct involvement with Watergate and the resulting cover-up in press interviews.
Alexander Butterfield • Alexander Butterfield testified before the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities on July 16, 1973. • His testimony, which revealed the White House's taping system, was a pivotal point in President Nixon's presidency.
The Nixon Tapes • Nixon initially refused to release the tapes, claiming they were vital to national security. • A year long battle for the “Nixon tapes” followed and Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor, successfully took the president to court to get the tapes. • However, there was an 18 ½ minute gap on one tape.
“The Rosemary Stretch” • President Nixon’s Secretary Rose Mary Woods claimed she accidentally recorded over 5 minutes of one of the tapes by stepping on the ‘record pedal’ of the machine. • She does not know what happened to the other 13 minutes.
Saturday Night Massacre • President Nixon wanted to dismiss/fire Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox from his office the next night—a Saturday. • He contacted Attorney General Richardson and ordered him to fire the special prosecutor. • Richardson refused, and instead resigned in protest. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General Ruckelshaus to fire Cox; he also refused and resigned in protest. • Solicitor General Robert Bork eventually fired Cox,insisting that he believed the decision unwise but also that somebody had to obey the president's orders.
Vice-President Resigns • In the midst of Watergate, Vice-President Spiro Agnew was forced to resign because of improprieties as governor of Maryland. • Gerald Ford became Vice-President.
Investigative Journalists • Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the story of the Watergate break-in and consequently helped bring about the resignation of United States President Richard Nixon.
Confidential Source • Deep Throat is the pseudonym given to the secret informant who provided information to Bob Woodward of the The Washington Post. • The informant provided key information that showed the involvement President Richard Nixon's had administration in the Watergate scandal. On May 31, 2005, Vanity Fair magazine revealed that William Felt (a 30 year FBI agent) was Deep Throat
House Judiciary Committee • The House Judiciary Committee (July 27, 1974) approved 3 articles of impeachment for Nixon: • obstruction of justice 2. abuse of power 3. contempt of Congress
The President Resigns • Before the entire House voted on the articles, Richard Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. • Nixon became the only President to resign in American history.
Official letter of resignation from President Nixon to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
Controversial Pardon • On September 8, 1974, President Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he may have committed against the United States while President.
Explanation of Pardon • In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interests of the country, and that the Nixon family's situation "is a tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must."