In June of 1972 an event occurred that changed the course of history. On June 12, 1972 there was a break-in at the Watergate Hotel. When the police arrived they found 5 men equipped with electronic bugging devices and burglary tools at the headquarters for the Democratic National Convention. Two of the individuals were James McCord and G. Gordon Liddy, both members of the committee to re-elect the president. A third suspect was E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent and White House aide.
When the news broke President Nixon claimed that no one in the White House had any prior knowledge to the burglary. The break-in was part of an elaborate plan by CREEP to sabotage Nixon’s opposition for re-election. A week after the break in Nixon agreed to cover up the White House’s involvement in the break in. Nixon claimed that any further investigation of the scandal was a threat to national security and needed to cease immediately. This plan seemed to work until early 1973 when the trial for the Watergate break-in began.
Nixon had his chance to come clean at this time, but he chose not to. This only made things worse for him Once the trial began his involvement in the cover up became greater, and involved blackmailing by those who were on trial for the The Watergate trial was brief, 5 of the defendant plead guilty and the other 2 were convicted by the jury. Before Judge Sircia sentenced the defendants there was a letter written by McCord read to the court that implicated that higher ups in the White House Administration had prior knowledge of the burglary and had committed perjury.
Nixon’s cover up was beginning to come apart and he told the American public that he had no prior knowledge of the break in or the cover up that followed until March 21, which was a lie. By April 30, 1973 Nixon was under extreme pressure and announced to America the esignation of his key advisors and legal consul. On May 22, 1973 Nixon came before the American public and told of his involvement in the wiretapping and how he had helped establish the Intelligence Unit to protect any threat to national security.
The summer of 1973 was a turning point in the Watergate Scandal. The Senate Watergate Hearings began, and they were led by Senator Sam Ervin. The trial was televised and the American public was able to see the political sabotage and deception that was carried out by the White House. America learned of the hush money that was paid and the destruction of evidence to keep the affair under wraps. The testimony of John Dean in June of 1973 was particularly damaging to Nixon. Dean’s testimony was clear, concise and to the point.
He informed the committed of a set of tapes that were made in the Oval Office that would implicate Nixon’s involvement in the scandal. Archibald Cox, who was the special prosecutor on the case wanted the tapes, and he demanded them from Nixon, who refused to hand them over. On October 20 of that year Cox again demanded the tapes and was prepared to get a court order for Nixon to turn them over. In turn Nixon ordered attorney general Richardson to fire Cox, which he refused, as did the deputy attorney general. Both men resigned.
On that Saturday night the solicitor general carried out Nixon’s wishes and fired Cox. With the threat of Impeachment looming Nixon turned over the tapes. While the struggle for the tapes was going on there were additional charges brought against the president. On July 30, 1974 the committee voted on 3 articles of impeachment. Nixon was accused of obstructing justice, violating his oath, abusing his power, subverting the constitutional rights of citizens, and disobeying subpoenas for White House records and On August 8, 1974 Nixon went on national television announce his resignation.