Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein deserve a great deal of the credit for uncovering the details of the Watergate scandal. Their reporting won them a Pulitzer Prize and was the basis for their best-selling book “All the President’s Men.” Much of their information came from an anonymous whistleblower they called Deep Throat, who in 2005 was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, a former associate director of the FBI.
The wiretaps failed to work properly, however, so on June 17 a group of five burglars returned to the Watergate building. As the prowlers were preparing to break into the office with a new microphone, a security guard noticed someone had taped over several of the building’s door locks.
A few days after the break-in, for instance, he arranged to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in “hush money” to the burglars. Then, Nixon and his aides hatched a plan to instruct the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to impede the FBI’s investigation of the crime.
When Cox refused to stop demanding the tapes, Nixon ordered that he be fired, leading several Justice Department officials to resign in protest. On March 1, a grand jury appointed by a new special prosecutor indicted seven of Nixon’s former aides on various charges related to the Watergate affair.
While the president dragged his feet, the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, criminal cover-up and several violations of the Constitution. Finally, on August 5, Nixon released the tapes, which provided undeniable evidence of his complicity in the Watergate crimes.
His abuse of presidential power had a long-lasting effect on American political life, creating an atmosphere of cynicism and distrust. While many Americans had been deeply dismayed by the outcome of the Vietnam War, and saddened by the assassinations of Robert F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King and other leaders, Watergate added further disappointment to a national climate already soured by the difficulties and losses of the previous decade.
On the night of June 17, 1972, a security guard in the Watergate office complex in Washington, DC called the police when he found a door repeatedly taped open. The police discovered five men dressed in business suits who were in the process of installing bugs and photographing documents in the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee.
It is a story that touches on Vietnam, the unrest of the 1960s, a near World War, the opening of China, and the moment when an unlikely group of heroes from both political parties band together and bring down the White House. At 2.30am on 17 June 1972, five burglars were discovered in the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters in the Watergate Hotel, about a mile from the White House.
The break-in, which took place five months before the US presidential election, sparked a series of events that changed the course of the country’s history. The break-in was a bungled follow-up to a forced entry the previous month, when the same men stole copies of top-secret documents and wiretapped the phones.
A tug of war ensued, with Nixon refusing to relinquish the recordings to Watergate prosecutors. At the time, however, Nixon was able to convince the public of his innocence and he won the election with 60.7 per cent of the popular vote.
Its reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein broke the most significant stories of the affair, and their investigation is credited with bringing down the President. Woodward and Bernstein owe much of their success to a secret FBI source known as ‘Deep Throat’, who steered the pair in the right direction, allegedly urging them to “follow the money”.
Sixty-nine people were charged, with 48 found guilty, including Nixon’s Chief of Staff and Attorney General. Several major revelations and egregious presidential action against the investigation later in 1973 prompted the House to commence an impeachment process against Nixon.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Nixon had to release the Oval Office tapes to government investigators. The tapes revealed that Nixon had conspired to cover up activities that took place after the break-in and had attempted to use federal officials to deflect the investigation.
The House Judiciary Committee then approved articles of impeachment against Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. With his complicity in the cover-up made public and his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974.
It is believed that, had he not done so, he would have been impeached by the House and removed from office by a trial in the Senate. On September 8, 1974, Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him.
Lindy was nominally in charge of the operation, but has since insisted that he was duped by both Dean and at least two of his subordinates, which included former CIA officers E. Howard Hunt and James McCord, the latter of whom was serving as then-CRP Security Coordinator after John Mitchell had by then resigned as Attorney General to become the CRP chairman. On May 11, McCord arranged for Baldwin, whom investigative reporter Jim Hogan described as “somehow special and perhaps well known to McCord”, to stay at the Howard Johnson's motel across the street from the Watergate complex.
Room 419 was booked in the name of McCord's company. At behest of Lindy and Hunt, McCord and his team of burglars prepared for their first Watergate break-in, which began on May 28.
Two phones inside the DNC headquarters' offices were said to have been wiretapped. At the time, Oliver was working as the executive director of the Association of State Democratic Chairmen.
While successful with installing the listening devices, the Committee agents soon determined that they needed repairs. They plotted a second “burglary” in order to take care of the situation.
Sometime after midnight on Saturday, June 17, 1972, Watergate Complex security guard Frank Wills noticed tape covering the latches on some of the complex's doors leading from the underground parking garage to several offices, which allowed the doors to close but stay unlocked. When he returned a short time later and discovered that someone had reaped the locks, he called the police.
The burglars' sentry across the street, Alfred Baldwin, was distracted watching TV and failed to observe the arrival of the police car in front of the hotel. By the time Baldwin finally noticed unusual activity on the sixth floor and radioed the burglars, it was already too late.
The police apprehended five men, later identified as Virginia Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, James McCord, Eugenio Martínez, and Frank Surges. The Washington Post reported that “police found lock-picks and door jimmies, almost $2,300 in cash, most of it in $100 bills with the serial numbers in sequence ... a short wave receiver that could pick up police calls, 40 rolls of unexposed film, two 35 millimeter cameras and three pen-sized tear gas guns”.
The following morning, Sunday, June 18, G. Gordon Lindy called Jeb Mag ruder in Los Angeles and informed him that “the four men arrested with McCord were Cuban freedom fighters, whom Howard Hunt recruited”. Initially, Nixon's organization and the White House quickly went to work to cover up the crime and any evidence that might have damaged the president and his reelection.
On September 15, 1972, a grand jury indicted the five office burglars, as well as Hunt and Lindy, for conspiracy, burglary, and violation of federal wiretapping laws. The burglars were tried by a jury, with Judge John Silica officiating, and pled guilty or were convicted on January 30, 1973.
Address book of Watergate burglar Bernard Barker, discovered in a room at the Watergate Hotel, June 18, 1972Within hours of the burglars' arrests, the FBI discovered E. Howard Hunt's name in Barker and Martínez's address books. Nixon's administration officials were concerned because Hunt and Lindy were also involved in a separate secret activity known as the White House Plumbers “, which was established to stop security leaks and investigate other sensitive security matters.
Dean later testified that top Nixon aide John Ehrlich man ordered him to deep six the contents of Howard Hunt's White House safe. In the end, Dean and the FBI's Acting Director L. Patrick Gray (in separate operations) destroyed the evidence from Hunt's safe.
However, Nixon subsequently ordered Alderman to have the CIA block the FBI's investigation into the source of the funding for the burglary. A few days later, Nixon's Press Secretary, Ron Ziegler, described the event as “a third-rate burglary attempt”.
Nixon furthermore said, “I can say categorically that ... no one in the White House staff, no one in this Administration, presently employed, was involved in this very bizarre incident.” Martha Mitchell was the wife of Nixon's Attorney General, John N. Mitchell, who had recently resigned his role so that he could become campaign manager for Nixon's Committee for the Re-Election of the President (CRP).
In his opinion, her knowing McCord was likely to link the Watergate burglary to Nixon. John Mitchell instructed guards in her security detail to not let her contact the media.
In June 1972, during a phone call with United Press reporter Helen Thomas, Martha Mitchell informed Thomas that she was leaving her husband until he resigned from the CRP. A few days later, Marcia Kramer, a veteran crime reporter of the New York Daily News, tracked Mitchell to the Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York, and described Mitchell as “a beaten woman” with visible bruises.
Mitchell reported that, during the week following the Watergate burglary, she had been held captive in the , and that security guard Steve King ended her call to Thomas by pulling the phone cord from the wall. Mitchell made several attempts to escape via the balcony, but was physically accosted, injured, and forcefully sedated by a psychiatrist.
Following conviction for his role in the Watergate burglary, in February 1975, McCord admitted that Mitchell had been “basically kidnapped”, and corroborated her reports of the event. On June 19, 1972, the press reported that one of the Watergate burglars was a Republican Party security aide.
Former Attorney General John Mitchell, who was then the head of the CRP, denied any involvement with the Watergate break-in. On August 1, a $25,000 (approximately $153,000 in 2019 dollars) cashier's check was found to have been deposited in the US and Mexican bank accounts of one of the Watergate burglars, Bernard Barker.
This money (and several other checks which had been lawfully donated to the CRP) had been directly used to finance the burglary and wiretapping expenses, including hardware and supplies. Mr. Barker's multiple national and international businesses all had separate bank accounts, which he was found to have attempted to use to disguise the true origin of the money being paid to the burglars.
The donor's checks demonstrated the burglars' direct link to the finance committee of the CRP. Investigators' examination of the bank records of a Miami company run by Watergate burglar Barker revealed an account controlled by him personally had deposited a check and then transferred it (through the Federal Reserve Check Clearing System).
Only in this way would the issuing banks not be held liable for the unauthorized and improper release of funds from their customers' accounts. The investigation by the FBI, which cleared Barker's bank of fiduciary malfeasance, led to the direct implication of members of the CRP, to whom the checks had been delivered.
Those individuals were the Committee bookkeeper and its treasurer, Hugh Sloan. As a private organization, the committee followed the normal business practice in allowing only duly authorized individuals to accept and endorse checks on behalf of the committee.
No financial institution could accept or process a check on behalf of the committee unless a duly authorized individual endorsed it. When confronted with the potential charge of federal bank fraud, he revealed that committee deputy director Jeb Mag ruder and finance director Maurice Stan's had directed him to give the money to G. Gordon Lindy.
Lindy, in turn, gave the money to Barker and attempted to hide its origin. Barker tried to disguise the funds by depositing them into accounts in banks outside the United States.
Unbeknownst to Barker, Lindy, and Sloan, the complete record of all such transactions was held for roughly six months. Barker's use of foreign banks in April and May 1972, to deposit checks and withdraw the funds via cashier's checks and money orders, resulted in the banks keeping the entire transaction records until October and November 1972.
All five Watergate burglars were directly or indirectly tied to the 1972 CRP, thus causing Judge Silica to suspect a conspiracy involving higher-echelon government officials. On September 29, 1972, the press reported that John Mitchell, while serving as Attorney General, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance intelligence-gathering against the Democrats.
On October 10, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein reported that the FBI had determined that the Watergate break-in was part of a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage on behalf of the Nixon re-election committee. Despite these revelations, Nixon's campaign was never seriously jeopardized; on November 7, the President was re-elected in one of the biggest landslides in American political history.
The coverage dramatically increased publicity and consequent political and legal repercussions. Relying heavily upon anonymous sources, Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncovered information suggesting that knowledge of the break-in, and attempts to cover it up, led deeply into the upper reaches of the Justice Department, FBI, CIA, and the White House.
Woodward and Bernstein interviewed Judy Hogback Miller, the bookkeeper for Nixon's re-election campaign, who revealed to them information about the mishandling of funds and records being destroyed. Also, visible is the historical marker erected by the county to note its significance. Chief among the Post's anonymous sources was an individual whom Woodward and Bernstein had nicknamed Deep Throat ; 33 years later, in 2005, the informant was identified as William Mark Felt, Sr., deputy director of the FBI during that period of the 1970s, something Woodward later confirmed.
Felt met secretly with Woodward several times, telling him of Howard Hunt's involvement with the Watergate break-in, and that the White House staff regarded the stakes in Watergate as extremely high. All the secret meetings between Woodward and Felt took place at an underground parking garage in Roslyn over a period from June 1972 to January 1973.
Prior to resigning from the FBI on June 22, 1973, Felt also anonymously planted leaks about Watergate with Time magazine, the Washington Daily News and other publications. During this early period, most of the media failed to understand the full implications of the scandal, and concentrated reporting on other topics related to the 1972 presidential election.
Most outlets ignored or downplayed Woodward and Bernstein's scoops; the crosstown Washington Star-News and the Los Angeles Times even ran stories incorrectly discrediting the Post's articles. Alderman made payments from the secret fund, newspapers like the Chicago Tribune and the Philadelphia Inquirer failed to publish the information, but did publish the White House's denial of the story the following day.
The White House also sought to isolate the Post's coverage by tirelessly attacking that newspaper while declining to criticize other damaging stories about the scandal from the New York Times and Time Magazine. After it was learned that one of the convicted burglars wrote to Judge Silica alleging a high-level cover-up, the media shifted its focus.
Time magazine described Nixon as undergoing “daily hell and very little trust”. The distrust between the press and the Nixon administration was mutual and greater than usual due to lingering dissatisfaction with events from the Vietnam War.
Nixon and top administration officials discussed using government agencies to “get” (or retaliate against) those they perceived as hostile media organizations. At the request of Nixon's White House in 1969, the FBI tapped the phones of five reporters.
Rather than ending with the conviction and sentencing to prison of the five Watergate burglars on January 30, 1973, the investigation into the break-in and the Nixon Administration's involvement grew broader. “Nixon's conversations in late March and all of April 1973 revealed that not only did he know he needed to remove Alderman, Ehrlich man, and Dean to gain distance from them, but he had to do so in a way that was least likely to incriminate him and his presidency.
In an attempt to make them talk, Silica gave Hunt and two burglars provisional sentences of up to 40 years. Urged by Nixon, on March 28, aide John Ehrlich man told Attorney General Richard Plantains that nobody in the White House had prior knowledge of the burglary.
John Dean believed that he, Mitchell, Ehrlich man, and Alderman could go to the prosecutors, tell the truth, and save the presidency. Dean wanted to protect the president and have his four closest men take the fall for telling the truth.
He wondered if this was due to the way Nixon was speaking, as if he were trying to prod attendees' recollections of earlier conversations about fundraising. Dean mentioned this observation while testifying to the Senate Committee on Watergate, exposing the thread of what were taped conversations that would unravel the fabric of the conspiracy.
Two days later, Dean told Nixon that he had been cooperating with the U.S. attorneys. On that same day, U.S. attorneys told Nixon that Alderman, Ehrlich man, Dean, and other White House officials were implicated in the cover-up.
On April 30, Nixon asked for the resignation of Alderman and Ehrlich man, two of his most influential aides. He asked for the resignation of Attorney General Plantains, to ensure no one could claim that his innocent friendship with Alderman and Ehrlich man could be construed as a conflict.
He fired White House Counsel John Dean, who went on to testify before the Senate Watergate Committee and said that he believed and suspected the conversations in the Oval Office were being taped. This information became the bombshell that helped force Richard Nixon to resign rather than be impeached.
In one of the most difficult decisions of my Presidency, I accepted the resignations of two of my closest associates in the White House, Bob Alderman, John Ehrlich man, two of the finest public servants it has been my privilege to know. Because Attorney General Plantains, though a distinguished public servant, my personal friend for 20 years, with no personal involvement whatsoever in this matter has been a close personal and professional associate of some of those who are involved in this case, he and I both felt that it was also necessary to name a new Attorney General.
On the same day, April 30, Nixon appointed a new attorney general, Elliot Richardson, and gave him authority to designate a special counsel for the Watergate investigation who would be independent of the regular Justice Department hierarchy. On February 7, 1973, the United States Senate voted 77-to-0 to approve 93 S. Res.
60 and establish a select committee to investigate Watergate, with Sam ErvIn named chairman the next day. The hearings held by the Senate committee, in which Dean and other former administration officials testified, were broadcast from May 17 to August 7.
The three major networks of the time agreed to take turns covering the hearings live, each network thus maintaining coverage of the hearings every third day, starting with ABC on May 17 and ending with NBC on August 7. An estimated 85% of Americans with television sets tuned into at least one portion of the hearings.
On Friday, July 13, during a preliminary interview, deputy minority counsel Donald Sanders asked White House assistant Alexander Butterfield if there was any type of recording system in the White House. On Monday, July 16, in front of a live, televised audience, chief minority counsel Fred Thompson asked Butterfield whether he was “aware of the installation of any listening devices in the Oval Office of the president”.
Butterfield's revelation of the taping system transformed the Watergate investigation. Cox immediately subpoenaed the tapes, as did the Senate, but Nixon refused to release them, citing his executive privilege as president, and ordered Cox to drop his subpoena.
On October 20, 1973, after Cox refused to drop the subpoena, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire the special prosecutor. Nixon's search for someone in the Justice Department willing to fire Cox ended with the Solicitor General Robert Bork.
Though Bork said he believed Nixon's order was valid and appropriate, he considered resigning to avoid being “perceived as a man who did the President's bidding to save my job”. Bork carried out the presidential order and dismissed the special prosecutor.
The grand jury secretly named Nixon as an indicted co-conspirator. John Dean, Jeb Stuart Mag ruder, and other figures had already pleaded guilty.
On April 5, 1974, Dwight Chain, the former Nixon appointments secretary, was convicted of lying to the grand jury. Two days later, the same grand jury indicted Ed Redneck, the Republican Lieutenant Governor of California, on three charges of perjury before the Senate committee.
All parties involved agreed that all pertinent information should be released. Whether to release unedited profanity and vulgarity divided his advisers.
His legal team favored releasing the tapes unedited, while Press Secretary Ron Ziegler preferred using an edited version where expletive deleted would replace the raw material. After several weeks of debate, they decided to release an edited version.
Nixon announced the release of the transcripts in a speech to the nation on April 29, 1974. Nixon noted that any audio pertinent to national security information could be redacted from the released tapes.
Initially, Nixon gained a positive reaction for his speech. As people read the transcripts over the next couple of weeks, however, former supporters among the public, media and political community called for Nixon's resignation or impeachment.
Vice President Gerald Ford said, “While it may be easy to delete characterization from the printed page, we cannot delete characterization from people's minds with a wave of the hand.” The Senate Republican Leader Hugh Scott said the transcripts revealed a “deplorable, disgusting, shabby, and immoral” performance on the part of the President and his former aides.
The House Republican Leader John Jacob Rhodes agreed with Scott, and Rhodes recommended that if Nixon's position continued to deteriorate, he “ought to consider resigning as a possible option”. The editors of The Chicago Tribune, a newspaper that had supported Nixon, wrote, “He is humorless to the point of being inhumane.
The Providence Journal wrote, “Reading the transcripts is an emetic experience; one comes away feeling unclean.” This newspaper continued that, while the transcripts may not have revealed an indictable offense, they showed Nixon contemptuous of the United States, its institutions, and its people.
According to Time magazine, the Republican Party leaders in the Western U.S. felt that while there remained a significant number of Nixon loyalists in the party, the majority believed that Nixon should step down as quickly as possible. They were disturbed by the bad language and the coarse, vindictive tone of the conversations in the transcripts.
The issue of access to the tapes went to the United States Supreme Court. On July 24, 1974, in United States v. Nixon, the Court ruled unanimously (8–0) that claims of executive privilege over the tapes were void.
On July 30, 1974, Nixon complied with the order and released the subpoenaed tapes to the public. The tapes revealed several crucial conversations that took place between the president and his counsel, John Dean, on March 21, 1973.
In this conversation, Dean summarized many aspects of the Watergate case, and focused on the subsequent cover-up, describing it as a “cancer on the presidency”. Dean continued, saying that Howard Hunt was blackmailing the White House demanding money immediately.
Nixon's conversation with Alderman on August 1, is one of several that establishes he did. Nixon's agreement to make the blackmail payments was regarded as an affirmative act to obstruct justice.
On December 7, investigators found that an 18 1 2 -minute portion of one recorded tape had been erased. Rose Mary Woods, Nixon's longtime personal secretary, said she had accidentally erased the tape by pushing the wrong pedal on her tape player when answering the phone.
803 giving the Judiciary Committee authority to investigate impeachment of the President. On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee voted 27-to-11 to recommend the first article of impeachment against the president: obstruction of justice.
The Committee recommended the second article, abuse of power, on July 29, 1974. The next day, on July 30, 1974, the Committee recommended the third article: contempt of Congress.
Alderman “Smoking Gun” Conversation June 23, 1972, Full Transcript On August 5, 1974, the White House released a previously unknown audio tape from June 23, 1972. Recorded only a few days after the break-in, it documented the initial stages of the cover-up: it revealed Nixon and Alderman had a meeting in the Oval Office during which they discussed how to stop the FBI from continuing its investigation of the break-in, as they recognized that there was a high risk that their position in the scandal may be revealed.
Nixon approved the plan, and after he was given more information about the involvement of his campaign in the break-in, he told Alderman: “All right, fine, I understand it all. Returning to the use of the CIA to obstruct the FBI, he instructed Alderman: “You call them in.
Nixon denied that this constituted an obstruction of justice, as his instructions ultimately resulted in the CIA truthfully reporting to the FBI that there were no national security issues. Nixon urged the FBI to press forward with the investigation when they expressed concern about interference.
The tape, which Barber Conable referred to as a smoking gun “, proved that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up from the beginning. Pursuant to federal law, the letter was addressed to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
When Kissinger initialed the letter at 11:35 a.m., Ford officially became president. The release of the “smoking gun” tape destroyed Nixon politically. Additionally, Rhodes, the House leader of Nixon's party, announced that he would vote to impeach, stating that “cover up of criminal activity and misuse of federal agencies can neither be condoned nor tolerated”.
On the night of August 7, 1974, Senators Barry Goldwater and Hugh Scott and Congressman Rhodes met with Nixon in the Oval Office. Scott and Rhodes were the Republican leaders in the Senate and House, respectively; Goldwater was brought along as an elder statesman.
The three lawmakers told Nixon that his support in Congress had all but disappeared. Rhodes told Nixon that he would face certain impeachment when the articles came up for vote in the full House; indeed, by one estimate, no more than 75 representatives were willing to vote against impeaching Nixon for obstructing justice.
Throughout the long and difficult period of Watergate, I have felt it was my duty to persevere, to make every possible effort to complete the term of office to which you elected me. In the past few days, however, it has become evident to me that I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort.
As long as there was such a base, I felt strongly that it was necessary to see the constitutional process through to its conclusion, that to do otherwise would be unfaithful to the spirit of that deliberately difficult process and a dangerously destabilizing precedent for the future. I would have preferred to carry through to the finish whatever the personal agony it would have involved, and my family unanimously urged me to do so.
From the discussions I have had with Congressional and other leaders, I have concluded that because of the Watergate matter I might not have the support of the Congress that I would consider necessary to back the very difficult decisions and carry out the duties of this office in the way the interests of the Nation would require. To leave office before my term is completed is abhorrent to every instinct in my body.
America needs a full-time President and a full-time Congress, particularly at this time with problems we face at home and abroad. To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
The morning that his resignation took effect, the President, with Mrs. Nixon and their family, said farewell to the White House staff in the East Room. A helicopter carried them from the White House to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.
Nixon later wrote that he thought, “As the helicopter moved on to Andrews, I found myself thinking not of the past, but of the future. At Andrews, he and his family boarded an Air Force plane to El Too Marine Corps Air Station in California, and then were transported to his home La Casey Pacifica in San Clemente.
Pen used by President Gerald R. Ford to pardon Richard Nixon on September 8, 1974, Wiki source has original text related to this article: With Nixon's resignation, Congress dropped its impeachment proceedings. In a televised broadcast to the nation, Ford explained that he felt the pardon was in the best interest of the country.
He said that the Nixon family's situation “is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. In his official response to the pardon, he said that he “was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate, particularly when it reached the stage of judicial proceedings and grew from a political scandal into a national tragedy”.
Some commentators have argued that pardoning Nixon contributed to President Ford's loss of the presidential election of 1976. Allegations of a secret deal made with Ford, promising a pardon in return for Nixon's resignation, led Ford to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on October 17, 1974.
In his autobiography A Time to Heal, Ford wrote about a meeting he had with Nixon's Chief of Staff, Alexander Hair. He could try to ride out the impeachment and fight against conviction in the Senate all the way, or he could resign.
He didn't identify the staff members, and he made it very clear that he wasn't recommending anyone option over another. ... Next he asked if I had any suggestions as to courses of actions for the President.
Charles Colson pled guilty to charges concerning the Daniel Ells berg case; in exchange, the indictment against him for covering up the activities of the Committee to Re-elect the President was dropped, as it was against Astrakhan. The remaining five members of the Watergate Seven indicted in March went on trial in October 1974.
In 1976, the U.S. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Marian; subsequently, all charges against him were dropped. Since Nixon and many senior officials involved in Watergate were lawyers, the scandal severely tarnished the public image of the legal profession.
The Watergate scandal resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 being found guilty, including: John N. Mitchell, Attorney General of the United States who resigned to become Director of Committee to Re-elect the President, convicted of perjury about his involvement in the Watergate break-in.
Richard Plantains, Attorney General, convicted of “refusing to answer questions” (contempt of court); given one month in jail. Jeb Stuart Mag ruder, Deputy Director of Committee to Re-elect the President, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to the burglary, and was sentenced to 10 months to four years in prison, of which he served seven months before being paroled.
Frederick C. Large, Advisor to John Mitchell, convicted of obstruction of justice. H. R. Alderman, Chief of Staff for Nixon, convicted of conspiracy to the burglary, obstruction of justice, and perjury.
John Ehrlich man, Counsel to Nixon, convicted of conspiracy to the burglary, obstruction of justice, and perjury. Evil Prof, aide to John Ehrlich man, sentenced to six months for his part in the Daniel Ells berg case.
John W. Dean III, counsel to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice, later reduced to felony offenses and sentenced to time already served, which totaled four months. Dwight L. Chain, deputy assistant to Nixon, convicted of perjury.
Charles W. Colson, special counsel to Nixon, convicted of obstruction of justice. G. Gordon Lindy, Special Investigations Group, convicted of masterminding the burglary, original sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
E. Howard Hunt, security consultant, convicted of masterminding and overseeing the burglary, original sentence of up to 35 years in prison. James W. McCord Jr., convicted of six charges of burglary, conspiracy and wiretapping.
Virginia Gonzalez, convicted of burglary, original sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Bernard Barker, convicted of burglary, original sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
Eugenio Martínez, convicted of burglary, original sentence of up to 40 years in prison. Frank Surges, convicted of burglary, original sentence of up to 40 years in prison.
To defuse public demand for direct federal regulation of lawyers (as opposed to leaving it in the hands of state bar associations or courts), the American Bar Association (ABA) launched two major reforms. First, the ABA decided that its existing Model Code of Professional Responsibility (promulgated 1969) was a failure.
Its preamble contains an emphatic reminder that the legal profession can remain self-governing only if lawyers behave properly. On June 24 and 25, 1975, Nixon gave secret testimony to a grand jury.
According to news reports at the time, Nixon answered questions about the 18 1 2 -minute tape gap, altering White House tape transcripts turned over to the House Judiciary Committee, using the Internal Revenue Service to harass political enemies, and a $100,000 contribution from billionaire Howard Hughes. Aided by the Public Citizen Litigation Group, the historian Stanley Butler, who has written several books about Nixon and Watergate and had successfully sued for the 1996 public release of the Nixon White House tapes, sued for release of the transcripts of the Nixon grand jury testimony.
On July 29, 2011, U.S. District Judge Royce Lambert granted Butler's request, saying historical interests trumped privacy, especially considering that Nixon and other key figures were deceased, and most of the surviving figures had testified under oath, have been written about, or were interviewed. The transcripts were not immediately released pending the government's decision on whether to appeal.
They were released in their entirety on November 10, 2011, although the names of people still alive were redacted. Texas A&M University–Central Texas professor Luke Richter wrote the chief judge of the federal court in Washington to release hundreds of pages of sealed records of the Watergate Seven.
In June 2012 the U.S. Department of Justice wrote the court that it would not object to their release with some exceptions. On November 2, 2012, Watergate trial records for G. Gordon Lindy and James McCord were ordered unsealed by Federal Judge Royce Lambert.
According to Thomas J. Johnson, a professor of journalism at University of Texas at Austin, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger predicted during Nixon's final days that history would remember Nixon as a great president and that Watergate would be relegated to a “minor footnote”. When Congress investigated the scope of the president's legal powers, it belatedly found that consecutive presidential administrations had declared the United States to be in a continuous open-ended state of emergency since 1950.
Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act in 1976 to regulate such declarations. One of a variety of anti-Ford buttons generated during the 1976 presidential election: it reads “Gerald ...
And depicts a thief cracking a safe labeled Watergate “. Disgust with the revelations about Watergate, the Republican Party, and Nixon strongly affected results of the November 1974 Senate and House elections, which took place three months after Nixon's resignation. The Democrats gained five seats in the Senate and forty-nine in the House (the newcomers were nicknamed Watergate Babies “).
Congress passed legislation that changed campaign financing, to amend the Freedom of Information Act, as well as to require financial disclosures by key government officials (via the Ethics in Government Act). Other types of disclosures, such as releasing recent income tax forms, became expected, though not legally required.
Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt had recorded many of their conversations, but the practice purportedly ended after Watergate. In 1977, Nixon arranged an interview with British journalist David Frost in the hope of improving his legacy.
The interview displayed the entire scandal to the American people, and Nixon formally apologized, but his legacy remained tarnished. The parking garage where Woodward and Felt met in Roslyn still stands.
Its significance was noted by Arlington County with a historical marker in 2011. In 2017 it was announced that the garage would be demolished as part of construction of an apartment building on the site; the developers announced that the site's significance would be memorialized within the new complex.
Despite the enormous impact of the Watergate scandal, the purpose of the break-in of the DNC offices has never been conclusively established. Records from the United States v. Lindy trial, made public in 2013, showed that four of the five burglars testified that they were told the campaign operation hoped to find evidence that linked Cuban funding to Democratic campaigns.
The longtime hypothesis suggests that the target of the break-in was the offices of Larry O'Brien, the DNC Chairman. However, O'Brien's name was not on Alfred C. Baldwin III's list of targets that was released in 2013.
Among those listed were senior DNC official R. Spencer Oliver, Oliver's secretary Ida “Maxine” Wells, co-worker Robert Allen and secretary Barbara Kennedy. Based on these revelations, Texas A&M history professor Luke Richter, who had successfully petitioned for the release of the information, argued that Woodward and Bernstein were incorrect in concluding, based largely on Watergate burglar James McCord's word, that the purpose of the break-in was to bug O'Brien's phone to gather political and financial intelligence on the Democrats.
Instead, Richter sided with late journalist J. Anthony Lukas of The New York Times, who had concluded that the committee was seeking to find evidence linking the Democrats to prostitution, as it was alleged that Oliver's office had been used to arrange such meetings. However, Richter acknowledged that Woodward and Bernstein's theory of O'Brien as the target could not be debunked unless information was released about what Baldwin heard in his bugging of conversations.
In 1968, O'Brien was appointed by Vice President Hubert Humphrey to serve as the national director of Humphrey's presidential campaign and, separately, by Howard Hughes to serve as Hughes' public-policy lobbyist in Washington. In late 1971, the president's brother, Donald Nixon, was collecting intelligence for his brother at the time and asked John H. Meier, an adviser to Howard Hughes, about O'Brien.
In 1956, Donald Nixon had borrowed $205,000 from Howard Hughes and had never repaid the loan. The loan's existence surfaced during the 1960 presidential election campaign, embarrassing Richard Nixon and becoming a political liability.
According to author Donald M. Bartlett, Richard Nixon would do whatever was necessary to prevent another family embarrassment. From 1968 to 1970, Hughes withdrew nearly half a million dollars from the Texas National Bank of Commerce for contributions to both Democrats and Republicans, including presidential candidates Humphrey and Nixon.
Meier told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election because they had considerable information on Richard Nixon's illicit dealings with Hughes that had never been released, and that it resided with Larry O'Brien. According to Fred Emery, O'Brien had been a lobbyist for Hughes in a Democrat-controlled Congress, and the possibility of his finding out about Hughes' illegal contributions to the Nixon campaign was too much of a danger for Nixon to ignore.
Then he said further that he had respected Nixon because of Nixon's “realistic and constructive approach to Soviet Union–United States relations ... passing from an era of confrontation to an era of negotiations between nations”. Talks between Nixon and Prime Minister Edward Heath may have been bugged.
Heath did not publicly display his anger, with aides saying that he was unconcerned about having been bugged at the White House. According to officials, Heath commonly had notes taken of his public discussions with Nixon, so a recording would not have bothered him.
An unnamed Kenyan senior official of Foreign Affairs Ministry accused Nixon of lacking interest in Africa and its politics and then said, “American President is so enmeshed in domestic problems created by Watergate that foreign policy seems suddenly to have taken a back seat .” After the fall of Saigon ended the Vietnam War, Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in May 1975 that, if the scandal had not caused Nixon to resign, and Congress had not overridden Nixon's veto of the War Powers Resolution, North Vietnam would not have captured South Vietnam.
Kissinger told the National Press Club in January 1977 that Nixon's presidential powers weakened during his tenure, thus (as rephrased by the media) “prevent the United States from exploiting the ”. The publisher of The Sacramento Union, John P. Goff, said in January 1975 that the media overemphasized the scandal, though he called it “an important issue”, overshadowing more serious topics, like a declining economy and an energy crisis.
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A comprehensive history of the Watergate Scandal by Teddy White, a respected journalist and author of Woodward, Bob and Bernstein, Carl wrote a best-selling book based on their experiences covering the Watergate Scandal for The Washington Post titled All the President's Men, published in 1974. A film adaptation, starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as Woodward and Bernstein respectively, was released in 1976.
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Watergate Collection Image of women with children watching Senate Watergate Hearings on televisions in a Sears department store in Los Angeles, California, 1973. Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive (Collection 1429).