The Watergate Scandal

H.R. Hadelman on the Witness Stand  - This is a court room drawing by artist John D. Hart
@gewcew23 (8011)
United States
December 29, 2006 11:50am CST
I don't know about you but I didn't really know a lot about it so I did some research and thought I would share it with you. The French would call it L'Affaire Watergate. It is the 1972 break-in of the Democratic National Committee @ the Watergate Hotel in D.C. by members of the Nixon Administration. The burgals' goal was to plant listening devices while disguised as common criminals. They were called informally the "plumbers unit" to "plug leaks" and this group included former CIA members. Even though President Nixon had endured 2 years of mounting political embarrassments, the court ordered release in Aug. 1974 of a "smoking gun tape" about the "burglaries" brought with it the prospect of certain impeachment for Nixon. He resigned only 4 days later on Aug 9th. He is the only president to resign from the office. On 06-17-72, Frank Wills a security guard who worked at the office building of the Watergate complex of office space, residential buildings, and hotel, noticed a piece of tape on the door between the basement stairwell, and the parking garage. It was holing the door unlocked so he removed it thinking the cleaning crew had put it there. Later that night he returned to find the tape back on the door. Wills became suspicious and called the D.C. police. When the police arrived they arrested Benard Baker, Virgilio Gonzalez, Eugenio Martinez, James W. McCord Jr, and Frand Sturgis for breaking into the Dem. National Committee. Then men had supposedly broken into the same office 3 week earlier & had returned to fix wire taps that weren't working. On 4-30-73, Nixon was forced to ask H.R. Halderman and John Ehrlichman for their resigantions. They were 2 of Nixon's most influential aides. Both would soon be indicted and go to prison. Nixon also fired White HOuse Counsel John Dean who had just testified for the Senate and would soon be the key witness against Nixon. On the same day, NIxon appointed Elliot Richardson as the new Attorney General and gave him the authority to designate a special councel who would be seperate from the regular Justice Dept. hierarchy to preserve his independence. On May 19th, Richardson named Archibald Cox to the position. The hearing held by the Senate Committee were broadcated from May 17th to Aug 7th & caused devestating political damage to Nixon. The Most memorable question was asked by Rep. Senator Howard Baker of TN, "What did the president know & when did he know it?" Which forced attention on Nixon's personal role for the 1st time. On july 13, Donald Sanders, the Asst. Minority counsel asked Alexander Butterfield if there were any recording systems in the White House. He reluctantly said Yes that there was something that recorded everything in the OVal Office. The tapes were subpoenaed by Cox and the Senate. However Nixon refused, citing the priciple of executive privilege & ordered Cox via Attorney General Richardson to drop his subpoena. Cox's refusal led to the "Saturday Night Massacre" on 10-20-73, when Nixon compelled the resigantions of Richardson & his deputy William Ruckelshaus, he was in search of someone in the Justice Dept. to fire Cox & he found Solicitor Genreal Robert Bork & new acting dept. head to dismiss the special prosecutor. On 7-24-74, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that claims of executive privilege over the tapes was void and ordered Nixon to surrender them to Jaworski. On July 30, Nixon complied & released the tapes. 1-28-74 Herbert Porter, Nixon's campaign aide pleaded guilty of lying to the FBI during the early stages of the investigation. 2-25-74 Herbert Kalmback, Nixon's personal lawyer pleaded guilty to 2 charges of illegal election campaigne activities. 3-1-74 The Watergate Seven- former aides of the president- Halderman, Ehrichman, Mitchell, Charles Colson, Gordon C. Strachan, Robert Mardian & Kenneth Parkinson- were indicted for conspiring to hinder the investigation. 4-7-74 Ed Reinecke, Rep. Lieutenant Govenor of CA was indicted on 3 counts of perjury before the Senate Committee. 4-5-74 Dwight Chapin, Nixon's former appointments secretary was convicted of lying to the grand jury. 8-9-74 @ noon, Nixon's resignation was effective. 9-8-74 Ford issued a pardon for Nixon. I hope that this wasn't boring but I didn't know all this. This was happening right before I was born.
1 person likes this
4 responses
@Wyayenjee (160)
• United States
23 Apr 07
Wow, you have definitely researched this pretty thoroughly. Do you have an interest in Presidents or just a certain time period or events? Even my history class never went that in depth, I was just told Nixon lied about Watergate and that he was a bad President according to my history teachers that lived around the time of his term.
@gewcew23 (8011)
• United States
23 Apr 07
I wasn't interested in things except the civil war era but then I met my husband who started telling me all kinds of things from history and he'd be like didn't you learn that in school and I would say no. He was home schooled and learned a lot more things than I did. So I have been doing a lot of research. Thank you for posting.
@tammyr (5955)
• Etowah, Tennessee
23 Apr 07
Every one talks about how corrupt the polititions are becoming. I think it has always been that way, or at lest as long as anyone alive has been around. Power corrupts, and we have all seen proof of that.
1 person likes this
• China
12 Sep 10
I've also read some articles about this. And here are what I've read and my opinions. Under the relentless prodding of Judge John J. Sirica, one of the Watergate began to tell the full story of the Nixon administration's complicity in the episode. (Maybe it is valuable to expose himself and others to the whole society since it is just a persuadative evidence that Americans have a systematic organization, though it is a disappointing scandal.) James W. McCord, a former CIA agent and security chief for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), was the first of many informers and penitents in a melodrama that unfolded over next two years, which mixed the special qualities of soap opera and Machiavellian intrigue. (Everyone considered themselves as the fortunate one until every way they had sought to seemed a deadlock. It is somewhat attibuted to the nature of humans that acknowledging oneself's weakness is only the last choice one can make.) It ended in the first resignation of a president in American history, the conviction and imprisonment of twenty five officials of the Nixon administration, including four cabinet members, and the most serious constitutional crisis since the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson.
@VotreAmie (3037)
• United States
3 Jun 07
Thank you for sharing this information with us gewcew. I have heard about watergate when I was living in France. It was quite a big headline in the news on tv and in the newspapers but I never knew the details. They talked about it for a long time after it happened. Now I have a better idea of what exactly happened. You did a good research. Thanks!