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The Watergate Scandal Essay

1066 words - 4 pages

THE WATERGATE SCANDAL Watergate is a hotel in Washington D.C. where the Democratic National Committee held their campaign headquarters. The current president at the time was Richard M. Nixon, who was involved in the scandal himself and which lead to the cause of his resignation. The Watergate scandal should not have happened, but it did and it caused the American people to judge less of their government system. The scandal began on June 17, 1972, with the arrest of five men who were caught in the offices of the Democrat’s campaign headquarters. Their arrest uncovered a White House sponsored plan of espionage against the political opponents and a trail of intrigue that led to some of the highest officials in the land. The officials involved in the Watergate scandal were former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell, White House Counsel John Dean, White House Chief of Staff H.R. Haldman, White House Special Assistant on Domestic Affairs John Ehrlichman, and President Nixon. On April 30, 1973, nearly one year after a grand jury investigation of the burglary and arrest of the people involved, President Nixon accepted the resignation of Haldeman and Ehrlichman and announced the dismissal of John Dean. Furthermore, U.S. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigned as well shifting the position to the new attorney general, Elliot Richardson. However, Elliot Richardson decided to put Harvard Law School professor Archibald Cox in charge of conducting a full-scale investigation of the Watergate break-in. Hearings were opened in May of 1973 by the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Activities with Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina as the chairman. Suddenly, a series of startling revelations began as Dean testified that Mitchell had ordered the break-in and that a major attempt was under way to hide White House involvement. Dean also claimed that President Nixon had authorized payments to the burglars to keep them quiet. The Nixon administration denied any involvement in the scandal, but the testimony of White House aide Alexander Butterfield exposed Nixon and unlocked the entire investigation. On July 16, 1973, Butterfield told the committee, on nationwide television, that President Nixon had ordered a taping system to be installed in the White House to automatically record all conversations. With this what Nixon had said and when he had said it was on the tapes and these tapes could verify everything. Cox immediately exposed eight relevant tapes to the court to confirm Dean’s testimony. Nixon refused to release the tapes, claiming that they were vital to the national security. Therefore, U.S. District Court Judge John Sirica ruled that President Nixon must give the tapes to Cox, and an appeals court upheld the decision. Nixon still refused to turn over the tapes and on Saturday, October 20, 1973, ordered Richardson to dismiss Cox. Richardson refused and resigned instead, as did Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Finally, the solicitor...

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