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Watergate The Infamous Watergate Scandal The Watergate Complex is a series of modern buildings with balconies that looks like filed down Shark’s Teeth (Gold, 1). Located on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. it contains many hotel rooms and offices. What happened in the complex on June 17, 1972 early in the morning became a very historical event for our nation that no one will ever forget. The Watergate Scandal and constitutional crisis that began on June 17, 1972 with the arrest of five burglars who broke into the Democratic National Committee (DMC) headquarters at the Watergate office building in Washington D.C. It ended with the registration of President Richard M.

Nixon on August 9, 1974. (Watergate) At approximately 2:30 in the morning of June 17, 1972 five men were arrested at the Watergate Complex. The police seized a walkie talkie, 40 rolls of unexposed film, two 35 millimeter cameras, lock picks, pensized teargas guns, and bugging devices. (Gold, 75) These five men and two co-plotters were indicated in September 1972 on charges of burglary, conspiracy and wire tapping. Four months later they were convicted and sentenced to prison terms by District Court Judge John J. Sercia was convinced that relevant details had not been unveiled during the trial and offered leniency in exchanged for further information. As it became increasingly evident that the Watergate burglars were tied closely to the Central Intelligence Agency and the Committee to re-elect the president.

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(Watergate) Four of these men, that were arrested on the morning of June 17, 1972, came from Miami, Florida. They were Bernard L. Barker, Frank A. Sturgis, Virgillio R. Gonzalez, and Eugenio R. Martinez.

The other man was from Rockville, Maryland named James W. McCord, Jr. The two co-plotters were G. Gordon Liddy and E. Howard Hunt.

(Watergate) The senate established and investigative committee headed by Senate Sam Ervin, Jr., to look into the growing scandal. As they were investigating, they related that the famous break-in was far more involved than what everyone had expected. (Watergate) The White Houses involvement of that morning first became evident when James McCord wrote a letter to Judge Sirca. In this letter McCord explained that he wanted to disclose the details of Watergate. He made it apparent that he would not speak to a Justice department official of an FBI agent. Although his letter did unveil details, it made server chargers.

McCord justified that Political pressure (Westerfled 36) had generated many defendants to plead guilty and remain silent. He also claimed that there had been whiteness at the trail who had committed perjury in order to protect the people who headed the brake-in. McCord declared that he, his family, and his friend may be in danger if he spoke out. (Westerfled 36-37) The Senate Watergate Committee saw their chance to unravel the mystery of this scandal. The offered James McCord a chance to speak publicly.

In his first meeting with representatives of this committee he named two more people that he claimed were involved in the burglary and cover-up. Theses two men were John Dean and Jeb Margruder. Margruder was the second-in-charge of the CRP and Dean was a White House aid. After hearing these substantial accusations the Senate Watergate Committee promptly subpoenaed John Dean and Jeb Margruder. (Westerfled 37-38). After the next session with James McCord he took the whiteness stand and explained how Liddy had promised him an executive pardon if he would plead guilty.

This began to question the a White House involvement since only the president could present such a pardon. (Westerfled, 40) Jeb Margruder was the next witness to testify. He admitted his own perjury to the Grand Jury and verified what McCord had said. While on the stand he also revealed another name to add to the list of those involved, John Mitchell. (Gold, 246-247) The next witness scheduled to appear was John Dean.

In Dean’s testimony he exposed that the Watergate burglary had been only a part of a greater abuse of power. He said that for four years the White House had used the powers of the presidency to attack political enemies. They spied on and harassed anyone who did not agree with Nixon’s policies. If a reporter wrote stories criticizing the White House they would be singled out for tax investigations. The White House also kept an Enemies List (Westerfled 43) of people that the presidents men wanted revenge on. After being fired, dean kept official documents that supported his statements.

(Westerfled 43-44; Gold 309-330) John Dean said, is his opening statements, that he had discussed the cover-up with president Nixon in several meetings. At the first meeting, in September 1972, he told the president how he and other members of the White House had handled the cover-up so far. Dean claimed that in another important meeting with Nixon, on March 21, 1973, the president agreed $1 million should be raised to silence the burgalers. However Dean said that he dealt with the president mostly through H.R. Haldman and John Ehrlichman. (Gold 266-308; Westerfled 43) Dean faced the committee for four days of Questioning, after his opening statement. During these four days the republicans focused on what happened in these meetings between Dean and the president, which was the only evidence the president.

The question that Senator baker asked and was being wondered throughout the nation was, what did the president know and when did he know it? (Westerfled, 43) The Nixon administration tackled Dean’s reports of the two meetings. They claimed that the March 21, 1973 meeting was the first Nixon had heard of the cover-ups. The White House’s version was they the president had rejected the burglars’ blackmail. (Hearings 02) For the first time in this intriguing scandal the president himself had been accused. This was the greatest blow the Nixon White House had sustained. polls showed that 70 percent of TV viewers believed Deans version of the event (Westerfled, 43).

But who was to be believed? It was John Deans Word against Richard Nixon’s. (Gold 669-670; Westerfled, 43) The committee then made a shocking discovery, only a few weeks after Deans testimony. As the committee was managing a routine aid, they asked him how the White House administration came up with their version of what happened in the meeting s of Dena and Nixon. His response was that the meetings had probably been recorded on tape. (Westerfled 43) Alexander Butterflied explained that the White House …


.. lic. One of the tapes clearly revealed that he had taken many steps to stop the FBI’s investigation in the Watergate burglary. The tape also made it clear that the president had been actively involved in the cover-up from the very beginning(Grolier 1). The fight for the tapes started in the period between May and October of 1973 when Alexander Butterfield disclosed to senate hearings that the tapes existed.

The tapes led to the firing and resignation of many people, and allegations against Rose Mary Woods, Nixon’s secretary, that she had deliberately erased select portions of the tapes as they were being released ( Farnsworth 4). Although Nixon did release the tapes a few at a time, and what were released may have been edited, not all of the tapes have beenreleased to this day. This is why the tapes were given the name “The smoking gun”(Groiler 2). Although not all the tapes and files were released, the Nixon Presidential Materials Staff ,a part of the National Archives and Records Administrations, Office of the Presidential Nixon administration, is custodian for all the historical materials of the Nixon administration. Their holdings include, some forty million pages of textual material, the audiovisual records, approximately five hundred thousand photographs, four thousand videotapes, four thousand, four hundred audiotapes, nine hundred and fifty white House tapes and one million feet of motion picture film, and more than thirty thousand gift items (NARA I). The Nixon Presidential Materials Staff have some of the records available for research. The material open to the public is approximately two thousand two hundred and ten cubic feet of textual materials. They also created a special flies unit.

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The special files unit was created in September of 1972 and was to provide a storage location away from the White House Complex to store the selected sensitive files. These complete files are of a highly sensitive nature and consist of papers of the Office of the President, the staff secretary, the offices of H.R. Haldernan, John Dean, Charles Closon. Richard Nixon, facing White House impeachment and probable Senate Conviction, became the first U.S. chief executive to resign on August 9, 1974 (Grolier 1).It was later reported that, Richard Nixon had arranged a deal with Vice-President Ford.

The arrangement was, if Ford would full fill two requests, that Nixon would step down and make Gerald Ford the President. Those conditions were, Richard Nixon was to receive a full pardon and that Ford would make sure that any information about Nixon’s involvement with the anti-Castro operations would be totally concealed (Secret 1972 2). With Gerald Ford stepping in to fill in the remainder of the term, Ford gave Nixon a full and absolute pardon in September 1974(Grolier 1). Harry Robbins Haldeman was Nixon’s White House Chief of Staff. Haldeman was found guilty of conspiracy , obstruction of justice and perjury in the Watergate cover-up. Haldeman was given a four year sentence and was paroled on Dec.20, 1978 after serving eighteen months.

He later published a book about the scandal entitled The Ends of Power in 1978 (Grolier 1). Everette Howard Hunt was a CIA agent and an presidential aide. Hunt was the director of the Watergate burglary at the Democratic National Headquarters. For his part in the burglary Hunt was given a eight year sentence. He was paroled on February 23, 1977 after serving thirty two months. Hunt went on to publish dozens of spy thrillers into the 1990s(Grolier 1).

John Newton Mitchell served as the Attorney General of the United States. He became chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect the President in March of 1972. He was sentenced to four years for his conviction on charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. He went on to live quietly in Washington DC after his release from prison in January 1979 (Grolier 1). John Wesley Dean was the counsel to the President.

Dean testified that the President was involved in the cover-up and also admitted his own involvement. He served a term of September 1974 to January 1975 (Grolier 1). . Gorden Liddy was recruited for the White House staff by Attorney General John Mitchell. For Liddy’s involvement in the Watergate burglary at the Democratic Headquarters and the break-in at Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, he received a twenty years prison sentence. On April 12, 1977, President Carter changed Liddy’s sentence from twenty to eight years (Taylor 6).

These are just a few examples of the more than 30 Nixon officials that admitted their quilt or were found guilty of illegal acts. Watergate gives us good material to look at for analyzing the different arms of the government. Congressional committees, senate and judiciary, have complete independence and great power. The Senate Watergate committees were crucial in getting the resignation of Nixon, while the recommendation by the Judiciary committee to try to impeach the president was carried in votes by both the Republican and Democratic members (Farnsworth 6). The power of the Supreme Court over the Executive branch was shown with the ruling that Nixon must turn over the tapes of the Oval Office (Farnsworth 7).

The separation of powers means that no member of any of the three different parts of the government may belong or be a member of another (Farnsworth 7). As a good example of the checks and balances, while the president is the head of the government he cannot control the legislature. While the president has to appoint the Judicial arm of the government, they have to be approved by the Senate. The president serves a four year term and can only be removed from office by mpeachment. The Senate is the only part of the government that can impeach the president, but the impeachment process must start in the Mouse of Representatives (Farnsworth 7).

Different branches of government have separate responsibilities. The president is on a fixed term and he is accountable to the House of Representatives, the part of the government that most reflects the current opinion of the nation. The Senate where each state has two senators regardless of population, is the only part that can remove the president (Farnsworth 8). Although the tapes played a major part in obtaining President Nixon’s resignation, legal actions taken by the President managed to keep all but the forty hours of tapes from being released before his death twenty years later (Secret 1974 1). Although there was never any record of a break-in at the Brookings institution, all of this is just one more piece of evidence of the many illegal acts that accompanied the Watergate scandal, and was thought of or performed by the Nixon Administration (Mercury I).


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