The Crisis That Rocked The Usa Essay — страница 2

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underestimated during the election in part because of Nixon’s commanding leads in the polls. In fact, President Richard Nixon and Vice President Spiro Agnew won a landslide victory over Democratic McGovern and Shriver, winning 49 of 50 states to become President and Vice President for the second term. However, shortly after the election, the story of the scandal was broken wide open, starting with the prosecution of the seven men connected to the break-in. Opening statements in the trial began on January 10, 1973. Judge John J. Sirica presided over the case. The seven men, Barker, Gonzalez, Martinex, Sturgis, McCord, Liddy, and Hunt were charged with various counts of conspiracy burglary, illegal wiretapping, and illegal possession of eavesdropping equipment. All of the men

pled guilty except Liddy and McCord. Allegations began to unfold about the White House’s knowledge of the break-in and a possible cover-up that could lead all the way to the President himself. All witnesses placed full responsibility on Liddy. Liddy refused to testify. On January 30, the verdict was announced: Liddy was guilty of six counts and McCord was guilty of eight. Judge Sirica was convinced that relevant details had not been unveiled during the trial and offered leniency in exchange for further information. In March of 1973, just days before the sentencing of the men convicted, Sirica received a letter from McCord alleging a cover-up by the White House. He stated that the defendants were pressured to plead guilty and remain silent. McCord also alleged that Counsel to

the President, John Dean and the former Attorney General John Mitchell had instructed the defendants to commit perjury. These allegations drew national attention to the scandal. Instead of revealing what he knew and when he knew it, Nixon attempted to deny all knowledge and cover up everything, a technique he called “stonewalling.” In a CREEP meeting, President Nixon instructed the others to stonewall also. Despite his attempt of stonewalling, new information was revealed that not only had the defendants in the break-in been pressured to plead guilty, they had also been paid hush money that had been approved by the President himself. In February 1973, the Senate established a Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities. On May 17, 1973, the Senate Committee opened

hearings to investigate the Watergate cover-up. Dean, the Counsel to the President testified that the President knew of the break-in and organized the cover up himself. The testimony of the deputy assistant to the President, Alexander Butterfield, was the turning point of the investigation. On July 16, 1973, he disclosed the existence of listening devices in the Oval Office, which recorded every conversation in order to help preserve all documents. On July 23, Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor subpoenaed the tapes but Nixon refused to turn them over, citing executive privilege. This claim began a lengthy legal battle over the tapes that lasted more than a year and went all the way to the Supreme Court. Nixon knew that the Senate Watergate Committee was getting dangerously

close to the truth and on October 20, 1973, he ordered what is now known as the infamous “Saturday Night Massacre.” That night, Nixon ordered Cox to not subpoena any more tapes, although Cox said he would. President Nixon was beyond furious and then ordered Attorney General Elliott Richardson to dismiss Archibald Cox, Special Prosecutor. Richardson refused to fire Cox and he resigned, leaving the orders to be carried out by Deputy Attorney General, William Ruckelhaus. He also refused to fire Cox and he too resigned. Robert Bork, third in the chain of command, followed Nixon’s orders and fired Cox but then he also resigned. After the “Saturday Night Massacre,” it was clear that Nixon was hiding involvement in the Watergate Scandal. The nation raged in anger, so three

days after the “Saturday Night Massacre,” Nixon agreed to released some of the tapes and appoint a new Special Prosecutor, Leon Jaworski. The tape of a conversation between President Nixon and H.R. Haldeman revealed that the President knew of the break-in three days after it happened and immediately ordered a cover-up. Even more suspicious was the eighteen and a half-minute gap in that same tape. After those tapes, impeachment was inevitable. On July 30, the House of Representatives voted 27-11 recommending the impeachment of Nixon on three charges: obstruction of justice, abuse of presidential power, and trying to impede the impeachment process by defying committee subpoenas. At nine o’clock on August 8, 1974, Richard Nixon made his last speech as president. He only