The Watergate Conspiracy Essay Research Paper The — страница 2

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the case had blown wide open (Boyer 907). Nixon never saw this bombshell coming, and he never saw the bigger bombs coming at him in months to come. Starting in May, the Senate hearings began live coverage on television. Millions of Americans were glued to their sets as witnesses gave damaging testimonies against some of the top White House officials (Graham 3). With these testimonies, several officials were sent to jail, but how Nixon was involved was still undetermined. “What did the President know and when did he know it (Boyer 906)?” This was the question Senator Howard Baker of Tennessee asked. In June, Senator Baker got his answer. John Dean, Nixon’s former White House counsel shocked the world with the shocking answer: the president himself had ordered the cover-up

(907). Outraged, Nixon denied the charge, but there was no way to prove him wrong. This was the stalemate the hearing came to until witnesses revealed the truth that Nixon tape recorded his conversations in the White House. Knowing that the truth of the scandal lay in the tapes, the Senate ordered Nixon to give the tapes up (Price 3). Using his constitutional power, Nixon, refusing to give the tapes, cited the separation of power and the need to protect confidential presidential conversations (Sussman 143). He continued later quoting, “Releasing the tapes would endanger national security.” Knowing the President was hiding something, Special Prosecutor Cox dug deeper. On April 30, 1973, Nixon announced that there had been an effort to conceal him from the facts in the

Watergate case and denied any personal knowledge of the cover-up (Matthews). He fully accepted responsibility for Watergate, but he maintained his own innocence in the case. With all the controversy, the Justice Department gave the White House another punch in the gut. It charged Vice President Spiro Agnew with income-tax evasion (Boyer 907). Knowing that he had no way out of this, Agnew pleaded no contest and resigned from office to suffer minimal punishment. Nixon then nominated Gerald Ford, the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, as vice president. In July 1973, Alexander Butterfield revealed that there was a voice activated recording system in the White House (Matthews). Ironically, the vast majority of conversations the president had were on tape. Just a short

amount of time before Agnew resigned, a federal judge ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes or face charges of withholding evidence. Nixon, invoking executive privilege, refused to give the tapes up, but Special Prosecutor Cox demanded that he obey the federal order (Graham 4). Still refusing to give the tapes up, Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox (Boyer 907). Knowing that this would cost him his political career, Richardson resigned his office. Nixon then turned to Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to do what Richardson didn’t. Going with the same logic Richardson showed, Ruckelshaus resigned his position as well. The third person Nixon turned to was Solicitor General Robert Bork (Sussman 174). Three times must be a charm because Bork

complied with Nixon and fired Cox. This series of events led to what is known as the Saturday Night Massacre and already outraged Americans demanded Nixon’s impeachment. With his time short, Nixon gave the White House conversation tapes up. One tape was found to have an eighteen-minute gap (Sussman 230). Electronic experts analyzed the tape and testified that the gap was a result of at least 5 different erasures (231). Nixon’s Secretary Rose Mary Woods denied any charge of deliberately erasing the tape. November 17, 1973, Nixon quotes at a press conference the line that people would remember him for; “I am not a crook!” Getting another federal order to give the entire set of tapes up, Nixon refused again. Only months later, the whole truth was given to the American

people. The tapes gave strong evidence that Nixon had ordered the cover-up and had authorized illegal activities (Boyer 907). Under pressure, Nixon stayed cool and refused to step down as President. Responding almost immediately, Congress recommended that impeachment charges should be brought up (Graham 5). Accepting his fate, Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. The Watergate case spanned over 2 years, but brought a lot of truth to the American people about their government. What this case showed them is how corrupt and power hungry the government officials they elect can be. Following the case, many Americans felt betrayed and used by Nixon (Sussman 265). Trust is one of the most important things a politician can gain from his terms in office. Without trust, a political figure is