Tricky Dick: The Watergate Scandal
Despite all that has happened in politics I think this still takes the cake for the biggest political scandal in Washington.
How did this all start? Let me tell you. Republican President Richard Nixon was seeking reelection during a tough time. A lot was going on like the Vietnam War which had sparked quite the anti-war movement. The nation was divided as well as the government. Taking all of this into consideration the presidential campaign for Nixon decided to go with a more aggressive and hands on approach in order to get him reelected. This “approach” had never really been used before and if it had, it certainly went unnoticed.
In June of 1972 burglars were arrested inside the Democratic National Committee office in Washington, D.C. It was meant to seem like a random break in but why would burglars choose to break into the Watergate building and specifically the DNC office? The answer is because these burglars weren’t your average criminals, no they were in fact part of Nixon’s reelection committee. A month before these men came in to wiretap phones and steal top-secret documents. Turns out the the aggressive approach was illegal espionage. Unfortunately for the burglars their wiretaps were not properly placed making them have to break in again and get things right. This time around they were caught red-handed trying to re-wiretap the phones. Fortunately for Nixon it didn’t seem initially like he was connected at all to the break ins.
Eventually questions were raised but Nixon denied any connection swearing that his staff were not involved. The time came and Richard Nixon was reelected as the President of the United States.
It definitely was not that easy dodging accusations of involvement with the break-ins especially with more and more evidence connecting the White House with the burglars. One burglar was associated with the CIA another was found with the phone number of a former White House employee who happened to be part of the “Plumbers”, a White House special investigation unit. As more evidence led to the White House a cover-up was underway. Lies were told and documents were destroyed by people in the campaign as well as the FBI. However none of this was able to stop Nixon from being reelected.
Fast forward a couple of months and an official investigation voted by the U.S Senate was underway. It was revealed the FBI was involved leaving people wondering what other top White House aides were part of this. Soon after one of the “burglars” had threatened to reveal what truly happened leaving Nixon no choice but to pay him hush money. To trick the public and those onto him Nixon decided to start his own investigation with plans for it to be stonewalled.
Nixon’s efforts to cover up and trick the public failed. He was eventually subpoenaed for the documents and 64 tapes he had in his possession. When the tapes were made public it was the end for President Nixon. The impeachment process began but Nixon wanted to go out his own way and decided to resign on August 8. Luckily for Nixon President Gerald Ford decided to pardon him for his alleged crimes in hopes of everyone being able to move on.
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