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Friday, March 11, 2016



Watergate is the name of a building complex in Washington DC which became involved in a scandal with the Nixon administration when in June 1972 five persons were arrested from the premises of Democratic Party’s headquarters on charges of burglary. It was alleged that these persons had not only illegally entered the premises but also conspired to tape the phone and to steal the documents of Democratic National Committee in order to take advantage in 1972 US elections. The prosecution started investigations but President Nixon denied all charges of involvement in the affair. However the situation took a dramatic turn on January 11, 1973 when of the accused Mr. Howard Hant admitted that he was guilty of the charges labelled against him. Consequently the US Senate on February 7, 1973 set up a selection committee under the chairmanship of Sen. S.J. Ervin to investigate into the Watergate scandal. As the case progressed President Nixon promised to cooperate with the committee. The crises depended further on April 30, 1973 when Nixon’s top aides viz. H.R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, John.W.Dean and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigned from their posts. On June 25 Nixon’s former Counsel told the Senate hearings that Nixon, his staff and campaign aides and the Justice Department had conspired to cover up the Watergate facts. With each passing day the sphere of the investigations continued to widen further with startling disclosures. In July 1973 the selection committee recorded evidences of important White House officials. In the meantime President Nixon continued to harp on his innocence. A White House aide revealed that most of Nixon’s office conversations and phone cells had been recorded. The court and the Congress sought the tapes for criminal proceedings against former White House aides but President Nixon refused to release the tapes. As a result in August 1973 Chief Judge ordered Nixon to hand over the tapes for investigations. President Nixon refused to comply with these instructions. In October 1973 Nixon removed Watergate special Prosecutor Archibald Cox when he threatened to secure a judicial ruling that Nixon was violating court order by refusing to hand over tapes to the judge. As the results of the investigations gradually unfolded, Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate scandal became clearer. Survey of the public opinion showed that majority of the Americans believed that Nixon was guilty and were in favour of his impeachment. In July 1974 the House Judiciary Committee charged Nixon with following three articles of impeachment.
1                     Participation in a criminal conspiracy to obstruct justice.
2                     Abusing the power.
3                     Unconstitutional defiance of the committee.

The House of Representatives accepted committee’s report by a 42-3 vote. However on Aug 9, 1974 President Nixon resigned in order to avoid impeachment. Thus he became the first president in the history of US to have resigned from his office.


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