But people will look back on this now in a year, in a decade, in a century. The Republicans in Congress have made themselves willfully blind. They will be held culpable for this. It is time for them to see. We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters theatlantic. James Fallows is a staff writer at The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late s.
He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. Twitter Email.
To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home. Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office. The morning that his resignation took effect, the President, with Mrs. Nixon and their family, said farewell to the White House staff in the East Room.
Nixon later wrote that he thought, "As the helicopter moved on to Andrews, I found myself thinking not of the past, but of the future.
What could I do now? With Nixon's resignation, Congress dropped its impeachment proceedings. Criminal prosecution was still a possibility at both the federal and the state level.
He said that the Nixon family's situation "is an American tragedy in which we all have played a part. It could go on and on and on, or someone must write the end to it. I have concluded that only I can do that, and if I can, I must.
Nixon proclaimed his innocence until his death in In his official response to the pardon, he said that he "was wrong in not acting more decisively and more forthrightly in dealing with Watergate, particularly when it reached the stage of judicial proceedings and grew from a political scandal into a national tragedy". Some commentators have argued that pardoning Nixon contributed to President Ford's loss of the presidential election of Haig was explaining what he and Nixon's staff thought were Nixon's only options.
He could try to ride out the impeachment and fight against conviction in the Senate all the way, or he could resign. His options for resigning were to delay his resignation until further along in the impeachment process, to try and settle for a censure vote in Congress, or to pardon himself and then resign.
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Haig told Ford that some of Nixon's staff suggested that Nixon could agree to resign in return for an agreement that Ford would pardon him. Haig emphasized that these weren't his suggestions. He didn't identify the staff members and he made it very clear that he wasn't recommending any one option over another. What he wanted to know was whether or not my overall assessment of the situation agreed with his. Next he asked if I had any suggestions as to courses of actions for the President.
Watergate scandal - Wikipedia
I didn't think it would be proper for me to make any recommendations at all, and I told him so. Charles Colson pled guilty to charges concerning the Daniel Ellsberg case; in exchange, the indictment against him for covering up the activities of the Committee to Re-elect the President was dropped, as it was against Strachan. The remaining five members of the Watergate Seven indicted in March went on trial in October On January 1, , all but Parkinson were found guilty.
In , the U. Court of Appeals ordered a new trial for Mardian; subsequently, all charges against him were dropped. Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Mitchell exhausted their appeals in Ehrlichman entered prison in , followed by the other two in Since Nixon and many senior officials involved in Watergate were lawyers, the scandal severely tarnished the public image of the legal profession. The Watergate scandal resulted in 69 government officials being charged and 48 being found guilty, including: .
To defuse public demand for direct federal regulation of lawyers as opposed to leaving it in the hands of state bar associations or courts , the American Bar Association ABA launched two major reforms. In it replaced it with the Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Its preamble contains an emphatic reminder that the legal profession can remain self-governing only if lawyers behave properly. The requirement remains in effect. On June 24 and 25, , Nixon gave secret testimony to a grand jury. Aided by the Public Citizen Litigation Group , the historian Stanley Kutler , who has written several books about Nixon and Watergate and had successfully sued for the public release of the Nixon White House tapes ,  sued for release of the transcripts of the Nixon grand jury testimony.
On July 29, , U. District Judge Royce Lamberth granted Kutler's request, saying historical interests trumped privacy, especially considering that Nixon and other key figures were deceased, and most of the surviving figures had testified under oath, have been written about, or were interviewed.
The transcripts were not immediately released pending the government's decision on whether to appeal. In June the U. Department of Justice wrote the court that it would not object to their release with some exceptions.
The Broken Check and Balance
According to Thomas J. Johnson, a professor of journalism at University of Texas at Austin , Secretary of State Henry Kissinger predicted during Nixon's final days that history would remember Nixon as a great president and that Watergate would be relegated to a "minor footnote". When Congress investigated the scope of the president's legal powers, it belatedly found that consecutive presidential administrations had declared the United States to be in a continuous open-ended state of emergency since Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act in to regulate such declarations.
The Watergate scandal left such an impression on the national and international consciousness that many scandals since then have been labeled with the suffix " -gate ". Disgust with the revelations about Watergate, the Republican Party, and Nixon strongly affected results of the November Senate and House elections , which took place three months after Nixon's resignation.
The Democrats gained five seats in the Senate and forty-nine in the House the newcomers were nicknamed " Watergate Babies ". Congress passed legislation that changed campaign financing , to amend the Freedom of Information Act , as well as to require financial disclosures by key government officials via the Ethics in Government Act.
Other types of disclosures, such as releasing recent income tax forms, became expected, though not legally required. Presidents since Franklin D. Roosevelt had recorded many of their conversations but the practice purportedly ended after Watergate. Ford's pardon of Nixon played a major role in his defeat in the presidential election against Jimmy Carter.
In , Nixon arranged an interview with British journalist David Frost in the hopes of improving his legacy. Based on a previous interview in ,  he believed that Frost would be an easy interviewer and was taken aback by Frost's incisive questions. The interview displayed the entire scandal to the American people, and Nixon formally apologized, but his legacy remained tarnished.
In the aftermath of Watergate, " follow the money " became part of the American lexicon and is widely believed to have been uttered by Mark Felt to Woodward and Bernstein. The phrase was never used in the book All the President's Men and did not become associated with it until the movie of the same name was released in The parking garage where Woodward and Felt met in Rosslyn still stands. Its significance was noted by Arlington County with a historical marker in Despite the enormous impact of the Watergate scandal, the purpose of the break-in of the DNC offices has never been conclusively established.
Records from the United States v. Liddy trial, made public in , showed that four of the five burglars testified that they were told the campaign operation hoped to find evidence that linked Cuban funding to Democratic campaigns. Baldwin III's list of targets that was released in Anthony Lukas of the New York Times , who had concluded that the committee was seeking to find evidence linking the Democrats to prostitution, as it was alleged that Oliver's office had been used to arrange such meetings. However, Nichter acknowledged that Woodward and Bernstein's theory of O'Brien as the target could not be debunked unless information was released about what Baldwin heard in his bugging of conversations.
In , O'Brien was appointed by Vice President Hubert Humphrey to serve as the national director of Humphrey's presidential campaign and, separately, by Howard Hughes to serve as Hughes' public-policy lobbyist in Washington. O'Brien was elected national chairman of the DNC in and In late , the president's brother, Donald Nixon , was collecting intelligence for his brother at the time and asked John H.
Meier , an adviser to Howard Hughes, about O'Brien. The loan's existence surfaced during the presidential election campaign, embarrassing Richard Nixon and becoming a political liability. According to author Donald M. Bartlett, Richard Nixon would do whatever was necessary to prevent another family embarrassment.
Hughes wanted Donald Nixon and Meier involved but Nixon opposed this. Meier told Donald that he was sure the Democrats would win the election because they had considerable information on Richard Nixon's illicit dealings with Hughes that had never been released, and that it resided with Larry O'Brien.
James F. Neal , who prosecuted the Watergate 7, did not believe Nixon had ordered the break-in because of Nixon's surprised reaction when he was told about it. Chinese then-Premier Zhou Enlai said in October that the scandal did not affect the relations between China and the United States. He further said, "Do Americans really want to go isolationist? In the two world wars , the Americans came [in] very late, but all the same, they did come in. They haven't been isolationist in practice. Tanaka further said, "The pivotal role of the United States has not changed, so this internal affair will not be permitted to have an effect.
It was this attitude, I think, that rescued American democracy.
Christopher Steele, the Man Behind the Trump Dossier
Lee said further that the United States "makes the future of this peace in Indonesia an extremely bleak one with grave consequence for the contiguous states". Lee then blamed the scandal for economic inflation in Singapore because the Singapore dollar was pegged to the United States dollar at the time, assuming the U. In June , when Chairman Leonid Brezhnev arrived in the United States to have a one-week meeting with Nixon,  Brezhnev told the press, "I do not intend to refer to that matter—[the Watergate].