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“I’m not a crook” (Schmoop).  Nixon made this remark on November 17th, 1973, as he was telling America that he was not involved in the Watergate scandal.  Nixon and several other members of the White House were involved in the Watergate scandal, a scandal created and planned to bring down the Democrat party.  With the backdrop of the Vietnam War looming in the background, a scandal called Watergate changed the course of the presidency of Richard Nixon.   When five men broke into the Watergate Hotel on June 17th, 1972,, little did Nixon know that his life would change forever.  This date would forever be known as the day Nixon’s presidency plummeted.  Three policemen responded, “On June 17, 1972, … to a call at 1:52 A.M. about a break-in at the Watergate apartment building in downtown Washington” (Elish 19).  On this date, five men were caught taking pictures of files and wiretapping the phones at the Watergate.  The Democrats had important information here, which is why Nixon’s men broke in.   They were not successful and later faced charges for their crimes.  The reason behind Nixon’s order for the break-in was quite simple.  Being a Republican, he wanted a way to exploit the Democrat party so he could be re-elected for a second term.  Fremon states, “Their target would be the Democratic National Committee headquarters, on the sixth floor of the Watergate hotel-office complex” (Fremon 40).  All Nixon wanted was to be re-elected for a second term in office.  He would do anything to be re-elected.  Although he denied, he actually had a part in the Watergate scandal.  This break-in was very complex, but the security guards at the Watergate were smart enough to figure out what was going on in the building.  This break-in was the first link of the chain of events that led to the resignation of President Nixon. As the Watergate scandal was brought to light, a series of cover-ups made by members in the White House began.  As the five men were caught, members of the CREEP (Committee to Re-elect the President) organization began efforts to cover-up their crimes.  Genovese states, “Liddy also removed files from CREEP headquarters” (Genovese 28).  Gordon G. Liddy was very involved in the scandal.  He was in the general counsel of CREEP and also was the leader of the “plumbers” unit at the White House (Hillstrom xxvi).  The files that were removed were very harmful to those involved in the scandal.  Several other members of the White House were also desperately trying to clear their names.  Michael Genovese once said, “Magruder had one of his assistants remove the Gemstone file from his office” (Genovese 28).  “Jeb Magruder was the deputy director of CREEP” (Hillstrom xxvi).  Gemstone was a one million dollar project created to make the Democrats look bad.  This meant that Nixon had very good chances of being re-elected.  If found, this Gemstone file could be very harmful.  Investigations began on the Watergate scandal soon after the cover-ups began.   As the cover-ups continued, investigations began on what happened during the Watergate scandal.  As the scandal broke way into the world, two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, were set to uncover the truth.  In reality, they were investigating whether or not Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal.  Elish states, “Much of the credit for bringing these crimes out into the open belongs to two reporters from The Washington Post named Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein” (Elish 21).  Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward were two reporters that focused on the Watergate scandal.  They were first able to track James McCord to CREEP.  Woodward and Bernstein kept digging and they found a $25,000 cashier’s check in John Mitchell’s bank account.  This check was for Nixon’s re-election campaign.  As Woodward and Bernstein uncovered secrets about Watergate, an investigation was opened by the Senate.  Hillstrom once stated, “On February 7, 1973, the U.S. Senate voted 77-0 to establish a committee to conduct an investigation on the Watergate affair” (Hillstrom 28).  As more and more was uncovered about the Watergate scandal, the Senate decided to start an investigation.  One of the first major discoveries came from the testimony of Patrick Gray.  He stated that he had numerous  meetings with John Dean about Watergate and gave him permission to sit in on FBI interviews of White House aides (Hillstrom).  As more and more information was uncovered things looked worse for Nixon, but what would come next would change his presidency forever.    As information kept coming, the first court cases of the Watergate scandal began.  The Senate Watergate Committee formed to dig deeper into the scandal.  Headed by Sam Ervin,”The hearings went badly for the Nixon administration” (Hillstrom 36).  It began to go bad for Nixon’s administration when John Dean gave a shocking testimony.  John Dean was on the White House Counsel of the Nixon Administration (Hillstrom).  Dean also hinted a series of tapes during his testimony.  After Dean testified, several more of the men involved in the Watergate scandal testified as well.  For instance, “After Dean completed his testimony, other former members of Nixon’s inner circle testified before the committee”  (Hillstrom 40).  Both Hadleman and Ehrlichman claimed they had no part in the Watergate scandal.  H.R. Hadleman was Nixon’s Chief of Staff, while Erlichman was Nixon’s Chief Domestic Policy Officer.  They also claimed everything Dean said was inaccurate.  Following Dean’s hint to tapes, a series of investigations on the tapes began. These tapes would show the world that, even though he denied it, Nixon was involved in the Watergate scandal.  A man named Alexander Butterfield, who worked as a White House aide, proved that there was a taping system in the White House.  With this testimony,”Butterfield revealed the existence of the Nixon tapes to the world on July 16, 1973, when he gave his testimony to the Ervin committee” (Hillstrom 44).  Alexander Butterfield made a bold move to tell the world of the Nixon tapes.  It was later learned that 2,800 hours were on the tapes.  After the testimony, the committee asked Nixon to see the tapes.  Eventually, Nixon released the tapes that put him on the road to resignation.  As a result of Sirica’s order,”… Nixon agreed to release some of the tapes” (Elish 32).  The committee requested nine tapes, but only seven were given.  The other two were “non-existent”. According to Elish, “On November 21st, … a gap of eighteen and a half minutes was discovered on one of the tapes” (Elish 33).  The White House claimed that Nixon’s secretary accidentally erased five minutes, but when electronic experts analyzed the tape, they said that they were erased on purpose.  These 18 ½ minutes were erased by none other than Richard Nixon.  As this information spread throughout the country, Nixon’s next decision would be the most shocking of all.   As Nixon’s presidency fell, a choice, one that you would probably never want to make arose.  This was a choice to be impeached or resign.  Nixon soon realized that his presidency was crumbling under his feet.  As a result, “He announced his resignation on August 8, stating that he no longer had a ‘strong enough political base'” (Perlstein).  As Nixon stated, he believed there was no reason for him to stay in office.  Several members of Congress told him that he was almost 100% likely to be impeached.  Even though Nixon committed crime, Gerald Ford, Nixon’s former vice-president, made a bold move to pardon Richard Nixon from any imprisonment.  According to The Learning Network, “On September 8, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford granted a pardon to former President Richard M. Nixon … for any crimes he may have committed during the the Watergate break-in and cover-up” (The Learning Network).  Gerald Ford made a decision to pardon Nixon of the crimes he committed in office.  Numerous people felt that Nixon should have been put on trial for what he had done.  After his pardon, Nixon began to gain the respect of America until his death.  Nixon would forever be known as a man who never lost confidence, even in times of shame and embarrassment.   Nixon’s presidency was thrown completely off track by the break-in and cover-up of the Watergate scandal.  Even though Nixon was pardoned, America will never truly know how he was involved in the Watergate scandal.  The Watergate scandal will be known forever as the downfall of Richard Nixon’s presidency.    

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