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Randall D. Hutton

English 112

English Composition II

Dr. John Keeney

February 26,1997

end coverpage


Thesis statement: Watergate could possibly be the worst scandal in

the history of the

United States.

1. Richard Nixon.

A. Family.

B. Political.

II. Latest scandals.

A. Iran Contra affair.

B. Whitewater affair.

Ill. Watergate.

A. Burglary.

B. Plumbers.

C. John F.Kennedy

IV. Investigation.

A. Reporters.

B. Special prosecutors.

C. Senate hearings.

D. Fight for tapes.

V. National Archives and Records Administration.

A. Material available for research.

B. Special Files Unit.

end page outline1


VI. Outcome.

A. Sentences.

B. Constitutional.

VII. Conclusion.

end outline page 2


Political scandals are not strangers to the United States. They date

back as far as 1830, with the presidential sex scandal and Thomas

Jefferson, and in 1875 with the Whiskey Ring and President Ulysses S.

Grant (Time and Again 1). Today we have the Iran-Contra affair with

Ronald Reagan and Whitewater with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Even with

these, it can be argued that Watergate could possibly be the worst

scandal in the history of the United States.

Richard Milihous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States,

and the only President to ever resign his office. He was born the second

of five sons, in Yorba Linda, California. His parents were Francis

Anthony and Hannah Milhous Nixon. His career started in 1945 when he

accepted the candidacy for a seat in the 12th congressional district which

he won. He was elected to United States Congress in 1946, he then

entered into the Senate as the youngest member ever in 1951. Only a

short two years later he became the second youngest vice-president in

history at the age of thirty nine. He served two terms as vice President

under President Dwight D. Eisenhower. In 1969 he won his bid for the

Presidency(Kinsella 3).

The Iran-contra affair was more of a U.S. foreign policy affair. This

scandal came about in November of 1986 when President Ronald

Reagan admitted to the selling of arms to Iran. The overall goal was to

improve relations with Iran, but it soon came to light that it was more of a

trade of arms for hostages deal. Later it was found that some of the

profits from the sale of the arms to Iran went to the Nicaraguan "contra"

rebels. On Dec.24, 1992, President George Bush pardoned all the

people involved with the scandal and no charges were filed against

Ronald Reagan (Iran-contra 1).

The latest of all scandals is the Whitewater affair. The

Whitewater affair is an ongoing investigation into a bad Arkansas

real-estate adventure in the late 1970, and its connection with the now

defunct Arkansas savings and loan company, and with President Bill

Clinton and his wife Hillary. The Whitewater development company

started in 1979 and had the investors Bill Clinton, the Governor of

Arkansas, his wife Hillary Rodham Clinton, a attorney for the Rose law

firm, James B. McDougal the owner of the Madison Guaranty Savings

and Loan. The group purchased some land which later turned out to be a

bad venture. Sometime later the savings and loan went bankrupt at a cost

of sixty million dollars to the taxpayers. There was allegations of the

diversion of funds from Whitewater through the Madison Saving and

Loan to cover some of the campaign debts of the Clinton's. There were

also allegations of whether the Clinton's gained income-tax benefits from

the failure of Whitewater that they were not entitled to. To date no

charges have been filed against President Clinton or his wife Hillary

(Whitewater 1).

The whole Watergate scandal, brought about charges of political

bribery, burglary, extortion, wiretapping, conspiracy, obstruction of

justice, destruction of evidence, tax fraud, and illegal use of the CIA and

the FBI, campaign contributions and taxpayers money for private matters.

In all, more than 30 administration officials and other people in the Nixon

administration pleaded guilty or were found guilty of illegal acts (Time and

Again 2).

The term "Watergate" came from the Watergate Hotel in Washington

D. C. In addition to a hotel, the Watergate complex houses many

business offices, one which was the headquarters for the Democratic

National Committee. It was here that the great scandal got its very start

(Farnsworth 1). In the early morning hours of June 17, 1972 a

security guard at the Watergate Hotel called police about a robbery.

Later, five men were arrested with evidence that linked them to the

committee to re-elect the President (NARA,1).

After the Watergate scandal had been uncovered, another group of

illegal activities came to light. It was found that in 1971 a group of White

House officials commonly called the "Plumbers" had been doing whatever

they deemed necessary to stop any leaks that were originating from the

White House. A grand jury later indicted John Ehrlichman and Special

Counsel, Charles Colson and others for the burglary and the break-in at

the office of a psychiatrist to get damaging material on Daniel Ellsberg, the

person that had published classified documents called the Pentagon

Papers. It was also later discovered that the Nixon administration had

received large sums of illegal campaign funds and used them to pay for

political espionage and pay more than five hundred thousand dollars to

the five men that burglarized the Watergate Hotel (Infopedia,1).

In 1972 , White House officials also testified that the Nixon

administration had falsified documents to make it look as though John F

Kennedy had been involved in the assassination of President Ngo Dinh

Diem of South Vietnam, and that they had also written some documents

accusing Senator Hubert H. Humphery of moral improprieties(Infopedia


After the Watergate burglars were linked to the committee to re-elect

the President, official investigations were put into action. As more and

more evidence pointed toward presidential involvement, the media

became more confident and aggressive. Bob Woodard and Carl

Bernstein two reporters from the Washington Post, were very

instrumental in the development of teams of investigative reporters around

the world. The term "Deep Throat" became a very common phrase for

the anonymous official who leaked valuable information to the reporters

Woodard and Berstein(Farnsworth 6). Other leaders in the investigation

were Judge Sirica, The Sam Ervin committee and special prosecuter

Archibald Cox.

Archibald Cox was sworn in as the special prosecutor in May 1973.

As Cox and the Ervin Committee pushed the President for tapes that had

been made in the White House, Richard Nixon ordered Attorney General

Elloit L. Richardson to dismiss Cox as special prosecutor. On Oct 20,

1973 Elloit L. Richardson turned in his resignation, refusing to fire Cox.

William Ruckeishaus, the deputy Attorney General also refused to dismiss

Cox and was fired by Nixon. This turn of events came to be known as

the "Saturday Night Massacre" and heightened the idea that the president

was more involved than previously thought (Grolier 1). Eventually

Archibald Cox was dismissed as special prosecutor by the

Solicitor-General Robert Bork(Farnsworth 4).

Between May and October of 1973, during special Senate hearings,

Alexander Butterfield disclosed to the senate committee that some White

House tapes existed. Archibald Cox and the Senate Watergate

Committee began their push to listen to the tapes. Nixon claimed

"Executive Privilege" and refused to turn the tapes over for review

(Farnsworth 4). The President, on April 30, did release some edited

transcripts of Oval Office conversations. All the tapes had suspicious

gaps. Not very satisfied with what they had received, Judge Sirica

subpoenaed additional tapes. When Nixon refused to release the

additional tapes the case went before the Supreme Court. The court

decision was that Nixon could withhold any tapes that was of concern to

National Security, but insisted that Watergate was a criminal matter. This

ruling later led to the case of UNITED STATES V. RICHARD NIXON

(Grolier 1).

On August 5,1974, Nixon than released three more tapes to the

public. One of the tapes clearly revealed that he had taken many steps to

stop the FBI's investigation in the Watergate burglary. The tape also

made it clear that the president had been actively involved in the cover-up

from the very beginning(Grolier 1).

The fight for the tapes started in the period between May and October

of 1973 when Alexander Butterfield disclosed to senate hearings that the

tapes existed. The tapes led to the firing and resignation of many people,

and allegations against Rose Mary Woods, Nixon's secretary, that she

had deliberately erased select portions of the tapes as they were being

released ( Farnsworth 4). Although Nixon did release the tapes a few at a

time, and what were released may have been edited, not all of the tapes

have been released to this day. This is why the tapes were given the

name "The smoking gun"(Groiler 2).

Although not all the tapes and files were released, the Nixon

Presidential Materials Staff ,a part of the National Archives and Records

Administrations, Office of the Presidential Nixon administration, is

custodian for all the historical materials of the Nixon administration.

Their holdings include, some forty million pages of textual material, the

audiovisual records, approximately five hundred thousand photographs,

four thousand videotapes, four thousand, four hundred audiotapes, nine

hundred and fifty white House tapes and one million feet of motion picture

film, and more than thirty thousand gift items (NARA I).

The Nixon Presidential Materials Staff have some of the records

available for research. The material open to the public is approximately

two thousand two hundred and ten cubic feet of textual materials. They

also created a special flies unit. The special files unit was created in

September of 1972 and was to provide a storage location away from the

White House Complex to store the selected sensitive files. These

complete files are of a highly sensitive nature and consist of papers of the

Office of the President, the staff secretary, the offices of H.R. Haldernan,

John Dean, Charles Closon. The following are the other groups that make

up the special files and are only portions of the files(NARA1).

Desmond Barker Jr. Special Assistant to the President (1 cubic foot)

John R. Brown Ill Staff assistant to H.R. Haldeman (I cubic foot)

Patrick J. Buchanan Special Assistant to the President (9 cubic feet)

Stephen B. Bull Special Assistant to the President (2 cubic feet)

Alexander P. Butterfield Deputy Assistant to the President (3 cubic


J.Fred Buzhardt replaced John Dean as Counsel to the President (2

cubic feet)

Dwight Chapin President's Appointments Secretary (14 cubic feet)

Charles W. Colson Special Counsel to the President (45 cubic feet)

John W. Dean Counsel to the President (37 cubic feet)

Harry Dent Deputy counsel and Special Counsel to the President (4

cubic feet)

John D. Ehrlichman Counsel to the President (23 cubic feet)

Alexander M. Haig Senior Military Assistant to the President (16

cubic feet)

H.R. Haldeman President's Chief of Staff (140 cubic feet)

President's Office Files (38 cubic feet)

President's Personal Files (65 cubic feet)

This is only a partial list of the files that are at the Nation Archives and

Records Administration and the Nixon Presidential Materials

Staff(NARA 2). Richard Nixon, facing White House

impeachment and probable Senate Conviction, became the first U.S.

chief executive to resign on August 9, 1974 (Grolier 1). It was later

reported that, Richard Nixon had arranged a deal with Vice-President

Ford. The arrangement was, if Ford would full fill two requests, that

Nixon would step down and make Gerald Ford the President. Those

conditions were, Richard Nixon was to receive a full pardon and

that Ford would make sure that any information about Nixon's

involvement with the anti-Castro operations would be totally concealed

(Secret 1972 2). With Gerald Ford stepping in to fill in the remainder of

the term, Ford gave Nixon a full and absolute pardon in September

1974(Grolier 1).

Harry Robbins Haldeman was Nixon's White House Chief of Staff.

Haldeman was found guilty of conspiracy , obstruction of justice and

perjury in the Watergate cover-up. Haldeman was given a four year

sentence and was paroled on Dec.20, 1978 after serving eighteen

months. He later published a book about the scandal entitled The Ends of

Power in 1978 (Grolier 1).

Everette Howard Hunt was a CIA agent and an presidential aide.

Hunt was the director of the Watergate burglary at the Democratic

National Headquarters. For his part in the burglary Hunt was given a eight

year sentence. He was paroled on February 23, 1977 after serving thirty

two months. Hunt went on to publish dozens of spy thrillers into the

1990s(Grolier 1).

John Newton Mitchell served as the Attorney General of the United

States. He became chairman of the Committee to Re-Elect the President

in March of 1972. He was sentenced to four years for his conviction on

charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and perjury. He went on to

live quietly in Washington DC after his release from prison in January

1979 (Grolier 1).

John Wesley Dean was the counsel to the President. Dean testified

that the President was involved in the cover-up and also admitted his own

involvement. He served a term of September 1974 to January 1975

(Grolier 1).

G. Gorden Liddy was recruited for the White House staff by Attorney

General John Mitchell. For Liddy's involvement in the Watergate burglary

at the Democratic Headquarters and the break-in at Ellsberg's

psychiatrist's office, he received a twenty years prison sentence. On April

12, 1977, President Carter changed Liddy's sentence from twenty to

eight years (Taylor 6).

These are just a few examples of the more than 30 Nixon officials that

admitted their quilt or were found guilty of illegal acts.

Watergate gives us good material to look at for analyzing the different

arms of the government. Congressional committees ,senate and judiciary,

have complete independence and great power. The Senate Watergate

committees were crucial in getting the resignation of Nixon, while the

recommendation by the Judiciary committee to try to impeach the

president was carried in votes by both the Republican and Democratic

members (Farnsworth 6).

The power of the Supreme Court over the Executive branch was

shown with the ruling that Nixon must turn over the tapes of the Oval

Office (Farnsworth 7).

The separation of powers means that no member of any of the three

different parts of the government may belong or be a member of another

(Farnsworth 7).

As a good example of the checks and balances, while the president is

the head of the government he cannot control the legislature. While the

president has to appoint the Judicial arm of the government, they have to

be approved by the Senate. The president serves a four year term and

can only be removed from office by mpeachment. The Senate is the only

part of the government that can impeach the president, but the

impeachment process must start in the Mouse of Representatives

(Farnsworth 7).

Different branches of goverment have separate responsibilities. The

president is on a fixed term and he is accountable to the House of

Representatives, the part of the government that most reflects the current

opinion of the nation. The Senate where each state has two senators

regardless of population, is the only part that can remove the president

(Farnsworth 8).

Although the tapes played a major part in obtaining President Nixon's

resignation, legal actions taken by the President managed to keep all but

the forty hours of tapes from being released before his death twenty years

later (Secret 1974 1).

It is now some twenty five years after the beginning of Watergate, and

the Nixon tapes are still making the news. In a recent court battle, the

Nixon family lost their fight to keep the remaining tapes sealed. The

National Archives have just released some two hundred hours of tapes,

one which has President Nixon telling his chief of staff H.R. Haldeman to

break into the Brookings Institution to remove documents concerning the

Vietnam War. The publisher of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg and

former Pentagon analyst, had several colleagues that worked at the

Brooking Institution.

Although there was never any record of a break-in at the Brookings

institution, all of this is just one more piece of evidence of the many illegal

acts that accompanied the Watergate scandal, and was thought of or

performed by the Nixon Administration(Mercury I).

end of paper

Works Cited

Farnsworth , Malcolm. Watergate. Online. 1997.

"Iran-contra affair." Infopedia. 1994, CD-ROM. Funk and Wagnalis.

Kinsella, Michael. Rembering Richard Nixon and Watergate.Online,

www. members.gnn.

NARA. Nixon Presidential Materials Available for Research.Online.

National Archives and Records Admin. Nixon and Watergate. Online.

"Nixon ordered think-tank break-in." Mercury Center. Online.

"The Secret History of the United States 1972.Online.'conspira/1972.html.

"The Secret History of the United States 1974. Online.`conspira/1974.html.

Taylor, Larry. G. Gordon Liddy. Agent from Creep.

"Time and Again-Presidential Scandals." Online.

"Watergate." Encarta. Online. Microsofi, Encarta 96. Encyclopedia.

"Watergate." Grolier. 1995, CD-ROM. Grolier Inc. Version 8.0.

"Whitewater affair." Grolier. 1995, CD-ROM. Grolier Inc. Version


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