“Nixon politician fighting for Republican candidate reclamation in his

“Nixon had done it all by himself, – without family money or connections and without being someone’s protege.”  -Author, Geoff Shepard (The Real Watergate Scandal)”The most serious scandal in the history of U.S. presidential politics.” -Author, Michael A Genovese (The Nixon Presidency: Power and Politics in Turbulent Times)IntroductionFrom a politician fighting for Republican candidate reclamation in his small hometown of Whittier, California to being elected the president of the United States in 1968, Nixon’s climb, and his fall, on the political ladder could be called nothing short of extraordinary. For much of his political career before his presidency, he was considered the underdog, looked down upon by fellow politicians who believed his non-Ivy college accomplishments were inferior to their Ivy League University knowledge. Eventually, Nixon became president in 1968, proving those who thought of him as inferior wrong. He wasted no time in the coveted position, with his numerous accomplishments in foreign and domestic policy including ending the draft in 1973, signing the Paris Peace Accords that same year, and donating $100 million dollars to fund cancer research. But, even with these remarkable efforts, Nixon would be forced to resign just two years into his second term as president, following one of the greatest, if not the greatest, political scandals of the 20th century: Watergate. More than just the cover-up of a simple robbery, Watergate was a complicated event deeply interwoven with the careers with several of the president’s closest confidantes. Although filled with conflicting retellings, interpretations, and myths, in the end, America can agree that the blatant abuse of power the events of Watergate condoned has changed the way we view and trust our own government.The Origin Story During his political campaigns before presidency, Nixon earned himself the nickname “Tricky Dick” for the dirty, underhanded tactics he used against his opponents. Even while he was president, the label still stuck. Nixon had made many enemies during his long presidential campaigns in the elections of ’68 and ’72, and the formation of the covert group “White House Plumbers” was one of his ways of keeping them in check. The group’s sole purpose was to prevent and discredit the leaking of confidential documents to the public, one such example being the robbery of Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist’s office, in an attempt to discredit his leak of the secret Pentagon Papers. Eventually, the secretive nature of the White House Plumbers led to the branching of members into illegal activities, eventually forming the Committee to Re-elect the President (CRP). James Mccord, John Mitchell, Gordon Liddy, and others were among the Plumbers who founded the CRP. Engaging in illegal exploits that ranged from letter forgery to breaking into opposing Democrat offices, the CRP’s deeds would later be known as a “dirty trick” campaign. Their crimes would go unnoticed for a long period of time, up until the Watergate robbery.The Watergate Break-inThursday, June 17th, 1972, marked the downward spiral that would eventually lead to Nixon’s resignation. That very morning, five people had broken into the office of the Democratic National Committee in Washington D. C’s Watergate Complex. Although this crime could have easily been dismissed as a petty robbery, it soon became obvious that the perpetrators James Mccord, along with Virgilio González, Bernard Barker, Eugenio Martínez, and Frank Sturgis were involved in something more than just a third-rate crime. Mccord was the director of security for Richard Nixon’s CRP (Committee to Reelect the President) Organization, and although he was fired immediately, suspicions still arose when another member of the CRP, Gordon Liddy, was fired when he refused to cooperate with the F.B.I for questioning. John Mitchell, the director of the CRP, who later resigned, told reporters “Katie Graham’s gonna get her tit caught in a big fat wringer if that’s ever published.” when asked if he was involved with a secret campaign fund linked to the Watergate robbery, with his deadbeat response provoking further suspicions towards Nixon’s shady campaign strategies. The robbers were found to be wiretapping Democrat office telephones, and photographing confidential documents, which, again, further fueled the accusations of political sabotage. The obvious path of action was to start to accuse the then-president Richard Nixon of foul play before an election, but, on the August of 1972, Nixon delivered a speech to the general public denying any White House staff involvement, including himself. His actions proved to be a well-played counter to his doubters, because the following November, Nixon was re-elected in a landslide victory against his rival George Mcgovern.The Truth Uncovered Although possible connections between Watergate and Nixon’s staff were already being speculated by the media, it wasn’t until the Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein covered the story to show America the true extent of this misdeed. Their work during Watergate earned them the title of “the greatest reporters of all time” by critics, and their co-authored book, All the President’s Men is considered not to be only a novel, but an accurate documentation of “one of the greatest news stories of the 20th century”. Both Woodward and Bernstein would never have been able to put together the pieces of evidence from solely what had been released to the public. They needed someone from the inside to give them the information they needed to expose the underbelly of the illegal activities Nixon’s staff were involved in. That someone was the man who went under the pseudonym Deep Throat. This anonymous informant was the one who revealed the CRP’s payment to the five robbers, in both funding and “hush money”, which, essentially, is a large amount of money paid in order to keep an individual or group from disclosing confidential information. In this case, hundreds of thousands of dollars had been paid to cover a massive undercover Democrat movement on behalf of Nixon’s campaign, a fact that was completely unknown to both Bernstein and Woodward until Deep Throat informed them. Woodward described him as “An old friend and sometimes source who worked for the federal government and did not like to be called at his office.”, “A source in the Executive Branch who had access to information at CRP as well as at the White House.”, and an “incurable gossip” in All the President’s Men. Alongside the evidence compiled by Woodward and Bernstein, Alex Butterfield, White House aide at the time, revealed that Nixon had installed recording devices throughout his office starting in 1971, up until 1973. Although these tapes held the possibility of proving Nixon’s innocence, the president refused to hand over the 3,000+ hours of recordings he had in his possession. On October 20th, 1973, the long court battle for possession over these “Nixon tapes” started with the “Saturday Night Massacre”. Nixon’s refusal of a subpoena (writ ordering person to court) requested by Archibald Cox, with his orders to fire the special prosecutor leading to the resignation of Attorney General Elliot Richardson. After almost a year in court, the release of the tape was ordered by the Supreme Court on July 24, 1974, in a case known as United States v. Nixon. The court’s decision was unanimous. On August 5th, 1974, Nixon was forced to release the recordings he took in office. Within the thousands of hours of recordings, one conversation with The identity of Deep Throat had remained a secret for over 30 years, until in 2005, Vanity Fair released a magazine article written by John D O’Conner, with the words “Now … at age 91, W. Mark Felt, number two at the F.B.I. in the early 70s, is finally admitting to that historic, anonymous role.” On the verge of death, Mark Felt, former F.B.I Associate Director revealed his role in Watergate as the anonymous informant of reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward.