Watergate (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
Watergate is the name given to the scandals involving President RICHARD M. NIXON, members of his administration, and operatives working for Nixon's 1972 reelection organization. The name comes from the Watergate apartment and hotel complex in Washington, D.C., which in 1972 was the location of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). On June 17, 1972, several burglars were caught breaking in to DNC headquarters. The break-in and the subsequent cover-up by Nixon and his aides culminated two years later in the president's resignation. Nixon's departure on August 9, 1974, prevented his IMPEACHMENT by the Senate. President GERALD R. FORD's pardon of Nixon one month later prevented any criminal charges from being filed against the former president.
It has never been disclosed what the burglars who broke into DNC headquarters were seeking, but they were acting on orders from Nixon's first attorney general, JOHN N. MITCHELL, who was heading Nixon's reelection campaign, and several other high officials in the campaign staff and the White House. Though Nixon may not have known in advance about the break-in, by June 23, 1972, six days later, he had begun to participate in the cover-up. On that date he ordered the CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (CIA) to direct the FEDERAL BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION (FBI) to stop investigating the burglary, on the pretense that an investigation would endanger national security. This...
(The entire section is 1249 words.)
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