Watergate Scandal Research Paper

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What was still a (certainly growing) suspicion became a certainty when, after the Supreme Court in ordered the President to hand over the tapes, the smoking-gun conversation became public on August 5, 1974.Patrick Gray, the then-acting FBI director, admitted he believed that John Dean had "probably" lied to the agents investigating the break-in, and also confessed to having followed Dean’s orders to keep the White House informed about the evolution of the investigation.Gray’s slip moved John Ehrlichman to pronounce his famous dictum: the White House should leave Gray to "twist slowly, slowly, in the wind." This they did until about a month later, on April 27, when Gray was forced to resign after owning up to having destroyed secret documents removed from Howard Hunt’s safe, again under the orders of John Dean and ostensibly on national security grounds.Once the dam of lies cracked, it quickly collapsed under the increasing flow of revelations that would eventually drown the presidency.Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and US Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resigned on the same day (April 30) that Dean was sacked.By the time Gray fell into disgrace, James Mc Cord—former CRP security chief and, amazingly, one of the five men already serving prison sentences—broke down and sent a letter to judge John Sirica admitting to having committed perjury during his trial and withdrawing the testimony in which he had blamed the CIA for the break-in.Immediately afterwards, Mc Cord led investigators into the White House, John Dean gave in too and, from April 1973 onwards, began to cooperate with the prosecution in exchange for leniency.That day, Haldeman proposed to Nixon to "have [Vernon] Walters [deputy director of the CIA] call Pat Gray [director of the FBI] and just say ‘stay the h*ll out of this’ on grounds of ‘national interest.’"[2] Unbeknownst to most of his staffers, Nixon had installed an audio-activated recording system in the Oval Office that was intended, he subsequently claimed, to prevent journalists and historians from distorting the legacy of his presidency.Two years later, however, the recording of that conversation between Nixon and Haldeman devising a plan to obstruct the FBI investigation saw the light, became known as the "smoking-gun tape," and sealed the fate of the President.Woodward, we now know, had been tipped off by Mark Felt, the deputy director of the FBI.The Bureau had itself become involved in the investigation of a mere burglary because once the police found wiretapping equipment, the investigation fell under its remit.


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