The Watergate scandal was a major federal political scandal in the United States involving the administration of United States President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that resulted in the end of Nixon's presidency. The scandal stemmed from the June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., by five men and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Soon after the perpetrators were arrested, the press and the Justice Department discovered a connection between cash found on them at the time and a slush fund used by the Nixon re-election campaign committee.

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  • The Watergate scandal was a major federal political scandal in the United States involving the administration of United States President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that resulted in the end of Nixon's presidency. The scandal stemmed from the June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., by five men and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Soon after the perpetrators were arrested, the press and the Justice Department discovered a connection between cash found on them at the time and a slush fund used by the Nixon re-election campaign committee. Further investigations, along with revelations during subsequent trials of the burglars in January 1973, led the House of Representatives to grant its Judiciary Committee additional investigation authority to probe into "certain matters within its jurisdiction," and the Senate to create a special investigative committee to look into the scandal. The resultant Senate Watergate hearings commenced in May 1973. Broadcast "gavel-to-gavel" nationwide, by PBS, the hearings aroused great public interest. Senators heard testimony that the president had approved plans to cover up administration involvement in the Watergate break-in, and learned of the existence of a voice-activated taping system in the Oval Office. Meanwhile, Nixon's administration resisted its probes, which led to a constitutional crisis. Several major revelations and egregious presidential action against the investigation later in 1973 prompted the House to commence an impeachment process against Nixon in February 1974. On July 24, 1974, while the impeachment process was under way, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in United States v. Nixon that Nixon was obligated to release the Oval Office tapes to government investigators. The tapes revealed that Nixon had conspired to cover up activities that took place after the break-in and had attempted to use federal officials to deflect the investigation. Shortly thereafter, the Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment against Nixon for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress and reported those articles to the House of Representatives. With his complicity in the cover-up made public and his political support completely eroded, Nixon resigned from office on August 9, 1974. It is a virtual certainty that, had he not done so, he would have been impeached by the House and removed from office by a trial in the Senate. To date, he is the only American president to have resigned from office. On September 8, 1974, Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, pardoned him. Altogether, the scandal resulted in the indictment of 69 people. Trials or pleas resulted in 48 people—many of them top Nixon administration officials—being found guilty. The term Watergate, by metonymy, came to encompass an array of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the Nixon administration. Those activities included bugging the offices of political opponents and people of whom Nixon or his officials were suspicious; ordering investigations of activist groups and political figures; and using the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) as political weapons. The use of the suffix "-gate" after an identifying term (e.g. Bridgegate) has since become synonymous with public scandal, especially political scandal, in the United States and some other parts of the world. (en)
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  • The Watergate scandal was a major federal political scandal in the United States involving the administration of United States President Richard Nixon from 1972 to 1974 that resulted in the end of Nixon's presidency. The scandal stemmed from the June 17, 1972, break-in of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters at the Watergate Office Building in Washington, D.C., by five men and the Nixon administration's subsequent attempts to cover up its involvement in the crime. Soon after the perpetrators were arrested, the press and the Justice Department discovered a connection between cash found on them at the time and a slush fund used by the Nixon re-election campaign committee. (en)
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  • Watergate scandal (en)
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