In 1974 President Nixon was forced to resign.
On the 17th of June 1972 the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters were broken into by five men. The Burglars (Bernard Barker, Virgilio Gonzales, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez and Frank Sturgis) had many CIA connections, many being former employees, broke into the Watergate office complex which contained the Democrat Party’s Headquarters. They placed phone taps and bugs in the offices which would allow the Republican Party access to private information.
On the night of the 17th of June, security guard Frank Willis noticed that tape had been placed over the latches on doors within the complex. The doors had automatic spring latches that would lock when the door closed but the tape over the latch prevented the lock from working. Initially Willis just removed the tape and continued on his rounds but when he returned about an hour later he found that the doors had been re-taped. Willis immediately called the police and the five burglars were arrested inside the offices of the Democrats headquarters.
The FBI began looking into the break in and attempted wire taps which worried certain members of President Nixon’s re-election committee known as the Committee for the Re-election of the President, also known as CRP but later known as CREEP.
On the 19th of June it was revealed that one of the burglars, James McCord, was a security co-ordinator for the Republican National Committee and the Committee for the Re-election of the President.
President Richard Milhous Nixon, a Republican, met with his Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman on the 23rd of June 1972 to discuss the matter. Although the President appeared to be unaware of the Watergate break in plans, having asked "Who was the asshole who ordered it", he did agree to Haldeman’s plans to use the CIA to block the investigation by the FBI.
President Nixon had a recording system installed in the oval office, an act that would later be used against him.
As more evidence continued to mount the FBI announced on the 10th of October that the Watergate incident was part of a campaign of espionage from the re-election committee. Despite this Nixon was re-elected President of the United States by over 60% of the vote (one of largest landslide victories in US political history).
Nixon’s re-election did nothing to end the story which was picking up momentum thanks to a secret informer, code named Deep Throat, who continued to feed the papers new information.
On the 23rd of March 1973 a Judge in the case of the burglars is given a letter from McCord claiming that perjury had been committed in the Watergate incident.
On the 15th of April Nixon was informed that Chief of Staff, H.R. Haldeman had been implicated. In order to save himself Nixon requested Haldeman’s resignation and Haldeman was sentenced to prison, but Nixon was far from in the clear.
After many attempts of stalling Nixon is finally forced to hand over the tapes from the oval office recordings and after hearing the recording from the meeting held on this day in 1972 that Nixon was clearly guilty of abusing his power and attempting to pervert the course of justice. Nixon was forced to resign on the 9th of August 1974. He was pardoned by his successor President Ford, but the Watergate incident led to the imprisonment of 43 people.
In 2005 it was revealed that the informer known as Deep Throat was actually the former deputy director of the FBI, William Mark Felt.