The fall of President Richard Nixon began on June 17, 1972, when five well-dressed men were arrested after breaking into the Democratic National Committee offices in Washington’s Watergate Hotel. The five burglars were soon linked to Nixon’s Committee for the Re-election of the President (CREEP) and, as suspicion grew, Nixon conspired to obstruct an FBI investigation of the incident. Nixon’s conversations about the obstruction and subsequent cover-up had been tape-recorded as part of a secret tape-recording system revealed to investigators by Nixon’s schedule keeper. After a ruling by the Supreme Court on July 24, 1974, Nixon was forced to turn the tapes over to Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski. With the tapes clearly incriminating him in the cover-up and facing impeachment, Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974, the only president ever to do so. President Gerald Ford gave Nixon an unconditional pardon on September 8, 1974, for all federal crimes he committed or may have committed. Richard Nixon died on April 22, 1994.
Photo: National Archives