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This Day in History

January 1, This Day in History – June 17th: The Start of the Watergate Scandal



On June 17th, 1972, an event occurred that would irreversibly shake the foundations of American politics – the Watergate break-in. Five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C., igniting one of the most infamous political scandals in U.S. history.

The burglars were connected to President Richard Nixon’s re-election campaign, the Committee to Re-elect the President (often facetiously referred to as CREEP). Their mission was to wiretap phones and steal documents to gather intelligence on Nixon’s Democratic rivals. However, their clumsy operation was uncovered, and the ensuing investigation led back to the White House.

The scandal unfolded over two years, revealing a web of political spying, sabotage, and a high-level cover-up. The revelation that Nixon had installed a secret recording system in the White House, and the subsequent subpoena of these tapes, only deepened the crisis.

Nixon initially managed to win re-election in a landslide victory, but as evidence mounted against him, his position became untenable. Facing almost certain impeachment, he resigned on August 8th, 1974, marking the first and, to date, the only resignation of a U.S. President.

Today, on June 17th, we look back at the Watergate scandal, a watershed moment in American history. It serves as a lasting reminder of the importance of transparency, accountability, and the rule of law in maintaining the integrity of democratic institutions. Hint Hint.. wink wink..

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