The Watergate Story - The Washington Post (2024)

  • Part 3.......................................................Nixon resigns
  • Part 4........................................Deep Throat revealed
  • Part 1........................................The Post investigates
  • Part 2.........................................The government acts
  • More coverage: Key players | Timeline | Herblock cartoons | Audio, video and photos | Post coverage


November 5 - Richard Milhous Nixon, the 55-year-old former vice president who lost the presidency for the Republicans in 1960, reclaims it by defeating Hubert Humphrey in one of the closest elections in U.S. history. Post Story


January 21 - Nixon is inaugurated as the 37th president of the United States. Post Story


July 23 - Nixon approves a plan for greatly expanding domestic intelligence-gathering by the FBI, CIA and other agencies. He has second thoughts a few days later and rescinds his approval.


June 13 - The New York Times begins publishing the Pentagon Papers - the Defense Department's secret history of the Vietnam War. The Washington Post will begin publishing the papers later that same week.

September 3 - The White House "plumbers" unit - named for their orders to plug leaks in the administration - burglarizes a psychiatrist's office to find files on Daniel Ellsberg, the former defense analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers.


June 17 - Five men, one of whom says he used to work for the CIA, are arrested at 2:30 a.m. trying to bug the offices of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate hotel and office complex. Post Story

June 19 - A GOP security aide is among the Watergate burglars, The Washington Post reports. Former attorney general John Mitchell, head of the Nixon reelection campaign, denies any link to the operation. Post Story

August 1 - A $25,000 cashier's check, apparently earmarked for the Nixon campaign, wound up in the bank account of a Watergate burglar, The Washington Post reports. Post Story

September 29 - John Mitchell, while serving as attorney general, controlled a secret Republican fund used to finance widespread intelligence-gathering operations against the Democrats, The Post reports. Post Story

October 10 - FBI agents establish that the Watergate break-in stems from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of the Nixon reelection effort, The Post reports. Post Story

November 7 - Nixon is reelected in one of the largest landslides in American political history, taking more than 60 percent of the vote and crushing the Democratic nominee, Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota. Post Story


January 30 - Former Nixon aides G. Gordon Liddy and James W. McCord Jr. are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping in the Watergate incident. Five other men plead guilty, but mysteries remain. Post Story

April 30 - Nixon's top White House staffers, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, and Attorney General Richard Kleindienst resign over the scandal. White House counsel John Dean is fired.Post Story

May 18 - The Senate Watergate Committee begins its nationally televised hearings. Attorney General-designate Elliot Richardson taps former solicitor general Archibald Cox as the Justice Department's special prosecutor for Watergate. Post Story | Post Analysis

June 3 - John Dean has told Watergate investigators that he discussed the Watergate cover-up with President Nixon at least 35 times, The Post reports. Post Story

June 13 - Watergate prosecutors find a memo addressed to John Ehrlichman describing in detail the plans to burglarize the office of Pentagon Papers defendant Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist, The Post reports. Post Story

July 13 - Alexander Butterfield, former presidential appointments secretary, reveals in congressional testimony that since 1971 Nixon had recorded all conversations and telephone calls in his offices. Post Story

July 18 - Nixon reportedly orders the White House taping system disconnected.

July 23 - Nixon refuses to turn over the presidential tape recordings to the Senate Watergate Committee or the special prosecutor.Post Story

October 20 - Saturday Night Massacre: Nixon fires Archibald Cox and abolishes the office of the special prosecutor. Attorney General Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus resign. Pressure for impeachment mounts in Congress. Post Story

November 17 - Nixon declares, "I'm not a crook," maintaining his innocence in the Watergate case. Post Story

December 7 - The White House can't explain an 18 ½-minute gap in one of the subpoenaed tapes. Chief of Staff Alexander Haig says one theory is that "some sinister force" erased the segment. Post Story


April 30 - The White House releases more than 1,200 pages of edited transcripts of the Nixon tapes to the House Judiciary Committee, but the committee insists that the tapes themselves must be turned over. Post Story

July 24 - The Supreme Court rules unanimously that Nixon must turn over the tape recordings of 64 White House conversations, rejecting the president's claims of executive privilege. Post Story

July 27 - House Judiciary Committee passes the first of three articles of impeachment, charging obstruction of justice.

August 8 - Richard Nixon becomes the first U.S. president to resign. Vice President Gerald R. Ford assumes the country's highest office. He will later pardon Nixon of all charges related to the Watergate case. Post Story


June 13 - Stanley L. Greigg, 71, the former Democratic National Committee official who filed the original criminal complaint against the Watergate burglars, dies in Salem, Va. Post Story

June 25 - One week after the 30th anniversary of the Watergate break-in, an alternative theory of what prompted the most famous burglary in American political history returns to U.S. District Court.Post Story


February 10 - Ronald Ziegler, 63, who as President Richard M. Nixon's press secretary at first described the Watergate break-in as a "third-rate burglary," a symbol of his often-testy relations with reporters, dies after a heart attack. He once was suspected of being "Deep Throat."

April 8 - In one of the largest such purchases in American history, the University of Texas at Austin buys the Watergate papers of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein for $5 million, the university announced. Post Story

July 16 - Chesterfield Smith, 85, a prominent Florida lawyer who, as president of the American Bar Association in 1973, became a critic of President Richard Nixon's efforts to avoid the stains of the Watergate scandal, dies in a hospital in Coral Gables, Fla., after a heart attack. Post Story

July 27 - Thirty years after the Senate select committee hearings on Watergate riveted the nation and doomed the Nixon presidency, a key figure in the scandal says he has a fresh and explosive revelation: Richard M. Nixon personally ordered the burglary of Democratic headquarters at the Watergate complex.

August 24 - John J. Rhodes, 86, an Arizona Republican who as minority leader of the House of Representatives played a critical role in the events leading to the 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, dies of cancer at his home in Mesa, Ariz.Post Story

October 31 - Thomas F. McBride, 74, an associate prosecutor in the Watergate investigation and former inspector general of the Agriculture and Labor departments, dies of a cerebral hemorrhage while walking his dog in a park near his home in Portland, Ore.

November 13 - Congressional negotiators agree to undo part of a Watergate-era law that prevented former president Richard M. Nixon from taking his tapes and papers with him, but say the records would still have to be processed here before being released to establish the presidential library that Nixon and his family always wanted. Post Story

December 11 - National Archives and Records Administration releases 240 more hours of tape of the 37th president. Post Story


April 9 - Helen M. Smith, 84, who worked at the White House as press secretary and trusted aide to first lady Pat Nixon during the turbulent Watergate years, dies of vascular disease at her home in Washington. Post Story

May 27 - Transcripts of telephone conversations released show President Richard M. Nixon jokingly threatened to drop a nuclear bomb on Capitol Hill in March 1974 as Congress was moving to impeach him over the Watergate scandal. Post Story

May 29 - Archibald Cox, 92, the Harvard law professor and special prosecutor whose refusal to accept White House limits on his investigation of the Watergate break-in and coverup helped bring about the 1974 resignation of President Richard M. Nixon, dies at his home in Brooksville, Maine. Post Story

May 29 - Samuel Dash, 79, the chief counsel of the Senate Watergate Committee whose televised interrogation into the secret audiotaping system at the White House ultimately led to President Richard M. Nixon's resignation, dies of multiple organ failure May 29 at Washington Hospital Center. Post Story

July 29 - Frederick Cheney LaRue, 75, the shadowy Nixon White House aide and "bagman" who delivered more than $300,000 in payoffs to Watergate conspirators, dies of coronary artery disease in a Biloxi, Miss., motel room, where he lived.Post Story


January 22 - Rose Mary Woods, 87, the Nixon White House secretary whose improbable stretch was supposed to account for part of an 18 ½-minute gap in a crucial Watergate tape, dies at a nursing home in Alliance, Ohio, where she lived.Post Story

February 4 - Thousands of pages of notes, memos, transcripts and other materials collectively known as the Woodward and Bernstein Watergate Papers opens to the public at the University of Texas, minus the most fascinating detail connected to the demise of the Nixon administration: the identity of Deep Throat. Post Story

February 5 - James Joseph Bierbower, 81, a well-known Washington lawyer who represented Nixon campaign aide Jeb Stuart Magruder during the Watergate trials and EPA official Rita Lavelle during a Superfund inquiry, dies at Charlotte Hall Nursing Home in St. Mary's County. Post Story

February 18 - Robert R. Merhige Jr., a judge who who wrote the decision that threw out the appeals of Watergate figures G. Gordon Liddy, Bernard Barker and Eugenio Martinez after they were convicted of breaking into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist dies. Post Story

May 31 - The Washington Post confirms that W. Mark Felt, a former number-two official at the FBI, was Deep Throat, after Vanity Fair magazine identified the 91-year-old Felt, now a retiree in California, as the long-anonymous Watergate source. Post Story

July 6 - L. Patrick Gray, the acting director of the FBI who passed its investigative reports on the Watergate scandal to the White House, and who was left to "twist slowly, slowly in the wind" by President Richard M. Nixon, died July 6 at his home in Atlantic Beach, Fla., at age 88 Post Story


May 16 - Martin F. Dardis, who connected the Watergate burglars to President Nixon's Committee to Reelect the President, died of vascular disease May 16 at a nursing home in Palm City, Fla., at age 83 Post Story

July 17 - Robert C. Mardian, the attorney for President Richard Nixon's Committee to Re-Elect the President whose conviction of conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Watergate scandal was overturned on appeal, dies at age 82 at his home in San Clemente, Calif. Post Story


January 27 - E. Howard Hunt, the former CIA agent who organized the Watergate break-in and other "dirty tricks" that ultimately brought down the Nixon presidency, dies of complications from pneumonia at a hospital in Miami at age 88. Post Story


April 25 - DeVan L. Shumway, the spokesman for the Committee to Re-Elect the President who staunchly defended the Nixon administration throughout the Watergate scandal, dies in Baltimore of lung disease at age 77. Post Story

The Watergate Story - The Washington Post (2024)


Did The Washington Post break the Watergate story? ›

But while other newspapers ignored the story and voters gave Nixon a huge majority in November 1972, the White House continued to denounce The Post's coverage as biased and misleading. Post publisher Katharine Graham worried about the administration's "unveiled threats and harassment."

What is the true story of Watergate? ›

The scandal included a break-in at the Democratic National Committee (DNC) headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C., on June 17, 1972, and subsequent cover-up by people who worked for or with the White House, and by Nixon himself.

What was the Watergate scandal in simple terms? ›

The term "Watergate" has since become synonymous with various clandestine and illicit activities conducted by Nixon's aides, including the bugging of political opponents' offices, unauthorized investigations, and the misuse of government agencies for political purposes.

Which newspaper exposed the Watergate scandal? ›

While a young reporter for The Washington Post in 1972, Bernstein was teamed up with Bob Woodward, and the two did much of the original news reporting on the Watergate scandal. These scandals led to numerous government investigations and the eventual resignation of President Richard Nixon.

What is the movie about The Washington Post Watergate? ›

Robert Redford (left) and Dustin Hoffman played Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Impartiality aside, no film blends the elements of journalism and Washington intrigue more compellingly than "All the President's Men," the story of two Washington Post reporters who helped take down the No.

Who was the head of The Washington Post during Watergate 2? ›

Katharine Meyer Graham (June 16, 1917 – July 17, 2001) was an American newspaper publisher. She led her family's newspaper, The Washington Post, from 1963 to 1991. Graham presided over the paper as it reported on the Watergate scandal, which eventually led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

Who was found guilty in the Watergate scandal? ›

Gordon Liddy, who helped in the planning, and James McCord, the other burglar, refused to cooperate, were convicted of various charges, and sentenced to prison. Shortly after the trial, the United States Senate formed the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, chaired by Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC).

Who was Deep Throat in the Watergate scandal? ›

In 2005, 31 years after Nixon's resignation and 11 years after Nixon's death, a family attorney stated that former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Associate Director Mark Felt was Deep Throat.

What happened to Richard Nixon after he resigned from the presidency? ›

During nearly 20 years of retirement, Nixon wrote ten books and undertook many foreign trips, rehabilitating his image into that of an elder statesman and leading expert on foreign affairs. On April 18, 1994, he suffered a debilitating stroke, and died four days later.

What were the basic events of the Watergate scandal? ›

The Watergate scandal refers to the burglary and illegal wiretapping of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, in the Watergate complex by members of President Richard Nixon's re-election campaign, and the subsequent cover-up of the break-in resulting in Nixon's resignation on August 9, 1974, as well as ...

Why did Ford pardon President Nixon? ›

I didn't think it would be proper for me to make any recommendations at all, and I told him so. In a Washington Post story published the night Ford died, journalist Bob Woodward said that Ford once told Woodward he decided to pardon Nixon for other reasons, primarily the friendship that Ford and Nixon shared.

How did the Watergate scandal change American politics? ›

“It caused many to lose faith in government, led to campaign finance reform … and drove Americans to demand greater transparency in politics, which led to broad transformations that reshaped the cultural and political landscape for decades to come.”

Why did Watergate happen? ›

The least complicated theory remains the official one: The Watergate incident was a simple, stunningly incompetent burglary conducted by bumbling campaign aides with overeager imaginations and the end goal of bugging the office or telephone of Democratic Party chairman Larry O'Brien.

Who was the secret source in the Watergate scandal? ›

In 2005, at age 91, Felt revealed to Vanity Fair magazine that during his tenure as Deputy Director of the FBI he had been the anonymous source known as "Deep Throat", who provided The Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein with critical information about the Watergate scandal, which ultimately led ...

What movie covers the Watergate scandal? ›

All the President's Men is a 1976 American biographical political thriller film about the Watergate scandal that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. Directed by Alan J.

Who was behind the Watergate break in? ›

Not long afterward, the police apprehended five men: Virgilio Gonzalez, Bernard Barker, James McCord, Eugenio Martinez, and Frank Sturgis. They were accused of attempted burglary and telephone and other communications eavesdropping.

Why was the pardon so controversial? ›

Many felt that the pardon continuined the Watergate coverup by preventing the possible indictment of the former President that could have provided answers to lingering questions. Among the overwhelming negative responses from the public was the idea that the pardon was part of a “secret deal” between Ford and Nixon.

Who was Deep Throat during the Watergate scandal? ›

Before Felt was revealed to be Deep Throat, only Woodward, Bernstein, Elsa Walsh and Ben Bradlee knew of his identity. Writer Nora Ephron became obsessed with figuring out the secret of Deep Throat's identity and eventually correctly concluded that he was Mark Felt.

How did the public react to the Watergate scandal? ›

The public had changed its view of the scandal. A 53% majority came to the view that Watergate was a serious matter, not just politics, up from 31% who believed that before the hearings. Indeed, an overwhelming percentage of the public (71%) had come to see Nixon as culpable in the wrongdoing, at least to some extent.

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