Watergate and Afterward: The Legacy of Richard M. Nixon

By Leon Friedman; William F. Levantrosser | Go to book overview

Part I
Watergate and the Abuse of Presidential Power

The Nixon Administration will always be known for the Watergate scandal and Nixon's forced resignation from office. Foreign observers were always baffled by the uproar that such a "third-rate" burglary produced, and the young Americans who were not alive when the controversy grew into a political hurricane are still unclear about exactly what happened and still have difficulty understanding how it could lead to the loss of the presidency. Why did certain paid members of the Committee to Re-Elect the President (CREEP) plan and carry out a burglary in the Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate, and after they were caught, who took what actions to insure that the Nixon Administration would not be blamed for what occurred?

For the first time in a public forum, Reverend Jeb Stuart Magruder, one of the insiders, describes what the break-in was supposed to accomplish, in an exchange with author J. Anthony Lukas, who has written an important study of the original events. One of the key prosecutors, Earl J. Silbert, tells how the government approached the case, and Stanley I. Kutler emphasizes the important moral and political principles involved.

David R. Simon describes the political reactions to Watergate, and Nancy Kassop writes on Nixon's attempt to remove the first Watergate special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, and the firestorm that followed, which laid the basis for impeachment.

Other panels dealt with additional abuses of the time. Alan F. Westin describes different efforts by the Nixon Administration to uncover information about political opponents, and Michael A. Genovese discusses the politicization of the Justice Department. Responses by Charles W. Colson, who was in the White House

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