What prompted President Nixon’s resignation?

What were the precise reasons and circumstances that led President Richard Nixon to resign from his presidency?

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Richard Nixon's resignation as President of the United States on August 8, 1974, was the result of a complex series of events, scandals, and pressures, primarily stemming from the Watergate scandal and the subsequent investigations. 1. The Watergate Scandal: The Watergate scandal began with the arrest of five men for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. on June 17, 1972. These men were connected to Nixon's reelection campaign, the Committee to Reelect the President (later known as CREEP). 2. Cover-Up: Following the break-in, the Nixon administration attempted to cover up its involvement, with measures that included destroying evidence and paying hush money to the burglars. When the burglars were tried in January 1973, the FBI linked the payments to a slush fund used by the Committee to Reelect The President. 3. Investigation and Revelation: In 1973, two reporters from The Washington Post, Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, began covering the story and slowly uncovered details linking the White House to the break-in and subsequent cover-up. At the same time, investigations by a specially appointed Special Prosecutor and the Senate Watergate Committee were ongoing. 4. The "Saturday Night Massacre": Nixon ordered Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire the independent special prosecutor Archibald Cox, who was investigating the ensuing scandal. Richardson refused and resigned in protest, leading to a series of resignations and firings known as the "Saturday Night Massacre" in October 1973. This incident increased public outcry and led to calls for impeachment. 5. The Tapes: During the Senate Watergate hearings, it came to light that Nixon had a secret taping system that recorded conversations in the Oval Office. The tapes were subpoenaed, but Nixon refused to release them, citing executive privilege. Eventually, the Supreme Court ruled in United States v. Nixon that Nixon must release the tapes. One of these tapes, known as the "smoking gun" tape, revealed that Nixon had been involved in the cover-up from the beginning. 6. Impeachment Proceedings: In response to the mounting evidence, in July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of Impeachment: Obstruction of Justice, Abuse of Power, and Contempt of Congress. Faced with almost certain impeachment by the House of Representatives and probable conviction by the Senate, Nixon decided to resign from the presidency. His vice president, Gerald Ford, was sworn in as President and later granted Nixon a full pardon for any crimes he may have committed while in office.
Answered on September 2, 2023.
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