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Watergate, series of scandals involving Pres. Richard Nixon and his administration. On June 17, 1972, 5 men from Nixon's reelection committee were arrested as they tried to plant electronic eavesdropping equipment in the headquarters of the Democratic Party national committee in the Watergate office building, Washington, D.C. As a result of their convictions and the suspicions of Judge John Sirica, who tried the case, that a conspiracy was being covered up, investigations were opened that led to Nixon's inner councils. Though Nixon easily won reelection in Nov. 1972, his public support eroded as a televised U.S. Senate investigation continued. Newspaper revelations (notably by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward in the Washington Post) and testimony of Republican Party and former governmental officials clearly implicated him and his senior aides in a massive abuse of power and the obstruction of justice involving campaign contributions, the CIA, the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service, and other government agencies. The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted to impeach Nixon in July 1974, and his ouster from office became inevitable; on Aug. 9, 1974 he resigned—the only U.S. president to do so. One month later he was granted a full pardon by Pres. Gerald Ford. Almost 60 individuals, including former U.S. Attorney General John Mitchell and senior White House staff were convicted of Watergate crimes.

See also: Nixon, Richard Milhous.

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