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Richard M. Nixon’s resignation letter, August 9, 1974

The Senate Watergate Committee discovered White House audiotapes that could reveal President Richard Nixon’s complicity in the cover-up of the crime. The Supreme Court overruled Nixon’s claim of executive privilege and ordered him to release the tapes. On July 27, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment, prompting President Nixon to resign on August 9.

General Records of the Department of State, National Archives and Records Administration

Richard M. Nixon’s resignation letter, August 9, 1974

The Watergate Break-in

On June 17, 1972, police arrested burglars wiretapping the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. Evidence linked the break-in to President Richard Nixon’s re-election committee, and the Justice Department appointed a special prosecutor for the case. In February 1973 the Senate established a select committee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina to investigate the 1972 presidential election campaigns. The investigation revealed audiotapes incriminating President Nixon, which eventually led to Nixon’s resignation. Nationally televised, the hearings of the Watergate Committee inquiry boosted public confidence in Congress.

It has been alleged that, following the Watergate break-in, there has been a massive attempt to cover up all the improper activities . . . which, if true, represent interference in the integrity of the prosecutorial and judicial processes of the Nation.

Senator Sam Ervin of South Carolina, Hearings before the Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities . . . , 1973