In order to allow for the installation of scaffolding and floor, statuary, and artwork protection in conjunction with the Dome Restoration Project, the Rotunda of the Capitol will be closed from Monday, July 27 through Monday, September 7. While the Rotunda is unavailable for tours, an alternate tour route will be provided. The Capitol Visitor Center is open during the closure of the Rotunda and will offer special activities which do not require advance reservations. You can also download our new U.S. Capitol Rotunda app.

Uncovering Watergate, 1972

Five men were arrested in June 1972 for illegally entering the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington’s Watergate building. Republican president Richard Nixon denied any connection between the burglary and his reelection campaign. Yet, suspicions lingered. After Nixon’s landslide victory in November, the Senate appointed a special committee to investigate the matter.

In televised hearings, the Watergate committee, chaired by North Carolina senator Sam Ervin, grilled key administration figures. The committee soon discovered that Nixon had secretly recorded his Oval Office conversations, and the Supreme Court ordered the president to give these tapes to a special prosecutor. They revealed Nixon’s role in the cover-up. The Senate hearings swayed public opinion and helped lead to an impeachment effort in the House—halted abruptly by President Nixon’s resignation. The Watergate affair reinforced the Senate’s investigative role and—into the 21st century—strengthened its vigilance against abuses of governmental power.

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In 1973 testimony before the...
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In 1973 testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, former White House Counsel John Dean speaks of “a devastating mosaic of intrigue, illegality and abuse of power” by the Nixon administration.

In 1973 testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, former White House Counsel John Dean speaks of “a devastating mosaic of intrigue, illegality and abuse of power” by the Nixon administration.

D.C. Public Library, Star Collection, Copyright Washington Post

In 1973 testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, former White House Counsel John Dean speaks of “a devastating mosaic of intrigue, illegality and abuse of power” by the Nixon administration.

In 1973 testimony before the Senate Watergate Committee, former White House Counsel John Dean speaks of “a devastating mosaic of intrigue, illegality and abuse of power” by the Nixon administration.

D.C. Public Library, Star Collection, Copyright Washington Post

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