On November 5, 1968, Richard Milhous Nixon defeated Hubert Horatio Humphrey to claim the presidency of the United States. Some say that Gov. George Wallace decided the election by splitting the Democratic vote. The final popular vote was 31,783,783 for Nixon and 31,271,839 for Humphrey, a narrow margin of only 511,944 votes or 43.42% to 42.72%. Wallace, traditionally a Democrat ran on the American Independent Party and garnered 9,901,118 popular votes, most of which would most likely have been cast for Humphreys had Wallace not run as third party candidate. Due to the split Democratic votes, Nixon ended up winning 301 electoral votes to Humphrey’s 191 and Wallace’s 46. Had Wallace not run, Humphrey would have most likely secured a few more states and their electoral votes which would most likely have put Humphrey in the White House instead of Nixon. Historically, this is the usual result of someone leaving their party to run as a third party candidate as it usually splits the vote of the original party, giving victory to the main opposition.
On January, 21, 1969, Nixon is sworn in as the 37th President of the United States.
On June 13, 1971, the New York Times publishes the first of the Pentagon Papers, revealing America’s secrets concerning the Vietnam War. The Washington Post begins publishing them the same week.
On September 3, 1971, the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the former Defense Department employee who leaked the Pentagon Papers, is burglarized by Nixon’s ‘plumbers unit’ a unit of individuals tasked with plugging all political leaks.
On June 17 1972, five men are arrested early in the morning breaking into the Democratic National Committee’s office in the Watergate Complex in Washington DC.
On June 19, 1972, the Washington Post reports that one of the five Watergate burglars is a GOP security aide. John Mitchell, former US Attorney General and head of the Nixon re-election campaign in 1972, denies any links or involvement with the security aide or the Watergate break-in.
On August 1, 1972, the Washington Post reports that one of the Watergate burglars had received a deposit in his bank account for $25,000, made by a cashier’s check earmarked for the Nixon campaign.
On September 29, 1972, the Washington Post reports that former Attorney General John Mitchell controlled a secret slush fund to finance intelligence gathering on the Democrats.
On October 10, 1972, the Washington Post reports that the FBI has uncovered evidence that the Watergate break-in was linked to a larger group of political spies and saboteurs connected to the Nixon re-election campaign.
On November 7, 1972, Nixon defeats Sen. George McGovern (SD) by a wide margin to win re-election. This time, Nixon won big with 47,168,710 votes, (60.67%) to McGovern’s 29,173,22 votes, (37.52%).
On January 30, 1973, G. Gordon Liddy and James McCord are convicted of conspiracy, burglary and wiretapping for their role in the Watergate break-in and scandal.
On April 30, 1973, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, two members of Nixon’s White House staff resign as a result of the implications of the Watergate scandal. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst also resigns over the Watergate scandal.
On May 18, 1973, the nation watched as the US Senate Watergate Committee began their televised hearings. Former Solicitor General Archibald Cox was named as the special prosecutor for the Justice Department.
On June 3, 1973, the Washington Post reveals that John Dean admitted to Watergate investigators that he discussed the Watergate cover-up with President Nixon a minimum of 35 different times.
On June 13, 1973, the Washington Post prints that Watergate special prosecutors discovered a memo addressed to Ehrlichman, detailing the original plans to carry out the Watergate break-in and wiretapping of the office of Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg’s psychiatrist.
On July 13, 1973, former presidential secretary Alexander Butterfield, tell the congressional committee that President Nixon audio records all phone calls and conversations in his White House offices.
On July 18, 1973, only five days after it’s been revealed that Nixon audio records all of his phone calls and conversations, Nixon orders the recorders to be disconnected.
On July 23, 1973, Nixon responds to the Senate Watergate Committee by refusing to turn over his White House recordings to the committee or to the special prosecutor.
On October 20, 1973, Nixon is running scared. He fires Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and eliminates the position of special prosecutor. In response, Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus both resign amid growing support for a presidential impeachment.
On November 17, 1973, Richard Nixon gave one of his most famous and remembered speeches when he went on national television and told the American people ‘I’m not a crook.’
On December 7, 1973, the Watergate Committee asks White House representative to explain an 18 ½ minute gap in one of the key Nixon tapes that they had subpoenaed. White House Chief of Staff Alexander Haig told the committee that one possible explanation was that ‘some sinister force’ erased the tape.
On April 30, 1974, Nixon’s White House staff provides the Senate Watergate Committee with over 1,200 pages of edited transcripts of the tapes they subpoenaed. The Committee insists that the original tapes be turned over to them. Nixon continued to refuse to turn over all of the tapes and took the issue to the US Supreme Court.
On July 24, 1974, the Supreme Court rules on Nixon’s case and orders him to turn over all of the tapes of conversations to the Senate committee.
On this day, July 27, 1974, the US House of Representatives Judiciary Committee passed Impeachment Article 1, charging Nixon with obstruction of justice. The vote was 27-11 for impeachment.
Article 1 starts out:
“RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanours, and that the following articles of impeachment to be exhibited to the Senate:
ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF ALL OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST RICHARD M. NIXON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANOURS.
In his conduct of the office of President of the United States, Richard M. Nixon, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, in that:
On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.
The means used to implement this course of conduct or plan included one or more of the following:”
Then after specifying 9 instances where Nixon obstructed justice, Article 1 ends with:
“In all of this, Richard M. Nixon has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.
Wherefore Richard M. Nixon, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office.”
On July 29, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee passes Article 2 of Impeachment by a vote of 28-10. Article 2 charged Nixon with abuse of power.
On July 30, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee passes Article 3 of Impeachment by a 21-17 vote. Article 3 charged Nixon with contempt of congress.
On August 8, 1974, Richard Milhous Nixon became the first and only President to resign from office. The evidence before him was overwhelming but even as he resigned, he continued to declare his innocence.
On August 9, 1974, Vice President Gerald Rudolph Ford Jr., was sworn in as the 38th President of the United States.
On September 8, 1974, President Ford issues a presidential pardon to Richard Nixon, making it impossible for any further prosecution for any crimes he committed while in office. Ford’s actions were highly controversial and may have played a part in his losing the 1976 election to Democrat Jimmy Carter.
On April 18, 1994, Nixon suffered a stroke.
On April 22, 1994, Nixon died at the age of 81.
Sources for the above includes: Articles of Impeachment against Richard M. Nixon; The Watergate Story Timeline; Watergate: Brief Timeline of Events; Nixon Charged with First of Three Articles of Impeachment; Judiciary Committee Approves Article to Impeach President Nixon, 27 to 11; Richard M. Nixon; 1968 Presidential General Election Results