Watergate and the Use of Executive Privilege


    In 1972 five men were arrested for breaking into the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate hotel complex in Washington D.C. President at that time, President Nixon denied that he or his administration had been involved in the break in. The Washington Post consistently reported otherwise but Nixon still denied his involvement

    In 1973, information that secretly recorded tapes of the Presidents conversations was released. The tapes were immediately subpoenaed but Nixon refused using executive privilege as his reasoning. After Judge Sirica ordered for the tapes to be turned over, Nixon offered transcripts of the tapes instead of the actual recordings. After pressure from the public to release the tapes, Nixon released only 7 out of the 9 tapes that Judge Sirica had ordered. There was also an 18 minute gap on one of the tapes that had been deemed impossible to have happened on accident.
    By 1974 the Supreme Court had ruled that Nixon had to provide transcripts of the missing tapes. The House Judiciary Committee also passed articles of impeachment which led to Nixon releasing the transcripts that showed his involvement and cover-up of the Watergate scandal.