04/14/2019

Worse Than Watergate

John Leonard, American Thinker

For most of my lifetime, “Watergate” has been used as the measuring stick for political corruption. What exactly was the Watergate scandal?

On June 17, 1972, five men were arrested for burglarizing the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D. C. It was never alleged that President Richard M. Nixon knew about the burglary prior to the attempt, but that he tried to use the power of the presidency to obstruct justice in order to protect members of his administration and his reelection committee from facing criminal charges. Ultimately, Nixon was forced to resign in order to avoid congressional impeachment and a trial in the Senate.

The great irony is that Nixon was going to crush McGovern in the general election without any illegal help. Nothing that could have been stolen from the Democrats could have helped the Republican Party win any bigger in 1972 -- Nixon claimed 520 electoral votes and carried 49 states. The break-in was stupid and unnecessary.

And most importantly, it was illegal. Sure, the people initially apprehended were only a couple of Cuban refugees and a pair of former CIA spooks, but James W. McCord was with them -- a security coordinator for the Republican National Committee and Committee for the Re-election of the President. Investigators were eventually able to connect those five to G. Gordon Liddy and Howard Hunt, and those seven men were indicted by a grand jury on September 15, 1972. Over the course of the Watergate scandal, 69 people were eventually indicted, and 48 were found guilty. Nixon was pardoned by President Gerald Ford on September 8, 1974, officially putting an end to the whole sordid matter.

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