Watergate Timeline

  • May 28, 1972 Electronic surveillance ("bugging") equipment is installed at Democratic National Committee headquarters in the Watergate building.
     
  • June 17, 1972 Five men are arrested while attempting to repair the surveillance equipment at Democratic National Committee headquarters.
     
  • August 30, 1972 President Nixon announces that John Dean has completed an investigation into the Watergate buggings and that no one from the White House is involved.
     
  • January 8, 1973 Watergate break-in trial opens. Hunt pleads guilty (January 11); Barker, Sturgis, Martinez, and Gonzalez plead guilty (January 15); Liddy and McCord are convicted on all counts of break-in indictment (January 30).
     
  • February 7, 1973 U.S. Senate creates Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities, chaired by North Carolina Democrat Sam Ervin.
     
  • April 17, 1973 President Nixon announces that members of the White House staff will appear before the Senate committee and promises major new developments in investigation and real progress toward finding truth.
     
  • April 23, 1973 White House issues statement denying President had prior knowledge of Watergate affair.
     
  • April 30, 1973 White House staff members H. R. Haldeman, John D. Ehrlichman, and John Dean resign.
     
  • May 17, 1973 Senate committee begins public hearings.
     
  • May 25, 1973 Archibald Cox sworn in as Special Prosecutor.
     
  • July 7, 1973 President Nixon informs Senate committee that he will not appear to testify nor grant access to presidential files.
     
  • July 16, 1973 Alexander Butterfield informs Senate committee of the presence of a White House taping system.
     
  • July 23, 1973 Senate Committee and Special Prosecutor Cox subpoena White House tapes and documents to investigate cover-up.
     
  • July 25, 1973 President Nixon refuses to comply with Cox subpoena.
     
  • August 9, 1973 Senate committee files suit against President Nixon for failure to comply with subpoena.
     
  • October 19, 1973 President Nixon offers a compromise on the tapes: Senator John Stennis (D-Miss.)--a man notoriously hard of hearing--would review tapes and present the Special Prosecutor with summaries.
     
  • October 20, 1973 Archibald Cox refuses to accept the Stennis compromise. President Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox, but Richardson refuses and resigns in protest. Acting Attorney General Robert Bork fires Cox. These events come to be known as the "Saturday Night Massacre."
     
  • October 23, 1973 President Nixon agrees to hand over tapes to comply with subpoena.
     
  • November 1, 1973 Leon Jaworski named Special Prosecutor.
     
  • November 21, 1973 Senate Committee announces discovery of 18 minute gap on tape of Nixon-Haldeman conversation of June 20, 1972. White House secretary Rosemary Woods later claims to have accidentally erased the material, illustrated in this famous photo.
     
  • February 6, 1974 House of Representatives authorizes House Judiciary Committee to investigate whether grounds exist for impeachment of President Nixon.
     
  • April 16, 1974 Special Prosecutor issues subpoena for 64 White House tapes.
     
  • April 30, 1974 President Nixon submits tape transcripts to House Judiciary Committee.
     
  • July 24, 1974 Supreme Court unanimously upholds Special Prosecutor's subpoena for tapes for Watergate trial.
     
  • July 27-30, 1974 House Judiciary Committee adopts articles I, II, and III of impeachment resolution charging President with obstruction of investigation of Watergate break-in, misuse of powers and violation of his oath of office, and failure to comply with House subpoenas.
     
  • August 9, 1974 President Nixon resigns.
     
  • September 8, 1974 President Gerald Ford pardons Nixon.