In 1972, scandal hit the Nixon Administration. Many Americans believed that the position of President was a supreme power. Nixon expanded the power of the Presidency and gave little consideration to checks and balances. Richard Nixon's desire to be reelected and his imperial role would shock the nation and bring scandal to the White House.
On June 17, 1972, at 2:30 a.m., five men broke into the campaign headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate complex in Washington D.C. The men were "plumbers," people who kept information from the media. The plumbers also helped out the Nixon Administration illegally. The men were going to photograph papers and tap into the phone lines to discover the Democratic Party's strategy to elect their presidential candidate. The group was lead by former attorney general James McCord.
President Nixon had a small group of men that he heavily depended on. They included H.R. Haldeman, chief of staff; John Mitchell, the attorney general; and John Ehrlichman, the chief domestic adviser. The White House quickly began covering up the scandal. They shredded evidence and paid off the burglars. The public still had little interest in the burglary and Richard Nixon was reelected in 1972.
During the Watergate trail, James McCord wrote a letter to Judge John Sirica saying he had lied under oath and members of Nixon's Administration were involved in the burglary. Nixon denied trying a cover-up and John Dean was dismissed. Haldeman and Ehrlichman resigned and Nixon appointed Elliot Richardson as new attorney general. Richardson hired Archibald Cox to investigate the case. He soon took Nixon to court, the President the ordered Richardson to fire Cox. When Richardson refused, he resigned and his deputy was fired. Cox was finally fired but his replacement was determined to get the tapes. Finally on April 30, 1974, Nixon released 1,254 pages of edited transcript.