The Watergate scandal began early in the morning of June 17, 1972, when several burglars were arrested in the office of the Democratic National Committee, located in the Watergate complex of buildings in Washington, D.C. The prowlers were connected to President Richard Nixon, and they had been caught wiretapping phones and stealing documents. Nixon took aggressive steps to cover up the crimes, but Washington Post reporters revealed his role in the conspiracy.

A handful of Nixon’s aides testified before a grand jury about the president’s crimes. They also testified that Nixon had secretly taped every conversation that took place in the Oval Office. Nixon tried hard to keep the tapes from getting to the prosecutors, but he was eventually forced to give them over, confirming his involvement in the Watergate scandal. In the face of certain impeachment, Nixon resigned in disgrace on August 9, 1974 and left office the following day.

The laws, and political attitudes that came out of Watergate are said to have a large influence on the recent impeachment attempts made on President Donald Trump. The scandal changed American politics forever, leading many Americans to question their leaders and think more critically about the presidency.

You must pursue this investigation of Watergate even if it leads to the president. I’m innocent. You’ve got to believe I’m innocent. If you don’t, take my job.

-Richard Nixon