Study Guide

United States v. Nixon Timeline

By Supreme Court of the United States

Advertisement - Guide continues below


November 5th, 1968

Republican candidate Richard M. Nixon is elected President

Defeating the Democratic nominee, Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon becomes the 37th President of the United States.

June 13th, 1971

The New York Times publishes the Pentagon Papers

Leaked by former Rand Corporation analyst Daniel Ellsberg, the Pentagon Papers are published by The New York Times. They're secret Department of Defense documents relating to the U.S role in Southeast Asia.

September 9th, 1971

The Plumbers unit is organized

In response to the leaking of classified information during the Nixon Administration, the secret intelligence gathering group, nicknamed "the plumbers," is formed.

May 1972

Plumbers Break-In at the Watergate Hotel

Burglars hired by Nixon's re-election committee plant listening devices and rummage through files of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel in Washington, D.C.

June 17th, 1972

Plumbers break-in at the Watergate Hotel 2.0

Some of the listening devices weren't working, so the burglars broke in a second time. At 2:30 AM, five men wearing blue surgical gloves are caught trying to break into the DNC headquarters. One of them happens to have on him the White House phone number of E. Howard Hunt, a close Nixon aide.

August 1st, 1972

Follow the money

The Washington Post publishes that a $25,000 cashier's check, meant for Nixon's Committee to re-elect the president (CREEP), ends up in the bank account of E. Howard Hunt. Nixon denies involvement in the Watergate break-in.

November 11th, 1972

President Nixon is re-elected

The public believes Nixon's disavowal of involvement in Watergate and is re-elected in one of the largest landslides in American political history.

February 7th, 1973

Senate Watergate committee formed

The Senate committee, led by Sam Ervin and Howard Baker, is formed to "investigate the break-in and any subsequent cover-up of criminal activity, as well as "all other illegal, improper, or unethical conduct occurring during the presidential campaign of 1972, including political espionage and campaign finance practices" (source).

April 30th, 1973

Resignations and Firings

Nixon's top aides, H.R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman resign after they're implicated in the Ellsberg and Watergate break-ins. Attorney General Richard Kleindienst also resigns over the scandal. Special Counsel to the President John Dean is fired.

May 18th, 1973

Watergate on TV

The Senate Watergate committee begins its televised hearings.

May 25th, 1973

Archibald Cox sworn in as special prosecutor for Watergate

Attorney General Nominee Elliott Richardson chooses Cox for the job, promising him complete independence in his investigation. Nixon was furious.

June 3rd, 1973

Dean exposes Nixon

The Washington Post reveals that John Dean admitted to discussing the Watergate scandal with President Nixon over 35 times.

July 13th, 1973

Alexander Butterfield reveals Nixon's taping system

Alexander Butterfield, former deputy to H.R. Haldeman, reveals President Nixon's Oval Office taping system.

July 23rd, 1973

Nixon refuses to turn over his tapes to investigators

Pretty self-explanatory. It's the first of several refusals.

October 20th, 1973

The "Saturday Night Massacre"

President Nixon fires Archibald Cox, the Watergate special prosecutor, ostensibly for doing such an effective job. Attorney General Richardson and Deputy A.G. William D. Ruckelshaus resign over Cox's firing. It's called "integrity."

November 17th, 1973

Nixon's "I am Not a Crook" speech

President Nixon maintains his innocence in his televised "I am Not a Crook" speech.

December 7th, 1973

18 ½-minute gap

In one of the released tapes to the Watergate Committee, there's an 18 ½ minute gap. On this tape President Nixon and H.R. Haldeman were discussing the Watergate break-in. The White House claims that Nixon's long time secretary Rose Mary Woods erased the portion of the tape by accident. The Watergate Committee is skeptical and thinks the tape was purposely erased. Alexander Haig, Nixon's chief of staff, thinks "sinister forces" were responsible.

April 18th, 1974

Nixon is subpoenaed

District Court of D.C. issues a subpoena to Nixon to produce his tapes.

April 30th, 1974

Nixon releases redacted tapes

President Nixon releases 12,000 transcripts of edited and redacted transcripts to the House Judiciary Committee. Unsatisfied, the Committee says that Nixon must release the tapes themselves.

May 24th, 1974

The Supreme Court gets into the act

Both Nixon and the special Watergate prosecutor petition the Supreme Court to decide this thing once and for all.

July 8th, 1974

U.S. v. Nixon opening day

Oral arguments begin in the case.

July 24th, 1974

U.S. v. Nixon Ruling

The Supreme Court rules unanimously that President Nixon must release tapes with 64 different conversations that are related to the Watergate scandal.

July 27th, 1974

Nixon faces impeachment

The House Judiciary Committee passes the first in three articles of impeachment against President Nixon.

August 8th, 1974

Nixon Resigns

President Nixon becomes the first president in U.S history to resign from the White House.

May 31st, 2000


Survivor debuts on CBS.


Every political, pop-culture, and sports-scandal gets "-gate" tacked onto its name.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...