Public protests and suggestions from his political advisors forced Nixon to turn over the tapes to Sirica. Certain subpoenaed conversations were deficient, and one tape had a mysterious gap of eighteen-and-a-half minutes. Experts analyzed the tapes and concluded that the gap was the result of five separate erasures. Perchance, these erasures removed the information which would have ended the controversy and brought to life the truth of the White House s involvement in the Watergate scandal.
In March 1974, a grand jury indicted Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and four other White House officials for their part in the Watergate cover-up and named President Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator (Jacobs, Watergate ). In the subsequent months, Nixon was instructed to, and later did, release transcripts for forty-two more tapes. The conversations revealed Nixon s monumental concern with reproving political opponents and thwarting the Watergate investigation. Succeeding investigations have also revealed that the Nixon administration supplicated large sums of money in illegal campaign contributions. The money was put forth to underwrite political espionage in addition to paying more than $500,000 to the Watergate burglars. Also surfaced was, a related group that performed illegal activities for the administration, known as the plumbers (Gettlin and Colodny 377). The group had been doing whatever necessary to stop leaks to the press (Cannon 269). In an administration where, supposedly, no one is doing any wrong, it does not seem reasonable nor does it seem justifiable to appoint a group that specializes in hiding things from the public.
As the Watergate scandal unfolded, the Nixon administration was quick to mitigate the responsibility for the occurrences, however, in actuality, numerous facts and particulars ascertain White House involvement and justify the repercussions. The controversy surrounding the conspiracy at Watergate is simply a matter of the public s lack of awareness to the facts in the case. If the facts are carefully reviewed, it is nearly an indisputable conclusion. It was obvious that the Nixon administration was indeed run in a secretive manner. The officials were openly involved in espionage and many other illegal acts. The president himself was approved for three articles of impeachment; he was charged with: Misusing his power in order to violate the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens, obstructing justice in the Watergate affair, and defying Judiciary Committee subpoenas (Farnsworth, Nixon s Watergate ). Rather than face almost assured impeachment, Nixon resigned on August 9, the first U.S. president to do so. A month later his successor, Gerald Ford pardoned him for all crimes he might have committed while in office; Nixon was then immune from fedral prosecution. President Nixon and his cabinet members failed to realize that the constitutional system of checks and balances would work to prevent abuses as it was intended to by the Founding Fathers.