In an effort to save the day, Nixon again issued a statement saying that he had no prior knowledge of the Watergate scandal and that there had been no subsequent effort to obstruct the investigation, and defended the wiretapping as legal and necessary in the interests of national security, as had been done by every president since Roosevelt. Once again, he is trying to weasel his way out of the American people’s trust. [3]
Unfortunately, an even bigger time bomb went off. The Watergate Committee learned a new piece of information: Nixon had ordered a wiretapping system installed in the White House office from early 1971 to record conversations and phone calls with his staff. The committee asked Nixon to turn over the tapes and documents. Nixon refused to turn it over, citing executive privilege, and took the matter to the appeals court. However, after three weeks of deliberation, the majority ruled that the president was also bound by law to hand over the tapes and documents. [3] [6]
Outraged, Nixon ordered the removal of Cox, the special prosecutor investigating the Watergate scandal. This stirred up a hornet’s nest, and US television networks immediately interrupted normal programming to report the breaking news to the American public. The public reaction was like a volcano starting to erupt. Protest telegrams fell like snowflakes. Public opinion compared Nixon to Hitler. Even religious circles and publications that had supported Nixon angrily criticized him. Spirited university students organized mass demonstrations. The nation was boiling with anger. Driven by public opinion, the House of Representatives decided to impeach the president. Nixon was determined to fight to the end. While destroying the tapes against him, he continued to assert executive privilege, saying that he would “do nothing to undermine the presidency of the United States, following the precedent followed and defended by presidents from Washington to Johnson.” The phone records he handed over were riddled with words such as “inaudible” and “of no intelligence value” replacing much of the important content. Nixon’s actions further angered the public, and the chief justice of the Supreme Court ruled that Nixon must turn over the tapes in question.

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