- Richard Nixon's resignation as president wasn't a fait accompli
- A couple of different turns in the Watergate saga likely could have spared him
Tim Naftali, a CNN presidential historian and NYU clinical associate professor, was the first federal director of the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, (2007-2011).
(CNN)When Richard Nixon announced his resignation on August 8, 1974, his favorability rating was 24% with impeachment by the House a certainty and removal by the Senate very likely. And yet just two years earlier he had won re-election in a landslide over his Democratic challenger, Senator George McGovern of South Dakota.
- The sentencing judge for the Watergate burglary trial, John Sirica, sensed that perjury had been committed in his Court and decided to use his sentencing power to shake the truth out of the defendants.
- The Washington Post pieces, supplemented by some work at the Los Angeles Times and an expose on CBS News, laid the ground for a congressional investigation of campaign activities in 1972.
- Since February 1971, Richard Nixon had been taping all of his Oval Office conversations and meetings in his hideaway office at the Executive Office Building as well as many of those that he made on the telephone.
- Finally, in his confirmation hearings to replace Richard Kleindienst as US attorney general, congressional Democrats received a promise from nominee Elliot Richardson to hire an independent prosecutor to look into the Watergate affair.