obstruction of justice

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Frank Wills, the security guard who discovered the now infamous Watergate break-in, is seen in this May 16, 1973, file photo. (AP Photo, file)

Next Time There Maybe No Watchman in the Night

On August 9, 1974,?Richard Nixon resigned as President of the United States. No president had done this before; none have done it since. But it may never have happened at all if?a security guard named Frank Wills hadn?t found a suspicious piece of tape.

?Watergate? is a general term used to describe a complex web of political scandals between 1972 and 1974. The word specifically refers to the Watergate Hotel in Washington D.C. whilst it is now a term synonymous with corruption and scandal, in 1972 the Watergate was one of Washington?s plushest hotels. It also houses office complexes and residential apartments.

In more recent times, Watergate has been home to former Senators and was once the place where Monica Lewinsky laid low, as the liaison that led to President Bill Clinton?s impeachment became news. It was here that the Watergate Burglars broke into the Democratic Party?s National Committee offices on June 17, 1972.

If it had not been for the alert actions of Frank Wills, a security guard, the scandal may never have erupted.

The story of Watergate has an intriguing historical and political background, arising out of political events of the 1960s such as Vietnam, and the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1970. But the chronology of the scandal really begins during 1972, when the burglars were arrested. By 1973, Nixon had been re-elected, but the storm clouds were building. By early 1974, the nation was consumed by Watergate.

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Photo of the Day

Lewinsky and then-President Clinton's liaison was big news in 1998.

Lewinsky and then-President Clinton’s liaison was big news in 1998.

Linda Tripp

A Presidential Affair

Linda Rose Tripp is a former U.S. civil servant who figured in the Monica Lewinsky scandal of 1998?99. The former White House employee found herself at the center of a media firestorm after it was discovered that she had secretly recorded conversations with President Bill Clinton’s alleged mistress, White House intern Monica Lewinsky, and handed them over to the man investigating the Clintons’ Whitewater scandal, Kenneth Starr. The tapes played a key role in Clinton’s eventual impeachment by Congress, and Tripp endured intense media scrutiny.

Tripp’s action in secretly recording Lewinsky’s confidential phone calls about her relationship with the President caused a sensation with their links to the earlier Jones v. Clinton lawsuit and with the disclosing of notably intimate details. Tripp claimed that her motives were purely patriotic, and she was able to avoid a wiretap charge in exchange for handing in the tapes. She then claimed that her firing from the Pentagon at the end of the Clinton administration was vindictive, while the administration claimed it to be a standard routine.

Tripp was a White House employee in the George H. W. Bush administration, and kept her job when Bill Clinton took over in 1993. During the summer of 1994, senior White House aides wanted Tripp out, so they arranged a job for her in the public affairs office in the Pentagon which gave her a raise of $20,000 per year.

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