June 17, 1972

Determined to win the 1972 presidential election, the Nixon administration sent special agents—called the “Plumbers”—to the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. They hoped to copy documents and wiretap telephones. The Plumbers were caught by a hotel security guard. The Nixon administration managed to cover up the incident temporarily, but the scandal was revealed by reporters and Senate hearings. Nixon was eventually forced to resign.

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