February, 1971. WH taping system is installed.

July 16, 1973. Alex Butterfield testifies before Ervin Committee, publicly disclosing existence of WH taping system.

July 23, 1973. Cox has grand jury subpoena tapes of eight specific presidential conversations (later clarified to include a ninth); Ervin Committee authorizes subpoenas of all materials relating to criminal acts in connection with the 1972 presidential election.

July 25, 1973. Buzhardt informs Sirica that Nixon will not comply with WSPF tape subpoena.

August 29, 1973. Sirica orders WH compliance with grand jury subpoena for nine tapes.

September 11 1973. Oral arguments before Circuit Court on tape subpoena. Shortly thereafter, court requests parties seek compromise on tape subpoena. Cox submits six-page proposal for tape summaries with third-party authentication, but no agreement is reached. Court then told compromise is not achievable.

October 12, 1973. DC Circuit confirms Judge Sirica’s order to turn over subpoenaed tapes for review, directing Sirica to listen to nine tapes to decide if they are relevant to the special prosecutor’s inquiry.

October 19, 1973. Announcement of Dean’s guilty plea to single felony count, along with agreement to work with special prosecutor. Dean’s sentencing postponed indefinitely.

WH, joined by Senators Ervin and Baker, announces Stennis Compromise, wherein Senator John Stennis will “certify” accuracy of tape transcripts in lieu of tapes themselves, to be turned over to Judge Sirica in the afternoon.

Richardson informs WH that Cox has unexpectedly rejected Stennis Compromise.

October 20, 1973. Cox questions ‘rule of law’ in hastily arranged press conference at National Press Club.

Saturday Night Massacre: President orders Richardson to fire Cox; Richardson resigns instead. Ruckelshaus also refuses, and is terminated. In late afternoon, Robert Bork, then solicitor general agrees to fire Cox. ‘Firestorm of protest’ follows.

October 23, 1973. Charles Allen Wright delivers Nixon letter to Sirica agreeing to turn over the nine subpoenaed tapes.

October 23, 1973. House Judiciary Committee (HJC) announces beginning of Impeachment Inquiry.

October 31, 1973. Buzhardt informs Sirica that two of the nine subpoenaed conversations were never actually recorded and do not exist.

November 7, 1973. Full Senate authorizes Ervin Committee to subpoena and sue Nixon.

November 13, 1973. Buzhardt discovers 18½ minute gap while making copies of the seven existing subpoenaed tapes in preparation to turning them over to Judge Sirica.

November 21, 1973. Buzhardt discloses existence of 18½ minute gap in private meetings with Jaworski and then Sirica, who insists on immediate disclosure in Evidentiary Hearing that afternoon.

November 26, 1973. Nixon personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, begins testimony on 18½ minute gap. WH turns over seven existing tapes to Sirica.

December 23, 1973.  John Doar hired as chief counsel for HJC’s Impeachment Inquiry.

February 6, 1974. Full House votes to authorize HJC to investigate grounds for impeachment.

February 24, 1974. Watergate Grand Jury I votes 19-0 to name Nixon as an unindicted co-conspirator, but this action is kept sealed.

February 25, 1974. Rodino directs Doar to request tapes previously turned over to WSPF, Doar requests 60 tapes in all.

March 1, 1974. Grand jury indicts Mitchell, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Colson, Robert Mardian, Strachan, and Ken Parkinson for cover-up, along with eighteen unindicted co-conspirators. Separately, grand jury asks Judge Sirica that its Report ((Report and Recommendation to the House of Representative, the “Roadmap”) be transmitted to the HJC. Nixon named unindicted co-conspirator, but action is sealed and remains undisclosed.

March 2, 1974. Jaworski writes to St. Clair requesting 44 tapes of Presidential conversations. St. Clair response is that RN is considering HJC subpoena and whatever he decides to give them, he also will give WSPF.

March 6, 1974. Sirica holds hearing on sending Roadmap to House of Representatives; appeal heard and denied.

St. Clair announces in Sirica’s court that WH will supply eight tapes and transcripts to House Judiciary.

March 8 – March 15, 1974. WH turns over promised tapes and transcripts.

March 15, 1974. Jaworski has grand jury issue subpoena for more WH documents

March 18, 1974. Sirica orders Grand Jury Roadmap sent to House of Representatives (In Re Report, 370 F. Supp. 1219 (DDC 1974)

March 20, 1974. Haldeman and Strachan appeal Sirica order on Roadmap

March 21, 1974. Hearing on Haldeman/Strachan appeal, denied that same day

March 26, 1974. HJC receives tapes and transcripts of the eight tapes utilized by the grand jury from Sirica in his chambers.

March 29, 1974. WH complies with March 15 subpoena.

April 11, 1974. HJC votes 33-3 to subpoena 42 additional tapes.

Jaworski writes St. Clair that if tapes are not turned over, they will be subpoenaed.

April 14, 1974. Jaworski asks Sirica to issue subpoena for 64 tapes.

April 15, 1974. HJC votes 37-1 to subpoena 11 more WH tapes.

April 16, 1974. Jaworski request for subpoena for 64 presidential tapes ordered by Sirica. (CQ, p. 600)

April 18, 1964. Sirica’s subpoena duces tecum for 64 presidential tapes served on St. Clair.

April 19, 1974. Rodino writes WH to say there will be more subpoenas in addition to those issued on April 11th

April 22, 1974. HJC subpoenas even more tapes.

April 25, 1974. HJC votes 34-4 to extend the return date for it subpoenas from April 25th to April 30th.

April 29, 1974. In speech to the nation, RN announces he will provide HJC with transcripts but no tapes.

April 30, 1974. WH publishes edited transcripts of 43 conversations (the Blue Book), including portions of 20 conversations covered by Jaworski subpoena. Transcripts concurrently transmitted to HJC, with offer to come listen to verify.

May, 1974. Ben-Veniste says detailed, substantive meetings between Watergate Task Force and Doar/Jenner are held, beginning in early May.

May 1, 1974. St. Clair moves to quash Sirica’s subpoena in light of transcript publication.

May 2, 1974. [or 5/23] DC Circuit dismisses Ervin Committee’s efforts to obtain tapes.

May 4, 1974. WH releases memo detailing discrepancies between Dean’s Ervin Committee testimony and what’s on the tapes themselves.

May 9, 1974. Opening of HJC impeachment hearings.

Tapes played for members in executive session through June 21st.

May 11, 1974. St. Clair moves to quash Sirica subpoena duces tecum for 64 additional conversations, as well as to quash grand jury action in naming RN an unindicted co-conspirator.

May 13, 1974. Subsequent proceedings, including in camera sessions discussing grand jury testimony submitted by WSPF in support of their subpoena. Three defendants file formal motions in support of subpoena, but all seven argue in opposition to WH motion to quash.

May 20, 1974. Sirica rules against St. Clair on both motions and orders enforcement of subpoena for 64 tapes.

May 24, 1974. St. Clair files appeal of Sirica rulings to DC Circuit

Jaworski petitions for expedited hearing before US Supreme Court (SC). Petition attachments:

  • Appendix A is Sirica order of May 20th, denying WH motion to quash the subpoena.
  • Appendix B sets forth applicable statutes, etc. including the “Guidelines” agreed to by Elliott Richardson as a condition of his confirmation.
  • Appendix C is WSPF’s April 16th subpoena for the 64 tapes

May 28, 1974. Justice Rehnquist recuses himself from tapes case.

May 30, 1974. Sirica turns down HJC’s request for 4 additional tapes.

HJC issues subpoena for 45 additional tapes.

WH brief in opposition to WSPF petition for Writ of Certiorari [Archives only has Certificate of Service, but not the brief itself]

May 31, 1974. SC grants writ of certiorari on 64 tape subpoena. Needed five votes for expedited appeal. Vote is 6-2, but not disclosed.

HJC considers issuing a subpoena to Judge Sirica for 4 tapes he had delivered to WSPF (CQ p. 657)

June 3, 1974. Lacovara writes SC clerk to inquire about printing of sealed files.

June 4, 1974. Burger informs other justices that sealed files are in SC vault and available for review.

June 6, 1974. Grand jury’s naming of Nixon as co-conspirator becomes public through article in LA Times.

WH moves to unseal portion of March 1st indictment naming co-conspirators.

WH files writ of certiorari asking SC to decide whether grand jury has authority to indict the President.

June 7, 1974. Sirica vacates order sealing record, saying decision is now in the hands of the SC.

June 9, 1974. RN writes to Rudino declining to turn over any more tapes.

June 10, 1974. Both WH and WSPF petition SC “to unseal those parts of the record which related to action of the grand jury regarding the President.”

June 11, 1974. Six defendants file memo objecting to unsealing of their grand jury testimony.

June 15, 1974. SC denies cross-motions to unseal record, except for section on naming RN as unindicted co-conspirator that had already leaked.

SC also agrees to hear expedited appeal of naming RN as unindicted co-conspirator.

Mid-June, 1974. Ruth urges Frampton to prepare a prosecutorial memo on RN (for review by HJC)

June 17, 1974. WSPF letter to SC Clerk clarifying approach to joint appendix on appeal, in light of sealed grand jury testimony, but containing such testimony for possible distribution to Justices.

June 19, 1974. WH motion to unseal grand jury testimony [Contains full copy of March 1st comprehensive cover-up indictment.]

June 20, 1974. WSPF motion in opposition to WH motion to unseal grand jury testimony

June 21, 1974. Date set by SC for briefs to be exchanged. WSPF and WH briefs were clearly filed, but are missing from Archives.

WH memorandum in response to WSPF motion in opposition to unsealing of grand jury testimony.

Notation on June 17th WSPF letter indicating sealed grand jury testimony was distributed to the Justices.

Briefs due from Jaworski and St. Clair on Supreme Court review of tapes case. Introduction to WH brief claims real purpose of Jaworski’s subpoena is discovery on behalf of HJC, who is precluded doing this on its own by Separation of Powers.

June 24, 1974. Supreme Court defers ruling on motion to unseal grand jury testimony

HJC subpoenas 49 additional conversations.

June 25, 1974. HJC votes 22 to 16 to publish transcripts of eight Nixon/Dean conversations.

June 26, 1974. St Clair appears for two days before House Judiciary to defend the President

July 1, 1974. Reply briefs due from Jaworski and St. Clair. WH submission is co-signed by Garment and Charles Alan Wright. WSPF brief is missing from Archives; they only have the certificate of service. They suggest I go to Library of Congress or the SC archives.]

July 5, 1974. Justice Douglas circulates first of eight draft opinions on tapes case.

July 8, 1974. SC hears oral argument regarding subpoena for 64 tapes and naming of RN as unindicted co-conspirator. Jaworski is interrupted 115 times; St. Clair over 200. I was official WH representative in attendance.

July 9, 1974. SC Conference to discuss tapes case; it is clear that RN will lose.

HJC releases transcripts of eight John Dean tapes, including “Stonewall” quote, along with 131 page comparison of discrepancies with Blue Book (CQ p. 694-696)

Judge Gesell orders Henry Petersen grand jury testimony released to HJC.

July 19, 1974. Doar presents HJC with his 306 page “Summary of Impeachment” on RN. He had been allowed to see, but not to copy, Frampton’s prosecutorial memo.

July 24, 1974. Supreme Court rules (8-0) at 11am that 64 tapes must be turned over; eight hours later, St. Clair announces in San Clemente their intent to comply.

July 27, 1974. HJC adopts Article I of impeachment resolution, obstruction of justice.

July 29, 1974. HJC adopts Article II of impeachment resolution, misuse of powers (violating oath of office)

July 30, 1974. HJC adopts Article III of impeachment resolution, failure to comply with House subpoenas.

WH turns over first 20 tapes to Sirica, whose transcripts had already been published in the Blue Book.

August 2, 1974. WH turns over 10 more tapes, including those whose transcripts were released on August 5th. (CQ, p. 737)

August 5, 1974. White House releases transcripts of three of the remaining tapes, including Nixon/Haldeman conversation of June 23, 1972 (“Smoking Gun”), along with presidential statement.

August 8, 1974. Nixon announces resignation in evening speech to the nation.

August 9, 1974. Nixon’s resignation becomes effective at noon; Vice President Gerald Ford sworn in as president.

August 20, 1974. House “accepts” HJC’s impeachment report by vote of 412 to 3.

October 1, 1974. Cover-up trial begins.

November 9, 1974. Agreement permitting WSPF access to Nixon papers and tapes.

December 9, 1974. Congress passes the Presidential Recordings and Materials Act, seizing all of Nixon’s presidential papers (including the tape recordings).

January 1, 1975. Cover-up trial concludes with guilty verdicts for Mitchell, Haldeman, and Ehrlichman on all counts. Parkinson acquitted. Mardian’s conviction later overturned on appeal.