The partial release of a damning report could offer important insight into the first — and only — resignation of a U.S. president

By Maria Pasquini
October 12, 2018 02:31 PM
Richard Nixon in the White House
Richard Nixon
| Credit: Bachrach/Getty

While much has already been uncovered about Watergate, the partial release Thursday of a damning report could offer important insight into how the historic document helped lead to the first — and only — resignation of a U.S. president.

On Thursday, Chief U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell ordered that a substantial portion of a report containing detailed evidence related to Nixon’s involvement with the scandal be unsealed, Politico reported. The information could prove useful in terms of future developments in Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation into possible ties between the Donald Trump presidential campaign and Russia.

The so-called “Road Map,” includes evidence from witnesses and 81 supporting documents related to not only the break-in at the offices of the Democratic National Committee, but also Richard Nixon’s attempted cover-up.

The “Road Map” helped inform impeachment proceedings against Nixon when they were sent to Congress in 1974 by Watergate Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski. However, while articles of impeachment had been drawn against the 37th president by July 20, 1974, less than a month later, Nixon resigned in disgrace.

Richard Nixon
| Credit: CBS/Getty

The partial release was granted following a request from Jack Goldsmith, a professor at Harvard Law, Lawfare editor Benjamin Wittes, and Stephen Bates, a former prosecutor in the Whitewater investigation, according to The Hill.

“If Mueller decides to send a report to Congress, perhaps though [Deputy Attorney General Rod] Rosenstein, the Road Map would be a vital touchstone for the public and Congress to asses his actions,” the trio wrote in September for Lawfare.

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The release was first requested by Geoffrey Shepard, who was part of Nixon’s Watergate defense team, according to Politico. That request, which was made in 2011, was rejected.

“The central focus of my request is to know what prosecutors told the grand jury to convince them to adopt the road map as their own and to name Richard Nixon as a co-conspirator in the Watergate cover-up,” Shepard told Politico.

The Judge has given Justice Department lawyers until Friday to file a response to the order, the outlet reported.