The Watergate Files Presented by the Gerald R. Ford Library and Museum
Skip Navigation
Battle for the Tapes > Timeline

July 22, 1973
A Louis Harris poll shows 44 percent of participants agreeing that Nixon should resign if it can be proven he ordered a cover-up, with 70 percent rating his handling of the matter as “only fair or poor.” An even 50 percent believe Dean’s charges against the president but split 38 percent to 37 percent over whom they would believe if Nixon denied those charges.

July 23, 1973
The Watergate committee and special prosecutor Cox demand Nixon surrender certain tapes and documents.

July 25, 1973
Nixon refuses to surrender the tapes, claiming executive privilege.

July 26, 1973
The Senate committee subpoenas White House tapes.

August 9, 1973
Nixon refuses to comply and the Senate committee takes legal action.

August 15, 1973
Nixon addresses the nation for a second time concerning Watergate. He explains his claim of executive privilege and why the tapes should not be turned over to the committee. The special prosecutor and the Senate committee ask the Supreme Court to decide the issue.

August 29, 1973
Nixon loses his first court battle when Judge Sirica orders him to hand over nine tapes for private review.

October 10, 1973
Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns amidst allegations of bribery.

October 12, 1973
Nixon nominates Congressman Gerald R. Ford (R-MI) as vice president. The Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia upholds Sirica’s order.

October 19, 1973
Offering a compromise to the Senate Watergate Committee, Nixon proposes that Senator Stennis (D MS) prepare summaries of the subpoenaed tapes.

October 20, 1973
Cox declines this compromise offered by the White House, and is asked by Nixon to resign. Cox refuses. Nixon orders Attorney General Elliot Richardson to fire Cox. Richardson refuses and resigns. Nixon orders Richardson 's assistant, William Ruckelshaus, to fire Cox. He, too, refuses and resigns. Nixon orders his solicitor general, Robert Bork, to fire Cox. Bork does so. The press dubs this extraordinary series of events the "Saturday Night Massacre."

October 22, 1973
Many members of the House of Representatives begin drafting resolutions calling for the impeachment of the president.

October 23, 1973
Feeling the heat, Nixon agrees to surrender some tapes.

November 1, 1973
The Justice Department appoints Leon Jaworski its new special prosecutor.

November 16, 1973
In a Louis Harris poll, 83 percent of respondents have a negative impression of how Nixon has handled the Watergate case. Fifty-nine percent believe he should resign if proven he knew about a cover-up of Watergate. Sixty-five percent agree he should be impeached if the tapes reveal his involvement in Watergate.

November 17, 1973
At a press conference, Nixon urges the nation to move beyond Watergate and defends himself, arguing “I’m not a crook.”

November 21, 1973
The White House reports that two of the subpoenaed tapes are missing and one contains an erased gap of 18 ½ minutes. Nixon’s secretary, Rose Mary Woods, cannot account for what experts conclude are multiple erasures covering that span. Suspicions surface that evidence is being destroyed.


Top of Page Privacy and UseAccessibilityFord Library Home Page
The Watergate Trial: May 1972 - June 1973 Senate Hearings: February 1973 - July 1973 Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 Trials and Tribulations: February 1974 - April 1974 The Aftermath: May 1974 - September 1974 Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 > Overview Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 > People Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 > Documents Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 > Timeline Battle for the Tapes: July 1973 - November 1973 > Film Reels