Monday marks the anniversary of the resignation of Richard Nixon, the dismal climax of the Watergate scandal. In the nearly fifty years since Nixon stepped down, we have witnessed countless other political scandals in the White House and beyond. The most recent was in Albany, where Governor Andrew Cuomo, once a leading figure in the Democratic Party, faces numerous accusations of sexual harassment and his eclipse. Of course, Donald Trump has been impeached twice, and on his way out of office, he helped spark a violent insurgency in the US Capitol.
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This week we present to you a selection of articles on political scandals. In “The Profumo Affair,” Molly Banter-Downs ponders the question of sex and espionage that toppled a British prime minister – and even threatens to implicate a member of the royal family. In “The Untold Story of the Conspirators Participating in the Pentagon Papers,” Eric Lichtebleau examines the critical role of a small group of people in helping Daniel Ellsberg leak a top-secret report on the Vietnam War to the press, in 1971. In “Blowing The Whistle on Watergate,” Jonathan Schell has written about the challenge that Nixon’s illegal re-election effort poses to the American political system. In a commentary from 1991, Mark Danner explores the complexities behind the Iran-Contra affair. He writes: “The corruption of our institutions began when an administration decided to conduct a secret and illegal foreign policy, and it increased and spread when Congress proved unwilling to take responsibility for spreading crimes of their full gravity and to punish those responsible. It has now emerged to make Iran Contra’s public face a kind of unsolicited espionage story. moral”. Finally, in Why Trump Can’t afford to Lose, Jane Mayer chronicles the legal risks that still await our new former president.