ON THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE INFAMOUS WATERGATE BREAK-IN, CBS AND SEE IT NOW STUDIOS PRESENT "WATERGATE: HIGH CRIMES IN THE WHITE HOUSE," A GRIPPING TWO-HOUR DOCUMENTARY ON THE CRIMES AND COVER-UP THAT TOOK DOWN A PRESIDENT AND STILL ECHO TODAY
Premiering on CBS June 17, 9:00 PM
WATERGATE: HIGH CRIMES IN THE WHITE HOUSE, an original two-hour documentary to be broadcast 50 years to the day of the break-in at the Watergate Hotel and office complex, takes viewers inside the extraordinary story of crime and scandal that took down President Richard Nixon. The documentary will be broadcast Friday, June 17 (9:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on CBS Television Network and will stream on Paramount+.
It was one of the most notorious political crimes in U.S. history. The early morning arrest of five burglars on June 17, 1972, and discovery of wiretapping devices planted inside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, would unravel a sprawling criminal conspiracy and cover-up perpetrated at the highest levels of American government.
Reaching deep into the unrivaled CBS News archive, the documentary reveals how the broadcast network kept uncovering new details through the groundbreaking reporting of legendary anchor Walter Cronkite and fellow network correspondents. It includes rare outtakes and exclusive archival interviews that vividly bring to life President Nixon and his closest aides, including Watergate co-conspirators John Dean and H.R. Haldeman, as well as those who investigated and prosecuted these unprecedented crimes.
"Every couple of generations, we get a moment of scandal," says Lesley Stahl, who covered the break-in before going on to report on seven presidents for CBS News and 60 MINUTES. "Loss of confidence in our leadership, loss of confidence in our system... we've seen it recently, and we lived through it during Watergate."
Stahl is joined in the documentary by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, the tenacious Washington Post reporters whose lives were changed by a story that made them role models for investigative journalists everywhere, and whose work was famously captured in the movie "All the President's Men," starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. Sitting side by side, Woodward and Bernstein relive how their revelations exposed a scheme of inconceivable abuse of power by a president bent on destroying his enemies, and they draw striking parallels between Nixon's interpretation of presidential power and recent events.
"Watergate was not about the burglary," says Woodward. "Watergate was about a whole campaign of sabotage and espionage, about cover-up, about a war against the press, a war against history, a war against the system of justice."
"It was intended," Bernstein says, "to undermine the very basis of American democracy: free and unfettered elections."
WATERGATE: HIGH CRIMES IN THE WHITE HOUSE includes shocking Oval Office conversations secretly recorded by President Nixon as well as Haldeman's stunning ruminations of his private audio diaries. Candid firsthand accounts from some of the few living Nixon administration insiders offer fascinating new details. Dwight Chapin reflects on his time as deputy assistant to the president and the nearly eight months he spent in federal prison for crimes related to his involvement in Nixon's "dirty tricks" campaign. At age 95, Alexander Butterfield revisits his bombshell testimony before the U.S. Senate, in which he revealed the existence of a secret taping system in the White House. Stephen Bull recounts the painful and poignant final hours at Nixon's side as he made the decision to resign from office, the only American president ever to do so.
Other voices include Angelo Lano, the lead FBI investigator on Watergate; former prosecutor Richard Ben-Veniste; and Judy Hoback Miller and Hugh Sloan, two staffers who worked for Nixon's re-election committee and at great personal risk secretly shared information about what they'd witnessed.
"It's a cautionary tale because clearly something like that could happen again," says Sloan. "And I think that's one of the reasons you're still talking about it 50 years later."
WATERGATE: HIGH CRIMES IN THE WHITE HOUSE is produced by See It Now Studios. Mitch Weitzner is executive producer of the documentary. Sasha Reuther is senior producer, Josh Gaynor and Oliver Miede are producers, and Danielle Levy is coordinating producer. For See It Now Studios, Susan Zirinsky and Terence Wrong are the executive producers, Aysu Saliba is the supervising producer, and Adam Goldfried is the executive director.