Cox's nomination comes only one day before the Senate Watergate Committee's public hearings on the affair begin. The committee's hearings, together with Cox's investigation, usher in a new chapter in the Watergate affair.
Cox is nominated by President Nixon to replace Senator Sam Ervin (D-NC). Before his election to the Senate, Cox served as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which conducted the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon.
Nixon had wanted Charles Shultz to serve on the committee, but the Democratic-controlled Congress would not approve his appointment. So he turned to Cox, who was then serving as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and had been an important ally during the impeachment process.
Cox was also instrumental in securing the convictions of several members of the White House staff for their roles in the cover-up after the Watergate burglary.
He resigned from the House Judiciary Committee just prior to the start of its impeachment proceedings against Nixon, saying that a fair trial required that he have complete freedom of action. He was replaced as chairman by Democrat Peter Rodino.
Cox was elected to the Senate in a special election held November 8, 1973, to fill the vacancy caused by Ervin's resignation.
Later that night, Nixon gives his first primetime speech to the country on Watergate, emphasizing his innocence. Senator Sam Ervin establishes the Senate Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities to investigate the Watergate scandal. The Senate Select Committee's first nationally broadcast hearings begin. They are held for 10 weeks and feature testimony from more than 40 witnesses.
Nixon declares "I am not a crook" at the end of his speech and promises to be fully cooperative with Congress' investigation into the matter. However, this does not prevent the House Judiciary Committee from drafting articles of impeachment against him. He resigns before they can be voted on by the full House of Representatives.
Nixon says in his resignation speech that he is going home "to Nancy" and that she will "take care of us." In fact, his wife had been planning to move to Virginia with their children but stayed in Washington after he resigned to take charge of her health problems caused by kidney disease and depression. She died in April 1994.
But public support for his impeachment was growing, and when he left office in January 1977, almost everyone I knew who was anyone in politics or government work hated him.
Nixon chooses General Alexander Haig as White House Chief of Staff in lieu of Haldeman. The Senate Watergate Committee's public hearings begin. The Senate Watergate committee's nationally broadcast hearings begin. Archibald Cox, the former Solicitor-General, is sworn in as the Justice Department's special prosecutor for Watergate. Cox issues a subpoena requiring Nixon to give his tapes to the Special Prosecutor.
Haig provides ineffective support to Nixon during the hearings and later claims he knew nothing about any wrongdoing. The press reports that Haig has been drinking again after a period of sobriety. He eventually leaves his post as head of government affairs at the Ford Motor Company to take over as commander of the United States Army in South Vietnam. In July 1991, Haig admits under oath that he had two drinks before leaving for the meeting with Nixon.
Haldeman takes over as chief of staff when Haig leaves office in August 1973. He serves in this position until January 1975, when he is replaced by James A. Baker III. Haldeman continues to serve as an executive in the oil industry and dies in May 2010 at the age of 70.
Baker becomes one of Nixon's most influential advisors. He serves as an informal liaison between the president and key members of Congress. After Nixon's resignation, Baker works with Henry Kissinger to negotiate agreements on nuclear weapons limitations with Russia and China. In June 1978, Baker joins the Reagan campaign as director of communications.
In 1980, he was appointed head of Common Cause, a public affairs lobbying organization, a post he maintained until 1992. Mr. Cox took over the Watergate inquiry on May 18, 1973, and was fired five months later on President Richard M. Nixon's instructions. He has been called America's first white-collar criminal lawyer.
Before becoming attorney general in 1969, Cox served for two years as chairman of the Committee of Judicial Conduct and Disability of the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. He also worked as an assistant district attorney in Washington, D.C., from 1953 to 1958 and as an associate at the law firm of Hogan & Hartson from 1958 to 1969.
Cox went to Harvard Law School but didn't graduate. He received a B.A. from Davidson College in 1954 and a B.S. from Ohio State University in 1956. He was inducted into the Phi Alpha fraternity at Davidson College.
He is married to Martha Griffiths Cox; they have three children. His wife was also an attorney who worked with him at his law firm before going her own way in 1971. She is now a senior partner at Williams & Connolly in Washington, D.C.
Cox is credited with bringing legal challenges against the Vietnam War and the Nixon administration that led to major legislative changes.
... in May, and Nixon named Archibald Cox as a special prosecutor to look into the matter. A struggle has erupted between the legislative and executive branches of government, amidst contradicting testimonies, practically daily exposures of new scandals, and ongoing resignations of administrative employees. The most recent example is that of Henry Kissinger, who on Tuesday announced his resignation from office after forty years in government service.
Cox's appointment was widely seen as a victory for Nixon's opponents, especially since he was selected by the president's own attorney general. They believed that by giving the job to an independent lawyer, they had found a way around the constitutional prohibition on presidents being charged with crimes.
In October, the House Judiciary Committee issued its report recommending that Congress impeach Nixon for obstruction of justice. The following month, the Senate held hearings of its own during which witnesses described various instances in which the president had abused his power. On December 8th, the Senate voted to recommend that Nixon be removed from office. However, due to the absence of the required number of votes, this resolution also failed.
Nixon resigned on August 9th, 1974, after the cover-up of his involvement in the Watergate scandal was exposed by the New York Times. He did not face criminal charges but was instead able to defend himself at his impeachment trial.
Under rising pressure and claims of corruption leveled against Nixon associates, Attorney General candidate Elliot Richardson named Cox as Special Prosecutor to head the federal criminal investigation into the Watergate burglary and other historic crimes...
Cox's task was not an easy one. He was given only $75,000 to work with and no subpoena power. But like a modern-day Paul Brown, he decided to go for it anyway.
He started by talking to people who might be able to help him out. He contacted former FBI agents, members of the CIA, and others who had connections with the White House. Some gave him information; others helped out with advice on how to proceed. In all, more than 100 interviews were conducted by Cox with various officials involved in the Watergate affair.
His efforts paid off when Nixon learned that Cox was about to issue subpoenas for eight individuals related to the break-in. Fearing that this would set a dangerous precedent, Nixon ordered Haldeman and Ehrlichman to fire Cox. When they refused, he fired them too. At this point, Richardson resigned to avoid being impeached over the scandal, and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus was appointed as his replacement.
Cox then took charge of the case himself.