Richard Nixon became the first US president to visit the People’s Republic of China when he traveled there for one week in 1972. During his visit, Nixon met with Mao Zedong and other Chinese officials. The trip proved a success when China agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with the US.
Determined to win the 1972 presidential election, the Nixon administration sent special agents—called the “Plumbers”—to the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee at the Watergate Hotel. They hoped to copy documents and wiretap telephones. The Plumbers were caught by a hotel security guard. The Nixon administration managed to cover up the incident temporarily, but the scandal was revealed by reporters and Senate hearings. Nixon was eventually forced to resign.
The Senate Watergate Committee began investigating the break-in at the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters. Based on the investigation, the House Judiciary Committee passed three articles of impeachment against Nixon in July 1974.
Congress passed the War Powers Act over President Nixon’s veto. The resolution limited the president’s ability to involve the United States in wars without the authorization of Congress by requiring the president to inform Congress of overseas troop deployment within forty-eight hours and to withdraw troops not authorized by Congress within sixty days.
Rather than face impeachment for his role in the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon resigned as president of the United States. His resignation made Gerald Ford, whom Nixon had appointed vice president upon Spiro Agnew’s resignation, president.