White House scandals have been motivated by greed, love of power, lust, or a conviction that one's political agenda is so good it justifies going around the law, as Machiavelli observed the corrupt tactics of Cesare Borgia: "the ends justifies the means."
1866 – After the Civil War, the United States secretly supplied "decommissioned" guns to Mexican gangs to cause domestic violence and insurrection in order to oust Maximillian I. Benito Juárez then captured Maximillian and had him shot, June 19, 1867.
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1868 – President Andrew Johnson refused to protect the right of freed slave to vote. As a result, the Republican Congress voted to impeach him. (A list of scandals was compiled by William A. Borst, Ph.D., Mindszenty Report, Vol. IV-No. 8).
1872 – President Grant's vice-president and several Congressmen received shares of stock in the construction company Crédit Mobilier, which was building the Union Pacific Railroad, in exchange for the company being allowed to fraudulently bill the government.
1875 – The Whiskey Ring conspiracy involved bribery and tax evasion by government agents and whiskey distillers. Grant promised swift punishment, but when his personal secretary was implicated, Grant tried protect him, which only made the scandal worse. The Secretary of War was impeached.
1875 – Grant's Secretary of the Interior, who advocated killing off the buffalo to make way for the railroads, was forced to resign for taking bribes in exchange for land grants.
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1881 – During President Garfield's administration, though he was not implicated, private companies delivered mail on the Star Route in America's west. Low bids were given to postal officials, but when those officials presented the bids to Congress, they increased the amounts and pocketed the difference.
1910-1919 – During the Border War with Mexico, President Woodrow Wilson supported one gang leader against the others, even arranging for train cars of weapons to be left unattended at a border town to be taken by anti-Catholic revolutionary Venustiano Carranza to be used against Victoriano Huerta, and later Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata.
1921 – President Warren G. Harding's Secretary of the Interior Albert Fall was caught selling exclusive rights to oil reserves in Teapot Dome, Wyoming, in exchange for personal profit and cattle.
1922 – President Harding's Director of Veterans Affairs Charles Forbes was convicted and imprisoned for denying claims of wounded World War I veterans and embezzling $225 million.
1924 – President Harding's Attorney General Harry Daugherty let pharmacies and bootleggers obtain permits to sell alcohol for "medicinal" purposes during the era of prohibition. This, and other scandals, forced him to resign.
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Herbert Hoover wrote of President Warren G. Harding in his memoirs, published 1952: "Harding had another side which was not good. His political associates had been men of the type of Albert B. Fall (Teapot Dome Scandal) ... Harry Daugherty (bootlegging scandal) ... Charles Forbes (embezzled from veterans over $2 million). ... He enjoyed the company of these men (in) weekly White House poker parties ... the play lasted most of the night ... It irked me to see it in the White House."
1969 – U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy hosted a party attended by six married men and six single women on Chappaquiddick near Martha's Vineyard. Kennedy left the party with one of the women, Mary Jo Kopechne. The next morning she was found dead in Senator Kennedy's submerged car.
1973 – Spiro Agnew became the second vice president in U.S. history to resign when confronted with charges of extortion, tax fraud, bribery, and conspiracy.
1986 – during President Ronald Reagan's term there was a scandal of a different kind – plans were made to sell arms to anti-Soviet forces in Iran in exchange for the release of U.S. hostages. Funds from the sale were to help Contra freedom fighters stop Soviet-backed communists from taking over Nicaragua – thus stopping communists on two fronts at no financial expense to the United States, but Democrats in Congress exposed and opposed this.
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1998 – President Clinton had an illicit relationship with Monica Lewinsky, whose friend, Linda Tripp, convinced her to keep a stained dress as protection to keep her from being added to the Clinton body-count list, a collection of names circulating the Internet of deceased former Clinton associates. Attempting to cover up the affair, Clinton was impeached for perjury and obstruction of justice.
2009 – President Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder was held in Contempt of Congress after refusing to release documents regarding a Fast and Furious operation which provided guns to Mexican drug gangs.
2012 – prior to re-election, President Obama announced the war on terror was over. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the 57 leaders of the OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation), promising support of a U.N. Resolution prohibiting speech insulting Islam. On Sept. 11, an attack occurred on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Six hours into the attack, the president spoke via telephone with Secretary Clinton, but no rescue was attempted. The next morning, Secretary Clinton's State Department sent memos to YouTube and Google recommending they censor speech insulting Islam.
When it was discovered that the U.S. Ambassador in Benghazi had been denied repeated requests for increased security by the State Department and that the attacks were planned and not a result of a video, Secretary Clinton responded, "What difference does it make."
Reports and emails then surfaced that U.S. arms covertly used to oust Libya's President Gaddafi were being moved through Benghazi, similar to the gun-running "Fast and Furious" scandal, to arm fundamentalist Muslims to oust Syria's President Assad. When Russia came to Assad's defense, Muslim terrorists armed and trained by the U.S. attacked into Syria and Iraq, calling themselves ISIS. They proceeded to torture, rape, behead and displace hundreds of thousands in what Secretary of State John Kerry formally declared was a genocide. (CNN, 3/18/16)
The Los Angeles Times reported (3/27/16): "In Syria, militias armed by the Pentagon fight those armed by the CIA."
President Trump ended Obama's CIA program of arming and training ISIS Muslim fighters, as Time magazine reported (7/28/17): "President Trump ends covert plan to arm Syrian rebels, Russia has pushed U.S. to end program."
2013 – after President Obama met 157 times with the head of the IRS, Lois Lerner, she pleaded the Fifth Amendment when asked by Congress about whether the agency targeted conservative political groups prior to the president's re-election.
2016 – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was caught using secret email servers. When questions arose regarding lack of security and possible coordination by Secretary of State's office with foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation in exchange for speeches by Former President Bill Clinton, 30,000 of her emails were quickly deleted. Her technology specialist, Bryan Pagliano, pleaded the Fifth Amendment on March 2, 1016.
The Justice Department, under the direction of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, initiated an investigation, but she curtailed the investigation after an unprecedented meeting at the Phoenix Airport with Hillary's husband, Bill Clinton. When interviewed, Lynch said "he mentioned the golf he played in Phoenix" though sources told ABC15 "former President Clinton did not play golf during his most recent visit in Phoenix."
FBI Director James Comey, operating under the authority of Lynch, announced the decision not to investigate Hillary, though he described her behavior as "extremely careless." Since James Comey's statements differed from Hillary's, House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte accused Hillary of lying under oath to the House Benghazi committee. Commentator Dick Morris explained that several of Hillary's emails exposed nuclear scientist Shahram Amiri as an American spy, resulting in him being executed in Iran.
When WikiLeaks' Julian Assange released 20,000 emails showing the Democrat National Committee worked to undermine Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton, DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to resign.
Rachel Alexander of Townhall.com wrote: "Since the Democrat National Committee emails were leaked a few weeks ago, three people associated with the DNC have all been found dead under what could be questionable circumstances."
Seth Rich, a DNC data analyst, was shot in the back July 10, 2016, though his wallet, credit cards and watch were not taken.
Shawn Lucas, who had served the DNC with a lawsuit on July 3, 2016, and was found dead on Aug. 2, 2016.
John Ashe, former President of the United Nations, was found on June 22, 2016, dead with a barbell across his throat just days before he was scheduled to testify that during Bill Clinton's presidency a Chinese businessman purportedly funneled illegally hundred thousand dollars to the Democrat National Committee.
1972 – Watergate: One of the most written-about scandals in American history began when five low-level members of President Nixon's re-election team did a third-rate break-in of the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate building. Though Nixon was not involved, effort to defend his subordinates led to him being implicated in a cover up.
The House Judiciary Committee staff prepared the articles of impeachment against President Nixon. Hillary Rodham served on the Impeachment Inquiry staff. Her conduct was described by Jerry Zeifman, the Chief Counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, as "dishonest," being that she "engaged in a variety of self-serving unethical practices in violation of House rules," possibly to facilitate a future run for President by U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy.
Rather than face impeachment, President Nixon resigned.
Nixon's resignation overshadowed numerous items occurring during his administration:
- ending racial segregation in southern schools
- NASA's Apollo mission to the moon
- ending the draft
- officially recognizing "Fathers' Day"
- beginning the process to end the Cold War
- fought foreign oil price gouging
- produced a balanced budget
- visited Beijing and Moscow
- supported Israel in the Yom Kippur War and had Secretary of State Henry Kissinger attempt to negotiate agreements between Israel and Egypt and Syria
On Aug. 8, 1974, the 37th president of the United States, Richard Nixon, resigned, stating from the Oval Office: "Good evening. This is the 37th time I have spoken to you from this office. ... To continue to fight ... for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the president and the Congress. ... Therefore, I shall resign. ... If some of my judgments were wrong ... they were made in what I believed ... to be the best interest of the nation."
Nixon continued, warning: "In the Middle East, 100 million people in the Arab countries, many of whom have considered us their enemy ... now look on us as their friends. We must continue to build on that friendship so that ... the cradle of civilization will not become its grave."
Nixon added: "I have taken heart from what Theodore Roosevelt once said about the man in the arena, 'whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly. ... If he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.' ... In leaving ... I do so with this prayer: May God's grace be with you in all the days ahead."
Privately to his Cabinet, President Nixon said: "Mistakes, yes ... for personal gain, never. ... I can only say to each ... of you ... we come from many faiths ... but really the same God. ... You will be in our hearts and ... in our prayers."
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