What Was The Saturday Night Massacre?


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The Saturday Night Massacre was an extraordinary episode in the unfolding of the Watergate scandal which eventually saw U.S. President Richard Nixon resign from office. A special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, had been appointed to investigate the Watergate allegations. When he learned that a taping system in the White House had recorded many of the crucial conversations relating to the events, he insisted on hearing the tapes himself, and refused to be fobbed off with written summaries of their contents, as Nixon had proposed.     Angry at Cox's refusal to back off on the tapes issues, Nixon ordered his Attorney General Elliot Richardson to dismiss him from his position as special prosecutor. Richardson refused and was himself dismissed by Nixon. Nixon then ordered Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus to dismiss Cox. He too refused and was sacked by Nixon. Solicitor General Robert Bork then became acting Attorney General and complied with Nixon's instructions to dismiss Cox.     The sequence of events became known as the 'Saturday Night Massacre.' It caused widespread outrage in America and led to growing pressure to begin impeachment proceedings against the president.  

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