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Nixon’s FBI: Hoover, Watergate, and a Bureau in Crisis, Melissa Graves

Reviewed by Ryan D. Williamson

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The history of the Watergate scandal has been told numerous times in the decades since its occurrence, with the media (primarily Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein and their informant “Deep Throat”) as the central figure in bringing down President Richard Nixon. However, as Melissa Graves mentions early on in Nixons FBI, “the real work happened within the Bureau” (p. 3). This book provides a new perspective on the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) through the lens of Watergate to help us understand the current, sometimes problematic, dynamic between the president and the FBI. Previous accounts have focused on FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, President Nixon, and the media, but such accounts paint an incomplete picture. Graves fills in these gaps with a robust qualitative analysis that further elucidates current presidential-bureaucratic relations.

This work focuses primarily on the role of the FBI in investigating presidents, detailing the circumstances leading up to and surrounding the Watergate investigation. It concludes by drawing connections to the presidency of Donald Trump and the investigation of Special Counsel Robert Mueller into Trump’s alleged involvement with Russia. Graves highlights the tension between the need for the FBI to place the rule of law above everyt

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