SCANDAL! Three New Documentary Series Explore Notable Presidential Wrongdoings

Copyright 2018 National Archives and Records Administration

Three new documentaries explore scandals at the highest levels of U.S. political power:


Premieres Friday, Nov. 2, at 9pm ET/PT
Forty-five years after perhaps the biggest criminal political conspiracy of all time — which ultimately caused the resignation of President Richard Nixon, found over 40 government officials charged and some jailed, and led to the ensuing addition of the suffix “-gate” to many future scandals — this three-part, six-hour documentary event series (which also ran in limited theatrical release in October) directed by Oscar winner Charles Ferguson (Inside Job) looks at the events behind what is now known simply as “Watergate.”

Airing over three consecutive nights, the documentary features interviews with journalists, senior Nixon administration officials, members of Congress and prosecutors. Interview subjects include Daniel Ellsberg, Elizabeth Holtzman, William Ruckelshaus, Dan Rather, Lesley Stahl and the late Sen. John McCain, among others.

The series’ interviews are combined with existing archival material including the taped conversations recorded by Nixon and other members of his administration, footage from congressional hearings, interviews conducted during the investigation, transcripts from criminal trials, Supreme Court arguments and other legal proceedings, and written first-person accounts from people involved in the scandal.

Enemies: The President, Justice & the FBI 

Premieres Sunday, Nov. 18, at 8pm ET/PT
As the ongoing clashes between the Trump administration, the Department of Justice and the FBI continue to make headlines, Oscar- and Emmy-winning director Alex Gibney’s (Taxi to the Dark Side) four-part documentary series provides an in-depth look into the long history of conflict between American presidents and the FBI, from Nixon and Hoover to Trump and Comey.

Enemies tells the story of the epic confrontations between the president and the FBI. Using the present as a prism, the documentary looks back to see which lessons held up, which didn’t and how the current investigation of the Trump administration might turn out.

Along with rare archival footage and stylized re-enactments, the series will include intimate interviews with current and former officials, including those who were present for these moments in history, as well as interviews with journalists who broke the stories.

The Clinton Affair

Premieres Sunday, Nov. 18, at 9pm ET/PT
Coinciding with the 20th anniversary of the impeachment proceedings of former President Bill Clinton, this six-part, three-night documentary event from director Blair Foster (Emmy-winning producer of George Harrison: Living in the Material World) and producer Alex Gibney examines that political scandal and the twisted, intertwined series of events that led to the proceedings.

Weaving together never-before-seen archival footage with exclusive new interviews from those closest to the events — including former White House intern and staffer Monica Lewinsky (who is said to offer an “in-depth reflection” on the topic), former independent counsel Ken Starr and former Bill Clinton political strategist James Carville — Foster’s documentary explores broader topics stemming from the scandal, including media, feminism, sex, politics, power and ideological warfare.

“I thought I knew a lot about President Clinton’s impeachment because I lived through it,” Foster said. “However, when I began this project, I quickly realized much of what I thought I knew was incomplete, or worse, inaccurate. … My goal for this series was to do a deep dive into the facts and speak to as many people as possible who were involved. The deeper I got, the clearer it became that this series is as much about the present day as it is about the 1990s.”