Ken Hughes

Fast Facts

  • Bob Woodward called Hughes "one of America's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings"
  • Has spent two decades mining the Secret White House Tapes
  • Expertise on Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Secret White House Tapes, abuses of presidential power, Watergate, Vietnam War

Areas Of Expertise

  • Foreign Affairs
  • American Defense and Security
  • Governance
  • Leadership
  • Political Parties and Movements
  • Politics
  • The Presidency

Bob Woodward has called Ken Hughes “one of America's foremost experts on secret presidential recordings, especially those of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.” Hughes has spent two decades mining the Secret White House Tapes and unearthing their secrets. As a journalist writing in the pages of the New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, and Boston Globe Magazine, and, since 2000, as a researcher with the Miller Center, Hughes’s work has illuminated the uses and abuses of presidential power involved in (among other things) the origins of Watergate, Jimmy Hoffa’s release from federal prison, and the politics of the Vietnam War. 

Hughes has been interviewed by the New York Times, CBS News, CNN, PBS NewsHour, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and other news organizations. He is the author of Chasing Shadows: The Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair, and the Origins of Watergate and Fatal Politics: The Nixon Tapes, the Vietnam War and the Casualties of Reelection.

Hughes is currently at work on a book about President John F. Kennedy’s hidden role in the coup plot that resulted in the overthrow and assassination of another president, Ngo Dinh Diem of South Vietnam. 


Ken Hughes News Feed

President Donald Trump has brought presidential pardons into the news by granting clemency to several controversial people, including Joe Arpaio, a former sheriff in Arizona who targeted immigrants at traffic stops, and a serviceman who killed a suspected terrorist in the Iraqi desert. In this episode, we go beyond the headlines and tell the story of a pardons system that’s completely broken down.
Ken Hughes RevealNews
This is documented in one of the secret White House tapes that has been researched and transcribed by Ken Hughes at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. (Miller is author of the book “Chasing Shadows,” as well as an article documenting this episode.) It includes this conversation on July 24, 1971, between Nixon and White House chief of staff H.R. Haldeman, in which Nixon said: “There’s a Jewish cabal, you know, running through this working with people like [then-Federal Reserve Chair Arthur] Burns and the rest, and they all, they all only talk to Jews. Now how in the hell do you ever expect us to get anything from that staff, the raw data, let alone the poor guy’s gonna say (inaudible), but it’s gonna be loaded against us.”
Ken Hughes Marketplace
The President is right that he’s not the first American politician to find himself in a situation where a foreign government is offering campaign help. One thing that sets this situation apart, argues presidential scholar Ken Hughes, who spoke to TIME as part of a presidential history partnership with the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, is the openness with which Trump discusses the subject.
Ken Hughes TIME
Still, it was widely believed at the time that Nixon would have been ousted if he’d stayed around. "Nixon would definitely have been impeached by the House and convicted by the Senate if he had not resigned first," said Ken Hughes, a historian at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and an expert on Nixon’s secret recordings.
Ken Hughes Politifact
“Dean was an incredibly important part of the public, the congressional Watergate investigation,” said Ken Hughes, an expert on Watergate and a research specialist at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center. “He set the agenda for the rest of the congressional Watergate investigation.”
Ken Hughes The Hill
Whether there’s potential for a modern-day John Dean to step forward is another question. Historian Ken Hughes has his doubts. Mr. Dean had agreed to become a key witness in exchange for a lighter sentence, stemming from his involvement in the Watergate scandal. But “it’s not clear now that the Democrats in the House have that kind of leverage over any current members of the Trump administration,” says Mr. Hughes, a research specialist and expert on Watergate at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center.
Ken Hughes The Christian Science Monitor