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

The University of Pennsylvania had never produced a president, as its fellow Ivies had. Then Donald J. Trump, class of ’68, won the presidency. The university has never formally celebrated this accomplishment. On Monday, Penn’s administration convened upward of 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students for commencement, and did what it has been doing for most of the past three years: not talk about Donald Trump.
Barbara Perry and Ken Hughes The Atlantic
"Mike Pence in 2018 sounds too much like Richard Nixon in 1974," Hughes told Salon by email. "Nixon, like Pence, said that the administration was cooperating with the investigation, that a year was long enough, and that it was time for it to end. But one of the reasons the Watergate investigation went on so long was that the president was obstructing justice, and that is a question that the current investigation has to grapple with as well. The Trump administration has to learn, as the Nixon administration did, that an investigation ends when all the relevant wrongdoing has been uncovered, not when the people being investigated want it to go away."
Ken Hughes Salon
Ken Hughes, a historian with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center weighed in Monday night, telling Courthouse News it wouldn’t be the last time one of Trump’s top advisers would question the president’s intelligence. “Although Trump probably has a pretty high IQ, he has brought this on himself in a number of ways. He has set a disrespectful tone with his own rhetoric – by routinely disparaging the intelligence of people who disagree with him, for example – and the people who work for him in the White House naturally adopt the same tone when talking about him.”
Ken Hughes Courthouse News Service
Trump allies shouldn't hold their breath, writes the Miller Center's Ken Hughes in the Washington Post.
President Trump is flashing his pardon power like a pocketful of Get Out of Jail Free cards. Not only is he musing on Twitter about pardoning boxer Jack Johnson, he actually pardoned Scooter Libby, an aide to former vice president Richard B. Cheney who was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Ken Hughes The Washington Post
n Monday, the FBI raided the Manhattan offices of President Donald Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen. The agents raided Cohen’s office, home and hotel room to seize tax returns, financial records and communications between the lawyer and his clients, including Trump. They were executing a search warrant on behalf of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York after a referral from Robert S. Mueller III, a 1973 UVA Law graduate who is the special counsel in the Russia investigation. It was an extremely unusual move, according to presidential historian Ken Hughes.
Ken Hughes UVA Today