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

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Pat Oliphant and his work were the subjects of discussion at the University of Virginia, which had just acquired his cartoon collection. Speakers included presidential scholars, including Ken Hughes and Kent Germany from UVA’s Miller Center. They focused on the presidencies from Lyndon B. Johnson to Ronald Reagan.
Ken Hughes C-SPAN
Since the lawmakers on the committee have already heard from all the witnesses who are expected to testify, the public hearings are intended to present their testimony to the public on live television. Ken Hughes, a research specialist at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center with expertise in Watergate and presidential abuses of power, said the importance of public hearings should not be underestimated. “The attention of voters and citizens will finally be focused on these particular set of facts—what the President did and when, how his own aides witnessed or learned about these activities,” said Hughes. “It will give the public an opportunity to size up these witnesses for themselves.”
Ken Hughes TIME
While Collins and other Republicans accuse Democrats of underhandedness and of rewriting impeachment history, Ken Hughes, an expert on Watergate with the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, said Thursday that anyone who thinks closed-door sessions are unprecedented in the process is “just making history up.” “Most of the evidence for Nixon’s impeachment was presented to the committee behind closed doors in executive session,” Hughes said. “The head of the inquiry, House Judiciary Committee chairman Peter Rodino, said secrecy was necessary to avoid prejudicing the rights of defendants in ongoing criminal trials related to Watergate and to avoid defaming the president and prejudicing his impeachment case and potential Senate trial.”
Ken Hughes Courthouse News Service
Nixon sought help from a foreign government 50 years ago. Trump is trying the same thing, and it may cost him the presidency.
The Conversation
Trump's efforts to lean on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reminiscent of the way Nixon created a team of secret investigators, known as "the plumbers," to find incriminating or embarrassing evidence about his enemies, said Ken Hughes, a leading Watergate authority and research specialist at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center of Public Affairs.
Ken Hughes USA Today
“This is nothing like a conversation between Richard Nixon or Henry Kissinger and a foreign leader,” said Ken Hughes of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, an expert on Nixon during the Vietnam War and Watergate. “Nixon had very detailed knowledge when he spoke to foreign leaders. He could be subtle in negotiations and still get his point across,” Hughes said. But “when he wanted to dig up dirt on his political adversaries,” Nixon did it at home, he said.
Ken Hughes The Washington Post