On this day, June 17 …
1972: President Richard Nixon's eventual downfall begins with the arrest of five burglars inside the Democratic headquarters in Washington, D.C.'s Watergate complex.

Also on this day:

  • 1928: Amelia Earhart embarks on a transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Wales with pilots Wilmer Stultz and Louis Gordon, becoming the first woman to make the trip as a passenger.)
  • 1963: The U.S. Supreme Court, in Abington (Pa.) School District v. Schempp, strikes down, 8-1, rules requiring the recitation of the Lord's Prayer or reading of Biblical verses in public schools.
  • 1967: China successfully tests its first thermonuclear (hydrogen) bomb.
  • 1994: After leading police on a slow-speed chase on Southern California freeways, O.J. Simpson is arrested and charged with murder in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
  • 2002: A judge in San Francisco tosses out the second-degree murder conviction of Marjorie Knoller for the dog-mauling death of neighbor Diane Whipple, but allows Knoller's conviction for involuntary manslaughter to stand. (However, Knoller's murder conviction would be reinstated in 2008.)
  • 2015: Nine people are shot to death in the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.; suspect Dylann Roof is arrested the following morning.
  • 2017: The jury in Bill Cosby's sexual assault case is declared hopelessly deadlocked, resulting in a mistrial for the 79-year-old TV star charged with drugging and groping a woman more than a decade earlier; prosecutors immediately announce they would pursue a second trial, which ultimately would result in Cosby's conviction.
  • 2019: Model, clothing designer, heiress and socialite Gloria Vanderbilt dies at age 95.