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Smoking gun

A smoking gun is a piece of evidence that is irrefutably true, a fact or thing that proves conclusively that a crime has occurred or that someone is guilty.  A smoking gun is a figurative term that is derived from the fact that if someone is found holding a smoking gun, it is reasonable to assume that person has recently fired that gun whether the shooting was witnessed or not. The term smoking gun was popularized during the Watergate investigation during the 1970s, when a particular White House tape recording was dubbed the Smoking-Gun Tape. In the recording, Nixon tells Halderman to order the CIA and the FBI to stop investigating the Watergate break in under the pretext of protecting national security. At the Watergate Congressional Hearing, Representative Barber Conable said the new evidence “looked like a smoking gun.”


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Examples

‘I think [the papers are] a smoking gun… I think the linkages are so multiple and strong and reinforcing that it’s hard to come away from reading all this material and not feel that there was a support network and that support network came from Saudi Arabia.’ (The Daily Mail)

Daleiden regards the documents as a potential smoking gun in the probe of Planned Parenthood and the fetal tissue procurement companies that harvested organs at the abortion clinics. (The Washington Examiner)

It’s been called the smoking gun in the NRL’s investigation into Parramatta and its contents can finally be revealed. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Gagnon believes it might be a smoking gun, proving that John Bradley knew all along he wasn’t in the photo. (The Concord Monitor)

But when presented with the smoking gun of the White House tapes, and the damage being done to the country, they all had to admit what they’d known in their hearts for a while: the president had to go. (The Toledo Blade)

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