Nixon could have quieted the scandal by firing employees.
In a recent New Yorker article, Nixon biographer Evan Thomas said that “there were any number of steps that could have made [Watergate] go away.” Thomas argued that Nixon “could have cleaned house and fired people,” for instance.
But cutting loose the people directly responsible for individual crimes creates an incentive for them to implicate the higherups who managed the criminal enterprise — which was exactly what happened, accelerating news of the scandal. Nixon fired White House counsel John Dean in April 1973, and that June, Dean testified before the Senate Watergate committee about Nixon’s involvement in the coverup. Likewise, James McCord, a former CIA officer ostensibly hired to work as a security officer for the Republican National Committee, sent a letter to Judge John Sirica during the sentencing phase of his 1973 trial for the Watergate burglary, explaining that his perjury had been bought by the Nixon administration.
Even if Nixon had attempted to leave every individual implicated in Watergate high and dry, it probably wouldn’t have slowed the unspooling of the scandal, much less stopped it.