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Essay Bill Clintons Impeachment

About President Clinton:

Events Leading to Impeachment:

Audio Highlights

Comment to Reporters
January 26, 1998

Amid a swirl of rumors and resulting media firestorm, President Clinton denies allegations concerning former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. (:25)

Grand Jury Testimony
August 17, 1998

Appearing before Independent Counsel Ken Starr's Grand Jury from the White House via a closed circuit TV hookup, President Clinton comments on the motives behind the Paula Jones sexual harassment case against him (which led to the revelation of his relationship with Lewinsky). (2:47)

Grand Jury Testimony
August 17, 1998

The President is then quizzed about a statement made by his lawyer on his behalf during his January deposition in the Paula Jones case that there "is no sex of any kind..." between himself and Lewinsky. (1:03)

Grand Jury Testimony
August 17, 1998

President Clinton defends his evasive conduct during his January deposition in the Paula Jones case. (3:13)

Grand Jury Testimony
August 17, 1998

President Clinton reveals his opinion of Lewinsky and explains his original motive in helping her find a new job. (1:13)

Grand Jury Testimony
August 17, 1998

As his testimony concludes, the President complains about being the target of five years of non-stop investigations. (:55)

TV Speech
August 17, 1998

That evening, a few hours after completing his testimony to Ken Starr's Grand Jury, President Clinton admits "I misled people" during a speech to the Nation. (:44)

Public Appearance
August 28, 1998

The President talks about forgiveness during ceremonies in a Massachusetts church commemorating the 1963 civil rights March on Washington. August 28, 1998. (1:33)

Comment to Reporters
September 4, 1998

President Clinton first uses the term "I'm sorry," while in Dublin, Ireland, during a photo opportunity when asked about critical comments spoken about him by Senator Joseph Lieberman. (:15)

White House Appearance
September 11, 1998

The President speaks at the annual White House prayer breakfast at the beginning of a day of tremendous political and personal turmoil surrounding the publication of the sexually explicit Starr Report concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. (1:47)

Comment to Reporters
December 11, 1998

President Clinton speaks to reporters in the Rose Garden at the White House shortly before the House Judiciary Committee passes its first article of impeachment. (1:32)

Comment to Reporters
December 13, 1998

Following the approval of four articles of impeachment by the House Judiciary Committee, President Clinton, during a visit to Israel, responds to an Israeli reporter asking him if he intends to resign "as did President Nixon." (:25)

TV Speech
December 16, 1998

President Clinton announces an air attack against Iraq - a military action that quickly generates much controversy over its timing. (:38)

Comment to Reporters
December 17, 1998

The next day, Washington reporters ask the President if he ordered the attack in order to delay the scheduled impeachment vote in the full House of Representatives. (:20)

Public Statement
December 19, 1998

Flanked by Democratic supporters and his wife Hillary, President Clinton appears before reporters on the South Lawn of White House about two hours after his impeachment by the House of Representatives. (:40)

Articles of Impeachment:

RESOLVED that William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:

ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT EXHIBITED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN THE NAME OF ITSELF AND OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, AGAINST WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, IN MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT OF ITS IMPEACHMENT AGAINST HIM FOR HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS.

On August 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth before a Federal grand jury of the United States. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury concerning one or more of the following:

(1) the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate Government employee;
(2) prior perjurious, false and misleading testimony he gave in a Federal civil rights action brought against him;
(3) prior false and misleading statements he allowed his attorney to make to a Federal judge in that civil rights action; and
(4) his corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence in that civil rights action.

In doing this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

(Approved 21-16 by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, December 11, 1998)
(Passed 228-206 in the House of Representatives at 1:25 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, 1998)

In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process of the United States for his personal gain and exoneration, impeding the administration of justice, in that:

(1) On December 23, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton, in sworn answers to written questions asked as part of a Federal civil rights action brought against him, willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony in response to questions deemed relevant by a Federal judge concerning conduct and proposed conduct with subordinate employees.

(2) On January 17, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton swore under oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in a deposition given as part of a Federal civil rights action brought against him. Contrary to that oath, William Jefferson Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony in response to questions deemed relevant by a Federal judge concerning the nature and details of his relationship with a subordinate Government employee, his knowledge of that employee's involvement and participation in the civil rights action brought against him, and his corrupt efforts to influence the testimony of that employee.

In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

(Approved 20-17 by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, December 11, 1998)
(Failed 229-205 in the House of Representatives at 1:42 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, 1998)

In his conduct while President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has prevented, obstructed, and impeded the administration of justice, and has to that end engaged personally, and through his subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or scheme designed to delay, impede, cover up, and conceal the existence of evidence and testimony related to a Federal civil rights action brought against him in a duly instituted judicial proceeding.

The means used to implement this course of conduct or scheme included one or more of the following acts:

(1) On or about December 17, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly encouraged a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him to execute a sworn affidavit in that proceeding that he knew to be perjurious, false and misleading.

(2) On or about December 17, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly encouraged a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him to give perjurious, false and misleading testimony if and when called to testify personally in that proceeding.

(3) On or about December 28, 1997, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly engaged in, encouraged, or supported a scheme to conceal evidence that had been subpoenaed in a Federal civil rights action brought against him.

(4) Beginning on or about December 7, 1997, and continuing through and including January 14, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton intensified and succeeded in an effort to secure job assistance to a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him in order to corruptly prevent the truthful testimony of that witness in that proceeding at a time when the truthful testimony of that witness would have been harmful to him.

(5) On January 17, 1998, at his deposition in a Federal civil rights action brought against him, William Jefferson Clinton corruptly allowed his attorney to make false and misleading statements to a Federal judge characterizing an affidavit, in order to prevent questioning deemed relevant by the judge. Such false and misleading statements were subsequently acknowledged by his attorney in a communication to that judge.

(6) On or about January 18 and January 20-21, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton related a false and misleading account of events relevant to a Federal civil rights action brought against him to a potential witness in that proceeding, in order to corruptly influence the testimony of that witness.

(7) On or about January 21, 23 and 26, 1998, William Jefferson Clinton made false and misleading statements to potential witnesses in a Federal grand jury proceeding in order to corruptly influence the testimony of those witnesses. The false and misleading statements made by William Jefferson Clinton were repeated by the witnesses to the grand jury, causing the grand jury to receive false and misleading information.

In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

(Approved 21-16 by the House Judiciary Committee on Friday, December 11, 1998)
(Passed 221-212 in the House of Representatives at 1:59 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, 1998)

Using the powers and influence of the office of President of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in disregard of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has engaged in conduct that resulted in misuse and abuse of his high office, impaired the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries, and contravened the authority of the legislative branch and the truth-seeking purpose of a coordinate investigative proceeding in that, as President, William Jefferson Clinton, refused and failed to respond to certain written requests for admission and willfully made perjurious, false and misleading sworn statements in response to certain written requests for admission propounded to him as part of the impeachment inquiry authorized by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States.

William Jefferson Clinton, in refusing and failing to respond, and in making perjurious, false and misleading statements, assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives and exhibited contempt for the inquiry.

In doing this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

(Approved 21-16 by the House Judiciary Committee on Saturday, December 12, 1998)
(Failed 285-148 in the House of Representatives at 2:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 19, 1998)

Consequences:

With Articles 1 and 3, pertaining to perjury and obstruction of justice, having been approved by the House of Representatives, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced that President Clinton's impeachment trial would begin in the Senate on Thursday, January 7, 1999.

The televised proceedings in the Senate chamber began with formalities required by the Constitution including a formal reading of the charges and the swearing-in of all 100 senators by William H. Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, who would preside. Senators then proceeded one by one to the front of the chamber to sign an oath book pledging to do "impartial justice."

Remarkably, the partisan rancor, which had been so evident during the House proceedings, appeared at first to be somewhat diminished in the Senate as the 55 Republican and 45 Democratic senators began their solemn duties, sitting in silent judgment of Clinton with the potential outcome being the first-ever removal of an elected President.

Although this was the second impeachment trial in U.S. history, it marked the first time an elected President was faced with possible removal from office. Andrew Johnson had ascended to the presidency following the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln and thus was not elected. President Johnson was impeached by the House in 1868 but later acquitted by a single vote following a Senate trial.

Now, in the Senate chamber, a team of 13 Republican managers (prosecutors) from the House of Representatives, led by Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, faced off against seven defense lawyers representing President Clinton, led by main White House Counsel Charles Ruff. Opening statements by each side lasted three days, after which individual senators were allowed two days of questioning. The senators passed 150 written queries to Chief Justice Rehnquist who read them aloud to the House prosecutors and Clinton's lawyers.

In making their case against the President, House prosecutors accused Clinton of "willful, premeditated, deliberate corruption of the nation's system of justice through perjury and obstruction of justice." Clinton's lawyers countered: "The House Republicans' case ends as it began, an unsubstantiated, circumstantial case that does not meet the constitutional standard to remove the President from office."

With opinion polls showing that Clinton's job approval rating now surpassed 70 percent despite his impeachment, and with most Americans favoring a speedy conclusion of the Senate trial, Democratic senators proposed that the impeachment case against Clinton be dismissed outright for lack of merit. The senators were also aware, following informal head counts, that there would never be enough votes in the Senate to convict the President, with two-thirds of the Senate (67 votes) needed. To obtain the 67 votes, twelve Democratic senators would have to vote to convict the President in addition to all 55 Republicans, a highly unlikely prospect.

Meanwhile, the already-shaky bipartisan pact of cooperation fell apart after House prosecutors, aided by Independent Counsel Ken Starr, met privately with Monica Lewinsky on January 24 to discuss her possible testimony in the trial.

Three days later, the Senate voted along party lines and defeated the Democrats' motion to dismiss the charges against Clinton, then voted in favor of seeking videotaped depositions from Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan, and Sidney Blumenthal.

Democrats strongly objected to calling any witnesses, claiming they were not necessary, given the voluminous House record already available. Republicans, however, claimed the Democrats were trying to stop them from presenting a thorough case against Clinton. They originally wanted to call up to 15 witnesses.

On February 1, Monica Lewinsky was questioned by House prosecutors behind closed doors for four hours, with the videotaped. The President's lawyers asked her no questions and instead read her a brief statement of apology: "Ms. Lewinsky, on behalf of the President, we'd like to tell you how very sorry we all are for what you have had to go through."

Vernon Jordan and Sidney Blumenthal were questioned by House prosecutors over the next two days. But it quickly became evident that the depositions were unlikely to change any votes in the Senate. There was no 'smoking gun' or any new revelation.

On February 4, the Senate voted 70-30 against calling Lewinsky to testify in person. The vote came as a relief to many in Washington who dreaded the prospect of Lewinsky testifying in the historic Senate chamber about her sexual encounters with the President. Instead, videotaped excerpts of her February 1 deposition would be used. Thus, two days later, Americans, for the first time, saw and heard Lewinsky as 30 video excerpts were played on TV monitors in the Senate chamber during final presentations by House prosecutors and Clinton's lawyers.

The video clips mostly concerned her New York job search, affidavit in the Jones case, and the hiding of small gifts Clinton had given her, all of which formed the basis for the obstruction of justice charge against the President. Video clips of the depositions given by Vernon Jordan and Sidney Blumenthal, along with earlier footage of President Clinton's August 17 grand jury testimony, his Jones case deposition, and his emphatic denial from January 1998, were also presented. In several instances, the same video was shown by House prosecutors and Clinton's lawyers, with entirely different meanings attached, according to whomever was giving the interpretation.

On February 8, closing arguments were presented with each side allotted a three-hour time slot. On the President's behalf, White House Counsel Charles Ruff declared: "There is only one question before you, albeit a difficult one, one that is a question of fact and law and constitutional theory. Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the President in office? Putting aside partisan animus, if you can honestly say that it would not, that those liberties are safe in his hands, then you must vote to acquit."

Chief prosecutor Henry Hyde countered: "A failure to convict will make the statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided, is not all that serious...We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the President...And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and, oh, yes, let right be done."

With closing arguments completed, the Senate began three days of closed-door deliberations on the two articles of impeachment, with each senator limited to 15 minutes of speaking time. Senate Democrats had attempted, but failed, to open this process to the public via television.

On Friday, February 12, television cameras were once again turned on inside the chamber and senators gathered in open session for the final roll call. With the whole world watching, senators stood up one by one to vote "guilty" or "not guilty." On Article 1, the charge of perjury, 55 senators, including 10 Republicans and all 45 Democrats voted not guilty. On Article 3, obstruction of justice, the Senate split evenly, 50 for and 50 against the President.

With the necessary two-thirds majority not having been achieved, the President was thus acquitted on both charges and would serve out the remainder of his term of office lasting through January 20, 2001.

About two hours after his acquittal, President Clinton made a brief appearance in the White House Rose Garden and stated: ''Now that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people."

The impeachment process of Bill Clinton was initiated by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, against Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice.[1] These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999.[2] Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.

Leading to the impeachment, Independent CounselKen Starr turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Prosecutor David Schippers and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. As a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives; two passed, making Clinton the second president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, and only the third against whom articles of impeachment had been brought before the full House for consideration (Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, while an impeachment process against him was underway).

The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party began with 55 senators. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. 50 senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.

Background[edit]

In 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton attempted to delay a trial until after he left office, but in May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the case to proceed and shortly thereafter the pre-trial discovery process commenced. Jones' attorneys wanted to prove that Clinton had engaged in a pattern of behavior with women that lent support to her claims. In late 1997, Linda Tripp began secretly recording conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky, a former intern and Department of Defense employee, in which Lewinsky divulged that she had had a sexual relationship with the President. Tripp shared this information with Paula Jones' lawyers, who put Lewinsky on their witness list in December 1997. According to the Starr report, after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship, including suggesting she file a false affidavit, suggesting she use cover stories, concealing gifts he had given her, and helping her obtain a job to her liking.

Clinton gave a sworn deposition on January 17, 1998 where he denied having a "sexual relationship", "sexual affair" or "sexual relations" with Lewinsky. He also denied that he was ever alone with her. His lawyer, Robert Bennet, stated with Clinton present that Lewinsky's affidavit showed that there was no sex in any manner, shape or form between Clinton and Lewinsky. The Starr Report states that the following day, Clinton "coached" his secretary Betty Curie into repeating his denials should she be called to testify.

After rumors of the scandal reached the news, Clinton publicly stated, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." [3] Months later, Clinton admitted that his relationship with Lewinsky was "wrong" and "not appropriate." Lewinsky engaged in oral sex with Clinton several times.[4][5]

The judge in the Jones case later ruled the Lewinsky matter immaterial, and threw out the case in April 1998 on the grounds that Jones had failed to show any damages. On appeal, Clinton agreed to settle the case for $850,000 while still admitting no wrongdoing.[when?]

Independent counsel investigation[edit]

The charges arose from an investigation by Ken Starr, an Independent Counsel. Originally dealing with Whitewater, Starr, with the approval of United States Attorney GeneralJanet Reno, conducted a wide-ranging investigation of alleged abuses, including the Whitewater affair, the firing of White House travel agents, and the alleged misuse of FBI files. On January 12, 1998 Linda Tripp, who had been working with the Jones lawyers, informed Starr that Lewinsky was preparing to commit perjury in the Jones case and had asked Tripp to do the same. She also said Clinton’s friend Vernon Jordan was assisting Lewinsky. Based on the connection to Jordan, who was under scrutiny in the Whitewater probe, Starr obtained approval from Reno to expand his investigation into whether Lewinsky and others were breaking the law.

A much-quoted statement from Clinton's grand jury testimony showed him questioning the precise use of the word "is". Contending that his statement that "there's nothing going on between us" had been truthful because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, Clinton said, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the—if he—if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement".[6] Starr obtained further evidence of inappropriate behavior by seizing the computer hard drive and email records of Monica Lewinsky. Based on the president's conflicting testimony, Starr concluded that Clinton had committed perjury. Starr submitted his findings to Congress in a lengthy document (the so-called Starr Report), and simultaneously posted the report, which included descriptions of encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky, on the Internet.[7] Starr was criticized by Democrats for spending $70 million on an investigation that substantiated only perjury and obstruction of justice.[8] Critics of Starr also contend that his investigation was highly politicized because it regularly leaked tidbits of information to the press in violation of legal ethics, and because his report included lengthy descriptions which were humiliating yet irrelevant to the legal case.[9][10]

Impeachment by House of Representatives[edit]

Since Ken Starr had already completed an extensive investigation, the House Judiciary Committee conducted no investigations of its own into Clinton's alleged wrongdoing, and it held no serious impeachment-related hearings before the 1998 mid-term elections. Nevertheless, impeachment was one of the major issues in the election.

In November 1998, the Democrats picked up five seats in the House although the Republicans still maintained majority control.[11] The results were a particular embarrassment for House SpeakerNewt Gingrich, who, before the election, had been reassured by private polling that Clinton's scandal would result in Republican gains of up to thirty House seats.[11] Shortly after the elections, Gingrich, who had been one of the leading advocates for impeachment,[12] announced he would resign from Congress as soon as he was able to find somebody to fill his vacant seat;[11] Gingrich fulfilled this pledge, and officially resigned from Congress on January 3, 1999.[13]

Impeachment proceedings were initiated during the post-election, "lame duck" session of the outgoing 105th United States Congress. Unlike the case of the 1974 impeachment process against Richard Nixon, the committee hearings were perfunctory but the floor debate in the whole House was spirited on both sides. The Speaker-designate, Representative Bob Livingston, chosen by the Republican Party Conference to replace Gingrich as House Speaker, announced the end of his candidacy for Speaker and his resignation from Congress from the floor of the House after his own marital infidelity came to light.[14] In the same speech, Livingston also encouraged Clinton to resign. Clinton chose to remain in office and urged Livingston to reconsider his resignation.[15] Many other prominent Republican members of Congress (including Dan Burton[14] of Indiana, Helen Chenoweth[14] of Idaho and Henry Hyde[14] of Illinois, the chief House manager of Clinton's trial in the Senate) had infidelities exposed about this time, all of whom voted for impeachment. Publisher Larry Flynt offered a reward for such information, and many supporters of Clinton accused Republicans of hypocrisy.[14]

On the passage of H. Res. 611, Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (by a 228–206 vote)[16] and obstruction of justice (by a 221–212 vote).[17] Two other articles of impeachment failed – a second count of perjury in the Jones case (by a 205–229 vote)[18] and one accusing Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote).[19] Clinton thus became the second U.S. president to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868. (Clinton was the third sitting president against whom the House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings since 1789. Articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon were passed by the House Judiciary Committee in 1974 and reported to the full House, but Nixon resigned the Presidency before the impeachment resolutions could be considered.)

Five Democrats (Virgil Goode of Virginia, Ralph Hall of Texas, Paul McHale of Pennsylvania, Charles Stenholm of Texas and Gene Taylor of Mississippi) voted in favor of three of the four articles of impeachment, but only Taylor voted for the abuse of power charge. Five Republicans (Amo Houghton of New York, Peter King of New York, Connie Morella of Maryland, Chris Shays of Connecticut and Mark Souder of Indiana) voted against the first perjury charge. Eight more Republicans (Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Michael Castle of Delaware, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, Jay Kim of California, Jim Leach of Iowa, John McHugh of New York and Ralph Regula of Ohio), but not Souder, voted against the obstruction charge. Twenty-eight Republicans voted against the second perjury charge, sending it to defeat, and eighty-one voted against the abuse of power charge.

Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning:[20]

  1. the nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky
  2. prior false statements he made in the Jones deposition
  3. prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
  4. his attempts to tamper with witnesses

Article III charged Clinton with attempting to obstruct justice in the Jones case by:[21]

  1. encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit
  2. encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify
  3. concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed
  4. attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony
  5. permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky’s affidavit
  6. attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Curie
  7. making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnesses

Acquittal by the Senate[edit]

The Senate trial began on January 7, 1999, with Chief Justice of the United StatesWilliam Rehnquist presiding. The first day consisted of formal presentation of the charges against Clinton, and of Rehnquist swearing in all arguants in the trial.

Thirteen House Republicans from the Judiciary Committee served as "managers", the equivalent of prosecutors:

Clinton was defended by Cheryl Mills. Clinton's counsel staff included Charles Ruff, David E. Kendall, Dale Bumpers, Bruce Lindsey, Nicole Seligman, Lanny A. Breuer and Gregory B. Craig.[22]

A resolution on rules and procedure for the trial was adopted unanimously on the following day; however, senators tabled the question of whether to call witnesses in the trial. The trial remained in recess while briefs were filed by the House (January 11) and Clinton (January 13).

The managers presented their case over three days, from January 14 to 16, with discussion of the facts and background of the case; detailed cases for both articles of impeachment (including excerpts from videotaped grand jury testimony that Clinton had made the previous August); matters of interpretation and application of the laws governing perjury and obstruction of justice; and argument that the evidence and precedents justified removal of the President from office by virtue of "willful, premeditated, deliberate corruption of the nation's system of justice through perjury and obstruction of justice."[23] The defense presentation took place from January 19–21. Clinton's defense counsel argued that Clinton's grand jury testimony had too many inconsistencies to be a clear case of perjury, that the investigation and impeachment had been tainted by partisan political bias, that the President's approval rating of more than 70 percent indicated that his ability to govern had not been impaired by the scandal, and that the managers had ultimately presented "an unsubstantiated, circumstantial case that does not meet the constitutional standard to remove the President from office."[23] January 22 and 23 were devoted to questions from members of the Senate to the House managers and Clinton's defense counsel. Under the rules, all questions (over 150) were to be written down and given to Rehnquist to read to the party being questioned.

On January 25, Sen. Robert Byrd of West Virginia moved for dismissals of both articles of impeachment for lack of merit. On the following day, Rep. Bryant moved to call witnesses to the trial, a question that the Senate had scrupulously avoided to that point. In both cases, the Senate voted to deliberate on the question in private session, rather than public, televised procedure. On January 27, the Senate voted on both motions in public session; the motion to dismiss failed on a nearly party line vote of 56–44, while the motion to depose witnesses passed by the same margin. A day later, the Senate voted down motions to move directly to a vote on the articles of impeachment and to suppress videotaped depositions of the witnesses from public release, Feingold again voting with the Republicans.

Over three days, February 1–3, House managers took videotaped closed-door depositions from Monica Lewinsky, Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan, and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. On February 4, however, the Senate voted 70–30 that excerpting these videotapes would suffice as testimony, rather than calling live witnesses to appear at trial. The videos were played in the Senate on February 6, featuring 30 excerpts of Lewinsky discussing her affidavit in the Paula Jones case, the hiding of small gifts Clinton had given her, and his involvement in procurement of a job for Lewinsky.

On February 8, closing arguments were presented with each side allotted a three-hour time slot. On the President's behalf, White House Counsel Charles Ruff declared:

There is only one question before you, albeit a difficult one, one that is a question of fact and law and constitutional theory. Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the President in office? Putting aside partisan animus, if you can honestly say that it would not, that those liberties are safe in his hands, then you must vote to acquit.[23]

Chief Prosecutor Henry Hyde countered:

A failure to convict will make the statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided, is not all that serious...We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the President...And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and, oh, yes, let right be done."[23]

On February 9, after voting against a public deliberation on the verdict, the Senate began closed-door deliberations instead. On February 12, the Senate emerged from its closed deliberations and voted on the articles of impeachment. A two-thirds vote, 67 votes, would have been necessary to convict and remove the President from office. The perjury charge was defeated with 45 votes for conviction and 55 against.[24] (Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voted "not proved" for both charges,[25] which was considered by Chief Justice Rehnquist to constitute a vote of "not guilty".) The obstruction of justice charge was defeated with 50 for conviction and 50 against.[26]

Senate votes[edit]

All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted "not guilty" on both charges. The five Republican senators who voted against conviction on both charges were John Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Specter, who said he was not prepared to cast a guilty or not guilty vote, voted "not proved", which was counted as a not guilty vote.[27] The additional five Republican senators who voted "not guilty" only on the perjury charge were Slade Gorton of Washington, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Ted Stevens of Alaska, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, and John Warner of Virginia.

StateSenatorPartyPerjury charge vote
of Pres. Clinton
Obstruction of justice
charge vote of Pres. Clinton
MichiganAbraham, SpencerSpencer AbrahamRGuiltyGuilty
HawaiiAkaka, DanielDaniel AkakaDNot guiltyNot guilty
ColoradoAllard, WayneWayne AllardRGuiltyGuilty
MissouriAshcroft, JohnJohn AshcroftRGuiltyGuilty
MontanaBaucus, MaxMax BaucusDNot guiltyNot guilty
IndianaBayh, EvanEvan BayhDNot guiltyNot guilty
UtahBennett, RobertRobert BennettRGuiltyGuilty
DelawareBiden, JoeJoe BidenDNot guiltyNot guilty
New MexicoBingaman, JeffJeff BingamanDNot guiltyNot guilty
MissouriBond, KitKit BondRGuiltyGuilty
CaliforniaBoxer, BarbaraBarbara BoxerDNot guiltyNot guilty
LouisianaBreaux, JohnJohn BreauxDNot guiltyNot guilty
KansasBrownback, SamSam BrownbackRGuiltyGuilty
NevadaBryan, RichardRichard BryanDNot guiltyNot guilty
KentuckyBunning, JimJim BunningRGuiltyGuilty
MontanaBurns, ConradConrad BurnsRGuiltyGuilty
West VirginiaByrd, RobertRobert ByrdDNot guiltyNot guilty
ColoradoNighthorse Campbell, BenBen Nighthorse CampbellRGuiltyGuilty
Rhode IslandChafee, JohnJohn ChafeeRNot guiltyNot guilty
GeorgiaCleland, MaxMax ClelandDNot guiltyNot guilty
MississippiCochran, ThadThad CochranRGuiltyGuilty
MaineCollins, SusanSusan CollinsRNot guiltyNot guilty
North DakotaConrad, KentKent ConradDNot guiltyNot guilty
GeorgiaCoverdell, PaulPaul CoverdellRGuiltyGuilty
IdahoCraig, LarryLarry CraigRGuiltyGuilty
IdahoCrapo, MikeMike CrapoRGuiltyGuilty
South DakotaDaschle, TomTom DaschleDNot guiltyNot guilty
OhioDeWine, MikeMike DeWineRGuiltyGuilty
ConnecticutDodd, ChrisChris DoddDNot guiltyNot guilty
North DakotaDorgan, ByronByron DorganDNot guiltyNot guilty
New MexicoDomenici, PetePete DomeniciRGuiltyGuilty
IllinoisDurbin, DickDick DurbinDNot guiltyNot guilty
North CarolinaEdwards, JohnJohn EdwardsDNot guiltyNot guilty
WyomingEnzi, MikeMike EnziRGuiltyGuilty
WisconsinFeingold, RussRuss FeingoldDNot guiltyNot guilty
CaliforniaFeinstein, DianneDianne FeinsteinDNot guiltyNot guilty
IllinoisFitzgerald, PeterPeter FitzgeraldRGuiltyGuilty
TennesseeFrist, BillBill FristRGuiltyGuilty
WashingtonGorton, SladeSlade GortonRNot guiltyGuilty
FloridaGraham, BobBob GrahamDNot guiltyNot guilty
TexasGramm, PhilPhil GrammRGuiltyGuilty
MinnesotaGrams, RodRod GramsRGuiltyGuilty
IowaGrassley, ChuckChuck GrassleyRGuiltyGuilty
New HampshireGregg, JuddJudd GreggRGuiltyGuilty
NebraskaHagel, ChuckChuck HagelRGuiltyGuilty
IowaHarkin, TomTom HarkinDNot guiltyNot guilty
UtahHatch, OrrinOrrin HatchRGuiltyGuilty
North CarolinaHelms, JesseJesse HelmsRGuiltyGuilty
South CarolinaHollings, ErnestErnest HollingsDNot guiltyNot guilty
ArkansasHutchinson, TimTim HutchinsonRGuiltyGuilty
TexasHutchison, Kay BaileyKay Bailey HutchisonRGuiltyGuilty
OklahomaInhofe, JimJim InhofeRGuiltyGuilty
HawaiiInouye, DanielDaniel InouyeDNot guiltyNot guilty
VermontJeffords, JimJim JeffordsRNot guiltyNot guilty
South DakotaJohnson, TimTim JohnsonDNot guiltyNot guilty
MassachusettsKennedy, TedTed KennedyDNot guiltyNot guilty
NebraskaKerrey, BobBob KerreyDNot guiltyNot guilty
MassachusettsKerry, JohnJohn KerryDNot guiltyNot guilty
WisconsinKohl, HerbHerb KohlDNot guiltyNot guilty
ArizonaKyl, JonJon KylRGuiltyGuilty
LouisianaLandrieu, MaryMary LandrieuDNot guiltyNot guilty
New JerseyLautenberg, FrankFrank LautenbergDNot guiltyNot guilty
VermontLeahy, PatrickPatrick LeahyDNot guiltyNot guilty
MichiganLevin, CarlCarl LevinDNot guiltyNot guilty
ConnecticutLieberman, JoeJoe LiebermanDNot guiltyNot guilty
ArkansasLincoln, BlancheBlanche LincolnDNot guiltyNot guilty
MississippiLott, TrentTrent LottRGuiltyGuilty
IndianaLugar, RichardRichard LugarRGuiltyGuilty
FloridaMack III, ConnieConnie Mack IIIRGuiltyGuilty
ArizonaMcCain, JohnJohn McCainRGuiltyGuilty
KentuckyMcConnell, MitchMitch McConnellRGuiltyGuilty
MarylandMikulski, BarbaraBarbara MikulskiDNot guiltyNot guilty
New YorkPatrick Moynihan, DanielDaniel Patrick MoynihanDNot guiltyNot guilty
AlaskaMurkowski, FrankFrank MurkowskiRGuiltyGuilty
WashingtonMurray, PattyPatty MurrayDNot guiltyNot guilty
OklahomaNickles, DonDon NicklesRGuiltyGuilty
Rhode IslandReed, JackJack ReedDNot guiltyNot guilty
NevadaReid, HarryHarry ReidDNot guiltyNot guilty
VirginiaRobb, CharlesCharles RobbDNot guiltyNot guilty
KansasRoberts, PatPat RobertsRGuiltyGuilty
West VirginiaRockefeller, JayJay RockefellerDNot guiltyNot guilty
DelawareRoth, Jr., William V.William V. Roth, Jr.RGuiltyGuilty
PennsylvaniaSantorum, RickRick SantorumRGuiltyGuilty
MarylandSarbanes, PaulPaul SarbanesDNot guiltyNot guilty
New YorkSchumer, ChuckChuck SchumerDNot guiltyNot guilty
AlabamaSessions, JeffJeff SessionsRGuiltyGuilty
AlabamaShelby, RichardRichard ShelbyRNot guiltyGuilty
New HampshireSmith, Robert C.Robert C. SmithRGuiltyGuilty
OregonSmith, GordonGordon SmithRGuiltyGuilty
MaineSnowe, OlympiaOlympia SnoweRNot guiltyNot guilty
PennsylvaniaSpecter, ArlenArlen SpecterRNot proved*Not proved*
AlaskaStevens, TedTed StevensRNot guiltyGuilty
WyomingThomas, Craig L.Craig L. ThomasRGuiltyGuilty
TennesseeThompson, FredFred ThompsonRNot guiltyGuilty
South CarolinaThurmond, StromStrom ThurmondRGuiltyGuilty
New JerseyTorricelli, RobertRobert TorricelliDNot guiltyNot guilty
VirginiaWarner, JohnJohn WarnerRNot guiltyGuilty
OhioVoinovich, GeorgeGeorge VoinovichRGuiltyGuilty
MinnesotaWellstone, PaulPaul WellstoneDNot guiltyNot guilty
OregonWyden, RonRon WydenDNot guiltyNot guilty
Total Votes:Not Guilty: 55; Guilty: 45Not Guilty: 50; Guilty: 50

Notes: D = Democrat; R = Republican

* = Specter announced his vote as "not proved," a verdict used in Scots law. His vote was recorded as "not guilty" at the direction of the Chief Justice.

Results[edit]

Contempt of court citation[edit]

In April 1999, about two months after being acquitted by the Senate, Clinton was cited by Federal District JudgeSusan Webber Wright for civil contempt of court for his "willful failure" to obey her repeated orders to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. For this citation, Clinton was assessed a $90,000 fine, and the matter was referred to the Arkansas Supreme Court to see if disciplinary action would be appropriate.[28]

Regarding Clinton's January 17, 1998, deposition where he was placed under oath, the judge wrote:

Simply put, the president's deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky was intentionally false, and his statements regarding whether he had ever engaged in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky likewise were intentionally false....[28]

On the day before leaving office in January 2001, President Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansaslaw license as part of an agreement with the independent counsel[clarification needed] to end the investigation.[29] Clinton was automatically suspended from the United States Supreme Court bar as a result of his law license suspension. However, as is customary, he was allowed 40 days to appeal an otherwise-automatic disbarment. The former President resigned from the Supreme Court bar during the 40 day appeals period.[30]

Civil settlement with Paula Jones[edit]

Eventually, the court dismissed the Paula Jones harassment lawsuit, before trial, on the grounds that Jones failed to demonstrate any damages. However, while the dismissal was on appeal, Clinton entered into an out-of-court settlement by agreeing to pay Jones $850,000.[31][32]

Political ramifications[edit]

Polls conducted during 1998 and early 1999 showed that only about one-third of Americans supported Clinton's impeachment or conviction. However, one year later, when it was clear that House impeachment would not lead to the ousting of the President, half of Americans said in a CNN/USA Today

Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. House managers are seated beside the quarter-circular tables on the left and the president's personal counsel on the right.
Two tickets for Bill Clinton's impeachment trial, January 14–15, 1999
The robe worn by Chief JusticeWilliam Rehnquist during the proceedings won some media attention for the distinctive gold stripes, which were inspired by a costume from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe.
Opponents of Clinton's impeachment demonstrating outside the Capitol in December 1998

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