Impeachment of Bill Clinton

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Impeachment of Bill Clinton
Senate in session.jpg
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.
AccusedBill Clinton, President of the United States
DateDecember 19, 1998 (1998-12-19) to February 12, 1999 (1999-02-12)
OutcomeImpeached by the House of Representatives;
Acquitted by the U.S. Senate, remained in office
ChargesPerjury (2), obstruction of justice, abuse of power
Congressional votes
Voting in the U.S. House of Representatives
AccusationPerjury / grand jury
Votes in favor228
Votes against206
ResultApproved
AccusationPerjury / Jones case
Votes in favor205
Votes against229
ResultRejected
AccusationObstruction of justice
Votes in favor221
Votes against212
ResultApproved
AccusationAbuse of power
Votes in favor148
Votes against284
ResultRejected
Voting in the U.S. Senate
AccusationArticle I – perjury / grand jury
Votes in favor45 "guilty"
Votes against55 "not guilty"
ResultAcquitted (67 "guilty" votes necessary for a conviction)
AccusationArticle II – obstruction of justice
Votes in favor50 "guilty"
Votes against50 "not guilty"
ResultAcquitted (67 "guilty" votes necessary for a conviction)

The impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated on October 8, 1998, when the United States House of Representatives voted to commence impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors". The specific charges against Clinton were lying under oath and obstruction of justice. The charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones and from Clinton's testimony denying that he had engaged in a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The catalyst for the president's impeachment was the Starr Report, a September 1998 report prepared by Independent Counsel Ken Starr for the House Judiciary Committee.[1]

On December 19, 1998, Clinton became the second American president to be impeached (the first being Andrew Johnson, who was impeached in 1868), when the House formally adopted two articles of impeachment and forwarded them to the United States Senate for adjudication; two other articles were considered, but were rejected.[a] A trial in the Senate began in January 1999, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. On February 12, Clinton was acquitted on both counts as neither received the necessary two-thirds majority vote of the senators present for conviction and removal from office—in this instance 67. On Article One, 45 senators voted to convict while 55 voted for acquittal. On Article Two, 50 senators voted to convict while 50 voted for acquittal.[3] Clinton remained in office for the remainder of his second term.[4]

Background[edit]

In 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was governor of Arkansas.[5] Clinton attempted to delay a trial until after he left office, but in May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously rejected Clinton's claim that the Constitution immunized him from civil lawsuits, and shortly thereafter the pre-trial discovery process commenced.[6]

Jones's attorneys wanted to prove Clinton had engaged in a pattern of behavior with women who supported 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 those recordings, Lewinsky divulged that she had had a sexual relationship with Clinton. Tripp shared this information with Jones's lawyers, who added Lewinsky to their witness list in December 1997. According to the Starr Report, a U.S. federal government report written by appointed Independent Counsel Ken Starr on his investigation of President Clinton, after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship. Some of the steps he took included suggesting to Lewinsky that she file a false affidavit to misdirect the investigation, encouraging her to use cover stories, concealing gifts he had given her, and attempting to help her find gainful employment to try to influence her testimony.[citation needed]

In a January 17, 1998 sworn deposition, Clinton denied having a "sexual relationship", "sexual affair", or "sexual relations" with Lewinsky.[7] His lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, stated with Clinton present that Lewinsky's affidavit showed 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 Currie into repeating his denials should she be called to testify.

After rumors of the scandal reached the news, Clinton publicly said, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."[8] But months later, Clinton admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was "wrong" and "not appropriate". Lewinsky engaged in oral sex with Clinton several times.[9][10]

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. After Jones appealed, Clinton agreed in November 1998 to settle the case for $850,000 while still admitting no wrongdoing.[11]

Independent counsel investigation[edit]

The charges arose from an investigation by Ken Starr, an Independent Counsel.[12] With the approval of United States Attorney General Janet Reno, Starr conducted a wide-ranging investigation of alleged abuses, including the Whitewater controversy, 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 Jones's 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 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."[13] 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 Starr Report, which was released to the public via the Internet a few days later and included descriptions of encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky.[14] Starr was criticized by Democrats for spending $70 million on the investigation.[15] 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 and irrelevant to the legal case.[16][17]

Impeachment by House of Representatives[edit]

December 18, 1998: The House continued debate on four articles of impeachment against President Clinton for perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power.

The Republican controlled House of Representatives decided with a bipartisan vote of 258–176 (31 Democrats joined Republicans) to commence impeachment proceedings against Clinton on October 8, 1998.[18] 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 held no serious impeachment-related hearings before the 1998 midterm elections. Impeachment was one of the major issues in those elections.

Political context[edit]

In the November 1998 House elections, the Democrats picked up five seats in the House, but the Republicans still maintained majority control. The results went against what House Speaker Newt Gingrich predicted, 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. Shortly after the elections, Gingrich, who had been one of the leading advocates for impeachment, announced he would resign from Congress as soon as he was able to find somebody to fill his vacant seat;[19][20] Gingrich fulfilled this pledge, and officially resigned from Congress on January 3, 1999.[21]

Impeachment proceedings were held 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.[22] In the same speech, Livingston also encouraged Clinton to resign. Clinton chose to remain in office and urged Livingston to reconsider his resignation.[23] Many other prominent Republican members of Congress (including Dan Burton,[22] Helen Chenoweth,[22] and Henry Hyde,[22] 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.[22]

House of Representatives impeachment votes[edit]

On December 11, 1998, the House Judiciary Committee agreed to send three articles of impeachment to the full House for consideration. The vote on two articles, grand jury perjury and obstruction of justice, was 21–17, both along party lines. On the third, perjury in the Paula Jones case, the committee voted 20–18, with Republican Lindsey Graham joining with Democrats, in order to give President Clinton "the legal benefit of the doubt".[24] The next day, December 12, the committee agreed to send a fourth and final article, for abuse of power, to the full House by a 21–17 vote, again, along party lines.[25]

Although proceedings were delayed due to the bombing of Iraq, on the passage of H. Res. 611, Clinton was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998 on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (first article, 228–206)[26] and obstruction of justice (third article, 221–212).[27] The two other articles were rejected, the count of perjury in the Jones case (second article, 205–229)[28] and abuse of power (fourth article, 148–285).[29] Clinton thus became the second U.S. president to be impeached; the first, Andrew Johnson, was impeached in 1868.[30][31] The only other previous U.S. president to be the subject of formal House impeachment proceedings was Richard Nixon in 1973–74. The Judiciary Committee agreed to a resolution containing three articles of impeachment in July 1974, but Nixon resigned from office soon thereafter, before the House took up the resolution.[32]

H. Res. 611 – Impeaching President Bill Clinton
December 19, 1998
First article
(perjury / grand jury)
Party Total votes[26]
Democratic Republican Independent
Yea black tickY 005 223 000 228
Nay 200 005 001 206
Second article
(perjury / Jones case)
Party Total votes[28]
Democratic Republican Independent
Yea 005 200 000 205
Nay black tickY 200 028 001 229
Third article
(obstruction of justice)
Party Total votes[27]
Democratic Republican Independent
Yea black tickY 005 216 000 221
Nay 199 012 001 212
Fourth article
(abuse of power)
Party Total votes[29]
Democratic Republican Independent
Yea 001 147 000 148
Nay black tickY 203 081 001 285

Five Democrats (Virgil Goode, Ralph Hall, Paul McHale, Charles Stenholm and Gene Taylor) 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, Peter King, Connie Morella, Chris Shays and Mark Souder) voted against the first perjury charge. Eight more Republicans (Sherwood Boehlert, Michael Castle, Phil English, Nancy Johnson, Jay Kim, Jim Leach, John McHugh and Ralph Regula), 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.

Articles referred to Senate[edit]

Article I, charging Clinton with perjury, alleged in part that:

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.[33][34]

Article II, charging Clinton with obstruction of justice alleged in part that:

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

  1. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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. ... 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.[33][35]

Senate trial[edit]

Tickets dated January 14 and 15, 1999, for President Bill Clinton's impeachment trial

Pretrial[edit]

The Senate trial began on January 7, 1999, with Chief Justice of the United States William 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: Henry Hyde (chairman), Jim Sensenbrenner, Bill McCollum, George Gekas, Charles Canady, Steve Buyer, Ed Bryant, Steve Chabot, Bob Barr, Asa Hutchinson, Chris Cannon, James E. Rogan and Lindsey Graham.

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.[36]

A resolution on rules and procedure for the trial was adopted unanimously on the following day;[37] 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).[38][39]

Testimony[edit]

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".[40] The defense presentation took place 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 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".[40] 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, Senator Robert Byrd moved for dismissals of both articles of impeachment for lack of merit. On the following day, Representative Bryant moved to call witnesses to the trial, a question 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, Senator Russ 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.[41] 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.[40]

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.[40]

Verdict[edit]

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 on either charge and remove the President from office. The perjury charge was defeated with 45 votes for conviction and 55 against, and the obstruction of justice charge was defeated with 50 for conviction and 50 against.[3][42][43] Senator Arlen Specter voted "not proved"[b] for both charges,[44] which was considered by Chief Justice Rehnquist to constitute a vote of "not guilty". All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted "not guilty" on both charges, as did five Republicans; they were joined by five additional Republicans in voting "not guilty" on the perjury charge.[3][42][43]

Robe worn by Chief Justice William Rehnquist during the impeachment trial
Congressional Record page, February 12, 1999, opening of the final day of the impeachment trial
Articles of Impeachment, U.S. Senate judgement
(67 "guilty" votes necessary for a conviction)
Article One
(perjury / grand jury)
Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Guilty 00 45 45
Not guilty black tickY 45 10 55
Article Two
(obstruction of justice)
Party Total votes
Democratic Republican
Guilty 00 50 50
Not guilty black tickY 45 05 50
Roll call votes on the Articles of Impeachment
Senator Party–state Article One
vote
Article Two
vote
Spencer Abraham
R–MI
Guilty Guilty
Daniel Akaka
D–HI
Not guilty Not guilty
Wayne Allard
R–CO
Guilty Guilty
John Ashcroft
R–MO
Guilty Guilty
Max Baucus
D–MT
Not guilty Not guilty
Evan Bayh
D–IN
Not guilty Not guilty
Bob Bennett
R–UT
Guilty Guilty
Joe Biden
D–DE
Not guilty Not guilty
Jeff Bingaman
D–NM
Not guilty Not guilty
Kit Bond
R–MO
Guilty Guilty
Barbara Boxer
D–CA
Not guilty Not guilty
John Breaux
D–LA
Not guilty Not guilty
Sam Brownback
R–KS
Guilty Guilty
Richard Bryan
D–NV
Not guilty Not guilty
Jim Bunning
R–KY
Guilty Guilty
Conrad Burns
R–MT
Guilty Guilty
Robert Byrd
D–WV
Not guilty Not guilty
Ben Nighthorse Campbell
R–CO
Guilty Guilty
John Chafee
R–RI
Not guilty Not guilty
Max Cleland
D–GA
Not guilty Not guilty
Thad Cochran
R–MS
Guilty Guilty
Susan Collins
R–ME
Not guilty Not guilty
Kent Conrad
D–ND
Not guilty Not guilty
Paul Coverdell
R–GA
Guilty Guilty
Larry Craig
R–ID
Guilty Guilty
Mike Crapo
R–ID
Guilty Guilty
Tom Daschle
D–SD
Not guilty Not guilty
Mike DeWine
R–OH
Guilty Guilty
Chris Dodd
D–CT
Not guilty Not guilty
Byron Dorgan
D–ND
Not guilty Not guilty
Pete Domenici
R–NM
Guilty Guilty
Dick Durbin
D–IL
Not guilty Not guilty
John Edwards
D–NC
Not guilty Not guilty
Mike Enzi
R–WY
Guilty Guilty
Russ Feingold
D–WI
Not guilty Not guilty
Dianne Feinstein
D–CA
Not guilty Not guilty
Peter Fitzgerald
R–IL
Guilty Guilty
Bill Frist
R–TN
Guilty Guilty
Slade Gorton
R–WA
Not guilty Guilty
Bob Graham
D–FL
Not guilty Not guilty
Phil Gramm
R–TX
Guilty Guilty
Rod Grams
R–MN
Guilty Guilty
Chuck Grassley
R–IA
Guilty Guilty
Judd Gregg
R–NH
Guilty Guilty
Chuck Hagel
R–NE
Guilty Guilty
Tom Harkin
D–IA
Not guilty Not guilty
Orrin Hatch
R–UT
Guilty Guilty
Jesse Helms
R–NC
Guilty Guilty
Fritz Hollings
D–SC
Not guilty Not guilty
Tim Hutchinson
R–AR
Guilty Guilty
Kay Bailey Hutchison
R–TX
Guilty Guilty
Jim Inhofe
R–OK
Guilty Guilty
Daniel Inouye
D–HI
Not guilty Not guilty
Jim Jeffords
R–VT
Not guilty Not guilty
Tim Johnson
D–SD
Not guilty Not guilty
Ted Kennedy
D–MA
Not guilty Not guilty
Bob Kerrey
D–NE
Not guilty Not guilty
John Kerry
D–MA
Not guilty Not guilty
Herb Kohl
D–WI
Not guilty Not guilty
Jon Kyl
R–AZ
Guilty Guilty
Mary Landrieu
D–LA
Not guilty Not guilty
Frank Lautenberg
D–NJ
Not guilty Not guilty
Patrick Leahy
D–VT
Not guilty Not guilty
Carl Levin
D–MI
Not guilty Not guilty
Joe Lieberman
D–CT
Not guilty Not guilty
Blanche Lincoln
D–AR
Not guilty Not guilty
Trent Lott
R–MS
Guilty Guilty
Richard Lugar
R–IN
Guilty Guilty
Connie Mack III
R–FL
Guilty Guilty
John McCain
R–AZ
Guilty Guilty
Mitch McConnell
R–KY
Guilty Guilty
Barbara Mikulski
D–MD
Not guilty Not guilty
Daniel Patrick Moynihan
D–NY
Not guilty Not guilty
Frank Murkowski
R–AK
Guilty Guilty
Patty Murray
D–WA
Not guilty Not guilty
Don Nickles
R–OK
Guilty Guilty
Jack Reed
D–RI
Not guilty Not guilty
Harry Reid
D–NV
Not guilty Not guilty
Chuck Robb
D–VA
Not guilty Not guilty
Pat Roberts
R–KS
Guilty Guilty
Jay Rockefeller
D–WV
Not guilty Not guilty
William Roth
R–DE
Guilty Guilty
Rick Santorum
R–PA
Guilty Guilty
Paul Sarbanes
D–MD
Not guilty Not guilty
Chuck Schumer
D–NY
Not guilty Not guilty
Jeff Sessions
R–AL
Guilty Guilty
Richard Shelby
R–AL
Not guilty Guilty
Bob Smith
R–NH
Guilty Guilty
Gordon H. Smith
R–OR
Guilty Guilty
Olympia Snowe
R–ME
Not guilty Not guilty
Arlen Specter
R–PA
Not guilty Not guilty
Ted Stevens
R–AK
Not guilty Guilty
Craig L. Thomas
R–WY
Guilty Guilty
Fred Thompson
R–TN
Not guilty Guilty
Strom Thurmond
R–SC
Guilty Guilty
Robert Torricelli
D–NJ
Not guilty Not guilty
John Warner
R–VA
Not guilty Guilty
George Voinovich
R–OH
Guilty Guilty
Paul Wellstone
D–MN
Not guilty Not guilty
Ron Wyden
D–OR
Not guilty Not guilty

Sources: [45][46][47]

Subsequent events[edit]

Contempt of court citation[edit]

In April 1999, about two months after being acquitted by the Senate, Clinton was cited by federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright for civil contempt of court for his "willful failure" to obey her orders to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. For this, 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.[48]

Regarding Clinton's January 17, 1998, deposition where he was placed under oath, Webber Wright 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.[48]

On the day before leaving office on January 20, 2001, Clinton, in what amounted to a plea bargain, agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license and to pay a $25,000 fine as part of an agreement with independent counsel Robert Ray to end the investigation without the filing of any criminal charges for perjury or obstruction of justice.[49][50] 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 the otherwise automatic disbarment. Clinton resigned from the Supreme Court bar during the 40-day appeals period.[51]

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.[52][53]

Political ramifications[edit]

Opponents of Clinton's impeachment demonstrating outside the Capitol in December 1998

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 impeachment would not lead to the ousting of the President, half of Americans said in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that they supported impeachment but 57% approved of the Senate's decision to keep him in office and two thirds of those polled said the impeachment was harmful to the country.[54]

While Clinton's job approval rating rose during the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment, his poll numbers with regard to questions of honesty, integrity and moral character declined.[55] As a result, "moral character" and "honesty" weighed heavily in the next presidential election. According to The Daily Princetonian, after the 2000 presidential election, "post-election polls found that, in the wake of Clinton-era scandals, the single most significant reason people voted for Bush was for his moral character."[56][57][58] According to an analysis of the election by Stanford University:

A more political explanation is the belief in Gore campaign circles that disapproval of President Clinton's personal behavior was a serious threat to the vice president's prospects. Going into the election the one negative element in the public's perception of the state of the nation was the belief that the country was morally on the wrong track, whatever the state of the economy or world affairs. According to some insiders, anything done to raise the association between Gore and Clinton would have produced a net loss of support—the impact of Clinton's personal negatives would outweigh the positive impact of his job performance on support for Gore. Thus, hypothesis four suggests that a previously unexamined variable played a major role in 2000—the retiring president's personal approval.[59]

The Stanford analysis, however, presented different theories and mainly argued that Gore had lost because he decided to distance himself from Clinton during the campaign. The writers of it concluded:[59]

We find that Gore's oft-criticized personality was not a cause of his under-performance. Rather, the major cause was his failure to receive a historically normal amount of credit for the performance of the Clinton administration ... [and] failure to get normal credit reflected Gore's peculiar campaign which in turn reflected fear of association with Clinton's behavior.[59]

According to the America's Future Foundation:

In the wake of the Clinton scandals, independents warmed to Bush's promise to 'restore honor and dignity to the White House'. According to Voter News Service, the personal quality that mattered most to voters was 'honesty'. Voters who chose 'honesty' preferred Bush over Gore by over a margin of five to one. Forty Four percent of Americans said the Clinton scandals were important to their vote. Of these, Bush reeled in three out of every four.[60]

Political commentators have argued that Gore's refusal to have Clinton campaign with him was a bigger liability to Gore than Clinton's scandals.[59][61][62][63][64] The 2000 U.S. Congressional election also saw the Democrats gain more seats in Congress.[65] As a result of this gain, control of the Senate was split 50–50 between both parties,[66] and Democrats would gain control over the Senate after Republican Senator Jim Jeffords defected from his party in early 2001 and agreed to caucus with the Democrats.[67]

Al Gore reportedly confronted Clinton after the election, and "tried to explain that keeping Clinton under wraps [during the campaign] was a rational response to polls showing swing voters were still mad as hell over the Year of Monica". According to the AP, "during the one-on-one meeting at the White House, which lasted more than an hour, Gore used uncommonly blunt language to tell Clinton that his sex scandal and low personal approval ratings were a hurdle he could not surmount in his campaign ... [with] the core of the dispute was Clinton's lies to Gore and the nation about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky."[68][69][70] Clinton, however, was unconvinced by Gore's argument and insisted to Gore that he would have won the election if he had embraced the administration and its good economic record.[68][69][70]

Ensuing events for House managers[edit]

Of the 13 members of the House who managed Clinton's trial in the Senate, one lost to a Democrat in his 2000 bid for re-election (James E. Rogan, to Adam Schiff). Charles Canady retired from Congress in 2000, following through on a previous term limits pledge to voters, and Bill McCollum ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. Asa Hutchinson, after being re-elected in 2000, left Congress after being appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Administration by President George W. Bush. In 2014, Hutchinson was elected governor of Arkansas. In 2002, two former House managers lost their seats after redistricting placed them in the same district as another incumbent (Bob Barr lost to John Linder in a Republican primary, and George Gekas lost to Democrat Tim Holden), while two more ran for the U.S. Senate (Lindsey Graham successfully, Ed Bryant unsuccessfully). The other five remained in the House well into the 2000s, and two (Jim Sensenbrenner and Steve Chabot) are still members (although Chabot lost his seat to Steve Driehaus in the 2008 elections, Chabot defeated Driehaus in a 2010 rematch). In 2009, Sensenbrenner served again as a manager for the impeachment of Judge Samuel B. Kent of Texas[71] as well as serving in 2010 as Republican lead manager in the impeachment of Judge Thomas Porteous of Louisiana.[72]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Prior to Bill Clinton, the only other U.S. president aside from Andrew Johnson to be the subject of formal House impeachment proceedings was Richard Nixon in 1973–74, but he resigned from the presidency on August 9, 1974, before the House voted on his impeachment.[2]
  2. ^ a verdict used in Scots law

References[edit]

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    That is my verdict: not proved. The President has dodged perjury by calculated evasion and poor interrogation. Obstruction of justice fails by gaps in the proofs.
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External links[edit]