tv President Bill Clinton Impeachment - House Floor Debate CSPAN December 15, 2019 10:33am-12:01pm EST
seniority tend to be more in favor of it. >> this is pure speculation, but it may play a role in mac
thornberry's decision to leave congress, that eventually he will not be in a leadership position. >> thanks for being with us on newsmakers. we appreciate it. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> a busy agenda for the house next week. on tuesday, members are expected to work on a government funding bill. on wednesday, they plan to take up articles of impeachment against president trump and hold a final vote, which would hold up a trial in the senate. later in the week, the u.s.-mexico-canada trade agreement. follow coverage of the house on
c-span. >> next, a look back at the 1998-1999 impeachment of president bill clinton. we will show you a portion
of the u.s. house floor debate on four articles of impeachment. the house voted to approve two of those articles, making bill clinton the second president in u.s. history impeached since andrew johnson in 1868. steve: on december 18 and 19th, 1998, the house of representatives taking up articles of impeachment against present bill clinton. we will show you highlights coming up in a moment. first, explain how the articles move from the house to to share committed the floor within a week. alexis: they pass out of the house judiciary committee. there was lots of discussion about what the rules would be.
obviously for this entire inquiry. the rules meaning, what the investigation be limited? and the house judiciary committee had already undertaken that and had established that the inquiry could really run very widely. it was not going to be limited to just a certain number of witnesses or certain number of days or even just to the monica lewinsky question. they gave themselves wide running room. democrats fought to keep that from happening. but the rules were established. and the committee you know, because our memory is that in 21-16 party line vote, the republicans were in control of the committee and they were the ones guiding it and moved pretty swiftly. and the house floor was ready to take it up under the republican leadership of the house at the time. steve: we remember so much drama. we literally went through three speakers within a couple of days. first the resignation of speaker
newt gingrich. bob livingston became the next in line. then what happened? alexis: there was a scramble to figure out. some of bob livingston's allies try to talk him out of it. it was interesting because he had made the decision to resign with some agony. steve: and he resigned because? alexis: he resigned because there was a full on press and the democratic world and larry flynt was asking for anyone to come forward with information about any of the republicans who were involved in impeachment who had had extramarital relations for themselves. and it became reported and he understood that larry flynt was going to publish this, that he had had indiscretions in his own marital life. >> to my colleagues, my friends and most especially to my wife and family, i have hurt you all
deeply and i beg your forgiveness. i was prepared to lead our narrow majority as speaker and i believe i had it in me to do a fine job. but i cannot do that job. alexis: he was not the only there were other house members. one. there was even a house member who confessed to his wife, absolutely certain that it was going to be published and it never was so he had fessed up to his wife proactively, trying to head off what he thought was going to be a disaster. and when president clinton and his defenders knew that there were a variety of house members at the time who had a reputation for stepping out on their family relationships, that were not expected. in this case, denny hastert became the speaker after livingston was drafted unexpectedly.
he took some time to think about it. initially he said no, he did not want to do it and he was talking to doing it. he prayed about it and said he would do it. he was the unexpected and reluctant speaker. and then of course, we understood heading into the holidays that there was this terrain of everyone celebrating the end of the year and holidays. i remember at the white house, there was an annual christmas press party in which the press corps was invited. it was an odd event, because the president did not show up. that would have been very strange. lady,y clinton, the first did it by herself and she looked very unhappy in the line meeting with the press. her feeling was she was angry at
her husband, but she was also very angry at the news media, as well. aeve: if you could, put his career. alexis: he had been a very quiet coach earlier in his life. he left office and became a parent through a legal case that he had been paying black male ackmail money to what had been a young man, student, or someone he had coached and had improper sexual relations with the men and had been paying big money for a long time, lying about it, and he ended up being prosecuted and convicted for the money that he had paid.
steve: let's go back to december of 1998. democrats were putting forth a strategy of censure, not impeachment. alexis: there were a lot of efforts to think of a way to punish the president that would stop short of impeachment? there were a couple of efforts. one was trying to encourage the house republicans into the revolution of censure. there was a rejection out of hand, because republicans argued it is meaningless in the large scheme of things, and they were so grave, he deserved to be removed from office. at the very least, a vote of impeachment, which had only happened once before because richard nixon had resigned before the house impeached him or could impeach him.
they said it would be a lasting legacy no matter what happened in the senate. that didn't go very far. it came back in the senate, which was interesting. there was also discussion about whether it was worth it to argue the articles of impeachment being dismissed. that came up in the senate. if it would be worth filing a motion to have it all dismissed. there were a lot of efforts to talk about ways to punish the president without actually impeaching him. the house republicans were absolutely determined to move ahead and made it clear they wanted to. which is my follow-up question, why? what was motivating them? what was the gop strategy? alexis: in the world they lived in, the president's behavior was so offensive, and a lot of these lawmakers were in districts where bill clinton was not
necessarily as popular as he was nationwide or polls suggested. looking back on it, the view of the house republican managers was not in sync of where the public was about the president's personal behavior, or his personal failings, because they were willing to see this as a personal misbehavior of a sexual sort that was really part of his family relationship. it was a responsibility of him to his family, not necessarily the american people. instead, the house republicans felt it was a violation of his oath of office and he had done damage to the nation. and that he deserved to be punished for it. steve: what can you remember of the floor debate in the house? alexis: it was very vigorous, but it
also showcased the stark differences that were argued. since the democrats were able to put up a defense with the democratic talking points, which zealots,publicans were it was a coup, an effort to get back at clinton for his reelection. republicans were offering a passionate and determined argument that he had violated the morality of the nation, his constitutional oath of office, and there was a lot of passion. debate, ae is that portion of it from the house of , representatives. this network within in its 19th year, from december of 1998 the floor debate over the impeachment of president clinton. impeachingtion william jefferson clinton,
president of united states for high crimes and misdemeanors. >> pursuant to the order of the house on friday, the resolution is debatable for one additional hour. equally divided between the gentleman from illinois and the gentleman from michigan. >> i am pleased to recognize gentlelady from california for one minute. >> the gentlewoman from california is recognized for one minute. >> i strongly impose these articles of impeachment at this undemocratic process. this process and this action are the real crimes against the american people and our democracy. ans march two impeachment is attempt to undo and overthrow a duly elected president and ignores the will of the people. denying a vote on censure creates the appearance of one-party autocracy, which we condemn abroad, and history has proven it can lead to authoritarian rule.
this republican party coup underscores their only goal is to turn back the clock on an agenda that puts people first. an agenda that will want to cancel policies that value and support basic human rights, such as a woman's right to choose. a good public education instead of vouchers that insists on a living wage for working men and women that protects our environment, supports the bill of rights, and social security is preserved. the republican process is cynical and dangerous. it will be recorded that they stood on the wrong side of history. we must restore public trust and establish a congress that communicates respect for the people of the u.s., the constitution, and democracy. >> gentleman from illinois. [applause] >> >> gentleman from illinois. >> i yield one minute to the gentleman from south carolina, mr. lindsey graham. >> gentleman from south carolina is recognized for one minute.
>> ladies and gentlemen of the house, there's a long and difficult process -- >> the house will be in order. >> ladies and gentlemen, this long and difficult process for all of us in the house is almost with inclusion. 25 years ago, a democratic controlled judiciary committee with a minority of republicans reported articles , of impeachment against richard nixon. why? nixon cheated. he cheated the electoral system by concealing efforts of a political break in. his people thought the other side deserved to be cheated. they thought his enemies deserved to be mistreated. ladies and gentlemen, they were wrong. today, republicans, with a small handful of democrats, will vote to impeach president clinton. why? because we believe he committed
crimes resulting in cheating our legal system. we believe he lied under oath numerous times, that he tempered with evidence, conspired to present false testimony to a court of law. we believe he has sullied our legal system in every way. any president who cheats our institutions shall be impeached. >> i'm pleased to recognize now the gentleman from wisconsin. >> like all my colleagues, i've spent a great deal of time carefully reviewing the judiciary committee testimony of evidence. let me make absolutely clear i do not condone the behavior of the president, but the framers need clear the constitutional act of impeachment is not meant to punish a president for deplorable behavior, but to protect our nation from acts which jeopardize our democratic
system. what the president did was wrong morally, but it does not threaten our democracy or rise to the level of impeachable offenses as defined by our founding fathers in our constitution. i do believe the president should be held accountable for his actions and support an alternative impeachment that would condemn his actions and find him. a censure resolution that is being denied the opportunity to debate and vote on today. our founding fathers designed impeachment specifically to protect the nation from grave harm. the chief executive will clearly endanger our constitutional democracy. i do not believe the president's actions meet this test. the penalty for his misconduct should not be exacted through impeachment, but through our criminal court system and stern censure by this congress. >> i'm pleased to yield two
minutes to the distinguished gentleman from louisiana, mr. livingston. >> gentleman from louisiana is recognized for two minutes. >> without objection. mr. speaker, i rise with the that this debate will be put aside and all members will return to their families for the holidays mindful of what has been done here. we as agents of principal. we have fulfilled our duty to our magnificent constitution. yes, our young men and women in the uniformed armed services have in the last few days set about the task of ridding the earth of the threat of weapons of mass destruction in the hands of an enemy of civilization, saddam hussein. and they have performed their tasks
fortitude that we may freely engage in this most unpleasant aspect of self-government as was envisioned by our forefathers. i very much regret the hostility that has been bred in the halls of congress for the last months and years. i want so very much to pacify and cool our raging tempers and return to an era where differences were confined to the debate and not personal attack or assassination of character. i'm proud to serve in this institution. i respect every member of this body. each of us stands here because a majority of roughly 600,000 people had the confidence to best us with this authority to act as their agents in a representative democracy. when given the chance, we often find that aside from political and partisan differences, we
have much in common with one another. we never discover what the common ground may be when the gulf between the sides of this narrow aisle. the debate has done nothing to bring us together. i greatly regret it has become quite literally the opening gambit of the intended livingston speakership. i mostly would have written a different scenario had i had the chance. but we are all pawns on the chessboard and we are playing parts in the drama that is neither fiction nor unimportant. indeed it is of utmost significance in american history. my desire to create an environment for healing must take lesser precedents, but we must find the search for responsibility, duty, and justice within the format provided by the u.s.
constitution. i believe we are in active pursuit on these goals, and i give great credit to chairman hyde and mr. conyers. mr. tom mooney and all of the members of staff, the deliberate and conscientious effort on this most difficult task. we are nearing completion and however the vote turns out, no one may say that we owned up to our constitutional responsibility as members of congress in a careful, respectful, and insightful debate. much credit is due to our presiding officer, who has done an outstanding job. [applause] >> ladies and gentlemen, we
differ on process. the minority believes we acted hastily and omitted an alternative from the options available for consideration. we in the majority believe we have properly begun the debate after setting aside a day to honor and praise our troops for the effort they're extending on our behalf. general swarts cough, the commander of the troop in iraq several years ago agreed with us on msnbc. we believe the constitution invasion not be part of the debate on whether or not to impeach the president. we are supported by comments by then majority leader tip o'neill during the nixon impeachment proceedings. there are differences and processes. what about substance? the minority has maintained the president has not perjured himself, and even if he did, search perjury was not in high
crimes and misdemeanors delineated in article two, section four of our constitution. surely no president has been impeached for perjury, but three federal judges have been impeached and convicted under the perjury statutes. perjury, a felony punishable by up to five years in the penitentiary is a crime for which the president may be held accountable matter the circumstances. perjury is a felony, and 116 people are serving time in federal prison as we speak for perjury. yes, there have been several instances of people going to prison following convictions for perjury involving lies under oath, under sexual circumstances. the average citizen knows that he or she must not lie under oath. ms. christine sims of rockville
, maryland of the judiciary committee two weeks ago said "i too was called upon to give answers under oath and in derogatory's during a civil proceeding. truthful answers to those questions would be embarrassing to me. and what i knew exposed me to criticism and had a potential to ruin my life, particularly as it related to my children, whom i love very much. in short, i was scared to tell the truth. however, i did just that. i could not lie, when i was sworn to tell the truth, no matter the risk or degree of temptation to take the easy way out. parts of my life have been difficult since that time because elements of that testimony have been used to scorn me. i as a common citizen was compelled by my conscience to tell the truth." yes, our nation is founded on
law, and not the whim of men. there is no divine right of residence. a president is an ordinary citizen vested with the power to govern and sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the u.s. constitution. inherent in that oath is a responsibility to live within its laws, with no higher or lower expectations than the average citizen. when the president appeared at the deposition of ms. jones and secondly before the federal grand jury, he was sworn to a , to tell the truth, whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god. this according to witnesses to the judiciary committee before the special counsel, he did not do. for this, i will vote to impeach the president of the u.s. i ask these cases be considered by the u.s. senate and the other body of this great congress
uphold their responsibility to render justice on these most serious charges. but to the president, i would say, sir, you have done great damage to this nation over this past year. while your defenders are contending that further impeachment proceedings would only protract and exacerbate the damage to this country, i'd say you have the power to terminate that damage and heal the wounds you have created. you may resign your post. [chanting] >> house will be in order.
the house will be in order. >> and i can only challenge you in such fashion if i am willing to heed my own words. to my colleagues, my friends, and most especially my wife and family, i have hurt you all deeply and i beg your forgiveness. i was prepared to lead our narrow majority as speaker, and i believe i had it in me to do a fine job. but i cannot do that job or be the kind of leader i would like to be under current circumstances. so i must set the example that i , hope president clinton will follow. i will not stand for speaker of the house on january 6, but i shall remain as a backbencher in this congress that i dearly love for approximately six months
seateupon i shall vacate my fe t and ask my governor to call a special election to take my place. i think my constituents for the opportunity to serve them. i hope they will not think badly of me for leaving. i thank my staff for all of their tireless work on my behalf. and i thank my wife most especially for standing by me. i love her very much. god bless america. [applause]
[applause] >> gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. without objection, the house will be in order so that gentlemen may be heard. >> tough time to follow, but i must stay the course and be true to myself. the republican right wing in this country doesn't like it when we say coup d'etat. i will make it easier. golpe de estado. that's spanish for overthrowing
a government. from day one, they wanted to get rid of bill clinton. they stayed on him and made him out to be the number one villain in this country. they have been blinded by hate then, and they are blinded by hate today. this place is full of hate because of what they tried to do to our president. my constituents don't hate bill clinton, they love him and are praying for him at this very moment. you may have the votes today to impeach him, but you don't have the american people. let me tell you something. i grew up in the public housing projects of the south bronx, i can see bullies when i see them. the bullies get theirs, and you will get yours. the people will rise up from california to new york. they will rise up from texas, florida, everywhere in this country, and tell you not to do this to him. by the way, don't ask him to quit. bill clinton will never quit. [applause]
>> the chair would ask all members to respect the time constraints under which we are operating. the gentleman from michigan is recognized for three minutes. >> the record of the house on something as important as impeachment should be as clear and accurate as it can be. after yesterday's considerable misstatements by members of the majority, i rise to set the record straight. they say these articles show high crimes. the record of historians who wrote the committee say they are low crimes and don't justify the drastic remedy of impeachment.
as to article one, impeachment is not justified. they say the president committed perjury in the grand jury. but the actual record is he did not deny an inappropriate relationship with ms. lewinsky during his grand jury appearance. they are complaining only because of a lack of specificity. if you can believe that, in the president's testimony touched where and when it happened. they claim there is a clear and convincing evidence of grand jury perjury, but ignored is the panel of experienced prosecutors who testified no reasonable prosecutor in the land would have brought a perjury case arising out of these facts. as to article two, the impeachment is not justified. they say the president's testimony deprived the plaintiff of her day in court.
not so. the record shows a federal judge ruled three times that monica lewinsky's allegations were not relevant to the core issue of the jones case and refused to permit the jones lawyers to pursue the allegations. they say the president lied when testifying about his understanding of the definition of sexual relations. the record shows that three lawyers and a judge spent half an hour debating the meaning of the contorted phrase with the judge concluding, "i'm not sure mr. clinton understands all of these definitions, anyway." they say the president perjured himself when he testified to the truthfulness of the lewinsky affidavit. the record shows ms. lewinsky stated her denial of sex was not untruthful because she defined
sex as intercourse. as to the third article of impeachment, it is not justified, either. they say the president obstructed justice by asking ms. lewinsky to lie in the jones case, two, engineering the return of gifts he had given her, trying to buy her silence with a job, and directing the testimony. our yield myself another minute. >> the gentleman is recognized. >> the record is that ms. lewinsky stated over and over again the president never asked her to live. she said this in the grand jury and in her written statements. lewinskyd shows ms. initiated the return of the gifts. the record shows the president gave her more gifts after she had been subpoenaed.
the record is that the job search began months before ms. lewinsky showed up on the witness list in the jones matter. the record shows the president made no extraordinary effort to get her a job. the record shows ms. curry was never a witness. ms. curry testified no fewer than nine times and stated repeatedly she did not feel pressured by the president's remarks. finally, to article four, they say the president abused his power, they say, by failing to answer the 81 questions. the record shows the president answered the 81 questions completely, but the alleged abuse of lies in the fact that the majority disagrees with the answers. the majority has simply tried to dress up its perjury allegations in the clothes of the
watergate's abuse of power language. and i know something about that. in an effort to make its case against the president seem more serious. they say the president has to be impeached to uphold the rule of, -- the rule of law, but we say the president can't be impeached without denigrating -- rule of law and evaluate devaluing the standards of impeachable offenses. [applause]
>> gentleman may proceed, three minutes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i don't know if i can make this speech, but i'm going to try. believe it or not, i have been very depressed about this whole proceeding. when i came to work yesterday, it really hit me what we were about to do. but after this morning, it made me realize even more what this is all about. and i feel great about it. because no matter how low we think we are, or depressed we are, this country shows us time and time again how great it is. there is no greater american in my mind, at least today, than bob livingston. [applause]
>> because he understood what this debate was all about. it was about honor, decency, integrity, and the truth. everything we honor in this country. it was also a debate about relativism versus absolute truth. the president's defenders have said the president is morally reprehensible, reckless, he's violated the trust of the american people, lessened their esteem for the office of president, and dishonored the office in which they have entrusted him. but that doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. what the defenders want to do is lower the standards by which we hold this president, and lower
the standards for our society by doing so. i cannot in good conscience after watching newt gingrich put the country, his caucus, his house, above himself and resign. and i cannot stand before you watching bob livingston put his family -- and i hope you will think about his family. his friends, his house, and his country above any ambitions he may have. he thought he could do a good job as speaker. and i think he would have. but for some, it's no longer good enough to make a mistake, confess that mistake, and except -- accept the consequences of
that mistake and change the way you live your life and keep moving and make a contribution to this country. and i think you should think about that, both sides. so, ladies and gentlemen, we will proceed. we will elect another speaker. this country will be better for it. and i can't say this strong enough, this is god's country, and i know he will bless america. [applause] >> let me announce the gentleman from illinois has 14 minutes remaining. the gentleman from michigan has 15 minutes remaining. the gentleman from michigan is recognized.
>> mr. speaker, i'm pleased to recognize an outstanding member of judiciary committee, the gentleman from new york, mr. nadler, for one minute. >> gentleman from new york is recognized for one minute. the house will be in order. the house will be in order. gentleman may proceed. >> mr. speaker, i'm even more depressed today than i thought i would be yesterday. i believe bob livingston's resignation, while offered in good faith, was wrong. [applause] >> it is a surrender to a developing sexual mccarthyism. are we going to have a new test? if someone wants to run for
office, are you now or have you ever been an adulterer? we are losing sight of the question between sins, which ought to be between a person, his family, his god, and crimes, the concern of the state and society as a whole. [applause] >> on one level, we could say , i suppose, that you you reap what you sowed. that gives us no joy. i wish mr. livingston would reconsider, because i don't think on the basis of what we know, he should resign. [applause] >> time of the gentleman has expired. >> 30 seconds? >> i yield the gentleman an additional 30 seconds. >> gentleman is recognized. >> but the impeachment of the
president is even worse. again, we are losing track of the distinction between sins and crimes. we are lowering the standard of impeachment. what the president has done is not a great and dangerous offense to the safety of the republic. in the words of george mason, it is not an impeachable offense under the meaning of the constitution. and as you heard from mr. conyers, the allegations are far from proven. the fact is we are not simply transmitting a case with some evidence to the senate as evidenced by the fact the speaker said he should resign. god forbid he should resign. he should fight and beat this. [applause] >> gentleman from illinois. >> mr. speaker, i'm pleased to yield three minutes to the distinguished gentleman from california, mr. cox. >> gentleman from california is recognized for three minutes. >> house will be in order.
speaker, we are gathered here to deal with the problem none of us wants. and we are agreed upon more than we admit. the censure resolution states william jefferson clinton is -- has violated his oath of office, damaged and dishonored the presidency, engaged in reprehensible conduct with a subordinate, and discussed the -- wrongly obstructed the discovery of the truth. this debate therefore is not about whether the president has abused his office, he has. and both democrats and republicans acknowledge it. some have said we shouldn't deal with this question while our troops are in the gulf. it might be added they are also in bosnia, kosovo, and nose to nose with north korean soldiers in the dmz.
250,000 american soldiers are positioned at tripwires of global conflict. and they will be there long after this debate ends. they are protecting our freedom and democracy. it is for them as much for any americans that congress meets today. every one of our soldiers is held to a code of conduct. none of them could keep their job, the privilege of being ordered into battle, if they had committed the crimes of our commander-in-chief. for committing just the underlying acts, the so-called personal elements of the commander-in-chief's offenses, the clinton administration has prosecuted no fewer than 67 american officers and enlisted men and women. hundreds of americans who served their country in the army, navy, air force, and marine corps have lost their careers, even though lie under oathce to a judge or a grand jury, or
obstruct justice, or tamper with a single witness. they were dismissed because of a more simple reason, they failed in their duty. every single man and woman in operation desert fox is held to a higher standard than their commander-in-chief. let us raise the standard of our american leader to the level of his troops. let us once again respect the institution of the presidency. let us see to it what the censure resolution says, that no man is above the law. let us not fail in our duty. let us restore honor to our country. [applause] >> i'm pleased to recognize a senior member of the judiciary committee departing this house, the gentleman from new york, mr. charles schumer, for one minute.
>> the gentleman will suspend for a minute. >> the house will be in order. the house will be in order. >> the gentleman is recognized for one minute. >> i thank the gentleman. the argument made by the gentleman from texas, the best argument the majority has made thus far, focused on upholding the rule of law. but a hallmark of rule of law is proportionality of punishment. if the president were caught, if any president were caught speeding at 100 miles per hour, he would have to be disciplined so others would not feel reckless speeding was permissible. but we certainly wouldn't use the political equivalent of capital punishment, impeachment, to discipline that president. on the other hand, if the president accepted a bribe, there would be no doubt he
should be impeached and all 435 of us would vote for it. lying under oath about an extramarital relationship requires significant punishment such as censure, but not the political version of capital punishment, impeachment. my colleagues, the rule of law requires that the punishment fit the crime. allow us to vote for censure, the appropriate punishment under rule of law. [applause] pleased toker, i am yield five minutes to the distinguished member of florida, mr. mccullen. >> the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. speaker. there are three principal questions each of us has to
answer today. first, did the president commit the felony crimes of which he has been charged? secondly are they impeachable , offenses? and third, should we impeach him? my task is to explain how i believe these articles of impeachment we have before us today and walk through the evidence of the crimes the president committed. the president was sued in a sexual harassment civil rights lawsuit by paula jones. as part of her case, she wanted to prove her credibility by bringing forward evidence that the president engaged in a pattern of illicit relations with women in his employment. long before the president and monica lewinsky were called as witnesses in that lawsuit, they reached an understanding that they would lie about their relationship if asked. and one day in december of last year, the president learned monica lewinsky was on the witness list in that case. he called her. he talked to her about it. and during that conversation, they
discussed the cover stories they previously discussed on other occasions. and the president suggested she can file an affidavit to avoid testifying in that suit. monica lewinsky filed a false affidavit that was for jury is the mesh -- affidavit that was perjurious in its own right. she testified before the grand jury that the president didn't tell her to lie, but they both understood from their conversations and previous understandings that in fact she was lie. the evidence is clear and convincing i think beyond a reasonable doubt that at that moment, the president committed the first of a series of felony crimes that led us here today. that was a crime of obstructing justice in trying to get monica lewinsky to lie on an affidavit. that is the heart and the essence of the first of seven counts of obstruction of justice in article three. i'd like to call my colleagues'
attention to the way the article reads. it says the scheme the president engaged in after that included one or more of the following. there were seven of them. i believe the hiding of the gifts, the effort to get a job four ms. lewinsky, the efforts curry to. cooperate his later false testimony. all proven by the evidence in the pages of sworn testimony we reviewed. whether you agree with all of them or not, all you have to do is believe there's clear and convincing evidence that one of them is true. and certainly the affidavit is true to send this to the senate for trial. >> gentlemen may proceed.
>> in january, after this affidavit incident, once it was prepared and filed and the details took place, the president testified under oath in a civil disposition and lied again and again. the principal lie he told concerned the question of whether or not he had sexual relations with monica lewinsky. the definition he was given by the court, however convoluted people think, he testified in the grand jury, he did understand. the words given to him, he knew what they meant. and the actions the president took on several occasions, according to monica lewinsky, were sexual relations according to that definition. there are more than six witnesses monica lewinsky talked with contemporaneously to those activities that corroborate what she has to say. she is very believable, unfortunately, and the president is not.
it is not a question of fudging around with the definition. the president lied before the jones case -- paula and under oath again before the grand jury. not only that, but in his deposition of the jones case, he swore he didn't know vernon jordan had met with monica lewinsky and talked about the case. evidence indicate he lies. it also indicates the president also swore he couldn't recall being alone with monica lewinsky. in that case, he lied. the president said he could not recall being in the oval office hallways with miss lewinsky, the evidence indicates he lied. the president could not recall the gifts exchanged. so on down the road. he lied then, he went to the grand jury and lied under oath. that's article two and three. that is articles 1, 2, and three. in article four, he lied again to congress. he told us the same things. he said he didn't engage in the
sexual relations with ms. lewinsky. he said he was never alone with her. he repeated the same lies to this congress. that's a grave insult to the constitutional system of government. the president did commit impeachable offenses. perjury rises to the same level as bribery. treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors. that's what the constitution says. i would submit he should be impeached. the evidence is clear. there's no question he subverted our system of government. and he should be impeached. unfortunately. thank you. >> i recognize for one minute the distinguished gentleman from georgia, the minority deputy whip, mr. john lewis. >> gentlemen is recognized for one minute. >> mr. speaker, today is a very sad day for this house. this morning when i got up, i
wanted to cry but the tears would not come. before we cast this one floor vote, we all should ask the question, is this good for america? is it good for the american people? is it good for the constitution? when i was growing up in rural alabama in the 40's and 50's, as a young child, near a shotgun house where my aunt lived, one afternoon, an unbelievable storm occurred. the wind started blowing, the rain fell on the tin top roof of the house. lightning started flashing, the
thunder started rolling. she asked us to come in and hold hands, and we did. we held hands. as the wind continued to blow, another tried to lift. we never left the house. we did not leave the house. the thunder may role, the lightning may strike. but we must stay together as a family. one house, one family. the american house. the american family. [applause] >> gentlemen from illinois.
>> without objection, the house will be in order. >> how much time? >> the gentleman has 5.5 minutes. suspended until we have order. gentlemen may proceed. >> my friends, those of us who are sinners must feel especially wretched today losing bob livingston. under such sad circumstances. one's self-esteem gets crushed at times like this. i think of a character in one of tolstoy's novels who feels so crushed he asked god if he can be useful in wiping something up or filling a hole or beinge a bad example. but something is going on repeatedly that has to be
stopped. that is a confusion between private acts of infidelity and public acts, whereas a government official, you raise your right hand and ask god to witness the truth of what you are saying. that's a public act. infidelity, adultery is not a public act, it's a private act. and the government, the congress, has no business intruding into private acts. [applause] >> but it is our business, our duty to observe public acts by public officials. i hope that confusion doesn't persist. the rule of law, a phrase we
have heard along with fairness and reprehensible, is in real danger today if we cheapen the oath, because justice depends on the enforceability of the oath. i don't care what the subject matter is. if it's important enough to say i raise my right hand and swear by the almighty god that the testimony i'm about to give is the truth and nothing but the truth, if it is solemn enough for that, it is solemn enough to enforce. and when you have a serial violator of the oath who is the chief law enforcement officer of the country, who appoints the judges and supreme court, the attorney general, we have a problem. you recognize that problem because you want to censure him. that is impeachment lite. you want to censure him with no real consequence. except as history chooses to
impose them. censoringgest to you the president is not a function permitted in this chamber. maybe across the rotunda, where the sanctions of an impeached person are imposed, that's another situation. i daresay they are innovative and creative over there on mount olympus, but here, we are confined by the strictures of the constitution, which affords us one avenue, and that is impeachment. there is a doctrine of separation of powers. we cannot punish the president. and yet a sensor resolution, to be meaningful, has to at least harm his reputation. we have no power to do that if we believe in the constitution. the constitution did not enumerate for us a power for
punishing the president. enspeak not for the gentlema across the hall. no fact witnesses. i have heard that time and time again. we had 60,000 pages of testimony from the grand jury, from depositions, statement under oath, that is testimony you can believe and accept. and we chose to believe and accept it. why reinterview betty curry to take another statement when we already had her statement. why interview monica lewinsky when we had her statement under oath and with a grant of immunity that if she lies she forfeits. if you didn't trust those people, if you didn't accept their credibility, you have the opportunity to call and cross-examine them to your hearts' content. but you really didn't want to bring them in to cross-examine them, but you want to blame us for having no fact witnesses. i think that is a little short of the mark.
lame-duck? the cry was get this over with, get this behind us. we have an election, you pick up a few seats, and lame-duck becomes the cry. please. be fair, be consistent. equal protection of the law. that's what worries me about this whole thing. any of you who have been victimized by injustice and haven't lived until you have been sued by somebody and pushed to the wall, and turned to the government and the government is on the wrong side, justice is so important to the most humble among us. equal justice under the law. that is what we are fighting for. and when the chief law enforcement officer trivializes, ignores, shreds, minimizes the sanctity of the oath, and justice is
wounded, and you are wounded, and your children are wounded. follow your conscience and you will serve the country. thank you. [applause] >> all time for debate has expired. pursuant to the order of the house of friday, december 18, 1998, the previous question was ordered on the resolution. for what purpose does the gentleman from virginia arise? >> mr. speaker, i have a proposal to recommit. >> the gentlemen qualifies. the clerk will report the motion. >> mr. voucher moves to recommit the resolution to the committee
on the judiciary with instructions to report the same back to the house with the following amendment. strike all after the resolving clause and insert the following. that it is the sense of the house that on january 20, 1993, william jefferson clinton took the oath prescribed by the constitution of the united states faithfully to execute the office of president. implicit in that oath is the obligation that the president set an example of high moral standards and conduct himself in a manner that fosters respect for the truth. william jefferson clinton has egregiously failed in this obligation and through his actions, he violated the trust of the american people, lessened their esteem for the office of president, and dishonored the office for which they have entrusted to him.
2a, william jefferson clinton made false statements concerning his reprehensible conduct with a subordinate. b, william jefferson clinton wrongly took steps to delay the discovery of the truth. and c, inasmuch as no person is above the law, william jefferson clinton remains subject to criminal and civil penalties. and three, william jefferson clinton, president of the united states, by his conduct, has brought upon himself and fully deserves the censure and condemnation of the american people and this house. >> i would at this time reserve a point of order. >> the gentleman reserves a point of order. pursuant to the order of the house friday, december 18, 1998. the gentleman from virginia and
remember opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from virginia for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i yield myself such time as i may consume. this debate comes very late and at a procedurally awkward manner. the resolution of censure i'm pleased to offer today was made in order for consideration of the house judiciary committee by the gentleman from illinois, the chairman. he understood the importance of an evenhanded process. he understood the need for balance. he perceived fairness required the availability to the members of the outcome of this investigation, which is the clear preference of the american people. the passage of a resolution of censure that admonishes the president for his conduct. i commend mr. hyde for that evenhandedness.
i can only wish his example had been followed by the majority leadership in the house. with the leadership's concurrence, the rules committee could have been convened. the resolution allowing for floor consideration of both the articles of impeachment and a resolution of censure could have been reported and adopted by the house. the censure resolution could have and should have been made an order from the start. but that did not occur. the members of the house did not have a censure alternative available to them from the beginning. and the point of order has been reserved to this resolution offered at the present time. i very much regret this procedure. i think it is a monument to unfairness. not only is a censure and rebuke of the president the public's clear choice, but it is the right thing to do. the constitutional history clearly instructs us that the presidential impeachment power is to be used only as a last resort, at times of true
national emergency. its purpose is to remove from office a president whose conduct threatens the very foundations of our system of government. it is a drastic remedy for the removal of a tyrant. it should not used to remove the president whose offense is a shameful affair and its effort to conceal it. for that offense, he can be tried in a court of law. for that offense, he can and should be censured by this house. and that would be a perfect expression of the public's entirely justified outrage. but to use the impeachment power for that conduct defines it down, cheapens its use, lowers the standard of impeachment for all time, and will inherently weaken the presidential office. censure is the right approach. i urge approval of this resolution. and mr. speaker, i am now pleased to yield the balance of our time to the democratic
leader the gentleman from , missouri, mr. gephardt. >> the gentleman from missouri is recognized. >> mr. speaker and members of the house, i stood on this floor yesterday and implored all of us to say that the politics of slash and burn must end. i implored all of you that we must turn away from the politics of personal destruction and return to the politics of personal values. it is with that same passion i say to all of you today that the gentleman from louisiana, bob livingston, is a worthy and good and honorable man. [applause]
demanding that our elected leaders take. [applause] >> if we demand mere mortals live up to this standard, we will see our seats of government lay empty. and we will see the best, most able people unfairly cast out of public service. we need to stop destroying imperfect people at the altar of an unobtainable morality. [applause] >> we need to start living up to the standards which the public, in its infinite wisdom, understands that imperfect people must strive towards, but too often fall short. we are now rapidly descending into a politics where life
>> we need to start healing. we need to start binding up our wounds. we need to end this downward spiral which will culminate in the death of representative democracy. i believe this healing can start today by changing the course we have begun. this is exactly why we need this today to be bipartisan. this is why we ask the opportunity to vote on a bipartisan censure resolution, to begin the process of healing our nation and healing our people. we are on the brink of the abyss. the only way we stop this insanity is through the force of our own will. [applause]
>> the only way we stop the spiral is for all of us to finally say, "enough." let us step back from the abyss and let's begin a new politics of respect and fairness and decency, which rises what has come before. may god have mercy on this congress. and may congress have the wisdom and the courage and the goodness to save itself today. [applause] [applause]
>> while the pending resolution addresses impeachment as a question of the privileges of requires, the rule that any amendment confine itself to impeachment, whether addressing it in a positive or negative way, although it may be possible by germane amendment to convert a reported resolution of impeachment to resolve, that impeachment is not warranted, and alternative sanction having no equivalent constitutional footing may not be broached as a question of privilege and correspondingly is not germane. the chair acknowledges the language of house resolution 611 articulates its proposition for impeachment in language that in itself tends to convey
appropriate. the chair must remain cognizant , however, that the resolution does non-entirely in the framework of the articles impeachment, rather, that conveying any separate censure the resolution only affects the constitutional prayer for judgment by the senate. the chair is not passing on the ultimate constitutionality of a resolution for center. indeed the chair does not judge the constitutionality of the measure before the house. rather the chair holds today , only that the instance proposal to censure or otherwise admonish the president of the united states, as it does not constitute a question of the privileges of the house, is not germane to the pending resolution of impeachment and intrinsically separate question of the privileges of the house. >> mr. speaker. >> the gentleman from missouri, the majority leader is recognized.
>> mr. speaker, with all due respect, i must appeal the ruling of the chair. >> mr. speaker? >> the question is, shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the house? >> mr. speaker? >> majority leader. >> i move to lay the appeal on the table. >> the question is on the motion to table. all those in favor will say aye. those opposed no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. a rollspeaker, i demand call vote. >> we will have a 17 minute vote followed by 15 minute votes thereafter. one 17 minute vote followed by 15 minute votes thereafter. this will be a vote by electronic device.
>> you have been watching part of c-span's coverage from the house of representatives december of 1998, the impeachment of president bill clinton. two votes, two key votes. what were the totals? >> i will read from my notes. the first article on perjury, 228-226.was the second article embraced by the house was obstruction of 221-212. >> could you set the tone? we are a week before christmas. the house has just voted to impeach a sitting president. only the second time in history the house proceeded with a vote like that. what was it like? >> in some ways, we look back on it and it seemed like we were not sure which way was going to go.
got to thatime we stage, remember this all started in october, now we are in december. and it seemed almost like a fait accompli. by that time, most people had absorbed the idea that the president was actually going to be impeached. the white house had absorbed that idea. every possible avenue to get out of it had failed. so they had embraced, democrats had embraced the idea that this was going to go to the senate. what i remember was a kind of, at least in the white house, a somber sort of sorrow about it but also resignation, because the president's team and his surrogates had moved ahead to try to plan for what was going to happen next, which was the trial. >> and of course, at the center of all of this, the relationship between president clinton and monica lewinsky. where was she at the time? >> monica lewinsky had become quite a celebrity.
and by the time we seal a trial -- and by thehe time we see the trial happen she , had become so practiced in answering questions and giving depositions in answering testimony that she could run circles around her questioners. >> why didn't you want to testify? why would you want to avoid testifying? >> first of all, i thought was nobody's business. second of all, i did not want have anything to do with pollard -- paula jones or her case. >> she had gone to california at one point. she was working on a book with a ghostwriter to pay her legal bills. her legal bills were really stacking up. she had changed legal defense and had a really good legal team. so she was out there. and people saw her. >> so we are going to see for the first time a trial in the
senate involving the president. explain how this all came together. who were the key players? you mentioned that chief justice , william rehnquist. what happened after the house vote? >> there was preparation in the senate for what turned out to be a 36-day trial. the democrats and president and his team were thinking about how they are going to proceed. because remember, impeachment is described in the constitution and there are some rules that relate to impeachment in the senate of judges, things that have evolved as senate rules. but a lot of this was going to be kind of pulled together by osmosis and meetings and discussion. it was not necessarily written down. so president clinton and his team had a very strong legal
bench and understood how they were going to divide up the president's defense. they also felt that after watching what had happened in the house, with the house defense, that they were going to need someone who could really speak to the senators themselves. so there was an effort behind the scenes to recruit a senator, a former senator, who would be willing to join president clinton's defense team to represent his perspective to the senators. they called around and tried to encourage john glenn to do it, george mitchell. both said no for a variety of reasons. they turned to dale bumpers, who had just stepped away from the senate after a long career. he had been a governor of arkansas. he had been a senator for a long time in arkansas. he knew bill clinton very well. they had actually been rivals a little bit in arkansas.
and he got talked into it. he thought about it and said , yes, i will. the reason dale bumpers was an important figure is because he spoke as a senator to other senators. he looked like a senator. he had this wonderful way of dressing and his appearance and he had this really great voice. >> the president and i have been together hundreds of times. at parades, dedications, political events, social events, and in all of those years and all those hundreds of times we have been together, both in public and in private, i have never one time seen the president conduct himself in a way that did not reflect the highest credit on him, his family, his state, and his beloved nation.
>> he actually represented bill clinton's perspective to the senators, the jurors, by basically saying, look, what he did was wrong. here's my description of what he did was wrong. choose your adjective. he had a very nice way of presenting i am with you but it is not working removing a resident from office. >> it is not a high crime and misdemeanor. >> it is not a high crime and misdemeanor and this process is damaging. let's move on. and he spoke as a peer to peers. and that turned out to be effective. he really enjoyed to the role. you could tell he was reluctant to do it at first, but he was effective. republicans, the presentation of the case, was from the house managers and there were 13 of them. and they tried to divide up their case. but they had a lot of internal
strife and lots of different ways of doing this. this was a very archaic process because the questions that were put to the jury were written down and given to the chief justice to read. he would read the questions and there would be a response from each side. it was a kind of archaic. it is not like a court of law. it really is not like a legal process. and there was lots of effort on the part of house republicans who would get what role to ask which questions. taskedrepublicans were to find out how they wanted to vote. the moderates agonizing over the variety of choices they had with the two articles of impeachment in front of them. over a month, it was a roller coaster. >> the senators at that time had to do something they are not used to, sit and listen. and they do not speak. >> right, they do not speak.
as i said, the questions whatever they were interested in , asking, and a lot of this was preprepared. >> some members are staying in washington in anticipation of taking up and may file a report, setting up votes on an impeachment resolution. live coverage now of the u.s. house. a communication for the speaker. the clerk: the speaker's rooms, washington, d.c. december 15, 2019. i hereby appoint the honorable gerald e. connolly to act as speaker pro tempore on this day. signed, nancy pelosi, speaker of the house of representatives. the speaker pro tempore: the chair will be offered by our chaplain, father pat conroy. chaplain conroy: let us pray. god of light, we give you thanks for giving us another day. as the house lies silent on a sunday, bless all members with
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