Hyde: Impeachment Talk Is Premature
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 25) -- It's too soon to talk
about impeachment proceedings against
President Bill Clinton,
but if it's proven that the president had sex with a White
House intern he should resign, said Rep. Henry Hyde, chairman
of the House Judiciary Committee.
Hyde made his comments Sunday on CNN's Late Edition.
"It's a natural consequence of unfolding events, but it's
much too premature," the Illinois Republican said.
"Allegations and charges are really what we have to deal
with. You don't impeach anybody on those. You have to have
credible and substantial evidence that a crime was committed
that would be impeachable."
He said Congress should wait for independent counsel Kenneth
Starr's report and the "presumption of innocence has to be
It would be a cover-up, not sex with an intern, that Congress
would be concerned with, he said.
"I think suborning perjury, I think tampering with a witness,
obstructing justice might well be considered impeachable
offenses, but a matter of having sex in the White House, I
don't think so," he said.
However, Clinton should resign as president if the sex
allegations are true, Hyde said.
"If that is proven to be true, I would suspect something
might happen well before it got as far as impeachment," Hyde
In the wake of the scandal Clinton would find it "very
difficult to maintain the moral stature" when dealing with
Saddam Hussein and other problems, he said.
Hyde predicted that when Clinton delivers the State of the
Union address Tuesday evening Congress would receive him
"with restraint, but civility, if not cordiality."
"I will applaud, simply because it's the civil thing to do,"