Clinton video to be released shortly
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 21) -- Americans will be given a chance on Monday to see more than four hours of unedited videotaped grand jury testimony given by President Bill Clinton in the case involving former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
The release of the videotape was scheduled for 9 a.m. EDT, and will coincide with new public access to a further 2,800 pages of documents containing more details of Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky.
CNN and other major U.S. television networks will carry the tape on air as soon as it is released.
Less than two hours after the planned release, Clinton was scheduled to begin a major speech to world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
Congressional Republicans were hoping that Americans who oppose unseating the president would change their minds, given enough evidence and enough time.
Meanwhile, Democrats are trying to hunker down in hopes of survival. One Senate Democrat called on the president to confront his toughest accusers head-on to speed up the process.
Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) said Clinton should appear before the House Judiciary Committee soon "to explain exactly what he did, exactly what he was thinking" so Congress can move ahead quickly.In anticipation of the release, White House pre-spin was in full swing as the president tried to go about his business; he was all smiles at a Sunday morning fund-raiser and again later at church with his wife.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta said the release of the videotape could backfire on those in Congress who want to see Clinton impeached, as well as on the House Republicans who cleared the way for Monday's release of the testimony and even more sexually explicit details of Clinton and Lewinsky's relationship.
"They decided that rather than just doing a document dump, they would do a garbage dump on Monday, and I think people are going to wonder about that," Podesta said Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Americans who watch the president's testimony Monday will see a remorseful man make "a painful admission" of his illicit relationship with Lewinsky, Podesta predicted.
The American people may wind up "questioning the motivation, whether this was done just for partisan purpose, and ultimately they may question the fairness of the process that's going on on Capitol Hill," he continued.
Asked if Clinton would resign because of the scandal, Podesta replied, "No."
"Never?" he was asked. "I don't think so, no," Podesta said. "He shouldn't resign. ... He should not be impeached."
The different faces of Clinton
While Clinton's advisers feverishly work to paint the president as a remorseful man badgered by overzealous prosecutors, supporters and critics of the president alike made the rounds of Sunday's Washington talk shows, giving a mixed picture of Clinton's demeanor on the August 17 videotape -- at times angry, confused, evasive and defiant.
"What you are going to see (Monday), I take it, is an unrehearsed president, a president without makeup, so to speak, standing in front of the grand jury getting some very tough questions," author William Bennett said on CNN's "Late Edition."
"If it comes across that Clinton is weaseling the law and obscuring the truth, I think he's in more trouble," Bennett said.
Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), a longtime Clinton critic, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that Americans who watch Clinton's testimony Monday "will see somebody who is defiant, who is very cleverly trying to think of ways to weave in and out of various definitions and activities, and I think that will be very telling on the president."
But others, even some in the GOP, believe Clinton may not fare that badly.
Rep. Lindsey Graham, (R-S.C.), a member of the House Judiciary Committee that voted to release the tape, said, "There are points in time when the president looks into the camera and makes a pretty compelling acquitting of himself about how he feels about what Ken Starr has done to him, to his family, to his friends, and how he thought the Paula Jones case was politically motivated, and I think he's very sincere. You can tell this has hurt the guy."
Also appearing on "Meet the Press," Graham said, "There are times when he is dancing on the head of a pin to try to describe what sexual relations are, and it gets to be humorous, but it's not going to be a knockout blow, in my opinion ... If you like the president, there are going to be times when you feel sympathy for him. If you think he's a guy you don't like, there are going to be things you'll seize upon. ..."
Another panel member, Rep. Martin Meehan (D-Mass.) agreed. "I think the president did a fairly good job. I don't think there will be much of a political backlash," Meehan said on ABC's "This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts."
'Political water torture'
Kerry, who also appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press," suggested Clinton testify before the House Judiciary Committee and stipulate the facts so the country can move forward.
"This is not that complicated," Kerry said. "The president of the United States had an affair with a young woman in the White House. He didn't tell the truth about it to the nation, and he clearly didn't want the facts to come out in the course of the process for a very obvious set of reasons that most people can understand.
"There should be a stipulation as to many of the facts that are very clear here," Kerry said. "The Judiciary Committee should ask him about the relevant questions with respect to the impeachment process. As an initial question, was it perjury, was it obstruction of justice? -- and make up our minds. We could do that in a matter of weeks."
Kerry ripped into selective evidence drops from the materials that Independent Counsel Ken Starr turned over to the House. Kerry said the nation "is ill-served by this political water torture that's taking place in a highly calculated, highly partisan way."
But Sen. John Ashcroft (R-Mo.) said the person most responsible for any delay is Clinton, who denied a sexual relationship with Lewinsky from January, when the story broke, until mid-August.
"To say that the Republican Party has been involved in some sort of water torture for America is to simply ignore the fact that this water torture has been inflicted by the president," Ashcroft, who has called for Clinton to resign, told "Meet the Press."
Rep. Robert Wexler (D-Fla.) said he hopes Americans who watch the tape will ask themselves whether Clinton's actions amount to an impeachable offense. What the president did was disgraceful and indefensible, "but it's not impeachable," Wexler told the NBC program.
Said Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) on "Meet the Press": "He (Clinton) is clearly trying very hard to thread a line. The line is not to lie. He is before a grand jury. On the other hand, he knows how damaging the truth is. I think that's very relevant evidence."
Graham also likes the idea of Clinton answering questions posed by House Judiciary Committee members.
"I've got four or five things I want to talk to the guy about," he told "Meet The Press."
"I've got my own mind made up about how far we want to take this thing, based on an adulterous relationship with an intern. It's got to be a serious crime ... that would subject anybody at this table to criminal prosecution, and there's a few things in there that might meet that standard," Graham said.
"There's a lot that won't," Graham said. "But this report is full of hearsay. This report hasn't been tested by the adversarial process, and it will later on. There's some things that may not have the same flavor once you get into it."
Forbes: Clinton 'doomed'
Former GOP presidential candidate Steve Forbes, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," predicted Congress will hold impeachment hearings and ultimately remove Clinton from office.
"I think when those hearings are held or completed, public opinion will be such that he will be removed from office with full bipartisan support," Forbes said.
"I think the White House knows once those hearings start, he's doomed," Forbes said.
Forbes said he thinks House hearings will produce a clear story and show what he called "a pattern of abuse that goes right back to the time he (Clinton) took the oath of office. And when that crystalizes in the public's mind, he will be removed from office."
Forbes said future generations deserve "a full explanation of what happened, why it happened, how it happened and who were the president's accomplices. He did not do this alone and all those involved should be brought to the bar of justice."
Forbes dismissed talk that sex with an intern is purely a personal issue, speculating what might have happened if onetime Lewinsky friend Linda Tripp had taken her tapes to the Chinese or Iraqi governments, instead of Starr. "What you do as president has consequences," Forbes said.
Rep. Maxine Waters, a member of the House Judiciary Committee, ducked questions about whether Clinton told the truth in his January 17 Paula Jones case deposition, and blamed media frenzy.
"I think it's time for us to stop the frenzy," said Waters (D-Calif.), who also appeared on "Fox News Sunday." "There is a media frenzy going on, the people are tired of it. Look, Republicans are salivating. They think that the president is down, and they can use this for the politics of November. It's time to stop it. Everybody needs to back up."