Transcript provided by FDCH
Transcript: Opening statement of Chairman Henry Hyde
House Judiciary Committee hearing, December 8, 1998
HYDE: This committee will come to order.
A quorum being present and pursuant to notice, the committee will come to order for the purpose of conducting an impeachment inquiry pursuant to House Resolution 581. Ranking Member John Conyers and I will make brief opening statements. Without objection, all members' and witnesses' written statements will be included in the record. Now, members should know that, while in the past, I've been liberal with the gavel, we have many witnesses. Therefore, I intend to adhere strictly to the five-minute rule. That means questions and answers will end after five minutes. Members who make four-minute speeches and ask five questions in the final minute will not get their questions answered. I now recognize myself for purposes of an opening statement. I've made a commitment to members of this committee, to members of the House, to the president, and to the people that I will do all I can to ensure that this impeachment inquiry will be concluded by the end of the year. I plan on honoring that commitment and today's hearings move us in that direction. Yesterday afternoon, the White House provided us with a list of 14 witnesses that it requested this committee to hear. I'm pleased to accommodate the White House's request. We will hear the testimony of all 14 witnesses, as well as Special Counsel Greg Craig and White House Counsel Charles Ruff. Therefore I would like to set forth the schedule for the remaining Judiciary Committee proceedings. At the request of the White House counsel, we have begun today at 10 a.m. and we will hear from three panels of witnesses today, one panel tomorrow morning, and the testimony of White House Counsel Charles Ruff tomorrow afternoon. The first panel will be Special Counsel Greg Craig and five witnesses, who wish to speak about constitutional standards for impeachment. Mr. Craig will be recognized for 15 minutes. All other panel witnesses will each have 10 minutes to make a statement. After the testimony of the witnesses, members will be allowed to ask questions for five minutes. And that will not be a liberal gavel, but a strict gavel. I ask that the members pay attention to their time and be aware that their questions should be asked and answered within their five minutes. The White House has proposed many witnesses and we want to make sure that everyone has an opportunity to be heard. In the interests of time, there will not be questioning by committee counsels for these four panels. After the hearing of panel one, we will move immediately to panel two and then to panel three. We will observe the same procedures as panel one -- 10 minutes witness presentations, followed by questioning by members under the five- minute rule. Tomorrow, we will hear the fourth panel of witnesses. I hope to start at 8 a.m. tomorrow morning to ensure ample time for the White House presentation. Tomorrow afternoon, the committee will receive the testimony of White House Counsel Charles Ruff. After his presentation, members will question Mr. Ruff under the five-minute rule. He will also be available for questioning by committee counsel. Thursday morning, we will have a presentation by Minority Chief Investigative Counsel Abbe Lowell at 9 a.m., and a presentation by Chief Investigative Counsel David Schippers at 1 p.m. Beginning at 4 p.m., we will begin consideration of a resolution containing articles of impeachment for our debate and deliberation. We will hear opening statements from all members Thursday evening. Friday, we will begin consideration and debate of articles of impeachment. I now recognize the distinguished gentleman from Michigan and ranking member of the committee, John Conyers, for his opening remarks. Immediately following the gentleman's remarks, we will hear from Special Counsel Greg Craig and the other witnesses of panel one. Mr. Conyers.
Tuesday, December 8, 1998
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