ad info

 custom news
 Headline News brief
 daily almanac
 CNN networks
 on-air transcripts
 news quiz

CNN Websites
 video on demand
 video archive
 audio on demand
 news email services
 free email accounts
 desktop headlines

 message boards



 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly

Clinton denies Iraq attack was a diversion

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, December 17) -- President Bill Clinton denied Thursday that the U.S. attack on Iraq was a diversionary tactic to postpone a House impeachment debate, saying accusations by some Republicans were simply "not true."

President Clinton responded
Thursday to charges that he
was hoping to divert attention
from impeachment with the attack
on Iraq

Clinton -- asked what he would say to his critics who questioned the attack's timing -- replied, "That it's not true. That what I did was the right thing for the country."

"I don't think any serious person would believe that any president would do such a thing," Clinton added, "and I don't believe any reasonably astute person in Washington would believe that (Defense) Secretary (William) Cohen and General (Hugh) Shelton and the whole rest of the national security team would participate in such an action."

Clinton, who made his comments to reporters before a briefing with his national security team, was also asked whether an impeachment debate during the Iraq campaign would undercut his authority. Clinton said it would not.

"We're going to complete this mission," Clinton said. "And the Republican leaders will have to decide how to do their job. That's not for me to comment on."

The impeachment debate is due to get underway Friday morning, but so far Republican and Democratic leaders have reached no agreement for how long it might last.

Under one plan, the debate would last 19 hours and stretch into the wee hours of Saturday morning. But Democrats have not agreed, saying it would be wrong to debate throwing Clinton, the nation's commander in chief, out of office while U.S. troops are in harm's way.

On Wednesday, soon after the joint U.S.-British attack on Iraq began, some lawmakers questioned its timing and accused Clinton of trying to shift the focus from impeachment.

The most strident was Rep. Gerald Solomon (R-New York), who said it was "obvious that they're (the Clinton White House) doing everything they can to postpone the vote on this impeachment in order to try to get whatever kind of leverage they can, and the American people ought to be as outraged as I am about it."

Investigating the President


Thursday, December 17, 1998

Search CNN/AllPolitics by infoseek
          Enter keyword(s)       go    help

© 1998 Cable News Network, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.
Who we are.