Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton -- Day 17
February 9, 1999
WILLIAM REHNQUIST, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: The Senate will convene as a court of impeachment. The chaplain will offer a prayer.
LLOYD OGILVIE, SENATE CHAPLAIN: Almighty God, guide the senators today as they move closer to the completion of this impeachment trial and confront some of the most difficult decisions of their lives. Give them physical strength and mental fortitude for this day. In anticipation of your burden-lifting blessing, we place our trust in you.
We renew our prayers for peace in the Middle East. Thank you for the life and leadership of King Hussein of Jordan -- that persistent peacemaker and emissary of light in the often dim negotiations for just peace. Now at this time of his untimely death, we pray for the people of Jordan and for his son, King Abdullah, as he assumes the immense challenges of leadership.
In your holy name, amen.
The sergeant-at-arms will make the proclamation.
JAMES ZIGLAR, SERGEANT-AT-ARMS: Hear ye, hear ye, hear ye, all persons are commanded to keep silent on pain of imprisonment while the Senate of the United States is sitting for the trial of the articles of impeachment exhibited by the House of Representatives against William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes the majority leader.
TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
LOTT: This afternoon the Senate will resume consideration of the articles of impeachment, and pursuant to S. Res. 30, the Senate will proceed to final arguments for not to exceed six hours equally divided between the House managers and the White House counsel.
At the conclusion of those arguments today, I would expect the Senate to adjourn over until tomorrow. We will expect tonight when we go out of the impeachment trial to have a period for legislative business so that we can pass a resolution or consider a resolution with regard to King Hussein.
I now ask consent that when the Senate completes its business today, it stand in adjournment to reconvene as a court of impeachment at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, February 9th.
REHNQUIST: Without objection, it's so ordered.
LOTT: And Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that the February 5th, 1999 affidavit of Mr. Christopher Hitchens and the February 7th, 1999 affidavit of Ms. Carol Blue be admitted into evidence of this proceeding.
REHNQUIST: Is there objection?
SEN. TOM DASCHLE (D-SD), MINORITY LEADER: At this junction in the trial I'm compelled to object.
REHNQUIST: Objection is heard.
LOTT: I believe we're ready to proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Sensenbrenner.
REP. JAMES SENSENBRENNER (R-WI), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: (OFF-MIKE) Chief Justice, distinguished counsel for the president, and senators, I'm Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. I represent 580,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin in the United States House of Representatives, and during my entire service in Congress I have served as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.
We are nearing the end of a long and difficult process. The Senate has considered for the past several weeks the grave constitutional responsibility to determine whether the actions of President Clinton merit his conviction and removal from office.
The Senate has been patient, attentive and engaged throughout this unwelcome task, and for this the House managers are grateful.
The managers would also like to thank the distinguished chief justice for his patience and impartial demeanor throughout this trial.
At the outset of the managers' closing arguments, it is important to distinguish what has caused only the second presidential impeachment in history from extraneous matters that bear no relation to the verdict the Senate will shortly reach.
When this trial began four long weeks ago, we said that what was on trial was the truth and the rule of law. That has not changed despite the lengthy legal arguments you have heard. The truth is still the truth, and a lie is still a lie, and the rule of law should apply to everyone, no matter what excuses are made by the president's defenders. The news media characterizes the managers as 13 angry men. They are right in that we are angry, but they are dead wrong about what we are angry about. We have not spent long hours poring through the evidence, sacrificed time with our families, and subjected ourselves to intense political criticism to further a political vendetta.
We have done so because of our love for this country and respect for the office of the presidency, regardless of who may hold it.
We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the president does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the president to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come.
The Almanac of American Politics has called me a stickler for ethics. To that I plead guilty as charged. Because laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and more criminal behavior.
This trial was not caused by Kenneth Starr, who only did his duty under a law which President Clinton himself signed. It was not caused by the House Judiciary Committee's review of the independent counsel's mountain of evidence, nor was it caused by the House of Representatives approving two articles of impeachment, nor by the Senate conducting a trial mandated by the Constitution.
Regardless of what some may say, this constitutional crisis was caused by William Jefferson Clinton and by no one else. President Clinton's actions and his actions alone have caused the national agenda for the past year to be almost exclusively concentrated on those actions and what consequences the president and the president alone must suffer for them.
This trial is not about the president's affair with Monica Lewinsky. It is about the perjury and obstruction of justice he committed during the course of a civil rights lawsuit filed against him and the subsequent independent counsel investigation authorized by Attorney General Janet Reno.
The president has repeatedly apologized for his affair, but he has never, never apologized for the consequences of the perjury and obstruction of justice he has committed.
Perhaps those decisions were based upon a Dick Morris public opinion poll, which told the president that the American people would forgive his adultery, but not his perjury. Perhaps it was for another reason.
Whatever the White House's motivations were, the fact remains that the president's apologies and the statements of his surrogate contritionists have been carefully crafted for the president to continue to evade and, yes, avoid responsibility for his deceiving the courts to prevent them from administering justice.
Because the president's action to obstruct justice are so egregious and repeated, many have ignored his grand jury perjury charges before you in article one. I wish to point out four glaring examples of William Jefferson Clinton's perjurious, false and misleading statements to the grand jury, and not at the civil deposition in the Paula Jones case.
First, the president lied under oath to the grand jury when he falsely testified about his attorney's use of a false affidavit at his deposition.
Second, he lied under oath to the grand jury about his conversations with Betty Currie.
Third, he lied under oath to the grand jury about what he told his aides about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, knowing that those aides would be called to testify to the grand jury.
Fourth, he lied under oath to the grand jury when he testified about the nature of his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
An ordinary citizen who lies under oath four times to a grand jury is subject to substantial time in a federal prison. The decision each senator must make with respect to Article I is whether the president is to pay a price for his perjury just like any citizen must.
The president's defenders and spin doctors would have you believe that the president told all these lies under oath to protect himself and his family from personal embarrassment. And even if he did tell a lie, it was not that bad a lie.
Senators, please remember that the president's grand jury appearance was over six months after the news media broke the story about the president's affair with Ms. Lewinsky. By August 17, few people doubted that he had an affair with her. There was little left to hide, and he lied after practically everyone who was asked, including many of you, advised the president to tell the truth to the grand jury.
And still he lied.
We have heard a litany of excuses, including the president saying he was not paying a great deal of attention, and that he was trying to figure out what the facts were, and that he needed to know whether his recollection was right, and that he had not done anything wrong, and on and on.
The president knew what had happened. If Monica Lewinsky came on to him and made a sexual demand upon him and that he rebuffed her, as he told Sidney Blumenthal, he would have nothing to apologize for.
Senators, don't be fooled by the president's excuses and spin control. The facts and the evidence clearly show that he knew what -- he knew what he was doing was to deceive everyone, including the grand jury.
He and his defenders are still in denial.
They will not accept the consequences of his repeated and criminal attempts to defeat the judicial process.
His lies to the grand jury were not to protect his family or the dignity of his office, but to protect himself from criminal liability for his perjury and obstruction of justice in the Jones case.
Over nine years ago, the Senate removed Judge Walter Nixon from office for about the same offense: Lying under oath to the grand jury. The vote in the Senate was 89 to 8 in favor of Judge Nixon's removal, with 48 current senators and Vice President Gore voting guilty.
To boot a federal judge from office while keeping a president in power after the president committed the same offense sets a double standard and lowers the standard of what the American people should expect from the leader of their country.
To conclude that the standard of presidential truthfulness is lower than that of a federal judge is absurd. To conclude that perjury and obstruction of justice are acceptable if committed by a popular president during times of peace and prosperity sets a dangerous precedent which sets America on the road back to an imperial presidency above the law.
To justify the president's criminal behavior by demonizing those who seek to hold him accountable ignores the fact that President Clinton's actions and those actions alone precipitated the investigations which have brought us here today.
To keep a president in office whose gross misconduct and criminal actions are a well-established fact will weaken the authority of the presidency, undermine the rule of law, and cheapen those words which have made American different from most other nations on the Earth: equal justice under law.
For the sake of our country and for future generations, please find the president guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice when you cast your votes.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Cannon. If you'll just wait a moment, Mr. Manager Cannon, if there's no objection, the journal of proceedings of the trial are approved to date. Please go head.
REP. CHRISTOPHER CANNON (R-UT), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Counsel for the president, members of the Senate. My name is Chris Cannon. I represent over 600,000 people in the 3rd District of Utah. I'd like to begin today with a couple of thank yous.
First of all, I like to thank you senators for your attention during this series of presentations. I know that you all have deep conflicts over the matter before you. Some of you made strong public statements about it. But you have all paid extraordinary attention, and for that I thank you.
I'd also like to thank the other members of the management team. It has been a remarkable experience to have been associated with them during the past five months -- almost as good, I might say, as it would have been home with my wife and children and our new baby.
And if I might, I would like to share with you a recent family experience. I've been home just about a little over a day out of the last three weeks, and it took my 10-month baby -- 10-month-old baby about -- a little while to warm up to me when I was home last. And later as I started packing, she realized that I was leaving again and she insisted that I hold her. I think she felt that if she held on, I wouldn't disappear.
Unfortunately for her, she fell asleep on the trip to the airport. I know that other managers have had similar disruptions in their families and their family life. For instance, Charles Canady's wife had a baby during the trial. I would therefore like to thank my wife and my children and the wives and children of all the managers for their forbearance and support during this process.
Like us, they believe in the obligation we have to assure good government. And I might say like us, they are grateful that the managers' role is ending.
For the managers, this process is almost done. I hope that history will judge that we have done our duty well. We have been congratulated and condemned, but we are done.
And while our difficult role is ending, yours is just beginning. While I'm certain that sitting here silently has been difficult, the truly daunting task before you now is to conclude this trial with some sense of legitimacy. For America is deeply divided, and the end result of an impeachment trial was designed by the Founding Fathers to salve these divisions and wounds.
Traditionally, after an airing of the facts and a vote by the Senate, either a president is removed or he is vindicated. In this case, it seems neither of those results may be realized.
While the facts are clear that the president committed perjury and obstruction of justice -- and here I'd like to associate myself with the comments of Mr. Manager Sensenbrenner -- it is equally clear that this body may not remove him from office. And from this perception, you face the challenge of legitimizing the end result.
Your vote will end this matter, it is non-justifiable. Whatever your decision is, it cannot be undone. The outcome will be right by definition. But how well you do the work of divining that outcome will affect the way that we as a nation deal with the divisions among us.
To proceed in a manner that will be trusted and viewed as legitimate by the American people, you must deal with the differences between this proceeding and prior impeachment trials. You must do this with an obvious commitment to your oath to do justice impartially according to the Constitution and the law.
The law includes the rules and precedents of the Senate. Senate Resolution 16 made this process different from all of the proceeding 13 Senate trials on impeachment, principally by removing from the managers the right to present our case as we see fit. I suspect that the lewd subject matter and the partisan fight in the House may have influenced your decision.
But there is an integrity to the historic rules and reasons for them. For instance, the Senate by nature will be divided in the impeachment proceeding, while the managers are united. It is therefore easier for the managers to decide on how to present their case than it is for the Senate.
There are other differences in this proceeding from historic impeachment practice before the Senate. May I list the changes for you, with the intent to help you focus on the goal of a conclusion that we the people will feel legitimate?
Senate Resolution 16 called for a 24 hour presentation or trial, as it was called in the resolution, that mainly consisted of what the public saw as the yammering of lawyers. Time was equally divided, rather than sequenced as it is in a trial, where opening statements are made and then evidence is put on through witnesses. In a trial, each side typically takes the time necessary to establish its case or to undermine the witness through cross-examination.
After the moving party has made its case, the responding party makes its case. Time is dictated only by what each side feels it needs. Each witness is subject to whatever cross-examination is appropriate. The case develops tested piece by tested piece and ultimately one side prevails.
Here the managers had to cut very important portions of our limited case. We had a limited number of witnesses, limited videotape appearances, limited to -- had an arbitrary three-hour rule. That time was lessened because we had to reserve time for rebuttal.
According to judicial traditions, defendants have to challenge each witness as they appear, not wrap the credibility of all in one wide-ranging response. In these proceedings, the Senate has not had the opportunity to assess the credibility of witnesses as they case developed. The White House then used its time with long video portions and small, cutting accusations. Who knows what the White House might have done if it had been able, or if it had found it necessary to challenge the witnesses as they testified?
Another diversion from traditional and Senate trial precedent was that the only rebuttal for the managers was that -- was what we reserved after our video presentation and awkwardly in the questioning period, where important, complicated issues were cut off by artificial time limits, while peripheral issues got more time than they deserved. This questioning period had the unfortunate side effect of focusing the public on the partisanship of the Senate.
The problem of the newness of the presentation format was exacerbated by the new media environment -- the Internet with its immediate and often unvetted content and cable television with its perpetual talking heads, gave equal time and equivalency of weight to the managers and the White House, with no witness testimony at all to constrain them.
The process gave rise to the perception that the fix was in, leaving some to gloat at having scammed the situation, and others angry at being unheard. And that is the context with which the Senate must -- now finds itself, and must pursue a legitimate outcome.
Given the wide-ranging options discussed, it is clear that this is no easy task. Will it be adjournment with condemnation? Findings of fact about the president's behavior? A bifurcated vote with the articles of impeachment, but not removing the president? A simple up and down vote on the articles of impeachment? Or a vote for acquittal followed by a censure vote?
I don't know which, if any, of these options really make sense. And I don't know of any other options. I do know that the issue is grave, and that your responsibility is great.
So I'm here today to ask you to set aside some of your natural inclinations for the good of the country. I would implore you, senators, both Republican and Democrat, to set aside partisanship, politics, polls and personalities and exchange them for loftier inclinations, those of procedure, policy and precedent. These are the only guidelines this body should have.
As the Senate deliberates this case, I would ask that a few key facts never be forgotten: That the president committed perjury when he lied under oath and he obstructed justice. The Senate has historically impeached judges for perjury, even recently by some of you assembled here.
Any American watching these proceedings who commits perjury will be punished by the law.
If the Senate follows our nation's precedents of punishing perjurers, and if the Senate follows its own precedents of convicting perjurers, then there is only one clear conclusion in this matter: conviction.
Senators, we as Americans and legislators have never supported a legal system which has one set of laws for the ruler and another for the ruled. After all, our very pledge of allegiance binds us together with the language "liberty and justice for all."
If that is the case, if we intend to live up to oaths and pledges we take, then our very own president must be subject to the precedents in our national judicial system and this Senate body have heretofore set.
Because I love this country and its institutions, I pray for inspiration for each of you as you seek the proper, legitimate outcome. May God bless you in this process.
I'd now turn the time over to Mr. Gekas.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Gekas.
REP. GEORGE GEKAS (R-PA), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Chief Justice, colleagues on each side of the podium, members of the Senate. If I were to take some time to thank the chief justice for his patience in all of this, would that be counted against my time?
GEKAS: It would? Then I'll send you a note.
And we do -- we do offer our thanks to the chief justice.
I come from Pennsylvania, and the people in my district and the entire state and in their 49 brethren states across the nation -- the people of our country recognize that there's really only one issue. With all the fury and the tumult and the shouting and the invective and the language and the just plain shouting that has occurred across the halls of Congress and everyplace else in the country, it all swoops down in his telescope to one issue: Did the president utter falsehoods under oath?
Everyone understands that. Everyone comes to the conclusion that that's a serious allegation that has been made through the impeachment, and one which you must judge in the final vote that you will be casting.
But why is it important about whether or not the president uttered falsehoods under oath? It is important not just to constitute the basis of perjury, as is alleged, or -- and/or obstruction of justice, which is alleged. But even if those two were not proved in all their elements as crimes, you would still have to consider a falsehood under oath as constituting an impeachable offense.
And I say that advisedly. It starts, my contention does, with the assertions of our esteemed colleagues who represent the president. Time after time, and in their briefs and in their statements on and off the floor, they have stated you need not have a criminal offense for it to constitute an impeachable offense.
And they've provided examples of that. And they said that all you have to demonstrate is that an impeachable offense is one that rocks against the integrity -- the system of government. I'm paraphrasing, of course.
And I submit -- and I feel this so strongly that it bothers me that I can't make it clear -- that to violate the oath as a witness in a civil case or a criminal case, in the Jones matter or in the grand jury, smashes against the integrity of our system of government and our sundry reasons for that.
And in this case, if you follow the logic and the extreme intellectual presentation made by White House counsel that refutes every item that -- or attempts to refute, not refutes -- attempts to refute every item asserted by the managers -- if you believe all of that then are confused or in doubt about the Jones case and whether lies under oath were committed, or at the grand jury, you must think about this.
This is, to me, proof positive that the president uttered falsehoods under oath in all his public stances.
On December the 23rd, the president under oath answered interrogatories that were sent to him by the court in the Jones case in which he said, in the -- in answer to the question: Have you ever had sexual relations with anyone in a subordinate role while you were governor of Arkansas or president of the United States?
Now, this is important. At that time -- and the record will disclose all this -- at that time, there was no definition in front of him, no gaggle of attorneys trying to dispute what word meant what, no judge there to interpose the legal standards that should be employed, but rather, the bold-faced, naked phrase of sexual relations that everyone in the whole world understands to be what it is. And the president answered under oath, "None."
Now, I submit to the members of the Senate, if he answered then, on December the 23rd, before ever stepping foot in the deposition of the Paula Jones case; he never appeared there.
Or, if whatever he said there was so clouded that you can't draw a conclusion, certainly you can refer back to December 23 and see a starting point of a pattern of conduct on the part of the president that proves beyond all doubt that he committed a pattern and actual falsehoods under oath time and time again.
And if that's not enough, on January the 15th, as the record will disclose, he answered under oath requests for documents in which the question is asked under oath, and which the president responded, "Have you ever received any gifts or documents from," and it mentions, among others, Monica Lewinsky. And the president under oath signed no or none. The record will show for sure exactly what he said, but he denied that any gifts were transferred from or any documents or any items of personality from Lewinsky to the president.
I submit to you that if you're confused about, because of the great presentation made by the counsel for the president, about the murkiness and cloudiness of the Jones deposition, the maddening consequences of the president's testimony, maddening they said, then you can revert back to January the 15th before the deposition and December the 23rd and find proof positive in the documents, already a part of the case that you have to decide, that indeed a pattern of falsehoods under oath was initiated and conducted by the president of the United States.
That's very important. And those allegations, by the way, have gone completely uncontradicted by the president of the United States. I think they took great delight, these colleagues of mine on behalf of the president, great delight in saying at one point -- and they put in the marquee in the sky that, in so many different ways -- when Monica Lewinsky said: Nobody told me to lie.
That was the case for them. What a case they made. "Nobody told me to lie." They won the case right then and there in their minds. But because that was exculpatory and that was brandishing this case once and for all. Monica said "nobody told me to lie."
Well, I'm going to take some liberties with the Latin that I learned when I was in school, where we all learned in college and in law school falsam in unum is falsam in toto meaning if you say something false in one phase of your testimony, more than likely the triers of fact can find that you were false in all of it.
Well, I'm going to change that.
Well, I'm going to change that. I think I'm right when I say, veritas in unum is veritas in toto. So when Monica Lewinsky says, I -- nobody told me to lie -- and that's the indomitable, indestructible truth that the White House counsel say -- that's the case -- then it also must be veritas in totem, because when she says, when she said that she gave gifts to the president, then you must accept that. Veritas in unum is veritas in toto. And that goes on and on and on.
Somebody's waving, cut this short.
Very tough for me to do that, but I will comply.
I have a witness. I call a witness to bolster my part of this summation. The witness is the American people.
Mr. Craig in his last appearance on this podium was delighted to be able to quote a poll that showed that 75 percent of the people of our country felt that there was no need to present videotapes to the Senate in the trial. "Seventy-five percent," he said with great gusto, "of the American people."
And of course, the polls of all types were quoted time and time again by the supporters of the president as showing why you should vote to acquit -- the polls, the polls, the polls. I now call the American people's poll on whether or not the president -- do they believe that they president committed falsehoods under oath? Eighty percent of the American people -- I call them to my side here at the podium to verify to you that the president committed falsehoods under oath.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Chabot.
REP. STEVE CHABOT (R-OH), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: I'm Steve Chabot and I represent the 1st District of Ohio, which is Cincinnati. This week we will likely finally conclude this trial. Has it been difficult? Yes. Would we all have preferred that none of this ever happened? Of course.
But the president has put our nation through a terrible ordeal, and it has been our duty to pursue this case to its conclusion. And despite the dire warnings and scare tactics and heavy-handed threats by those who would circumvent the solemn constitutional process that we're all engaged in, our great country has survived. We have finished this trial in just a few weeks. The economy continues to be strong. And the nation's business is getting done.
But senators, before you turn out the lights and head home, you must make one final decision. It's a decision that should not be influenced by party affiliation or by politics or by personal ties. It's a decision that should be guided by our Constitution, by our laws, and by your own moral compass.
A few months ago I stood in your shoes, as did all the colleagues here and the colleagues in the House, in preparing to make what would likely be the most important vote of our careers. Throughout the process, I did my best to be fair and to keep an open mind, and I listened carefully to the views of my constituents -- the people that sent me to Congress.
I reviewed the evidence in excruciating detail. Ultimately, for me the choice was clear. I came to the conclusion that it was my duty to support impeachment. Now it's your turn to cast what could be the most important vote of your political careers.
The question is, will moral fortitude or political expediency rule the day?
This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours at my college alma mater, William and Mary, not too far from here, down at Williamsburg, Virginia. As I walked around the campus, I couldn't help but think back to my college days and what motivated me to seek public office in the first place.
Back in 1972, I was a 19-year-old college student casting my first ballot in a presidential election. Like a majority of Americans that year, I voted for a Republican, Richard Nixon, for president. Four years later, however, I voted for a Democrat, Jimmy Carter. This decision stemmed my -- from my profound disappointment over Watergate and a strong conviction that President Nixon should not have received immunity for his actions.
Now, just as in college, I find myself extremely troubled by the actions of a president.
In fact, as I started to think about what I would say today, I wasn't sure where to begin. How exactly do you wrap up in 10 minutes or less everything we've witnessed in the last year? We've seen Bill Clinton's finger-waving denial to the American people. We've seen the president lie before a federal grand jury. We've seen the president obstruct justice. We've seen the president hold a public celebration immediately following the House impeachment vote.
We all know the president's behavior has been reprehensible. President Clinton, however, refuses to admit what all of us know is true. To this day, he continues to deny and distort. He continues to dispute the undeniable facts that are before the Senate and before the American people.
The president's attorneys have done their best to disguise the truth as well.
At the beginning of this trial, I predicted in my presentation that they would use legal smokescreens to mask the law and the facts. To their credit, they produced smoke so thick that it continues to cloud this debate.
But if you look through the smoke and the mirrors employed by these very able lawyers, you will see the truth. The truth is that President Clinton lied to a federal grand jury. He lied about whether or not he had committed perjury in a civil deposition, about the extent of his relationship with a subordinate federal employee, about his coaching of his secretary, Betty Currie, and about the countless other matters.
In my opening statement before this body, I outlined the four elements of perjury: an oath, intent, falsity, materiality. In this case, all those elements have been met.
President Clinton also obstructed justice and encouraged others to lie in judicial proceedings. He sought to influence the testimony of a potentially adverse witness with job assistance, and he attempted to conceal evidence that was under subpoena. These truths cannot be ignored, distorted or swept under the rug.
Some of the president's partisan defenders want you to do just that, but it would be wrong. It would be wrong for you to send the message to every American that it's acceptable to lie under oath and obstruct justice.
It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.
I must agree with Phyllis and Jack Stanley, constituents of mine who live in my district, who wrote me a letter saying, and I quote, "We believe that president Bill Clinton should definitely be impeached for the sake of country. If he is not impeached, will not the rule of law in this country be weakened? We do not feel glee over the prospect of President Clinton's impeachment, however. For the sake of coming generations, acknowledging that integrity, honor and decency matter greatly is very important, especially in the highest office of the land," unquote.
Like most of you, I have spent countless hours at grocery stores, shopping malls and at schools and at my church, talking to my constituents. I've also read thousands of letters that have been sent to my office, just as we all have. What I've heard and read doesn't surprise me. People in Cincinnati, Ohio have a variety of views on what the ultimate verdict should be by this body.
Many want the president removed from office. Others want a censure. Still others would just like to see the process end. But regardless of their views, they're honorable people who care about our country and our future.
Now I know that throughout the process, some of the president's more partisan defenders have harshly criticized the managers, the House of Representatives, and anyone who would dare believe that the president committed any crimes. These partisan attacks have been unfortunate, because I think we all know that these issues are serious and that they deserve serious consideration.
I know it. The American people know it. And I think you all know it too.
But despite the partisan and rhetoric attacks, I believe that once this trial ends, we must work together.
So I would ask everyone here today to make a commitment, a commitment to every American, that regardless of the trial's outcome we will join together to turn the page on this unfortunate chapter that President Clinton has written into our nation's history.
The question before you now is, how will this chapter end? Will the final chapter say that the United States Senate turned its back on perjury and obstruction of justice by the president of the United States? Or will it say that the Senate took a principled stand and told the world that no person, not even the president, stands above the law? That all Americans, no matter how rich, how powerful, or how well connected, are accountable for their actions, even the president?
As the father of two children, and a former schoolteacher myself, at an inner-city school in Cincinnati, I believe that it is very important that we teach our children that honesty, integrity, and the rule of law do matter.
When I'm in Cincinnati, I spend a lot of time visiting schools throughout my community. I taught the seventh and eighth grade back in Cincinnati. And when I go there, I go to elementary schools, I go to junior highs, I go to high schools. And I've been doing this for a number of years.
And do you know what is inevitably one of the questions that the kids will ask me? Almost every time it's: Have you ever met the president of the United States?
Now, why do the kids ask that question? Because our kids understand how important the office of the presidency is. The person who occupies that office owes it to the children of this nation to treat the office with respect.
In the past, when those kids asked me that question, they asked me that question out of pride and respect. They looked up to the office, they looked up to everything the office represents. Bill Clinton has let our children down, and that's one of the greatest things that bothers me, as to the effect that this will have the children of this nation.
Let me conclude with a statement that I received from a student, Juliette Ascension (ph), who is a student at Mother of Mercy High School, who wrote to me recently.
And she said, "I'm writing to express my feelings on the scandalous situation that has taken over the White House for the past couple of months. First I'd like to state the qualities that should be found in the president of the United States. Since the president is the official representative of the United States, he should uphold the values and ideals held by the people of this country.
"The president should be honest and a trustworthy person. He should be a good decisionmaker, have good morals, and have his priorities straight. He should be devote his time to the country and set a good example for the people of this nation.
"I feel that President Clinton does not measure up to these standards. He's lied to the American people. He's committed perjury. For someone in his position this is unforgivable act, and he should not be allowed to just walk away wound a punishment. He's shown that he feels he can go above the law, and I strongly believe the president should be impeached."
And I'll conclude by telling you that when you cast your vote, I would ask that you remember -- and you remember that by your vote, you're determining the lesson that Juliette that your children and your grandchildren will learn.
So how will this chapter end? The decision is yours.
I now yield to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Manager Barr.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Barr.
REP. BOB BARR (R-GA), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Distinguished and worthy adversaries, counsel for the president, including my good friend and former Georgetown law professor Charles Ruff, gentlemen and ladies of the Senate.
My name is Bob Barr.
I represent the 7th District of Georgia. But in a broader sense, I represent the country because I have been directed as every one of the other 12 managers of the House have been directed by the American people, by majority vote of the House of Representatives, to urge you to review the evidence and issue a verdict of conviction on two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives.
Two days ago all of us celebrated the birthday of former President Ronald Reagan. During his first year in office on may 17th, 1982 -- '81 -- this president, known for having given voice to America's most decent and honorable instincts, spoke to American people from Notre Dame University. Though spoken nearly 18 years ago clearly not in contemplation of an impeachment, the former president's words provide guidance for you here today. It was on that date that President Reagan spoke of a certain principle, and in so doing, he quoted another giant of the 20th century, Winston Churchill.
Specifically, President Reagan then spoke of those who derided simple, straightforward answers to the problems confronting our country, those who decry clarity and certainty of principle in favor of vagueness and relativism. He said: They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what is morally right. Winston Churchill said that the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we must learn we are spirits, not animals.
And he said: There is something going in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.
Duty, a clear, simple concept, a foundational principle. Your duty is clearly set forth in your oath, your oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law.
In the past month you have heard much about the Constitution and even more about the law -- probably more than you prefer. In a dizzying recitation of the U.S. criminal code -- 18 U.S.C., 1503, 1512, 1621, 1623 -- tampering, perjury, obstruction.
Now that's a lot to digest, but these are real laws and they are applicable to these proceedings and to this president. Evidence and law, you've seen it and you've heard it.
Now, you've also seen and heard about straw men, raised up by the White House's lawyers and then stricken down mightily. You've heard them essentially describe the president alternatively as victim or saint.
You've heard even his staunchest allies describe his conduct as reprehensible. Even some of you on the president's side of the aisle have concluded there's no question about his having given false testimony under oath, and he did that more than once.
There has also been much smoke churned up by the defense.
Men and women of the Senate, Monica Lewinsky is not on trial. Her conduct and her intentions are not at issue here. Vernon Jordan is not on trial, and his conduct and his intentions are not at issue here. William Jefferson Clinton is on trial here. His behavior, his intentions, his actions, these and only these are the issues before you.
When the White House lawyers raise up as a straw man that Vernon Jordan might not have had an improper motive in seeking a job for Ms. Lewinsky, or that there was no formal conspiracy proved between the president and Vernon Jordan, or that Ms. Lewinsky says she did not draw a direct link between the president's raising the issue of a false affidavit and the cover stores -- keep in mind, these are irrelevant issues.
When the White House lawyers strike these theories down, even if you were to conclude that they did, they are striking down nothing more than irrelevant straw men.
What stands today, as it has throughout these proceedings, are facts -- a false affidavit that benefits the president; the coaching of witnesses by the president; the secreting of subpoenaed evidence that would have harmed the president; lies under oath by the president.
These reflect President Clinton's behavior, President Clinton's intentions, President Clinton's actions and President Clinton's benefit, not through the eyes of false theories, but by the evidence through the lens of common sense.
You've heard tapes and read volumes of evidence not pursuant to the precise process we, as House managers, would have preferred, but much evidence nonetheless has been presented.
Many are saying with a degree of certainty that usually comes only from ignorance, that there's nothing I or any of us can say to you today on the eve of your deliberations to sway your minds. I beg to differ with them.
Moreover, we have been directed by the people of this country, by majority vote of the House of Representatives, to fulfill and reaffirm a process and to present evidence to you and to argue this case to you.
There is much in urging a vote for conviction that can be gained by turning to and keeping in mind President Reagan's words to America to do duty -- duty unclouded by relativism, unmarred by artificiality; duty that lives on after your vote, just as America will live on and prosper after a vote to convict; duty untainted by polls.
Polls -- the country's fascination with polls wormed its way even into these proceedings when just a few days ago we heard one of the White House lawyers cite polls as a reason not to release the videotapes. Polls played no role in the great and glorious decisions -- decisive decisions -- that made American a nation and kept it free and strong. Quite the opposite was true.
Polls, likewise, played no role in the great trials of our nation's history that opened schools equally to all of America's children, or that provided due process and equal protection of the laws for all Americans, regardless of skin color or economic might or political power.
Yet it is now in many respects polls that threaten to become the currency of political discourse, and even of judicial process as we near to enter the 21st century.
Your duty, as I know you recognize, is and must be based on polls -- not on polls or politics, but on law and the Constitution. In other words, principle. What you decide in this case, the case now before you, will tell America and the world what it is we have as a foundation for our nation, not just today, but for ages to come. It will tell us in this nation whether these seats here today will continue to be occupied by true statesmen, whether these seats in this chamber will continue to echo with the booming principles, eloquence and sense of duty of Daniel Webster, John Calhoun, Everett Dirksen, Robert Byrd.
I would add to that list of statesmen my fellow Georgian and your former colleague Sam Nunn, whose concern for duty and our national security caused him recently on CNN to raise grave concerns over our nation's security because of the reckless conduct of this president.
Will the principles embodied in our Constitution and our laws be reaffirmed, wrested from the pallid hands of pollsters and pundits and from the swarm of theorists surrounding these proceedings? Will they be taken up by you and reaffirmed into the hands of Thomas Jefferson, Hamilton, Madison, Washington, Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr., and so many other true statesmen of America's heritage? Principles that have stricken down bigotry, tyrants and demagogues. Principles that through open and fair trials have saved the innocent from the hangman's noose and likewise have sent the guilty, clothed in due process, to the nether regions.
It is principle, founded and nurtured in our Constitution and law, that you are called upon now to both use and reaffirm. Not only America is watching, but the world is, too.
And for those who say people from foreign lands and in foreign lands deride this process and look down it, I say not so. Let me speak briefly of a man not born in this country, but a man who has made this his country; a man born not in Atlanta, Georgia, though Atlanta is now his home; a man born thousands of miles away in Eritrea, a man who President Reagan surely was in a sense speaking both in 1981, when he spoke of America's duty, and in January 1985 when he spoke of the American sound that echoes still through the ages and across the continents.
The man whose words I quote is a man who watches this process through the eyes of immigrant -- Mr. Seyoum Tesfaye. Now I've never met Mr. Tesfaue, but I've read his words.
In the February 5th "Atlanta Journal and Constitution," just three days ago, he wrote that this impeachment process is an example of America at its best; a core constitutional principle that profoundly distinguishes America from almost all other nations. He noted, without hyperbole, that this process, far from being the sorry spectacle that many of the president's defenders have tried to make it, truly is a hallmark of representative democracy, reaffirming the principle that no man is above the law, not even the president.
These are not the words of the House managers, though they echo ours. These are not the words of a partisan. They're the words of an immigrant -- a man who came to America to study and who has stayed to work and pay taxes just as countless millions of us do every day. Men and women of the United States, you must, by reaffirming your duty to render impartial justice based on the Constitution and the law, reaffirm those same laws and that very same Constitution which drew Mr. Tesfaye and millions of other immigrants to our shores over the ages.
Now this is not a comfortable task for any of us, but as Martin Luther King, Jr., correctly noted, in words that hang on my office wall and perhaps on some of yours: "It is not in times of comfort and convenience that we find the measure of a man's character, but in times of conflict and controversy." This is such a defining time.
Obstruction of justice and perjury must not be allowed to stand. Perjury and obstruction cannot stand alongside the laws and the Constitution. By your oath, you must, like it or not, choose one over the other, up or down, guilt or acquittal.
I respectfully submit, on behalf of the House of Representatives and on behalf of my constituents in the 7th district of Georgia, that the evidence clearly establishes guilt, and that the Constitution and laws of this land demand it.
I thank the members of the Senate and yield to Mr. Manager Buyer.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Buyer.
REP. STEVE BUYER (R-IN), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished counsel, and senators, my name is Steve Buyer, House manager from Monticello, Indiana. I represent 20 counties between South Bend and Indianapolis.
I will not try to claim the cornerstone of Hoosier common sense. Mr. Kendall would wrestle me for that cornerstone. But as a former criminal defense attorney, I want to take a moment and compliment the White House counsel and Mr. Kendall for doing your best to defend your client in the face of overwhelming facts and compelling evidence.
Your role here -- this is sort of a side compliment, do you think?
Your role here is much easier, though, in a court of impeachment as opposed to a criminal court of law. As a former federal prosecutor, I compliment Chairman Henry Hyde and my colleagues, the House managers, who've embraced and given life meaning to the rule of law and presented this case to the Senate in a professional, thorough and dignified manner.
I assure that you the House managers would not have prosecuted the articles of impeachment before the bar of the Senate had we not had the highest degree of faith, belief and confidence that based on the evidence, the president committed high crimes and misdemeanors which warrant his removal from office.
As you come to judgment, I would recommend you square yourself with your duty first. On January 7th, I witnessed as the chief justice administered your oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. You should follow this prescription, follow the truth -- strike that -- follow this prescription: Find the truth, define the facts, apply the law, give reverence to the Senate precedents while defending the Constitution.
But I submit, it is the integrity of your oath in which you must regulate to uphold the principle of equal justice under the law.
During the question and answer phase with the chief justice on Saturday, January 23, I stood here in the well of the Senate and recommended that you vote on findings of fact.
Now, I want to clear the record of my intent of the recommendation since it has been grossly distorted. It is not to establish the guilt, as some has alleged. A finding of fact is not a finding of fiction.
On the contrary, it is to prevent decisions by triers of fact from basing their judgment on fiction or chance or politics.
The chief justice ruled that you are triers of fact. And since this constitutional proceeding of impeachment is more like a civil proceeding than a criminal trial, I bring your attention to Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that provides in pertinent part that when judges sit alone as a trier of fact, he or she is required to set down in precise words the facts as he or she finds them.
Now this requirement is mandatory and cannot be waived by the parties in federal practice. A memorandum of finding of facts is not a radical concept to American jurisprudence. It is customary and habitually used in state and federal courts all across this land. Since you sit collectively as a court of impeachment, as triers of fact, I recommended the findings of fact to guarantee that you have carefully reviewed the evidence and have a rational of basis for your final judgment.
To claim that findings of fact is unconstitutional is false. The Supreme Court has consistently permitted the Senate to shape the contours and the due process of an impeachment trial. The Senate owes the American people and history an accounting of the stubborn facts.
I'd like to comment on some statements. I've heard some senators state publicly that they are using the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But the Senate has held consistently that the criminal standard of proof is inappropriate for impeachment trials. The result of conviction in an impeachment trial is removal from office. It is not meant to punish. You are to be guided by your own conscience, not by the criminal standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.
I have also heard some senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly: I think these offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. Now, to state publicly that you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but for some reason you have this desire not to remove the president -- that desire, though, does not square with the law, the Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing federal judges for similar offenses.
Now, so long as William Jefferson Clinton is president, the only mechanism to hold him accountable for his high crimes and misdemeanors is the power of impeachment and removal. The Constitution is very clear. You cannot vindicate the rule of law by stating high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred but leave the president in office subject to future prosecution after his term has expired.
Without respect for the law, the foundation of our Constitution is not secure. Without respect for the law, our freedom is at risk.
Now, the president is answerable his alleged crimes to the Senate here and now. Moreover, if criminal prosecution and not impeachment is the way to vindicate the rule of law, then the Senate would never have removed other civil officers, such as the federal judges, who are not insulated from criminal prosecution while holding office.
Thus, in providing for criminal punishment after conviction and removal from office, it was the framers who ensured that the rule of law would be vindicated both in cleansing the office and in punishing the individual for the criminal act.
Now I have asked myself many times how a president can remain in office while having committed perjury and obstruction of justice is fair to those across the country who are sitting in jail for having committed the same crimes. I have had the fairness argument thrown into my face consistently. Now fairness is important. Fairness is something that's simple in its nature and it's powerful in the statement that it makes. A statement which you send carries us into tomorrow and becomes the future legacy.
If you vote to acquit, think for a moment about what you would say to those who have been convicted of the same crimes as the president. What would you say to the 182 Americans who are sentenced in federal court in 1997 for committing perjury? What would you say to the 144 Americans who were sentenced in federal court for obstruction of justice and witness tampering? Would you attempt to trivialize the evidence and say this was -- this case was only lying about sex?
I want to cite the testimony before the House Judiciary Committee of one woman who experienced the judicial system in the most personal sense, and that was the testimony of Dr. Barbara Battalino. I think it's compelling.
Now she -- she held degrees in medicine and law, and Manager Rogan showed some of the testimony just the other day. You see, she was prosecuted by the Clinton Justice Department and convicted for obstruction of justice because of her lie under oath about one act of consensual oral sex with a patient on VA premises. BUYER: Her untruthful response was made in a civil suit which was later dismissed. In a legal proceeding, Dr. Battalino was asked under oath, quote, "Did anything of a sexual nature take place in your office on June 27th, 1991?" end quote. Her one word reply, "No," convicted her and forever changed her life.
Her punishment? She was convicted of a felony, forced to wear an electronic monitoring device, and is presently on probation. She lost her license to practice law and her ability -- she lost her license to practice medicine and her ability to practice law.
Now, our prisons hold many who are truly contrite. They're sorry. They feel pain for their criminal offenses; and some whose victims have even forgiven them. Others were very popular citizens, had many friends, and apologized profusely. But they were still held accountable under the law.
Just like the president is acclaimed to be doing a good job, many in prison today were doing a good job in their chosen professions.
None of our laws provide for good job performance, contrition, forgiveness or popularity polls as a remedy for criminal conduct.
These were the closing lines of Dr. Battalino's opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee, quote, "We all make mistakes in life, but common frailty does not relieve us from the responsibility to uphold the rule of law. Regardless, this nation must never let any person or people undermine the rule of law. If liberty and justice for all does not reign, we like great civilizations before us will surely perish from the face of the Earth."
What would you say to Dr. Battalino and others similarly situated is very important, because fairness is important. Alexander Hamilton, writing not long after the Constitution was adopted, well expressed the harm that would come to our republic from those who, by example, undermined the respect for the law.
In a statement that bears repeating, Hamilton wrote, quote, "If it were to be asked what is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a republic, the answer would be, an inviolable respect for the Constitution and the laws, the first growing out of the last."
Those, therefore, who set examples which undermine or subvert the authority of the laws lead us from freedom to slavery, they incapacitate us for a government of laws.
President Clinton, by his persistent and calculated misconduct and illegal acts, has set a pernicious example of lawlessness, an example which by its very nature subverts respect for the law. His perverse example inevitably undermines the integrity of both the office of the president and the judicial process.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, without choice, we were all born free. And we inherited a legacy of liberty at great sacrifice by many who've come before us. We cannot collectively as a free people enjoy the liberties without measured personal restraint. And that's the purpose of the rule of law. It's the functions of the courts to uphold the dignity of that prescription and the God-given liberties to all of us. That's how we are able to carry this nation forward into future generations.
So in light of the historic principles regarding impeachment, the overwhelming evidence, the offenses as alleged, the application of the Senate precedents, I believe it makes it very clear that our president, whose shown such contempt for the law, the dignity and the integrity of the office of the presidency that was entrusted to him, must be held to account, and it can only be his removal from office.
The House managers reserve the balance of our time.
REHNQUIST: Very well. The chair recognizes the White House counsel.
RUFF: Mr. Chief Justice, thank you.
I wonder, Mr. Majority Leader, whether we might take a brief break because there's going to need to be some rearrangement of furniture here.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes the majority leader.
LOTT: I was hesitant to suggest it too early today, Mr. Chief Justice, but on request of counsel, I ask that we take a 10-minute recess, and please return quickly to the chamber so we can get back to business.
REHNQUIST: Without objection, it's so ordered.
REHNQUIST: The Senate will be in order. The chair recognizes Mr. White House Counsel Ruff.
CHARLES RUFF, WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
How's the sound system today? Good.
Mr. Chief Justice, managers for the House, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I can't resist beginning, following the lead of my colleagues across the well here, by telling you that my name is Charles Ruff and I'm from the District of Columbia, and we don't have a vote in the Congress of the United States.
I truly did not intend to begin quite this way, but I -- I must. I don't think there is a court in the land where a prosecutor would be able to stand up for one-third of his allotted time, speak in general terms about the -- what the people are entitled to and what the rule of law stands for, as important as all of that may be, then sit down and turn to the defendant's counsel and ask that defense counsel go forward, reserving two hours for rebuttal.
I recognize that procedural niceties have not necessarily characterized the way this trial has gone forward. But I do believe -- and this is the only time today I will say this, I promise -- that kind of prosecutorial gambit is symptomatic of what we have seen before in these last weeks, wanting to win too much.
Now, that said, let me begin where I intended to begin. We are taking the last steps along a path that for most of us has seemed to be unending. Indeed some of us may have a sense that we've gone well beyond Yogi Berra land to deja vu all over again and all over again and all over again.
I thought long and hard as I thought about what I was going to say today. How I could be of most help to you as you make this momentous decision that will soon be entrusted to you. I momentarily considered whether the answer to that question was simply to yield back my time, but I weighed that against the special pleasure of stretching out our last hours with you.
Or as Ernie Banks would have said: "It's such a nice day, let's play too."
But cursed as I am with lawyerly instincts, I decided to compromise. I promise you as much brevity as I can manage, even if not much wit, while making a few final points that I think you need to carry with you as you go into your deliberations.
Now you have heard the managers' vision, or at least some part of it, their vision of the process we've been engaged in, and the lessons we've learned, and what it will look like at the end of our journey.
I respect them as elected representatives of their people, and as we're the adversaries. But I believe their vision to be too dark, a vision too little attuned to the needs of the people. Too little sensitive to the needs of our democracy. I believe it to be a vision more focused on retribution, more designed to achieve partisan ends, more uncaring about the future we face together.
Our vision, I think, is quite different, but it is not naive. We know the pain the president has caused our society and his family and his friends, but we know, too, how much the president has done for this country. And more importantly we know that our primary obligation, the duty we all have, is to preserve that which the founders gave us. And we can best fulfill that duty by carefully traveling the path that they laid out for us.
Now, you have heard many speeches over the past few weeks about high crimes and misdemeanors. As I look back on the arguments and the counter-arguments, it seems to me that really very little can be gained by repeating them. For when all is said and done, what they mean is this: the framers chose stability, they made impeachment and removal constitutional recourses of last resort.
The question that the managers appear to have asked -- and I am unable to tell what you they will ask today -- is whether perjury or obstruction of justice in the abstract are impeachable offenses. That is not the question you must answer. Nor must you assume, as the managers appear to, that because judges are removed for having committed perjury, a president must be removed as well.
That is not what the law -- the rule of law requires. The rule of law and even-handed justice is something more than a simple syllogism. You must decide whether on these facts arising out of these circumstances, this president has so endangered the state that we can no longer countenance his remaining in office.
Now I think in their hearts the managers do not truly disagree. Whatever tidbits they have been able to glean from the historical record or more modern scholarship, they cannot in the end avoid the conclusion that removal of the president is not something that the framers took lightly.
Indeed, two of their own witnesses in the Judiciary Committee, Professor Van Alstyne and Judge Wiggins, tried to make it clear to them that even if they were to find that the offenses described in the independent counsel's referral had been committed, another decision had to be made. And that decision was whether in the interests of society the president should be impeached.
As Professor Van Alstyne put it, in words that I admit are unflattering to my client but nonetheless make the point, "In my own opinion," he said, "I regard if the president did that which the special counsel's report declared are crimes of such a low order that it would unduly flatter the president by submitting him to trial in the Senate, i would not bother to do it."
Now, I read that statement to you not, obviously, because the professor and I are on the same side of the political divide, of the same view of the president's conduct, but because it is important, I think, to understand, as I feel the managers do not, that the framers full well understood what they were doing when they drafted the impeachment provisions of the Constitution. They consciously chose not to make all misconduct by the president a basis for removal. They chose instead only that conduct that they viewed as most serious, as most dangerous to our system of government.
As I've said, I think in their hearts, the managers recognize the force of this, for they've argued to you that perjury and obstruction merely should be treated as the equivalent of treason and bribery in the danger that they pose to our society.
They've offered on this much rhetoric, and a few substantive arguments, and I want to look at just a few of these arguments as they were advanced in the managers' opening and not really addressed since then.
First, an historical argument that Blackstone in his commentaries listed bribery and perjury and obstruction of justice under the same heading of offenses against public justice.
Second, a sort of modern statutory equivalent of that argument that under the sentencing guidelines, we actually treat perjury more severely than we do bribery.
And third -- and this is a theme you've heard throughout these proceedings, what I'll call the system of justice argument -- that the president's conduct, if he is not removed, will somehow subvert enforcement of our civil rights laws.
But all these arguments are more subterfuge, offered because the managers knew that to make any plausible case for removal, they must bring these articles within the very small circle of offenses that the framers believed were truly dangerous to the state.
First, Blackstone. It's true that the commentaries rate perjury as among 21 offenses against public justice. Notably, however, Blackstone ranks the 21 in order of seriousness, or as he puts it, malignity. Now, number one on the list, the most malignant offense, is a felony that I have to admit is unknown to me, that of vacating records.
Number six is returning from transportation, also an offense rarely seen in our modern society. Numbers 10 to 12 are barratry, maintenance, and champerty, especially dear to me because they involve my profession, but rarely pursued these days, I think you'll agree.
And at number 15 is perjury. Now if as Madison told us, Blackstone was in the hand of every man, what does that tell us about why the framers chose treason and bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors as the grounds for impeachment? It tells us that they fully understood the comparative gravity of offenses against public justice and nonetheless chose only those that truly posed that danger to the state.
Treason for obvious reasons, and bribery because to them, the risk that the executive would sell himself to a foreign country, for example, was much more than mere speculation. And then other -- other high crimes of similar severity.
Now, as to the lessons to be learned from the more modern day -- the sentencing guidelines -- Mr. Manager McCollum argued to you a few weeks ago that those to whom you have given the responsibility to assess the comparative severity of crimes have concluded that perjury is at least as serious a crime as bribery. That decision, he told you, is evidenced by the commission's decision to assign to perjury an offense level of 12, or approximately one year in prison; and to bribery, an offense level slightly below that.
But even to the extent that such an argument were to be weighed in a constitutional balance, Manager McCollum was simply not being candid with you, for he failed to explain that under these same guidelines, a bribe of let's say $75,000 taken by an elected official or a judge for that matter, automatically carries an offense level of 24 -- twice that of perjury and a prison sentence four to five times longer.
The drafters of our guidelines, to the extent that Manager McCollum asked you to look at, full well understand the special gravity of bribes taken by the country's leaders and are prepared to distinguish that offense from the offenses, even at best, that are before you now.
And lastly, the system of justice argument, the notion that somehow President Clinton has undermined our civil rights laws. Well, whatever I might say could not match the eloquence of my colleague Ms. Mills, and therefore I will not tempt fate by venturing further into that territory.
I really don't want to become further immersed in the minutiae here. On this I do agree with the managers: we cannot lose sight of the constitutional forest for some of the analytical trees.
There is only one question before you, albeit a difficult one, one that is a question of fact, and law, and constitutional theory. Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the president in office?
Putting aside partisan animus, if you can honestly say that it would not, that those liberties are safe in his hands, then you must vote to acquit.
Now each of you has a sense of this in your mind and your heart better than anything I could convey or I suspect anything better than my colleagues could convey to you. And I won't undertake to instruct you further on this issue.
And just as we ultimately leave that question in your hands, we'll leave to the conscience of each member the question of what standard of proof to apply. Despite Congressman Buyer's exhortation to the contrary, this body has never decided for any of you what standard is appropriate, what standard inappropriate. Each senator is left to his or her own best judgment.
I suggested to you when I last spoke to you that I believe you must apply a standard sufficiently stringent to enable you to make this most important decision with certainty and in a manner that will ensure that the American people understand that it has been made with that certainty.
This is not an issue as to which as a people and we as a republic can be in doubt.
Let me move to the articles. Just as you have listened patiently to our debate about the meaning of high crimes and misdemeanors, you have as well heard seemingly endless discourse about the specific details of the various matters that the managers allege constitute grounds for removal.
I will strive therefore not to be unduly repetitive, more than is at least absolutely necessary.
My colleagues last Saturday and in their earlier presentations have done my work for me. But I want to focus for just a little while on those aspects of the managers' presentation that merit your special attention, or those that have been particularly elucidated or for that matter beclouded by the testimony you heard and watched on Saturday.
As we start this discussion, let me offer you a phrase that I hope you will remember as I move through the articles with you, and that phrase is: Moving targets and empty pots.
Moving targets, ever-shifting theories, each one advanced to replace the last as it has fallen, fallen victim to the facts.
Empty pots. Attractive containers, but when you take the lid off, you'll find nothing to sustain you.
Now, I used the term "empty vessels" in my opening presentation, but it since struck me that that was much too flattering, and might even suggest that they had the capacity to float, which they don't.
Article I, the first moving target. Now as we've said repeatedly, we've been more than a little puzzled as to the exact nature of the charges advanced by the managers under the rubric of Article I. And our puzzlement has only increased, I must tell you, since this trial began.
We've argued, I think with indisputable force, that both articles are so deficient that they would not survive a motion to dismiss in any court in the land. Now, we're not insensitive to the claim that we are advancing some lawyer's argument, and we're seeking some technical escape. But I urge you not to treat this issue so lightly.
As you look to Article I, for example, ask yourselves whether you can, at this late moment in the trial, identify for yourselves with any remote sense of certainty the statements that the managers claim are perjurious. I suspect you will hear a lot about that in the two hours following my presentation, but I'll try to look ahead just a bit.
Ask yourselves whether you are comfortable in this gravest of proceedings that when you retire to your deliberations you could ever know that the constitutionally required two-thirds votes is present on any one charge.
Now, we've been making this argument for some time and with some frequency, and so you would think that at least once the trial began, the managers would have fixed on a definable set of charges.
But, no. Indeed, it struck me even earlier this afternoon, that when Manager Sensenbrenner rose to speak to you, he was prepared to give you four examples of perjury. We've heard a lot examples, we haven't heard much certainty.
Now, just to give you an example of how rapidly the target can move, you'll recall that in describing the incidents of perjury allegedly committed by the president, the managers made much of the preliminary statement he read to the grand jury, including the use of the words "occasionally" and "on certain occasions" to describe the frequency of certain conduct, and made the general allegation the statement itself was part of the scheme to deceive the grand jury.
Yet strangely, when Mr. Manager Rogan was asked about these very charges as late as January 20th, he quite clearly abandoned them.
I direct your attention to the exhibits before you and to the chart. Appearing on television on January 20th with Chris Matthews, this is what transpired:
Mr. Matthews: Now defend these elements -- one, that the president lied when he said "these relationships with her on certain occasions." Is that the language?
Representative Rogan: That is the ...
And Matthews: And why is that perjurious -- perjurious?
Representative Rogan: In fact, I'm not -- I don't think it's necessarily perjurious. In fact, that's not one even of the four areas that's alleged. But they're trying to pick these little dots out of the matrix and try to hang their hat on that.
RUFF: That is, that's one little piece of this answer he gave at the grand jury. Matthews: And another time he used a phrase with regard to this ridiculous thing called phone sex, he referred to it as occasional or on occasion. Why do you add them in as part of the perjury indictment?
Representative Rogan: That's not added in as part of the perjury indictment in Article I, simply raised that issue when I was addressing the Senate.
Matthews: You better get to those senators, because I think they made the mistake I did of thinking that was one of the elements in the perjury charge.
RUFF: And similarly over here, although I've reversed the order a bit, go through what you think of the main elements.
Representative Logan: One of the things that we're focusing on is a point I think I made last week when I was presenting the case for perjury, dealing with that preliminary statement that the president read, but just really gave the grand jury a misperception of what the president's relationship was with Monica Lewinsky. Now, I never said that was the basis for the perjury charge.
RUFF: Well, I have to tell you, as did Mr. Matthews, I made the same mistake. I heard Manager Rogan say, quote, "This prepared statement he read to the grand jury on August 17th, 1998, was the lynchpin in his plan to, quote, 'win,'" unquote.
I heard him say, "It is obvious that the reference in the president's prepared statement to the grand jury that this relationship began in 1996 was intentionally false." I heard him say, "The president's statement was intentionally misleading when he described being alone with Ms. Lewinsky only on certain occasions." And I heard him say, "The president's statement was intentionally misleading when he described his telephone conversations with Monica Lewinsky as occasional."
That's what I heard when Manager Rogan spoke to you a few weeks ago.
Now, I know it's unusual to be given a bill of particulars on television. And maybe that's part of the modern litigation age.
And so as to Article I's charge, now that this is off the books, that the president perjured himself concerning his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, we are once again left with the claim that he lied about touching; about his denial that he engaged in conduct that fell within his subjective understanding of a definition used in the Jones deposition -- this, in the course of testimony, members of the Senate, in which the president had already made the single most devastating admission that any of us can conceive of.
It defies common sense and as any experienced prosecutor -- and five experienced prosecutors said this to the Judiciary Committee -- will tell you, it defies real world experience to charge anyone, president or not, with perjury on the ground that you disbelieve his testimony about his own subjective belief in a definition of a term used in a civil deposition.
Nothing in the evidentiary record has changed since the OIC referred this matter to the House six months ago. Indeed, it is impossible to conceive what could change in the evidentiary record.
And the managers have offered this charge and persist in it for reasons not entirely clear to me, but some blind faith that they must go forward, facts or no.
Now, there are three other elements to Article I. First, that the allegation -- first the allegation that the president lied when he claimed that he'd not perjured himself in the Jones deposition. The president, of course, made no such representation in the grand jury, and the managers cannot, no matter how they try, resurrect the charges of the article, the Article II, that was so clearly rejected by the House of Representatives.
Yet, if you listened to their presentations over the past weeks, it becomes evident that, whether intentionally or unintentionally, they, themselves, have come to the point where the president's testimony on January 17 in the Jones deposition and August 17 in the grand jury are treated as though they were one and the same.
Now, just -- just a few minutes ago, you heard Manager Gekas talk to you about perjury. And probably 90 percent of what he talked to you about was perjury in the Jones case.
In the Jones case. It doesn't exist anymore. The House of Representatives determined that that was not an impeachable offense.
It appears to make no difference, though, that the House rejected this charge, for the managers do continue to dwell on it, as though somehow they could show the House from which they came that they'd made a mistake.
Only last Saturday Manager Graham could be heard decrying the president's claim that he had never been alone with Monica Lewinsky. Something that comes, not out of the grand jury, but out of the Jones deposition.
At the same time he was taking him to task for his disposition on the meaning of the word "is," something that is in the grand jury but is entirely irrelevant to these perjury charges.
You could even see it in their videotape presentation last Saturday, when snippets from January 17th and August 17th were played without any definition and without any sense that there was any distinction between the two events.
There's literally nothing in the president's grand jury testimony that purports to adopt wholesale his testimony in the Jones deposition. If anything, it's evident that he's explaining at length and clarifying and adding to his deposition testimony.
Indeed, even if article -- the original Article II had survived, the president's belief that he had worked, quote, "worked through the minefield of the Jones deposition without violating the law," which is a quote from his grand jury testimony, could not allow the managers somehow to establish that statement was independently perjurious, and they surely cannot do so now that the original Article II has disappeared.
Now, as to the second and third remaining elements of Article I, that he -- the president lied about Mr. Bennett's statement to Judge Wright at the time of the Jones deposition and that he lied about his own statements to his staff, I will deal with them in my discussion of the obstruction charges in Article II.
Suffice it to say that nothing in the record as it came to you in January could support conviction on Article I, and nothing added to the record since then has changed that result.
And we move to Article II.
Manager Hutchinson told you in his original presentation that Article II rested on, in his words, seven pillars of obstruction. I have suggested in my opening statement of a few weeks ago that it would be more accurate to call them seven shifting sandcastles of speculation.
But Manager Hutchinson has not proved willing to accept my description, and so I will accept his.
Let's remove one pillar right at the start. Article II charges that the president engaged in a scheme to obstruct the Jones case -- the Jones case. And alleges as one element of this scheme that in the days following January 21st, the president lied to his staff about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky -- conduct that could not possibly have had anything to do with the Jones litigation.
I will get to the merits of that charge standing alone in a little while, but I bring up the more, forgive me, technical argument here to highlight once more the extent to which the House simply ignored the most basic legal principles in bringing these charges to you.
I have yet to hear from the managers a single plausible explanation for the inclusion of this charge as part of a scheme to obstruct the Jones litigation, and I can think of none. I'm sure that in the 120 minutes remaining to them, some portion of will be spent explaining just this point.
And so, one pillar gone, a slight list observed.
Next. Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit and the first of the empty pots. The managers charge that the president corruptly encouraged a witness to execute a sworn affidavit that he knew to be perjurious, false and misleading, and similarly encouraged Ms. Lewinsky to lie if she were of called as a witness.
In my opening statement, and Mr. Kendall's more detailed discussion, we made two points: first, that Ms. Lewinsky had repeatedly denied that she had ever been asked or encouraged to lie; and second, that there was simply no direct or circumstantial evidence that the president had ever done such a thing.
Now it's not in dispute that the president called Ms. Lewinsky on the early morning of December 17th to tell her about the death of Betty Currie's brother, and in the same call that he told her that she was now listed on the Jones witness list.
The managers have from the beginning relied on one fact and on one baseless hypothesis stemming from this call, which in the managers' minds was the beginning and the middle and the end of the scheme to encourage the filing of a false affidavit.
There was literally no other event or statement on which they can rely.
Now, the one fact to which the managers point is Ms. Lewinsky's testimony that the president said that if she were actually subpoenaed, she possibly could file an affidavit to avoid having to testify, and at some point in the call mentioned one of the so-called cover stories that they had used when she was still working at the White House; that is, bringing papers to him.
And it is on this shaky foundation, a very slim pillar indeed, that the managers build their hypothesis.
In the face of the seemingly insurmountable hurdle of Ms. Lewinsky's repeated denials that anyone ever asked or encouraged her to lie, the managers have persisted in arguing and continue to do so that the president did somehow encourage her to lie, even if she didn't know it.
Now, you've heard that theme sounded, really, for the first time on Saturday and then a little bit today -- even if she didn't know it -- because both really understood that any affidavit Ms. Lewinsky would file would have to be false, if it were to result in her avoiding her deposition.
But neither the fact on which they rely nor their hypothesis was of much help to the managers before Ms. Lewinsky's deposition, and neither, surely, has any force after her deposition.
After you saw Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, there can be nothing left of what was, at best, only conjecture. Even before her deposition, Ms. Lewinsky had testified, as had the president in the grand jury, that given the claims being made in the Jones case, a truthful, albeit limited affidavit, might -- might -- establish that Ms. Lewinsky had nothing relevant to offer in the way of testimony in the Jones case.
Faced with this record, the managers asked you to authorize Ms. Lewinsky's deposition, representing that she would, and I quote, and this is from the manager's proffer, "rebut the following inferences drawn by White House counsel on key issues. Among others, that President Clinton did not encourage Ms. Lewinsky to file a false affidavit and that President Clinton did not have an understanding with Ms. Lewinsky that the two would lie under oath."
Unhappily for the managers, and perhaps their unhappiness was best reflected in the tone of Manager Bryant's discussion on this subject, Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, as you saw yourself on Saturday, did just the opposite.
In an extended colloquy with Mr. Manager Bryant on the subject of the affidavit, Ms. Lewinsky made clear beyond any doubt: first, that the president had never discussed the contents of the affidavit with her; second, that there was no connection between the suggest that she might file an affidavit and the reference to any cover story; and third, that she believed it possible to file a truthful affidavit.
Now you saw much of this portion of Ms. Lewinsky's deposition on Saturday, and I'm not going to impose too much on your patience, but I do want to play just a very few segments of that videotape. First, two segments beginning with the content of the affidavit.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: Are you -- did he make it -- strike that.
BRYANT: Did he make any representation to you about what you could say in that affidavit?
BRYANT: What did you understand you would be saying in that affidavit to avoid testifying?
LEWINSKY: I believe I've testified to this in the grand jury.
In the best of my recollection, it was -- to my mind, it came -- it was a range of things. I mean, it could either be something innocuous or could go as far as having to deny the relationship. Not being a lawyer nor having gone to law school was -- I thought it could be anything.
BRYANT: Did he, at that point, suggest one version or the other version?
LEWINSKY: No. I didn't even mention that. So, there wasn't a further discussion -- there was no discussion of what would be in an affidavit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: In his answer to this proceeding in the Senate, he has indicated that he thought he had -- might have had a way that he could have you -- get you to file a -- basically a true affidavit, but yet still skirt these issues enough that you wouldn't be called as a witness. Did he offer you any of these suggestions at this time?
LEWINSKY: He didn't discuss the content of my affidavit with me at all, ever.
(END VIDEO CLIP) RUFF: Next, a couple of brief segments on the issue of the cover stories. It may take just a moment to here to queue up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: Well, based on prior relations with the president, the concocted stories and those things like that, did this come to mind?
BRYANT: Was there some discussion about that, or did it come to your mind about...
LEWINSKY: Not in connection with...
BRYANT: ... these stories, the cover stories?
LEWINSKY: Not in connection with the affidavit.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: Did you discuss anything else that night in terms of -- I would draw your attention to the cover stories. I've alluded to that earlier, but did you -- did you talk about cover story that night?
LEWINSKY: Yes, sir.
BRYANT: And what was said?
LEWINSKY: Um, I believe that the president said something: You can always say you were coming in to see Betty or bringing me papers.
BRYANT: I think you've testified that you're sure he said that night. You are sure he said that night?
BRYANT: Now, was that in connection with the affidavit?
LEWINSKY: I don't believe so. No.
GRAHAM: Now, you have testified in the grand jury, I think your closing comments was that no one ever asked you to lie. But yet in that very conversation of December the 17th, 1997 when the president told you that you were on the witness list, he also suggested that you could sign an affidavit and use misleading cover stories. Isn't that correct?
LEWINSKY: I guess in my mind I separate necessarily signing affidavit and using misleading cover stories, so ...
GRAHAM: Well, those two ...
LEWINSKY: Those three events occurred, but they don't -- they weren't linked for me. (END VIDEO CLIP)
RUFF: And third, a brief segment on the supposed falsity of any affidavit that might be filed.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRAHAM: The night of the phone call, he suggested you could file an affidavit.
BRYANT: Did you appreciate the implications of filing a false affidavit with the court?
LEWINSKY: I don't think I necessarily thought at that point it would have to be false. So no, probably not. I don't remember having any thoughts like that, so I imagine I would remember something like that, and I don't, but --
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUFF: And last, if we might, a brief segment on the question of who's interests were being served.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRYANT: But you didn't file the affidavit for your best interests, did you?
LEWINSKY: Actually, I did.
BRYANT: To avoid testifying?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUFF: Brief, but pointed, I think. And I'm sure you'll remember them from Saturday, and I'm sure you'll take those excerpts with you as you move into your deliberations.
Now, there's another issue that surfaced early on, although perhaps it has dissipated, and that is whether the president ever saw a draft of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, something that the managers alleged early on.
But indeed, as we now know from that testimony, not only did nobody ever see a draft of the affidavit, the president and Ms. Lewinsky never even discussed the content of her affidavit -- not ever, as she put it -- neither on December 17 or on January 5 or on any other date. According to Ms. Lewinsky, the president told her he didn't need to see a draft because he'd seen other affidavits.
Now, early on Manager McCollum speculated for you -- speculated for you -- that when the president told Ms. Lewinsky that he didn't need to see her affidavit because he'd seen other affidavits, he really must have meant that he'd seen previous drafts of hers. And this is what he said: I doubt seriously the president was talking about 15 other affidavits of somebody else and didn't like looking at affidavits anymore.
I suspect, and I would suggest to you, that he was talking about 15 other drafts of this proposed affidavit, since it had been around the horn a lot of rounds.
That's what Manager McCollum told you.
Well now we know that those drafts simply didn't exist. They never existed. How do we know? Well, somewhat belatedly the managers got around to telling us that. In describing the testimony that they would expect to receive from Ms. Lewinsky when they moved here for the right to take her deposition, they wrote, in their motion: That same day, January 5th, she called President Clinton to ask if the president would like to review her affidavit before it was signed. He declined saying he had already seen about 15 others. She understood that to mean that he had seen 15 other affidavits, rather than 15 prior drafts of her affidavit, parenthesis, which did not exist, close parenthesis.
In sum: One, the only reference to an affidavit in the December 17th call was the suggestion of the president that filing one might possibly enable Ms. Lewinsky to avoid being deposed, itself an entirely legitimate and proper suggestion.
Two, the president and Ms. Lewinsky never discussed the content of her affidavit on or after December 17th.
Three, the president never saw or read any draft of the affidavit before it was signed.
Four, the president believed that she could file a true affidavit.
Five, Ms. Lewinsky believed that she could file a true affidavit.
Six, there is not one single document or piece of testimony that suggests that the president encouraged her to file a false affidavit.
Well, if there is no proof that the president encouraged Ms. Lewinsky to file a false affidavit, surely there must be some proof for the other charge that encouraged her to give perjurious testimony if she were called to testify. Well, there isn't.
Let's begin by noting something that should help you assess the president's actions during this period: both the charge that encouraged the filing of a false affidavit and the charge that he encouraged Ms. Lewinsky to testify falsely.
The conversation that the managers have alleged gave lives to both offenses is that call of the early morning of December 17th. And the managers suggest that the president, in essence, used the subterfuge of a call to inform Ms. Lewinsky about the death of Ms. Currie's brother to discuss her status as a witness in the Jones case.
Subterfuge? Come on. A tragedy had befallen a woman who was Ms. Lewinsky's friend and the president's secretary. But let's put this in the managers' own context.
On December 6th, the president learned that Ms. Lewinsky was on the Jones witness list. According to the managers that was a source of grave concern and spurred intensified efforts to find her a job. Efforts that were still further intensified when, on December 11th Judge Wright issued her order allowing lawyers to acquire into the president's relationships with other women.
Yet I have not heard any explanation as to why the president, now theoretically so distraught that he was urging Mr. Jordan to keep Ms. Lewinsky happy by finding her a job, as Manager Hutchinson would have it, waited until December 17th, 11 days after he learned Ms. Lewinsky was on the witness list and six days after the supposedly critical events of December 11th, to call and launch his scheme to suborn perjury.
Now as to the charge of subornation, the managers do concede, as they must, that the president and Ms. Lewinsky did not even discuss her deposition on the 17th; logically, I suppose, since she wasn't actually subpoenaed until two days later.
Now one might think that this would dispose of the matter, since they do not identify a single other moment in time when there was any discussion of Ms. Lewinsky's potential testimony. But once again, having lifted the lid and seen that their pot was empty, they would ask you to find that the same signal that we now know did not encourage the filing of an affidavit was a signal to Ms. Lewinsky to lie if she was ever called to testify.
But of course we've long known that there was no such signal, and the grand jury, as was so often the case, one of the jurors took it upon him- or herself to ask that which the independent counsel chose not to, and you have this before you, and you've seen it before.
A juror: It is possible that you also had these discussions about denying the relationship after you learned that you were a witness in the Paula Jones case?
Ms. Lewinsky: I don't believe so, no.
A juror: Can you exclude that possibility?
Ms. Lewinsky: I pretty much can. I really don't remember it. I mean it would be very surprising for me to be confronted with something that would show me different. But I -- it was 2:30, I mean the conversation I'm thinking of mainly would have to have been December 17 which was
A juror: The telephone call.
Ms. Lewinsky: Right. And it was, you know, 2:00, 2:30 in the morning. I remember the gist of it and I -- I really don't think so.
A juror: Thank you.
But all of this is not enough to dissuade the managers. Now that they know what the only two participants in the relevant conversation deny that there was any discussion of either the affidavit or the testimony, they have created still another theory. As Manager Bryant told you last week, and in essence it was repeated today, quote, "I don't care what was in Ms. Lewinsky's mind."
Now, that is quite extraordinary. The only witness, the supposed victim of the obstruction, the person whose testimony is being influenced, says that it didn't happen. And the managers nonetheless want you to conclude, I assume, that some subliminal message was being conveyed that resulted in the filing of a false affidavit, without the affiant knowing that she was being controlled by some unseen and unheard force.
I won't comment further.
RUFF: Two more pillars lie in the dust.
Next, the gifts. On this charge the record is largely but in critical respects not entirely as the record has been from the beginning. Here is what it shows.
On the morning of December 28th, the president gave Ms. Lewinsky Christmas presents in token of her impending departure for New York. Ms. Lewinsky testified that she raised the subject of her subpoena and said something about getting the gifts out of her apartment, to which, as she herself has now told you, the president either made no response or said something like, "Let me think about it."
Betty Currie has testified consistently that Ms. Lewinsky called her to ask her to pick up a box and hold them for her.
Ms. Lewinsky has testified equally consistently, and testified again in her deposition, that it was her recollection that Ms. Currie called her and said that she understood she, quote, "had something for her," or perhaps even the president said, "You have something for me."
The president denies that he ever spoke to Betty Currie about picking up gifts from Monica Lewinsky. Betty Currie denies that the president ever asked her to pick up gifts from Monica Lewinsky.
Now Ms. Lewinsky has stated on three occasions -- on three occasions -- before her most recent deposition that Ms. Currie picked up the gifts at 2 o'clock in the afternoon on the 28th. Having been shown the infamous 3:32 cell phone call, which had previously been trumpeted by the managers as absolute proof that it was Ms. Currie who called Ms. Lewinsky to initiate the process, Ms. Lewinsky testified on Monday that Ms. Currie came to pick up the gifts sometime during the afternoon and that there had been other calls earlier in the day.
But we learned at least a couple of interesting new things from Ms. Lewinsky on this subject.
First, when she received her subpoena on December 19th, nine days -- nine days -- before she spoke to the president about them, Ms. Lewinsky was frightened at the prospect that the Jones lawyers would search her apartment and she began to think about concealing the gifts that she cared most about, or that would suggest some special relationship with the president.
And as she told you, she herself decided then that she would turn over only what she described as the most innocuous gifts, and it was those gifts that she took with her to see her lawyer, Mr. Carter, on December 22nd.
Thus, when she arrived to pick up her Christmas gift from the president on December 28th, she had already decided that she would not turn over all of the gifts called for by the subpoena and had already segregated out the ones she intended to withhold. But she didn't tell the president about that. Instead, as she testified, she broached the question of what to do with the gifts and the possibility of the giving them to Betty Currie, again, without describing what had already occurred, to which the president either made no reply or said something like, I'll think about it.
This testimony sheds light on one of the issues that has troubled everyone who has tried to make sense out of what happened on that day. Why would the president, if he were really worried about Ms. Lewinsky's turning over gifts pursuant to the subpoena, give her more gifts?
From our perspective, the answer is already, has always been an easy one. He wouldn't have been concerned. He's testified that he's not concerned about gifts; that he gives them all the time to all sorts of people, and he wasn't worried about it. And now we know that, from Ms. Lewinsky's perspective, as she explained in her deposition, it also made no difference that the president was giving her additional gifts, because she had already decided, having had the subpoena in hand for nine days, that she would not turn them over.
Now a second ray of light also shines on two aspects of the managers case from Ms. Lewinsky's deposition. You may remember that as part of Article I in their trial brief, the managers allege that the president lied to the grand jury -- this is one of the never- ending list of possible perjuries -- that he recalled saying to Ms. Lewinsky on December 28th that she would have to, quote, "turnover what she had," unquote, when she raised the gift issue with him.
While the managers sought to obtain from Ms. Lewinsky testimony that would support that charge of perjury as well as the concealment charge under Article II, but she turned their world upside down on both the perjury charge and the obstruction charge.
When asked whether the president had ever said to her, "You will have to give them whatever you have," or something like that, Ms. Lewinsky testified that FBI agent Fallon (ph) of the OIC had interviewed her after the president's grand jury testimony, after they already knew what the president had said under oath, and asked her whether she recalled the president's saying anything like that to her.
And I'm sure somewhat to the surprise of Manager Bryant, she testified that she told Agent Fallon (ph), quote "that sounds familiar."
Now aside from the not-so-minor point that Ms. Lewinsky's testimony corroborates the president's recollection of his response, and undermines the charge for both Article I and Article II, a couple of other things are worth noting. As my colleague Ms. Seligman pointed out to you on Saturday, this was the first time, after all Ms. Lewinsky's recorded versions of the events of December 28th, that we had ever heard that the president's version sounded familiar to her.
And second, there is not a single piece of paper, at least that we're aware of, in the entire universe turned over by the independent counsel to the House and thence to us, that reflects the FBI's interview of Ms. Lewinsky. If she hadn't been honest enough to tell Manager Bryant about it, we and you would never have known.
Senators, what else is there in the vaults of the independent counsel or in the memory of his agents that we don't know about?
Another pillar down.
The job search. It may have become tiresome to hear it, but any discussion of the job search must begin with Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, oft repeated, that no one promised her a job to influence her testimony.
Remember my two themes: moving targets, empty pots. They come together here.
What the managers have presented to you is a series of different speculative theories. As each one is shown to be what it is, they move on to the next, in the hope they will find one, someday, that actually has a connection to reality.
But they cannot find that elusive theory, for the stubborn facts will not budge, nor will the stubborn denials by every participant in their mythical plot.
Now, we know that Ms. Lewinsky's job search began in the summer of '97, well in advance of her being involved in the Jones case. In October she interviewed with UN Ambassador Richardson, was offered a job. She had her first meeting with Mr. Jordan early in November, well before she appeared in the Jones case.
The next contact was actually before Thanksgiving, when she made an effort to set up another meeting with Mr. Jordan, was told to call back after the holiday. She did on December 8th, and set up a meeting on December 11th. Again, before either she or Mr. Jordan knew that she was involved in the Jones case.
Now on that date of December 11th, which we've heard so much about, Mr. Jordan did open doors for Ms. Lewinsky in New York. But there was no inappropriate pressure. At American Express and Young and Rubicam, she failed on her own; and at Revlon, she succeeded on her own. As Mr. Jordan told the grand jury when asked whether there was any connection between his assistance to her and the Jones case, his answer was, "Unequivocally, indubitably, no."
In search of some efforts that Mr. Jordan -- of some evidence that Mr. Jordan's efforts were indeed triggered by Ms. Lewinsky's status as a witness, and therefore possibly inappropriate, may I just focus on his January 8th call to Mr. Perelman, the CEO of McAnders and Forbes (ph), admittedly, a date by which Ms. Lewinsky's status was known to her, to Mr. Jordan, and to the president. Ms. Lewinsky had reported that her original interview had not gone way, although we know it actually had, and that her resume had already been sent over from McAnders and Forbes (ph) to Revlon, where she was ultimately offered a job, Mr. Jordan was candid in stating that he went to the top because he wanted to get action, if action could be had.
But the record is clear that the woman involved at Revlon who interviewed Lewinsky had already made a decision to hire her. No one put any pressure on her. There was no special urgency. There was no fix. In fact, if you want to know what happens when Mr. Jordan calls the CEO of a company to get action, look at his call to the CEO of Young & Rubicam. No job. No job. They made an independent decision whether or not to hire Ms. Lewinsky.
Now, other than the managers, there are only two people, as far as I can tell, who ever tried to create a link between the job search and the affidavit. Linda Tripp, Kenneth Starr. No one, not Ms. Lewinsky, not Mr. Jordan, not the president, no one ever said anything to so much as suggest the existence of such a linkage, and the managers can find no proof. Which is not to say they didn't try. Manager Hutchinson, you will recall, originally asked to you look at the events of January 5th, when he said that Ms. Lewinsky had met with her attorney, Mr. Carter, and then, according to the managers' account, Mr. Carter began drafting the affidavit, and Ms. Lewinsky was so concerned that she called the president, and he returned her call.
Well, the problem with this version, as my colleague, Mr. Kendall, showed you, was the affidavit wasn't drafted until January 6th. Mr. Carter has so testified.
Now the managers would also have you believe that Mr. Jordan was involved in drafting the affidavit and that he was involved in the deletion of language from the draft that suggested that she'd been alone with the president.
Ms. Lewinsky's and Mr. Jordan's testimony is essentially the same. They talked. Mr. Jordan listened, you'll recall, and saying yes, she was talking and I was doodling. He called Mr. Carter. He transmitted to Mr. Carter some of her concerns, but he made it very clear to Ms. Lewinsky he wasn't her lawyer and in words that will resonate forever, at least among the legal community, Mr. Jordan said: I don't do affidavits.
And of course, Mr. Carter himself testified that it was his idea to delete the language about being alone. Now, the very best that the managers can do on this issue is to establish that Ms. Lewinsky talked to Mr. Jordan in the same conversation about the job search and about her affidavit.
But as Mr. Jordan told you, Ms. Lewinsky was always talking about the job search, even made it very clear to you that there was no linkage between the two. If we can play just a very brief segment of Mr. Jordan's deposition. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HUTCHINSON: In your conversation with Ms. Lewinsky prior to the affidavit being signed, did you in fact talk to her about both the job and her concerns about parts of the affidavit?
JORDAN: I have never in any conversation with Ms. Lewinsky talked to her about the job on one hand or job being interrelated with the conversation about the affidavit. The affidavit was over here, the job was over here.
HUTCHINSON: But the...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
RUFF: And of course we've already dispensed with the notion, to the extent that the managers continue to assert it, that the president ever discussed the contents of the affidavit with Ms. Lewinsky or even ever saw a draft.
Now, recognizing that they would never be able to show that the inception of the job search was linked in any way to the affidavit, the managers developed a theory, which they've advanced to you, that the president committed obstruction of justice when the job search assistance became, in their words, quote, "totally interconnected, intertwined, interrelated," unquote, with the filing of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit.
The problem the managers have had that the managers have had, however, is that they've not been able to figure out when this occurred, why it occurred, or how it occurred.
Think back on how many versions of their theory you have heard just in the last few weeks. First, it all started on December 11th when Judge Wright issued her order permitting the Jones lawyers to take depositions to prove that the president had relations with other women. That was what galvanized the president and Mr. Jordan to make real efforts to find Ms. Lewinsky a job. Whoops. Didn't quite fit the facts.
Mr. Jordan met with Ms. Lewinsky and made calls to prospective employers before the order was issued.
All right. Let's try this. Second, well, it wasn't really the 11th, you see. It was the 5th. When the witness list came out. But they'd already told you in their trial brief, quite explicitly, and in the majority report of the committee to the Congress, that there was no urgency. Those were there words. There was no urgency after December ah.
Now, I'm a city boy, but that dog went back to sleep.
Third, as Manager Hutchinson told you on Saturday, what really happened was that by December 17th, the president had, quote, "got the job search moving" and thought, quote, "maybe she's now more receptive," unquote, and that's why he called Ms. Lewinsky on the 17th and told her she was on the witness list.
Nice try. No thanks.
Now I don't know whether this chart which Manager Hutchinson used, was intended to speak for itself or to be elucidated by his own comments, but let's look at it.
December 5th, witness list, Lewinsky, exclamation point. True, witness list comes, Monica Lewinsky's name is on it.
December 6th, president meets with attorneys on witness list. True.
Seventh, president and Jordan meet. Well, that's also true. But we know they didn't talk about Monica Lewinsky. Not quite sure why it's there.
December 8th, Lewinsky sets up a meeting with Jordan for the 11th. true. At that point she doesn't know she's on the list, Mr. Jordan doesn't know that she's on the list.
The 11th, the Lewinsky job meeting with Jordan. Yes, true, and as we know, well before Judge Wright's order came out. They still don't know, the two of them, that there is -- that her name is on the witness list.
December 17th, the call. True, they are on the list.
December 19th, the subpoena is served, true.
December 28th, the president and Lewinsky meet and hoofs (ph) are concealed. Now, true, but I'm not sure what that means in this context.
And last, interestingly, breakfast at the Park Hyatt. More evidence at risk.
Now, it is clear that if you string all these events together, and you have a theory that will link them all together, you've made some progress. There's only one problem. Other than what we know to be true on this list, there is nothing other than surmise that links them together in any fashion that one could consider improper, or certainly illegal.
But that is in essence where the managers have brought us in their theorizing, for their fourth theory is that the pressure did not really begin to build until Ms. Lewinsky was actually subpoenaed and began to prepare an affidavit. And on this theory a call to Mr. Perelman was the final step, going right to the top of McAndrews and Forbes (ph) to make absolutely sure that Ms. Lewinsky stayed on the team.
But here there are other facts to deal with. For example, look what happened, or more importantly didn't happen on December 19. On that day, Monica Lewinsky came weeping to Mr. Jordan's office carrying with her the dreaded subpoena. And Mr. Jordan called the president and visited him with that -- visited with him that evening. And you'll recall that he talked in very candid terms to Ms. Lewinsky and Mr. Jordan about their relationship. Excuse me, to the president about their relationship.
Wouldn't one think that, if the president was in fact engaged in some scheme to use a job in New York to influence Ms. Lewinsky's testimony, that this would be the critical moment, that some immediate steps would be taken to be absolutely sure that there was a job for her?
But what do we find? Mr. Jordan takes no further action on the job front until January 8th.
Now, there was never so much as a passing reference concerning any connection between the job search and the affidavit among any of the three participants. Any of the three participants. There's not one conversation that anyone could conclude was designed to implement this nefarious scheme that the managers would have you find,
And so now we have an entirely new theory: The one-man conspiracy. A beast unknown, I think, to Anglo-American jurisprudence. Now the fact that Ms. Lewinsky didn't -- this is on the managers' theory -- the fact that Ms. Lewinsky didn't know she was on the witness list until December 17th, and Mr. Jordan didn't know about it until she was subpoenaed on the 19th, and Mr. Perelman never knew it, all are proof positive that the president himself was the mastermind, pulling on unseen strings, and influencing the participants in this drama without their even knowing that they were being influenced.
Under this theory, the latest in the long line, Ms. Lewinsky's denial that she ever discussed the contents of her affidavit with the president, her denial that there was any connection between the job and her testimony, Mr. Jordan's denial that there was any connection between his efforts to find her a job and the affidavit, and the fact that Mr. Jordan never discussed any such connection with the president, are simply evidence of the fact that there must have been such a connection.
that unbeknownst to Ms. Lewinsky, she was being corruptly encouraged to file a false affidavit. With all due respect, somebody's been watching too many re-runs of the X-Files.
Confronted with this problem, the managers now offer you one last theory. With every increasing directness they now accuse Mr. Jordan himself of obstructing justice by urging Ms. Lewinsky to destroy her notes.
Seemingly they ask you to find, even in the face of Mr. Jordan's forceful denials, that one who would forget a breakfast at the Park Hyatt until reminded of it by being shown the receipt, and who would then admit that his recollection was refreshed, and would admit that he remembered a discussion of the notes, must have obstructed justice himself. And of course, must have been engaged all along with an effort to influence Ms. Lewinsky's testimony on behalf of the president. Nonsense. Nonsense. And so this pillar returns to the dust from which it came.
Next, the charge that the events surrounding Mr. Bennett's statement to Judge Wright during the Jones deposition form the basis for two charges -- they form the basis for two charges.
First, that the president obstructed justice in the Jones' case, and second, that he committed perjury by telling the grand jury that he really wasn't paying attention at the critical moment.
Both charges depend on the managers' ability to prove that indeed the president hadn't -- had been paying attention, and to do that, they had always relied on the videotape of the deposition in which it can be seen that the president was looking in the direction of his lawyer while Mr. Bennett was talking. But two weeks ago, two weeks ago they came to you and they produced, with a modest flourish, a new bit of evidence, an affidavit from Mr. Barry Ward (ph), clerk to Judge Wright, trumpeted, in their words, as, quote, "lending even greater credence to their claim."
Now in their memorandum in support of their request to expand the record by including Mr. Ward's (ph) affidavit, the managers told you the following, and this is the managers' own language: From his seat at the conference table next to the judge, he saw President Clinton listening attentively to Mr. Bennett's remarks while the exchange between Mr. Bennett and the judged occurred.
Further, the managers say, Mr. Ward's (ph) declaration would lend even greater credence to the argument that President Lincoln lied on -- President Clinton lied on this point during his grand jury testimony and obstructed justice by allowing his attorney to utilize a false affidavit in order to cut off a legitimate line of questioning.
Mr. Ward's (ph) declaration proves that Mr. Ward (ph) saw President Clinton listening attentively while the exchange between Mr. Bennett and the president judge occurred. But this is what Mr. Ward's (ph) affidavit actually says -- the affidavit that was attached to the very motion, the language from which I just read to you. And I direct your attention only to the last sentence, because this is the only one of any moment.
"From my position at the conference table, I observed President Clinton looking directly at Mr. Bennett while this statement was being made."
Search if you will for any evidence relating to whether the president was looking attentively or not. There is not one iota of evidence added to the videotape. You were misled.
Indeed, Mr. Ward (ph) said to The Legal Times on February 1st, 1999: I have no idea if he was paying attention; he could have been thinking about policy initiatives for all I know.
You were misled. The record before the affidavit is the record after the affidavit. The managers ask that you remove the president of the United States on the basis of a videotape showing that he was looking in the direction of his lawyer.
Well, it wasn't much of a pillar to start with.
There's no dispute, and we move now to the conversation of January 18th with -- between the president and Ms. Currie -- there's no dispute that President Clinton called Ms. Currie into the White House on Sunday, January 18th, the day after his deposition and asked her certain questions and made certain statements about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. The only dispute is whether in doing so the president intended to tamper with a witness.
The managers contend that he was corruptly attempting to influence Ms. Currie's testimony. The president denies it. Now since we know that Ms. Currie was not on the Jones witness list at the time of the president's deposition or at the time of either of his conversations with Ms. Currie, and we know that discovery was about to end, the managers have argued that the president's own references to her in the Jones deposition constituted an invitation to the Jones lawyers to subpoena her.
And they argue that proof of that invitation can be found in a witness list signed by the Jones lawyers on January 22nd, which listed Ms. Currie and 17 other potential witnesses.
Now when I spoke to you on January 19th, I told you that Ms. Currie had never placed on a witness list. I was wrong, and Manager Hutchinson has quite properly taken me to task for it. But I fear that he's become so caught up in this new information that he has lost sight of it's true significance, or rather lack there of.
In order to convince you that Betty Currie was going to be called by the Jones lawyers, when the president spoke to her on January 18th, the managers, somewhat like Diogenes, lit their lantern and sought out the most reliable witness they could find, a witness whose credibility was beyond questioning, who had no ulterior motive, no bias -- Paula Jones's lawyer.
And they brought in to you in a form that they hoped would allow his motive and bias to go untested.
Remember how the managers have told you that's it's important to be able to look a witness in the eye, test his demeanor. I doubt that you need to do that to understand what might color Mr. Holmes' (ph) view of the world. So let's look at what he had to say.
You have in the exhibits before you an unredacted witness list attached to Mr. Holmes' affidavit. I've put up on the easels the redacted list that was originally used by the managers a few weeks ago because I really see no purpose in unduly exposing the names of the people who were on that witness list.
Well, let me direct you to these words, just as a sidelight, under seal.
You will remember that the president has been criticized for violating the gag order when he spoke to his own secretary about his deposition. What then do we say when the managers produce a document from a lawyer for one of the parties that is still under seal, not yet released by the court, and reveals the names of individuals who are no part of these proceedings?
Surely, the managers could have made their point just as well without such a revelation.
Now, Mr. Holmes (ph) states that the Jones lawyers had two reasons for putting Ms. Currie's name on the witness list. One, because of President Clinton's deposition testimony; and two, because they had, quote, "received what they considered to be reliable information that Ms. Currie was instrumental in facilitating Monica Lewinsky's meetings with Mr. Clinton and that Ms. Currie was central to the cover story Mr. Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky had developed to use in the event their affair was discovered." Now, he doesn't tell us where he got this reliable information, but of course we know it's Ms. Tripp.
But let's figure out whether in fact Betty Currie really made it on the list because of the president's testimony. If you look at the number of times that she's mentioned in the deposition, it's become conventional wisdom that the president inserted her name either into his testimony so frequently and so gratuitously that he did in fact invite the Jones lawyers to call her and thus must have known that she was going to be a witness when he spoke to her on January 18.
But if you look at the deposition, you'll find that the first time her name is mentioned the president is simply responding to a question about his early meetings with Ms. Lewinsky and states that Betty was present. The lawyers for the plaintiff then ask 13 questions, give or take a few, about Ms. Currie. Now, they know there's no secret here.
They got their information from Linda Tripp, and Linda Tripp surely told them about Ms. Lewinsky's relationship with Ms. Currie.
It was only in response to a couple of their questions about whether letters had ever been delivered to Ms. Currie and whether she stayed at some extraordinarily late hour that the president said, you'll have to ask her.
He didn't invite -- he didn't suggest to them that they call Ms. Currie. They knew whatever they needed to know about Ms. Currie to put her on their witness list.
Now to judge further whether Ms. Currie made it on to the list at the president's invitation or because they already knew about witnesses from Ms. Tripp, let me direct your attention if you look at the exhibit in front of you rather than the redacted version here. The person listed on the witness list at number 165. Her name does not come up at all in the deposition, but we know that she was in fact the subject of conversation surreptitiously recorded between Ms. Tripp and Ms. Lewinsky.
And note, too, the name of Vernon Jordan, which is on this list. They're the ones, the Jones lawyers are the ones who first bring them up. And we know, of course, that they knew from Ms. Tripp that he was already involved in this scenario.
Thus, neither the January 22nd witness list nor Mr. Holmes' affidavit supports the managers' theory. The president did not know Ms. Currie would be a witness when he spoke to her after her deposition, and he could not therefore have tampered with a witness.
Well, beyond their statement about how they got this information, Mr. Holmes volunteers that they didn't get it from the Washington Post. Well perhaps not, but it's clear that in the days after the Post story broke, we know that some of the names on the list came from the press reports. We know the Jones lawyers began tracking the newly-public activities of the independent counsel, which was issuing its own subpoenas in the hours and days following the story's release.
And for some insight into what at least the independent counsel thought was going on, look at the pleading they filed with Judge Wright on Wednesday, January 28th to prevent the Jones lawyers from continuing to use their investigation as an aid -- that is, the IC's investigation -- as an aid to (INAUDIBLE) discovery.
Their pleading said: As recently as this afternoon, plaintiff's counsel caused process to be served on Betty Currie, who appeared before the grand jury in Washington yesterday. Such deliberate and calculated shadowing of the grand jury's investigation will necessarily pierce the veil of grand jury secrecy.
Now, the managers have criticized us for ignoring this second conversation between the president and Ms. Currie, suggesting I suppose that it takes on an even more sinister cast than the first.
But there's simply nothing of any substance to take from the second conversation that adds to the events of January 18th.
It's clear that the conversation occurred on Tuesday, January 20th, before the Starr investigation became public. The managers disingenuously have suggested in their exhibits, the one they distributed on Saturday, that this conversation occurred after The Post story appeared. And if you look at the exhibit that was used on Saturday, you'll see, "January 20th, Post story is known." Of course, that's late at night. "January 21st, posted on the Internet, president calls Betty for 20 minutes." And then sort of sneaking it in down here, "January 20th or 21st, president coaches Currie for the second time."
But the record shows this: Ms. Currie has said that the conversation occurred, quote, "whenever the president was next in the White House," that is, after the Sunday conversation. And that was Tuesday, the 20th, the day after the Martin Luther King holiday.
Thus the second conversation is of no greater legal significance than the first, since the president knew no more about Ms. Currie's status as a witness on Tuesday than he did on Sunday.
In sum, the managers have tried to convince you that the president knew, or must have known that Betty Currie would be a witness in the Jones case. If anything, we now know that the reason she was put on the January 22nd list, along with many others had more to do with Linda Tripp than anything else.
But putting this aside for the moment -- that is putting aside the question whether the president could have had any reason to believe that Ms. Currie would be a witness, look at whether Ms. Currie herself believed that she was being corruptly influenced on January 18th.
In response to continuing efforts by the prosecutors to get her to admit that she felt some untoward pressure from the president, she testified, and you've seen this before as well, "Did you feel pressured when he told you these statements?"
"And what did you think, or what was going through your mind about what he was doing?"
"At the time I felt that he was -- I want to use the word shocked or surprised that this was an issue and he was just talking."
Question: That was your impression, that he wanted you to say -- because he would end each of the statements with "right," with a question?
Answer: I do not remember that he wanted me to say right. He would say 'right,' and I could have said 'wrong.'
And at the end: "Did you feel any pressure to agree with your boss?"
And so on a human level -- a human level -- we have the president who has just seen his worst nightmare come true and who knows that he's about to face a press tidal wave that will wash over him and his family and the country, and we have his secretary, who knows of -- indeed, has been a part of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky -- but knows nothing about the long since ended improper aspects of that relationship. We have a conversation that was the product of the emotions that were churning through the president's very soul on that day. What we do not have is an attempt corruptly to influence the testimony of a witness.
Only one pillar left.
The managers ask the Senate to find that the president's conversations with Mr. Blumenthal and other aides was an effort to influence their testimony before the grand jury. Their theory, much as it was true of some of their other theories, founders on shoals that they don't account for.
RUFF: As they would have it, in the days immediately following the Lewinsky story, the president spoke with a few members of his senior staff, as they would allege, knowing that they would probably be grand jury witnesses, and misled them about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, so they would convey that misinformation to the grand jury when they were called.
Now just so that you can see for yourself what the president testified to in the grand jury on this subject, I want to play about three or four minutes of that testimony for you.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... but you denied a sexual relations or relationship with Monica Lewinsky. They told us that you denied that. Do you have any reason to doubt in the days after the story broke? Do you have any reason to doubt?
CLINTON: No, the -- let me say this. It's no secret to anybody that I hoped that this relationship would never become public. It's a matter of fact that it had been many, many months since there had been anything improper about it in terms of improper contact.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you (INAUDIBLE) or not, Mr. President?
CLINTON: Let me finish. So what -- I did not want to mislead my friends, but I wanted to find language where I could say that. I also frankly did not want to turn any of them into witnesses, because I -- and sure enough, they all became witnesses.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, you knew they might be witnesses, didn't you?
CLINTON: And so -- and so I said to them things that were true about this relationship; that I used -- in the language I used, I said there's nothing going on between us. That was true. I said, I have not had sex with her, as I define it. That was true. And that I hoped that I would never have to be here on this day giving this testimony. Of course. But I also didn't want to do anything to complicate this matter further.
So I said things that were true. They may have been misleading. And if they were, I have to take responsibility for it, and I'm sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTION LAWYER: It may have been misleading, sir, and you knew, though, after January 21st when the Post article broke and said that Judge Starr was looking into this, you knew that they might be witnesses. You knew they might be called into a grand jury, didn't you?
CLINTON: I think I was quite careful what I said after that. I may have said something to all these people to that effect, but I -- I also, whenever anybody asked me any details I said, look, I don't want you to be a witness, or I turn you into a witness or give you information that could get you in trouble. I just wouldn't talk. I by and large didn't talk to people about this.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTION LAWYER: If all of these people -- let's leave out Mrs. Currie for a minute -- Vernon Jordan, Sid Blumenthal, John Podesta, Harold Ickes, Erskine Bowles, Harry Thomason. After the story broke, after Judge Starr's involvement was known on January 21st, have said you denied a sexual relationship with them. Are you denying that?
CLINTON: No. I'm just telling what you meant by it. I told what you I meant by it when they started this deposition.
UNIDENTIFIED PROSECUTION LAWYER: You told us now that you were being careful but that it might have been misleading. Is that correct?
CLINTON: It might have been. Since we have seen this four-year, $40 million dollar investigation come down to parsing the definition of sex, I think it might have been. I don't think at the time that I thought that's what this was going to be about.
In fact, if you remember the headlines at the time, even you mention that Post story, all the headlines were, and all the talking people who talked about this, including a lot who have been quite sympathetic to your operation, said, well, this is not really a story about sex, this is a story about subornation of perjury and these talking points and all this other stuff.
CLINTON: So I -- what I was trying to do was to give them something they could -- that would be true, even if misleading in the context of this deposition, and keep them out of trouble and let's deal -- and deal with the, what I thought was the almost ludicrous suggestion that I had urged someone to lie or tried to suborn perjury in other ways.
RUFF: It's clear from that excerpt, I think, that in the hours and days immediately following the release of the Post story, the president was struggling with two competing concerns. How to give some explanation to the men and women he worked with every day and worked with most closely, without putting them in the position of being grand jury witnesses? But he was not in any sense seeking to tamper with them or to obstruct the grand jury's investigation.
And putting aside for the moment our strenuous disagreement both with the factual underpinning of and legal conclusions that flow from the managers' analysis of these events, I find it difficult to figure out how it is that they believe the president intended that his statement to Mr. Blumenthal or his statement to Mr. Podesta would involve their conveying false information to the grand jury, or that he sought in some fashion to send that message to the grand jury when at the very moment that those aides were first subpoenaed, he asserted executive privilege to prevent them from testifying before the grand jury.
For someone who wanted Mr. Blumenthal to serve, as the managers would have it, as his messenger of lies, that's strange behavior indeed.
There is an issue here that I don't really want to get into at length, and I, not having heard the last two hours of the managers' presentation, don't know whether they're going to get into, and that is, in Manager Graham's favorite issue, the question of whether there was some scheme to smear Monica Lewinsky early, middle or late.
I will (INAUDIBLE) to say that no such plan ever existed, I just want to ask the managers this. Although I must admit that for the first time in my life I have heard Marlene Dietrich's name used as a pejorative, what was Manager Bryant saying about Ms. Lewinsky? That she was lying? That she'd misled the managers? That because her testimony helped the president they were now going to attack her character and her integrity?
I don't know how many of you have seen "Witness for the Prosecution," either before or after Mr. Bryant used that example, but ask yourselves: What was he saying, what was he doing?
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I don't know whether there's a market for used pillars, but they're all lying in the dust.
It's difficult for me as a lawyer, as an advocate for my client, to speak to this body about lofty constitutional principles, without seeming merely to engage in empty rhetoric. But I'd like to think, I guess, that if there were ever a forum in which I could venture into that realm and be excused for doing so, could be heard without the intervening filter of skepticism that I fear too often lies between lawyer and listener, this is the time and this is the moment.
Only once before in our nation's history has any lawyer had the opportunity to make a closing argument on behalf of the president of the United States. And only once before has this Senate ever had to sit in judgment on the head of the executive branch. You all must cast an a eye to the past, looking over our shoulders to be sure that we've learned the right lessons from those who have sat in this chamber before us. We also must look to the future to be sure that we leave the right lessons to those who come after us.
I hope that no one will ever have need of them, but if they should, we owe them, not only the proper judgment for today, but the proper judgment for all time.
Now you've heard the managers tell you very early on in these meetings, that we've advanced a, quote, "so-what defense," that we're saying that the president's conduct is really nothing to be concerned about, that we should all simply go home and ignore what he has done. And that, of course, to choose a word that would have been familiar to the framers themselves, is balderdash.
If you want to see so-what in action, look elsewhere. So what if the framers reserved impeachment and removal for only those offenses that threaten the state. So what if the House Judiciary Committee didn't quite do their constitutional job if they took the independent counsel's referral and added a few frills and then washed their hands of it.
So what if the House approved articles that wouldn't pass muster in any court in the land. So what if the managers have been creating their own theories of impeachment as they go along. And so what and so what and so what. By contrast, what we offer is not "so what," but this: Ask what the framers handed down to us as the standard for removing the president. Ask what impeachment and removal would mean to our system of government in years to come. Ask what you always ask in this chamber: What is best for the country?
Now the president wouldn't allow any of us to say "so what"; to so much as suggest that he -- what he has done can simply be forgotten. He's asked for forgiveness from his family and from the American people, and he's asked for the opportunity to earn back their trust.
In his opening remarks, Manager Hyde questioned whether this president can represent the interests of our country in the world. Go to Ireland and ask that question. Go to Israel and Gaza and ask that question. If you doubt whether he should here at home continue in office, ask the parent whose child walks safer streets; or the men and women who go off to work in the morning at good jobs.
We are -- we are together, I think, weavers of a constitutional fabric in which all of us now are clothed and generations will be clothed for millennia to come.
We cannot leave even the smallest flaw in that fabric. For if we do, one day someone will come along and pull a thread, and the flaw will grow, and it will eat away at the fabric around it, and soon, the entire cloth will begin to unravel.
We must be as close to perfect in what we do here today as women and men are capable of being. And if there is doubt about our course, surely we must take special care as we hold the fabric of democracy in our hands, to leave it as we found it, tightly woven and strong.
Now, before today I wrote down the following: The rules say that the managers will have the last word. Well, the rules today say the managers will have the last paragraphs. That truly isn't so, because even when they are finished, theirs will not be the last voices you hear.
Yes, one or more of them will now rise and come to the podium and tell you that they have the right of it, and we the wrong, that our sense of what the constitution demands is not theirs and should not be yours. That is their privilege.
But as each of them does come before you for the final time, and as you listen to them, I know that you will hear not their eloquence, as grand as it may be, not the pointed jibes of Manager Hutchinson, nor the stentorian tones of Manager Rogan, nor the homespun homilies of Manager Graham, nor the grave exhortations of Manager Hyde, but voices of greater eloquence than any of us can muster.
The voices of Madison and Hamilton and the others who met in Philadelphia 212 years ago and the voices of the generations since and the voices of the American people now and the voices of generations to come. These, not the voices of mere advocates, must be your guide. It's been an honor for all of us to appear before you in these last weeks on behalf of the president. And now our last words to you, which are the words I began with: William Jefferson Clinton is not guilty of the charges that have been brought against him, he did not commit perjury, he did not commit obstruction of justice, he must not be removed from office.
Thank you very much.
WILLIAM REHNQUIST, CHIEF JUSTICE OF U.S. SUPREME COURT: The chair recognizes the majority leader.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R), MAJORITY LEADER: Mr. Chief Justice, I ask consent that we take a 15-minute recess.
REHNQUIST: Without objection, it's so ordered.
REHNQUIST: The Chair recognizes the Majority Leader.
SEN. TRENT LOTT (R-MS), MAJORITY LEADER: ... The managers from the House, I understand that they do have a two-hour presentation, and I will look for guidance from the chief justice about whether or not we should take a break before the last 45 minutes. That would be after Mr. Manager Rogan, if at all.
WILLIAM REHNQUIST, CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE UNITED STATES: Very well. The chair recognizes Mr. Manager McCollum.
REP. BILL MCCOLLUM (R-FL), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Mr. Chief Justice and members of the Senate, at the outset of my closing remarks, I would like to lay the record straight on a couple of matters, with all due deference to White House counsel.
The suggestion that Mr. Ruff made at the beginning of his closing that we were somehow being unfair to him on the timing today of the rebuttal, it seems to me to be a little strained. "Me thinks thou dost protest too much" was a remark I used earlier, a quote from Shakespeare, and I think it's appropriate here, too, because, if you recall, we had no rebuttal at all as you normally would have at the end of our case to begin with. And secondly, we thought we ought to have live witnesses here -- we haven't those -- and the list could on. And I really don't think that we are being unfair.
Secondly, I would like to make one correction and make a clear point. I'm sure it was not intended, but in your remarks, I believe, Mr. Ruff, you indicated there was no history with regard to beyond a reasonable doubt standard. Maybe I misunderstood that, but I want the record to be clear that in the Claiborne case, there was in fact a vote that took place here in case of Judge Claiborne some 75 to 17, saying that that standard did not apply to impeachment cases.
Now, having said that, I would like to move to my own thoughts.
Notwithstanding the clever and resourceful arguments that White House counsel have made to you today and in the past few weeks, I suspect that -- that most of you, probably more than two-thirds, believe that the president did indeed commit most of, if not all of the crimes he's charged with under these articles of impeachment. And I suspect that a great many of you share my view that these are high crimes and misdemeanors. But, nonetheless, it is my understanding that some of you who share these views are not prepared to vote to convict the president and remove him from office; that instead you are of the mind at the moment, subject to our persuading you otherwise and your own debate, to acquit him.
Ultimately, the choice is yours not ours, but a few moments I'd like to spend with you reviewing just a few of the facts -- not many -- and suggesting to you what I believe and we managers believe would be some very significant negative consequences of failing to remove this president.
Having heard all the evidence over the past few days and weeks, there should be little doubt that beginning in December, 1977, William Jefferson Clinton set out on a course of conduct designed to keep from the Jones court the true nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Once he knew he'd have to testify, he knew he was going to lie on his deposition and he knew that he was going to have to lie, not only himself, but get Monica Lewinsky to lie if he was going to be successful. And he was going to have to get his personal secretary to lie about that relationship. And he was going to have to have his aides and others help him cover this up if he was going to be successful in lying in the Jones court deposition.
He did all these things. And then he chose to lie to the grand jury again because if he had not, he would have not been able to protect himself from the crimes he had already committed.
No amount of arguing by White House counsel can erase one simple fact: If you believe Monica Lewinsky, you cannot believe the president. If you believe Monica Lewinsky, the president committed most of the crimes with which he's charged in these articles today.
For example, while the president did not directly tell her to lie, and never advised her what to put in her affidavit, she knew from the December 17th telephone conversation with the president that he meant for her to lie about the relationship and file a false affidavit and that he lie as well.
And I want to refresh your recollection. These charts we put on some time before, in more complete form. You have them in front of you. This is a direct quote from her. We showed this on television Saturday where she was reading from her grand jury deposition and confirming this is indeed what she said and what she -- her interpretation of that affidavit, phone conversation in essence meant, despite everything else that you've heard.
She said, "For me, the best way to explain how I feel what happened was, you know, no one asked me or encouraged me to lie, but no one discouraged me, either. It wasn't as if the president called me and said: You know, Monica, you're on the witness list. This is going to be really hard for us. We're going to have to tell the truth and be humiliated in front of the entire world about what we've done -- which I would have fought him on, probably -- that was different. And by him not calling me and saying that, you know, I knew what that meant."
I knew what that meant. She lied in that affidavit. The president clearly intended to influence her by suggesting the affidavit and all of the other things that went on in that conversation, and all of the circumstances that were there.
Monica Lewinsky was equally clear in her testimony to you Saturday, that Betty Currie called her about the gifts, not the other way around. And surely nobody believes that Betty Currie would have called Monica Lewinsky about the gifts on December 28th unless the president had asked her to do so.
And then the day after the president's deposition in the Jones case, the president clearly committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice when, in logical anticipation of Betty Currie being called as a witness, he said to Betty Currie, "You were always there when she was there, right? We never really alone. You could see and hear everything. Monica came on to me and I never touched her, right? She wanted to have sex with me, and I can't do that."
Now, I'm not going to rehash all of the evidence in this case again. But it is my understanding that some of you may be prepared to vote to convict the president on obstruction of justice and not on perjury. I don't know how can you do that. I honestly do not know how anybody could do that.
If you believe Sidney Blumenthal's testimony that the president told him that Monica Lewinsky came at him and made a sexual demand, and that he rebuffed her, and that she threatened him and said she would tell people they had had an affair and that she was known as a stalker among her peers, surely you must conclude that the president committed perjury when he told the grand jury that he told his aides, including Blumenthal, nothing but the truth even if it was misleading.
The exact quotes from the president's grand jury testimony -- people are worried about what are the exact quotes, what are the words. I want to give you the words: "And so I said to them things that were true about this relationship. So I said things that were true. They may have been misleading. So what I was trying to do was to give them something they could -- that would be true, even if misleading."
That was even played on television in the White House presentation a few minutes ago. That was perjury. What he told Sidney Blumenthal was not true. It wasn't just misleading. It was not true. He knew it was not true. And it was perjury in front of the grand jury.
If you believe the president the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice when he called Betty Currie into his office the day after his deposition and told you, "You were always there when she was, right, the ones I just read to you," and the other statements to coach her, surely you must also conclude that the president committed perjury before the grand jury when he told the grand jurors his purpose in making these statements. He said -- and this is what he said, these are his exact words to the grand jurors -- "I was trying to figure out what the facts were. I was trying to remember. I was trying to remember every time I'd seen Ms. Lewinsky."
That is not true. He knew that was not true. That is not what he was doing. No one rationally can reason that that is what he was trying to do when he made the coaching statements to Ms. Currie. That was perjury in front of the grand jury.
And then we've heard a lot of talk about the civil deposition. Nobody's trying to prove up that deposition or is lying in here today. Nobody's trying to use that as a duplication or anything else of the sort. But the president said before the grand jurors, quote, "My goal" -- and he's talking now about the Jones case deposition -- "my goal in this deposition was to be truthful." That's the lie. That's the perjury. That is as simple as the second count of the perjury article is.
Does anybody believe after hearing all of this that the goal of the president in the Jones deposition was to be truthful? He lied to the grand jury and he committed perjury.
And last but not least, if you believe Monica Lewinsky about the acts of a sexual nature that they engaged in, how can you conclude the president committed perjury when he specifically denied -- how can you not conclude that he committed perjury when he denied those acts? Those are very explicit.
Mr. Ruff up here suggested this was a subjective question. Maybe about the interpretation of the definition, you might call it subjective, but he used -- and we're not going to go over all that again with you today, but I want to remind you he used specific words that he confirmed were in that deposition -- and said, "I did not do those things. I did not touch those parts."
Monica Lewinsky, if you believe her, testified that he did do those things many times. He committed perjury when he said he didn't do those things, if you believe Monica Lewinsky.
If you're going to vote to convict the president on the articles of impeachment regarding obstruction of justice, I urge you in the strongest way to also vote to convict him on the perjury article as well. I think you're doing a disservice not to do that, and sending a terrible message about perjury and the seriousness of it for history and to the American people if you don't.
As you have seen these federal sentencing guidelines, Mr. Ruff talked about those up here a while ago, perjury and obstruction of justice do have, under the baseline guidelines, a higher amount of sentencing than simple plain, vanilla bribery does. That's where they start. And yes, he's right, you can get enhancements for aggravating circumstances for bribery in certain cases, and you can get a greater sentence.
But so can you get a greater sentence for perjury. If there was any significant effort to wrongfully influence the administration of justice is one, for example, then you can get a significantly enhanced sentence for perjury if you committed perjury, and so on.
We didn't choose to bring up a litany of those lists and show all the enhancements that you could get, but of course you could do that. But for the pure base, there is no question about it. And the other significant thing, if you recall I brought up, and some of us did a couple of weeks ago now, witness bribery -- bribing a witness -- is treated more severely under the sentencing guidelines for base sentencing than ordinary bribery is.
Clearly, all three are high crimes and misdemeanors.
Now, what are the consequences of failing to remove this president from office if you believe he's committed the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice? What are the consequences of failing to do that? What's the downside?
First, at the very least, you will leave a precedent of doubt as to whether perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors when impeaching the president. In fact, your vote to acquit under these circumstances may well mean that no president in the future will ever be impeached or removed for perjury or obstruction of justice. Is that the record that you want?
Second, you will be establishing the precedent that the standard for impeachment and removal of a president is different of that for impeaching or removing a judge or any other official. While arguably, although it's never happened, a federal judge could be removed for a lesser standard under the good behavior clause of the Constitution, such removal would have to be by separate tribunal, have to be by a procedure set by statute, because, under the impeachment provisions of the Constitution, which all judges have been removed under previously, the same single standard exists for removing the president as for removing a judge. And that standard is that you have to have treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
So while the Constitution on its face does not make a distinction for removing a president or removing a judge, if you vote to acquit, believing that the president committed perjury and obstruction of justice, for all time, you're going to set a precedent that there is such a distinction.
Third, if you believe the president committed the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice and they're high crimes and misdemeanors, but you do not believe a president should be removed when economic times are good and it's strongly against the popular will to do so, by voting to acquit, you'll be setting a precedent for future impeachment trials.
Can you imagine how damaging that could be to our constitutional form of government to set the precedent that no president will be removed from office for high crimes and misdemeanors unless the polls show that the public wants that to happen? Would our Founding Fathers have ever envisioned that? Of course not.
Our Constitution was structured to avoid this very situation.
Fourth, then there is what happens to the rule of law if you vote to acquit. What damage is done for future generations by a vote to acquit? Will more witnesses be inclined to commit perjury in trials? Will more jurors decide that perjury and obstruction of justice should not be crimes for which they convict?
No military officer, no cabinet official, no Judge, no CEO of a major corporation, no president of a university, no principal of a public school in this nation would remain in office. No matter how popular they were, if they had committed the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice as charged here. To vote to acquit puts the president on a pedestal that says as long as he's popular, we're going to treat him differently with regard to keeping his job than any other person in any other position of public trust in the United State of America.
The president is the commander in chief. He is the chief law enforcement officer. He is the man who appoints that cabinet; he appoints the judges. Are you going to put on the record books the precedent that all who serve under the president and whom he's appointed will be held to a higher standard that the president?
What legacy to history is this? By voting to acquit the president, what mischief have you wrought to our Constitution, to our system of government, to the values and principles to be cherished by future generations of Americans.
All William Jefferson Clinton -- all because, I guess is the argument, that William Jefferson Clinton was elected and is popular with the people.
MCCOLLUM: All this when it is clear that a vote to convict will amount to nothing more than the peaceful, orderly and immediate transition of government of the presidency to the vice president.
William Jefferson Clinton is not a king; he is our president. You have the power and the duty to remove him from office for high crimes and misdemeanors.
I implore you to muster the courage of your convictions, to muster the courage the founding fathers believed that the Senate would always have in times like these.
William Jefferson Clinton has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Convict him and remove him.
I yield to Mr. Canady.
REHNQUIST: The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Canady.
REP. CHARLES CANADY (R-FL), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate.
During the next few minutes, I would like to address the constitutional issue you are called on to decide in this case. Are the crimes charged against the president offenses for which he may be removed from office? Are these crimes high crimes and misdemeanors? Are these crimes which proceed, as Alexander Hamilton said, from the abuse or violation of some public trust?
The president's lawyers have argued vigorously that even if all the charges against the president are true, the Constitution forbids the removal of this president. They contend that this isn't even a close case, that the crimes charged against the president are far removed from the constitutional category of high crimes and misdemeanors, a category of offenses they have sought to restrict narrowly to misconduct causing ruinousness harm to the system of government.
While the president's lawyers have been consistent in urging a narrow and restricted understanding of the impeachment and removal power, they have not been, and I repeat, they have not been consistent in describing the standard used to determine if high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed.
In their submission to the House of Representatives, they stated unequivocally the Constitution requires proof of official misconduct for impeachment. Those are their words, and I quote them again. The Constitution requires proof of official misconduct for impeachment.
Indeed, that statement was the primary heading for their whole argument on constitutional standards. And likewise, in their trial memorandum submitted to the Senate, they argue that impeachment should not be used to punish private misconduct.
Now subsequently, they have apparently abandoned this position, recognizing that it would lead to the absurd result of maintaining in office presidents who were undoubtedly unfit to serve. They now begrudgingly concede that a president is not necessarily immune from impeachment and removal simply because his crimes do not involve the abuse of the powers of his office.
They have been driven to concede there are at least some circumstances in which a president may be removed for crimes not involving what they call "official misconduct." But of course, they contend that the circumstances in this case don't even justify consideration of removal.
In the proceedings in the House and in their trial memorandum submitted to the Senate, the president's lawyers made much of the argument that tax fraud by a president of the United States would not be sufficiently serious to justify impeachment and removal.
I have mentioned this before in this proceedings, and I mention it again now because it vividly demonstrates the low standard of integrity, the pathetically low standard of integrity that would be established for the presidency if the arguments of the president's lawyers are accepted by the Senate.
Now perhaps I missed something, but I don't recall any mention of the tax fraud issue by the president's lawyers in the course of their various presentations to the Senate. Could it be that the president's lawyers have come to understand that the argument that tax fraud is not an impeachable offense does not strengthen their case, but on the contrary highlights the weakness of their case?
Tax fraud by a president, like lying under oath and obstruction of justice by a president in this case, would of course be wrong. It would be shameful. Indefensible, unforgivable. But -- and this is the big but -- it would not be impeachable, they say. Not even a close case. Bad, yes, but clearly not impeachable. And why is that? Why would it not be impeachable? Why isn't it clearly, unquestionably unimpeachable?
This is the answer. This is the heart and soul of the president's defense. Tax fraud and a host of undefined other crimes, like the lying under oath and obstruction of justice in this case, are just not serious enough for impeachment and removal. That's the answer, that's the defense. It's just not serious enough. All the grand legal arguments, all the fine legal distinctions come down to the simple, this marvelously simple proposition: It's just not serious enough.
Let me refer you once again to a statement from the 1974 report on the constitutional grounds for presidential impeachment prepared by the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
I want to cite a portion of that report that I have previously cited to you. The president's lawyers have also cited this very same statement in both their trail memorandum and their argument during these proceedings. Now, this is what the report says:
"Because impeachment of a president is a grave step for the nation, it is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with either the constitutional form and principles of our government or the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office."
For our purposes now, impeachment is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously incompatible with the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office. That's a standard the managers accept. That's a standard the president's lawyers apparently also accept. And that's a standard I would hope all 100 members of the United States Senate could accept.
I believe we can reach agreement on this standard. The problem comes, of course, in applying the standard. There's the rub.
A wide gulf separates us on how this standard should be applied. The president's lawyers say that under this standard the case against the president isn't even worth considering. The managers argue, on the contrary, that a conscientious application of the standard leads to the firm conclusion that the president should be convicted and removed.
Now, our fundamental difference goes to the issue of seriousness. It all goes back to the claim of the president's lawyers that his offenses just are not serious enough to justify removal. I think we have agreement that obstruction of justice and lying under oath are incompatible with the proper performance of constitutional duties of the presidential office.
A president who has lied under oath and obstructed justice has by definition breached his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Such conduct is directly and unambiguously at odds with the duties of his office.
Now, so far, so good. But here's the real question. Is that conduct seriously incompatible with the president's constitutional duty? That's the question you all must answer. If you say yes, it is seriously incompatible, you must vote to convict and remove the president. If you say no, you must vote to acquit.
The president's defenders have not offered a clear guide to determining what is serious enough to justify removal. Instead they have simply sought to minimize the significance of the particular offenses charged against the president. Today we heard an attempt to minimize the significance of perjury. I was somewhat amazed to hear that. There was no mention made of what the first chief justice of the United States, Justice Jay had to say about perjury being of all crimes the most pernicious to society. That was omitted from the president's analysis.
But let me say this. I believe that we should focus on any mitigating circumstances. We should also focus on the aggravating circumstances that relate to the particular facts of a given case.
Now I'd like to briefly review the factors advanced as mitigating the seriousness of the president's crimes. We all know what the leading mitigating factor is. We've all heard this a thousand times. It goes like this. The offenses are not sufficiently serious because it's all about sex.
Now this is directly linked to the claim that the president was simply trying to avoid personal embarrassment in committing these crimes. The problem with this argument is that it proves too much. It's very common for people who lie under oath and obstruct justice to do so, at least in part, to avoid personal embarrassment.
Peopled engaged in such conduct, in their efforts to extricate themselves from difficult and embarrassing situations -- to a large extent, the offenses of President Nixon could be attributed to his desire to avoid embarrassing revelations. Did that reduce his culpability? Did that lessen the seriousness of his misconduct? The answer is obvious: It did not.
The desire to avoid embarrassment is not a mitigating factor. Likewise, the nature of the precipitating misconduct, a sexual affair, does not mitigate the seriousness of the president's crimes. If you accept the argument that it's just about sex, you will render the law of sexual harassment virtually meaningless.
Any defendant guilt of sexual harassment would obviously have an incentive to lie about any sexual misconduct that may have occurred, but no one, no one has a license to lie under oath about sex in a sexual harassment case or in a divorce case or in any other case. I would suggest to you that in an objective review of all the circumstances of this case -- and you need to look at all of the circumstances, all of the facts and context.
If you do that, you will be pointed not to mitigating factors, but to aggravating factors. The conduct of the president was calculated and sustained. He set -- his settled and determined purpose was corrupt. It was corrupt from start to finish.
He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that it was in violation of the criminal law. He knew that people could go to prison for doing such things. He knew that it was contrary to his oath of office. He knew that it was incompatible with his constitutional duty as president. And he most certainly knew that it was a very serious matter.
I'm sure he believed he could get away with it. But I'm equally sure that he knew just how serious it would be if the truth were known and understood. He knew all these things. In the midst of it all, he showed not the slightest concern for the honor, the dignity and the integrity of his high office.
When he called Ms. Lewinsky at 2:30 in the morning, he was up to no good, just as my colleague Mr. Graham noted. He knew exactly what he was doing.
When he called Ms. Currie into his office twice and told her lies about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, he knew exactly what he was doing.
When he sent Ms. Currie to retrieve the gifts from Ms. Lewinsky -- and that's the only way it happened -- he knew exactly what he was doing. He was tampering with witnesses and obstructing justice.
He was doing everything he could to make sure that Paula Jones did not get the evidence that a federal district judge had determined and ordered that she was entitled to receive. He was doing everything he could to avoid adverse legal consequences in the Jones case. That's what he planned to do, and that's what he did.
And to cap it all off, he went before the federal grand jury and lied. Whatever you may think about the president's testimony to the grand jury, one thing is clear. He didn't lie to the grand jury to avoid personal embarrassment. The DNA on the dress had ensured his personal embarrassment. There was no avoiding that.
There was no way to explain away the DNA. The stakes were higher before the federal grand jury.
This wasn't about avoiding personal embarrassment. This wasn't about avoiding liability in a sexual harassment case. This was a federal criminal investigation concerning crimes against the system of justice. This was about lying under oath and obstructing justice in the Jones case. And what did he do when he testified to the grand jury? He said anything he thought he needed to say to avoid responsibility for his prior crimes.
The prosecutors went down to the White House and William Jefferson Clinton sat there as president of the United States in the White House and he lied to a federal grand jury. He sat there in the White House and he put on his most sincere face, he swore to God to tell the truth and then he lied. He planned to lie and he executed his plan because he believed it was in his personal and political interest to lie. Never mind the oath of office. Never mind the constitutional duty. Never mind that he solemnly swore to God to tell the truth.
Now ask yourself this simple question: Was this course of conduct seriously incompatible with the president's duty as president? If this doesn't fall within the meaning of the offenses Alexander Hamilton described as proceeding from the abuse or violation of some public trust, tell me what would. I would respectfully suggest to you that this is exactly the sort of conduct that the framers had in mind when they provided a remedy for the removal of a chief executive who is guilty of misconduct.
I believe that they would have rejected the argument that this deliberate, willful, stubbornly, corrupt course of criminal conduct just isn't serious enough for the constitutional remedies the framers established -- a remedy that they designed to protect the health and integrity of our institutions.
Those who established our Constitution would have understood the seriousness of the misconduct of William Jefferson Clinton. They would have understood that it was the president who has shown contempt for the Constitution, not the managers from the House of Representatives.
They would have understood the seriousness of the example of lawlessness he has set. They would have understood the seriousness of the contempt for the law of the president's conduct has caused.
They would have understood the seriousness of the damage the president has done to the integrity of his high office. Those wise statesmen who established our form of government would have understood the seriousness of the harm President Clinton has done to the cause of justice and constitutional government.
They would have understood that a president who does such things should not remain in office with his crimes.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, for the sake of justice and for the sake of the Constitution, this president should be convicted and removed.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Bryant.
REP. ED BRYANT (R-TN), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief justice, members of the Senate, distinguished colleagues.
I want to -- distinguished colleagues at the bar representing the president. I want to commend them for an outstanding effort that they have made throughout these proceedings and tell them that I just read a poll, and it's from a couple of days ago, that something over 80 percent of the American people believe that the president is guilty of something here. So I think that moots our entire debate.
I don't think there's any need to even talk about the facts any longer because of the polls.
I use that tongue-in-cheek because that seems to beg the question that we're also going to talk about today, and that is whether the president ought to be removed for this conduct. And one of the arguments I've heard put forward since we've been here was the fact that the polls support this president and that the stability issue would be in play.
And that's -- that's simply not the case because we all clearly understand that it's this body's function to determine not only the facts of this case, but also apply to it the law as well as the constitutional law as to the removal and conviction process.
I still remain concerned with opposing counsel's continued reference that the House managers want to win too much. I know I'm not that eloquent, but I did try to make that point the other day, and I will make it again if I have to take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, I'll do that, and tell you that we're not trying to win at all cost.
This has been a process I think that's been healthy for this country, and regardless of the outcome, regardless -- it's going to be in your hands very shortly. Regardless of the outcome, this country I think will benefit not only in the short-term, but in the long-term for this debate. And there are many, many other issues at stake here, and I tried to tell you a few the other day, without this concept that all we want to do is win; as if it's a simple game.
We have been over the last four weeks as men and women involved -- as ordinary men and women, I might say, involved in an extraordinary process. It's uniquely thorough and we have tried to blend the facts of this case with the law of the charges, together with the politics and the polls and the media. And we tried -- we've had to make some tough decisions.
We've had to make some difficult decisions.
I know on our side we have as to what witnesses to call, how to treat these witnesses in depositions. I know on this side, they've had to make difficult calls, I'm sure.
There's been some talk about having the president come down or not coming down, and what has in large part made this process distinct from past impeachments -- and I'm talking about the one last century of the president and the subsequent judicial impeachments -- has been just the -- it seems the media and the daily grind on all of us, the critiques.
It's almost like we're performing. We're in a play and every day, we get a review. We've been good or bad or indifferent. And what concerns me most about that is that as you move to the very serious issue of deciding whether or not this president should be convicted based on the facts and whether that president should be removed, I'm concerned that people are stretching the trees and if that's what you see on TV and what you read in the paper -- you're going to see the trees and not the forest here and miss the big picture, because that's so important.
It's not about the personalities of these people or the personalities here of the politics involved or the polls, but it's about the facts and ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, there are conclusive facts here that support a conviction. The president and his attorneys, as I said the other day, have made a good defense and have tried to paint a picture to the facts, I think, that that simply do not match with logic or common sense.
Take for instance the affidavit. Now we continue to see Ms. Lewinsky testifying she never talked with the president that she never talked with the president that night and never made -- about linking the false story the concocted story with the affidavit.
And Mr. Ruff, I think, challenged people to say, what do you think the president meant to do that night when he called her at 2:30 in the morning? Well, what do you think he intended to call -- do in that call at 2:30 in the morning? Do you think he called her to tell her he had a Christmas present for her? Or do you think his intent was to tell her, which he did, that you've been listed on the witness list, and you could be subpoenaed. And you know, you might give an affidavit to avoid testifying.
He suggested the affidavit. And then he said, in that same conversation, well, you know, you can always use that cover story. Why would he suggest to using a cover story that night? Were they even seeing each other then? It belittles all reasonable judgment to accept this type of defense of this conduct that it was an innocent phone conversation, the president really meant nothing by it. And the fact that Ms. Lewinsky said well, I didn't connect the two.
But look at what she did. She went to her lawyer and used that concocted story in an affidavit that she filed in the case. Now, it was in the draft affidavit, and they took that out later for other reasons, but she did tell her lawyer that, and they attempted to use it. But again, it's the president's state of mind that matters, and what his intent was on the false affidavit.
And then that same false affidavit was later used in the court, and the president knew it was false. He knew it was false -- used in the deposition. And we've seen the deposition testimony with the president sitting there listening to his lawyer talk about that affidavit, when he submitted it. And he obstructed justice but not objecting at that point, not instructing his own lawyer, don't put that false evidence into testimony.
And people stand up and laugh and say: Well, you know, he was -- he was not paying any attention to it. And they got this silly affidavit from this guy that was there and said he look -- he was looking at his lawyer but he couldn't tell what he was thinking. Well, of course he couldn't tell what he was thinking. Nobody's mind readers. But this was a critical affidavit at that time which was going to cut off critical testimony in that case, and you can just about guarantee, I'd say a hundred percent, that the president was indeed listening very carefully and knew that his lawyer was submitting a false affidavit and did nothing to stop it. That's another count of obstruction of justice.
Tampering with Betty Currie: two occasions. And they say: Well, nothing happened between the first time and the second time. I'm not so sure legally that matters. It was two or three days that happened -- on the day following his deposition and two or three days after that. And initially remember his defense was: I was simply trying to recall what happened. And then we brought up the fact: Well, why'd you go a second time, did you have a short memory, didn't you get it right the first time? And now we hear the defense today that, Well, gee, nothing really changed, so it's all kind of one -- one issue there, one big -- one big tampering rather than two attempts to tamper. Still obstruction of justice.
The job situation Mr. Hutchinson will talk about later. Mr. Blumenthal, same thing, I'm sure Mr. Rogan will testify or talk about in a minute.
But if you'll look carefully, you'll see that the president is the only thread that goes from each one of these from the very beginning, from the point when he met Monica Lewinsky and from that point when he looked at that pink pass and said: You know, that's going to be a problem. And you know why that was going to be a problem, because that limited her access to this president, and what he was going to do.
But from that point until they terminated the relationship, this president is involved in each one of these issues of the obstruction of justice. It's always him by himself testifying falsely, sitting there letting his lawyer submit a false affidavit, or it's him and one other person. He and Monica talking about filing a false affidavit.
He and Monica Lewinsky talked about a concocted story to testify. He and Betty Currie on two occasions about what Betty -- remember the testimony was like this: He and John Podesta or Sidney Blumenthal the many aides talking to them individually giving them a false story. And as Mr. Hutchinson so well pointed out in his argument the other day, it's always a private issue in terms of no one else knows what's going on. Vernon Jordan didn't know what was happening with the affidavit necessarily. Betty Currie didn't understand what was happening with the affidavit or the job search to the point that they knew what was going on. Look at and analyze each one of these and you will see that there is a compartmentalization going on with this president, and he's at the center of it each time.
Now, what do we do with it? What do you do with it? It's going to be in your hands very shortly. And I want to address just a couple of points on the constitutional issue of the conviction and the removal, because White House counsel very, very well argued the issue of proportionality. And again, proportionality simply means that the legacy of this Senate and this Congress will be that we have destroyed sexual harassment laws.
Because what we're going to say what you argue that proportionality think about what it is. We've heard this issue about, well back in my hometown 80 percent of the people that get divorces lie about this issue. Certainly that does not want to be the legacy of this Congress that we legitimize lying in divorce cases nor would we want the legacy of this Congress being that we did not support the sexual harassment laws. Because you know and I know that this is an important part -- going back and getting accurate truthful testimony is absolutely essential in these types of cases and if we send the message out on the proportionality theory that it's just about sex and you can lie about it, it will be the wrong thing it do.
The law, like the facts, are a very stubborn thing.
And the fact that the economy is good and people are doing well, if the law has been broken; if perjury has been committed; if obstruction of justice has been committed by this president, it is my belief that the fact that the economy is good should not prevent this Senate from acting and removing the president.
Just as if the economy were bad, you wouldn't want to go -- be able to go in there and impeach the president 'cause it's bad, you don't want to not impeach him because simply -- simply because the economy's good.
It is a difficult task. We've had a difficult task bringing this case over to you. And I thank you. You have been here, the four weeks in attendance. You've paid attention. When it was your turn to ask questions, you asked very good questions. You've been ready to listen. And I thank you for that.
You've got a difficult task ahead of you. I know when I voted on this, I thought you know, if this were a Republican president, what would I do? It's a tough choice. And I said -- but, you know, I really think I would have voted the same way I voted, even if it were a Republican president.
I know, like Mr. Chabot, I voted for Mr. Carter in 1976; voted for Mr. Reagan in 1980, I might add, but voted for Mr. Carter in 1976 after the 1974 incident.
It is tough, and what has made it awfully hard is you all have also taken an oath to do impartial justice. And I simply ask you as you consider these and do impartial justice that you set a standard that if you believe the president indeed did commit either perjury or obstruction of justice or both of those, that you set that standard high for the president, for the next president, for the next generations. You set that standard high for our courts that have to deal with perjury and obstruction every day with people who are less than the president, but yet who are watching -- who are watching very closely what we do up here.
But set that standard high for the president. Don't lower our expectation and what we expect out of the president. And I think if you do that, if you look high, if you set the standard high, that the right thing will be done. I have confidence and have trust and have just been so pleased with the way we've been received here. I know you will do the right thing.
I apologize to you, as I will be talking to you probably for my last time, if I've come across as being up here preaching to you. It's not my intent to lecture you. You do not need any lectures from me or anyone else or preach to you.
I hope I've had that opportunity to rebut some of the area, the proof in the area that I'm in charge of. But I would just simply sit down by telling you that there is conclusive proof here, particularly in terms of the obstruction of justice charges, of the hiding of the evidence, of the filing of the false affidavit. I might -- I think I did skip over the hiding of the evidence.
Let me just quickly say, and I'm not sure a lot new can be added from what we said in the past. But if -- if Monica is telling the truth, as her lawyers, or as the president's lawyers seem to tell you, that's a no-brainer there. Because she says, I know for a fact that Ms. Currie called me, that she initiated the call. And as I told you the other day, from that point forward, it seems a moot issue, because the initiation of the phone call by Betty Currie began a process to hide that evidence.
And the only way that Betty Currie would have known to make that call to begin that process of hiding evidence would be to have a telephone -- or a conversation with the president, to be instructed that way.
The president, whose intent was to conceal the relationship, it would have been totally inconsistent for her -- for him to have suggested that she turn the evidence over. It would have been totally consistent for him to ask Betty Currie to go out and hide the evidence, get it from Ms. Lewinsky and hide the evidence.
And as I close, let me just tell you too, on the heels of Mr. Canady that there are law professors who testified in our hearing who have the contrary view to what -- the view that was expressed by other law professors that Mr. Ruff referred to, that you can, it is constitutional to impeach a president for conduct that is not clearly official, that's -- that might be described as personal. And particularly conduct of perjury or impeach -- or obstruction of justice.
Professor Turley says, "In my view, serious crimes in office such as lying under oath before a federal grand jury have always been malum in se conduct for which a president -- for a president and a sufficient grounds for impeachment."
Professor John McGinnis of Benjamin Cardozo law school says that obstruction of justice is clearly within the ambit of high crimes and misdemeanors. So, if there is any question on this private conduct versus personal conduct, that view is out there that given the right type of personal conduct -- or misconduct, I should say -- it is clearly an impeachable offense and with that I would call Mr. Manager Hutchinson to follow.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Hutchinson.
REP. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate when I was appointed as a manager I hoped to present the case before the Senate with my colleagues in a manner that was consistent with the dignity of this great body and also respectful of the constitutional independence of the Senate. I hope that you agree and believe that we have done that as we have come over here.
During the months of this trial process, I have grown to appreciate the institution of the Senate to a greater degree than ever before. But I think of even more importance to me, I have grown to respect the individuals that comprise this body more than ever.
And let me say, it has been a privilege to appear before you. As you come to the closing of this case, let's go to the key questions that should be on your mind. First of all, has the obstruction of justice and perjury cases been proven? Have the allegations been proven? My colleagues have touched upon the perjury, let me talk about article two on the obstruction of justice.
The White House defense team composed of extraordinarily distinguished and talented attorneys has tried to diminish the significance of the overwhelming facts on obstruction by using certain phrases, such as "it's all circumstantial" or "the managers ignore those stubborn facts" or "they want to win too badly" or "it's a shell game with no shell" and today the latest catch phrase "moving targets, empty pots."
Well those are certainly quotable phrases designed to diminish the factual presentation with dripping sarcasm, but I believe if they ignore the underlying facts, testimony and evidence that has been presented -- and let me just address a couple of arguments that Mr. Ruff has presented during his presentation.
The first argument that he presented, as he described it, was technical argument, that the article two, obstruction of justice charge in the articles of impeachment on the lying to the aides was not really in reference to the federal civil rights case and that is a true statement. But if you read article two, paragraph seven, it refers to this and says the false and misleading statements made by William Jefferson Clinton were repeated by the witnesses to the grand jury causing the grand jury to receive and misleading information.
The article is appropriately drafted, is well stated, and gives them total notice as to what that charge is about.
Some of the other arguments that have been handled by my colleagues, but Mr. Ruff also said: Why have the managers never, never explained, if this is such an urgent matter for the president, why did he wait until December 17 to tell Ms. Lewinsky that she was on the list? I'm afraid Mr. Ruff failed to listen to my opening presentation when I went through that timeframe. And in that timeframe, the witness list came out on December 5, it continued to accelerate, December 11 was Judge Wright's order, and then it was December 17 that the call was made at 2:00 a.m. in the morning to let Ms. Lewinsky know she was on the list.
Why was it December 17? This is in the president's mind. No one knows why he picked that particular date. But perhaps it was that the job search was well underway then. He felt like she could handle this distressing information. And in fact, on the day after that call, she already had two interviews lined up on that same day, December 18, set up by Mr. Jordan. And so perhaps it was an appropriate time to let her know she was on the witness list.
They raised the question about the Christmas gifts, that you have the testimony of Betty Currie, you have the testimony of Ms. Lewinsky. And the issue is simply, do you believe Monica Lewinsky? If you accept her reluctant testimony, yet forceful and clear testimony, that the call came from Betty Currie, then you have no choice but to conclude that the retention of the gifts, the retrieval of the gifts, was initiated by the president of the United States.
When you go to the job search and they point to the testimony, they played the video of Mr. Jordan, who said that there was never a conversation in which both the job and the false affidavit were discussed together.
And they cut it off at that point, and you remember I had a "but" in there.
Well, if you would have heard further beyond that, you would have heard me cross-examining Mr. Jordan as I did, and reminding him of his previous testimony in which he acknowledged that in every conversation with Ms. Lewinsky, they talked about the job. And so he acknowledged that they talked about the job and the affidavit all in the same conversation together.
Mr. Ruff makes the point that the managers -- that the managers got close enough to accuse Mr. Jordan of telling Ms. Lewinsky to destroy the notes, implying that we're making up this. But is this evidence that is coming from the managers? It's my recollection that it's testimony that is coming from Ms. Monica Lewinsky. We're not concocting this. It is testimony from witnesses that have been brought before this body whose sworn testimony was received; whose sworn testimony they defend and rely upon. But when it comes to this, they say, no, it's the managers'.
Well, then they come to another pillar of obstruction -- the one that they avoid at every opportunity, but finally addressed today, and that's the coaching of Betty Currie. And I was interested that they finally talked about this -- the first coaching incident, and then the second one. And Mr. Ruff tried to go into that it's clear that it occurred on January 20th, rather than 21st. In fact, that is her testimony that it occurred on one of those days.
But they miss the point. The legal significance of the second coaching episode is that it totally goes against the defense of the president; that it was there -- he was doing this to acquire information; to get facts; to help in media inquiries.
Well, if that is the case, there is absolutely no reason for it to be done on the second occasion, and clearly she was known to be a witness at that time, and that is the legal significance. It goes to his intent, his motive, what he is trying to do to a subordinate employee.
The fact of this matter is that this is not a case that is based upon circumstantial evidence. On each element of obstruction, there is direct testimony linking the president to a consistent pattern of conduct designed to withhold information, conceal evidence and tamper with witnesses to avoid obedience and directives of a federal court. Let's look at the direct proof, not circumstantial evidence, but direct testimony.
What did Vernon Jordan testify as to the president's involvement in the job search? Question to Mr. Jordan: "Your acting on behalf of the president when you're trying to get Ms. Lewinsky a job and you were in control of the job search."
His answer: "yes," acting at the direction of the president and he was in control.
What did Vernon Jordan testify? He told the president, when a job was secured for a key witness and the false affidavit was signed, "Mr. President, she signed the affidavit." "She signed the affidavit."
And then the next day the job is secured and the report to Betty Currie. The report to the president, mission accomplished. Is this circumstantial evidence? This is direct testimony by a friend and confident of the president, Vernon Jordan.
Who is the one person who clearly knew all of the ingredients to make the job search and obstruction of justice. It was the president that knew he had a dangerous relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. He knew his friend was securing a job at his direction and he knew a false affidavit was being procured at his suggestion. He was the one person that knew all the facts.
Fourthly: Ms. Lewinsky. Is this circumstantial evidence or direct testimony when she talked about what the president told her on December 17th? She was a witness and immediately following the fact that she was a witness, the suggestion that she could use the cover stories, the suggestion that she could use an affidavit. Direct testimony.
Was there direct proof about the president's tampering with the testimony of Betty Currie. It was Betty Currie herself who acknowledged this and testified to it. No, this is not circumstantial evidence, it is direct testimony, the same with Sidney Blumenthal.
Direct testimony after direct testimony, painting a picture, setting up the pillars of obstruction. Now, they want you to believe Monica Lewinsky sometimes, but they don't want you to believe her other times, and you have to weigh her testimony. I could go on on the facts, but the truth is that our case on obstruction of justice has been established.
Now, some of you might conclude that, Well, I accept five or six of those pillars of obstruction, but there's one I have a reservation about. Well, if you look at the article, if there's one element of obstruction that you accept and believe and you agree upon, then that is sufficient for conviction, and surely it's sufficient to convict the president if there is even one element of obstruction.
I would remind you that a typical jury instruction on conspiracy for obstruction would be that it only takes one overt act to satisfy the requirements for a conviction. The government goes not have to prove all the overt acts, just one that was carried out.
Another question some of you might be thinking about: Is this serious enough to warrant conviction and removal? One of the foundations of our judicial system is that any citizen, regardless of position or power, has access to the court. Can you imagine the shock and outrage of this body if a corporation in an effort to protect itself from liability concealed evidence and provided benefits to those witnesses who are cooperative? Outrage, injustice -- and those are the allegations against the tobacco companies.
Those are the allegations last night on CBS "60 Minutes" about a major corporation. And there should be outrage by this body. But we would rightfully be outraged about that, and we should also be outraged if it happened by the president. It should be no less when it is conducted by the president.
The next argument is, well, yes, the president should be held accountable, but he can always be prosecuted later. In fact, I understand a censure resolution is being circulated emphasizing that the president can be held criminally responsible for his actions when he leaves office. This is not too subtle of a suggestion that the independent counsel go ahead and file criminal charges against the president.
I appreciate Judge Starr, but I do not believe that is what the country has in mind when they say they want to get this matter over. I do not believe your vote on the articles of impeachment should be a signal to the independent counsel to initiate criminal proceedings. It appears to me that that is the implication of the censure resolution being discussed.
I would emphasize that it is this body that the founding fathers entrusted with the responsibility to determine whether a president's conduct has breached the public trust, and your decision in this body should conclude this matter. It should not be the initiation of another national drama that will be carried out over the next three years.
And finally, there are some who consider the politics of this matter. We have proven our case, and I entered this body thinking that this was a legal judicial proceeding, and not political. And I have been reminded that there are political aspects under the Constitution to a Senate trial, and so I concede the point.
We're all familiar with "Profiles in Courage," written by John F. Kennedy. He reminds us of the courageous act of Senator Edmund G. Ross in voting for the acquittal of President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial. Senator Ross was a profile in courage because he knew the case against President Johnson was not legally sufficient, even though the politically expedient vote was to vote for conviction. Senator Ross followed the facts and he followed the law and he voted his conscience. It was to his political detriment, but it reflected his political courage.
Today, we have a different circumstance.
The question is: Will the senators of this body have the political courage to follow the facts and the law as did Senator Ross, despite enormous political pressure to ignore the facts and the law and the Constitution? You will make that decision.
I appear before this body as an advocate. I am not paid for this special responsibility, but I am here because I believe the Constitution requires me to make this case. The facts prove overwhelmingly that the president committed obstruction and justice and perjury. Despite this belief, whatever conclusion you reach will not be criticized by me. And I will respect this institution regardless of the outcome.
As the late federal Judge Orrin Harris (ph) of Arkansas always said from the bench to the jury when I was trying cases, and I hated his instruction, because I was the prosecutor. But he would tell the jury: Remember, the government never wins or loses a case. The government always wins when justice is done.
Well, this is the Congress and this is the Senate, and it is your responsibility to determine the facts and to let justice roll down like mighty waters.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Rogan.
REP. JAMES ROGAN (R-CA), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished counsel for the president, members of the United States Senate.
For me, the most poignant part of this entire proceeding was the day a few weeks ago when we were addressed by the distinguished former senator from Arkansas, Dale Bumpers.
And probably the thing that touched me most about his presentation is when he talked about the human element of what this impeachment proceeding has meant and how difficult that has been. It touched me because it made me remember that that difficulty is not limited solely for Democrats in this chamber. I am one of the House managers. I am a Republican today. But that was not always the case. I used to be a Democrat. And being a House manager in the impeachment of President Clinton has been especially difficult for me, and I'd like to tell you why. Twenty years ago, in December 1978, I was finishing my last semester of college and had just applied to law school. I was waiting for my application to be accepted someplace. And in December of 1978 I was a delegate in Memphis, Tennessee to the Democratic midterm convention.
Now, on that time -- at that time President Carter was halfway through his term of office. He was not particularly popular among the party faithful. There was a great deal of sentiment that a member of this body today should challenge him for the nomination. That decision had not yet been made. But among the delegates to that convention there was an overwhelming desire to see Senator Ted Kennedy appear.
The Carter White House froze Senator Kennedy out of the proceedings. He was not invited to address the convention. His name appeared nowhere in the program.
So the delegates did something on their own. There were workshops being held during the day, and a workshop on health care was called, and Senator Kennedy was invited to fly out that day and address that workshop, and he did that in the afternoon, and he left after he addressed it.
I had gone to a workshop that morning where President Carter personally appeared, and my recollection is about two or three hundred people came to that. Senator Kennedy's workshop had to be transferred to a large auditorium because about 2000 people appeared to hear him.
The senator came, he spoke and he left. I stayed, even though most people left with him, because I was fascinated by the young fellow who was moderating the program that day. He was bright. He was in control. He was articulate. He didn't look that much older than me, and I was stunned that this young man was not only the attorney general of his state, but he was the governor-elect of his state.
Sometime after that workshop, I walked up to him and introduced myself. I told him who I was, and he spent about 15 minutes encouraging me to go to law school, to stay active in politics. His name was Bill Clinton. I've never forgotten that day 20 years ago when then-Attorney General Clinton took the time for a young fellow who had and interest in the law and politics, and I've never forgotten in recent days the graciousness he has shown to me, to my wife and to my children when we have encountered him.
This has been a very difficult proceeding for me and for my colleagues, the House Managers, but our presence here isn't out of personal animosity toward our president. It is because we believe that after reviewing all the evidence, the president of the United States had committed obstruction of justice and perjury. He had violated his oath of office and in so doing, he had sacrificed the principle that no person is above the law and friendship and personal affection could not control under those circumstances.
Up until now, the idea that no person is above the law has been unquestioned and yet this standard is not our inheritance automatically. Each generation of Americans ultimately has to make that choice for them self. Once again, it is a time for choosing. How will we respond? By impeaching the president, the United States House of Representatives made that choice.
It went on record as saying that our body would not tolerate the most powerful man in the world trampling the constitutional rights of a lone woman, no matter how obscure or humble she might be.
We refused to ignore presidential misconduct despite its minimization by spin doctors, pundits, and yes, even the polls. The personal popularity of any president pales when weighed against the fundamental concept that forever distinguishes us from every nation on the planet: No person is above the law.
The House of Representatives jettisoned the spin and the propaganda. We sought and we have now presented the unvarnished truth.
Now it is your unhappy task to make the final determination, face the truth, and polish the Constitution; or allow this presidency, in the words of Chairman Henry Hyde, to take one more chip out of the marble. The Constitution solemnly required President Clinton, as a condition of his becoming president, to swear an oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
That oath of obligation required the president to defend our laws that protect women in the workplace, just as it also required him to protect the legal system from perjury, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice. Fidelity to the presidential oath is not dependent on any president's personal threshold of comfort or embarrassment. Neither must it be a slave to the latest polling data.
How important was this oath to our founders? Did they intend the oath to have primacy over the shifting winds of political opinion? Or did they bequeath to us an ambiguous Constitution that was meant to roll with the punches of the latest polling data and focus groups?
The Constitution gives us that answer. In Article Two, Section One it says that before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take an oath, and the oath is then prescribed.
The mere fact that a person is elected president doesn't give him the right to become president, no matter how overwhelming his vote margin. Votes alone do not make a person president of the United States. There is a requirement that precedes obtaining the power and authority of the presidency. It is the oath of office. It is swearing to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. It is accepting the obligation that the laws are to be faithfully executed. No oath, no presidency. It is the oath of office and not public opinion polls that give life and legitimacy to a presidency.
This is true no matter how popular an elected president may be or how broad his margin of victory. The founders did not intend the oath to be an afterthought or a technicality. They viewed it as an absolute requirement before the highest office in the land was entrusted to any person.
The evidence shows the president repeatedly violated his oath of office. Now the focus shifts to your oath of office.
The president hopes that in this chamber the polls will govern. On behalf of the House of Representatives, we entreat you to require that the Constitution reign supreme. For if polls matter more than the oath to uphold the law, then yet another chip out of the marble has been struck.
The cry has also been raised that to remove the president is to create a constitutional crisis by undoing an election. There is no constitutional crisis when the simple process of the Constitution comes into play. Listen to the words of Dr. Larry Arnn from the Claremont Institute.
He said, "Elections have no higher standing under our Constitution than the impeachment process. Both stem from provisions of the Constitution. The people elect a president to do a constitutional job. They act under the Constitution when they do it. At the same time, they elect a Congress to do a different constitutional job.
The president swears an oath of the Constitution, both in elections and in the impeachment process.
If a president is guilty of acts justifying impeachment, than he, not the Congress, will have overturned the election. He will have acted in ways that portray the purpose of his election. He will have acted, not as a constitutional representative, but as a monarch subversive of, or above the law. If the great powers given the president are abused, then to impeach him defends -- not only the results of the election, but that higher thing which elections are in service, namely the preeminence of the Constitution.
The evidence clearly shows that the president engaged in repeated and lengthy patterns of felonious conduct, conduct for which ordinary citizens can be and have been jailed and lost their liberty. This simply can not be wished or censured away. With his conduct aggravated by a motivation of personal and monetary leverage in the Paula Jones law suit, the solemnity of our sacred oath obliges us to do what the president regrettably failed to do, defend the rule of law, defend the concept that no person is above the law.
On the day the House impeached President Clinton, I said that when they are old enough to appreciate the solemnity of that action, I wanted my little girls to know that when the role was called, their father served with colleagues who counted it a privilege to risk political fortunes in defense of the Constitution.
Today, I am more resolute in that opinion.
From the time I was a little boy, it was my dream to one day serve in the Congress of the United States. My dream was fulfilled two years ago. Today, I am a Republican in a district that is heavily Democratic. The pundits keep telling me that my stand on this issue puts my political fortunes in jeopardy. So be it. That revelation produces from me no flinching. There is a simple reason why: I know that in life dreams come and dreams go, but conscience is forever. I can live with the concept of not serving in Congress. I cannot live with the idea of remaining in Congress at the expense of doing what I believe to be right.
I was about 12 years old when a distinguished member of this body, the late Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas, gave me this sage advice about elective office. He said always put principle above politics, put honor above incumbency.
I now return that sentiment to the body from which it came. Hold fast to it, Senators, and in doing so you will be faithful both to our founders and to our heirs.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Graham.
REP. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Mr. Chief Justice, how much time is left?
REHNQUIST: The managers have 45 minutes remaining.
GRAHAM: Thank you.
Shall I continue? OK, I promise not to take the whole 45 minutes. I've been told that my voice fades, and I'll try to -- try not to let that happen here.
As we bring the trial to conclusion, I think it needs to be said from our side of the aisle that our staff has been terrific. You don't know how many hours of sleep has been lost by the young men and women working to put this case together under the procedures that the Senate developed. They have done an absolutely magnificent job. And if there's anybody to blame for our side not being told, blame -- blame us, because our staff has done a terrific job, and that just needs to be said.
Let's talk about Mr. Rogan's district. Truly, if there's anybody on our side of the aisle that's had a risk, it's been Jim. And I've made some lifelong friends in this situation, really on both sides of the aisle, and this has been tough, tough for our country, but sometimes some good comes from tough situations.
And I think some good will come from this before it's all said and done, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. I know it doesn't look to be so now, but it will be so later on.
I come from a district where I'm the first Republican in 120 years. They tell me they hung the other guy, so I know I'm doing better.
(LAUGHTER) So I'm four years into this thing, this is my third term, and you can take -- you can take the national polls and turn them upside down in my district.
But I have on occasion said if the president would reconcile himself with the law, I would be willing to consider something less than impeachment. I can assure you that did not go over well with some people in my district, but I thought that would have been good for the country. Because elections come and go and we can get through just about anything and everything in this country, but it does take leadership and character does still count. Having said that, I am a sinner like the rest of you and a part of the problem with this case is that we have to confront our own sins, because who are we to judge others when the things get to be private and personal?
I'm not asking you to use that standard. I'm standing before you as a sinner and I would never want my president or your president removed because of private sins. Only when it gets to be constitutionally out of bounds. Only when it gets to be so egregious that you can't look your children in the eye and explain what happened here in terms of the law. When can all explain human failings, but we've got a real mixed message going on and it needs to be straightened out quickly.
If you can bring the founding fathers back, as everybody suggested, the first debate would be could we call him as witness? There would be some people objecting to that -- alive or dead, it's been hard to get a witness.
And I guarantee you, you know what I think they would tell us? What's a poll?
They would be instructive but we can't summon them back, but you know what I really think they would tell us? We started this thing, it's up to you all to carry it on and it is and they would be right. It's not their job to tell us what to do. It's our job to take the spirit of what they did and build on it.
And if you've kept an open mind, you have fulfilled your job. If you have listened to the facts and vote your conscience, you have fulfilled your job. I will not trample on your conscience, I have said that before.
I have started this process with great concern and I leave with a lot of contentment, because I'll believe the facts have stood the test of every type scrutiny, demagoguery you can throw at them, and they stand, they stand firm. And you know what? They're going to stand, they're going to stand the test of history. People suggest that history may judge you badly if you have to vote to convict this president. I suggest that will not, that will be the least of your problems. Our past and this present moment becomes our nation's future. And what are we going to leave to the future generations? What do we do when the next federal judge is brought before this body, having been impeached by the House for cheating on their taxes? Are we going to self-righteously throw that federal judge out after having listened to this massive case of obstruction of justice and perjury before a grand jury? We may throw that federal judge out, but we'll have to walk out the door backwards. We will not walk out boldly.
What happens when the next federal judge is acquitted by a jury of his peers and you know the result would be just to remove that judge? You did the right thing by not being bound by the acquittal in the case of Judge Hastings, you did the right thing to get to the truth and act accordingly, because people who sit in judgment of others -- there needs to be no reasonable doubt about who they are and what they're able to do in that role.
The president of the United States sets atop of the legal pyramid. If there's reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future would be better off if that individual is removed.
And let me tell you where it all comes down to me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck. That's the legacy that Bill Clinton has left all of us if we keep him in office.
The idea that "I was truthful, but misleading" -- that scenario focuses around whether or not one type sex occurred versus the other type of sex. He's wanting you to buy into this definition that was allowed to exist because the wording wasn't quite right. That's the essence of it. "I was truthful, but I was misleading."
Mr. Podesta asked a little more questions than the other people did, and the president denied any type sexual relationship to him. Was he truthful there? Was he truthful in his grand jury testimony? How can you be both? It's just absolutely impossible.
I would like to play two clips for you now.
GRAHAM: Now you've stated I think very honestly, and I appreciate that you were lied to by the president. Is it a fair statement, given your previous testimony concerning your 30 minutes conversation, that the president was trying to portray himself as a victim of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky?
BLUMENTHAL: I think that's the import of his whole story.
GRAHAM: Thank you. Before you put the other tape in, every member of this body should need to answer this question: Is that a truthful statement? If you believe that the president of the United States is a victim of Ms. Lewinsky, we all owe him an apology. He is not. He is not. You ask me why I want this president removed? Not only are there high crimes, not only do they arise to the level of Constitutional out of bounds behavior, not only are they worse than what you remove judges for -- they show a tremendous willingness as a national leader to put yourself above anything decent and good.
I hope that still matters in America. Next clip.
GRAHAM: Would it be fair to say that you were sitting there during this conversation and that you had previously been told by the president that he was in essence a victim of Ms. Lewinsky's sexual demands and you said nothing to anyone?
WILLIAM MCDANIEL, ATTORNEY FOR SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: Is the question, you said nothing to anyone about what the president told you?
BLUMENTHAL: I never told any of my colleagues about what the president told me.
GRAHAM: And this is after the president recounts his story to you for he's visibly upset, feels like he's a victim, that he associates himself with a character who's being lied about and you at not time suggested to your colleagues that there's something going on here with the president and Ms. Lewinsky you need to know about. Is that your testimony?
BLUMENTHAL: I never mentioned my conversation. I regarded that conversation as a private conversation in confidence. And I didn't mention it to my colleagues. I didn't mention it to my friends. I didn't mention it to my family, besides my wife.
GRAHAM: Did you mention it to any White House lawyers?
BLUMENTHAL: I mentioned it many months later to Lanny Breuer in preparation for one of my grand jury appearances, when I knew I would be questioned about it. And I certainly never mentioned it to any reporter.
GRAHAM: Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I have asked you several times to vote your conscience and I will not step on it if you disagree with me but I've always said, let us tell the story about what happened here. I am saying it again. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to get to the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth, and let the chips fall where they may. Let me just say this idea about being truthful and misleading. Can you sit back as the president of the United States after he told a lie to a key aide where you portray yourself as a victim, and watch the press stories fold out -- or roll out along the lines that she wears her dresses too tight; she comes from a broken home; she's a stalker; she's sex-obsessed?
Can you sit back and watch all that happen and still be truthful but misleading?
We have laws against that in this country. We have laws in this country that even high government officials cannot tell a lie to somebody knowing that lie would be repeated to a grand jury. And that's exactly what happened here. He portrayed himself as a victim, which is not a misleading statement, it's a lie, because if you knew the truth, you wouldn't consider him a victim.
And that lie went to a federal grand jury and those citizens were trying very hard, very hard to get it right, and he was trying very hard to mislead them. At every turn when they tried to get to the truth, he ran the other way and he took the aura of the White House with him.
If you believe he's a victim, then you ought to acquit him. If you believe he's lying, then he ought not be our president.
There's two things in this case that are crimes, two aspects of it, before the Paula Jones deposition and after the Paula Jones deposition, and I'm going to revisit that with you for the very last time.
The affidavit was an attempt to have a cover story where both of them could lie and go on about their lives. The job search was to take somebody who was being friendly and get them a job so they could go on about their lives in someplace else and get this matter behind them and conceal from a court the truth. Those things are crimes.
The gifts were being under the bed of Betty Currie, the president's secretary, is no accident. They didn't walk over there by themselves. They got conveyed by a secretary after she picked them up from his consensual lover. People have figured that part out. It's no accident that happened. That's a crime when you're subpoenaed to give those gifts. But it's still about getting her a job and having a cover story so she could go on with her life.
But when the article came out on January the 21st, the whole flavor of this case changed. And I don't know how you're going to explain this to yourself or others, but I'm going to lay out to you what I think happened based on the evidence.
That January the 21st, when the cover story -- when the story broke that she may have been telling what went on and the president was faced with the idea that the knowledge of the relationship was out in the public forum, what did he do then? There was no more nice jobs using a good friend. There was not more, let's see if we can hide the gifts and play hide the ball. You know what happened then? He turned on her.
It's not my favorite part of the case. It's the most disgusting part of the case. It's the part of the case that history will judge. The crimes change. They become more ominous because the character traits become more ominous.
The young lady that was the stalker, that was sex-obsessed, that wore skirts too tight -- that young lady was being talked about openly in public; that young lady was being lied about in the federal grand jury. And the truth is, that young lady fell in love with him, and probably to this day, 24- or 25-year-old young girl, doesn't believe it or want to believe what was going to come her way.
But you all are adults. You all are the leaders of this nation. For you to look at these facts and conclude anything else would be an injustice because without that dress, ladies and gentlemen, the stories were going to grown in number, and we would have no admissions of misleading and truthful.
The White House is the bully pulpit, but it should never be occupied by a bully. The White House will always be occupied by sinners, including our founding fathers and future occupants. What we do today will put a burden on the White House and the burden on our future -- one way or the other. Is it too much of a burden to say to future presidents: Don't fabricate stories in front of a grand jury. Don't parse words. Don't mislead. Don't lie when you're begged not to.
Is it too much to say to a president: If you're ever sued, play it straight?
Don't hide the gifts under the bed? Don't get people to file false testimony for you? Don't try to trash out people who are witnesses against you? If that's too much of a burden to put on the White House, this nation is in hopeless decline. It is not too much of a burden ladies and gentlemen. It is only common decency being applied to the occupant of the White House.
To acquit, under these facts, will place a burden on the Constitutional process of impeachment and how we deal with others for a federal judges and other high public officials that I suggest to you will be almost irreconcilable. I want my country to go boldly into the next century. I don't want us to limp into the next century. I don't want us to crawl in the next century regarding the rule of law.
No matter what you do, we will make it, but the difference between how you vote here, I think determines whether we go boldly with a rule of law intact or we have explaining to do for generations to come. I leave with you an example that I think says much.
General MacArthur was removed by President Truman -- a very popular fellow at the time. The reaction to the MacArthur dismissal was even more violent than Truman had expected and for an entire year, majority public opinion ranked itself furiously against him. He said characteristically of the hostile polls, "I wonder how far Moses would have gone it he had taken poll in Egypt. What would Jesus Christ have preached if you'd taken a poll in the land of Israel?"
It isn't polls that count, it's right and wrong, and leadership, men with fortitude, honesty and a belief in the right that make ethics in the history of the world.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, thank you for listening. If you've got any doubts about whether this president has committed high crimes, we need to make sure the Senate itself was told the truth. Don't leave any doubts lingering, because the evidence is overwhelming that these offenses occurred, the crime of perjury and obstruction of justice have traditionally been high crimes under our Constitutions. For God's sakes, let them remain so, and let it be said that no president can take the presidency and the bully pulpit of the presidency and hurt average citizens from it.
Thank you very much.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes Mr. Manager Hyde.
REP. HENRY HYDE (R-IL), IMPEACHMENT TRIAL MANAGER: Mr. Chief Justice, learned counsel, and the Senate, we are blessedly coming to the end of this melancholy procedure, but before we gather up our papers and return to the obscurity from whence we came...
... permit please a few final remarks.
First of all, I want to thank the chief justice not only for his patience and his perseverance but for the aura of dignity that he has lent to these proceedings, and it has been a great thrill really to be here in his company as well as in the company of you distinguished senators.
Secondly, I want to compliment the president's counsel. They have conducted themselves in the most professional way. They have made the most of a poor case, in my opinion.
Excuse me. There's an old Italian saying, and it has nothing to do with the lawyers, but to your case, says: You may dress the shepherd in silk. He will still smell of the goat.
But all of you are great lawyers and it's been an adventure being with you.
You know, the legal profession, like politics, is ridiculed pretty much, and every lawyer feels that and understands the importance of the rule of law -- to establish justice, to maintain the rights of mankind, to defend the helpless and the oppressed, to protect innocents, to punish guilt. These are duties which challenge the best powers of man's intellect and the noblest qualities of the human heart. We are here to defend that bulwark of our liberty, the rule of law. As for the House managers, I want to tell you and our extraordinary staff how proud I am of your service. For myself, I cannot find the words to adequately express how I feel. I must use the inaudible language of the heart. I've gone through it all by your side, the media condemnations, the patronizing editorials, the hate mail, the insults hurled in public, the attempts at intimidation, the death threats, and even the disapproval of our colleagues, which cuts the worst.
You know, all a congressman ever gets to take with him when he leaves this building is the esteem of his colleagues and his constituents. We've risked that for a principle and for our duty as we've seen it.
In speaking to my managers of whom I am terminally proud, I can borrow the words of Shakespeare's "Henry V," as he addressed his little army of longbowmen at the battle of Agincourt, and he said: "We few -- we happy few, we band of brothers. For he who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother. And gentlemen in England abed will curse the fact that they are not here and hold their manhood cheap when any speaks who fought with us on St. Crispin's Day."
As for the juror judges, you distinguished senators, it's always a victory for democracy when its elected representatives do their duty no matter how difficult and unpleasant, and we thank you for it.
Please don't misconstrue our fervor for our cause to any lack of respect or appreciation for your high office. But our most formidable opponent has not been opposing counsel nor any political party. It's been the cynicism -- the widespread conviction that all politics and all politicians are by definition corrupt and venal. That cynicism is an acid eating away at the vital organs of American public life. It is a clear and present danger because it blinds us to the nobility and the fragility of being a self-governing people.
One of the several questions that needs answer is whether your vote on conviction lessens or enlarges that cynicism. Nothing begets cynicism like the double standard -- one rule for the popular and the powerful and another for the rest of us.
One of the most interesting things in this trial was the testimony of the president's good friend, the former Senator from Arkansas. He did his persuasive best to maintain the confusion that this is all about sex.
Of course it's useful for the defense to misdirect our focus toward everyone concedes our private acts and none of our business, but if you care to read the articles of impeachment, you won't find any complaints about private, sexual misconduct. You will find charges of perjury and obstruction of justice which are public acts and federal crimes, especially when committed by the one person duty bound to faithfully execute the laws.
Infidelity is private and non-criminal. Perjury and obstruction are public and criminal. The deliberate focus on what is not an issue here is the defense lawyer's tactic and nothing more. This entire saga has been a theater of distraction and misdirection. Time on the defense tactics when the law and facts get in the way.
One phrase you have not heard the defense pronounce is the "sanctity of the oath," but this case deeply involves the efficacy, the meaning and the enforceability of the oath. The president's defenders stay away from the word "lie" preferring "mislead" or "deceived," but they shrink from the phrase "sanctity of the oath," fearing it as one might a rattlesnake.
There is a visibility factor in the president's public acts, and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug, or under the bed for that matter.
They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land and provide the worst possible example for our young people. As that third grader from Chicago wrote to me: "If you can't believe the president, who can you believe?"
Speaking of young people, in 1946 a British playwright, Terence Rattigan wrote a play based on a true experience that happened in England in 1910. The play was called "The Winslow Boy." And the story, as I say a true story, involved a young 13-year-old lad who was kicked out of the royal naval college for having forged somebody else's signature on a postal money order.
Of course, he claimed he was innocent, but he was summarily dismissed and his family of very modest means couldn't afford legal counsel, and it was a very desperate situation. Sir Edward Carson, the best lawyer of his time -- barrister I suppose -- got interested in the case and took it on pro bono, and lost all the way through the courts.
Finally, he had no other place to go, but he dug up an ancient remedy in England called "petition of right." You ask the king for relief. And so Carson wrote out five pages of reasons why a petition of right should be granted. And lo and behold, it got past the attorney general and got to the king. The king read it, agreed with it, and wrote across the front of the petition: "Let right be done -- Edward VII."
And I have always been moved by that phrase. I saw the movie, I saw the play, and I have the book, and I am still moved by that phase "let right be done." I hope when you finally vote that will move you, too.
There are some interesting parallels to our cause here today. This Senate chamber is our version of the House of Lords, and while we managers cannot claim to represent that 13-year-old Winslow boy, we speak for a lot of young people who look to us to set an example.
Ms. Seligman last Saturday said we want to win too badly. This surprised me, because none of the managers has committed perjury, nor obstructed justice, nor claimed false privileges. None has hidden evidence under anyone's bed, nor encouraged false testimony before the grand jury. That's what you do if you want to win too badly.
I believe it was Saul Bellow who once said, "A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is great." And those words characterize the defense in this case -- the need for illusion is great.
I doubt there are many people on the planet who doubt the president has repeatedly lied under oath and has obstructed justice. The defense spent a lot of time picking lint. There is a saying in Equity, I believe, that equity will not stoop to pick up pins. But that was their case. So the real issue doesn't concern the facts, the stubborn facts, as the defense is fond of saying, but what to do about them.
I am still dumbfounded about the drafts of the censures that are circulating. We aren't half as tough on the president in our impeachment articles as this draft is that was printed in the New York Times. And inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee in the White House which was shameless, reckless and indefensible.
I have a problem with that. It seems they're talking about private acts of consensual sexual misconduct, which are really none of our business. But that's the lead-off.
Then they say the president deliberately misled and deceived the American people and officials in all branches of the United States government. This is not a Republican document. This is coming from here.
The president gave false or misleading testimony and impeded discovery of evidence in judicial proceedings. Isn't that another way of saying obstruction of justice and perjury? The president's conduct demeans the office of the president as well as the president himself, and creates disrespect for the laws of the land.
Future generations of Americans must know that such behavior is not only unacceptable, but bears grave consequences, including loss of integrity, trust, and respect -- but not loss of job.
Whereas William Jefferson Clinton's conduct has brought shame and dishonor to himself and to the office of the president; whereas he has violated the trust of the American people, see Hamilton Federalist Number 65, and he should be condemned in the strongest terms. Well, the next-to-the-strongest terms -- the strongest terms would remove him from office.
Well, do you really cleanse the office as provided in the Constitution? Or do you use the air-wick of a censure resolution? Because any censure resolution, to be meaningful, has to punish the president -- if only his reputation. And how do you deal with the laws of bill of attainder? How do you deal with the separation of powers? What kind of a precedent are you setting?
We all claim to revere the Constitution, but a censure is something that is a device, a way of avoiding the harsh constitutional option, and it's the only one you have, either up or down on impeachment.
That, of course, is your judgment, and I am offering my views for what they're worth. Once in a while I do worry about the future. I wonder if after this culture war is over that we're engaged in, if an America will survive that's worth fighting to defend. People won't risk their lives for the UN or over the Dow Jones averages, but I wonder in future generations whether there'll be enough vitality left in duty honoring country to excite our children and grandchildren to defend America.
There's no denying the fact what you decide, it will have a profound effect on our culture as well as on our politics. A failure to convict will make a statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided is not all that serious. Perhaps we can explain this to those currently in prison for perjury.
We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the president. Where ever and when ever you avert your eyes from a wrong, from an injustice, you become a part of the problem. On the subject of civil rights, it's my belief this issue doesn't belong to anyone. It belongs to everyone. It certainly belongs to those who have suffered invidious discrimination and one would have to be catatonic not to know that the struggle to keep alive equal protection of the law never ends.
The mortal enemy of equal justice is the double standard and if we permit a double standard, even for the president, we do no favor to the cause of human rights. It's been said that America has nothing to fear from this president on the subject of civil rights.
I doubt Paula Jones would subscribe to that endorsement. If you agree that perjury and obstruction of justice have been committed, and yet you vote down the conviction, you're expending and expanding the boundaries of permissible presidential conduct. You're saying a perjurer and an obstructor of justice can be president in the face of no less than three precedents for conviction of federal judges for perjury. You shred those precedents and you raise the most serious questions of whether the president is in fact subject to the law, or whether we are beginning a restoration of the divine rights of kings.
The issues we're concerned with have consequences far into the future, because the real damage is not to the individuals involved, but to the American system of justice and especially the principle that no one is above the law.
Edward Gibbon wrote his magisterial "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" in the late 18th century. In fact, the first volume was issued in 1776. In his work, he discusses an emperor named Septimus Severus who died in 211 A.D. after ruling 18 years. And here's what Gibbon wrote about the emperor: "Severus promised only to betray; he flattered only to ruin; and however he might occasionally bind himself by oaths and treaties, his conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from the inconvenient obligation."
I guess those who believe history repeats itself are really onto something. Horace Mann said: "You should be ashamed to die unless you have achieved some victory for humanity." To the House managers, I say your devotion to duty and the Constitution has set an example that is a victory for humanity. Charles de Gaulle once said France would not be true to herself if she wasn't engaged in some great enterprise. That's true of us all. We spend our short lives as consumers, space occupiers, clock watchers, spectators -- or in the service of some great enterprise.
I believe being a senator, being a congressman, and struggling with all our might for equal justice for all is a great enterprise. It's our great enterprise. And to my House managers, your great enterprise was not to speak truth to power, but to shout it.
And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and oh yes, let right be done.
I yield back my time.
REHNQUIST: The chair recognizes the majority leader.
LOTT: Mr. Chief Justice, I believe that concludes the closing arguments. Therefore, the Senate will reconvene as the court of impeachment at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday to resume consideration of the articles of impeachment. I would ask that the court of impeachment stand in adjournment until 1:00 p.m. tomorrow.
And I ask further consent that the Senate now resume consideration of the legislative session.
I remind all senators to stand as the chief justice departs the chamber.
REHNQUIST: Without objection, it's so ordered.
Tuesday, February 9, 1999
Senators condemn closed-door impeachment deliberations
Roll call votes on closed-door deliberations
Lott seeks any White House tapes on Clinton-Lewinsky affair
Transcript: Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton -- Day 17
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Rev. Jackson sharply criticizes New York Gov. Pataki
House Republicans work on legislative agenda
Rep. Talent will seek Missouri governorship
ABA ends 20-year support for independent counsel law