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Impeachment Hearings
Readers' Views on the Impeachment Hearings
Based on what you now know, do you think there are sufficient grounds to impeach the president? Many washingtonpost.com readers sent us their opinions. Read excerpts below.

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It concerns me greatly that the framework for this discussion frequently focuses on the extent to which someone thinks President Clinton is "doing a good job as President." Although I personally have some serious doubts as to whether his conduct warrants impeachment as a legal matter, deciding this issue based on presidential popularity or a dislike of the opposition is definitely the wrong way to go.
Rick Kramer
Port Tobacco Maryland



Sure, why not. He must have done at least one those things that Whitewater (or is it Bluedress?) Prosecutor Starr has been investigating during the past few years, right? Surely a $40+ million investigation must have produced at least one impeachable offense - they can't be that expensive or hard to find. If perjury and obstructuction of justice in a case unrelated to Starr's initial scope of inquiry (what was that again?) are all that $40+ million will buy, so be it. Perhaps we should look at amending the Constitution to provide for the appointment of an independent counsel with the election of each president. We should also have the opportunity to contribute a dollar from our tax returns to go to the independent counsel fund. This case has opened the Pandora's Box of Presidential investigation and impeachment and we should prepare ourselves for the consequences.
Rene Bernier
Arlington, VA



Let the republicans continue making fools of themselves at the expense of the country over Clinton's embarrassing sexual proclivities that should not have seen the light of day until after he leaves office. Hopefully, the moralists will continue their tirades, and we will win back control of the house and senate. Is there still separation between church and state? Let the "Christians" have at it until the country is sick and tired enough of it to let our leaders deal with really important issues that need to be addressed like social security, health care, foreign affairs, education, to name a few.
Carla Darby
Phoenix, AZ



Though I agree the removal of a sitting President is a serious affair, what else are we, as a nation, to do? I think many would accept that a censure or similar form of rebuff would mean nothing in reality. An impeachment inquiry is necessary.Is the President above the law? Remember, we are not dealing with his marital fidelity, his performance as President, or whether we like Starr of Republicans or Democrats. We need to know about 'Filegate'; we need to know whether he used his powers to cover up his deeds; we need to know about these other accusations, both founded and wild. No, impeachment should not be used just to 'check up' on a President. But the President has brought these procedings upon himself. Bottom line- he broke the law; he lied in court, under oath. Should this just be overlooked?
Zane J. Davis
Natchez, Mississippi



It is disgraceful that the Democrats, supposedly the party of women's rights, has tried to put a "two consenting adults" spin on the affair. In the military, senior oficers have had their careers destroyed for doing what Clinton did. Sergeants who sleep with recruits are drummed out of the service. Clinton was in a position of authority and power as President, and he abused it by having sex with an intern, whether Monica "consented" or not. Further, saying that Clinton's lying and cover up didn't amount to "high crimes" is baloney. Nixon's "high crime" was to break into a hotel room and try and find out what the Democrats were planning and covering it up. Hardly a "high crime". Impeach Clinton.
Kamala Steinberg
Rockville, MD



Yes, the President should be impeached. He knowingly lied in a federal sexual harassment lawsuit, and then again before a Grand Jury on an issue properly before that body (not to mention his lies to the American people). He also may have suborned perjury and intimidated potential witnesses (these latter two issues would be decided in the impeachment proceedings). Any one of these actions should clearly be considered a "high crime or misdemeanor." When Saddam Hussein and Kim Il Sung II lie and redeal, we're rightly outraged. But when our own president lies and subverts the American judicial process (and in the context of sexual harassment allegations no less), too many Americans think that's excusable. How sad for America that honesty, principles, and integrity are now relegated to "boy scout" status to be swept aside when they become inconvenient.
Steve Neinast
Austin, Texas



The President lied. Some punishment should come out of it. Impeachment is probably too harsh a punishment but losing his pension and censure should be a fair penalty because everybody wins. The Democrats keep the president from impeachment, the Republicans can move on to more important issues. We all know that most of our politicians are only out for their own interests. This only arises when they get caught. The only loser is the news media, which will have nothing, left to report. The American people are tired of this scandal because it has been pounded into our brains by the media constantly for the last 11 months. Just once I would like to go through a whole day without hearing about it.
Paul Gartner
South Riding, VA



Yes. I am an attorney and democratic party activist and a strongly believe that any felony especially perjury before a grand jury constitutes an impeachable offense. The President's crimes go the very fabric of our democracy and judicial system.
A. Sonny Abbasi
Bethesda, MD



He should resign and spare the country of the process but since he won't, we have no choice but to go through the impeachment process.
Sherry Mallory
Decatur, IL



Of course Mr. Clinton must be impeached and removed from office. His now-obvious record of lying under oath, cover-up and obstruction demand nothing less. The depth of the moral failure of this man makes his unfitness for office more than obvious. What is most disconcerting is the willingness of far too many, including prominent figures such as historian Arthur Schlesinger, to overlook the rule of law for purposes of personal ideology or political expediency. This most dishonorable of presidents MUST be removed from office. There shouldn't even be a question.
Ron Kruis
Grand Rapids, MI



The consensus at a local business at noon today was total uninterest in the impeachment proceedings. The blame was on the Republicans for prolonging this mess. I personally have no intention of ever voting for a Republican again. If the Republicans want to play partisan politics, so can the American people. And the Democratic party can only benefit from the Republican position that they "know better than the American people" about what's good for this country. Republicans who intend to be candidates for the next presidential election should be exerting what influence they have to put a stop to this proceeding or face the wrath of the American people in the voting booth in November 2000.
Deborah Clements
Merritt Island, FL



No! This is a witch hunt by the GOP. Why weren't impeachment hearings held on Reagan over his Iran-Contra scandal? That was surely more perilous to the national interest than sexual behavior.
Steve Richardson
Santa Clara, CA



If you believe in the law and that the foundation of modern society is respect for the law then you must admit that there is no legal way to impeach the President without damaging our legal system possibly beyond repair.
Byron S. Krantz
Aurora, Ohio



Absolutely, yes. His pattern of witness intimidation, obstruction, obfuscation, stonewalling, lying and the practice of "omerta" on the part of his cronies smacks of mafia-like behavior. This man demeans the office and corrupts everyone around him. Liberals need to put principle ahead of the agenda and recognize that Clinton is a seriously flawed person.
Jack Keane
Cincinnati, OH



I think it's high time for a constitutional ammendmendment to establish the office of a permanent "presidential investigator". This office would be responsible for permanently and continuously investigating ALL aspects of the life of whoever happens to be president. The office would have absolute and total power to subpoena whoever the investigator feels has information about any past, present, and future crimes committed by the president. With the establishment of this office, the Republicans would finally have the tool they need to go after liberals, gays, atheists, and any other groups they feel are, as Newt so eloquently put it, "the enemy of normal America". C'mon folks, are you with me on this?
Bob Dilworth
Toledo, Ohio



No, especially now that Starr's going to admit he doesn't have any evidence of wrong doing concerning Whitewater. Isn't that what we hired him for originally? Can we impeach Starr? Will that make him go away? Oh, it is to dream.
James Holley
Alexandria, Va



There is an up-side. If Clinton is impeached, it will be a lot easier to do the same thing to the next Republican President. Assuming, of course, they ever have one and are not chased out of DC for attempting this coup.
Bob Munck
Haymarket, VA



The real issue is what constitutes an impeachable offense.I say anything short of selling state secrets or other clear cut compromises on state security does nor warrant impeachment.
William Hagan
Germantown, MD



I know there are exceptions, but it's my strong impression that most of those who perch atop the pure issue of perjury to clamor loudest for Clinton's impeachment (especially those politicians affiliated with the nominally "Christian" Coalition) are the same ones who, only a few years ago, elevated Oliver North to conservative sainthood for his forthright admission before Congress that in previous sworn testimony he had not only lied but would do so again if necessary.

Clinton's lies covered up a tawdry affair that would have hurt only those involved and their families. North's lies served to cover up an undeclared war in which people died.

Am I missing something?
Herb Reeves
Greenville, SC



It is incomprehensible for such a great majority of Americans to support President Clinton. The issue is not the sex scandal. I believe the actions on both sides of the aisle have been less than responsible. However, the real issue is the one stated by David Broder in yesterday's Washington Post and quoted again this morning by Chairman Hyde:we must "define as a nation the standard of honesty we are going to impose on our president". If the President is allowed to escape accountability for lying under oath, this message is sent: It is okay to lie under oath, money and power are more imortant than the law, and lying in general is permissible. May the Lord have mercy upon our country and our children.
Joseph Kelly & Brooke Ganstrom
Pocatello, Idaho



Should he be impeached? Why? Because he deceived the American people? Because he made a mockery of the justice system? Because he lacks virtues, character, integrity, honor, dedication and morality? Because he's an embarrassment to the office and the country? Because he perjured himself? Because we wouldn't accept this behaviour from a military leader, or anybody else with a moral obligation to uphold the law of this country? Because he obstructed justice and lied under oath? Forget all of that. Let's play the political spin doctor and reason that this is a private matter of sexual indiscretion. Ignore the big picture. Ignore the fact that he's cost the tax-payers millions of dollars through this deception. Ignore the implications of accepting this moral vacuum. Should he be impeached? No -- let's all just follow Bill Clinton, our values, and our justice system straight to hell.
M. Keith Hamilton
Ruther Glen, VA

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