THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Dec. 11: Debate and Vote on Article II
By Federal News Service
REP. HYDE: The committee will now consider Article II. Are there any amendments to Article II?
REP. FRANK (D-MA): A parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: I guess Mr. Graham does not have an amendment to number two. So please state your inquiry.
REP. FRANK: It has to do with the procedure. I was advised by a member of the staff, the procedure was going to be here, and it's a little reversal of the norm but not a problem, that you would ask for amendments first, and then there would be the opportunity to strike the last word -- so members would know that the fact that we were getting into amendments doesn't preempt the right to strike the last word. Is that correct?
REP. HYDE: We were just informed that Mr. Graham is not going to offer his amendment. So, yes, we can discuss --
REP. FRANK: So we'll open for -- (inaudible) -- the last word?
REP. HYDE: -- for a discussion, if you wish.
All right. The gentlelady from California.
REP. WATERS: Thank you very much.
Mr. Chairman and members, today, Friday, December 11, 1998, the Judiciary Committee of the 105th Congress is embarking on the extraordinary procedure of taking a vote to report from this committee Articles of Impeachment of the president of the United States of America, William Jefferson Clinton.
Let history record, I, Maxine Waters, member of Congress representing the 35th Congressional District of the United States of America, is of sound mind, excellent health and a clear conscience.
Let history further record that I direct my remarks to my grandchildren Cameron Titus (sp), 10 years of age, my grandson Mikael (sp), 20 years of age; to my mother, Vamilee Moore (sp); to my 12 brothers and sisters, living and dead; to my husband, Ambassador Sidney Williams (sp); my dear friends and supporters, my constituents; really, to all Americans and peoples of the world:
I will not violate the Constitution of the United States. I will vote no on each and every vague and general article of impeachment that will be presented to this committee today. Let history record I have fought against the impeachment of the president of the United States in every way that I know how, that my Democratic colleagues have shown in every possible way that this president has not committed perjury, obstructed justice or committed any actions or crimes that rise to the level of impeachment.
Mr. Chairman and members, let history treat me kindly as our children, and children's children, analyze what we do here today. Let the historians speak favorably of me because I have carefully, responsibly and honorably exercise my duty to uphold the Constitution of the United States of America, so help me God.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. BARNEY FRANK (D-MA): Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Massachusetts.
REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, this is the article which would call for the dismissal from office of President Clinton because of false statements he made in the deposition in the Paula Jones case. I do not believe, with regard to Article I, that false statements were demonstrated.
With regard to this article, I do believe, as I read and heard the testimony, that the president spoke falsely when he denied being alone with Ms. Lewinsky. And I very much regret that. And I believe that, given the fact that the statute of limitations has not expired and won't expire for some time, he'll be subject to prosecution on that when his term expires.
I do not think prosecution is likely, because I believe that if someone were to bring that, it would fail. And I believe we heard from a very distinguished group of prosecutors who said that it is highly unlikely that a federal prosecutor would have brought that.
And there were two reasons why I think we should reject this.
First, I disagree with the assertion that a false statement is a false statement without regard to the underlying act about which it is made. I must say, Mr. Chairman, I don't think anybody here believes that all the time. The notion that you equally condemn any false statement, no matter what the context, no matter what the underlying issue, no matter what the motivation, is not a view that I believe any of us consistently hold. It has gained some adherents because it is a convenient stick with which to beat the president. But the fact is that the cause of the lie the president told with regard to the deposition is a consensual sexual affair and his desire to conceal it.
We have plenty of testimony that the desire to conceal this long predated knowledge that it would get involved in this lawsuit. Indeed, the gentleman from Florida himself said yesterday or the day before that the president and Monica Lewinsky had agreed between them that they would try to conceal this from people who asked, long before they knew about the lawsuit. It was an understandable desire to conceal activity that the president knew to be wrong, but it was not activity that assaulted anyone else, that imposed himself on anyone else; it was purely consensual sex.
There's another concern I have, and it has to do with the irrelevance, in my judgment, of the conduct that occurred between President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky to the Paula Jones case. People have talked about sexual harassment. I am a strong believer in very tough laws against sexual harassment, and I think you do the cause of protecting people against sexual harassment enormous damage if you erode that firewall between consensual and nonconsensual sex.
People who would try to diminish that distinction, in my judgment, undermine our efforts to protect people against harassment, against coercion. Monica Lewinsky herself is the undeviating, unrefuted witness to the fact that she was the initiator of this relationship and at no point did she ever feel any pressure to continue it. So here's the problem. You have the president sued by Paula Jones. He is then subject to wide discovery. If the fact is that because you are sued, no matter what the merits ultimately of the suit, you can then in a very wide discovery process be compelled under oath, under penalties of punishment, to be asked about, and answer about, any aspect of your personal life, even if it is wholly irrelevant to the lawsuit, is an erosion of privacy that I don't want to give any stamp of approval to.
And to say that we're going to throw Bill Clinton out of office, and you're not simply -- and again, this notion that you're just here hitting batting practice -- you know, it's old Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in the Senate -- and poor you, you're not making any judgments, you're not doing anything. That's simply wrong and everyone knows it. There is no more solemn act you can take here than to say we think Bill Clinton ought to be thrown out of office and we set in motion, as you just did, the process to throw him out of office.
And to throw him out office because he tried to conceal a consensual sexual relationship in a lawsuit in which it had no relevance in fact, would be a very grave error. And yes, I have no trouble in differentiating that from the impeachment of a federal judge who tried to fix a case of a drug dealer and lied about it, or a president who tried to impinge on the law enforcement of the country.
So I hope that this article is defeated.
REP. SENSENBRUNNER: Mr. Chairman?
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Wisconsin.
REP. SENSENBRUNNER: Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the article.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. SENSENBRUNNER: Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm afraid that my friend from Massachusetts flat out misstated the law on sexual harassment. We don't need a law on sexual harassment for nonconsenting sexual contact. that's sexual assault, and there are adequate laws on sexual assault in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to deal with people who perpetrate that type of heinous crime.
The laws prohibiting sexual harassment are designed to provide protection for those who are sexually harassed, primarily women but not exclusively, from activities that do not rise to the level of sexual assault.
And I'm awful (sic) afraid that if we say it's okay to lie in legal proceedings on sexual harassment, we've made enforcement of the sexual harassment laws ineffective, because every lawsuit on sexual harassment is about sex, in and of its very nature.
But Paula Jones's lawsuit was a federal civil rights lawsuit, which is under a different part of the law. And part of the allegations that Ms. Jones made, and which the Supreme Court, by a nine-to-nothing vote said she had a right to pursue, is that after she allegedly rejected the president's advances in the hotel room Arkansas, she was harassed at work, denied pay raises, and ultimately forced to resign her position with the Arkansas state government. And with those allegations, she would have a much stronger case to take to the court and to take to the jury by showing that there are other women who are under the direct employ and supervision of Mr. Clinton, whether he was governor or president, who submitted to his advances who got jobs and promotions and pay raises and goodies and the like. That's a classic civil rights case.
Now, I'm not here to say whether she would have the evidence to do that or not. That's not the point. The point is is that the Supreme Court and Judge Wright in Arkansas said that she had the right to obtain evidence to try to prove her case. And where the alleged perjury of the president came in was to prevent her from doing that. That is a very, very serious result of that perjury. And it all goes to the business of whether an employee of the state of Arkansas who claimed that the governor of Arkansas sexually harassed her denied her civil rights. The Supreme Court said she had a right to proceed in gathering evidence. And where I believe the president obstructed her, wrongfully and perjuriously, was to prevent her from obtaining that evidence.
Now, the law on perjury does not depend upon the outcome of the case. The case was thrown out of court by Judge Wright. It was appealed and the president paid a significant judgment before the appeal was decided. The issue of alleged perjury is whether it was material at the time the alleged perjurious statement was made. And here we have a decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, that was placed under seal and was unsealed just recently, that said it was material -- false statements -- and those material false statements were directly designed to change the outcome of the case.
That related to the affidavit of Monica Lewinsky that even the president's lawyers had to send a letter to the court instructing him to disregard.
And I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Michigan.
REP. CONYERS: Before I begin, I'm going to briefly recognize Mr. Frank.
REP. FRANK: I thank the ranking member.
The gentleman from Wisconsin completely misstated my position. I was not suggesting that the activity involving Paula Jones was in any way consensual. Yes, sexual harassment is wrong, but for the gentleman to suggest I'm allowing sexual harassment when I say consensual sex misunderstands sexual harassment. The terrible thing about harassment is precisely that it is non-consensual, that it overcomes the victim's "no" with other threats.
My point was that the Monica Lewinsky-Bill Clinton relationship was, according to Monica Lewinsky, in an uncontested way, wholly consensual. There was not a shred of any evidence of sexual harassment between Monica Lewinsky -- and when I say I won a war, I believe that the wholly consensual relationship between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky was in fact irrelevant to the accusation of harassment by Paula Jones, and I think we do a disservice to sexual harassment law by letting that distinction be eroded.
REP. CONYERS: I thank my colleague.
Ladies and gentleman, this second article deals with perjury in the Jones deposition, and the Republicans on this committee would impeach the president of the United States over a tortured definition of the phrase "sexual relations." Now we all saw the deposition videotape of the 15-minute conversation among the three lawyers and a judge about what the definition of sexual relations in that case meant. We witnessed, watched and listened to it. No one in the deposition room, aside from the Paula Jones lawyers, who were in effect setting up the president, understood what that deposition meant. The judge in the case even said that after all she heard that she did not think that the president understood the definition. This is on the record.
The president's testimony about his consensual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky was not material to the Paula Jones claim that the president made unwanted advances toward her. Could that still be in dispute? Judge Webber-Wright made that clear in three separate rulings, that testimony about the president's relationships with other women simply did not go to the core of the issues put in dispute by Ms. Jones.
The Republicans misstate that the issue of materiality was settled by the litigation involving Ms. Lewinsky's lawyer, Frank Carter. The only thing that the litigation involving Mr. Carter decided is that Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit was material to the limited question in that case; that is, whether Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit was material to whether she should have to testify as a deposition witness in the Jones case.
The court, considering that limited issue, never considered the overall materiality of the Lewinsky testimony to the Jones case, and would and could not have made a ruling on a case pending on an -- in another court.
Republicans would impeach the president of the United States for his testimony on subjects as whether he was ever alone with Ms. Lewinsky. While we're troubled by the president's testimony, we believe it is insufficient, too insufficient, to warrant an impeachment of the president. The president's reactions to the set-up in the Jones deposition were not impeachable reactions, but the reactions of a husband and a father whose misconduct was about to be exposed. Please, please, let us reject this second article of impeachment.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Thank you.
The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Canady.
REP. CHARLES CANADY (R-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I rise in support of this article.
Now I will grant that not all false statements under oath are equivalent. A lie concerning a barroom fight is not equivalent to a lie concerning a rape or murder. I don't think anyone in this room would disagree with that.
REP. : Except Mr. Sensenbrenner.
REP. CANADY: But I think we need to look at this conduct of the president in context. And I agree; the context is important. But I'm driven to the conclusion that when we look at the context here, we have to understand that this was a serious act of wrongdoing, a willful act of wrongdoing, an act of wrongdoing designed to deprive another American citizen of her rights in court.
Now I know the president didn't like the fact that he was subjected to a lawsuit. He didn't think that the plaintiff should ever be in court, at least during his presidency. He believed -- or he says he believed -- that it was all a plan to get him and embarrass him.
But the fact of the matter is that in this proceeding, the judge decided that the president would have to answer questions at the deposition concerning Ms. Lewinsky and other people that might have been in a similar position. Mr. Clinton didn't agree with that decision of the judge. I understand that. Mr. Clinton thought that was unfair. I understand that.
But the judge decided he would have to answer those questions. Now, the judge having decided that, the president went in to the deposition and he lied. We all know that.
REP. : No, we don't.
REP. CANADY: Well, maybe somebody doesn't know it. But I would suggest that it requires a turning away from the facts, a closing of the eyes to these facts to come to any other conclusion than that he lied, and he lied repeatedly. And let me point out that I think the evidence is also clear that he went into the deposition with clear knowledge that he might be asked questions about Ms. Lewinsky and with a plan to lie if he was asked questions. He thought he could get away with telling lies because of the affidavit that she had given.
Now, I would feel differently about this if the president had truly been blindsided, if he had not known that the subject of Ms. Lewinsky was likely to come up; he thought that was a closed chapter, nobody knew about it, and a question comes at him like a bolt out of the blue. And I think some people believe that's what happened in this deposition, but the record absolutely shows that wasn't the case. He knew she was on the witness list. He knew all the circumstances. And he knew that he was likely to be asked about her. He was asked about her, and he sat there -- and we watched him -- and he cooly, in a calculated manner, lied. That's what took place there.
Now, that is a serious matter, for the president of these United States, who has the responsibility to uphold the rule of law in this country, to engage in such conduct.
Now, what does the president say in his defense? Well, we get more and more of the legalisms. It is amazing to me that the president's lawyers and the president can come forward with an argument that turns on the contention that Ms. Lewinsky had sex with him but he didn't have sex with her. That's what this all turns on. If we're going to believe his interpretation of what was going on, we have to believe that version of reality. That's an insult to our intelligence. That's an insult to the intelligence of the American people. It is not truthful. And I would suggest that we focus on the facts here. And if we do that, we will come to the conclusion that the president willfully and in a calculated manner lied to defeat the rights, the due rights of an American citizen.
Now, you know, it's not -- it's not just his lying about the sexual relations. He also lied when he said he didn't have an extramarital affair or a sexual relationship, when he affirmed the affidavit given by Ms. Lewinsky that said there was no sexual relationship. If there wasn't a sexual relationship, what kind of relationship was it? Let's get real about the facts here.
The president lied, and he should be impeached for lying.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler.
REP. NADLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
We don't all know that the president lied in his deposition. Many people suspect he do -- did, rather -- but it has not been proven, and one of my chief concerns with these -- with this whole proceeding is that there is not nearly sufficient proof before us to warrant the conclusion that he did what the allegation says he did.
Now this article of impeachment says he perjured himself with the deposition testimony on January 17th, and that -- that he lied under oath about the nature of his relationship, presumably when he said that he did not have a sexual affair, a sexual relationship or sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky. The president asserted that he did not have a sexual affair with her within the undefined meaning of that term, that Ms. Lewinsky was correct in her statement that she did not have a sexual relationship with the president within the undefined meaning of that term, and three, that he did not have sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky as that term was defined by the Jones lawyers and limited by Judge Wright.
It is by now more than clear that the undefined terms "sexual affair," "sexual relations," and "sexual relationship," despite the fact that what I'm about to say is counterintuitive, in fact, is at best ambiguous, meaning different things to different people, and that President Clinton's belief that the terms refer to sexual intercourse and not to certain other acts is supported by courts, commentators and numerous dictionaries. As one court has stated, "In common parlance, the terms 'sexual intercourse' and 'sexual relations' are often used interchangeably."
The Webster's Third New International Dictionary defines sexual relations as coitus. Random House Webster's College Dictionary defines sexual relations as sexual intercourse, comma -- excuse me, semi-colon; coitus. Miriam Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines sexual relations as coitus. Black's Law Dictionary defines intercourse as sexual relations, and Random House Compact Unabridged Dictionary defines sexual intercourse; coitus. The president's understanding of these terms or his testimony as to the understanding of these terms, which is shared even by several common dictionaries, cannot possibly support a prosecution for perjury.
How would a prosecutor prove these dictionaries wrong?
And in any event, regardless of one's view that sexual relations means intercourse, the evidence is indisputable that this is indeed what President Clinton believed at the time. And of course perjury is dependent on what the deponent believed. Perjury requires more than that someone else believes President Clinton was wrong about the meaning of these terms, it also requires proof that President Clinton knew he was wrong and intentionally lied about it. But the evidence demonstrates that the president honestly held that belief well before the Jones deposition. The genuineness of the president's beliefs on this subject is even supported by the special prosecutor's account of Ms. Lewinsky's testimony during an interview with the FBI. And I quote from an FBI 302 Form cited in the referral: "After having a relationship with him, Lewinsky deduced that the president, in his mind, apparently does not consider oral sex to be sex. Sex, to him, must mean intercourse." Close quote.
And finally, Ms. Lewinsky herself took the position that her contact with the president did not constitute sex, and reaffirmed that position even after she had received immunity and begun cooperating with the special prosecutor. In one of the Linda Tripp tapes -- which she didn't know she was being recorded on, obviously -- Ms. Lewinsky explains to Linda Tripp that she didn't have sex with the president because having sex is having intercourse. And in fact, Neysa Erbland, one of the alleged -- one of her friends who was an alleged corroborator of her testimony, according to the special prosecutor, states that Ms. Lewinsky had said the president and she didn't have sex. In her original proffer to the independent prosecutor, she wrote, quote, "Ms. Lewinsky was comfortable signing the affidavit with regard to the sexual relationship because she could not justify to herself that she and the president did not have sexual intercourse." Unquote.
In short, the evidence supports only the conclusion that the president's responses with respect to these undefined terms were truthful and at worst, good faith responses to indisputably ambiguous questions. We have seen from the independent prosecutor, from Mr. Schippers, from anybody else, no -- and I repeat -- no evidence to the contrary. And simply statements that, "Come on! How could anybody think that?" Well, the fact is that dictionaries think that, and a lot of people think that. Maybe nobody at this table thinks that, but a lot of maybe less sophisticated people, or more sophisticated people, I don't know, do think that --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time --
REP. NADLER: I would request an additional 15 seconds.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's 15 seconds are granted.
REP. NADLER: Thank you.
A lot of people do think that, and one cannot possibly prove with no evidence that the president thought the contrary. Therefore, it's counter to all the evidence to base a perjury article on this, and therefore, as well as for all the other reasons that I stated with respect to number one, Article I, we must oppose article number two also.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Florida, Mr. McCollum.
REP. BILL MCCOLLUM (R-FL): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
I, like all of us, are (sic) uncomfortable with this article as I was with the other one, because of the subject matter. And the more we plow into this and the more we debate it, the more I'm convinced, unfortunately, that the president did indeed commit perjury, not just lying, on numerous occasions in that deposition with Paula Jones, as well as in front of the grand jury. But it is disappointing.
And I heard the president a few moments ago. I reviewed what he said before the public -- in the public eye here, about his supposed, again, contrition. I don't think he said anything he said anything new, unfortunately, except that he was, you know, ashamed of what he did, as he certainly should be. But he's never admitted to actually committing the perjury or the lying under oath and so forth that we're -- the subject matters here today.
I think some have had it right in the past; it would have been preferable if he resigned. He did not announce that he was resigning today -- than to what we're doing. But we have an obligation, constitutionally, to proceed.
And I must say that with all due respect to Mr. Nadler and my colleagues on the other side, that the evidence here of what this president was about is abundantly clear, if you just take the blinders off and you look at the whole picture. I described some of that a few minutes ago.
Putting it back in context, very briefly, once again, the president was involved in being concerned about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky -- whatever words you want to use -- coming to bear and being acknowledged in the Paula Jones civil rights suit. He was determined to defeat that suit.
And in order to do so, it's very clear that a few weeks before his deposition, he made some comments that were made clearly to Monica Lewinsky, that made everybody understand that they were going to not tell the truth about their relationship. Now whether he made it before he knew about the suit or before he knew about the deposition or whatever makes no difference, because at the time she was called upon as a witness, put on the list, and he called her up, he knew that, and they knew -- both of them knew that they were not going to tell the truth about this matter under any circumstances.
And so the evidence is very clear he went into this deposition with that in mind. And he went through the process of testifying numerous times. The sexual relations question -- what was it, what was the definition -- we can all argue about. Common sense says, as Mr. Canady did a minute ago, that he knew good and well what it was, and that he lied when he tried to avoid telling the truth about it.
But even if you believe him in every respect, the contorted definition that was put before him he did understand. With all due respect to the other side, who's been arguing he didn't understand it, he understood the definition that was put before him, when it finally was resolved in that court, in the deposition, when his attorneys had finished the argument.
He clearly was paying attention to all of that. We saw some of that on television yesterday. And then in the grand jury deposition, he was specifically asked if he understood it and what it meant, and he said yes, it did, in terms of the actual words that went on. Now it may not have meant intercourse, but he knew that certain parts of the body, if he had touched them, were indeed included in that definition.
And we went over it before the grand jury, but I'll go over it just briefly here again with regard to the perjury in the deposition in the Jones case.
The fact of the matter is that Monica Lewinsky has testified in the grand jury proceedings that he did, in fact, touch her in certain ways that were in the definition that the court gave to Mr. Clinton, and that Mr. Clinton acknowledged he understood. And there are numerous witnesses who corroborate that in fact what Monica Lewinsky said before the grand jury she had repeated to them on several occasions, contemporaneously -- in other words, at the same time, roughly, that these supposed contacts were going on.
All of that is corroborated, and it's very believable, and it's very much corroborated, also, by a computer letter she had in a draft to the president, and so on and so forth.
And the president lied in numerous other occasions in his testimony in that deposition. He lied after being asked if anybody had reported to him in the past two weeks that they'd had a conversation with Monica Lewinsky. He lied in the deposition about being alone in certain quarters in the Oval Office. He lied in the deposition about his knowledge of gifts that they may have exchanged. He lied in the deposition about his knowledge about whether he'd ever spoken to a subordinate employee about the possibility that employee might be called as a witness. He lied about his knowledge of the services of subpoena in the case. He lied about his knowledge of the final conversation he had with an employee who was going to be a witness in the case brought against him. He lied in the deposition about his knowledge of the contents of the affidavit executed by -- and so on and so forth -- nine or ten times, and I won't go on with the list. He clearly committed perjury in that deposition. I would suggest that it does rise to impeachable standard, and he should be impeached -- unfortunately and sadly -- for it, and that's what we're called upon here to do in the article we're debating today.
REP. HYDE: Thank you.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
After the last debate, I guess we can get -- give up on getting the specifics. I guess we'll be -- find out what we voted -- what we voted on after we vote.
But since, again, we're talking about perjury, if you're going to allege perjury, you have to prove all the elements of perjury which, in this case, include materiality. And we're talking about testimony that the judge ruled as inadmissible in a lawsuit that was thrown out on a summary judgment and then settled. Never anywhere in America would a perjury charge be brought in such a situation. And, therefore, we are faced with the question of whether whatever he said was such a subversion of government that his conduct warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office and the additional optional judgment that he be disqualified from holding and enjoying any office of honor, trust or profit in the United States.
Now that additional judgment was not requested in Watergate. And so history will record that this committee thought that the punishment for his testimony in the Paula Jones case was worse than President Nixon's corrupt use of the FBI, the CIA and the Internal Revenue Service in Watergate. And that's why one of our witnesses recently was provoked to suggest that history will hunt some of us down for our votes today.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Hutchinson.
REP. HUTCHINSON: I thank the chair.
And I just wanted to make a comment on the statement from the gentleman from Massachusetts Mr. Frank. He indicated that the statements that were given under oath that are alleged to be perjurious were wholly irrelevant to the lawsuit. Well, who determined that it was irrelevant? Are we going to let litigants in a lawsuit determine what is relevant and whether they are going to answer a question under oath or not?
In this case, there was an extraordinary circumstance that you had the federal judge sitting in the room. And the judge, Judge Wright from Arkansas, indicated that the president should answer the question. She heard the president's lawyers object and say: "This is irrelevant. It's not material. We should not consider this." And she said: "Yes, it is. You need to answer." And so are we going to let a litigant in a lawsuit determine and make the decision unilaterally what is relevant?
Now, I understand and appreciate what Mr. Frank is saying. But you know, you can change the law; you can change the rules. But under the rules you operate, the judge determined you need to answer the question, and she expected a truthful answer. And that goes to Mr. Scott's question of materiality.
REP. FRANK: Will you yield?
REP. HUTCHINSON: For a question, I will yield.
REP. FRANK: Well, I was going to answer the question you asked me.
REP. HUTCHINSON: No. Well, let me see if I can get some more time, and we'll discuss that. But -- (cross talk) -- go ahead. I'll yield.
REP. FRANK: It's very brief.
If the president were to be criminally charged with perjury, if someone brought that, then the judge's decision would be relevant. We are here being asked to make an independent judgment, as members of Congress, as to what punishment we think is appropriate. And my answer to your question is, I and each of the rest of us have to judge about that.
That is, this is not the criminal perjury that might be brought. I have an independent constitutional responsibility, do I think the president of the United States should have been thrown out of office for it? And I believe each and every one of us has that responsibility.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Reclaiming my time, I appreciate the gentleman's distinction, which is just the opposite of the distinction that your side has been making for the last hour --
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. HUTCHINSON: No -- that, you know, you can't meet the elements of a criminal case. And now you're saying, well, it's beyond that, we're talking about the action of Congress. And it is a distinction there. And I understand that's --
REP. FRANK: The gentleman is simply misstating my position now, flatly.
REP. HUTCHINSON: It's still my time, Mr. Frank. It's still my time.
And so if you look at this, I just think it's bad practice. I think that it would be extraordinary to carve out an exception to materiality and say that the president should not be held accountable because he determined or his lawyers determined that he could lie because he determined that it was not relevant.
Now let's go to the statements that were actually made in the lawsuit -- in the deposition. This is one in which there were numerous statements that were made. The first one and, of course, the most obvious is that he was never alone with Monica Lewinsky. And we don't need to debate, you know, what "alone" means, but the question was asked about whether he had been alone with her, and his answer was he did not recall.
The question specifically was, "So I understand your testimony is that it was possible, then, that you were alone with her but you have no specific recollection of that ever happening."
Answer: "Yes, that's correct." That is an amazing statement. I believe it is a false statement.
The question was, "When was the last time you spoke with Monica Lewinsky?"
Answer: I'm trying to remember. Probably sometime before Christmas." And then he adds, "She came by to see Betty sometime before Christmas, and she was there talking to her and I stuck my head out and said hello to her." That is not the correct response. It is not a truthful response. In fact, the president met with Monica after Christmas, December 28th, to exchange gifts. It was something that anyone would remember. And he is trying to tie it all to Betty Currie.
"Did she tell you she had been served with a subpoena in this case?"
Answer: "No, I don't know if she had been." Another false statement.
Question: "Did you have an extramarital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky?" And the question was not under the definition of sexual relations, but the question was, "Did you have an extramarital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky?" The answer was no.
Then he goes on later and he again states, "I have never had an affair with her." And so you can go through the deposition time after time and point to numerous instances very specifically of false statements being given.
Are they relevant? Are they important? I believe they're important to the plaintiff in that civil rights lawsuit. Any other person would be held accountable if they unilaterally made a decision "it is not important, it is of no consequence, I'm not going to tell the truth on that." We cannot have litigants in court making that determination.
I'm not happy about this. I'm not happy that we have to look at this and determine that the president of the United States lied under oath, but that is the facts.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentlelady -- I'm sorry, Mr. Berman from California.
REP. : Would the gentleman yield?
REP. HOWARD BERMAN (D-CA): Move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. BERMAN: Mr. Chairman, I yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman, and I appreciate the gentleman from Arkansas's comments, but he seriously misstated what I said. And I think there's a very fundamental issue here. First, he said I was being inconsistent in saying that we should apply the standard of impeachment because some members on this side have been talking about a criminal case. I'm not one of those. I make a deal with the rest of the world; they're not responsible for what I say, I'm not responsible for what they say. Many people in the world are quite happy with that deal.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Would the gentleman yield for an apology?
REP. FRANK: I will yield to the gentleman.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Would you yield for an apology? I think you're absolutely correct. You do show a great deal of independence and clear thinking over there.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman. I want to enter this -- continue this in this spirit, because it is one of the central questions here. I did complain about the lack of specificity, because I thought and still think it was an effort to kind of fuzz up the issue, because members aren't satisfied in taking it to impeachment.
As to criminal prosecution -- and I do believe that the judge's ruling was conclusive as to criminal prosecution; that's right -- as to perjury, if you're going to have that kind of accusation, and you're going to bring a criminal case, then that could be conclusive. That could be litigated there.
But we're not into criminal prosecution, and I haven't said that we are.
I would also note --
REP. HUTCHINSON: Would you yield for a clarification?
REP. FRANK: Yes.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Am I correct in understanding that you believe that the materiality question for a criminal prosecution is satisfied and that he could be criminally prosecuted for a false statement that was material?
REP. FRANK: No, I think that would have to be further litigated. I think the fact that what you said is relative, not dispositive, because there was -- there were later decisions that might be different. But that's not our issue. And I haven't talked about that as being the same issue.
I'm talking about our independent responsibility to decide if this is impeachable, because there is another factor that would intervene in criminality, and as former Governor Weld said, in addition to materiality, there is substantiality. And he was talking specifically about this.
I agree with the many prosecutors who said very few prosecutors, if any, would bring this case, so that the question about whether or not the president would be convicted is almost irrelevant. But that is for prosecution. And I do make the note, Ken Starr will probably still be the independent counsel, or there will be a successor in office. The statute of limitations will not have lapsed. So, therefore, I think it ought to be left to prosecution.
But for us, and this is very important, we have an independent responsibility to decide whether or not the president of the United states ought to be thrown out of office. Frankly, I am surprised to see members on the other side shying away from that. There is a pattern of some members saying: "Who, us? We are just sending it over to the Senate. We are just finding probable cause." No, this is our constitutional solemn responsibility, and you are voting for something that says he should be thrown out of office.
And then the question is for each and every one of us to decide, "Should Bill Clinton be thrown out of office?" Should the presidency twice won in a popular election be terminated because he denied having been alone with Monica Lewinsky in a civil deposition, in a lawsuit to which, I believe, it was irrelevant, because I believe that there is an absolute bar between the wholly consensual sex in the Lewinsky matter and the allegation of harassment in the Paula Jones matter.
So, no, I don't think the fact that a judge ruled is dispositive for us; whether or not it would be later on, would be if anybody brought the prosecution. I don't think anyone would.
But I do not think members ought to hide behind judges or senators or anyone else. This is your choice. Are you going to vote individually to throw Bill Clinton out of office, which is what you are voting for in this resolution? It cannot be gainsaid because in a civil deposition, he lied to conceal a private consensual sexual affair. And that's the standard. And the question is, "Who decides what rises to that level?" Each and every one of us do. I cannot think of a more solemn or heavier responsibility.
I thank my friend from California.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas.
REP. GEKAS (R-PA): I thank the chair.
One could argue that the falsehoods under oath uttered by the president in the deposition are more serious and more damaging and more definable than those which we have voted have occurred in the grand jury.
In the grand jury, even though it's a criminal investigation and on first glance would seem to be more serious than a civil case, in the grand jury in a criminal case, at least there is no known victim, no individual whose rights have been damaged but rather the societal atmosphere, which the criminal investigation involves.
But in the civil deposition that we are talking about, let's assume for a moment that Monica Lewinsky uttered in her affidavit that she indeed did have a relationship, a sexual relationship, with the president.
Paula Jones was entitled to have that affidavit which shows the -- even the consensual relationship of Monica Lewinsky with the president. Paula Jones would have been able to display that as a -- something further discoverable that if indeed Monica Lewinsky had this consensual relationship because of the promise of or the fear of certain consequences that would follow her relationship with the consent of herself and the president, then Paula Jones could point to that as additional evidence that what she had confronted was totally damaging to her rights. But we never got that far because Monica Lewinsky filed an affidavit that claimed that there was no sexual relationship.
What happened then? It means -- and the whole world should recognize this -- that this destroyed -- utterly destroyed, in that little section of the world at that section of time -- destroyed the rights of Paula Jones who only Mr. Carville would trash immediately and out of hand --
REP. NADLER: Would the gentleman yield for a quick question?
REP. GEKAS: -- who destroyed the case of Paula Jones -- or attempted to -- by not acknowledging or trying to hide the fact that there was a sexual relationship. That's why that affidavit, the false affidavit filed by the witness, Monica Lewinsky, attested to, as it were, by the president, falsely in that deposition, which later carried over to the grand jury, definitely was a damage to the constitutional rights --
REP. NADLER: Would the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. GEKAS: -- of an individual and did extreme damage in the long run to the rights of you and me, and our spouses, and our sisters, and our --
REP. NADLER: Gentleman yield for a question?
REP. GEKAS: -- brothers, and everybody else in the society -- damaged our conceptual and prospective rights to sue in court for damages done to our family --
REP. NADLER: Now would the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. GEKAS: -- only to have that suit irreparably damaged by someone appearing, taking an oath and falsely testifying with an attempt and rationale and intent to destroy your case. That's what this was all about.
So when --
REP. NADLER: Now would the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. GEKAS: -- in Article II, we include as one of the most damaging portions of the falsehoods uttered by the president, it is in the context of the deposition in a civil case, a civil case in which our fellow citizens are involved every day in every courtroom in every state in the union, and on which our civilized society depends on oath and the evidence, the truthful evidence to be given under that oath.
REP. NADLER: Would the gentleman yield for a question now?
REP. GEKAS: That is why Article II, in the minds of some, I could argue, and do argue may be, in the context of the entire impeachment proceedings, more vital, more important, and more worthy of our conscientious decision-making than even the falsehoods uttered in the grand jury.
REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman?
REP. GEKAS: I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: Thank you.
The gentleman from New York?
REP. NADLER: I ask unanimous consent to grant Mr. Gekas two minutes so I can ask him a question.
REP. HYDE: Is there any objection? I hear no objection, so the gentleman has two minutes.
REP. NADLER: Thank you. I was just struck by --
REP. GEKAS: Should I yield?
REP. NADLER: I'm sorry. Would you yield?
REP. GEKAS: Yes, I'll yield.
REP. NADLER: Thank you.
I was just struck by what you said when you said that Paula Jones was denied the evidence of Monica Lewinsky's affidavit, which was relevant because of a sexual affair, as a result of which -- a sexual affair because of the emoluments or the advantages that she was essentially given. My question was, wasn't it the case, isn't all the evidence uncontradicted that she had the sexual affair first and that it was not motivated by any gifts or anything else but was --
REP. GEKAS: You missed the point. The gentleman misses the point. I'm saying to you that at first, when this affidavit would be filed, the one that I maintain for the purposes arguing "arguendo" that she admitted a sexual relationship, that would allow Paula Jones to indulge in the further discovery to learn from this situation -- the one in which Monica admits, under the hypothesis, admits the relationship that would entitle Paula Jones to discover further whether or not in return for that consensual sexual relationship Monica Lewinsky received any benefits, any promotions, like going from intern to paid employee, et cetera.
REP. NADLER: But didn't the --
REP. GEKAS: No -- I want to answer this fully because it's important; it's an important question that the gentleman raised and it's got to be answered.
That Paula Jones, by the virtue of the false affidavit, was deprived of the ability to look further into this to try to compare it to her case or to some other case in which in a sexual harassment suit is so vital.
REP. HYDE: All time -- all time has expired.
Before I recognize Mr. -- someone on this side?
STAFF: Mr. Watt.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Watt. I just want to announce, I have been given several ceremonial gavels which I am to use up here, and then they are to be given to people, for what purpose I don't know. (Scattered laughter.) But if you see me up here banging away, don't worry, I'm just trying to use the ceremonial gavel. (Sounds gavel.) Okay. (Laughter.)
REP. WATT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I hope the chairman doesn't plan to use any of them on the members. That's the only thing that I think might not be appropriate.
I want to wade into a discussion that my good friend, Mr. Frank, and my good friend Mr. Hutchinson were having because I'm not sure I disagree with them.
I'm almost afraid to disagree with them -- both of them are such brilliant minds.
But I -- I actually started this discussion last night in my opening statement when I pulled out a phrase that Mr. Schippers had made on pages 36 and 37 of his statement. There he said, "This is a defining moment, both for the presidency and especially for the members of this committee -- for the presidency as an institution because if you don't impeach as a consequence of the conduct that I have just portrayed, then no House of Representatives will ever be able to impeach again. The bar will be so high that only a convicted felon or a traitor will need to be concerned."
Now, I agree that -- with Mr. Frank that there is a substantiality question here, but I read the Constitution to require a criminal act, and that's why I pulled this out from Mr. Schipper's statement because I believe the bar was set so high intentionally that you would only get traitors and felons under the impeachment standard.
Now I -- and I don't want to be technical about this, but let me read to you the exact wording of Article II, Section 4. It says that they "shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors." Treason is a constitutional crime. Well, let me start before that. Conviction means criminal conduct.
Treason is a constitutional crime. Bribery is a crime, or other high crimes and high misdemeanors is a crime. It is either a crime against the state, which we have been arguing, which is still criminal conduct, or it is a crime, as the Republicans have been saying, in the criminal context, but there still has to be a crime if you read the literal language of the constitutional provision.
Now, how does that apply to what we're debating here? It applies this way. If there cannot be a crime -- I think it goes to what Mr. Frank is saying -- it can't be a high crime because it is insubstantial, it doesn't have the substantiality; but if it is not a high crime that's required, there still has to be a crime, and you've got to meet the criminal code standard, and if nobody would convict in the criminal context, then we wouldn't be able to convict in the impeachment context. And that's the point I was making. I think Mr. Schippers is absolutely wrong to imply and demean somehow that if we -- if we don't accept his version, that the only people who need be concerned are convicted felons or traitors. I think that's what the standard is in the Constitution.
Can I just take -- ask unanimous consent for one additional minute?
REP. HYDE: (Inaudible.)
REP. WATTS: And I think the reason the standard was set so high was for the very reason, again, that I talked about a little bit in my opening statement last night, was that you've got three independent branches of government, and if we lower the standard in the legislative branch and make it just a popularity contest as opposed to a criminal, treasonous, traitor, felon act, then what we have done is elevated the legislative branch over the executive branch, and we have disturbed that balance.
Now, that's not different from what I said last night in my opening statement.
It's a little bit more directly on point.
But I do believe we need substantiality, as Mr. Frank has said. But I also believe, even if you interpret it according to the way the Republicans have been interpreting, you can just do this on a crime, you still got to then revert to the criminal code and comply with that code. And in this case, I don't think we've done either.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Bryant.
REP. ED BRYANT (R-TN): Move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's recognized for five minutes. Would the gentleman yield just a few seconds to me?
REP. BRYANT: I would be happy to.
REP. HYDE: I'm fascinated by the discussion of what the words mean, "high crimes and misdemeanors," and I've read a little bit on it -- far from exhaustively. But I would just say to Mr. Watt, the plain English of "misdemeanor" -- "demeanor" means how you conduct yourself, and "misdemeanor," I would suspect, is not conducting yourself very well -- misconduct. Certainly, in the law, misdemeanor is less than a felony. And just the etymology of the word would indicate not a very profound wrong. But of course, over the years, the literature and the scholarship has meant that it had to be something either touching on a breach of trust or subverting the government. So it couldn't be a very little thing.
REP. WATT: Would the chairman yield?
REP. HYDE: But "demeanor" means something in the English language, and "misdemeanor" is like something that's malapropos. It's the opposite of appropriate. And "misdemeanor" is the opposite, I would think, of good conduct.
Yes, I yield -- I'm taking Mr. Bryant's time. We'll start again with you.
REP. BRYANT: I would be happy -- I'd be happy to do that. Thank you.
REP. HYDE: Yes? Go ahead.
REP. WATT: Would the gentleman yield just for a second? I remember the chairman had this discussion with one of the experts. And the expert, the historian -- I can't remember which one it was -- said that the chairman's interpretation of "misdemeanor," in the historical context, was just simply not correct.
REP. HYDE: That's usually the response I get to my ideas. (Laughter.) I hasten to describe an intellectual as "one who's educated beyond his intelligence." But I wouldn't say that to him. (Laughter.)
Anyway, Mr. Bryant, thank you for indulging us.
REP. BRYANT: Thank you. I don't have that problem.
Any time we get into this discussion that we've been in today about "Well, this is not a serious crime here, it was just about a sexual matter," I think of Professor John McGinnis (sp), who testified before this committee.
He's a law professor at the Benjamin Cardozo Law School, and he gave us a hypothetical, and I want to substitute the current names of the current parties for his hypothetical, but he said suppose that a -- again I'm using not the names that he used, but the current names -- suppose the president bribed the judge in the Paula Jones case to ensure that he didn't have to pay a money judgment and protected his presidency, but actually bribed the judge. There would be no question about it, we would be in here voting an impeachment on the president.
But instead what the president did was intervene in a way of perjury. Perjury, actually, under the Uniform Sentencing Code, is actually a more serious offense than the bribery, and it's a -- what I call a fraternal twin to bribery. Both end of thwarting justice as was done in the Paula Jones case. She was denied her monetary judgment -- up until recently -- because of the president's actions, not the least of which is the perjury offense.
But I want to talk also very quickly about one of the lies that he told during the deposition in the Paula Jones case, and he had been asked did he ever talk to Monica Lewinsky about the possibility that she might be subpoenaed to testify in the Paula Jones case, and his answer was "Bruce Lindsey -- I think Bruce Lindsey told me that she was. I think maybe that's the first person who told me she was. I want to be accurate. I want to be accurate as I can." And then apparently we were interrupted a little bit, and the questioner said again, "Would you basically say that again?" And he said, "I'm not sure, and let me tell you why I'm not sure. It seems to me the -- the -- the -- I want to be as accurate as I can here. It seems to me the last time she was there was to see Betty before Christmas. We were joking about how you all, with the help of the Rutherford Institute, were going to call every woman I'd ever talked to and ask them that, and so I would -- I said that you would qualify, or something like that. I don't think we ever had more of a conversation about it."
Now let me tell you the truth to that lie. Monica Lewinsky has testified that she had a telephone conversation with the president on December the 17th, and the president -- and she says, "Yes, he told me he had some more bad news, that he had seen the witness list for the Paula Jones case, and my name was on it. He told me that it didn't necessarily mean that I would be subpoenaed, but that that was a possibility, and if I were subpoenaed that I should contact Betty and let Betty know that I received the subpoena.
And also she went on to say that he asked her to submit the affidavit. The answer -- her testimony was "I believe I probably asked him, you know, what should I do in the course of that?" And he suggested, "Well, maybe you can sign an affidavit." Question: "Well, what -- when he said that you might sign an affidavit, what did you understand that to mean at that time?" Her answer was, "I thought that signing an affidavit could range from anywhere -- the point of it would be to deter or to prevent me from being deposed, and so that could range from anywhere between maybe just somehow mentioning, you know, innocuous things or going as far as maybe having to deny any kind of relationship."
So very clearly, we have proven here a lie in the Paula Jones deposition that is one of the many subjects of this particular article of impeachment; that he denied having anything other than just a passing casual conversation about how she might be called as a witness, where in fact he had a telephone conversation with her, where he told her: "We have bad news here. And you know one thing you might do to avoid having to go in and testify would be to file an affidavit."
And we know the rest of that story. She did ultimately file an affidavit, which exonerated the president, within 24 hours of finally receiving that long-sought-after job that she had wanted, with a Fortune 500 company in New York City. Just a coincidence, I suppose.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady from Texas, Sheila Jackson Lee.
REP. JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And if you need to gavel one of those ceremonial gavels, go right ahead. (Laughter.) In fact, I might want to gavel that the meeting has been adjourned.
But let me agree with Representative Canady because he is probably right; the president was very unhappy that the Paula Jones case was allowed to go forward. I disagree with the Supreme Court's decision, but it was the Supreme Court. They ruled. And we frankly had to live with that decision and are living with it.
I call this article, Article II, the Spider Web Article, because the more you touch it, the more it sticks and provides a web of confusion.
I remind the committee again that what we are doing today will lay the underpinnings of the vote our colleagues will take next Thursday. We have a responsibility again, as the moving body, to determine whether or not there are grounds to vote Articles of Impeachment out of this committee to our colleagues, who will not have the minimal contact with many of this documentation that we have had.
So I think that some of these issues that my friends on the Republican side want to ignore are relevant issues. And I think that we have all gone around. Some of the people have indicated that it's crimes that are "high crimes and misdemeanors," and others have talked about sexual harassment. Let me make these points.
First of all, having watched the employment atmosphere before sexual-harassment laws were in place, I know how valuable and important they are.
And I am comforted by this Congress that preceded me -- the Congresses that preceded me that saw fit to pass such laws. But at the same time as they pass such laws, we must recognize that there are elements of those laws that in fact we should be sensitive to because we don't want to make light of a very important right that people have, if they feel sexually harassed in the work place. It is a very important right for men and women, as we have seen in the case law.
And whatever my friends may say, Ms. Jones' case was dismissed, subsequently appealed to the Eighth Circuit, and subsequently not ruled upon but settled.
In addition, let me say that there were a lot of variables dealing with the web that was being perpetrated, such as Linda Tripp, who put the Paula Jones lawyers on notice "we got him." Here is a "get you" question. These are the kinds of spidery web kind of mystery activities that may be in a normal person's litigation, they might at least have the scales of justice balanced a little bit.
Now the president's behavior certainly was part of the reason he was where he was. But you cannot deny that the case was dismissed, that Ms. Jones' case was dismissed on the elements of sexual harassment as to whether or not she was denied promotions or she had made her case. And yes, someone can make the element or make the comment that she was trying to find out whether there are patterns of the president's conduct, but it is clear on the record, if we have one, that Monica Lewinsky said she was consensual and did not feel sexually harassed.
Kathleen Willey was something we were supposed to be investigating. That was an allegation of potential sexual harassment. Maybe we would have found that connection to Paula Jones. We haven't even looked into that, we threw that out, along with campaign finance reform.
And why, my friends, do you think that we are raising this whole question of the bar? Well, the reason is because this is a somber decision. And frankly, I think my colleagues in 1974, no matter what my again Republican friends have said, have some plain black-and-white issues.
You could understand what it means to break into a psychiatrist's office. If you live in Arkansas, if you live in New York or Chicago, you understand what that means. You understand when 19 people of the Cabinet or surrounding the Cabinet, were indicted as co-conspirators, five or six of them Cabinet members.
This particular article, Mr. Chairman, is sticky, because we've got a lot of things going with it. Mr. Schippers, for example, stated as one of his lies, "he was not paying his attention when his attorney said no sex in the Jones deposition exchanges."
I venture to say, Mr. Chairman, some of us in these proceedings today, might be or might not be paying attention, and so --
REP. HYDE: Well, I'm paying to the light --
REP. JACKSON LEE: We don't know if that happened or not.
REP. HYDE: I'm paying attention to the light, and your time is up.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I do, Mr. Chairman, and if you would allow me just to conclude my remarks, I would appreciate that 30 seconds.
REP. HYDE: Surely. Surely.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I thank you. So, this is a sticky web that gives me great discomfort, disturbs me, gives me little room to go forward and say to my colleagues voting next Thursday, you've got an article of impeachment, of which is high crimes and misdemeanor, treason and bribery. It is not here, Mr. Chairman, and that's why we're suggesting, in addition to the specifications issue that it is not here, because it is grounded on too much didn't happen, too much not done, and that's the spider web that we have.
I yield back to the chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Indiana.
REP. BUYER: I hesitate to do this, but I'm going to ask unanimous consent that the gentlelady be given one minute, and ask that she'd yield to me.
REP. HYDE: Hearing no objection, so ordered.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Well, Mr. Buyer, I'm happy to yield, but I don't know what you intend to do, but I yield to you. I'll be happy to yield.
REP. BUYER: Thank you, thank you. I heard you say that with regard to the claim of sexual harassment in regard to the Kathleen Willey case, that we had made a decision to throw it out? I think that is completely false, and it's still within the jurisdiction of the Office of Independent Counsel. And I note that this committee -- we subpoenaed Nathan Landau, and took his deposition. And I even read in the paper where he took the Fifth Amendment some over 70 times. So, there's a lot of discussion still involved in that case, and I just -- for clarification.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I thank the gentleman. Might I reclaim my time, and I was certainly aware of that, and would certainly say to you that I think it is pointed that Mr. Landau claimed the Fifth Amendment, and the fact that we are now voting on articles of impeachment without the Kathleen Willey materials before us today, and that's what I'm speaking of, and it will not be before our colleagues next Thursday.
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady's time has expired. Mr. Rogan of California.
REP. ROGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In reviewing the evidence respecting this particular article, Article II, this deals with perjurious statements in sworn testimony in the Paula Jones litigation. In my opening statement this morning, I discussed the reasons why the president was required to answer specific questions about his personal life in that litigation.
Now, it's important to remember. The judge in that case did not order the president to answer any question in the universe about his personal sex life. However, because he was a defendant in a sexual harassment case, the judge did say that Ms. Jones was entitled to ask questions as to whether the president, while he was president or governor, ever had a sexual relationship with a subordinate female employee over whom he had control in the workplace.
Now, that's not a question that was just invented for the president. As I said this morning, this is a routine question that's asked in sexual harassment cases every day in courts throughout the country, because judges have to find out if the harasser has a pattern of conduct that will help the female victim prove her case.
Harassers in the workplace normally don't commit their offenses under the glare of television lights, where witnesses can see them.
They like to get their victims alone and isolated, because they understand one of two things will generally happen. Number one, the victim, through intimidation and fear and isolation, will submit. Or number two, the victim will not submit. But through fear and isolation and intimidation, will never report it.
And so that's why the law allows these questions to be asked. Because typically, it's the only way a woman ever has an opportunity to prove harassment in the workplace.
Now, what's the message that we send to every victim of harassment in the workplace, from the arguments that are being made from the other side? The message is: if you are being harassed in the workplace, you'd better keep your mouth shut, because if you do have the courage to come forward, and if there is no physical evidence, and if you try to get evidence about potential conduct that may have happened with other women, the defendant in that case can come in and lie with impunity, because the defendant will know the chances of ever being caught are minuscule.
But in the likely event there happens to be DNA splattered on some dress somewhere, or there is some physical evidence, why the defendant, if they're powerful enough and their job description makes them famous enough, can come forward, and bite their lip, and say they're sorry. And suddenly embarrassment becomes a defense to sexual harassment claims. One simply cannot say out of one's side of their mouth, that they support the laws of harassment that protect women in the workplace, and in the same breath, defend the conduct, in this particular case by saying "Well, gee, of course everybody lies, he's the president, he didn't want to be embarrassed."
And if we set that standard, what happens the next time a president or a governor, or a senator, or a CEO, decides to lie under oath in these cases? We have to make a decision.
Are these cases important enough to give the due respect of the law? Are we going to put our money where our mouth is, and recognize them for what they are -- vicious, intrusive, embarrassing and insulting to human dignity? Or are we going to simply look at the party affiliation and the job that the person has, and if it happens to comport with our own ideas, politically speaking, of who should be president, why then we're going to give them a pass.
Now, my friend from Texas indicated that that case was dismissed. Eventually, it was. But the law is clear. The perjury occurs at the time the defendant committed the perjury. The later result of the case is irrelevant -- otherwise, we set a policy, why, if you're a good enough liar, and you can go in and perjure yourself good enough during discovery, if you can get that case dismissed, if you later get caught committing perjury, why you can just come forward, and say "The case is dismissed, I'm immune from prosecution."
That is not the standard of the law, that should never be the standard of the law. And I don't believe at the end of the day, any of my dear colleagues, all of whom I respect on the other side, really want to see that to become the standard of the law. I would suggest to them that as important as the presidency of Bill Clinton is to them politically, it is not so important in our nation, that we should adopt that as a standard for the workplace or for our country. I yield back my time.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman, would you yield the gentleman an additional two minutes, so that I could pose a question to him, please?
REP. ROGAN: I have no objection, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, the gentleman is recognized for two additional minutes.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I thank my dear friend for his comment about where perjury holds. I think the point I was making about the dismissal of the case, was I made the point about materiality. And I ask you, is the fact that -- I believe the opinion suggests that Ms. Jones had not made her case on the elements of sexual harassment, meaning that she had not been able in the facts of her case, putting aside the course and pattern that she had been demoted, that she had not received benefits, that she hadn't gotten a pay raise -- in fact, I think there was some evidence that she'd gotten flowers, and she stayed on the job.
So that was the point that I was making. The case was being dismissed on the four corners of Ms. Jones' immediate case, of whether she had made a case at that time on her action, dealing with the elements of sexual harassment. And I don't know if the gentleman cares to respond to that inquiry. I mean, that was where I was going, not on the question of whether perjury holds or not holds. The case was dismissed.
REP. ROGAN: And I thank my dear colleague for that clarification. And that was a fair one to make . That was the judge's ultimate decision. And I didn't think that my colleague was suggesting that because the case was dismissed, that we should somehow view that as something that would negate potential perjury, and I appreciate her clarification.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Thank you very much.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Barrett, the gentleman from Wisconsin.
REP. BARRETT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to make a couple of observations. Sometimes common sense isn't that common. But I just want to make a couple of observations that I think might at least for me be common-sense observations.
I can't sit here with a straight face and say that I think the president was telling the truth that he couldn't remember whether he was alone with Monica Lewinsky. (Laughter.) Just about everybody I know, knows whether they were alone when they were having a sexual encounter with another person. So, I just have to put that on the table.
But I have to put something else on the table. And that's that the system has worked. The case that was filed by Paula Jones, was not an $850,000 case. I think most people looking at it would say "This is not an $850,000 case." If President Clinton simply had defaulted on the liability portion, and gone to damages, I don't think it would have come even 10 percent to $850,000.
So the system worked because President Clinton was held accountable. Nobody settles a case that's been dismissed for $850,000, unless they're terrified that it's going to be reversed, and there's going to be a huge judgment, or there's something else going on there. And here we all know what the something else was. It was that he felt that he could lower his exposure, both to this committee and the American people, by settling that case.
So, I think that the system works. And when we talk about perjury per se rule, I think we have to be careful. If a person is in a courtroom, and is charged with speeding, and says "Your Honor, I wasn't speeding, my odometer was broken." Well, and the odometer wasn't broken, is that perjury?
Certainly speeding laws are in effect so that lives are not lost. So one could argue, that was a life-or-death issue. That person may have been going 85 miles an hour, but they were able to say that it was a faulty odometer, and all of a sudden they're off the hook.
So, we have to be careful. I think the Democrats have to be careful, and I think Republicans have to be careful as to what we do with this perjury bar, and where we put it. And I think that the Framers of the Constitution, in all their genius, gave us some guidance. Because I do think that the language of treason, bribery, other crimes and misdemeanors, without that phrase that was dropped by the stylistic committee that we've talked about before, that phrase "against the United States," that that stylistic committee felt was complicit, gives us the guidance.
This was not an offense against our democratic institutions. Even if true, it was not an offense against our democratic institutions. It was not an offense against the body politic. It did not threaten our republic. That doesn't mean it was right. It means that impeachment may not be the sanction that is necessary here; that there are other sanctions that are available.
Now, it is true, as the gentleman insisted over there, that an individual can be prosecuted for perjury, even after the case is settled. And if justice requires that in this case, so be it. I question whether it would happen. I sat here, as many of you did, with the two witnesses who had been involved in perjury cases. And I found them both a little interesting.
The woman who had been involved -- the basketball coach. Her case was based on an article in "Sports Illustrated." And what we didn't really talk about there, is that she didn't like the article in "Sports Illustrated," and so she filed the lawsuit. She was the plaintiff. She was the one that invoked all the powers of the court to go after "Sports Illustrated," based on her false representation. So the entire lawsuit was based on a lie.
The other woman, she was the defendant, but she actually used perjury as a sword as well, by saying to the federal government, in essence, I want you to immunize me for these damages. And so she was trying to use it as a sword. And I'm not saying that it's okay to use it as a shield, but I think we have to be careful to look at what the forefathers wanted, and did they want every offense to be an impeachable offense. And that's my fear. My fear is we're going down the road where every offense becomes an impeachable offense, and I do not believe that that's what the forefathers had in mind. And so even though I think that the president was lying when he said he couldn't remember being alone with that woman, I do not think that that reaches the constitutional barrier or the constitutional mandate that this be an offense that threatens our democracy.
And I would yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The question occurs --
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. : Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Oh, Mr. Delahunt. Yes?
REP. DELAHUNT: I move to strike the last word. And I won't take all five minutes.
I just want to associate myself with Mr. Barrett's comment about common sense. I don't know whether I agree with him in his recitation and his conclusions, but I do think there's a lot of common sense when we say that the president did take advantage of a convoluted, contorted description or definition of the term "sexual relations." But I think that we've got to remember and I think the American people have to understand that it was the lawyers for Paula Jones that insisted on the definition. And I think that what he did, it provided him an opportunity to be non-responsive, to evade, to obfuscate, and he did take advantage of that. However, when we talk about perjury, it does not constitute perjury to evade, to obfuscate and not to respond. I clearly acknowledge that he wasn't forthcoming, but I don't want to divine his intent as to whether he intended perjury or whether one can find that intention.
I dare say if the lawyers for Ms. Jones -- and clearly they were highly-regarded professionals and people of some considerable experience -- asked those specific questions, we would have known. It might have presented a different case whether the president was going to embark upon perjurious testimony in that deposition.
But there's an uncertainty, as I said before, if there's an ambiguity, if there's a cloud and murkiness, I think it's incumbent upon the fact finders -- and that's our role at this point in time -- to give him the benefit of the doubt. That's where I come down, and I really do think common sense plays a role. And I can understand and respect the position of the counsel for Ms. Jones. But my memory is -- I think it was Mr. Cammarata, who on one of the national TV stories acknowledged the fact that it was a contorted, convoluted definition, and the president did take advantage of it.
Now whether he committed perjury or whether he lied, it just can't be determined, and that's where I come down as far as the facts are concerned, because I really do believe, Mr. Chairman, that that concept of due process penetrates Article II, comes into the impeachment clause, and creates a standard of proof that's clear and convincing. And I submit there has not been a clear and convincing body of evidence that can lead us to a conclusion that he did.
I yield back.
REP. HYDE: The question occurred --
REP. HYDE: Well, we'll have to go to the Republican side.
REP. BUYER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. BUYER: I didn't speak on the first article. I wanted to reserve my time to speak now, and as some of the drafting of the articles were being done, I wanted to thank my colleagues. We separated out the grand jury perjury from the other perjury, and I wanted to do that for a particular reason because grand jury perjury is so serious. I think the grand jury process is an integral part of our criminal justice system. It's the truth-finding mission. The Supreme Court described the grand jury's authority to compel testimony as, quote, "among the necessary and most important powers. It assures the effective functioning of government in an ordered society. The importance of grand jury function is underscored by the fact that perjury in a grand jury and a court proceeding is discussed separately than perjury in general.
The Supreme Court has noted the gravity of perjury in 425 U.S. 564, quote: "In this constitutional process of securing a witness's testimony, perjury simply has no place whatsoever. Perjured testimony is an obvious flagrant affront to the basic concepts of the judicial proceeding." This case was in reference to grand jury perjury.
Under the -- Article II, we have the other forms of perjury, and that is in the interrogatories and the civil deposition in the Jones case. I'd like to refer specifically to the -- Article II, Paragraph 2, which would be the January 17th, 1998, civil deposition, and speak in particular to the issue of perjury cases for feigned forgetfulness.
Mr. Ruff, the counsel for the president, was here, and he testified that Bill Clinton has a great memory, one of the best memories of anyone he's ever known. See, a witness cannot use the phrase "I don't recall, I don't remember, I don't know" when in fact they do know. That's the purpose of the oath -- if we didn't care about the feigned forgetfulness, we'd just say, "Stand and say -- tell the truth." You know, we ask them to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. So they can't say, "I don't know" or "I don't remember" when in fact they do know and they then want to play tortured word games.
Cases have been charged when witnesses claim, "I don't remember," when in fact they do. In U.S. versus Chapin (sp), which is interesting -- that's one of the Watergate cases, where one of the president's men decided that in the investigation, he would use this same mind game and verbicide that the president had used, and claimed a feigned memory, when in fact he was convicted. And they found that a feigned lack of memory is sufficient for a perjury conviction.
Now when you bring these cases for feigned memory, the state of mind is very important. And it's proved by either direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence.
In particular, there are two sections that I wanted to bring up about the feigned memory and why I believe it supports Paragraph 2 in Article II, and that's the issue of hatpin and the gold brooch. Now what is -- what I find most interesting here is that on December 28th of 1997, it's a Sunday, and the president brings Monica Lewinsky -- matter of fact, Betty Currie gains access of Monica Lewinsky to the White House -- and in particular they have a discussion, and they discuss the Jones case. But what is really -- I find fascinating is that Ms. Lewinsky mentioned her anxiety about a subpoena by the Jones lawyers in reference to a hatpin. And the president said that sort of bothered him, too.
You see, he had a present knowledge about a hat pin because he gave that hat pin to Monica Lewinsky as a belated Christmas gift on February 18th of 1997. So then during the civil deposition, there was a specific question:
"Have you ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky?"
"I don't recall. Do you know what they were?"
Question: "A hat pin."
Response: "I don't -- I don't --"
See, he stutters. Stuttering is very important because you challenge the demeanor of the witness. Bill Clinton is not the kind of individual that I have known who stutters. He says, "I -- I -- I don't remember, but I certainly could have."
He then went on -- said, "Do you remember giving a gold broach?" He says, "No."
Well see, the gold broach was a specific gift given (sic) by Monica Lewinsky. She testified the president had given her a gold broach, and matter of fact, she made contemporaneous statements to four of her friends about the gold broach.
You see, uncooperative attitude is also -- Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent for two additional minutes.
REP. HYDE: Without objection.
REP. BUYER: Uncooperative attitude is also relevant in this discussion about state of mind. You see, when we have -- in the president's defense, they come before this committee, they give us evidence of the president's state of mind. They said the president had specific intent to be evasive, incomplete, misleading. That goes directly to his state of mind, and that is the circumstantial evidence with regard to this feigned memory. You can't answer questions, whether it's interrogatories, requests for admissions, or before a grand jury, in trial, or even in a civil deposition -- I don't know, I don't recall, I don't remember. That feigned memory in the face of a person that knows exactly what they're doing, using tortured words, hair-splitting and verbicide, actually murder of the English word, the plain-spoken word, is unacceptable whether it's in a civil court proceeding or in a criminal court proceeding.
So I believe that this charge with regard to perjury, not only in the interrogatory in the Jones case but also here in the civil deposition, is more than substantiated.
And I think that bothers me is that it's not -- what I'm hearing my colleagues say -- to my left -- they say well, he was being deceitful because he wanted to hide a sexual affair. You say well, true. Well, true. But tell the rest of the story. He also had a -- what was his motive to lie? Which also goes to the circumstantial evidence.
His motive to lie wasn't just to hide a sexual affair, but it was to win the case. He was a defendant in the sexual-harassment case, and he wanted to win that case. And he wanted to win it at all means possible because he also felt in his heart, that it was a politically motivated lawsuit. Therefore, it justified his actions to not only lie, but to obstruct justice. Now --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time --
REP. BUYER: It requires 30 additional seconds. Unanimous consent?
REP. HYDE: Without objection.
REP. BUYER: I'll conclude with this. It was so important; that was his justifications in his own mind.
But you know, we had two witnesses, two women who came before this committee, who went to prison, one in particular who lied in a sexual-harassment case, in particular for obstruction of justice. And she said, "You know, what I did was wrong. I went to prison for it. I can no longer practice law. I can't practice medicine. I'll accept the consequences."
But this is not just to hide an affair, folks. This is he wanted to win the case by all means possible, lying and including the obstruction of justice. And that will be found in Article III.
I yield back my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady from California.
REP. LOFGREN (D-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I believe that it's been adequately covered by my colleagues that -- whatever offenses are alluded to in this article, whether true or not, would not constitute conduct that threatens the institutions and the form of government of the United States; and, therefore, may not constitute grounds for impeachment.
However, I did want to briefly raise an issue. I see it's a little after 6:00. We are close to voting on Article II.
And I was interested, listening to Mr. Buyer's comments about the Chapin (sp) case, where "I don't remember" and "I don't know" was enough to get a conviction of Mr. Chapin (sp), because of his famed lack of memory. I can't recall, but my recollection is -- it could be faulty -- that that was actually testimony given to one of the congressional committees.
Which reminds me that I have yet to receive an answer to the three questions I asked on the -- I believe it was the 19th of November -- to Mr. Starr, the three questions I asked. Or he said he did not remember, and he would get back to me. I wrote to him on the 24th and again on the 2nd. Mr. Conyers has written. And most recently, Mr. Chairman, you and Mr. Conyers wrote together. I had understood that he was going to answer the questions.
And I don't understand why they have not been received. It does not require an essay, just yes or no. And I am very concerned that we are not getting answers, and we are already halfway through the deliberations.
And I think it's --
REP. HYDE: Would the gentlelady yield?
REP. LOFGREN: I certainly would, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Diana Shackt (sp), who is right there with you, has the latest word and will whisper to you.
REP. CONYERS: They're working on it.
REP. WATT: Can you tell us on the record?
REP. LOFGREN: Well, I am advised that they don't have them yet, and they're working on them. I just note that --
REP. HYDE: All we can do is ask, and we are asking.
REP. LOFGREN: I understand that, but Mr. Scott made an issue of his questions and eventually got a letter. I am hoping that by making an issue of my three questions, I will get the affidavit that I expect. And I don't -- I really am concerned. We're almost through. And it's really three questions. They're yes or no answers, and I wanted to raise the issue. I think it's terribly unfair and makes all of us very concerned and even suspicious. And that is all I have to say on the subject for now.
REP. CONYERS: Will the gentlelady yield --
REP. LOFGREN: I certainly will, Mr. Conyers.
REP. CONYERS: -- so that I can associate myself with her remarks. We've been -- I think this has been well over a week that we've been waiting for the response. And it seems like that it could have been a little bit more expeditious than it was.
REP. LOFGREN: It's been actually not quite a month since the questions were first posed, a little shy of a month. And I'll yield back. I know how the vote is going to go on this. I think it's inappropriate, but I expect that we either will get an answer to these questions or we'll have to take some other, more drastic action. And I would yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The -- Mr. Pease, gentleman from Indiana.
REP. PEASE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: Gentleman's recognized for five minutes.
REP. PEASE: It's my intention, actually, to yield to my colleague, Mr. Canady, because I had intended to point out a matter that has since been pointed out by my colleague from Indiana, Mr. Buyer, and that is that this article has been referred to generally as the Paula Jones deposition article. And while most of the material in the article does deal with the Paula Jones deposition, there are matters dealing with alleged false statements by the president in interrogatories involving the Paula Jones case as well, those having been made in December of 1997.
That having already been addressed, I will yield to my colleague, Mr. Canady.
REP. CANADY: Thank you, Mr. Pease. I appreciate that.
I want to focus on a point that has been mentioned previously. I think every point has been mentioned at some point previously, but this is one that hasn't been mentioned for a while, and I think it's important for us to keep this in mind as we're making a judgment about these matters. And it doesn't focus on the specific facts here. As I have stated before, I think that it's clear that the president went into the deposition, lied repeatedly, willfully.
And I believe that at least on some of these matters, there's pretty general agreement, at least when he testified that he couldn't remember or had no specific recollection of ever being alone with Ms. Lewinsky. There may be others other than Mr. Nadler who believe that that's truthful, but I think most of us understand that that was a false statement.
But let's put this in context. This House has impeached, and the Senate has removed from office, federal judges for lying under oath. Just to mention two of them recently, Harry Claiborne (sp) in 1986 was impeached for filing a false income tax return, signing a false statement on his income taxes. Judge Walter Nixon was impeached in 1989 for lying before a grand jury. Now the key thing in both these cases was that there was an undermining of the integrity of the office held by the judge. The judge did something that was inconsistent with the position that the judge held. Didn't necessarily directly affect the judge's performance of his official duties, but it was inconsistent with the trust that had been given to him in that particular position.
Now, it is contended that these impeachments of the federal judges really aren't relevant for our present considerations; that somehow we should set a lower standard for the president of the United States than the standard that has already been set by this House and by the Senate for a federal judge. I simply disagree with that. I don't think it makes sense for us to set a lower standard of integrity for the president of the United States than we would set for a federal judge. Is the integrity of a federal judge more important than the integrity of the president of the United States under our system of justice?
Now the president, it's important to understand, appoints federal judges, including members of the Supreme Court. He appoints the attorney general and the FBI director. Do we really want to take the position that we want someone who repeatedly lied under oath in a calculated effort to defeat the rights of another citizen appointing justices of the United States Supreme Court? Do we want someone who is guilty of repeated acts of perjury appointing the attorney general or the FBI director? What does that do for the system of justice in this country? What does that say about our view of the rule of law? What does it say about our respect for the rule of law in this country?
I will have to tell you, I think it would send a very bad message, and it's not the kind of message that we on this committee should be sending. And that's why I would urge my colleagues to look at these charges against this president in the proper context and understand the extreme seriousness of having the president of the United States go into a deposition and raise his hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, then violate that oath and do so with impunity under our system of justice.
And I yield back the balance.
REP. ROTHMAN: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman.
REP. ROTHMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. ROTHMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
You know the American system of government was created by our Founders -- that was created by our Founders was a revolutionary form of government in the 1700s; revolutionary to have a strong president, elected for four years at a time, with two other branches of government as the checks and balances -- judiciary and legislative. But it was a revolutionary form of government. And they gave the president a great deal of power. They said they wanted a strong and stable executive. And I think, as others have pointed out, that part of America's great success, aside from the goodness and greatness of its people, is the fact that our form of government has allowed us some stability, and certainly stability at the top rather than having parliamentary removals of prime ministers and leaders year after year.
But the framers did give an opportunity for the people's representative, the Congress, to get rid of their choice, even in the middle of that four years, but they set a high standard. As I mentioned earlier today, they were worried that maybe one political party, if it controlled the Congress, might want to get rid of the president of another political party without sufficient cause, so they set the bar for impeachment very high: treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors. Someone suggested that maybe they should add "failure to adhere to good behavior." The framers of the Constitution rejected that notice. They said for judges, yes, that should be the standard -- good behavior -- but not for the president; only for the president treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors. And while we may debate whether they made a mistake or not, they did it that way. We've been living under that system for over 200 years. And I dare say, if someone wants to change the standard of impeachment for our Constitution, they've got to do it by getting the people to approve that change first.
I want to make another point. It has been said that we must -- we must take on the responsibility and the burden of protecting litigants in civil sexual harassment cases. Certainly those are extremely important cases, and I'm glad the laws are on the books to protect people who've been sexually harassed so that they can be compensated for the harassment.
But the question is, is that the job of the House Judiciary Committee, to enforce the sexual harassment laws, or isn't it, in fact, the job of the civil courts to enforce the sexual harassment laws? Because if President Clinton were found to have lied in the civil deposition in the Paula Jones case and the case continued on, the civil court judge could have imposed fines and other punishments on the president and ordered that he be deemed to have violated her civil rights and tripled damages and attorneys fees. Perhaps that's why the president settled that civil case.
So the president was accountable, the sexual harassment law was observed and enforced by the civil court system, and the rule of law was observed, even against the president.
And if the president committed some criminal act -- if he committed perjury -- which has not been proved -- but if he committed perjury in the course of the sexual harassment case, there are criminal courts that can put him in prison for that. They -- Mr. -- my good friend from Florida, I believe, Mr. Canady, was saying, do we want to set a different standard for presidents than for judges? Well, the nuclear bomb of punishments, impeachment, applies only to presidents only if the burden of proof has been met that treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors has occurred. I would say that if we want to punish our president for waving his finger at us and lying to us about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, if we want to punish him for his adulterous and wrongful relationship with an intern that occurred in the White House, in our White House, which most people say does not rise to the level of treason, bribery and high crimes and misdemeanors, that we should censure the president for that wrongful behavior and show our children that presidents who lie and behave so dishonorably will be punished. But do we want to create a precedent for our Constitution, where the burden of proof has not been met on these charges regarding Ms. Lewinsky, for the first time to remove a president of the United States, a sitting president of the United States on these charges?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot.
REP. CHABOT: I thank the chairman.
It's obvious that the president lied numerous times under oath in his deposition and the Paula Jones civil rights suit against him. There were numerous times when the president falsely claimed that he could not recall very memorable events. His failure of recollection really strains credibility.
For example, President Clinton claimed, in his Jones deposition, that he could not recall whether or not he gave any gifts to Monica Lewinsky, even though he gave her more than a dozen gifts. And remember, he was under oath. He swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth when he said that.
Further, the president and Ms. Lewinsky specifically discussed a hat pin which he had given her and was under subpoena in the Jones case, and that was less than three weeks before his deposition. However, he could not remember giving it to her, or that's what he claimed, and he was under oath, remember that. That's very important.
This failure to recollect is just not credible, and since he was under oath, it clearly constitutes perjury.
In addition, as I pointed out a few days ago when the White House released those so-called 184-page defense papers that they sent to us the other day, the president's continued strained definitions, continued evasions and outright falsehoods do not withstand simple, reasonable interpretation. For example, in that defense, the president's lawyers claimed that the word "alone" does not necessarily mean alone. No, "alone," according to their definition -- "alone" is a term that is vague unless a particular geographic space is identified. It depends upon the geographic context -- that's how we determine what "alone" means.
I'm offended by the suggestion that lying under oath to defeat a civil rights suit is somehow not serious. Our courts have repeatedly emphasized that perjury in a civil proceeding is indeed just as serious as criminal perjury, and courts have rejected any suggestion, implicit or otherwise, that perjury is somehow less serious when made in a civil proceeding. "Perjury, regardless of the setting, is a serious offense that results in incalculable harm to the functioning and integrity of the legal system as well as to private individuals."
That's a direct quote from the case U.S. versus Holland (sp).
In fact, Mr. Chairman, over 100 people are in federal prison for perjury, and thousands and thousands in state prisons all over this country. And I think they would agree that civil perjury is a serious offense. Our whole judicial system is dependent on the truth and upon the idea that no man is above the law. I believe that the president, the chief law enforcement officer, should also be subject to the law that he is supposed to enforce.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The question occurs on article --
REP. MEEHAN: Mr. Chairman --
REP. HYDE: Oh. Mr. Meehan.
REP. MEEHAN: I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. MEEHAN: I won't take all of the five minutes, Mr. Chairman. But as I'm sitting here listening to the debate go back and forth, and sometimes there are legal issues and elements of a crime we're trying to prove; other times it's impeachment in Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution. And I'm just thinking about what a Senate trial is going to be like if the Republican members of the committee, when they vote for this article, have their way in the United States Senate. And I just can't believe, as I think about it, a prolonged Senate trial on the scope of the term "sexual affair," "sexual relationship."
We saw, when we saw Mr. Lowell's presentation, how difficult it was in the civil deposition for the judge and the attorneys to deal with the whole issue of what constitutes sexual relations. And it went on and on and on on the tape here, and there was definition A and definition B and definition C. And I think about how Americans are going to react when inevitably Monica Lewinsky is called to the stand and goes through the grueling questioning, and I think about all the other -- Linda Tripp and everyone else that's going to be called to the stand as one attempts to prove this case.
All the while, Social Security reform is put on hold; Medicaid, health care reform, that's all put on hold; school repairs, all put on hold; all so that we can have a trial in the United States Senate determining what "sexual affair" means, what "sexual relationship" means, where the president put his hands and when he put them there.
Mr. Chairman, lying about fully consensual sexual conduct, even under oath, simply does not rise to the level of treason, bribery, or other crimes and misdemeanors. It's not an offense of the magnitude of treason and bribery. It does not speak clearly and convincingly and concretely to the president's capacity to govern.
So as we proceed, I hope that we really think about what this trial is going to be like, and I hope the American people focus on the fact that if this committee has its way, 1999 comes around, this country is going to have to brace for a trial of impeachment for the second time in our history, defining the terms "sexual relations," cross-examining Monica Lewinsky and the rest of the people that have been subject of this investigation.
I cannot believe that we're going to do this when 65 to 70 percent of the Americans are begging us, begging us not to do this, begging us to find reason, to find bipartisanship, to find a middle ground so that we can punish the president without punishing the country and without putting our people and our country and this institution through this. I only hope and pray that some way between now and the floor of the House that middle ground is reached.
I return the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The question occurs on article two as amended. All those in favor will say aye.
REP. HYDE: Opposed, nay.
REP. HYDE: In the opinion of the chair, a record vote had best be called. The clerk will call the roll.
REP. SENSENBRENNER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Sensenbrenner votes aye.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. McCollum votes aye.
REP. GEKAS: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Gekas votes aye.
Mr. Coble. (No answer.) Mr. Smith.
REP. SMITH: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Smith votes aye.
REP. GALLEGLY: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Gallegly votes aye.
REP. CANADY: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Canady votes aye.
REP. INGLIS: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Inglis votes aye.
REP. GOOLATTE: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Goodlatte votes aye.
REP. BUYER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Buyer votes aye.
REP. BRYANT: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Bryant votes aye.
REP. CHABOT: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Chabot votes aye.
REP. BARR: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Barr votes aye.
REP. JENKINS: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Jenkins votes aye.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Hutchinson votes aye.
REP. PEASE: Yes.
CLERK: Mr. Pease votes aye.
REP. CANNON: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Cannon votes
REP. ROGAN: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Rogan votes aye.
Mr. Graham. (No answer.) Ms. Bono.
REP. BONO: Aye.
CLERK: Ms. Bono votes aye.
REP. CONYERS: No.
CLERK: Mr. Conyers votes no.
REP. FRANK: No.
CLERK: Mr. Frank votes no.
REP. SCHUMER: No.
CLERK: Mr. Schumer votes no.
REP. BERMAN: No.
CLERK: Mr. Berman votes no.
REP. BOUCHER: No.
CLERK: Mr. Boucher votes no.
REP. NADLER: No.
CLERK: Mr. Nadler votes no.
REP. SCOTT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Scott votes no.
REP. WATT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Watt votes no.
REP. LOFGREN: No.
CLERK: Ms. Lofgren votes no.
Ms. Jackson Lee.
REP. JACKSON LEE: No.
CLERK: Ms. Jackson Lee votes no.
REP. WATERS: No.
CLERK: Ms. Waters votes no.
REP. MEEHAN: No.
CLERK: Mr. Meehan votes no.
REP. DELAHUNT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Delahunt votes no.
REP. WEXLER: No.
CLERK: Mr. Wexler votes no.
REP. ROTHMAN: No.
CLERK: Mr. Rothman votes no.
Mr. Barrett. (No answer.) Mr. Hyde.
REP. BARRETT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Barrett votes no. Mr. Hyde.
REP. HYDE: Yes.
CLERK: Mr. Hyde votes aye.
REP. COBLE: Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from North Carolina.
REP. COBLE: How am I recorded.
CLERK: Mr. Coble is not recorded, Mr. Chairman.
REP. COBLE: I vote aye.
CLERK: Mr. Coble votes aye.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Barrett from Wisconsin.
REP. BARRETT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Barrett votes no.
REP. GRAHAM: (Off mike.)
REP. HYDE: Yes, Mr. Graham.
REP. GRAHAM: No.
CLERK: Mr. Graham votes no.
REP. HYDE: Have all voted who wish? The clerk will report.
CLERK: Mr. Chairman, there are 20 ayes and 17 nos.
REP. NADLER: What was the vote?
REP. HYDE: You'll try to --
CLERK: Mr. Graham votes --
REP. HYDE: Could we have some order, please. Could I have the count again?
CLERK: Mr. Chairman, I have 20 ayes and 17 nos.
REP. HYDE: And the amendment -- and the article is --
REP. BARRETT: Excuse me. How was Mr. Barrett recorded?
CLERK: Mr. Barrett is recorded as a no.
REP. BARRETT: Thank you.
REP. HYDE: And the article is agreed to. The committee will now --
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman, I have a --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from --
REP. CONYERS: -- unanimous consent request --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Michigan.
REP. CONYERS: -- on behalf of my colleague, Maxine Waters of California. I wanted to put in the record here the hearings in the Constitution Subcommittee focusing on curtailing remedies for discrimination in the 104th and 105th Congress and request for hearings on the persistence of discrimination in this nation.
REP. HYDE: You are --
REP. CONYERS: I ask unanimous consent that this be entered into the record.
REP. HYDE: Yeah, without --
REP. CANADY: Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to reject.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman reserves the right.
REP. CANADY: I'm just curious about how voluminous this is and whether this really has a proper place in the proceedings here.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Speaker -- Mr. Chairman, I can put this in at another place in the proceedings. It doesn't have to go in here. So I'll withdraw it.
REP. CANADY: Thank you.
REP. CONYERS: You're welcome.
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