THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Dec. 12: Debate on Article IV
By Federal News Service
REP. HYDE: The committee will come to order. Good morning. A quorum being present, and pursuant to notice, the committee will reconvene to complete consideration of a resolution exhibiting articles of impeachment. We will consider article four. And, time permitting, we will consider a censure resolution after completing the articles of impeachment issue.
Are there any amendments to article four? The chair recognizes the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas.
REP. GEORGE GEKAS (R-PA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I have an amendment at the desk, which I hope the clerk will read in its entirety.
REP. HYDE: The clerk will report the amendment.
CLERK: "Amendment to House Resolution offered by Mr. Gekas. Page 8, line 13, strike "repeatedly." Page 8, line 16, strike "laws" and all that follows through page 10, line 17, and insert the following. "Authority of the legislative branch and the truth-seeking purpose of a coordinate investigative proceeding in that, as President William Jefferson Clinton refused and failed to respond to certain written requests for admission and willfully made perjurious, false and misleading sworn statements in response to certain written requests for admission propounded to him as part of the impeachment inquiry authorized by the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, in refusing and failing to respond and making perjurious, false, misleading statements, assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives and exhibited contempt for the inquiry." Page 10, line 18, strike "in all of this" and insert "in doing this."
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Pennsylvania is recognized for five minutes in support of his amendment.
REP. GEKAS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The intent of this amendment is to delete paragraphs one, two and three from article four and leave for our consideration, if this amendment be adopted, leave for our consideration the paragraph entitled "four" which has to do with the 81 questions.
This foray on my part is focused on the question of executive privilege. The question of executive privilege has mixtures within it of the separation of powers issues, of comity -- c-o-m-i-t-y -- types of issues, balance and fairness, all the things that have swarmed around the consideration of the impeachment inquiry and beyond.
I have always valued the separation of powers, and particularly with respect to executive privilege. I believe that we should very gently probe around the edges of executive privilege no matter what we do as members of Congress and to accord the president of the United States that extraordinary way of conducting the business of the executive and, within certain parameters and boundaries, of course, to allow that executive branch to function within its own sphere.
In the case at hand, we note that the assertion by the president of executive privilege, although he did it excessively and he can easily be criticized for perhaps the underlying purposes that we believe, many of us, prompted the assertion of executive privilege, nevertheless, in doing so, he was simply uttering a privilege that was accorded to him and is accorded to him.
I don't believe that the evidence that has been presented to us nor the contents of the referral give us the ability to second-guess the rationale behind the president or what was in his mind in asserting that executive privilege. We may have a good idea. Those of us who have become suspicious about some of the actions of the president would have a right to enhance those suspicions. Nevertheless, we ought to give, in my judgment and the judgment of many, the benefit of the doubt in the assertion of executive privilege.
On top of that, we ought to recognize that there are two settings for the assertion of the executive privilege which come into play and which have come into play during this inquiry and the one that preceded us in 1974 against President Nixon, and that is the executive privilege that is asserted during a criminal investigation or a grand jury investigation and the one asserted directly against Congress when the Congress makes certain requests or, in their hubris, demands of the president of the United States. In either case, it seems to me that we ought to give the benefit of the doubt to the president.
We also are buttressed in our thinking on asking for the deletion of the executive privilege section the testimony of the counsel for the president. In our questions and in the answers thereto, plus his narrative, he was sure and certain in pointing out that in most of the executive privilege assertions by the president, he was advised by counsel. That ought to be taken into consideration by us.
Secondly, in the cases that wound up in court, the executive privilege itself, the right to assert it, was sanctified and adopted by the court, permitted by the court, but it had to yield only when the court also decided that the case made by the independent counsel that the needs of the grand jury investigation superseded the privilege of the executive, then and only then, said counsel -- and the facts and the record do support that -- then and only then would the executive privilege be surmounted.
So putting all of this together --
REP. MELVIN WATT (D-NC): Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent the gentleman be granted five additional minutes to complete his presentation. (Laughter.)
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. GEKAS: I thank the gentleman. There is another historic reason we should do this. We should be -- even though we are, in the exercise of the impeachment power, re-emphasizing the power of the Congress and the legislative branch -- we ought to, while we're doing that, set down in history as well that we revere the office of the presidency and that we want future presidents not to have to reinspect the record of these proceedings to determine whether or not they have the right to exert executive privilege.
We want to sanctify today that we believe that future presidents will be able, in looking back at these proceedings, to recognize that their executive power, although impeached on the one hand, that the power of future elected chief executives to assert executive privilege shall not be curtailed.
My colleagues on the Republican side have joined me over the period of time since I announced my intent to do this, and we have agreed to include in the removal from the text paragraphs one and two, which are self-evident in the text of the article itself.
And so in the spirit of wanting to correct the record, as it were, on what we intend to do in these impeachment proceedings, we offer this amendment. We feel just as strongly about leaving in number four as we do about deleting one, two and three.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Goodlatte.
REP. ROBERT GOODLATTE (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I'd like to join in support of this amendment. I think that this is the appropriate thing to do. I think that no one should take from the decision to delete these three sections of the article our severe approbation about the actions of the president in regard to these sections. I believe that the allegations contained in them are all true. I believe the president of the United States did lie to the American people. I do believe that the president lied to members of his Cabinet and others, and I think that he hoped that in doing so they would carry forth his lies, and I think that's wrong as well. And I do believe that the president has improperly exercised executive privilege. But I also don't believe that any of these three items are impeachable offenses, and as a result, I'll support this amendment.
With regard to the executive privilege, I believe that the president has improperly used executive privilege here. I do, however, think that the argument set forth by his counsel, Mr. Ruff, bears some merit in his contention that the president was, in exercising executive privilege, attempting to narrow the scope of the requests for information submitted to him by the independent counsel, and that only after the judge, in reviewing that executive privilege request ruled in that fashion did the scope of request meet the terms. If there was public and private information, if there was information subject to executive privilege protection and information not subject to executive privilege protection taking place at the same meetings, in the same documents, I think the president's entitled to exercise that.
Secondly, while I think it is abused in this case, I think it is not at all uncommon for attorneys to exercise executive privilege on behalf of their clients. I think that was done in this case, in several instances incorrectly, but I think the appropriate measure for that are sanctioned by the court and not impeachment.
I do, however, think that this committee should be outspoken in its condemnation of the misuse of executive privilege because in some instances, that executive privilege power has been exercised wrongly with the Congress in other regards, and it is important that we not allow a continuing erosion of the abuse of the executive privilege power.
However, I think that the committee and the article are better served by removing these three provisions and going forward with what I think is clearly impeachable and reprehensible conduct, and that is the president's willful misrepresentation of the facts with regard to the answers to the president's -- or the president's answers to the 81 questions submitted by Mr. Hyde on behalf of the committee. Those answers were submitted under oath. A number of those answers are, in my opinion, lies and should be accepted by the committee as grounds for impeachment.
I yield to the gentleman from Indiana.
REP. STEVE BUYER (R-IN): I do have a question for you. I also listened to Mr. Ruff. The president seems to be letting his -- the office of counsel sign these executive privileges for him. Would it be your assertion that not only now but, in particular, in the future, that if a president of the United States is going to exert executive privilege that it should be done so upon his own signature?
REP. GOODLATTE: I think that is a special privilege reserved for the president of the United States and the president of the United States, as with the signing of legislation submitted to him by the Congress, should sign directly those privileges. I agree with the gentleman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from New York, Mr. Schumer.
REP. CHARLES SCHUMER (D-NY): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I've always felt that Article IV, the abuse of power parts of these articles of impeachment, was the greatest reach of all, when there are lots of high reaches going on -- or long reaches going on.
The most absurd thing in this entire bill of impeachment is to say that, when the president speaks to the public or his Cabinet, quote, "for the purposes of deceiving people of the United States in order to continue concealing his misconduct," that that should be an article of impeachment.
I think you could go down the list of every president of the United States, from George Washington to the present, and if that article is significant enough for impeachment, if that reaches what many of us on this side of the aisle consider a high bar of impeachment, but I am afraid the majority does not consider it a very high bar, then you could find people of goodwill and total honesty feel that every president should be impeached under that article, every single one. And just go back and read the newspapers or read the histories, and the Whigs may have thought that something Thomas Jefferson thought was totally honest was misleading to the public. So to me, if you want an archetype of what is wrong with this whole proceeding, you look at that article.
Now, the gentleman from Pennsylvania, to his credit, has knocked out that article and the others like it in his amendment. I'll address maybe the articles themselves when we go on to debate those. But he moves it, not from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the very ridiculous to simply the ridiculous.
This committee submitted 81 questions to the president. He knocks that part out, the part I mentioned -- submitted 81 questions to the president. The president answered them in the way he saw fit. Admittedly, it was frustrating to many members of the majority. Admittedly, it was probably political damaging to the president.
But to say that the president's answers -- not reaching a level of perjury, because that is not alleged here -- (cross talk) -- should be grounds -- is perjury alleged? Excuse me. (Confers.) Okay. Then to say that it is perjurious, to say that what the other side considers false statements, as the president seeks to defend himself before a committee, makes a mockery of this impeachment proceeding.
Again, you may not like how the president answered.
You may think he tried to deceive, mislead the committee. That is not grounds for impeachment. I find it amazing.
And then I would go back to the argument that the gentleman from New York and I made yesterday. What specifics -- which of the 81 questions rises to the level of impeachment? Do all of them? Do some of them? Does one of them? Is it a misplaced modifier or a comma that's out of place? Or is it the whole article or something in between? The president has a right to know it. The House, when it votes next week, has a right to know it. The Senate, if, God forbid, we move to an impeachment trial, as it seems we are, has a right to know it. And again, there's just a lot of poorly drawn together verbiage here saying "we want that man out."
So I guess I'd have a question for the gentleman from Pennsylvania. Since he doesn't move to knock out all of Article IV, which I think he should, even give his other strongly held beliefs, which I respect, I would like to ask him which of the 81 questions are perjurious, false and misleading, which are not? And if you just say, "Well, it's some of them," you are degrading this process, you are degrading, in my judgment, what the Founding Fathers put together when they put that magnificent document, the Constitution, together.
This is not -- I repeat -- this is not a game. This is serious stuff, the most serious stuff that this committee has grappled with in the 16 years I've been a member of it. And to simply say --
REP. : Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. SCHUMER: Just to conclude my sentence -- and to simply say it's something in there that bothers us is not enough.
REP. : Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. The chair yields himself five minutes.
I want to make it very clear what we're doing here with this amendment. We are deleting the allegation in Article IV that the president made false and misleading statements for the purpose of deceiving the people of the United States, not that we deny or doubt that to be the fact, but we don't choose to make it part of Article
IV, mostly because his statements weren't under oath, and there are so many others that he made that were false and misleading under oath, we choose to emphasize the statements, the false statements made under oath and to delete the others.
REP. SCHUMER: Would the gentleman yield for one question?
REP. HYDE: Well, okay. What?
REP. SCHUMER: Yeah, because I am -- I mean, what I'd ask the gentleman in all due respect, and I have such tremendous respect for him and his fairness, I am glad you are deleting that. I have been making a point of that, many of us have, for a while. How the heck did it get put in to begin with? He wasn't under oath.
REP. HYDE: Well, that's another topic for another seminar, but --
REP. SCHUMER: Okay, well I'll eagerly enroll in that class.
REP. HYDE: Very good. Very good.
The other thing we are deleting are "false and misleading statements made to White House aides," where he lined up his Cabinet and said things to them, and they went out on the hustings and repeated them, which were patently untrue. We are taking that out. And the executive-privilege assertions, we are taking that out so that the only thing left in Article 4 are "false and misleading answers to the 81 questions." And the reason they are staying in is the answers were made under oath, and it is the significance of the oath that compels us to keep them in.
Now, the gentleman asked which ones we are talking about and complaining of. And I will tell him now that the president did not respond completely or truthfully to requests for admission No. 19. The president did not respond completely or truthfully to request for admission 20. The president did not respond completely or truthfully to request for admission 24. The president did not respond completely or truthfully to request for admission numbers 26 and 27; also, No. 34, No. 42, No. 43, numbers 52 and 53.
Those are the ones we complain of, and we can amplify them if you wish. But for your information and in the interests of specificity, that is what we are talking about. And I yield back --
REP. NADLER (R-NY): A point of parliamentary inquiry?
REP. HYDE: Mr. Nadler has another parliamentary inquiry.
REP. NADLER: But which is the perjury?
REP. HYDE: Well, we maintain --
REP. NADLER: (Word inaudible) -- is one thing; truthfully is another.
REP. HYDE: -- well, we maintain the statements were all false and misleading. And whether they were perjurious or not, we don't feel is entirely relevant because if they were false and misleading and made under oath, then they are actionable. I yield back --
REP. SCHUMER: But wait. Would the chairman yield for just a question?
REP. HYDE: I'll yield for a question.
REP. SCHUMER: Now that this is just related to perjurious, false and misleading statements, why isn't this part of article -- I guess it would be Article 1 or 2? Why is it a separate article, now that the, quote, "abuse of power" parts of the amendment have been taken out, that the president used government and abused his power?
REP. HYDE: Well --
REP. SCHUMER: I don't think this would be called an abuse of power, even if one ascribed to the viewpoint the gentleman --
REP. HYDE: Well, you can have that opinion, but this article stands as an assault on the Congress because of the false and misleading answers he gave to Congress under oath. That's why it stands alone as an article.
You could draft it differently, but it comes out the same.
I yield back the balance of the time, and --
REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Mr. Nadler.
REP. NADLER: Thank you -- thank you, Mr. Chairman. I strike -- move to strike the previous word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman has five minutes.
REP. NADLER: First of all, let me point out that in answer to my last question, the chairman said that various statements or answers the president didn't respond completely or truthfully. There's a difference between completely and truthfully. If he didn't respond completely, that's not a lie under oath, that's not perjury. If he didn't respond truthfully, that would be a lie under oath or perjury, and so when we get to the main article and off this amendment, I hope by then the Republican staff and the chairman will be prepared to answer with specificity what the allegedly untruthful statements were for which this article of impeachments -- not the incomplete, but the untruthful, because there's a very big difference there, obviously, and we have to judge it.
Mr. Chairman, I commend the gentleman from Pennsylvania for showing some respect for the rule of law by recognizing that the use of a legal privilege is not illegal or impeachable by itself -- (pause - off-mike question) -- a legal privilege, executive privilege is a legal privilege -- is not illegal or impeachable by itself by introducing this amendment.
Members of Congress have an absolute privilege contained in the speech and debate clause which protects the work of every member of this committee from lawsuits and criminal prosecution stemming from the performance of artificial duties.
I am, however, very concerned with the cavalier attitude this committee has taken throughout this proceeding toward legal privileges, including executive privilege, the attorney-client privilege, which this committee, by a partisan vote, elected to disregard last week. Even -- or two weeks ago -- even the new language offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania still leaves in and still considers an impeachable offense the fact that the president didn't answer the majority's 81 questions to the majority's satisfaction, including such insulting and silly questions which boil down to does the president admit or deny that he is the president.
Which legal privileges will this committee attack next? The clergy-penitent privilege? The spousal privilege? This committee has opened a dangerous door --
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. NADLER: Yes, I will.
REP. HYDE: We've stricken that count. We're not attacking the assertion of privilege. Why consume our time debating something that's not an issue?
REP. NADLER: Reclaiming my time. The committee has stricken these counts, but the committee specific voted down limitations -- rather, voted down respecting the attorney-client privilege in some of the subpoenas we issued two weeks ago.
REP. FRANK: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. NADLER: Yes.
REP. FRANK: Well, I would just remind the chairman, I know that the votes are never in doubt here, and the chairman knows exactly what we're going to do, but we haven't done it yet. I think we ought to observe the proprieties. The chairman just announced that we have stricken this. I would remind him that the formality of an actual vote of the committee -- formality albeit is to you and your majority -- still hasn't yet occurred.
REP. NADLER: I thank the gentleman. Reclaiming my time.
This committee has opened a few dangerous doors, and this amendment, while commendable in its purpose, does not fix the problem. The damage is not fixed, it is done, and we are still, in this article, even with the amendment, alleging that the president, without being specific, perjured himself in answering the questions.
I would also point out, although this doesn't affect the amendment, that the article that's still in here, that the president allegedly didn't answer these questions that we propounded to him, these questions, I will tell -- as far as I am concerned, were illegitimate to start with. The president should have -- it would have been within his rights to tell us, "I don't choose to answer" because they were an attempt to get the accused to condemn himself out of his own mouth; they were an attempt to shift the burden of proof from the accusers having to prove guilt to shift the burden of proof to the accused having to prove innocence. And I don't think they should have been sent because I think they were improper, and I don't think there's anything perjurious or misleading or incomplete in the answers in any event. But the questions themselves were part of the committee's turning the entire process on its head and asking the president to prove his innocence rather than asking the accusers to bear a burden of proof of guilt.
With that, I again commend the gentleman for his amendment, which I support, for changing the absolutely indefensible to the still absolutely indefensible, but on fewer grounds.
REP. COBLE: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. NADLER: I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Coble. I wish the gentleman would yield very briefly to me?
REP. COBLE: I will.
REP. HYDE: I just want to say to my friend from New York -- if I could get my friend's attention -- you talked about the president shouldn't even have answered these. Really, I think there is a duty for the president to cooperate with a committee of inquiry on articles of impeachment. We could have asked him to come in and testify.
We thought we'd submit written interrogatories, admit or deny; perfectly proper. You may disagree with the formulation of them, but the submission of them is perfectly proper and everybody has a duty to cooperate, helping us get the information. So I think you protesteth too much.
The gentleman from North Carolina.
REP. HOWARD COBLE (R-NC): Mr. Chairman, I'll be as brief as I can. I move to strike the last word. In the waning hours last night, one of my friends on the other side implied that we on this side were trying to get rid of the president and being vengeful. Well, we were accused of vengeance earlier in the week, and that's when I said those -- could meet me in the parking lot if they think I'm vengeance (sic). Unfortunately, I've had several calls inviting me to the parking lot -- (laughter) -- but -- one 83-year-old --
REP. : Did you go out, Mr. Coble?
REP. COBLE: Just a minute. One 83-year-old woman in Texas who said she was frail, she said she would stand with me -- (laughter) -- so at least that's the good news.
But we are not being vengeful. There's no lynch-mob mentality over here, and for the benefit of the gentleman who said that last night, I've had not said my gut all week because of this. I approached this, my friends, with very heavy heart and I'll have not said my gut next week when we cast votes. I don't take it lightly. I don't take it gleefully at all. It's hard chore for all of us, on that side as well as on this side. Many times they talk about polls, we're resisting the polls, ignoring the polls.
I compared the knots in my gut this week with the knots I had in my gut when we addressed the Persian Gulf War. We dispatched men and women to address a problem that was not of their own making and that was a heavy vote for me, as well. But I did not accuse one of my colleagues who voted against that resolution for ignoring the polls. The polls, you will recall, were overwhelmingly in favor of our going to war.
But I equate these two, and I do indeed approach both of them with a heavy heart and I resent the fact that anyone on this committee would accuse a lynch-mob mentality of taking a hold on this side of this hearing room. It clearly is not true. We're doing it evenhandedly. My friend from Pennsylvania, I think, has taken another step to indicate that -- ultimate fairness, and I, by the way, I support the gentleman's amendment. But I felt I'd be remiss if I didn't at least respond to the charge that was handed down last night, and if Mr. Schumer was talking about me last night, he owes me an apology.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. FRANK (D-MA): Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Frank?
REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, I spent the last two years as the ranking member on the subcommittee chaired by the gentleman from North Carolina. I know him to be a man of conviction and integrity, and I am glad that he set the record straight. And I am glad, not simply because he is entitled to reaffirm his integrity, but because, Mr. Chairman, frankly I think his remarks stand in thoughtful contrast to your own remarks late last night.
I believe that part of what has been happening, in fact, is an effort by some to explain away impeachment. We have had people say: "Well, wait a minute. We are not really throwing the president out. Wait a minute, we are not really doing much more than sending this to the Senate." There has been an extraordinary constitutional wrench.
Impeachment, the most solemn duty of the House of Representatives, after declaring war; impeachment, which is the absolutely essential first step for canceling an election and throwing an elected president out of office, a resolution which says in fact that, that Bill Clinton has done bad things and should be thrown out of office. This is not sending to the Senate a questionnaire; this is a statement the president should be thrown out.
So the gentleman from North Carolina's reference to the tension he feels is entirely appropriate. This is as much as anybody in this room can do to kick the president out and undue the last election. And to suggest otherwise, to suggest that this is merely some beginning of a process that's unclear, I think that degrades the constitutional process.
We have had people say, "Oh, you can't censure the president and think it's meaningful because there will be no consequence." Well, what you are doing when you downgrade impeachment this way is, in fact, to make it into exactly what you say you are decrying, because there have been arguments made -- and we know this -- for political purposes, to get votes on the floor: "Don't worry. We are going to impeach him, but it's not going to pass the Senate."
Well, an impeachment in the House that doesn't pass the Senate has no more actual force that the censure you decry, and in fact the censure is a more rational way to censure. But that is why I was glad to hear the gentleman from North Carolina underline the gravity of this act. The gentleman from North Carolina is entirely right; we are not here simply serving as grand jurors to the Senate. We are not simply framing an issue for the Senate to deal with. We are not expressing no views on this and letting the Senate try it.
We are beginning the process of throwing the president out of office. We are beginning the process of undoing the last election because members in the majority feel that the president's transgressions were so grave as to be one of those rare exceptions when you cancel the democratic outcome and say, "No, you can't have it."
And to try to downgrade that is a terrible error.
And I think what's clearly happened, the gentleman says people are ignoring the polls. No, people aren't ignoring the polls, they are trying to frame this issue to conform to the polls. There is clearly a desire to impeach the president. And what's become clear is that the public -- infuriatingly to many on that side, infuriatingly to the media -- the public simply hasn't changed its position that impeachment is wrong, and particularly that the president should not be thrown out.
So what we have people now trying to do is to have their cake and eat it too; to impeach the president and begin the process of expelling him, while denying that that's what they're doing. Because there are clearly members in this body who have communicated that their voters, the people who voted for Bill Clinton, don't want them to throw Bill Clinton out. And so what we have now is an orchestrated argument to say to them, "Well, don't worry, tell them that you just voted that way, but it's not really going to happen."
In effect, what we're having people say is, we are going through the anguish -- the gentleman from North Carolina mentions -- we're grunting and groaning and fighting, but don't worry, the outcome is fixed.
Mr. Chairman, I do not think it serves the Constitution -- maybe it's the influence of Jesse Ventura -- to treat impeachment as if it was professional wrestling; to tell people that all of this energy and all of this stress and all this "sturm und drang", in fact, don't worry about it, because we all know in the end it's not going to go anywhere. I think the gravity and anguish expressed by my friend from North Carolina is a far more appropriate description of what we are doing than an effort to try to make light of this and to act as if it is simply a way to express one's displeasure with Bill Clinton. If people want to do that, as many of us do, there's a way to do it. Twisting impeachment out of shape and changing the meaning of what we do, and voting for a resolution and then claiming you don't believe in the resolution -- because the resolution does not say, "Hey, Senate, what do you think?", the resolution says, "Kick him out" -- that is a grave error.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Texas, Mr. Smith.
REP. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm going to --
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman yield to me briefly?
REP. HYDE: Of course I will, Mr. Chairman.
I'm just unwilling to let Mr. Frank define the argument as he has because I think he's absolutely wrong. I just want to agree with Barbara Jordan, who made the point that the House accuses and the Senate judges. Now, I do not disagree with the significance of what we do. I don't want it bent out of shape. I think it is highly significant; it is the most significant thing we do, short of the declaration of war.
But I also want to emphasize that ours is but a partial role in the drama of impeachment. The trial, which has been safeguarded by our founding fathers to require a two-thirds vote, is held in the other body, and it is our function under the Constitution, and significant and solemn as it is, to decide if there is enough information, enough evidence to warrant a trial in the Senate. That's the constitutional requirement, and that's what we're doing. In no way do we diminish or demean the significance, the weightiness of what we're doing. We're not twisting it out of shape.
But, you, sir, when you imply that we are kicking him out of office, go too far. That is not what the Constitution provides, and I thank the gentleman --
REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman? Would the gentleman yield -- the gentleman from Texas?
REP. SMITH: I'm sorry, I'd prefer that the gentleman use time given to him by his colleagues because my time is being used up, and I'd like to follow-up on a legitimate point that the chairman had just made, and augment it by saying this: that the individual to whom he referred, Barbara Jordan, then a congresswoman from Texas and a Democratic member of the Judiciary Committee in 1974, was one of the most respected members of that committee at that time. And I want to read her exact words because I think the views that she represented then represented the vast majority of the members of the Judiciary Committee at that time, and so far as I know, have not been refuted by anyone on the Judiciary Committee this year.
Barbara Jordan stated, quote, "It is wrong, I suggest, it is a misreading of the Constitution for any member here to assert that for a member to vote for an article of impeachment means that that member must be convinced that the president should be removed from office. The Constitution doesn't say that. The powers relating to impeachment are an essential check in the hands of this body, the legislature, against and upon the encroachment of the executive. In establishing the division between the two branches of the legislature, the House and the Senate, assigning to the one the right to accuse and to the other the right to judge, the framers of the Constitution were very astute. They did not make the accusers and the judges the same person." End quote.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to go on and comment on the motion that the gentleman from Pennsylvania has made, and say that I agree with his amendment, particularly as it relates to paragraph three of this article.
And I will have to say that the reason I think that the assertion of the various executive privileges by the president does not reach the level of impeachment in this instance, is because the president, quite frankly, was acting just like a lawyer. He was, in fact, acting to delay, to stonewall, to postpone any way he could what I think was a legitimate investigation of his activities. Nevertheless, as I say, I don't think it rises to the impeachment level.
However, just as the president's being a lawyer in this instance is a mitigating factor, I think it's an aggravating factor when we consider the other articles of impeachment against the president. And I say that because the president, as a lawyer, knew better than most, in my judgment, how important the rule of law was to a stable and civilized and even democratic society. He knew more than most the importance of saying an oath that required him to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
But the president, of course, was not just any lawyer. He had been a law professor in Arkansas, he had been an attorney general of that state, and as president he is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. So in these other instances, in these other articles and in the case of paragraph four of this very article, the fact that the president was a lawyer and knew better and was trained to know better, I think is an aggravating factor.
REP. : I ask unanimous consent that the gentleman be accorded another one minute.
REP. SMITH: I appreciate the gentleman's offer; I don't think I need it. I will yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman yields back. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers.
REP. JOHN CONYERS (D-MI): Mr. Chairman and members, this does sometimes to some people begin to take on the appearance of a coup. But we're -- and I'm getting the calls into my office about this. It's frightening, it's staggering. This is not in a developing country. We're talking about a polite, paper-exchanging, voting process in which we rip out the 42nd president of the United States. And this isn't a perception that I am giving to you, it's a perception that is coming in to me from my constituents.
We need to really think about where this is going, and I think that we've hit on a sensitive nerve when those who think that impeachment is just our narrow slot and that it's given a lateral pass over to the other body, and if two-thirds can make the grade, then he gets it, and if they don't, he won't.
I think when you say that we're to remove him from office, that's as important a part as any in this process, and I would --
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. CONYERS: -- I would think that censure may begin to look better and better to more and more members of Congress. And I yield to my colleague from Massachusetts.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman.
I think we've seen some implicit bad history here. If my colleagues were to be believed, the trial of Andrew Johnson was a mere bump that had no real impact on history because all that happened was the House sent it to the Senate, the Senate ultimately acquitted him.
I disagree with those who say -- and that includes Barbara Jordan, who was an able -- very able representative -- who say that you ought to do something as solemn and as potentially disruptive to this country's ability to do business as impeachment, if you don't think the president ought to be thrown out of office. And let me say, maybe I am wrong. It is not my impression that there is at this point a member on the other side who doesn't think the president should be thrown out of office. I have certainly gotten the impression from listening to them that the president ought to be thrown out of office. I think what we have are people who want to respond either personally or to some political impulse or for whatever reason. They want to throw the president out of office, but they don't want to own up to the political consequences of taking that position.
It is true by ourselves we can't throw him out of office. But you know what? As the House of Representatives, by ourselves we can't do anything. We can't pass a law. Nothing done in this House alone is final. When we are debating major legislation, do we say, "oh, by the way, American people, don't take this one as if it is really an important thing. It's up to the Senate." We always need the concurrence of the Senate. The Senate can sometimes do things without us, like ratify a treaty or confirm someone, but nothing we do goes without the Senate. And I have to say that I am struck and -- at the incongruity, and I have to again allude to the gentleman from North Carolina. Why has he got knots in his stomach? Just because he's sending this over to the Senate to decide? He has knots in his stomach, as he courageously articulated, because he understands what we are doing. He understands that you are trying to undo the election. You are entitled to do that. You are entitled to say that Bill Clinton's transgressions, in your mind, are so bad he should be thrown out of office. I don't think lying about a consensual sexual affair ought to do that.
It does not seem to me members are entitled to do everything within their constitutional power to impeach the president, to press for it, to lobby for votes, to do everything possible and then disclaim responsibility for it.
And the notion that we are simply here passing this along to the Senate is not good constitutional theory, it's not good law, it's not good political science. It may just be good lobbying strategy for the floor. It may be that there are members who are unwilling to vote for this unless they can tell their constituents: "Well, don't take it too seriously. It wasn't really going to happen." But I think that is a very grave misstatement of what the stakes are on this issue.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman, to me, the shell game continues from last evening; a slightly higher level but not much. And so we are still in the same quandary.
I worry about this House of Representatives that cannot find enough members to come to the midground of censure, if they cannot turn this impeachment process away entirely.
REP. JACKSON LEE (D-TX): Mr. Chairman, I ask that the ranking member be given an additional two minutes that I might comment, that I might ask him to yield to me?
REP. HYDE: Well, is there any objection? Hearing none, the gentleman from Michigan's --
REP. CONYERS: I yield to the gentlelady from Texas.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I thank the gentleman.
I think it is quite comforting of my colleague from Texas to have cited a very fine contributor to this process in 1974, Barbara Jordan. But might I add additional comments of Barbara Jordan to the record?
She said: "Impeachment is chiefly designed for the president and his high ministers to somehow be called into account. It is designed to bridle the executive if he engages in excesses. It is designed as a method of national inquest into public men.
"The framers confined in the Congress the power, if need be, to remove the president in order to strike a delicate balance between a president swollen with power and grown tyrannical and preservation of the independence of the executive. The nature of impeachment is a narrowly channeled exception to the separation of powers maxim. The Federal Convention of 1787 said that. It is limited to 'high crimes and misdemeanors' and discounted and opposed the term 'maladministration.' It is said to be used only for great misdemeanors."
And I believe that Ms. Jordan understood the difference, and would, of 1974 and 1998. I yield back.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Sensenbrenner.
REP. SENSENBRENNER (R-WI): Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. SENSENBRENNER: Mr. Chairman, I am really very disturbed at some of the debate that I have just heard. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers, seems to state that these proceedings are somewhat akin to a coup. And that's anything but the case.
Now, the framers of the Constitution put the impeachment clauses into that document as a way of looking into the conduct of members of the executive and the judicial branches.
There can be a legitimate difference of opinion on whether the president has engaged in impeachable activity, but I think that every member of this committee, Democrat and Republican alike, has approached this very grave responsibility with the thoughtfulness and the seriousness that the framers of the Constitution intended to have take place when allegations like this arise.
Impeachment is not removal. The Senate is given the responsibility under the Constitution of making the determination on whether an official is to be removed from office, after a full trial where both the House managers and the defense are able to call all of the witnesses they want and to make their arguments to the Senate. So what we are doing here is making a determination that the offenses that the president is accused of are serious enough to warrant a trial in the Senate on that issue.
Now should the Senate decide to remove the president from office, and we're a long ways away from that, Mr. Gore will become president. Mr. Gore is a man of very similar views to Mr. Clinton, and the president and the vice president have bragged about how well they get along and how much they agree. So there's not going to be an abrupt change in the policies that the president of the United States advances, whether that president be Mr. Clinton or the president be Mr. Gore.
And I think the same thing could have been said back 24 years ago when Richard Nixon ended up getting himself in trouble. The policies that Gerald Ford advanced were not dissimilar to that the Richard Nixon advanced. There wasn't an abrupt change in control of the Oval Office. The president and the vice president are intended to work together.
So, I think that merely by utilizing the processes that the Constitution sets forth is the proper move, and it's something that certainly should be used, but used sparingly. And I think that here, at least those of us who have supported articles of impeachment think that there is evidence to indicate that President Clinton abused his office and committed high crimes and misdemeanors.
Now, I do want to talk about the amendment, which is the pending question before the committee. I think the fact that the gentleman from Pennsylvania has introduced an amendment, which I support, to delete three of the four charges of abuse of power -- that of wrongly advancing executive privilege, lying to the public, and lying to his Cabinet and staff -- shows that those of us on this side of the aisle are approaching this matter with thoughtfulness. I have concluded, personally, that there is not evidence to sustain a charge that the president has committed impeachable activity in these three particular areas. I do think he has in the fourth, but that's not the question yet until we dispose of the amendment.
So certainly, what we are doing now shows that the majority party, the Republican Party on this committee, is prepared to meet the White House half way, and to show that when we don't think that there is evidence to sustain a charge of impeachment in the threat areas that I mentioned, we are prepared to amend the draft articles of impeachment to delete them.
Now I yield to the gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Bryant, who has asked me to yield to him.
REP. BRYANT: I thank my friend from Wisconsin. I too just want to comment quickly about the analogy of a coup, a political coup. This is the orderly process of the Constitution at work, not military troops running about the streets, not a different regime seizing power. As my friend from Wisconsin said, we move the vice president there. And in the interest of time, I will elaborate on this later in my time. And I see my time is up here and I would yield back.
REP. HYDE: Thank you. The gentleman from California, Mr. Berman.
REP. BERMAN: Well thank you, Mr. Chairman. The gentleman from Wisconsin sort of manifested what many of us think is going on in this particular amendment -- setting up a straw man in order to tear it down. It must have been a very, very interesting caucus that the majority took to conclude that articles that they spent a great deal of time formulating all of a sudden were defective in substantial part and needed to be pulled back through an amendment. It's an orchestrated dance to create an illusion of reasonability that I don't think people should fall for.
REP. GEKAS: Would the gentleman yield? Would the gentleman from California yield? There's kind of an aspersion there that I think has to be clarified. Kind of.
REP. BERMAN: No, it's not an aspersion, it's a commentary and analysis. (Laughter.)
REP. GEKAS: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. BERMAN: Of course I yield.
REP. GEKAS: The gentleman from California should know that the first utterance I made in this proceeding, when it began a couple of months ago, was my dissatisfaction --
REP. BERMAN: Absolutely.
REP. GEKAS: Well then how --
REP. BERMAN: Absolutely. And to reclaim my time, what about the gentleman's utterance that made so much sense when he first uttered it, all of a sudden took hold on your colleagues on that side to get them all to join and remove something from the articles --
REP. GEKAS: You minimize my persuasive powers, that's what you do.
REP. BERMAN: All right. Well, they're slow building, but effective when they finally take hold.
My only point here is -- the two points I would like to make on this time, though, are first, just a point of clarification for us. The language in the Gekas amendment, as I understand it, is simply, with a slightly different method of connecting, the exact language of paragraph four of Article IV, isn't that correct?
REP. GEKAS: That's correct.
REP. BERMAN: And so in effect, this amendment is really -- even though it has -- asserts a lot of wordage, is essentially just an amendment to strike paragraphs one, two and three; is that correct?
REP. GEKAS: If the gentleman would yield, that is correct.
REP. BERMAN: Okay, thank you.
REP. GEKAS: That's not an aspersion.
REP. BERMAN: No. No, no. There was no aspersions ever meant to be cast to you.
REP. : (Aside) Just everybody else.
REP. BERMAN: So that we are not voting to add some additional language, we'd be voting to delete it.
I thank the gentleman, and I'm going to support his amendment.
Just the one final point I want to make, though -- yes, the action of this committee and, if it is the same, the action on the House floor does not remove the president from office. And as -- but as much respect as I have for Barbara Jordan or whatever words Barbara Jordan, the majority chooses to use -- utilize in some cases and disregard in others, the fact is the language of this proposal trumps anything else. You have the ability to cast it any way you want it to. You chose not to cast it as certain things happened, we have certain conclusions about what happened, and we send this to the Senate for them to determine whether to convict and remove the president from office. You alleged that if -- that these things happened, these are the conclusions we should draw from it, and therefore, the president should be removed from office.
Every person who votes for this -- everyone who votes for this votes to remove the president from office. Things may come up later in a Senate trial that cause people to change their minds, but at this particular point in time, it is a vote to remove the president from office.
REP. BARRETT: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BERMAN: I yield to the gentleman from Wisconsin.
REP. BARRETT: I want to echo that point, and I may ask for an additional minute to do so. The Constitution gives the House of Representatives one function -- to impeach the president of the United States. The document before us tells us what we're voting on: wherefore, William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct warrants impeachment ...
If we were fulfilling our role, there would be a period there. The Constitution gives the Senate three functions -- to have the Senate to have the trial to decide whether to remove him from office, and to decide whether he should ever be able to hold office again. This article -- these articles of impeachment make a recommendation or say that the conduct warrants three different decisions that the Senate makes. It warrants trials, it warrants removal from office -- that's what these articles say -- and most amazingly, these articles of impeachment go beyond the articles of impeachment of Richard Nixon because that's where the articles of impeachment for Richard Nixon end. We go a step further here and say that this conduct warrants disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. BARRETT: That's another decision that the Senate makes.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Florida, Mr. McCollum.
REP. BILL MCOLLUM (R-FL): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman yield to me very briefly?
REP. MCCOLLUM: I would be delighted to yield.
REP. HYDE: I'd just like to point out to my constitutional friends that the verbiage, the language, in the articles before us cannot trump the Constitution. It can't add nor can it detract from the constitutional powers that are reserved to the House and reserved to the Senate. So much as we might use precatory language or any kind of language, the Constitution still is over all and transcendent and will determine. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you Mr. Chairman, and reclaiming, I think that what we're discussing today is exceedingly important and we have to understand the concept that indeed the Senate does try this if we send it over there -- if they choose to; they could choose not to. I believe they would -- I think we have to assume that once we send it out of the House that, indeed, he may be impeached, but there is no guarantee of that.
Those on this side who voted for these articles of impeachment, I am quite sure, and any member on the floor who votes for it is quite sure and must be, that in their mind there is at least clear and convincing evidence that the president committed impeachable offenses for which the Senate has the power and should be given the opportunity to remove. In that process, I might add, I've studied the Constitution and I'm convinced that if the Senate convicted the president they would not have to remove him and if they did not choose to remove him they could still punish him in one other way and that's to disable him from holding further offices in the future, such as John Quincy Adams did in running for Congress.
REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, will the gentleman yield?
REP. : Will the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. MCCOLLUM: I'm not going to yield for minute, because I want to --
REP. SCOTT: I wasn't sure what I heard.
REP. HYDE: Please hold up. What is it, Mr. Scott?
REP. SCOTT: I just wanted to know if the gentleman said that the Senate could convict and not remove.
REP. MCCOLLUM: That's exactly what I said, if I might reclaim. Reclaiming my time, I did say the Senate could convict and not remove. There's nothing mandatory in the constitutional language that says that. Now.
However, saying all of that,I want to come back to the issue at hand. I've got the time, if I might. If I can get more time and yield, I will in a minute.
The amendment before us strikes three of these articles, and I don't think they're three insignificant portions of this article, three paragraphs in this article. The first one is about the president lying to the public.
Now, I don't think we should go forward and impeach the president for his speech before the American public telling us lies. But I want you to know that in the Watergate hearings, the conclusion was to just do exactly that. So, we're doing something less than was done with Richard Nixon.
And number two, with regard to executive privilege, I don't think there's any question the president has abused executive privilege here, because it can only be used to protect official functions. And in case after case, from Bruce Lindsey all the way through, the witnesses who were called before the grand jury, who were White House aides, were not asserting executive privilege to protect the government official business. They were asserting it in order to protect and keep private matters that concerned the personal conduct of the president, in the matters we've been discussing here.
However, I'm not going to object. We're going to go forward with this. I think that we really shouldn't get into that. That doesn't need to be an articles of impeachment. The other matters that are here, are far graver than that, the perjury, the obstruction of justice, the things we've already voted upon.
But in the Nixon Watergate proceedings, there was an article of impeachment for abusing executive privilege. So, we should understand that we're moving -- in a way, not doing the same thing that they did, when the Democrats had the power here.
The third one, with regard to using the people around him, that we're going to delete from this by the motion of the gentleman from Pennsylvania --
REP. SCHUMER: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. MCCOLLUM: In a moment. In terms of what the president did here, it's clear that on or around the 21st or so of January, after giving his deposition, he told a lot of very stretched stories to his staff, to his aides, to the people around him. And I know some can say he just did it, but he told bigger whoppers, as I said yesterday evening than he did even in any testimony officially where he perjured himself. And I'm quite sure that he expected them to go out and repeat those, and in fact they did in many cases. And it could have been done to the detriment, as the gentleman from South Carolina pointed out so ably the other night, to Monica Lewinsky. There was a tack that appeared at one point, that they were actually going to try to cast aspersions upon her, and then they retreated from that.
Now, we're deleting all of those. And what we're left with, once we've done that -- and I agree with doing that -- is an abuse of power by the president of the United States, with respect to the provisions of what he did and said and lied to us, I think, in answering the admissions.
And some have said on the other side, that there's nothing to these admissions that arise to the level of anything impeachable. And I'm about to have my time run out. I'd like two additional minutes, Mr. Chairman, if I could, so I could fulfill this.
REP. HYDE: Without objection.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you. With respect to one I want to point out in particular that I am very concerned about, it's the request for Admission Number 34. The president was asked to admit or deny if he had any knowledge that any facts or assertions contained in the affidavit executed by Monica Lewinsky, were not true.
Now, what the president said, he said, "I was asked at my deposition" -- these are in answers to the admission -- "in January about two paragraphs of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit. With respect to paragraph 6, I explained, to the extent to which I was able to test the accuracy.
"With respect to paragraph 8," -- which is the one that I have here -- "I stated that in my deposition, that it was true." And then he goes on to say "I sought to explain the basis for the answer. I believe at the time she filled out this affidavit, that if she believed that the definition of `sexual relationship' was two people having intercourse, then this is accurate."
Well, I've already discussed, we've debated the whole part about the first portion of her affidavit, where she says "I never had a sexual relationship with the president, he did not propose that we have a sexual relationship." I think most of us understand that debate. And I don't believe it was true. I think it was a perjurious affidavit on that point.
But even if you don't agree with that, the president in his answer to admissions, also says that the affidavit in paragraph eight was true, where Monica Lewinsky said "The occasions that I saw the president after I left my employment at the White House in April 1996, were official receptions, formal functions or events related to the U.S. Department of Defense, where I was working at the time. There were other people present on those occasions."
The fact of the matter is that this was absolutely perjurious. The president knew that, Monica Lewinsky knew that. The president knew that when he answered this affidavit, and he has committed another perjurious act by doing so, in this case to Congress.
It is serious, it is grave, it is appropriate that it be cited as a part of an article of impeachment for abuse of power. And I encourage the adoption of the amendment of Mr. Gekas, and then the adoption of Article 4 as amended.
REP. SCHUMER: Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent the gentleman be given two additional minutes so I might ask him a question.
REP. HYDE: If the gentleman --
REP. MCCOLLUM: I'll be glad to, if it's to respond to Mr. --
REP. SCHUMER: Thank you.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. SCHUMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. There were two points here that I find at least leap at my credulity. Number one, that the Senate could impeach the president, go through the trial, and then vote to vote for these articles, but not remove him from office. My first question to the gentleman, is what penalty, if any, does he feel would occur? I don't see any that's constitutionally mandated, and then we're saying that this should be a show trial. It's in line with what the chairman said last night, "Well, the Senate doesn't have to vote to convict him."
Both those statements I think reveal that even on the majority side, people are saying "Well, wait a minute. Let's understand the magnitude of what we're doing here." So I'd ask the gentleman what other penalties he'd have in mind.
The second point I'd make is this. He said "Well, just like in Watergate, there was an abuse of power charge." I have never heard that type of argument win in a courtroom. Yes, there was abuse of power, using the IRS, using the CIA, using other organizations of government to go after individuals that President Nixon didn't like.
How can the gentleman compare -- just because it says the words "abuse of power," how can he compare the abuse of power charges in Watergate to this abuse of power charge, which is simply, again, perjurious testimony about an extramarital relationship?
REP. MCCOLLUM: If I may reclaim my time, and ask unanimous consent for one additional minute, Mr. Chairman. It's about to run out here.
REP. HYDE: I will grant the additional minute, if Mr. Schumer will answer a question for me.
REP. SCHUMER: Please.
REP. HYDE: When are you going to get sworn in in the other body? (Laughter.)
REP. SCHUMER: Hopefully, Mr. Chairman, when we come to a conclusion that the Senate will not have to spend its first six months doing the same thing that we're doing here.
REP. HYDE: That answer will be -- (laughs) -- stricken from the record. (Laughter.)
REP. MCCOLLUM: If I might have the extra minute.
REP. HYDE: You may have an additional minute.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution in regard to impeachment reads "judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal of office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, truth, or profit under the United States."
"Shall not extend further than." I think that's very clear that you don't have to go that far. So, the reality is they can convict.
REP. SCHUMER: As far as the penalty, if the gentleman would yield, what penalty does he have in mind?
REP. MCCOLLUM: There doesn't have to be a penality, if you will, other than conviction. Or there could simply be the impeachment, and no trial in the Senate, if the Senate didn't choose to.
Now, if I might continue one last point on my minute, with regard to the executive privilege question, and others. There is certainly an abuse of power here, I think very clearly with respect to the answers to these admissions. And however you want to frame it, as the chairman said earlier, we could have done it as another perjury article, if we wanted to, perjury to Congress.
But I think it's an abuse of power. It's perfectly appropriate to label it that. That's where we're left with this article. And I believe, having gone through the one example I gave you, there are others in here that he did lie in his answers to us, he did mislead us, he did commit perjury.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
MR. ROTHMAN: Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman.
REP. ROTHMAN: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. ROTHMAN: Thank you. I want to address with respect the notion that the House accuses, the Senate convicts, and say that the House's power to impeach a sitting president of the United States, is not a free pass. There's a burden of proof that has to be met, and there will be significant negative consequences to our constitutional form of government, if impeachment occurs under the wrong circumstances, and without just cause.
The House can't just impeach a president because the majority party in Congress decides they want to change the vote of the people. There has to be a proof by clear and convincing evidence, that treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred.
Boy, my time went really fast, Mr. Chairman. I hope the clock will be fixed.
REP. HYDE: I think we probably had it on two minutes. Forgive me.
REP. ROTHMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: We'll give you some more.
REP. ROTHMAN: I'm grateful. So it's not a free pass. They've got to prove high crimes and misdemeanors. And we've discussed at length for the last several days why, in my opinion and the opinion of most Americans, no clear and convincing evidence has been produced to convict this president, to send this matter for trial in the Senate.
But when you say that, "Oh, we're just impeaching and we'll go for a trial in the Senate," and some people say, "Well, gee, what's so bad with that? We'll find out." Well, do you remember President Andrew Johnson, who they impeached, the House impeached and the Senate did not find guilty? There was an effect on the presidency of the United States for decades after that.
Now, you know, some of my colleagues on the Republican side of the aisle say, "Well, you know, we'll just impeach him in the House, and that'll send a message to future presidents that you can't behave in such a way" as they feel was wrongful. By the way, I think the president's behavior was wrongful and should be censured for the things that we know he did and he admitted to.
REP. ROGAN: Will the gentleman yield for a brief question?
REP. ROTHMAN: No. Let me finish, please. But there will be a devastating effect on the next president of the United States and the president after that and the president after that. When the people of the United States elect a president, that president -- if the Republican majority gets its way in this committee and in the House of Representatives, the next president and the president after that and the president after that are going to be looking over their shoulder every time they make a controversial decision if they're a member of a different party than the majority party in the Congress.
They're going to wonder, if they veto a bill that the majority in the Congress doesn't like, is the majority in Congress going to invest $40 million in an investigation, go through their entire life and try to come up with something so that they can impeach them, so the majority on the Judiciary Committee can say, "Well, we'll just see if it gets a conviction in the Senate"?
It will have a devastating, chilling effect on the next president of the United States and the presidents thereafter. Make no mistake about it. History tells us that's what happened to President Andrew Johnson. And that will be a terrible thing. If the majority party does not want to have that significant effect on the presidency of the United States, one that the founders of our Constitution said would be a strong presidency -- they rejected impeachment for failure to live up to good behavior. They rejected an impeachment power for maladministration.
They set the bar for impeachment by the House very high. It has not been met. The people of America must let their representatives know there is a danger to our republic and to the future holders of the office of the presidency if the House impeaches the president, even if they say it's just to pass it on for a trial.
I yield back.
REP. ROGAN: Mr. Chairman, would the chair recognize me for a unanimous consent request?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from California.
REP. ROGAN: I ask unanimous consent for an additional minute and a half so that I may propose a question to my friend from New Jersey.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. ROGAN: I would ask my friend from New Jersey about his comments a moment ago. He just told the committee, as well as the American people, that some of your friends on the Republican side have taken the position that it's okay to vote for an impeachment just because it sends a message. That is quite an indictment which would indicate that members of my party in Congress are minimizing their constitutional role. Would the gentleman be kind enough to identify by name those Republicans who have taken that incredible position?
REP. ROTHMAN: You know, there have been so many, it's hard to remember who told me it.
REP. ROGAN: Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent --
REP. ROTHMAN: If you want an answer, I'll give you a complete answer.
REP. ROGAN: -- to have as much time as necessary so that my friend can come up with the list of the names of members.
REP. ROTHMAN: If you would like an answer, I will give you a complete answer. There have been many, many people who have said to me, "You know, Steve, why don't you just have an impeachment?" There are members on the other side of the aisle -- and it has occurred behind the scenes, off the record and in the panel, in the cloakrooms, where they said, "Well, we're going to move this on." I feel strongly about it.
Now, I do not denigrate the motives of any member of the other side of the aisle in making their votes. I never have. I never will. I believe you make your judgments on your opinion as to what is the right thing to do. I just feel your opinion about what the right thing to do is fundamentally wrong and a great danger to our country. But I don't denigrate that you believe that it's the right thing to do. But that doesn't stop us from the need to prevent something terrible from happening.
REP. ROGAN: Reclaiming my time, Mr. Chairman --
REP. : Would the gentleman yield for a unanimous request --
REP. : Would the gentleman yield for an answer to his question?
REP. HYDE: The chair would very much like to get to a vote on the amendment. We've discussed everything from aardvark to Zimbabwe, and we are not concentrating on the amendment. I'll get to you, Ms. Jackson Lee, but I must move to the Republican side now. And so Mr. Canady is recognized for five minutes.
REP. CANADY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I assume it wouldn't be out of order for me to express my support for the amendment. Most of the discussion we've had hasn't directly related to the amendment. But I would at least like to say that I think the gentleman from Pennsylvania has offered an amendment that should be adopted by the committee and one which I will support.
I do want to respond to some of the statements that have been made this morning concerning the issue before us. Now, the point has just been made a moment ago that if we move forward and impeach the president that future presidents will be looking over their shoulder. This will have some sort of chilling effect on the institution of the presidency.
Well, I will say that I believe the only -- there's an element of truth in that. I believe that if we move forward with this impeachment, future presidents who engage in a course of conduct designed to obstruct justice, who lie repeatedly under oath, will be looking over their shoulder. And I would like for them to be looking over their shoulder. They should take pause before they think about engaging in such conduct.
Now, it's also been argued that it was unfair for us to even ask the president any questions in this inquiry and that we are somehow guilty of misconduct because we dared to ask the president questions about his misconduct. We are accused of somehow being out of line because we expected and required that the president answer our questions in a truthful manner.
Now, Mr. Schumer has said the president answered the questions as he saw fit. I agree with the gentleman from New York. The president did answer the questions as he saw fit. He answered not only our questions as he saw fit, he answered the questions in the deposition in January as he saw fit. He answered the questions before the grand jury as he saw fit.
The problem is this. He saw fit to lie. He saw fit to lie in the deposition. He saw fit to lie before the grand jury. He saw fit to lie, finally, in his answers to our questions. Now, that is the serious matter that is before us, and that is a matter from which we cannot turn away as though it is something trivial. It is not trivial. It is serious. And it shows an amazing lack of respect not only for the truth but for the system of justice, and ultimately for this inquiry.
Now, when the president answered the questions that we propounded to him, he was not responding as a private citizen. And that's why I think having a separate article that focuses on his false answers to the questions propounded to him in this inquiry makes sense.
When he answered those questions, he answered as president of the United States, and he did so in a way that evidenced his continuing lack of respect for the truth, lack of respect for the dignity of his office, and lack of respect for the oath that he took when he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
REP. SCHUMER: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. CANADY: I am sorry. I want to continue. And there may be time. The gentleman from New York has probably had more time this morning than any other members of the committee.
Now, I simply believe that we have a responsibility to focus on the facts that are before us. And when I saw the president's answers to these questions, quite frankly I was astounded. I'll have to tell you I was also astounded when I saw the president's statement yesterday. After all this, we still cannot get an honest acceptance of responsibility for breaking the law, for lying under oath.
Now I am not saying that would make the matter go away, even if the president admitted that. I think it's gone too far for that, quite frankly. I don't think you just accept an apology for such a course of conduct. But at this point, the president still cannot reconcile himself to the law; he still cannot reconcile himself to the truth. And I think that is a factor which cannot be denied in the circumstances that are before us.
And let me say in response to some of the other points that have been made, I wouldn't vote to impeach the president unless I felt that there was evidence sufficient to convict him in the Senate. I believe that that's the proper way to deal with this. This is a momentous decision.
But we are dealing with a course of conduct here which is serious. The ultimate judgment is not ours. And I think the chairman is quite right in pointing out that the ultimate judgment is with the Senate. And the gentleman from New York, the senator-elect, has been chosen by the people of New York, and he will play a part in making that decision, and he is entitled to that.
But we have a responsibility to carry out here. And I, for one, intend to do it.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentlelady from Texas, Ms. Jackson Lee.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
And although I find great interest in the amendment and will study it further, I couldn't help but listen to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle on this moment.
The president left this morning for the Mideast, and I wish him Godspeed. But he should realize that tomorrow's headlines will, if they are truthful, announce his removal from office. And with all of the coloration that that is not the case, I think it is important to note that it is clearly stated in the Articles of Impeachment. The language is there.
And the basis for that removal is one that should be recollected, for we are continually, and that is Democrats and Republicans, citing the Watergate model.
Statesmen and stateswomen they were. But the facts of Watergate were so obviously and conspicuously different that we do a disservice to the citation, the quotation, the remembrance of those members, because they were remembering horrific acts: the use of the CIA to violate the FBI; the coordination of members of cabinet sitting in rooms talking about "How do we get these people?" and the tawdry facts today: the getting of President Clinton; the leaving the office of the Office of Special Counsel Linda Tripp and go to the counsel for Paula Jones; Paula Jones' own husband saying, "We're going to get the president of the United States;" the hiring of a public relations specialist for Paula Jones to set out on a campaign to make this more than it was, a tawdry, adulterous affair.
We now sit to remove this president. We now sit to tell our children, our grandchildren that there is no redemption. And I am offended when my colleagues across the aisle talk about the chief executive of this United States. He is still that. And when he comes before the people of the United States of America and offers his apology, how dare you -- how dare you suggest that he is diminished, he is using another line? And there are Americans who have said that, as they have been, I'm sure, encouraged by those who could not wait to comment on how insignificant it is for the president of the most powerful nation in the world to come before the American people and acknowledge that he has been called deceitful, that he has misled the American people, and that he should be censured.
And so, let it not be mistaken. We vote today as we conclude to take the private acts, sexual accusations and indiscretions, violation and complete wounding of one's family and this nation, however, added to by 22 hours of illegal taping, coordination with a civil case dismissed. And we now say that we want to remove the president of the United States.
And then to add insult to injury, although I had, by the grace of the chairman, and I thank him, admitted into evidence the Constitution, although I had spoken weeks and weeks ago about the need to be guided by the Fifth Amendment -- that is, notice and due process -- when the president responds, duly guided by his lawyers, to interrogatories as any other citizen would have the privilege of doing, we take those documents and suggest that we now can create another violation by suggesting in his interrogatories, using the Fifth Amendment, the right of due process, the right to respond to one's accuser, and make it now an article where he is accused of violating, perjuring, obstructing justice because he answered our interrogatories.
My friends, I would say, if we didn't have a case before that, then that is making a case inside of this room, for frankly, I think we have a case against the chief accuser, to have left his prosecutorial role and moved to be the witness-in-chief, the fact witness when all Mr. Starr could offer us was nothing but hearsay -- hearsay --
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady --
REP. JACKSON LEE: -- and these articles, Mr. Chairman --
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady --
REP. JACKSON LEE: -- are premised upon the hearsay of a witness who had no first-hand knowledge.
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady's time has expired.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I would simply say, Mr. Chairman, tomorrow's headlines should say the truth: we are voting to remove the president.
Mr. Chairman, if I may finish in 30 seconds -- in our hearts we must ask, we must raise up our conscience and ask are we prepared today to remove the president of the United States of America, for no constitutional forbidding, if you will, takes that vote away from us today, and Mr. Coble, I know that we all are full of knots, but let it be, if you will, connecting that you are not -- you are not just voting to move something forward, you are voting to remove the president of the United States, and I hope to God that you are fully convinced that this president should be removed on these tawdry and what I consider --
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady's time really has expired.
REP. JACKSON LEE: -- very insignificant facts.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Inglis.
REP. INGLIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
The gentlelady from Texas just mentioned the horrific facts of Watergate. I wonder -- isn't it true that we've got horrific facts here? We've got the chief law enforcement officer of the United
States who perjured himself -- not once but repeatedly, not just in a civil deposition, but before a grand jury. Perjury is move heavily punished than bribery. It is horrific to me that the president would even continue that as late as 4:00 yesterday; as late as 4:00 yesterday, the man cannot bring himself to tell the truth.
He continues to lie. He continues to deceive the American people. I think it's horrific. I think it's horrific that the man is leaving now to a trip where who knows what he would say, and who can count on what he says? I think it's horrific.
These are horrific facts that the man cannot tell the truth. He couldn't tell the truth yesterday, he couldn't tell the truth before a grand jury, he couldn't tell the truth in a civil deposition, he couldn't tell the truth when he submitted answers to questions to this committee. When will he tell the truth? When he's finally before the bar in the Senate maybe? Will that be when he tells the truth?
The gentlelady suggested that there's no redemption here. She decries the fact that we have no redemption. There is redemption -- with consequences. And in this proceeding earlier, I believe it may have been the chairman who eloquently pointed this out -- if not him, someone else -- that a perfect picture of that is Pope John Paul confronting his assailant. Went to visit him, offer forgiveness and hope, but left him in jail. He sought no effort -- or had no effort, made no effort to have him released from jail. And there his assailant continues, to remain. Now that is the appropriate picture of redemption. Redemption, yes; forgiveness, yes -- but with consequences. The president can't ask us for not cheap grace, worthless grace -- absolutely worthless grace to not even admit his wrongdoing, and expect that even if he did admit wrongdoing, to expect there to be no consequences. There are consequences to wrongdoing.
And I would also point out that the attack on the truth-seekers continues. And that is particularly shameful, that in the midst of this series of events, where clearly the president of the United States is guilty of perjury -- folks on that side are even admitting it now. The minority counsel, when he sat before us, I think pretty clearly admitted it awhile back; the man has lied. But instead of admitting that, as we all should, and even his defenders should -- all of them, not just some of them -- they go on the continued attack against the truth-seeker. So we continue to hear attacks here against Ken Starr, for example, as though he were on trial; as though he were the one that dreamed up these tawdry facts. It's not fault for bringing out tawdry facts any more than it's the fault of a prosecutor in some court that may be having a trial today, continuing over from yesterday, about a rape matter, for example -- horrible details.
But the defendant in the action can't be heard later to complain to the court, "Why do we have to delve into these things?" Well, if the defendant hadn't committed the acts, there wouldn't be a tawdry scene.
So the defendant in this matter, William Jefferson Clinton, cannot be heard to complain about the facts that he has put before us. Those facts must be divulged; those facts must be discussed.
And they are now going to be, I hope, the subject of a trial in the U.S. Senate. And there, there are consequences for wrongdoing, and that is what the president is unable to accept and what his defenders are unable to accept. There are consequences for violating the rule of law.
And I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. WATERS (D-CA) (?): Mr. Chairman?
REP. SENSENBRENNER: The gentlelady from California Ms. Waters is recognized for five minutes.
REP. WATERS (D-CA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and members.
I am absolutely amazed at the liberal and loose interpretation of the Constitution that I am hearing from conservatives. Usually, progressives are accused of loose interpretation, and usually conservatives are considered to have strict interpretation of the Constitution and law. But sitting in this committee, I have witnessed the loosest interpretation of the Constitution, as my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have dealt with the meaning of "high crimes and misdemeanors."
Now, if that's not bad enough, I am now finding out from the chair of this committee, that what we are doing here in voting out these Articles of Impeachment, really does not have much to do with whether or not we really mean it and whether or not we are really involved in the ultimate impeachment of the president -- I think my grandmother would call that throwing a rock and hiding your hand -- almost as if you really don't want to be identified with the ultimate impeachment, if that should happen. I am amazed at these interpretations.
And to add insult to injury, Mr. McCollum said that we could go through this entire process -- vote out Articles of Impeachment from the Judiciary Committee, send it to the floor and if it's voted out on the floor, go through the trial in the Senate -- and not remove the president from office; that the Constitution, he said, says you should extend "no further than."
Well what does that really mean? Rather than the loose interpretation that he is giving it, to have you believe that somehow it means that you can stop short of, you can punish, you can do something "other than," which is nowhere indicated in the Constitution of the United States. I think it really means that you can't give him the death penalty, or you can't send him to prison, rather than the interpretation that Mr. McCollum has given it.
REP. BARRETT (D-WI): Will the gentlelady yield?
REP. WATERS: I am awfully concerned that the young people who are listening to us, who are learning about the Constitution of the United States of America, are going to be very confused. I don't know what the teachers of America are going to do, as they watch all of these truth-telling members of the Judiciary Committee interpret the Constitution of the United States.
REP. BARRETT: Will the gentlelady yield?
REP. WATERS: Yes, I will yield to my colleague for a limited period.
REP. BARRETT: Just to clarify or to expand on that, because I heard the gentleman from Florida's comments, too. And so I have Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, which reads: "The president, vice president and all civil officers of the United States shall be removed from office on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other crimes and misdemeanors."
It doesn't say my, it says shall. I see no discretion in the word shall, and would --
REP. WATERS: Thank you very much. And I -- I -- I thank my colleague for that. I'm absolutely sure about it. And I think I learned that in the eighth grade. But let me just say that I really do feel that the chair of the committee should have stopped this committee at the point that Mr. McCollum gave that interpretation so that at least we could have a reasonable debate so that the distortion would not stand in this committee. I think it is awfully unfortunate.
I'd like to use the balance of my time to direct a question to Mr. Canady, who's called the president a liar about 100 times this morning. Which answer in the 81 questions do you think is deserving of impeachment that you're so upset about, Mr. Canady. I'd like you quickly to just point to one.
REP. CANADY: The chairman gave a list earlier. I will --
REP. WATERS: No, I want you to give one. If you can't do it, I take back my time.
REP. CANADY: I'm not going to engage in this if you won't let me answer. I'll be happy to answer --
REP. WATERS: Reclaiming my time. If it takes you that much time to think about it, then you don't know it. I thought you had something that you were so sure about that you could just tell us in a short moment here what it is in the 81 questions, the so-called lie that is so upsetting, that's so bothersome, that meets the test of the Constitution, that you would want to impeach the president about.
And let me just conclude my remarks by saying I wish I was as pure and as moral and as honest as some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, who keep referring to the president as the greatest liar, the biggest liar they've ever seen, they've ever met. I hope that we can all work on ourselves and do a little bit better and be a little bit more forthcoming in the work that we do so that in fact we can feel comfortable enough to claim the kind of honesty that they're denying to the president and others.
REP. MCCOLLUM: The gentlelady's time has expired. The gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Barr, is recognized for five minutes.
REP. BOB BARR (R-GA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like for us to just pause a little bit here, and despite arguments by particular individuals on the other side that are fast, furious and glibly, as if the faster you say something, the louder you say it, the more times you repeat it, by golly, it makes it so.
The fact of the matter is, Mr. Chairman, that the Constitution was written very calmly, deliberatively, and solemnly -- thank goodness -- and I think it's time for Constitution 101 for America.
Article I, Section II, Paragraph 5 -- Article I being that article of the Constitution that describes the powers of the Congress -- says that the House has the sole power of impeachment.
Article I, Section III, Paragraph 6 -- we're still in Article I, still dealing with the powers of the Congress -- states that the Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments.
Article II, Section IV -- Article II being the section that describes the powers and other matters relating to the executive branch; that is, the president -- says that the president shall be removed on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery or other high crimes or misdemeanors.
Now, let's parse that. The word "and" -- while the president undoubtedly would have great difficulty determining and deciphering what the word "and" means, we don't -- or at least we should not. It says that the president shall be removed on impeachment for and conviction of. The "and" bridges two ideas -- two things that must happen before the president is removed.
Now parents out there listening today know exactly what I'm talking about. Children out there listening today know exactly what I'm talking about. If a parent tells a child, "you can go out and play if you clean your room and wash your hands," the child knows that that means they must do both things, and if they fail to do both things, then the consequence will not happen.
So it is in the Constitution. Every word in our Constitution is there for a purpose. Every word was deliberated at great length -- not fast, not glibly, but at great length, very deliberatively, very solemnly.
For the other side to maintain, simply by saying it fast, furiously and repetitively, that a vote in the House to impeach removes the president is to do precisely what the president and that is give the wrong reverse meaning to words. Now they may want to operate in the same parallel universe within which the president operates when it comes to the use of English language, but we ought not to let America be deceived by this sophistry.
When the House votes, pursuant to its sole power to impeach -- to impeach -- that does not, cannot, and never will remove a president from office.
REP. : Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: It cannot. The only way a president can be removed from office --
REP. : Will the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. BARR: -- is on impeachment by the House and -- A and B -- and conviction in the Senate. It is preposterous to maintain that a vote in the House carrying out our sole and exclusive duty to impeach removes the president. It does not, will not, and never will.
We are here today exercising our sole responsibility, and we are trying to do it in a manner that lends credibility to this document. No matter how many times the other side may raise their voice, pound on the table, talk too fast for those of us from the South to understand what they're saying, the fact of the Constitution remains: impeachment is not removal from office. Impeachment is not removal from office. Impeachment is not removal from office.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield if I promise to speak slowly?
REP. BARR: Impeachment is the process laid out in the Constitution whereby the House determines that actions by the president should be decided by the Senate in a trial, the parameters of which are clearly also laid out in the Constitution whether or not he should be removed.
Now, to adopt the position of the gentleman from Massachusetts that we should not do our constitutional duty here unless we know for a certainty that the Senate will, would be akin to saying no prosecutor can seek an indictment unless he or she knows in advance that the petit jury will convict. Or that Congress, the House of Representatives, should not pass or consider a bill unless the Senate has done so first. Their argument is just that ludicrous.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: America, do not be deceived. This is the Constitution --
REP. MCCOLLUM: Can I ask unanimous consent the gentleman be given an additional two minutes?
REP. BARR: I thank the gentleman.
REP. HYDE: You certainly may. And without objection, so ordered.
REP. MCCOLLUM: I would hope that he would yield both to Mr. Frank and to me.
REP. BARR: I would be happy to in just a moment.
This is the Constitution. Its words -- and, thankfully, we did not ask the president to determine or decipher Article II, Section 2, or Article I, Section 2, or Article I, Section 3, Paragraph 6, because we would have had endless arguments over what the word "sole power" means, or the word "and" -- "impeachment for, and conviction of." I believe that we do here, at least on this side of the aisle, understand what the Constitution says.
REP. : Would the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. BARR: That is why we keep it in our drawers here, so that every once in awhile, if we need it, we can take it out, look at it, and make sure that the words are indeed still there, which is something we have to do frequently in light of the arguments made by the other side that the Constitution means something quite different.
REP. WATERS: Will the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. MCCOLLUM: Will the gentleman yield to McCollum back here?
REP. BARR: I'd be happy to yield to the gentleman from Florida.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you very much, Mr. Barr. I just want to set the record straight. I was incorrect earlier; I looked at Article I, Section 3 which does say you can't go higher than certain punishments and didn't look at Article II, Section 4 which says if the president is convicted he must be removed from office, if he is indeed convicted. But I think the fact remains that what Mr. Barr says is very accurate. When we impeach, we impeach. It also requires conviction for removal from office, but removal is automatic and I stand corrected.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield to me?
REP. BARR: What the other side is really trying to do --
REP. WATERS: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: -- they are not really misinterpreting the Constitution. What they are doing is they are making an incorrect argument, trying to reach out beyond this dais here to try and convince other members that the Constitution means something that it doesn't.
REP. WATERS: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: They are trying to give solace to those members who are grappling, as we all have had to do with this momentous question and this momentous decision. They are reaching out to them and saying, Oh, don't worry -- if you vote to impeach, you will be removing and you really don't want to do that, do you? That is what they're really trying to do.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. WATERS: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: It's a clever argument that is, though, a very disingenuous argument, and it ought not to be allowed to stand. And I'd be happy to yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman for yielding. I would ask if you have an additional minute, Mr. Chairman. And I -- he has misstated what I said. No one here has said that if you vote for this is you are removing the president. What we have said is that an indispensable step in removing the president is voting for this. In fact, the gentleman made our point. He read the Constitution.
REP. BARR: Reclaiming my time, so I am quoting the gentleman from Massachusetts correctly, and I would hope my colleagues not on this committee would hear this, that a vote to impeach is not a vote to remove the president.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: Yes.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman. He said what the Constitution says, that there are two equally important, indispensable steps to removing the president. We can take one, the Senate can take the other, and until and unless we act, the Senate can't act. So we hold the keys to that door, and I do disagree with his suggestion that an ethical prosecutor or a responsible member should vote for this if you did not think it was justified that it be conviction. I'm not saying that you have to predict the jury, but a prosecutor who indicts if he doesn't think there should be a conviction is wrong, and a member who votes for impeachment not thinking the president ought to be removed is wrong.
But the gentleman form Georgia made the point, and I said I would talk slowly, the Chairman said I was making a promise I couldn't keep, so I'm going to try now, Mr. Chairman.
The gentleman from Georgia read the Constitution correctly. There are two equally important, indispensable steps for removing the president. We can take one of them, the Senate the other. This is the indispensable step that we and we alone can take leading to the removal of the president if the Senate then takes its step, and members who do not think the president should be removed should not take that inevitable step that only we can take.
REP. WATERS (?): Will the gentleman yield?
REP. BARR: I would reclaim my time and remind those present here that they have heard something very historic today. Barney Frank and Bob Barr agree on something. Narrow --
REP. HYDE: No, I disagree.
REP. BARR: -- as the question may be.
REP. HYDE: Just a moment. I don't think that was the historical aspect of that. I think it was Mr. Frank speaking slowly. (Laughter.)
REP. BARR: A fact which I appreciate very much, coming from Georgia.
I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
REP. WATERS: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: All right, the -- who seeks recognition?
REP. LOFGREN: I do. No, I seek recognition, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Are we ready for the vote on the --
REP. WATERS: We're not -- not till we clean up this constitutional mess.
REP. HYDE: All right, Ms. -- I didn't catch that, Ms. Waters.
REP. WATERS: No, we're not ready for the vote. We've got work to do to help teach our members on the other side of the aisle what the Constitution really says, and we can't skip over this.
REP. HYDE: Oh, well, thanks so much.
REP. WATERS: You're welcome.
REP. HYDE: Yes, Ms. Lofgren now.
REP. LOFGREN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I -- just briefly on the prior point, I think it is clear that we should not vote an article of impeachment unless we believe the president ought to be impeached and removed from office for the reasons already said, but also for this. I -- once the House of Representatives votes articles of impeachment, the next job they have to do is to appoint managers. The House acts as the prosecutors and the Senate acts as the jury, and the Chief Justice acts as the judge, the presiding officer. And so if we don't think we have the evidence to go prosecute this case to get a conviction in the Senate, we should not be voting to move forward.
I also want to talk a little bit about what we're doing here. I think in some ways we are bringing this nation together today in the Judiciary Committee -- together in opposition to what we're doing. I think each day we meet to discuss this impeachment more people are waking up to the fact that it's actually going on, and most people do not want us to do it.
Today's Washington Times reports that, quote, "In voting to send the impeachment of President Clinton to the full House for a vote, the GOP has bucked the polls, the press, the conventional wisdom and the November 3rd election results." And I think that that is something that we need to take seriously.
I know that my obligation to my oath does not mean I can set aside my conscience, but it doesn't also mean that I can't take a look at what the people of this country want us to do.
You know, I'd like to ask unanimous consent to submit for the record the letter that you sent to me, Mr. Chairman, on September 21st, along with a very interesting article from Duke Law School that you cited favorably. And I'd like to quote from that article that you sent to me and recommended that I read.
On pages 1044 and 1045, the article says that: "The public's opinion in impeachment matters." It is so that what we do may be legitimate and perceived by the public we represent as legitimate. And I think that, quote: "The legitimacy of a democratic government must be established in the minds of the people. Thus, if a transfer of presidential powers to be accomplished by removal in the face of impeachment, the legitimacy of the new administration can only be assured by public recognition that the previous mandate has clearly expired."
The same article, on page 1029, that you gave to me, states that, "The impeachment process, while fundamentally political, was designed to protect the foundation of the State itself" -- and not to create a sanction for a misjudgment or to settle disputes over policy, or to substitute for the criminal law.
You know, I have listened to some great extent about the amendment that is before us. And I want to differ a little bit from some of my colleagues on the underlying thesis that the failure of the executive to respond to the House in the impeachment process itself -- should that be an article in and of itself?
And I would note that in the '74 impeachment inquiry, President Nixon's failure to provide information to the House was a ground for impeachment. And I think that is necessary and legitimate because otherwise the power of the House can never be utilized. But I would say it's only necessary and legitimate if the underlying impeachment effort itself is legitimate.
This process is illegitimate. It has not yet come up with grounds that meet our high standards in the Constitution. And I'll tell you this. On page 12, one of the questions listed by the chairman, question 42, whether or not there were additional gifts from the Black Dog, cannot possibly be grounds for removal of the president of the United States.
And I would yield back the balance of my time.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Might I, Mr. Chairman --
REP. HYDE: I thank the gentle --
REP. JACKSON LEE: -- Mr. Chairman, give the gentlelady an additional two minutes so that I can ask her a question?
REP. HYDE: You mean yield her an additional two --
REP. JACKSON LEE: No. I am asking -- she gave up her time. I wanted to ask her a question. And I'd like her --
REP. HYDE: If the gentlelady seeks additional time, she may have it.
REP. LOFGREN: I would seek an additional two minutes and yield to the gentlelady from Texas.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. JACKSON LEE: I appreciate the gentlelady because, as she has noted, she had the honor of serving as a staff person during the Watergate period. Might I ask the gentlelady, because we have had this dispute between the nexus of impeachment and removal, and comparable to a prosecutor believing in the indictment and ultimately that the person would be convicted; isn't there at least a nexus between the act of impeachment, as we need to guide our colleagues on Thursday, and the fact that we believe -- or that whoever votes for impeachment would believe that the president might be removed? Is there some nexus there?
REP. LOFGREN: Well, there's more than a nexus -- reclaiming my time -- there is no reason for the House to proceed at all if there is not a belief that the clear language within the resolution of the Articles of Impeachment should not in fact be found true by the Senate, because after the adoption of articles of impeachment, the appointment of managers to prosecute the case must come forward -- evidence, all of the evidence that will be considered by the Senate is to be presented by the House as the prosecutors to the jury, the Senate.
And so I find it rather unbelievable that having come this far, having adopted three articles and about to adopt a fourth, that some would suggest that what we are doing is really not anything. In fact, we are taking -- Mr. Barr is right, we are not removing the president -- we are taking the first step to remove the president, and we will remove the president if we appoint managers and the Senate convicts.
We should not put the country through this trauma if we do not believe that the president should be removed. And as I have said before, the idea that the president should be removed for the reasons outlined to date are in fact preposterous.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from --
REP. JACKSON LEE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I've made my case on this issue.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Arkansas, Mr. Hutchinson.
REP. HUTCHINSON: I thank the chairman.
And I wanted to come back to the motion in question. I support the substitute offered by Mr. Gekas, and I wanted to address that for a moment. I would have had trouble supporting Article IV without this amendment that would delete paragraphs one, two and three. But I say that not to diminish the significance or the substantiality of the evidence in regard to those three areas. One of them is the president deceived and lied to the American public. I think that is extraordinarily serious any time that happens. Obviously, there's no question that it did happen. It is wrong. but I do not believe that should be included in this article of impeachment on abuse of office.
The second part, that the president frivolously asserted executive privilege -- I believe that he did do that. I believe that it was a delay tactic. I do not believe that it was appropriate. I believe it was abusive of congressional responsibilities or in the investigation. And so I think that it was wrong. But in countervailing to that, he did drop the assertion after a period of time, and the witnesses eventually become available. And so for those reasons, even though I believe it was an abuse, I do not believe it should be included in this article of impeachment.
Thirdly, lying to the aides -- I believe that this is extraordinarily relevant and significant in terms of proving intent and a pattern of conduct on behalf of the president supporting obstruction of justice and the other false statements that are recited in the other articles. And so even though I'm delighted that they're being deleted, I do not think we should diminish the significance of those.
Now let me address what remains, that I believe is critically important, and that is the president's responses to Congress on the 81 questions. I just wanted to refer to three of them very specifically.
One of them is question number 20. And you have to perceive this with what was testified to in the deposition Paula Jones. And the question to the president was: "Did she tell you that she had been served with a subpoena in this case?" The answer was "No." And he says, "I don't know if she had been." It's a very clear statement.
But the question by Congress to the president: "Did you admit or deny that you gave false and misleading testimony under oath when you stated during the deposition in the Jones case that you did not know if Monica Lewinsky had been subpoenaed to testify in that case?" A very simple question calling for a very simple answer.
The president's answer: "It is evident from my testimony, on pages 69 through 70 of the deposition, that I did know on January 17, 1998 that Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed in the Jones case. Ms. Jones' lawyer's question: `Did you talk to Mr. Lindsey about what action, if any, should be taken as a result of her being served with a subpoena?' and my response, `No' reflected my understanding that Ms. Lewinsky had been subpoenaed. That testimony was not false and misleading."
Listen, you have to have -- you have to study that a long time. It's a simple question, but the answer is so convoluted, and I believe is, in fact, false and misleading.
I would also refer to question number 26. "Did you admit or deny on or about December 28, 1997, you discussed with Betty Currie gifts previously given by you to Monica Lewinsky?" His answer: "I do not recall any conversation with Ms. Currie on or about December 18, 1997 about gifts I had previously given to Ms. Lewinsky. I never told Ms. Currie to take possession of gifts I'd given to Ms. Lewinsky. I understand Ms. Currie has stated that Ms. Lewinsky called Ms. Currie to ask her to hold a box."
I believe that that is a false -- an intentionally false statement that the president has provided. Monica Lewinsky's testimony, of course, substantiates that; the telephone records substantiating what Monica Lewinsky says. But also, it is unreasonable, it is unreasonable that Betty Currie, an employee of the president of the United States, would go and retrieve gifts that are under a subpoena in a lawsuit affecting her boss in which he is the defendant, without the president authorizing the retrieval of those gifts. So I believe that that is a false statement.
And then you go on to question number 42, and you have to lay the foundation for this as well.
The question that was asked of the president in the deposition of Paula Jones was, Question: Well, have you ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky? Answer: I don't recall. Do you know what they were?
Now, the question from Congress was, "Did you admit or deny that when asked on January 17, 1998, in your deposition in the case of Jones v. Clinton if you had ever given gifts to Monica Lewinsky you stated that you did not recall, even though you actually had knowledge of giving her gifts in addition to gifts from The Black Dog." His answer, which I believe is false: "In my grand jury testimony, I was asked about this same statement. I explained that my full response was 'I don't recall, do you know what they were?' By that answer I did not mean to suggest that I not recall giving gifts. Rather, I meant that I did not recall what the gifts were and I asked for reminders." I believe that is a false statement going back to his original question in the deposition which was "Have you ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky?" His answer: "I don't recall."
REP. NADLER: Will the gentleman yield for a question?
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. WATERS: (Off mike) -- unanimous consent request.
REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, I'd ask for unanimous consent that the --
REP. : Objection.
REP. NADLER: -- gentleman be given two additional minutes so he can answer a question?
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. FRANK: Thank you, would the gentleman yield?
REP. HUTCHINSON: Certainly, for a question.
REP. NADLER: It is a question. Or it will be a question. Thank you. Yes, you just said that --
REP. HUTCHINSON: Will you take two minutes for this question? (Chuckles.)
REP. NADLER: No, that's not my purpose. You just said that "by that -- " the president, rather, said, "by that answer I did not mean to suggest that I did not recall giving gifts. Rather, I meant that I did not recall what the gifts were and I asked for reminders." You just quoted that and you said you believe that that was a perjurious statement. So you're saying that the president's characterization of his state of mind was a false statement. My question is, how do you know that? What's the evidence for your statement that his characterization of his state of mind was false?
REP. HUTCHINSON: My statement is that I believe the answer to question number 42 is false and misleading. Whenever the question is asked whether he admits or denies that in your deposition, whether he had given any gift to Monica Lewinsky you stated you did not recall, even though he actually had knowledge of giving her gifts. And his answer, "I was asked about this same statement in the grand jury testimony. I explained that my full response was, "I don't recall. Do you know what they were?"
And then he says, "I do not mean to suggest that I did not recall giving gifts; rather, I meant that I did not recall what the gifts were."
The answer is -- I believe that is what is the false statement because the question is very clear. He is a very brilliant person. When the question is, "Well, have you ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky, his answer is "I don't recall." That is responsive to --
REP. NADLER: No, his answer is "I don't recall. Do you know what they were?" -- which seems to imply that he knows gifts were given, he doesn't recall which ones they were referring to.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Well, if you want to accept the twisted, confusing answer of the president as being truthful, then you certainly have the right. But I believe that if you presented this to a jury of common-sense people in America, perhaps outside the beltway, as Mr. Coble referenced, I think they would understand very clearly that the president of the United States is not being truthful and responsive and respectful to the Congress of the United States.
I yield back.
REP. HYDE: Are we ready for the question?
REP. WATERS: Oh, Mr. Chairman, I have a unanimous consent request.
REP. HYDE: The gentlelady will state her unanimous consent request.
REP. WATERS: I am requesting that Mr. Delahunt be allowed to orally put on the record one more time the conclusive evidence of the telephone call and the time of it so that my colleagues can stop distorting the record about that telephone call on Ms. Betty Currie's bill!
REP. HYDE: Well, Mr. Delahunt has already spoken to that issue, and --
REP. WATERS: No, my colleagues don't know that because he just incorrectly -- unless he was lying, said that -- said that there was evidence based on the telephone record that the president had lied. Now either he knows better or he needs to be reminded.
REP. HYDE: Well, frankly, I'd rather recommend Mr. Meehan -- I mean, not recommend, I'd rather recognize him, but if Mr. Delahunt wants the time --
REP. DELAHUNT: I'll defer to Mr. Meehan.
REP. HYDE: Very well.
REP. MEEHAN: Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. MEEHAN: Well, Mr. Chairman, we really can see now that we're headed in a direction that I think started yesterday, Mr. Chairman, as we closed, with your comments, basically saying to the American people, "We want you all to know impeachment is not the removal of the president." And then listening to some of my Republican colleagues here, they seem to be rushing to say the same thing -- even Mr. Barr, who has to be as aggressive as anyone in terms of wanting to get rid of this president, went out of his way to say impeachment doesn't mean the president is removed.
Mr. McCollum, although he has corrected the record, even made the statement that even if the Senate were to convict, it doesn't mean the president is going to be removed. And now since Mr. McCollum has come forward and said, "Well, okay, I stand corrected on that."
But as I read Mr. -- I think it was Wednesday -- and the Sun Times' newspaper articles don't have it right, but Mr. McCollum can correct it if it isn't right -- but the other day in the New York Times Mr. McCollum said, quote, "Impeachment would satisfy those who believe the president should be branded and given the scarlet letter," end quote.
Now I don't know if that's accurate or not, but I know that on "Face the Nation" earlier, Mr. McCollum also said, quote, "Impeachment would be the ultimate censure, the ultimate scarlet letter," end quote.
REP. MCCOLLUM: If the gentleman will yield, I did say that, and I do believe that would be true, whether he were convicted in the Senate or not. And I think it's appropriate.
REP. MEEHAN: But I think that's -- and I appreciate that, and that's an important point to make. So apparently the Republicans, many of them on this committee, view impeachment as the ultimate censure, the ultimate scarlet letter. Let's brand the president. Even the maker of this motion, Mr. Gekas, also said recently, quoted recently, "If the committee reports out a resolution for impeachment and it fails to pass the House floor, I believe he's still been censured."
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not about branding the president or a scarlet letter to the president. You're going to have an opportunity to censure the president. It's coming up in the Democratic proposal that will be offered after you vote to impeach the president, that is, to send over to the Senate removal from office. You'll have an opportunity to vote for censure. Let's see if you really want to vote for censure.
But these members, to try to have the American people believe that impeachment somehow isn't impeachment -- it just doesn't wash. It doesn't fly. Nobody's buying it.
If you want to punish the president or brand the president or scarlet letters or stamp him on his forehead, censure is the way to do that.
You know, I talk to people in Massachusetts -- Republicans, Democrats, independents. They say, "Why are they doing this? Why push it this way? It's clear the president should be punished, censured. Get it over with. They just lost five seats in the House; they were supposed to pick up 25. It's because of the way impeachment was handled. Why are they doing this?" Sixty-five to 70 percent of the American people say, "Don't do this. Censure the president. Punish him. Get it over with. Why are they doing it?"
And I hear Mr. Inglis and Mr. McCollum say -- keep bringing up Watergate, as if somehow lying about clearly consensual sex is the same as paying a hundred thousand dollars cash to keep those guys quiet that did the break-in, or abusing the CIA or abusing the FBI, abusing the IRS to go after your political enemies; that somehow they are on equal footing.
Nobody believes that.
But I heard Mr. McCollum say: "Well, we have an obstruction-of- justice charge, just like Watergate. It's just like Watergate. You guys had an obstruction-of-justice charge; we have one.
"Abuse of power. Well, there was an abuse of power in Watergate, so we have an 'abuse of power.' That's what we are doing, what you did in Watergate.
"False statement. This is just like Watergate. Nixon was accused of false statement. We threw in perjury."
Is that what this is all about, Watergate? Is this get-even time? You want to punish the president, you want to brand him, you want to censure him. We are going to have an opportunity to do that. But in the interest of the Constitution of the United States, let's do it constitutionally. Let's censure him when we bring up censure, after this impeachment article. We can brand the president that way.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. MEEHAN: It is simply not -- I'll yield.
REP. MCCOLLUM: I simply think that this is not comparable to Watergate. I have never suggested that it was. I think that Watergate is --
REP. MEEHAN: Well, taking back my time, I just simply was pointing out that you made the statement: "This is obstruction of justice in this case, just like Watergate. You had an abuse-of-power article in Watergate; well, we have one. Well, we have perjury. Or you had a 'false statement' in Watergate; we are just doing the same thing."
It's not the same thing. No one in America believes it's the same thing. This isn't abuse of the CIA; this isn't looking up to find out the IRS records. This isn't about abusing the head of the FBI and saying: "We have got to call over to the FBI. We are going to get those records. We are going to investigate Ted Kennedy and George McGovern and anybody else we can."
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time --
REP. MEEHAN: That's not what this is about.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. MEEHAN: I would request one more minute, and perhaps Mr. McCollum has another. Could I get one more minute so Mr. McCollum could --
REP. HYDE: If you wish, if Mr. McCollum wants --
REP. MCCOLLUM: Yes. If I could, I'd like to respond. Thank you very much.
I simply want to say that I think the Watergate model is like David Broder discussed yesterday; it is a model. It was very serious. You don't have to reach the same level that Richard Nixon did or Watergate did to find impeachable offenses. But we do have some similarities, and that's what I pointed out. And I believe there are similarities. But I don't think we should diminish the importance of what we are doing today or the crimes the president, I think, has committed by suggesting that --
REP. MEEHAN: Reclaiming --
REP. MCCOLLUM: -- they didn't rise to the level of Watergate.
REP. MEEHAN: Reclaiming my time, I would just say that you are going to have an opportunity for the "scarlet letter," for the branding of the president, for the ultimate censure of the president, when we vote for censure.
But vote for the censure if that's what you want to do. If you want to punish the president for his behavior, as we do, vote for the censure.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. MEEHAN: I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Chabot.
REP. CHABOT: Thank you.
I agree with some of what my Democratic colleagues have said here this morning. I can only speak for myself, but I would not have voted for articles of impeachment if I hadn't been convinced, after thoroughly reviewing all of the evidence here in this committee, that the president deserves to be removed from office.
But this talk of a coup, this terminology that we're turning over a national election is just not true. As Mr. Rogan, my colleague from California, so accurately stated last night, the president took an oath of office, after he was elected, and he stated, and I quote, "I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States and will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." That's what he swore to do, to defend the Constitution of the United States.
But then, on a number of other occasions, he took another oath. He raised his right hand, and he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help him God. And then he turned around and he lied and he perjured himself, and when he did that, when he broke that second oath, he broke the first oath, the oath that he took to this country. And that's why we're here today, that's why this president is facing impeachment.
And remember, he's the chief law enforcement officer of this country -- the chief law enforcement officer -- although the article of impeachment that we're considering right now relates to the 81 questions he answered. In the very first question that he was asked in these -- legally they're called requests for admission -- the very first question he was asked is, "Do you admit or deny that you are the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America?" Yes or no would be probably the appropriate answer one would expect.
That's not the answer we got. Here's the answer that the Congress got. I'll read it fast because it's pretty long.
"The president is frequently referred to as the chief law enforcement officer. Although nothing in the Constitution specifically designates the president as such, Article II, Section I of the United States Constitution states that, quote, 'the executive power shall be vested in a president of the United States,' unquote, and the law enforcement function is a component of the executive power.
Article II, Section III of the United States Constitution states in part that the president shall, quote, "take care that the laws be faithfully executed." Unquote.
Article II, Section II, Clause I of the Constitution vests the entire executive branch of the government, which includes the United States Department of Justice, in the president. He authorizes, through the attorney general, all prosecutions brought on behalf of the people of the United States in carrying out his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Now, a simple answer would have been Yes. Is that impeachable? Of course not. There are many other of the other 80 answers which are the actual impeachable offenses. This does go to show a little bit why, in his own defense attorney's terminology the other day, he described the president's answers oftentimes as "maddening." I find that answer maddening. Not impeachable, but maddening.
Now, we should not understate the importance of what this committee is doing by passing articles of impeachment. I would agree with that. This moves the possible removal of a president from office from this committee to the full House, where a vote is likely to take place next week, and if that vote is in the affirmative, then it will go to the Senate for a trial, and it takes two-thirds of the senators to actually remove a president from office.
But let's not overstate what we're doing, as we've heard a number of times here this morning from some of my Democratic colleagues on the committee. I would strongly encourage my colleagues over there to stop using this inflammatory language like "coup" and "coup d'etat" which brings to mind visions of blood flowing in the streets. For 220 years, we've been a nation of laws buttressed by a sacred Constitution, a Constitution which, I believe, sadly, that this president has violated.
And as unpleasant as this matter is that we're facing, and that this nation is facing right now, we are a very strong nation and we will overcome these unfortunate circumstances. I have the utmost faith in this country, although, unfortunately, I've lost a tremendous amount of faith in this particular president.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Scott, the gentleman from Virginia.
REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, the matter before us is the amendment, technically an amendment at this point, and it's a difficult vote because voting for this amendment to strike one or two of the elements out of this article suggests that this last one has some kind of additional substance that the others didn't have. I don't want to give that impression, when I vote to strike out the others, that I agree with this last one.
Mr. Chairman, we're talking about these questions that you say "we sent." Mr. Chairman, I didn't know the questions were being sent until I found out they had been sent, by the news media. I found out when the deadline for the response was when I got that in the media. So I don't want anyone to think that I said anything to do with these questions. The gentleman from Ohio read the first question and answer and suggested how insulted he was with the answer.
Mr. Chairman, who is the chief law enforcement office of Washington, D.C.?
Is it the mayor? Is it the chief of police? Is it the prosecutor? I introduced some evidence, a newspaper article from last Sunday, that identified the second highest ranking law enforcement official in the state of Delaware and identified that chief deputy attorney general, suggesting it wasn't the governor, but the attorney general who is the chief law enforcement officer of Delaware.
And so we have an answer to the question, and you have to answer it precisely, as the president did, because you know that when you send in these answers, you're going to be charged with perjury. You know that. So you better answer it precisely, and that precise answer is just what he gave. And really, what difference -- what was the significance of the question to begin with?
Mr. Chairman, we find ourselves with this article at the end of a process that began with the Starr report, which we released without reading it, never calling a fact witness to reconcile conflicts in testimony. Instead, we resolved all conflicts and took all inferences in the way most damaging to the president. If there was a conflict in testimony, therefore the president lied each and every time. We even used normally improper theories of evidence. I've heard of challenging evidence by finding prior inconsistent statements that have been made, but I've never seen any way to corroborate testimony by pointing out prior consistent statements.
I was amazed when the majority called the prosecutor as the sole fact witness. We've been charged with not asking him questions about the facts. We did ask he questions about the facts. He said he didn't know anything, first hand or second hand or sometimes not even third hand, about the relevant facts in this matter.
We were not given the opportunity to call rebuttal witnesses. The record will reflect, on a party-line vote, we rejected the motion which would have given the Democrats the opportunity to call witnesses as soon as the committee decided which allegations we were actually going to pursue. And that was not an unreasonable request. What allegations are we pursuing, because Mr. Starr started off with 11, came back with 10. Mr. Schippers, the Republican counsel, said maybe 15. The next day, the chairman said two or three.
As we have been proceeding, the scope has expanded into Kathleen Willey, into campaign finance. The gentleman from Arkansas listed another statement that he thought was perjurious just in the last couple of days. Mr. Graham did the same thing. Even after all of the rebuttal had taken place, after our counsel had spoken, after Mr. Ruff had spoken, the Republican counsel added on some new, unnamed charges. And so this impeachment thing has been a moving target.
We just asked for the specific allegations so that we could call witnesses. We were denied.
Mr. Chairman, the Democrats began this process by offering to work in bipartisan fashion, by suggesting a step-by-step, orderly process to evaluate the evaluations in a fair, focused and deliberate process. But that suggestion was rejected on a party-line vote.
And so this article of impeachment, which is totally out of proportion to whatever President Clinton may have done, let's look at what -- when Speaker Gingrich was found to have lied, he was not disqualified, he was reelected. Impeachment is totally out of proportion, particularly when you consider the added statement that the president not only warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office, but "disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States." That additional language was not mentioned in the Watergate Articles of Impeachment, so we are -- history will suggest that we thought what President Clinton did was worse than what happened in Watergate.
These are flimsy allegations supported by conflicting hearsay statements and dubious inferences. And here we find that we have to -- Mr. Chairman, could I have to additional minutes?
REP. HYDE: Without objection.
REP. SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Chairman, we need to compare these allegations to what is an impeachable offense anyway, and why do we have impeachment. We have impeachment to protect against the subversion of government. We found in Watergate that a half-million-dollar tax fraud was not a subversion of government. We only have the authority to remove the president for a commission of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Our experts told us to focus on that word "other" -- things like treason and bribery. And so some of us were surprised to hear the Republican counsel say that if we don't impeach the president, only convicted felons and traitors need to be afraid of impeachment. Well that's what the Constitution says.
REP. : (Laughs disbelievingly.)
REP. SCOTT: That's what the Constitution says, that you do not have the legal authority, under the rule of law, to try to remove the president unless there is treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
I was also amazed to find at the end of the process we have to debate whether or not the conviction in the Senate would result in the removal of the president. We kind of had to go back and forth. And I think we found out that upon conviction, the Senate can either remove the president from office, or remove him and disqualify him from further offices, but he has to be removed.
And so as we vote on this article, we're facing allegations which are not impeachable offenses, which are presented to us by way of contradictory hearsay and dubious inferences and assumptions, and after we have violated fundamental principles of fairness and decency in a partisan proceeding. I will vote no when this article comes up.
REP. HYDE: I thank the gentleman.
The distinguished gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Lindsey Graham.
REP. LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SC): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I certainly respect Mr. Scott's right to vote no, based on what he feels to be insufficient evidence, unfair proceeding, and doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. I just happen to disagree with him on all counts.
I do believe, Mr. Chairman, that there is ample testimony from which you can make a logical conclusion on each and every article, based on evidence given under oath. And I would refer back to Mr. Lowell's rather dramatic presentation during his summary to the committee, which I think was well done. Many times he would say, "I now call" so-and-so "to the stand." And he would, by illustration, get the sworn testimony and refer to it. And the idea that the committee has denied the president or the members of the other side a chance to address the factual allegations by calling witnesses they believe can help clarify matters I reject. I don't believe it's true. And it's time to move on, I believe, to what the real heart of the matter is with Article IV.
Imagine a (sic) oath tree. This is how the president has climbed the oath tree:
The first time he violated his oath was in a litigation matter with a young lady, a former government employee, Paula Jones -- government employee of the state of Arkansas. He chose, in my opinion, to lie in his deposition, to her legal detriment -- a single individual, exercising her constitutional rights to have her day in court.
I agreed with the Democratic friends on the other side that because the deposition was dismissed, I would give the president the legal benefit of the doubt. However, I do believe he gave false testimony.
Second time that he abused the oath, in my opinion, was who -- when he went in front of 23 or so fellow citizens who were sitting as a federal grand jury down the street. I think he willfully lied about important matters relating back to Mrs. Jones' lawsuit and lied about important matters concerning his criminal misconduct to hide the truth.
He lied then, Mr. Chairman, after he was begged basically, by members of both parties and prominent Americans: "Do not go into the grand jury and tell another lie. You are risking your presidency. That would be bad. That would be an impeachable offense."
The third time, I believe, the president violated his oath, the group then he harmed was the Congress of the United States because I believe, Mr. Chairman, that after he lied in the deposition in January, after he continued to lie in August to the federal grand jury, the final insult was that the president lied to the United States Congress, the House of Representatives, the body closest to the people.
The argument is that we don't understand what you're talking about -- I think, for lack of a better word -- is wrong. We know what we're all talking about here. They have made an elaborate presentation of the president's side of the story about each and every matter contained in these questions.
They go to the heart of the matter, and I would just refer to one, question 52: "Do you admit or deny that on January 18th, 1998, at or about 5:00 p.m., you had a meeting with Betty Currie at which you made statements similar to any of the following regarding your relationship with Ms. Monica Lewinsky: One" -- this is scenario where he was trying to refresh his memory after the deposition because he thought some press reports would be coming -- "'You're always there when she was there, right? We were never really alone?' Two, 'You could see and hear everything.' Three" -- it gets bizarre now, in my opinion - "'Monica came on to me, and I never touched her, right?' Four, 'She wanted to have sex with me, and I couldn't do that.'" -- the most bizarre of all statements under the idea of refreshing your memory.
Mr. Chairman, I believe that those statements were made, as Ms. Currie recounts. I believe that the president's answer to the interrogatory, which says, "When I met with Ms. Currie, I believe that I asked her certain questions in an effort to get as much information as quickly as I could and made certain statements, although I do not remember exactly what I said" -- and it goes on to say that he was trying to recall or refresh his memory and that, when she was going to go to the grand jury, he said, "Just relax, go in there, and tell the truth."
I believe that his response, where he says that "I was just talking to her to refresh my memory, get as much information as possible" is absolutely false, not based on any common-sense interpretation of what was going on at the time, and that he did, in fact, just as recently as a few weeks ago, chose to violate his oath again, this time to the House of Representatives, the people's house. That, to me, Mr. Chairman, is very much an impeachable offense.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Watt.
REP. WATT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I've been doing two things this morning, and I want to try to address both of them because I think two things have been going on. I've been trying to listen very carefully to the debate in the committee, and I have been trying to look very quickly at the amendment that was offered by Mr. Gekas to try to decide how I feel about that amendment, and I'd like to address both of those things because I've been very fascinated by the debate that has been taking place here in the committee and the effort by some of my colleagues to minimize the importance of what we are doing here today and what the House will do, and what our role in the impeachment process is.
I think that part of the debate is basically spin control that we usually do out in the press gallery, and my perception is -- and I'm not accusing anybody of this, I'm just giving you my perception -- is that it is an attempt by some of my colleagues to be in a position to say in April, May and June, and July of next year, when things are going on in the Senate, and the question then is going on in the Senate about what body parts were touched, and how salacious this was, and the details of the trial that must be had, some of my colleagues, I believe -- based on the discussion that we've had today -- will say, "Well, we didn't have anything to do with that."
And I've seen a lot of that in this committee by the refusal to add the kind of specificity which the law requires when you allege perjury. That's a legal allegation and there are some legal consequences that go with it when you allege it. The law says if you allege it, you've got to specify the specific statements that you believe constitute the perjury. And in order to do that here, we would have to get into the same kind of details that Mr. Starr got into in his referral, which the American people don't like, and my colleagues don't want to be saddled with that responsibility.
And now they are spinning this in such a way that when that trial takes place in the Senate -- and that must be done -- they can say "Well, oh no, that's the senators that are doing that. We didn't have anything to do with that." That's an unfortunate spin because we can't get through the door to the Senate unless we send it out of here and give them the keys to deal with that.
That's the first part of what I wanted to say. The second part has to do with the amendment that is before the committee, because I've been vexing about whether to support it or not, and I could do one of three things: I could vote for it, I could vote against it, or I could just say pass. And there are good, valid arguments to do either one of those three things.
REP. GEKAS: Mr. Chairman, I ask that the gentleman be given an additional 1-1/2 minutes.
REP. WATT: My time isn't even out yet, Mr. Gekas. finish --
REP. GEKAS: There you go. (Laughter.)
REP. WATT: Now that he's used a half a minute of my time, Mr. Chairman, I would ask unanimous consent for three additional minutes. (Laughter.)
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is granted three additional minutes.
REP. WATT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, because I really do want to talk about the amendment that's before us, not the spin machine that's going on here. If I vote for this amendment, and I may, I want to be clear that I would be voting for it only because it is less ridiculous than the original article that is in the original bill that was presented here. So I'd be voting for it on the less ridiculous theory.
If I just said pass -- and I guess I have some responsibility to vote for things that are less ridiculous. I don't endorse them if I do that; I just say they are marginally better than what we started off with, and I want to improve what we're doing. If I took a pass and said, "I just pass," I would be acknowledging, as my colleague, Mr. Frank, has indicated, that if you're charged with murder and you've got four bullets and three of them are going to kill you anyway and you strike those three and the fourth one is going to kill you anyway, you're going to be just as dead. So, you know, what difference does it make whether we've got four charges, four subcharges or one subcharge here?
I think this article, the amendment just summarizes everything that was in the first three articles. It doesn't add anything. This whole notion that the president assumed to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the House's power is what we do all the time. I second-guess what the president does all the time. He second-guesses what we do all the time. If you strip that part of it out, you wouldn't have anything other than that he committed perjurious, false and misleading statements, which is the same thing that we covered in articles one and two that have already been voted for.
So unless we're going to set some precedent that every time the president disagrees with us, he takes upon himself some extraordinary function that we, in an equal branch, disagree with him on, I don't understand the article. I mean, I just think it's ridiculous. I'm still vexing about which one of these options to pursue. And I guess by the time we get around to voting, I will decide. But if I do vote for this, I do want the record to understand that it's not because I'm endorsing this article. It's just because I think it's less ridiculous than the original article that we started off with.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I yield back the balance.
REP. HYDE: Thank you, sir. The question occurs on the amendment --
REP. : Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Who -- oh, Mr. Rogan. Very well. Five minutes.
REP. ROGAN: Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word. I'm waiting for my cue, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Oh, I'm sorry. I automatically yielded you five minutes.
REP. ROGAN: My deference to the chair requires me to wait for my cue.
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Chairman, if my memory -- and I would be happy to seek a unanimous request, or unanimous consent request, that Mr. Rogan be given additional time, but it is my memory that he's already spoken on this issue.
REP. ROGAN: That is not correct.
REP. HYDE: We understand he has been yielded time but has never used his five-minute turn. So the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. ROGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The primary purpose for our being here today is to debate, discuss and vote upon a pending issue of great constitutional and historical significance. But there is a by-product from our debate today. It is the opportunity to educate America as to the function of what we are doing and, in fact, educate America as to the framers intended our function to be.
REP. GRAHAM: Excuse me. I hate to interrupt the gentleman from California. Would you yield to me for one moment, please?
REP. ROGAN: I'm happy to yield to my colleague.
REP. GRAHAM: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, I have a matter I think is appropriate to take up at this time, in this area of discussion about abuse of power. And I would like to inform the committee of something I think is disturbing. There is a member of Congress from Arkansas, Mr. Jay Dickey, who I think is trying to search his conscience and vote in a manner consistent with the best interest of the nation. Being from the home state of the president, I know that's got to be very difficult.
This article -- I believe it is in today's paper, the Arkansas Democratic Gazette -- is titled "Pressure Mounts on Fence-Sitting Dickey." I'd like to read an excerpt. "The White House feels some confidence that despite pressure from the Republican leadership, Dickey can be persuaded to vote against impeachment. 'If Jay Dickey votes to impeach the president, it's probably an indication he will not run for re-election in 2000,' one White House aide said. 'It's suicide, and we will make sure it is.'"
Mr. Chairman, I think this needs to stop. I understand what the article is about and I understand the general idea of abuse of power now that we're down to the 81 questions. But I think it is important to know that this behavior, if true, is certainly out of line. And I will yield back to the gentleman from California.
REP. WATT: Will the gentleman from California yield?
REP. ROGAN: I yield to my colleague so that he may respond.
REP. WATT: I -- well, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to do this on your time. Let me just yield back to you. I think I need independent time to respond to Mr. Graham, because I'm really troubled by the last two or three days of grandstanding that we have gotten out of this, and I'm getting a little perturbed by it.
REP. ROGAN: I'm happy to yield to the gentleman if he wishes to pose a question to the gentleman from South Carolina.
REP. WATT: I'll get time later. I'll take care of it, and maybe I'll feel differently if I simmer down. I'll just yield back to the gentleman.
REP. : Mr. Chairman --
REP. ROGAN: Mr. Chairman --
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman from California wish any more time?
REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, I would ask that his time totally be restored.
REP. HYDE: All right. The gentleman from California's five minutes will be restored.
REP. ROGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank my friend from Virginia.
Mr. Chairman, the point I was starting to make is that during the course of debate on this particular article, a few constitutional issues have arisen that some of my friends on the other side have taken issue with. One is the constitutional role of the House of Representatives in an impeachment inquiry. The second is the validity of some members of the majority to point out the beneficial effect of the role of impeachment with respect to how that might deter an otherwise errant president in the future. And the third is whether it is appropriate for us to pursue articles of impeachment without a guarantee that we would be able to successfully pass an impeachment bill in the Senate.
Professor of constitutional law Jonathan Turley must have been prescient, because just last week in an article he addressed all three of these issues in a few paragraphs, and I'd like to read them into the record. First, with respect to the role of the House, he quite clearly indicated that "Impeachment and removal are distinct issues given to distinct houses of Congress. Impeachment simply means the referral of accusations to the Senate, which is given the sole authority to try such issues. Thus the House does not convict but merely accuses.
In performing this accusatory function, the House plays an important role in deterring presidential misconduct. That is not a minimization, Mr. Chairman, of the role of the House. It is a recognition of the constitutional role of the House.
Far more serious is the suggestion that this House should not act in the face of presidential misconduct, unless we can have a guarantee from the Senate that we have the votes to convict. Imagine the absurdity of suggesting that no criminal trial could be filed anywhere in the country, unless there was sufficient guarantee from the jury pool that they would vote to convict the defendant charged with murder, or rape or some other heinous crime. That's ridiculous.
But Professor Turley in even stronger societal terms. He said "Imagine if a grand jury, which performs a role similar to the House, refused to indict a defendant based on the likely outcome of the case. In the South, many prosecutors used this amoral argument to explain why they would not prosecute cases involving black victims and white killers. Prosecutors simply argued that a jury would not convict, and therefore there was no point in bringing a case. Yet it was a greater loss to the system not to force the question, not to call those responsible to the bar of justice. Otherwise, only those felons who are unpopular are brought to justice in a system of pure moral relativism."
Now, that was an argument that he put forward from a dark period of our history that we have moved far from, and we all celebrate that movement. I don't want to see us step into the same type of constitutional quagmire that some regions in the past were in and had to bring such a black mark upon the civil liberty history of our country.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I must say that one dear friend of mine on the other side spoke with a disparaging tone in his voice, about another member's motivation when he suggested that impeachment is also a legitimate role to deter wrongful conduct in a president who might otherwise be so disposed to act wrongfully.
His quarrel is not with any member of the majority in Congress today. If he has a quarrel, his quarrel is with James Airedale, one of the founders of our country. Framer James Airedale spoke of the importance of the House impeachment authority as a deterrent. Airedale explained that while a president may be a man of no principle, the very terror of punishment will perhaps deter him.
Impeachment, Professor Turley concludes, is the process by which presidential misconduct is detected and defined within the constitutional system.
Now, Mr. Chairman, I've become used to seeing quarrels raised in this committee with everybody responsible for trying to hold the president accountable. Quarrels have been raised with Judge Starr, with the chairman, with individuals members of this committee and the majority party of this committee collectively. But this is the first time I've seen a case-by-case quarrel with the concept of the Constitution and the document of the Constitution itself. There is nothing pernicious about simply reading from the Constitution, and stating that which is so, and using the opportunity that we have in this great historical debate, to educate the public on the meaning of the Constitution, as well as our responsibility to the Constitution.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. Does the gentleman from Massachusetts seek recognition?
REP. DELAHUNT: I seek recognition, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes. I thank the chairman. I want to pick up on the point by Mr. Rogan, about the process of a prosecutor. And I really don't believe that he would disagree with me when I say that the ethical prosecutor would not bring a case unless he was convinced of the likelihood of a conviction.
And I dare say there is nobody on the other side, who has voted for an article of impeachment, who does not believe -- and I think this is the important point to make -- who does not believe that the president of the United States should be removed from office; not just simply impeached, but be removed from office.
I'm confident that every member here is abiding by the dictates of his conscience. But I also think it's important for the American people to know, that when a member of this committee votes on an article of impeachment, that he believes or she believes it's not simply the standard of probable cause, but it's because of a conviction that President Clinton should be removed from office. That's what this is about. That's what this is about.
And I hear no response. But if there's any member on the other side that believes that the president should not be removed from office, I'd like to hear from them.
REP. CANNON: If I can --
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Cannon.
REP. CANNON: I'd like to associate myself with that standard. I believe that that is what a Congressman should be doing when he votes.
REP. DELAHUNT: Thank you, Mr. Cannon. And I think that's the point. That these votes are votes by people who think that the president of the United States should be removed from office. Not just simply impeached.
REP. CANNON: Will the gentleman yield? This is --
REP. DELAHUNT: I will at a later point in time.
REP. CANNON: Let me -- just to --
REP. DELAHUNT: I just want to make another point.
REP. CANNON: -- make a distinction there?
REP. DELAHUNT: I just want to make some other points, and I'm sure you'll be able to pick up some time from colleagues on your side. You know, also too, this process has become very, very disturbing, because again, in my prior life, I was a prosecutor. And many prosecutors would overcharge for leverage purposes, to secure some advantage, and then drop some charges.
But I'm sure the gentleman from Pennsylvania is acting in good faith. In fact, I know he has. Stop and think of what we were about to do, before the gentleman's motion. We were going to impeach the president of the United States for lying to the American people.
Well, we could have done it retroactively, that Lyndon Johnson, in terms of what this House did with the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which lead to a war that claimed 54,000 American lives. Or we could have impeached President Eisenhower, when he stood up and lied to the American people About the U-2 incident. But we didn't. We exercised judgment.
But what we've got here, is an amendment which takes away the absurdity of what was originally proposed, and tries to make it reasonable. This isn't even about abuse of process now. It's about perjury, and it doesn't really belong separate and standing in a distinct article. And if we were really going to be fair, we would incorporate this final clause, in one of the articles dealing with the issue of perjury, either Article 1 or Article 2.
So, I will support the gentleman's amendment. But you know, here we were, not even on the eve but the day of the debate. And Mr. Gekas has courageously spoken out about this. But two days ago, we were presented with an article that was so absurd, it would have created -- it would have created an imbalance among the three coordinate branches of government, it would have created an assault by Congress on the Constitution.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time --
REP. DELAHUNT: It would have created a system of constitutional tyranny.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Bryant.
REP. ED BRYANT (R-TN): Move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Mr. Bryant, would you allow me just a very brief moment of personal privilege?
REP. BRYANT: I certainly will.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I thank you very much. Mr. Chairman, I thank first of all Mr. Bryant. He happens to be my floor-mate and I thank you for indulging me. My stomach is settled a little bit now, with the words of my good friend from South Carolina. I just wanted to comment very briefly. I know Mr. Dickey, I have great respect for him.
REP. BRYANT: Where's the personal privilege?
REP. JACKSON-LEE: I think it would do well for all us to just restate during this process that we all will be voting our conscience, our heart, and, hopefully, the facts and the Constitution. I don't know how much service it might --
REP. BRYANT: This is not a point of personal privilege.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: -- have been to any of us -- and I'll finish, Mr. Bryant -- that we raise these issues in the committee, but I hope that all of us, however we talk to members --
REP. BRYANT: Mr. Chairman, point of order.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: -- will do so in conscience and with our hearts. thank you, Mr. Bryant.
REP. HYDE: Thank the gentlelady, and Mr. Bryant, I've restored your five minutes.
REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you.
REP. BRYANT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'm reminded of the biblical quote, and I try to practice it as often as I can in my life, to be quick to listen and slow to speak and slow to anger. And I think that would be something that we could all do a better job of in this committee -- certainly on the "slow to speak" -- we could get this done. We probably should have voted on this amendment some time ago but as you can see, we've diverted from the merits of the amendment and talked and talked and talked about issues we've beaten to death, but certainly that's part of this process and it is a very serious process.
But once you peel away all the package and you continue to take the papers out and you take out the attacks on Kenneth Starr and the unfair process and the attacks on our chairman and political motivations, which, quite frankly, I've never understood why we would want to remove this president to put in a popular vice president to give him an advantage in the next election -- I really resent that thought from our opposition here that thinks we're motivated that way. I believe sincerely that all members of this committee are motivated by the principle. We may disagree on what the principle is, but I think we're all motivated by principle and not politics.
But when you strip away all this package, all the wrappings, and get to the core of it, you still have a president who has perjured himself, and the reason this is separated into three distinct articles is, the reason is, that he perjured himself in the grand jury, number one. Number two, he perjured himself in answering interrogatories and the deposition in the Paula Jones case, number two. And now, number four, he perjured himself in his answers to Congress. Those are very -- three distinct categories and deserve three very distinct articles.
That brings me to an interesting question.
I wonder -- and I don't presuppose the Senate will do anything with this, or convict or have a trial or whatever -- but if the president were to testify and raise his right hand in the Senate and swear "to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God," I just wonder if the Senate would also have to give him an admonition that that "does that mean you're not going to evade, does that mean you're not going to mislead the Senate, does that mean you're not going to give incomplete answers to the Senate?" And it's almost humorous, but it's not. It's that serious. You almost have to do that in this situation. And that's the core of what we're talking about here.
And I think our counsel, David Schippers, summarized this very well when he spoke the other day, and he mentioned about how we have referred back to this income tax case against President Nixon and said we're not going to go down that road, that's not impeachable. And he said what about in future years, when Congresses look at alleged misconduct of the president? Are we now in 1998 taking off the table, just as they did in 1974 the income tax issue -- are we now taking off the table perjury, obstruction of justice? It sounds to me like some in this room would have us do that, just because it's sex.
Folks, this is not about sex. We're not charging him with anything -- adultery or anything like that. We're charging him with making that conscious choice -- and a calculated choice, may I add -- where he had to take a poll from Dick Morris to decide what to do and then decide to go down that road of consistent, persistent perjuries and obstruction of justice. And that's what we're about. Are we going to turn our head as a Congress and take these things off the table for future Congresses and allow a president that leeway to get into that conduct and in 20 years from now come back and say, "You've set the precedent in 1998; you can't call me to order for perjury or for obstruction of justice"?
I don't think we're about that, and I would urge my colleagues to -- let's cut our speeches down, let's vote on this, support this amendment, and move forward with the continued debate.
REP. HYDE: The question occurs on the amendment offered --
REP. ROBERT WEXLER (D-FL): Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Mr. Wexler, you want -- you want time --
REP. WEXLER: Thank you. Move to strike the last word -- (off mike).
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. WEXLER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have no doubt that history will record today's debate as the Great Dumbed-Down Impeachment Debate. And if I understood Mr. Rogan's objection earlier or concern with my friend Mr. Rothman's comments, I think, in a very genuine and honest fashion, my colleague from my home state of Florida, Mr. Collum (sic) -- McCollum, answered Mr. Rogan's question honestly, genuinely, that at least in part -- and I don't want to paraphrase him, but I believe he said it himself in confirming what he has said many times -- that impeachment is the ultimate censure, the ultimate scarlet letter.
And what I think many of us on this side of the aisle are having such a terrible time with respect to that notion is that impeachment is much more than that. Censure is the scarlet letter; impeachment is the removal of the president. And when the idea of impeachment, being the removal of the president, is combined with the notion and the predicate of what is now or may be Article IV, again, my colleague from Florida Mr. McCollum said that at least one of the answers that is so egregious, that would justify impeachment, that the president gave to this Congress, was the answer to question number 34. And the essence of the answer of number 34 that apparently justifies impeachment and removal -- at least as we see it, impeachment and removal -- is that the president answered, and his quote was, "I believe at the time she filled out this affidavit" -- that's Monica Lewinsky -- "if she believed that the definition of sexual relationship was two people having intercourse, then this is accurate."
Now, I understand the other side when they say this isn't about sex, it's about perjury, it's about obstruction of justice, it's about a whole lot of things, but when it comes right down to it, you cannot -- cannot -- escape the very fact that what this is all about is the definition of a sexual relationship. And what boggles my mind is that we seem to have forgotten the beginning of Mr. Lowell's presentation. We all saw it. The president was sitting up there on all these television sets, and what did we hear at that deposition? We heard the president's lawyers arguing with Paula Jones' lawyers about this definition, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And then I think they changed the definition twice. I mean, it wasn't Robert Wexler that now is arguing this is confusing, it was the presiding judge. She said that she is concerned that the president may be confused. So then the president went ahead and denied a sexual relationship, and that's what we're impeaching the president about.
Well, I hope Dr. Ruth is getting ready, because she will undoubtedly be an expert witness at the trial in the Senate. But that's what it all comes down to.
And if I could, in conclusion, just offer not a response but maybe a corollary to Mr. Graham's concern about undue pressure, unfair pressure about impeachment. Well, what about a censure vote on the floor of the House? What about a censure vote on the floor of the House? Why won't the Republican leadership, why won't Speaker Gingrich or new-to-be-Speaker Livingston, or Mr. DeLay, why won't they let us vote on a censure vote on the full House? Because it's undue pressure. Because they know very well that if they allow a censure vote, that will create a big dilemma for some Republicans.
So when we talk about undue pressure, and we talk about voting your conscience, but let's talk about the Republican leadership in Congress allowing the free will of this Congress to be expressed.
Don't hide behind parliamentary procedure! Undue pressure? Let us vote on the censure! And then maybe -- maybe the Republicans would have a ground to talk about undue pressure.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. ROGAN: Mr. Chairman, I rise to a point of personal privilege.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from California has a point of personal privilege.
REP. ROGAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
A few minutes ago, my friend from Massachusetts, in his remarks to the Committee, put forth his interpretation of the motivations of the Republican members' votes on articles of impeachment. He then said if any Republicans disagree with that interpretation, they should speak right now.
I asked the gentleman to yield me time. He did not yield to me. He said at the end of his remarks he would yield to me. Regrettably his time expired. I simply don't want a vacant record left months or years from now that when the challenge was issued, there was no response from Republicans. Speaking for myself, I did take issue with his interpretation. I do not know if any of my colleagues join me in that, but I just want to record to reflect the gentleman's time did expire before anybody had an opportunity to engage him further in that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. : Will the gentleman yield? Which friend from Massachusetts? We have three over here.
REP. ROGAN: Well, they're all my friends, and that would be my extra-dear friend, Mr. Delahunt.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon.
REP. CANNON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let me just point out -- I wanted to make a distinction as to what Mr. Delahunt had said, and suggest that conviction -- the conviction that every person of conscience in this House arrives at when he makes a vote, should be based on things other than just personal animosity. I don't think that's any reason to vote in this house, but rather should be based upon the evidence and weighing of many factors, including the gravity of the acts of the president and their effect on their system.
But I think the -- or at least for me the standard should be that those rise to a level that should result in removal from office.
Let me associate myself with the comments of my friend, Mr. Coble, who talked about the gravity that this proceeding has for him, and in particular, he spoke about the difficulty -- or the emotional difficulty, the knots in his stomach. I think this is a trying time for America, a very difficult time, and yet we are called upon to do what I would hope on all sides is the courageous thing, and that is vote our consciences.
I would just make exception that I don't want to go to the parking lot with him because I think he can handle it himself -- for whoever might take him, I just give you fair warning in advance.
I would like to speak to the issue of executive privilege and why I thought it should be in here. It's a difficult issue and one where I have a great deal of sympathy for Mr. Gekas and his view that executive privilege is easily abused.
But you'll recall that this became rather a prominent item over the president's denial that he knew anything about the assertion of executive privilege in the course of questioning from a reporter from the Washington Post. And in fact, President Clinton said -- the article says:
"Clinton, who has yet to acknowledge publicly even that he is asserting executive privilege, was pressed by reporters to explain why he is trying to block testimony. His voice curt and his expression cold, the president responded as though he were a bystander in the controversy rather than its central character. `All I know is I saw an article about it in the paper today,' said Clinton, referring to the pack of news clippings he gets each morning. `I haven't discussed it with the lawyers. I don't know. You should ask someone who knows.'"
Now that's important because what the president was doing here was cutting off one of the kinds of things in America in our system that keeps him in line -- that's the press. He didn't tell the truth.
The White House came back, through Mr. Ruff, and tried to explain that, saying that -- in fact, cast dispersions on Mr. Starr saying that he misquoted -- misstated that pass. But in fact, in paragraph 44 of Mr. Ruff's affidavit, he referred with particularity to the first lady. And so that being the distinction, that the president had been asked about the first lady, and yet the averment that Mr. Ruff made in his assertion of the executive privilege particularly included the first lady.
Now, I don't think that executive privilege would be -- just based on that would be so significant. But when you take a look at what this White House has done -- in the Nixon case, executive privilege was asserted six times in writing, and I think those were the only assertions of executive privilege. In this case, that is the case of President Clinton, we have 13 assertions of executive privilege in writing. And beyond those, there have been numerous, perhaps hundreds of assertions that haven't been in writing.
And I will just tell you, as a member of the Resources Committee, where we did battle over issues that went right to the core of what we're dealing with here -- that is the president lying in the establishment of a monument in my District -- the president suggested and suggested and suggested executive privilege, and when it came down to a subpoena, refused -- or didn't actually assert it in the case. So, can executive privilege be abused? I think it can.
In closing, let me just say that the heart of the case against the president is lying under oath. At every turn when he was faced with the choice of answering questions honestly or deceptively, the president has chosen deception. Even when he was faced with the prospects of impeachment, the president chose to provide false and deceptive information to the Judiciary Committee, demonstrating contempt for the constitutional duty of Congress. While lying to the American people and his subordinates are extremely serious matters and formed the basis of impeachment charges against President Nixon, the majority is choosing to set the bar for abuse of power in the Articles of Impeachment, as clearly as possible and focusing that on the lying to Congress.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
The gentleman from Wisconsin, Mr. Barrett.
REP. BARRETT (D-WI): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to briefly address this amendment itself. And I listened carefully when Mr. Watt, among others, spoke on this amendment.
And I view this as choosing between supporting our voting for an article that is currently in the draft that I don't support or voting for an article that is not in the draft that I don't support. And I am of the notion that, rather than picking my poison, I am going to vote against both of them for that reason.
I also want to address a comment that my friend Mr. Bryant made -- from Tennessee -- because I think actually there was a lot in his comment that I think deserves discussion because in some ways it goes to the nub of what we are talking about here today. And he said that he felt -- and I don't mean to misstate you, Mr. Bryant, so correct me if I do -- that we should not be lowering the bar, in essence, by saying that perjury and obstruction of justice are no longer impeachable offenses. And that's pretty much what you said, and I would agree with that.
But I don't know that we would say, at least that I would say, that perjury in the context of a personal matter is per se an impeachable offense. And so my feeling on this all along is that you have to look at the underlying offense, first, to determine whether it occurred; second, to determine whether it's an offense against the State; and if it's not an offense against the State, whether it is a crime of such great magnitude that the underlying offense so offends one's morality that the person should be removed from office.
So I think we do have to be careful. And I agree with you; we have to be careful what we are doing with this bar, whether we are lowering it or whether we are raising it, because I think if we did say that perjury per se was an offense, that would mean that you would have someone who committed perjury in a very private divorce matter, for example, susceptible to this. I am not saying that that's right, but that certainly is something that could happen. And so you would not have the underlying civil-rights claim that we have in this case.
You could say that perjury, as I've mentioned before, in a speeding case would be an act that deserved impeachment, and I -- again, I don't know that that's what the framers -- in fact, I don't think that's what the framers had in mind.
I also want to briefly touch on the comments that my good friend, Mr. Graham, referred to when he read from the article dealing with Jay Dickey. I know Jay Dickey, he's a good friend of mine. He can foul and be fouled as well as anybody in the basketball gym downstairs, and he can stand up to pressure from Democrats and Republicans. And I looked at the article, and I want to read another section of the article because it says, "It was not the kind of arm twisting that normally marks a legislative battle," Dickey said. "Rather, it was simply an offer for information." But he isn't sure whether he'll take the White House up on it. Quote, "I will if I can see an application." Quote. Doesn't sound like a man under great duress.
Earlier in the article, this article also states, "The White House feels some confidence that, despite pressure from the Republican leadership, Dickey can be persuaded to vote against the impeachment." What this means in legislative parlance is that Mr. Dickey is in play, and he's getting pressure, apparently from the White House -- although from his own account, it's not the normal kind of arm twisting that goes along with legislative battle, but pressure from the Republican leadership.
I've been under the impression from statements here today that this is solely a vote of conscience.
REP. GRAHAM: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. BARRETT: I'll yield in about 15 seconds, yes, sir.
REP. : Would the gentleman yield to me, too?
REP. BARRETT: And if it's solely a vote of conscience, then we should tell the leaders from both our parties to go home, leave us alone, let us pray and make the decision as our conscience decides -- or dictates that we do it.
And I would yield to Mr. Graham.
REP. GRAHAM: I associate myself with that last statement.
Let me read what Mr. Dickey has released in a press release.
REP. WATERS: Oh, Lord, don't --
REP. GRAHAM: Statement by 4th District -- well, it was brought up by the gentleman from Wisconsin. I have the article, and I think -- I hope something will bring us together, and maybe the idea of your last statement will bring us together. We all have got a job to do, and we've got to live with what we're going to do, and just leave alone and let us do it.
"That statement takes"-- he's referring to the statement that -- the article -- "that statement takes this issue into the political basement --
REP. : -- two additional minutes.
REP GRAHAM: Thank you. Thank you.
REP. HYDE: Without objection
REP GRAHAM: Thank you.
When will they learn there are some people who don't want to serve according to polls, who don't consider their survival more important than the good of the country? This threat encourages me to make this decision in the shallow reaches of pure and simple politics. I will resist that. I don't want to serve just to be reelected. What I want to do is stress to my constituents that this decision should be about protecting, respecting and abiding by the U.S. Constitution and respecting others with opposing views.
Hear this, White House. I am planning on running for reelection in the year 2000. You are trying to influence my vote with the power of the White House. If my decision on impeachment causes you to work even harder for my defeat, as you have in the past, then so be it. In the end, you may finally tear me away from my constituents, but you won't ever tear me away from my conscience.
I hope we all would associate ourselves with that statement --
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. GRAHAM: -- from any pressure being applied to anybody.
REP. BARRETT: I would yield to Mr. Watt, but if I could reclaim my time. And again we hear the word "conscience," and we're going to hear that word a lot more today because our plea to you is going to be continuously that we be allowed to vote our conscience, as well. Every one of us, believe it or not -- and maybe the American people don't believe this, but I believe it -- every member of this institution has a conscience, and no member of this institution should be denied the right to vote their conscience.
And I would yield to Mr. Watt.
REP. WATT: I thank the gentleman for yielding. And I just wanted to say on the record that I wanted the record to reflect that I was on the verge of making some disparaging remarks about my friend, Mr. Graham. Mr. Rogan had, in fact, yielded me time to do that.
REP. GRAHAM: And I did give you every -- (inaudible due to cross talk) -- take you up on that.
REP. WATT: And I took a deep breath and took a walk and decided neither to say them publicly nor privately, and that Mr. Graham and I remain friends.
REP. FRANK: Will the gentleman yield to me?
REP. WATT: And I'm happy that I did that.
REP. FRANK: I thank the gentleman.
I would just like to say that any discussion of pressure being put on members which leaves out the name of Tom DeLay is equivalent to debating impeachment without mentioning Monica Lewinsky.
REP. HYDE: The time of the gentleman has expired.
The gentlelady from California, Mrs. -- Ms. Bono.
REP. MARY BONO (R-CA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I would just like to address a question that I heard a long time ago in this proceeding, and it was posed by Congressman Schumer. And his question was, how did lying to the American people get here in the first place? Granted, it has been stricken from the article before us, but I want to just read this from something that has come across my desk.
REP. SCHUMER: Will the gentlelady yield, because she didn't quote me correctly.
REP. BONO: I'm sorry. Sure, I will yield.
REP. SCHUMER: "Lying to the Cabinet or to the public not under oath become part of this article."
REP. BONO: Okay. Then I stand corrected, but I think that nonetheless, this is relevant and I'd like to read it. It's something former Secretary of Labor Robert Reisch has written, that "President Clinton's offense of the public lie in this matter poses a great threat to his presidency. It makes it especially difficult for the nation to move on."
What Reisch finds so disturbing is not simply the fact of President Clinton's public lie, but its passionate intensity. Mr. Reisch wrote, quote, "In January, the president told America with stunning conviction that he had not had a sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. On August 17th, he looked into the eyes of America and said his January statement had been misleading. Many who witnessed both performances thought the January one more convincing, hence Mr. Clinton's second problem: if he can so convincingly fake a lie, how can the public believe anything else he says, including his current stream of apologies?
"Despite protestations that the Lewinsky affair was his private business, the betrayal was indubitably public because the denials were so passionately public. He spoke to America with the same emotional intensity he has brought to countless public issues. What happens to presidential power when credibility is so blatantly forfeited? It inevitably subsides." End quote.
And that is why lying to the American people was here in the first place. I believe that this side has stricken it because we strongly feel that the first three articles are just so strong that the perjury -- the first two on perjury are so strong.
With that, I'd like to yield to my good friend, the gentleman from Indiana.
REP. BUYER: I thank the gentlelady for yielding. I'm going to support the Gekas amendment. I'll vote for Article IV.
The president's response to the 81 Requests for Admissions was a continuation of a pattern, I believe, of perjury and obstruction of justice.
When we bring up the issue about the impeachment of former federal judges Mr. Claiborne and Walter Nixon, what is interesting, at the time we had a Democrat majority here that sat on the Judiciary Committee and they brought forward those impeachments; they passed the House. We had managers that prosecuted them in trial before the Senate.
What I find most interesting is that these judges were prosecuted and one standard was used -- high crimes and misdemeanors. They said one standard would apply -- that applies to the president and vice president will also apply to these federal judges and other civil officers. You see, in the defense of the judge, the defense lawyer's judge (sic) in the trial in the Senate argued that the federal judges should be treated differently; that they should be treated on impeachment for misbehavior, not judged with the same standard with the president. The Democratic majority at the time said no and rejected that, and said no, federal judges and the president should be treated by the same standard.
Well, I agree. I think the Republicans and Democrats at the time in the 1980s, on both those cases, agreed. I think the Judiciary Committee needs to follow the precedent and be consistent, and that's what we're trying to do here.
I also want to express my appreciation to Mr. Coble. Mr. Coble expressed some honesty about his own personal conscience, about his gut and how it was being turned over. And I don't believe anyone should make a mockery about someone describing how they personally feel going through this process, because it is not easy. So I'm going to speak about my conscience. You see, I didn't sleep very well last night, so what I did, about 2:00 a.m. this morning is, I went out and took a jog. Now some may say that may not be a smart thing to do in Washington at 2:00 a.m., but I took a job down the Mall. And as I took the jog down the Mall I first went through the Korean Memorial. I did that because my father -- and then I thought of Mr. Conyers and I thought of others. I then went over to the Vietnam Memorial and I walked slowly. I thought of my time back as a cadet at The Citadel --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. BUYER: I move to strike the last word on my time.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. BUYER: A gentleman who was a Vietnam veteran walked up on the blackboard. His name today is Col. Trez (sp); he was a young major at the time. And he wrote this statement on the blackboard and he demanded that these young cadets memorize this statement. He said those who serve their country on a distant battlefield see life in a dimension that the protected may never know. You see, I -- I worked hard to understand that. It wasn't till years later that I understood that myself, in my service in the Gulf War. I had a very dear friend die. I understand the painful tears and I understand the horrors of war.
As I jogged back, I stopped at the Washington Monument. The Mall is beautiful at night. And then I thought about the World War II veterans -- Mr. Hyde and others -- a unique generation. They were truly crusaders. They fought for no bounty of their own. They left freedom in their footsteps. And then I thought about something I'd read in military history. After D-Day, they were policing up the battlefield and laying (sic) upon the battlefield was an American soldier who was dead. No one was around to hear his last words, so he wrote them on a pad. Can you imagine the frustration knowing you're about to die and there's no one around to say your last words? I don't know what you would write, but this soldier wrote, "Tell them, when you go home, I gave this day for their tomorrow."
You see, part of my conscience is driven by my military service.
I'm an individual that not only is principled, but also steeped in virtues, and I use those to guide myself through the chaos. And then I think about people all across America, about our -- America's values and American character, and I wanted to put it in plain-spoken words.
So when I think about America's character and common-sense virtues, I think about honesty. What is it? Tell the truth. Be sincere. Don't deceive, mislead, or be devious, or use trickery. Don't betray a trust. Don't withhold information in relationships of trust. Don't cheat or lie to the detriment of others, nor tolerate such practice.
On issues of integrity, exhibit the best in yourself. Choose the harder right over the easier wrong. Walk your talk. Show courage, commitment, and self-discipline.
On issues of promise-keeping, whole -- honor your oath and keep your word.
On issues of loyalty, stand by, support, and protect your family, your friends, your community, and your country. Don't spread rumors, lies, or distortions to harm others. You don't violate the law and ethical principles to win personal gain. And you don't ask a friend to do something wrong.
On issues of respect, you be courteous and polite. You judge all people on their merits. You be tolerant and appreciative and accepting of individual differences. You don't abuse, demean, or mistrust anyone. You don't use, manipulate, exploit, or take advantage of others. You respect the right of individuals.
On the issue of acting responsibly and being accountable, the issue is to think before you act, meaning consider the possible consequences on all people from your actions. You pursue excellence. You be reliable. Be accountable. Exercise self-control. You don't blame others for your mistakes. You set a good example for those to look up to you.
On the issues of fairness, treat all people fairly. Don't take unfair advantage of others. Don't take more than your fair share. Don't be selfish, mean, cruel, or insensitive to others.
You see, citizens all across America play by the rules, obey the laws, pull their own weight. Many do their fair share, and they do so while respecting authority.
I have been disheartened by the facts in this case. It is sad to have the occupant of the White House, an office that I respect so much, riddled with these allegations. And now I have findings of criminal misconduct and unethical behavior. We cannot expect to restore the office of the presidency by leaving a perjurous (sic) president in office.
I yield back my time.
REP. HYDE: The question occurs on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas. All those in favor will signify by saying "aye".
AFFIRMING MEMBERS: Aye.
REP. HYDE: Opposed, "no."
DISSENTING MEMBER: No.
REP. CONYERS: (Inaudible.)
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Michigan requests a recorded vote. The clerk will call the roll.
CLERK: Mr. Sensenbrenner.
REP. SENSENBRENNER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Sensenbrenner votes aye.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. McCollum votes aye.
REP. GEKAS: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Gekas votes aye.
REP. COBLE: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Coble votes aye.
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. GOODLATTE: 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: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Pease votes aye.
REP. CANNON: No.
CLERK: Mr. Cannon votes no.
REP. ROGAN: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Rogan votes aye.
REP. GRAHAM: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Graham votes aye.
CLERK: Ms. Bono.
REP. BONO: Aye.
CLERK: Ms. Bono votes aye.
REP. CONYERS: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Conyers votes aye.
REP. FRANK: Present.
CLERK: Mr. Frank votes present.
REP. SCHUMER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Schumer votes aye.
REP. BERMAN: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Berman votes aye.
REP. BOUCHER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Boucher votes aye.
REP. NADLER: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Nadler votes aye.
REP. SCOTT: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Scott votes aye.
REP. WATT: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Watt votes aye.
REP. LOFGREN: Present.
CLERK: Ms. Lofgren votes present.
Ms. Jackson Lee.
REP. JACKSON LEE: No.
CLERK: Ms. Jackson Lee votes no.
REP. WATERS: No.
CLERK: Ms. Waters votes no.
REP. MEEHAN: Present.
CLERK: Mr. Meehan votes present.
REP. DELAHUNT: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Delahunt votes aye.
REP. WEXLER: No.
CLERK: Mr. Wexler votes no.
REP. ROTHMAN: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Rothman votes aye.
REP. BARRETT: No.
CLERK: Mr. Barrett votes no.
REP. HYDE: Aye.
CLERK: Mr. Hyde votes aye.
REP. HYDE: The clerk will report.
CLERK: (After a pause to count.) Mr. Chairman, there are 29 "ayes," five "nos" and three "present."
REP. HYDE: And the amendment is agreed to. It is the chair's intention, following the adoption of Article IV, to declare a 30- minute luncheon recess before we return for the unfinished business, and so without objection, the previous question is ordered --
REP. SCHUMER: Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from New York.
REP. SCHUMER: I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman --
REP. SCHUMER: It's on the amendment, it's on Article IV.
REP. HYDE: All right, the gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. SCHUMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
And my colleagues, to me like to many of us, this is a sad day, it's a solemn day. The longer I am at these proceedings, the more I am convinced of the weakness of the case made by the majority. Last night and today, I think, show that in a telling way.
Last night, our chairman -- who I esteem and have always esteem and will continue to esteem -- tried to tell the American people, "Don't worry, we're not yet throwing the president out, even if we vote for these articles of impeachment."
And this morning, before he corrected himself, Mr. McCollum said we don't have to have the penalty of throwing the president out.
I think the majority almost subliminally realizes that the punishment doesn't fit the crime. We all agree that the president didn't tell the truth. We may disagree about its criminality, its consequences, but our side -- and I think most Americans, with their common-sense wisdom believe it doesn't rise to the level of impeachment. And the idea that Mr. Hyde mentioned and Mr. McCollum mentioned would be as if there were two commanding officers in a bunker in South Dakota who had their fingers on the button of a nuclear weapon. You needed both to push the button. We in the House being the first officer, we push the first button and then say the second officer doesn't have to push the button and avoid nuclear strike.
That's sophistry. It's not becoming of this body in my judgment.
Second point I'd make is this: the amendment to Article IV, which I just supported, I called that the other day the part of Article IV -- and this is what Ms. Bono mentioned -- that in the eyes of some if the president doesn't tell the truth to the public or to his cabinet -- and remember what's truth in the eyes of some is not telling the truth in the eyes of others -- that's because the world is a world of shades of gray -- that that would indicate grounds for impeachment. Now fortunately Mr. Gekas came to the rescue with this last minute and removed that from these articles, but I shudder to think what led the majority to put them in the articles of impeachment to begin with, and why were they not removed until this last minute when that kind of article is just so absurd on its face.
I called it yesterday the theater of the absurd. We could call today's move renders these articles the theater of the slightly less absurd, but absurd nonetheless. And I just don't understand how that provision stayed in so long, and it makes me wonder, not about the motivation, but about the logic and the soundness of argument of the majority.
Now what remains. Now what remains in Article III (sic/Article IV) -- and to their credits, many, particularly I esteem the gentleman from Florida, Mr. Canady. He has been consistent throughout. He has said that this is about lying, perjury under oath, and the president should be removed from office. He said that at the start, he has said that consistently. I respect him for it. I disagree with him, but I respect him. His argument has been consistent throughout; it hasn't changed with the winds, et cetera.
But now that's all we have -- Article III -- I mean Article IV, once the amendment passes, is about the same nexus of facts that Articles I and II are about. All we are talking about in this is something serious, but something that doesn't rise to the level of impeachment, which is not an extramarital relationship. The other side keeps setting up that straw man. No one on this side is saying you're impeaching the president because of an extramarital relationship. But what you are impeaching the president for is lying, in your judgment, about that extramarital relation.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. SCHUMER: Just ask 30 --
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Who is seeking recognition?
REP. DELAHUNT: Mr. Delahunt.
REP. HYDE: No, that's -- Mr. Delahunt is asking for recognition, for what purpose?
REP. DELAHUNT: I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: Well, I'm sorry, do you mind if we go to the Republican side?
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you very much Chairman. I move to strike the last word.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman is recognized for five minutes.
REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to respond -- I have a lot of respect for Mr. Schumer. He and I have served on this committee a long time. He's been my ranking member on the Crime Subcommittee, and I wish him well as he goes off to the other body shortly.
But I simply cannot resist responding to the points he's trying to make here about characterizing some of the thoughts that some of us have, and me in particular.
First of all, I believe that the president of the United States has committed very grave, serious, and impeachable offenses that deserve for him to be removed from office. And I think that most of the members, if not all of the members, on my side believe that he should be removed from office.
Now the reality is -- the reality is -- that however serious these are, that apparently the likelihood is that the Senate doesn't have enough votes over there to convict. But we don't know that till we get there. In fact, this case should be tried over there. We should find that out, in my judgment. That's my opinion. And if we can get him convicted and removed from office, by golly, he deserves it.
However, even if he weren't convicted, my point's been all along that impeachment is the ultimate censure. You can't just slap somebody on the wrist with some piece of paper we file as a resolution, which we're going to debate here in a little while, and a resolution that we could do, and we do regularly around this body for any number of things, condemning this, or condemning that, and suggest that that act alone rises to the level that -- of actually giving some kind of response to the awful criminal acts that this president has committed -- the undermining of the right of Paula Jones to have her day in court, the lying to the court, the encouraging of others to lie, the hiding of evidence, the encouraging of others to hide evidence, the lying before the grand jury ultimately, which is a (sic) even greater insult to our system of government, and committing perjury, which I believe that was.
And then, I believe, in this article, even a greater insult -- after he knew he was under an inquiry of impeachment, after all that had been said and done, the president of the United States contemptuously came back to this committee and lied again -- not once, but any number of times that have been cited.
I think that it is very much to the level of impeachment, and I believe it's to the level that the president should be removed from office. It is just simply not logical to do otherwise.
I'd also like to quote from Mr. Broder's column yesterday, in which he says, "Other defense witnesses tried with more success to argue that the allegations against Clinton are not nearly as serious as those that led to recommended impeachment of Richard Nixon and are not so consequential as to merit the disruption of government a Senate trial might entail. Their first point is irrefutable -- but irrelevant. The House is not being asked to judge whether Nixon or Clinton is the worst miscreant, but simply whether Clinton's actions in themselves merit impeachment." And I submit they clearly do. They merit removal from office, but at the very least they merit impeachment.
And if he is not removed from office ultimately, which is not our decision, it is the other body's decision, at the very least he merits impeachment, impeachment that will go down in history as a brand that says this is the president who was impeached for these awful offenses.
I yield back the balance of my time.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, the previous question is ordered on Article IV.
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: The question occurs on Article IV as amended..
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: All those in favor will say "aye."
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman?
(Chorus of ayes.)
REP. HYDE: Opposed, "no."
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman?
(Chorus of noes."
REP. : Mr. Chairman, people are seeking recognition.
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: In the opinion -- there will be --
REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Watt.
REP. WATT: Would the gentleman mind me striking the last word?
REP. HYDE: Not a bit. Please talk away. (Laughter.)
REP. WATT: Is the chairman perturbed that we're trying to explain our votes and debate the underlying article at this point? I can't understand what the chairman's motivation is.
Let me just say that I find this article simply to be a repeat of Articles I and II, substantially now that it has been amended. I did vote for the amendment because I thought it was absolutely ridiculous to say to the president of the United States that he could be impeached for exercising executive privilege, which every -- I mean, any kind of privilege is a legal privilege that we give under the law. And to say that it's an abuse of power when you exercise a privilege is just absolutely ridiculous.
So, as I said in the debate on the amendment to this article, Mr. Gekas's amendment clearly made it less onerous and less ridiculous. But the amendment is subject to the same concerns that we expressed yesterday about Articles I and II because it uses the term "perjurious" and therefore alleges perjury, and there has been absolutely no designation in Mr. Gekas's amendment or elsewhere of what the perjurious statements are.
And if we are going to allege a perjury, a legal perjury, then I think it is incumbent upon this committee to grant to the president of the United States the exact same privileges that we would grant to every American citizen in the country. He can't be above the law; he can't be below the law. The rule of law in our country says that if you charge somebody with perjury, you must tell them the statements that they have made that constitute that perjury.
And we have spent the last three days now talking about how all of us are intent on upholding the rule of law in this country. And if we can't accord the rule of law to the president of the United States in these impeachment articles and tell him what he is going to be tried for, if he is impeached for them, then we have accorded the president the status of being below the law, which I would submit to you is even worse than according him the status of being above the law.
We cannot sit here in the Judiciary Committee of the United States House of Representatives and give pious statements about how we are upholding the rule of law, and consistently disregard what the rule of law says our obligation is. And the rule of law says if you charge somebody with perjury, you are obligated to tell them what the perjurious statements are. And that's what I think we should insist on as members of this committee, and that's the very reason I will vote against this article, just as I have voted against the articles I, II and III.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman?
REP. WATT: I yield back, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman?
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman?
REP. CONYERS: I have a unanimous-consent request that we have two additional speakers on each side before we move to dispositions.
REP. JACKSON LEE: Mr. Chairman?
REP. WATT: Reserving the right to object.
REP. HYDE: Is there objection?
REP. WATT: Reserving the right to object.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Watt objects or reserves the right to object.
REP. WATT: I am reserving the right to object so that I can understand why it is that we are being asked to give up the committee's right to debate the article to this impeachment, which is the most profound responsibility that this committee and this Congress could have?
Why are we muzzling the members of this committee?
REP. CONYERS: To the member who has just utilized his five minutes, I would suggest that the reason that we are doing it is that we have debated the issue, the article, the amendment, and adopted the amendment since --
REP. WATT: Well, I -- let me just reclaim my time and submit to the gentleman that what we debated was whether to amend the original article. We are now debating the article which is in question. There is a difference in those two things.
REP. CONYERS: I quite agree with my colleague from North Carolina.
REP. WATT: Well, I'm not going to object. I've used my five minutes -- you're absolutely right -- but I think it's -- I would tell the gentleman that I just think we are doing the American public a -- an absolute disservice by depriving this committee of the right to debate the -- one of the most important issues of --
REP. CONYERS: I think --
REP. WATT: -- that has ever come before this Congress.
REP. CONYERS: I know my friend's sincerity. I don't doubt his sincerity and conviction.
REP. : Mr. Chairman, a point of information.
REP. : Mr. Chairman?
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman yield for just a second? Mr. Conyers, on your unanimous consent --
REP. CONYERS: Yes, sir, I do.
REP. HYDE: I have some working papers that explain in detail which -- which language we allege is perjurious and wrongful and misleading, and I'll be --
REP. WATT: Is the gentleman responding to my concern?
REP. HYDE: Yes, and I'll be happy to send this right down to you if you don't mind my scratchings in the margin.
REP. WATT: Would the gentleman make them a part of the impeachment article?
REP. HYDE: No, I will not. I will make them a part of the record, and when we file a report, as soon as the law lets us, it will contain extensive specificity -- something that we all seem to want, so -- but meanwhile, to answer your urgent question as to which specific misstatements and perjurious remarks of the president we are counting on, I have this working document that I'm happy to give you.
REP. WATT: Is this a consensus of the committee that we're working from, or is it -- does it spring solely from the chairman's mind?
REP. HYDE: No, it's not -- no, it's certainly from the bowels of the committee, but it may have had its --
REP. WATT: But Mr. Chairman, I assure you it's not from my bowels -- (laughter) -- I -- this will be the first time I have ever seen it.
REP. HYDE: That's right, but you are seeing it and I'm happy to give it to you and I hope that it answers some of your questions.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman --
REP. WATT: Would the chairman object to my trying to make this a part of the impeachment article?
REP. HYDE: Well, you mean you want to offer an amendment?
REP. WATT: I might.
REP. HYDE: Well, you do anything you want, sir. This is a democracy.
REP. WATT: If we don't have but two more speakers and I don't have a chance to look at it, then it's going to be pretty difficult for me to have that option, because it'll be gone.
REP. CONYERS: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman, it is my appreciation that on this side there is a request for two more of my colleagues to speak, and that is why -- three --
REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, I don't want -- unless provoked, I don't want to speak --
REP. WATERS: (Off mike.)
REP. CONYERS: Three and one without -- (inaudible).
REP. SCOTT: -- but I would object the unanimous consent request. I think that if there are only two, then there will only be two, but I don't intend -- I would object to the unanimous consent.
REP. HYDE: Objection is heard and the committee will stand in recess for an hour for lunch. (Raps gavel.)
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