Clinton Comments on Impeachment
Wednesday, January 13, 1999; 11:29 a.m. EST
At the White House today, President Clinton spoke about impeachment for the first time since the House vote last month. Following are his remarks:
Q: Mr. President, what do you think will be the outcome of the impeachment trial? We know what your hopes are, but what do you think is really going to happen?
A: I think the Senate has to deal with that. We filed our brief today. It makes our case.
The important thing for me is to spend as little time thinking about that as possible and as much time working on the issues we are here to discuss as possible. They have their job to do in the Senate, and I have mine. And I intend to do it.
A: I think that the brief speaks for itself. And the statements which have been made by hundreds of constitutional experts and others. I trust that the right thing will be done. And I think in the meanwhile I need to work on the business of the people.
Q: Mr. President, your impeachment is before the union, and you're giving your State of the Union address. Don't you think you should directly address that matter during your speech?
A: I think the American people have heard about that quite extensively over the last year. My understanding is that I should do their business.
I think they would like it if somebody up here were putting their interests first, their business first, and I think that's what they expect me to do. They know the Senate has a job to do; they expect them to do it. There is nothing else to be said to the House about it. The Senate has to deal with it.
And my position is that in addition to that, we have to deal with the problems of America, the challenges of America, the opportunities of America, and that's what I intend to do in the State of the Union speech.
Q: Mr. President, your lawyers are arguing that the charges against you don't amount to high crimes and misdemeanors. Do you personally believe that perjury and obstruction of justice are not impeachable offenses?
A: I believe that it's not necessary for me to comment further than our brief. The important thing that I think you should be asking yourself is why did nearly 900 constitutional experts say that they strongly felt that this matter was not the subject of impeachment?
My opinion is not important here. My opinion is that I should be doing my job for the country. And other people should be handling the defense and dealing with this issue, and that's what I intend to do.
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