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White House Counsel's Remarks

By The Associated Press
Saturday, December 12, 1998; 3:44 p.m. EST

Text of White House special counsel Gregory Craig's remarks on House Judiciary Committee passage Saturday of the fourth and final article of impeachment:

Today, because they are determined to remove the president of the United States from office, the Republican majority in the House Judiciary Committee voted to send articles of impeachment to the House of Representatives. They did this in a series of straight party-line votes.

While the goal of the partisan majority on the committee is to impeach the president and remove him from office, the certain result would be to divide the country, gridlock the government and defy the will of the people.

It was the Republican chairman, Mr. Hyde, who said on September 10, at the very beginning of this process -- quote -- "The solemn duty confronting us requires that we attain a heroic level of bipartisanship." And, it was Mr. Hyde who said -- quote -- "Ultimately, impeachment has to be a bipartisan exercise to win the confidence of the American people."

Nothing about this process has been fair. Nothing about this process has been bipartisan. And nothing about this process has won the confidence of the American people.

By huge majorities the American people have said that they do not want this president removed from office, that they do not want their election decision overturned by a party-line vote. They want their elected officials to stop their partisan bickering and get back to work on the issues that are important to them.

Hundreds of historians and constitutional scholars, scores of experienced prosecutors and millions of Americans have concluded that the president's actions, while wrong, are not impeachable.

The president's representatives have provided a strong and convincing defense -- a defense based on the facts, based on the law, and based on the constitution.

I appeal to the members of the House of Representatives to approach this grave and solemn duty with an open heart, with an open mind, and with a full appreciation of the desires of the American people. For, in the end, the American people will make the final judgment about whether the impeachment of this president is in the national interest.

Thank you very much.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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