THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Feb. 8: House Managers Remaining Closing Argument
From the Congressional Record
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senate will be in order. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I believe now we are ready to proceed with the managers from the House. I understand that they do have a 2-hour presentation. I will look for guidance from the Chief Justice about whether we should take a break for the last 45 minutes-- that would be after Mr. Manager Rogan--if at all.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Very well.
The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager McCollum.
Mr. Manager McCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice and Members of the Senate.
At the outset of my closing remarks, I would like to lay the record straight on a couple of matters. With all due deference to White House counsel, the suggestion that Mr. Ruff made at the beginning of his closing, that we were somehow being unfair to him on the timing today of the rebuttal, seems to me to be a little strained. `Methinks thou doth protest too much,' was a remark I used earlier, a quote from Shakespeare, and I think it is appropriate here, too, because if you recall, we had no rebuttal at all as you normally would have in the end of our case, to begin with. Secondly, we thought we ought to have live witnesses here. We haven't had those. The list could go on. I really don't think we are being unfair.
Secondly, I would like to make one correction and make a clear point. I am sure it was not intended, but in your remarks, I believe, Mr. Ruff, you indicated there was no history with regard to `beyond a reasonable doubt' standard. Maybe I misunderstood that, but I want the record to be clear that in the Claiborne case there was, in fact, a vote that took place here in the case of Judge Claiborne, 75-17, saying that that standard did not apply to impeachment cases.
Now, having said that, I would like to move on to my own thoughts. Notwithstanding the clever and resourceful arguments that White House counsel have made to you today, and in the past few weeks, I suspect that most of you--probably more than two-thirds--believe that the President did, indeed, commit most, if not all, of the crimes he is charged with under these articles of impeachment. I suspect that a great many of you share my view that these are high crimes and misdemeanors.
But nonetheless, it is my understanding that some of you who share these views are not prepared to vote to convict the President and remove him from office. That instead, you are of the mind at the moment--subject to our persuading you otherwise --in your own debate, to acquit him.
Ultimately, the choice is yours, not ours. But a few moments I would like to spend with you reviewing just a few of the facts--not many--and suggesting to you what I believe we managers would believe would be some very significant negative consequences of failing to remove this President.
Having heard all of the evidence over the past few days and weeks, there should be little doubt that beginning in December 1997 William Jefferson Clinton set out on a course of conduct designed to keep from the Jones court the true nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Once he knew he would have to testify, he knew he was going to lie in his deposition. And he knew he was going to have to lie, not only himself but get Monica Lewinsky to lie--if he was going to be successful--and he was going to have to get his personal secretary to lie about his relationship, and have his aides and others help cover
them up if he would be successful in lying in the Jones court deposition.
He did all of these things. And then he chose to lie to the grand jury again, because if he did not, he would have not been able to protect himself from the crimes he had already committed.
No amount of arguments by White House counsel can erase one simple fact: If you believe Monica Lewinsky, you cannot believe the President. If you believe Monica Lewinsky, the President committed most of the crimes with which he is charged in these arguments today.
For example, while the President did not directly tell her to lie, he never advised her what to put in her affidavit, she knew from the December 17 telephone conversation with the President that he meant for her to lie about the relationship and file a false affidavit, and he would lie as well.
I want to refresh your recollection. These charts we put up some time before--you have them in front of you. This is a direct quote from her. We showed this on television Saturday, where she was reading from her grand jury deposition and confirming, this is, indeed, what she said and what she--her interpretation of that affidavit, phone conversation, despite everything else you heard.
For me, the best way to explain how I feel what happened was, you know, no one asked me or encouraged me to lie, but no one discouraged me either. . . .
`I knew what that meant.'
She lied in that affidavit. The President, clearly, intended to influence her by suggesting the affidavit and all the other things that went on in that conversation, and all of the circumstances that were there.
Monica Lewinsky was equally clear in her testimony to you Saturday that Betty Currie called her about the gifts, not the other way around. And surely nobody believes that Betty Currie would have called Monica Lewinsky about the gifts on December 28 unless the President had asked her to do so.
And then the day after the President's deposition in the Jones case, the President clearly committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice when, in logical anticipation of Betty Currie being called as a witness, he said to Betty Currie, `You were always there when she was there, right? We were never really alone. You could see and hear everything. Monica came on to me and I never touched her, right? She wanted to have sex with me and I can't do that.'
I am not going to rehash all of the evidence in this case again, but it is my understanding that some of you may be prepared to vote to convict the President on obstruction of justice and not on perjury. I don't know how you can do that. I honestly don't know how anybody can do that. If you believe Sidney Blumenthal's testimony that the President told him that Monica Lewinsky came at him and made a sexual demand and that he rebuffed her and that she threatened him and said she would tell people they had had an affair, and that she was known as a stalker among her peers, surely you must conclude that the President committed perjury when he told the grand jury that he told his aides, including Blumenthal, nothing but the truth, even if misleading.
The exact quotes, people are worried about the exact quotes. What are the words?
And so I said to them things that were true about this relationship . . . so, I said things that were true. They may have been misleading . . . so, what I was trying to do was to give them something that could--that would be true, even if misleading. . . .
That was played on television in the White House presentation a few minutes ago. That was perjury. What he told Sidney Blumenthal was not true. It wasn't just misleading, it was not true. And he knew it was not true and it was perjury in front of the grand jury.
If you believe the President committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice when he called Betty Currie to his office the day after his deposition and told her, `You were always there when she was, right'--the ones I just read to you, and the other statements to coach her--surely you must also conclude that the President committed perjury before the grand jury when he told the grand jurors his purpose in making these statements.
These are his exact words to the grand jurors:
I was trying to figure out what the facts were. I was trying to remember. I was trying to remember every time I had seen Ms. Lewinsky.
That is not true. He knew that was not true. That is not what he was doing. No one can rationally reason that that is what he was trying to do when he made the coaching statements to Ms. Currie. That was perjury in front of the grand jury.
And then we have heard a lot of talk about the civil deposition. Nobody is trying to prove up that deposition or is lying in here today. Nobody is trying to use that as a duplication or anything else of the sort. But the President said before the grand jurors:
Talking about the Jones case deposition--
That is the lie. That is the perjury. That is as simple as the second count of the perjury article is. Does anybody believe, after hearing all of this, that the goal of the President in the Jones deposition was to be truthful? He lied to the grand jury and committed perjury.
Last but not least, if you believe Monica Lewinsky about the acts of a sexual nature that they engaged in, how can you not conclude the President committed perjury when he specifically denied those acts? Those were very explicit. Mr. Ruff suggested that maybe this is a subjective question. Maybe about the interpretation of the definition you might call it subjective. We are not going to go over it again today, but he used specific words that he confirmed were in that definition and said, `I did not do those things. I did not touch those parts.' Monica Lewinsky, if you believe her, testified that he did do those things--many times.
He committed perjury when he said he didn't do those things, if you believe Monica Lewinsky. If you are going to vote to convict the President on the articles of impeachment regarding obstruction of justice, I urge you in the strongest way to also vote to convict him on the perjury article as well. I think you would be doing a disservice not to do that, and it would be sending a terrible message about perjury and the seriousness of it for history and to the American people.
As you have seen in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which Mr. Ruff talked about a while ago, perjury and obstruction of justice do have, under the baseline guidelines, a higher amount of sentencing than simple, plain `vanilla' bribery does. That is where they start. He is right, you can get enhancements for aggravating circumstances for bribery in certain cases, and you can get a greater sentence. But so can you get a greater sentence for perjury if there was a significant effort to wrongfully influence the administration of justice, for example; and you can get a significantly enhanced sentence for perjury if you committed perjury, and so on.
We didn't choose to bring up a litany and show all the enhancements. Of course, you can do that. But for the pure base, there is no question about it.
The other significant thing that you will recall I brought up--some of us did--a couple of weeks ago is witness bribery. Bribing a witness is treated more severely under sentencing guidelines for base sentencing than ordinary bribery is. Clearly, all three are high crimes and misdemeanors.
What are the consequences of failing to remove this
President from office if you believe he committed the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice? What are the consequences of failing to do that? What is the downside?
First, at the very least, you will leave a precedent of doubt as to whether perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors in impeaching the President. In fact, your vote to acquit under these circumstances may well mean that no President in the future will ever be impeached or removed for perjury or obstruction of justice. Is that the record that you want?
Second, you will be establishing the precedent that the standard for impeachment and removal of a President is different from that of impeaching or removing a judge or any other official while, arguably--although it never happened--a Federal judge could be removed for the lesser standard under the good behavior clause of the Constitution. Such a removal would have to be by a separate tribunal, by a procedure set by statute, because under the impeachment provisions of the Constitution which all judges have been removed under previously, the same single standard exists for removing the President as for removing a judge. That standard is that you have to have treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
So while the Constitution on its face does not make a distinction for removing a President or removing a judge, if you vote to acquit, believing that the President committed perjury and obstruction of justice, for all times you are going to set a precedent that there is such a distinction.
Third, if you believe the President committed the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice and that they are high crimes and misdemeanors, but you do not believe a President should be removed when economic times are good and it is strongly against the popular will to do so, by voting to acquit you will be setting a precedent for future impeachment trials.
Can you imagine how damaging that could be to our constitutional form of government, to set the precedent that no President will be removed from office for high crimes and misdemeanors unless the polls show that the public wants that to happen? Would our Founding Fathers have ever envisioned that? Of course not. Our Constitution was structured to avoid this very situation.
Fourth: Then there is what happens to the rule of law if you vote to acquit. What damage is done for future generations by a vote to acquit? Will more witnesses be inclined to commit perjury in trials? Will more jurors decide that perjury and obstruction of justice should not be crimes for which they convict? No military officer, no Cabinet official, no judge, no CEO of a major corporation, no president of a university, no principal of a public school in this Nation would remain in office, no matter how popular they were, if they committed perjury and obstruction of justice as charged here.
To vote to acquit puts the President on a pedestal which says that, as long as he is popular, we are going to treat him differently with regard to keeping his job than any other person in any other position of public trust in the United States of America. The President is the Commander in Chief; he is the chief law enforcement officer; he is the man who appoints the Cabinet; he appoints the judges.
Are you going to put on the record books the precedent that all who serve under the President and whom he has appointed will
be held to a higher standard than the President? What legacy to history is this? What mischief have you wrought to our Constitution, to our system of government, to the values and principles cherished by future generations of Americans? All this because--I guess this is the argument--Clinton was elected and is popular with the people? All this, when it is clear that a vote to convict would amount to nothing more than the peaceful, orderly, and immediate transition of government of the Presidency to the Vice President?
William Jefferson Clinton is not a king; he is our President. You have the power and the duty to remove him from office for high crimes and misdemeanors. I implore you to muster the courage of your convictions, to muster the courage the Founding Fathers believed that the Senate would always have in times like these. William Jefferson Clinton has committed high crimes and misdemeanors. Convict him and remove him.
I yield to Mr. Canady.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Canady.
Mr. Manager CANADY. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Members of the Senate, during the next few minutes I would like to address the constitutional issue you are called on to decide in this case: Are the crimes charged against the President offenses for which he may be removed from office? Are these crimes high crimes and misdemeanors? Are these crimes that proceed, as Alexander Hamilton said, `from the abuse or violation of some public trust'?
The President's lawyers have argued vigorously that even if all the charges against the President are true, the Constitution forbids the removal of this President. They contend that this isn't even a close case, that the crimes charged against the President are far removed from the constitutional category of high crimes and misdemeanors--a category of offenses they have sought to restrict narrowly to misconduct causing ruinous harm to the system of government.
While the President's lawyers have been consistent in urging a narrow and restricted understanding of the impeachment and removal power, they have not been--and I repeat--they have not been consistent in describing the standard used to determine if high crimes and misdemeanors have been committed.
In their submission to the House of Representatives they stated unequivocally that `the Constitution requires proof of official misconduct for impeachment.' Those are their words. I quote them again. `The Constitution requires proof of official misconduct for impeachment.' Indeed, that statement was the primary heading for their whole argument on constitutional standards. And likewise, in their trial memorandum submitted to the Senate, they argue that impeachment should not be used to punish private misconduct.
Subsequently they have apparently abandoned this position, recognizing that it would lead to the absurd result of maintaining in office Presidents who were undoubtedly unfit to serve. They now begrudgingly concede that a President is not necessarily impeached and removed simply because these crimes did not involve the abuse of powers of his office. They have been driven to concede there are at least some circumstances in which a President may be removed for crimes not involving what they call `official misconduct.' But, of course, they contend that the circumstances in this case don't even justify consideration of removal.
In the proceedings in the House and in their trial memorandum submitted to the Senate, the President's lawyers made much of the argument that tax fraud by a President of the United States would not be sufficiently serious to justify impeachment and removal. I had mentioned this before in these proceedings. And I mention it again now because it vividly demonstrates the low standard of integrity, the pathetically low standard of integrity that would be established for the Presidency if the arguments of the President's lawyers are accepted by the Senate.
Perhaps I missed something. But I do not recall any mention of the tax fraud issue by the President's lawyers in the course of their various presentations to the Senate. Could it be that the President's lawyers have come to understand that the argument that tax fraud is not an impeachable offense does not strengthen their case, but on the contrary highlights the weakness of their case? Tax fraud by a President, like lying under oath and obstruction of justice by a President in this case, would of course be wrong. It would be shameful, indefensible, unforgivable, but--this is the big `but'--it would not be impeachable, they say; not even a close case. Bad? Yes. But clearly not impeachable. And why that? Why would it not be impeachable? Why is it clearly, unquestionably unimpeachable? This is the answer. This is the heart and soul of the President's defense. Tax fraud and a host of undefined other crimes, like lying under oath and obstruction of justice in this case, are just not serious enough for impeachment and removal. That is the answer. That is the defense. It is just not serious enough. All the grand legal argument, all the fine legal distinctions come down to the simple, this marvelously simple proposition. It is just not serious enough.
Let me refer you once again to a statement from the 1974 Report on Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment prepared by the staff of the Nixon impeachment inquiry. I want to cite a portion of that report that I have previously cited to you. The President's lawyers have also cited this very same statement in both their trial memorandum and their argument during these proceedings.
This is what the report says:
Because impeachment of a President is a grave step for the Nation it is to be predicated only upon conduct seriously
That is a standard the managers accept. That is a standard the President's lawyers apparently also accept, and that is a standard I hope all 100 Members of the U.S. Senate could accept. I believe we can reach agreement on this standard. The problem comes, of course, in applying the standard. There is the rub. A wide gulf separates us on how this standard should be applied. The President's lawyers say that under this standard the case against the President isn't even worth considering. The managers argue on the contrary, that a conscientious application of the standard leads to the firm conclusion that the President should be convicted and removed.
Our fundamental difference goes to the issue of seriousness. It all goes back to the claim of the President's lawyers that his offenses just are not serious enough to justify removal.
I think we have agreement that obstruction of justice and lying under oath are incompatible with the proper performance of the constitutional duties of the Presidential office. A President who has lied under oath and obstructed justice has by definition breached his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
Such conduct is directly and unambiguously at odds with the duties of this office. So far so good. But here is the real question. Is that conduct seriously incompatible with the President's constitutional duties?
That is the question you all must answer. If you say yes, it is seriously incompatible, you must vote to convict and remove the President. If you say no, you must vote to acquit.
The President's defenders have not offered a clear guide to determining what is serious enough to justify removal. Instead, they have simply sought to minimize the significance of the particular offenses charged against the President.
Today we heard and attempt to minimize the significance of perjury. I was somewhat amazed to hear that. There was no mention made of what the first Chief Justice of the United States, Justice Jay, had to say about perjury, being of all crimes the most pernicious to society. That was omitted from the President's analysis.
But let me say this: I believe that we should focus on any mitigating circumstances. We should also focus on the aggravating circumstances that relate to the particular facts of a given case. I would like to briefly review the factors advanced at mitigating the seriousness of the President's crimes.
We all know what the leading mitigating factor is. We have all heard this 1,000 times. It goes like this: The offenses are not sufficiently serious because it is all about sex. This is directly linked to the claim that the President was simply trying to avoid personal embarrassment in committing these crimes. The problem with this argument is that it proves too much.
It is very common for people to lie under oath and obstruct justice to do so at least in part to avoid personal embarrassment. People engage in such conduct in their efforts
to extricate themselves from difficulty and embarrassing situations. To a large extent, the offenses of President Nixon could be attributed to his desire to avoid embarrassing revelations. Did that reduce his culpability? Did that lessen the seriousness of his misconduct? The answer is obvious. It did not.
The desire to avoid embarrassment is not a mitigating factor. Likewise, the nature of the precipitating misconduct of a sexual affair does not mitigate the seriousness of the President's crimes. If you accept the argument that it is just about sex, you will render the law of sexual harassment virtually meaningless. Any defendant guilty of sexual harassment would obviously have an incentive to lie about any sexual misconduct that may have occurred. But no one--no one--has the license to lie under oath about sex in a sexual harassment case or a divorce case or any other case.
I would suggest to you that an objective review of all the circumstances of this case--and you need to look at all of the circumstances, all of the facts in context--if you do that, you will be pointed not to mitigating factors, but to aggravating factors.
The conduct of the President was calculated and sustained. His subtle and determined purpose was corrupt. It was corrupt from start to finish. He knew exactly what he was doing. He knew that it was in violation of the criminal law. He knew that people could go to prison for doing such things. He knew that it was contrary to his oath of office. He knew that it was incompatible with his constitutional duty as President. And he most certainly knew that it was a very serious matter. I am sure he believed he could get away with it, but I am equally sure that he knew just how serious it would be if the truth were known and understood.
He knew all these things. In the midst of it all, he showed not the slightest concern for the honor, the dignity, and the integrity of his high office. When he called Ms. Lewinsky at 2:30 in the morning, he was up to no good, just as my colleague, Mr. Graham, noted. He knew exactly what he was doing. When he called Ms. Currie into his office twice and told her lies about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, he knew exactly what he was doing.
When he sent Ms. Currie to retrieve the gifts from Ms. Lewinsky--and that is the only way it happened--he knew exactly what he was doing. He was tampering with witnesses and obstructing justice. He was doing everything he could to make sure that Paula Jones did not get the evidence that a Federal district judge had determined and ordered that she was entitled to receive. He was doing everything he could to avoid adverse legal consequences in the Jones case. That is what he planned to do, and that is what he did. And to cap it all off, he went before the Federal grand jury and lied.
Whatever you may think about the President's testimony to the grand jury, one thing is clear. He didn't lie to the grand jury to avoid personal embarrassment. The DNA on the dress had ensured his personal embarrassment. There was no avoiding that. There was no way to explain away the DNA. The stakes were higher before the Federal grand jury. This wasn't about avoiding personal embarrassment. This wasn't about avoiding liability in a sexual harassment case. This was a Federal criminal investigation concerning crimes against the system of justice. This was about lying under oath and obstructing justice in the Jones case.
And what did he do when he testified to the grand jury? He said anything he thought he needed to say to avoid responsibility for his prior crimes. The prosecutors went down to the White House, and William Jefferson Clinton sat there as President of the United States in the White House and he lied to a Federal grand jury. He sat there in the White House and he put on his most sincere face. He swore to God to tell the truth, and then he lied. He planned to lie, and he executed his plan because he believed it was in his personal and political interests to lie. Never mind the oath of office. Never mind the constitutional duty. Never mind that he solemnly swore to God to tell the truth.
Now, ask yourself this simple question: Was this course of conduct seriously incompatible with the President's duty as President? If this doesn't fall within the meaning of the offenses Alexander Hamilton described as `proceeding from the abuse or violation of some public trust,' tell me what would. I would respectfully suggest to you that this is exactly the sort of conduct that the framers had in mind when they provided a remedy for the removal of the Chief Executive who is guilty of
misconduct. I believe that they would have rejected the argument that this deliberate, willful, stubborn, corrupt course of criminal conduct just isn't serious enough for the constitutional remedy the framers established, a remedy that they designed to protect the health and integrity of our institutions.
Those who established our Constitution would have understood the seriousness of the misconduct of William Jefferson Clinton. They would have understood that it was the President who has shown contempt for the Constitution, not the managers from the House of Representatives. They would have understood the seriousness of the example of lawlessness he has set. They would have understood the seriousness of the contempt for the law the President's conduct has caused. They would have understood the seriousness of the damage the President has done to the integrity of his high office. Those wise statesmen who established our form of government would have understood the seriousness of the harm President Clinton has done to the cause of justice and constitutional government. They would have understood that a President who does such things should not remain in office with his crimes.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, for the sake of justice and for the sake of the Constitution, this President should be convicted and removed.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Bryant.
Mr. Manager BRYANT. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Members of the Senate, the distinguished colleagues of the bar representing the President, I want to commend them for an outstanding effort that they have made throughout these proceedings and tell them that I just read a poll from a couple days ago, that something over 80 percent of the American people believe the President is guilty of something here. But I think that moots our entire debate. I don't think there is any need to even talk about the facts any longer because of the poll.
I use that tongue in cheek because that seems to beg the question that we are also going to talk about today, and that is whether the President ought to be removed for his conduct. And one of the arguments I have heard put forward since we have been here is the fact that the polls support this President and that the stability issue would be in play. And that is simply not the case because we all clearly understand that it is this body's function to determine not only the facts of this case, but also apply to it the law, as well as the constitutional law as to the removal and conviction process.
I still remain concerned with opposing counsels' continued reference that the House managers want to win too much. I know I am not that eloquent, but I did try to make that point the other day, and I will make it again. If I have to take an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I will do that and tell you we are not trying to win at all costs. This has been a process that I think has been healthy for this country, and regardless of the outcome--it is going to be in your hands very shortly. Regardless of the outcome, this country will benefit not only in the short term but in the long term from this debate.
There are many, many other issues at stake here, and I tried to tell you a few the other day, without this concept that all we want to do is win, as if it is a simple game. We have been over the last 4 weeks, as men and women, as ordinary men
and women I might say, involved in an extraordinary process. It is uniquely thorough. And we have tried to blend the facts of this case with the law of the charges, together with the politics and the polls and the media, and we have had to make some tough decisions. We have had to make some difficult decisions--I know we have on our side--as to what witnesses to call, how to treat these witnesses in depositions. I know on this side they have had to make difficult calls, I am sure. There has been some talk about having the President come down or not coming down. And what has in large part made this process distinct from past impeachments--and I am talking about the one last century of the President--and the subsequent judicial impeachments has been just, it seems, the media and the daily grind on all of us, the critiques. It is almost as if we are performing, we are in a play, and every day we get a review. We have been good, bad or indifferent.
What concerns me most about that is that as you move to the very serious issue of deciding whether or not this President should be convicted based on the facts, and whether this President should be removed, I am concerned that people are stretching the trees. And if that is what you see on TV and that is what you read in the paper, you are going to see the trees and not the forest here and miss the big picture.
That is so important. It is not about the personalities of these people or the personalities here or the politics involved or the polls, but it is about the facts. And ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, there are conclusive facts here that support a conviction. The President and his attorneys, as I said the other day, have made a good defense and have tried to paint a picture to the facts I think that simply does not match with logic or common sense.
Take, for instance, the affidavit. Now, we continue to see Ms. Lewinsky testifying on video that she never talked with the President that night or never made--about linking the false story, the concocted story with the affidavit. And Mr. Ruff, I think, challenged people to say, well, what do you think the President meant to do that night when he called her at 2:30 in the morning?
Well, what do you think he intended to do in that call at 2:30 in the morning? Do you think he called her to tell her he had a Christmas present for her, or do you think his intent was to tell her, which he did, that you have been listed on the witness list and you could be subpoenaed. And, you know, you might give an affidavit to avoid testifying. He suggested the affidavit, and then he said in that same conversation, well, you know, you can always use that cover story.
Why would he suggest using a cover story that night? Were they even seeing each other then? It belittles all reasonable judgment to accept this type of defense of this conduct, that it was an innocent phone conversation, the President really meant nothing by it, and the fact that Ms. Lewinsky said, well, I didn't connect the two. But look at what she did. She went to her lawyer and used that concocted story in an affidavit that she filed in the case.
Now, it was in the draft affidavit. They took that out later for other reasons. But she did tell her lawyer that, and they attempted to use it. But, again, it is the President's state of mind that matters and what his intent was on the false affidavit.
And then that same false affidavit was later used in the court, and the President knew it was false. He knew it was false--used in the deposition. And we have seen the deposition testimony, with the President sitting, listening to his lawyer talk about that affidavit when he submitted it. And he obstructed justice by not objecting at that point, not instructing his own lawyer: Don't put that false evidence into this testimony.
People stand up and laugh and say, you know, he was not paying any attention, and they got this silly affidavit from this guy who was there and said he was looking at his lawyer but he couldn't tell what he was thinking. Of course he couldn't tell what he was thinking. Nobody is a mind reader. But this was a critical affidavit at that time which was going to cut off critical testimony in that case, and you can just about guarantee, I would say 100 percent, that the President was indeed listening very carefully, knew that his lawyer was submitting a false affidavit, and did nothing to stop it. That is another count of obstruction of justice.
Tampering with Betty Currie--two occasions. And they say, well, nothing happened between the first time and the second time. I am not so sure legally that matters. It was 2 or 3 days after it happened, 2 or 3--the day following his deposition and 2 or 3 days after that. Initially, remember his defense was: I was simply trying to recall what happened. And then we brought up the fact: Why did you go the second time? Did you have a short memory? Didn't you get it right the first time? And now we hear the defense today that nothing really changed and it is really one issue there, one big tampering rather than two attempts to tamper--still obstruction of justice.
The job situation Mr. Hutchinson will talk about later. Mr. Blumenthal, the same thing; I am sure Mr. Rogan will talk about him in a minute.
But if you will look carefully, you will see that the President is the only thread that goes from each one of these, from the very beginning, from the point when he met Monica Lewinsky and from that point when he looked at that pink pass and said: You know, that's going to be a problem. And you know why that was going to be a problem. Because that limited her access to this President and what he was going to do. But from that point until they terminated the relationship, this President is involved in each one of these issues of the obstruction of justice.
It is always him, by himself, testifying falsely, sitting there letting his lawyers submit a false affidavit, or it is him and one other person--he and Monica Lewinsky talking about filing a false affidavit; he and Monica Lewinsky talking about a concocted story to testify. He and Betty Currie on two occasions: Betty, you remember the testimony was like this.
He and John Podesta, Sidney Blumenthal, the many aides--talking to them individually, giving them a false story. As Mr. Hutchinson pointed out so well in his argument the other day, it is always a private issue in terms of no one else knows what is going on. Vernon Jordan didn't know what was happening with the
affidavit, necessarily. Betty Currie didn't understand what was happening with the affidavit, or the job search, to the point that they knew what was going on. Look at and analyze each one of these and you will see that there is a compartmentalization going on with this President. And he is at the center of it each time.
Now, what do we do with it? What do you do with it? It is going to be in your hands very shortly, and I want to address just a couple of points on the constitutional issue of the conviction and the removal, because White House counsel very, very well argued the issue of proportionality. And, again, proportionality simply means that the legacy of this Senate and this Congress will be that we have destroyed sexual harassment laws because what we are going to say--when you argue that proportionality, think about what it is.
We have heard this issue about, `Well, back in my hometown, 80 percent of the people who get divorces lie about this issue.' Certainly we don't want that to be the legacy of this Congress, that we legitimate lying in divorce cases; nor would we want to have the legitimacy of this Congress being that we did not support the sexual harassment laws, because you know and I know that this is an important part. Going back and getting accurate, truthful testimony is absolutely essential in these types of cases. And if we send a message out on the proportionality theory that it is just about sex and you can lie about it, it will be the wrong thing to do.
The laws, like the facts, are a very stubborn thing. And the fact that the economy is good and people are doing well--if the law has been broken, if perjury has been committed, if obstruction of justice has been committed by this President, it is my belief that the fact that the economy is good should not prevent this Senate from acting and removing the President. Just as if the economy were bad, you wouldn't want to be able to go in there and impeach the President because it is bad, you don't want to not impeach him simply because the economy is good.
It is a difficult task. We have had a difficult task bringing this case over to you. And I thank you. You have been here the 4 weeks in attendance. You paid attention. When it was your turn to ask questions, you asked very good questions. You have been ready to listen and I thank you for that.
You have a difficult task ahead of you. I know when I voted on this I thought, `If this were a Republican President, what would I do?' It is a tough choice. And I said, `But I really think I would have voted the same way I voted even if it were a Republican President.' I know. Like Mr. Chabot, I voted for Mr. Carter in 1976. I voted for Mr. Reagan in 1980, I might add, but I voted for Mr. Carter in 1976 after the 1974 incident.
It is tough. And what has made it awfully hard is that you all have also taken an oath to do impartial justice. I simply ask you, as you consider these facts and do impartial justice, that you set a standard that, if you believe the President indeed did commit either perjury or obstruction of justice or both of those, that you set that standard high for the President, for the next President, for the next generations; you set that standard high for our courts that have to deal with perjury and obstruction every day, with people who are less than the President but yet who are watching, watching very closely what we do up here. But set that standard high for the President. Don't lower our expectation in what we expect of the
President. And I think if you do that, if you look high, if you set the standard high, that the right thing will be done.
I have confidence and have trust, and have just been so pleased with the way we have been received here. I know you will do the right thing.
I apologize to you, as I will be talking to you probably for my last time, if I have come across being up here preaching to you. It is not my intent to lecture you. You do not need any lectures from me or anyone else to preach to you. I hope I have had that opportunity to rebut some of the area--the proof in the area that I am in charge of. But I will just simply sit down by telling you there is conclusive proof here, particularly in terms of the obstruction of justice charges, of the hiding of the evidence, of the filing of false affidavit.
I think I did skip over the hiding of the evidence. Let me just quickly say, I am not sure a lot new can be added to what was said in the past. But if Monica is telling the truth, as her lawyers or as the President's lawyers seem to tell you, that is a no-brainer there, because she says, `I know for a fact that Ms. Currie called me, that she initiated the call.' And as I told you the other day, from that point forward it seems to me a moot issue, because the initiation of the phone call by Betty Currie began a process to hide that evidence. And the only way that Betty Currie would have known to make that call, to begin that process of hiding evidence, would be to have had a conversation with the President, to have been instructed that way.
For the President, whose intent was to conceal the relationship, it would have been totally inconsistent for him to suggest that she turn the evidence over. It would have been totally consistent for him to ask Betty Currie to go out and hide the evidence, get it from Ms. Lewinsky and hide the evidence.
As I close, let me just tell you, too--on the heels of Mr. Canady--that there are law professors who testified in our hearing who have the contrary view to the view that was expressed by other law professors that Mr. Ruff referred to, that it is constitutional to impeach a President for conduct that is not clearly official, that might be described as personal, particularly conduct of perjury or obstruction of justice.
Professor Turley says:
In my view, serious crimes in office, such as lying under oath before a federal grand jury, have always been `malum in se' conduct for a president and sufficient for impeachment.
Professor John McGinnis of Benjamin Cardozo Law School says that obstruction of justice is clearly within the ambit of high crimes and misdemeanors.
If there is any question of this private conduct versus personal conduct, that view is out there. Given the right type of personal misconduct, it is clearly an impeachable offense. With that, I call Mr. Manager Hutchinson to follow me.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Hutchinson.
Mr. Manager HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, when I was appointed as a manager, I hoped to present the case before the Senate with my colleagues in a manner that was consistent with the dignity of this great body and also respectful of the constitutional independence of the Senate. I hope that you agree and believe that we have done that as we have come over here.
During the months of this trial process, I have grown to appreciate the institution of the Senate to a greater degree than ever before, but I think of even more importance to me, I have grown to respect the individuals that comprise this body more than ever. Let me say, it has been a privilege to appear before you.
As we come to the close of this case, let's go to the key questions that should be on your mind. First of all, has the obstruction of justice and perjury cases been proven? Have the allegations been proven? My colleagues have touched upon the perjury. Let me talk about article II on the obstruction of justice.
The White House defense team, composed of extraordinarily distinguished and talented attorneys, has tried to diminish the significance of the overwhelming facts on obstruction by using certain phrases such as, `It's all circumstantial,' or `The managers ignore those stubborn facts,' or `They want to win too badly,' or `It's a shell with no shell.' And today the latest catch phrase, `moving targets, empty pots.'
Those are certainly quotable phrases designed to diminish the factual presentation with dripping sarcasm, but I believe that they ignore the underlying facts, testimony, and evidence that has been presented.
Let me just address a couple of arguments that Mr. Ruff has presented during his presentation.
The first argument that he presented as he described it was a technical argument, that the article II obstruction of justice charge in the articles of impeachment on the lying to the aides was not really in reference to the Federal civil rights case, and that is a true statement. But if you read article II, paragraph 7, it refers to this and says:
. . .The false and misleading statements made by William Jefferson Clinton were repeated by the witnesses to the grand jury, causing the grand jury to receive false and misleading information.
The article is appropriately drafted, is well stated, and gives them total notice as to what that charge is about.
Some of the other arguments have been handled by my colleagues, but Mr. Ruff also said, Why have the managers never, never explained, if this is such an urgent matter for the President, why did he wait until December 17 to tell Ms. Lewinsky that she was on the list?
I am afraid Mr. Ruff failed to listen to my opening presentation when I went through that timeframe. In that
timeframe, the witness list came out on December 5, it continued to accelerate, December 11 was Judge Wright's order. Then it was December 17 that the call was made at 2 a.m. in the morning to let Ms. Lewinsky know she was on the list. Why was it December 17? This is in the President's mind. No one knows why he picked that particular date, but perhaps it was that the job search was well underway then. He felt like she could handle this distressing information and, in fact, on the day after that call, she already had two interviews lined up on that same day, December 18, set up by Mr. Jordan. So perhaps it was an appropriate time to let her know she was on the witness list.
They raised the question about the Christmas gifts. You have the testimony of Betty Currie, you have the testimony of Ms. Lewinsky, and the issue is simply: Do you believe Monica Lewinsky? If you accept her reluctant testimony, yet forceful and clear testimony, that the call came from Betty Currie, then you have no choice but to conclude that the retention of the gifts, the retrieval of the gifts was initiated by the President of the United States.
When you go to the job search, and they point to the testimony, they played the video of Mr. Jordan who said that there was never a conversation in which both the job and the false affidavit were discussed together, they cut it off at that point. You remember I had a `but' in there. If you had heard further beyond that, you would have heard me cross-examining Mr. Jordan, as I did, and reminding him of his previous testimony in which he acknowledged that in every conversation with Ms. Lewinsky, they talked about the job. So he acknowledged that they talked about the job and the affidavit all in the same conversation together.
Mr. Ruff makes the point that the managers got close enough to accuse Mr. Jordan of telling Ms. Lewinsky to destroy the notes, implying that we are making up this. But is this evidence that is coming from the managers? It is my recollection that it is testimony coming from Ms. Monica Lewinsky. We are not concocting this. It is testimony from witnesses that have been brought before this body, whose sworn testimony you have received, whose sworn testimony they defended and rely upon, but when it comes to this, they say, `No, it's the managers.'
Then they come to another pillar of obstruction, the one that they avoid at every opportunity, but finally addressed today, and that is the coaching of Betty Currie. I was interested that they finally talked about this, the first coaching incident and then the second one. Mr. Ruff tried to go into that it is clear that it occurred on January 20 rather than 21. In fact, it is her testimony that it occurred on one of those days. But they miss the point.
The legal significance of the second coaching episode is that it totally goes against the defense of the President--that it was there, he was doing this to acquire information, to get facts, to help in media inquiries.
If that is the case, there is absolutely no reason for it to be done on the second occasion and, clearly, she was known to be a witness at that time, and that is the legal significance.
It goes to his intent, his motive, what he is trying to do to a subordinate employee. The fact of this matter is that this is not a case that is based upon circumstantial evidence. On each element of obstruction, there is direct testimony linking the President to a consistent pattern of conduct designed to
withhold information, conceal evidence and tamper with witnesses to avoid obedience and directives of a Federal court.
Let's look at the direct proof, not circumstantial evidence, but direct testimony.
What did Vernon Jordan testify as to the President's involvement in the job search?
Question to Mr. Jordan:
You're acting in behalf of the President when you're trying to get Ms. Lewinsky a job and you were in control of the job search?
He was acting at the direction of the President and he was in control.
What did Vernon Jordan testify he told the President when a job was secured for a key witness and the false affidavit was signed?
Mr. President, she signed the affidavit, she signed the affidavit.
Then the next day, the job is secured and the report to Betty Currie, the report to the President, `Mission accomplished.'
Is this circumstantial evidence? This is direct testimony by a friend and confidante of the President, Vernon Jordan.
Who is the one person who clearly knew all of the ingredients to make the job search an obstruction of justice? It was the President who knew he had a dangerous relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. He knew his friend was securing a job at his direction, and he knew that a false affidavit was being procured at his suggestion. He was the one person who knew all the facts.
Fourthly, Ms. Lewinsky, is this circumstantial evidence or direct testimony when she talked about what the President told her on December 17? She was a witness, and immediately following the fact she was a witness, the suggestion that she could use the cover stories, the suggestion that she could use an affidavit.
Direct testimony, was it direct proof about the President's tampering with the testimony of Betty Currie? It was Betty Currie herself who acknowledged this and testified to it. No, this is not circumstantial evidence, it is direct testimony.
The same with Sidney Blumenthal. Direct testimony after direct testimony painting a picture, setting up the pillars of obstruction.
They want you to believe Monica Lewinsky sometimes, but they don't want you to believe her other times, and you have to weigh her testimony.
I could go on with the facts, but the truth is that our case on obstruction of justice has been established. Some of you might conclude, `Well, I accept five or six of those pillars of obstruction, but there is one I have a reservation about.' If you look at the article, if there is one element of obstruction that you accept and believe and you agree upon, then that is sufficient for conviction and, surely, it is sufficient to convict the President, if there was even one element of obstruction.
I remind you that a typical jury instruction on conspiracy for obstruction would be that it takes only one overt act to satisfy the requirements for conviction. The Government doesn't have to prove all the overt acts, just one that was carried out.
Another question some of you might be thinking about is, Is this serious enough to warrant conviction and removal? One of the foundations of our judicial system is that any citizen, regardless of position or power, has access to the court. Can you imagine the shock and outrage of this body if a corporation, in an effort to protect itself from liability, concealed evidence and provided benefits to those witnesses who are cooperative? Outrage; injustice. And those are the allegations against the tobacco companies. Those are the allegations last night on CBS, `60 Minutes,' about a major corporation. And there should be outrage by this body. We would rightfully be outraged about that. And we should also be outraged if it happened by the President. It should be no less when it is conducted by the President.
The next argument is: `Well, yes, the President should be held accountable, but he can always be prosecuted later. In fact, I understand a censure resolution is being circulated emphasizing that the President can be held criminally responsible for his actions when he leaves office. This is not too subtle of a suggestion that the independent counsel go ahead and file criminal charges against the President.'
I appreciate Judge Starr, but I do not believe that is what the country has in mind when they say they want to get this matter over. I do not believe your vote on the articles of impeachment should be a signal to the independent counsel to initiate criminal proceedings. It appears to me that that is the implication of this censure resolution being discussed.
I would emphasize that it is this body that the founding fathers entrusted with the responsibility to determine whether a President's conduct has breached the public trust. And your decision in this body should conclude this matter. It should not be the initiation of another national drama that will be carried over the next 3 years.
And finally, there are some who consider the politics of this matter. We have proven our case. I entered this body thinking that this was a legal, judicial proceeding and not political. And I have been reminded there are political aspects under the Constitution to a Senate trial. So I concede the point.
We are all familiar with `Profiles in Courage' written by John F. Kennedy. He reminds us of the courageous act of Senator Edmund G. Ross in voting for the acquittal of President Andrew Johnson in his impeachment trial. Senator Ross was a profile in courage because he knew the case against President Johnson was not legally sufficient, even though the politically expedient vote was to vote for conviction. Senator Ross followed the facts and he followed the law, and he voted his conscience. It was to his political detriment, but it reflected his political courage.
Today we have a different circumstance. The question is, Will the Senators of this body have the political courage to follow the facts and the law as did Senator Ross, despite enormous political pressure to ignore the facts and the law and the Constitution? You will make that decision.
I appear before this body as an advocate. I am not paid for this special responsibility. But I am here because I believe the Constitution requires me to make this case. The facts prove overwhelmingly that the President committed obstruction of justice and perjury. Despite this belief, whatever conclusion you reach will not be criticized by me. And
I will respect this institution regardless of the outcome.
As the late Federal Judge Orin Harris of Arkansas always said from the bench to the jury when I was trying cases--and I hated his instruction because I was the prosecutor--but he would tell the jury, `Remember, the government never wins or loses a case. The government always wins when justice is done.' Well, this is the Congress and this is the Senate. And it is your responsibility to determine the facts and to let justice roll down like mighty waters.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Rogan.
Mr. Manager ROGAN. Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished counsel for the President, Members of the U.S. Senate, for me the most poignant part of this entire proceeding was the day, a few weeks ago, when we were addressed by the distinguished former Senator from Arkansas, Dale Bumpers. And probably the thing that touched me most about his presentation is when he talked about the human element of what this impeachment proceeding has meant and how difficult that has been.
It touched me because it made me remember that that difficulty is not limited solely for Democrats in this Chamber. I am one of the House managers. I am a Republican today. But that was not always the case. I used to be a Democrat. And being a House manager in the impeachment of President Clinton has been especially difficult for me. And I would like to tell you why.
Twenty years ago, in December 1978, I was finishing my last semester of college and had just applied to law school. I was waiting for my application to be accepted someplace. And in December of 1978, I was a delegate in Memphis, TN, to the Democratic Midterm Convention.
Now, at that time President Carter was halfway through his term of office. He was not particularly popular among the party faithful. There was a great deal of sentiment that a Member of this body today should challenge him for the nomination. That decision had not yet been made, but among the delegates to that convention there was an overwhelming desire to see Senator Ted Kennedy appear.
The Carter White House froze Senator Kennedy out of the proceedings. He was not invited to address the convention. His name appeared nowhere in the program. So the delegates did something on their own. There were workshops being held during the day, and a workshop on health care was called. And Senator Kennedy was invited to fly out that day and address that workshop. He did that in the afternoon, and he left after he addressed it. I had gone to a workshop that morning where President Carter personally appeared, and my recollection is about 200 or 300 people came to that. Senator Kennedy's workshop had to be transferred to a large auditorium because about 2,000 people appeared to hear him.
The Senator came, he spoke, and he left. I stayed even though most people left with him, because I was fascinated by the young fellow who was moderating the program that day. He was bright, he was in control, he was articulate. He didn't look that much older than me. And I was stunned that this young man was not only the attorney general of his State, but he was the Governor-elect of the State.
Sometime after that workshop I walked up to him and introduced myself. I told him who I was, and he spent about 15 minutes encouraging me to go to law school, to stay active in politics. His name was Bill Clinton. I have never forgotten
that day 20 years ago when then-Attorney General Clinton took the time for a young fellow who had an interest in the law and politics. And I have never forgotten in recent days the graciousness he has shown to me, to my wife, and to my children when we have encountered him.
This has been a very difficult proceeding for me and for my colleagues, the House managers. But our presence here isn't out of personal animosity toward our President. It is because we believe that, after reviewing all the evidence, the President of the United States had committed obstruction of justice and perjury, he had violated his oath of office; and in so doing he had sacrificed the principle that no person is above the law. And friendship and personal affection could not control under those circumstances.
Up until now, the idea that no person is above the law has been unquestioned. And yet this standard is not our inheritance automatically. Each generation of Americans ultimately has to make that choice for themselves. Once again, it is a time for choosing. How will we respond? By impeaching the President, the U.S. House of Representatives made that choice. It went on record as saying that our body would not tolerate the most powerful man in the world trampling the constitutional rights of a lone woman, no matter how obscure or humble she might be.
We refused to ignore Presidential misconduct despite its minimization by spin doctors, pundits, and, yes, even the polls. The personal popularity of any President pales when weighed against the fundamental concept that forever distinguishes us from every nation on the planet: No person is above the law.
The House of Representatives jettisoned the spin and the propaganda. We sought, and we have now presented, the unvarnished truth. Now it is your unhappy task to make the final determination, face the truth, and polish the Constitution, or allow this Presidency, in the words of Chairman Henry Hyde, to take one more chip out of the marble.
The Constitution solemnly required President Clinton, as a condition of his becoming President, to swear an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution, and to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.
That oath of obligation required the President to defend our laws that protect women in the workplace, just as it also required him to protect the legal system from perjury, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice. Fidelity to the Presidential oath is not dependent upon any President's personal threshold of comfort or embarrassment. Neither must it be a slave to the latest poll.
How important was this oath to our founders? Did they intend the oath to have primacy over the shifting winds of political opinion? Or did they bequeath to us an ambiguous Constitution that was meant to roll with the punches of the latest polling data and focus groups? The Constitution gives us that answer in article II, section 1. It says:
Before he enters on the execution of his office, he shall take . . . [an] oath.
And the oath is then prescribed.
The mere fact that a person is elected President does not give him the right to become President, no matter how overwhelming his vote margin. Votes alone do not make a person President of the United States. There is a requirement that precedes obtaining the power and authority of obtaining the Presidency. It is the oath of office. It is swearing to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. It is accepting the obligation that the laws are to be faithfully executed.
No oath, no Presidency. It is the oath of office, and not public opinion polls, that gives life and legitimacy to a Presidency. This is true no matter how popular an elected President may be, or how broad his margin of victory.
The founders did not intend the oath to be an afterthought or a technicality. They viewed it as an absolute requirement before the highest office in the land was entrusted to any person. The evidence shows the President repeatedly violated his oath of office. Now the focus shifts to your oath of office. The President hopes that in this Chamber the polls will govern. On behalf of the House of Representatives, we entreat you to require the Constitution reign supreme. For if polls matter more than the oath to uphold the law, then yet another chip out of the marble has been struck.
The cry has also been raised that to remove the President is to create a constitutional crisis by undoing an election. There is no constitutional crisis when the simple process of the Constitution comes into play. Listen to the words of Dr. Larry Arnn of the Claremont Institute:
[E]lections have no higher standing under our Constitution than the impeachment process. Both stem from provisions of the Constitution. The people elect a president to do a constitutional job. They act under the Constitution when they do it. At the same time they elect a Congress to do a different constitutional job. The president swears an oath to uphold the Constitution, both in elections and in the impeachment process.
If the president is guilty of acts justifying impeachment, then he, not the Congress, will have `overturned the election.' He will have acted in ways that betray the purpose of his election. He will have acted not as a constitutional representative, but as a monarch, subversive of,
If the great powers given the president are abused, then to impeach him defends not only the results of elections, but that higher thing which elections are in service, namely, the preeminence of the Constitution[.]
The evidence clearly shows that the President engaged in a repeated and lengthy pattern of felonious conduct--conduct for which ordinary citizens can be and have been jailed and lost their liberty. This simply cannot be wished or censured away.
With his conduct aggravated by a motivation of personal and monetary leverage in the Paula Jones lawsuit, the solemnity of our sacred oath obliges us to do what the President regretfully has failed to do: defend the rule of law, defend the concept that no person is above the law.
On the day the House impeached President Clinton, I said that when they are old enough to appreciate the solemnity of that action, I wanted my little girls to know that when the roll was called, their father served with colleagues who counted it a privilege to risk political fortunes in defense of the Constitution.
Today, I am more resolute in that opinion. From the time I was a little boy, it was my dream to one day serve in the Congress of the United States. My dream was fulfilled 2 years ago. Today, I am a Republican in a district that is heavily Democratic. The pundits keep telling me that my stand on this issue puts my political fortunes in jeopardy. So be it. That revelation produces from me no flinching. There is a simple reason why: I know that in life dreams come and dreams go. But conscience is forever. I can live with the concept of not serving in Congress. I cannot live with the idea of remaining in Congress at the expense of doing what I believe to be right.
I was about 12 years old when a distinguished Member of this body, the late Senator Ralph Yarborough of Texas, gave me this sage advice about elective office:
Always put principle above politics; put honor above incumbency.
I now return that sentiment to the body from which it came. Hold fast to it, Senators, and in doing so, you will be faithful both to our founders and to our heirs.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Graham. The managers have 45 minutes remaining.
Mr. Manager GRAHAM. I promise not to take the whole 45 minutes. I have been told that my voice fades, and I will try not to let that happen here.
As we bring the trial to a conclusion, I think it needs to be said from our side of the aisle that our staff has been terrific. You don't know how many hours of sleep have been lost by the young men and women working to put this case together under the procedures that the Senate developed. They have done an absolutely magnificent job. If there is anybody to blame on our side, blame us, because our staff has done a terrific job. That just needs to be said.
Now, let's talk about Mr. Rogan's district. True, if there is anybody on our side of the aisle that has been at risk it has been Jim. I have made some lifelong friends in this situation, really on both sides of the aisle. This has been tough, tough, tough for our country, but sometimes some good comes from tough situations, and I think some good will come from this before it is all said and done, ladies and gentlemen of the Senate. I know it doesn't look to be so, but it will be so later on.
I come from a district where I am the first Republican in 120 years. They told me they hung the other guy, so I know I am doing better. I am 4 years into this thing. This is my third term.
You can take the national polls and turn them upside down in my district, but I have on occasion said that if the President would reconcile himself to the law, I would be willing to consider something less than impeachment. I can assure you that did not go over well with some people in my district. But I thought that would be good for the country.
The elections come and go and we can get through just about anything and everything in this country, but it does take leadership, and character does still count. Having said that, I am a sinner like the rest of us, and part of the problem with this case is we have to confront our own sins, because who are we to judge others when the things get to be private and personal? I am not asking you to use that standard. I am standing before you as a sinner, and I would never want my President or your President removed because of private sins. Only when it gets to be constitutionally out of bounds. Only when it gets to be so egregious that you can't look your children in the eye and explain what happened here in terms of the law. We can all explain human failings, but we have a real mixed message going on, and it needs to be straightened out for them.
If you could bring the Founding Fathers back, as everybody has suggested, the first debate would be, could we call them as a witness? There would be some people objecting to that. Live or dead, it's been hard to get a witness. [Laughter.]
I guarantee you, I think they would say to us: `What's a poll?' They would be instructive, but we can't summon them back. Do you know what I really think they would tell us? They would tell us that we started this thing, and it's up to you all to carry it on. And it is. They would be right. It is not their job to tell us what to do. It's our job to take the spirit of what they did and build on it.
If you have kept an open mind, you have fulfilled your job. If you have listened to the facts and you vote your conscience, you will have fulfilled your job. I will not trample on your conscience; I have said that before. I started this process with great concern and I leave with a lot of contentment because I believe the facts have withstood the test of every type of scrutiny and demagoguery that have been thrown at them. They stand firm. Do you know what they are going to stand? They're going to stand the test of history. Some people suggest that history may judge you badly if you vote to convict this President. I suggest that that will be the least of your problems.
Our past and this present moment becomes our Nation's future. What are we going to leave to the future generations? What do we do when the next Federal judge is brought before this body having been impeached by the House for cheating on their taxes? Are we going to self-righteously throw that Federal judge out after having listened to this massive case of obstruction of justice and perjury before a grand jury? We may throw that Federal judge out, but we will have to walk out the door backward; we will not walk out boldly. What happens when the next Federal judge is acquitted by a jury of his peers, and you know the result would be just to remove that judge? You did the right thing by not being bound by the acquittal in the case of Judge Hastings. You did the right thing to get to the truth and act accordingly, because for people who sit in judgment of others there needs to be no reasonable doubt about who they are and what they are able to do in that role. The President of the United States is at the top of the legal pyramid. If there is reasonable doubt about his ability to faithfully execute the laws of the land, our future will be better off if that individual is removed.
Let me tell you what it all comes down to for me. If you can go back and explain to your children and your constituents how you can be truthful and misleading at the same time, good luck. That is the legacy that Bill Clinton has left all of us if we keep him in office--the idea that `I was truthful but misleading.' That scenario focuses around whether or not one type of sex occurred versus the other type of sex. He is wanting you to buy into this definition that was allowed to exist because the wording wasn't quite right. That is the essence of it--`I was truthful, but I was misleading.'
Mr. Podesta asked a little more questions than the other people did and the President denied any type of sexual relationship to him. Was he truthful there? Was he truthful in his grand jury testimony? How can you be both? It is just absolutely impossible.
I want to play two clips for you now.
(Text of videotape presentation:)
Q. Now, you've stated, I think, very honestly, and I appreciate, that you were lied to by the President. Is it a fair statement, given your previous testimony concerning your 30-minute conversation, that the President was trying to portray himself as a victim of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky?
A. I think that's the import of his whole story.
Before you put the other tape in, every Member of this body should need to answer this question: Is that a truthful statement? If you believe that the President of the United States is a victim of Ms. Lewinsky, we all owe him an apology. He is not. He is not.
You ask me why I want this President removed? Not only are they high crimes, not only do they rise to the level of constitutional out-of-bounds behavior, not only are they worse than what you remove judges for, they show a tremendous willingness of a national leader to put himself above anything decent and good. I hope that still matters in America.
The next clip:
(Text of videotape presentation:)
Q. Would it be fair to say that you were sitting there during this conversation and that you had previously been told by the President that he was in essence a victim of Ms. Lewinsky's sexual demands, and you said nothing to anyone?
MR. McDANIEL: Is the question, `You said'----
THE WITNESS: I don't----
MR. McDANIEL: Is the question, `You said nothing to anyone about what the President told you?'----
MR. GRAHAM: Right.
THE WITNESS: I never told any of my colleagues about what the President told me.
BY MR. GRAHAM:
Q. And this is after the President recants his story--recounts his story--to you, where he's visibly upset, feels like he's a victim, that he associates himself with a character who's being lied about, and you at no time suggested to your colleagues that there is something going on here with the President and Ms. Lewinsky you need to know about. Is that your testimony?
A. I never mentioned my conversation. I regarded that conversation as a private conversation in confidence, and I didn't mention it to my colleagues, I didn't mention it to my friends, I didn't mention it to my family, bedsides my wife.
Q. Did you mention it to any White House lawyers?
A. I mentioned it many months later to Lanny Breuer in preparation for one of my grand jury appearances, when I knew I would be questioned about it. And I certainly never mentioned it to any reporter.
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, I have asked you several times to vote your conscience, and I will not step on it if you disagree with me; but I have always said let us tell the story about what happened here. I am saying it again. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to get to the truth, nothing but the truth, the whole truth, and let the chips fall where they may.
Let me say this about being truthful but misleading. Can you sit back as the President, after you told a lie to a key aide, where you portrayed yourself as a victim, and watch the press stories role out along the lines that `she wears her dresses too tight'; `she comes from a broken home'; `she's a stalker'; `she's sex obsessed'; can you sit back and watch all that happen and still be truthful but misleading?
We have laws against that in this country. We have laws in this country that even high Government officials cannot tell a lie to somebody knowing that lie will be repeated to a grand jury. That is exactly what happened here. He portrayed himself as a victim, which is not a misleading statement; it is a lie
because if you knew the truth, you wouldn't consider him a victim. And that lie went to the Federal grand jury. And those citizens were trying very hard to get it right, and he was trying very hard to mislead them. At every turn when they tried to get to the truth, he ran the other way, and he took the aura of the White House with him.
If you believe he is a victim, then you ought to acquit him. If you believe he has lied, then he ought not to be our President.
There are two things in this case that are crimes, two aspects of it--before the Paula Jones deposition and after the Paula Jones deposition. I am going to leave this with you for the very last time. The affidavit was an attempt to have a cover story where both of them could lie and go on about their lives. The job search was to take somebody who had been friendly and get them a job so they could go on about their lives someplace else, and get this matter behind them and conceal from a court the truth. Those things are crimes.
These gifts being under the bed of Betty Currie, the President's secretary, is no accident. They didn't walk over there by themselves. They got conveyed by a secretary after she picked them up from his consensual lover. People have figured that part out. It is no accident that happened. That is a crime--when you are subpoenaed to give those gifts.
But it is still about getting her a job and having a cover story so she could go on with her life. But when the article came out on January 21, the whole flavor of this case changed. And I don't know how you are going to explain it to yourself or others. But I want to lay out to you what I think happened based on the evidence.
That January 21 when the story broke that she may have been telling what went on, and the President was faced with the idea that the knowledge of their relationship was out in the public forum, what did he do then? There were no more nice jobs using a good friend. There was no more `Let's see if we can hide the gifts and play hide the ball.' Do you know what happened then? He turned on her. Not my favorite part of the case--it is the most disgusting part of the case. It is part of the case that history will judge. The crimes change. They become more ominous, because the character traits became more ominous. The young lady who was the stalker, who was sex-obsessed, who wore her skirts too tight, that young lady was being talked about openly in the public. That young lady was being lied about to the Federal grand jury. And the truth is that young lady fell in love with him. And probably to this day a 24- or 25-year-old young girl doesn't want to believe what was going to come her way. But you all are adults. You all are leaders of this Nation. For you to look at these facts and conclude anything else would be an injustice, because without that threat, ladies and gentlemen, the stories were going to grow in number, and we would have no admissions of `misleading' and `truthful.'
The White House is the bully pulpit. But it should never be occupied by a bully. The White House will always be occupied by sinners, including our Founding Fathers, and future occupants.
What we do today will put a burden on the White House and the burden on our future, one way or the other. Is it too much of a burden to say to future Presidents, Don't fabricate stories in front of a grand jury, don't parse words, don't mislead, don't lie when you are begged not to? Is it too much to say to
a President, If you are ever sued, play it straight; don't hide the gifts under the bed, don't give people false testimony, don't try to trash people who are witnesses against you? If that is too much of a burden to put on the White House, this Nation is in hopeless decline. It is not too much of a burden, ladies and gentlemen. It is only common decency being applied to the occupant of the White House.
To acquit under these facts will place the burden on the constitutional process of impeachment and how we deal with others, Federal judges and other high public officials. That, I suggest to you, will be almost irreconcilable.
I want my country to go boldly into the next century. I don't want us to limp into the next century. I don't want us to crawl into the next century regardless of rule of law. No matter what you do, we will make it. But the difference between how you vote here, I think, determines whether we go boldly with the rule of law intact, or whether we have to explain it for generations to come.
I leave with you an example that I think says much. General MacArthur was removed by President Truman, a very popular fellow at the time. The reaction to the MacArthur dismissal was even more violent than Truman had expected. And for an entire year the majority of public opinion ranked itself ferociously against him. He said characteristically, as he felt that hostile poll, `I wonder where Moses would have gone if they had taken a poll in Egypt. And what would Jesus Christ have preached if they had taken a poll in the land of Israel? It isn't polls that count. It is right and wrong and leadership of men with fortitude, honesty, and the belief in the right that make epics in the history of the world.'
Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, thank you for listening. If you have any doubts about whether this President has committed high crimes, we need to make sure the Senate itself has told the truth. Don't leave any doubts lingering, because the evidence is overwhelming that these offenses occurred. The crime of perjury and obstruction of justice have traditionally been high crimes under our Constitution. For God's sake, let it remain so. And let it be said that no President can take the Presidency and the bully pulpit of the Presidency and hurt average citizens from it.
Thank you very much. I yield now to our chairman.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Hyde.
Mr. Manager HYDE. Mr. Chief Justice, learned counsel, and the Senate, we are blessedly coming to the end of this melancholy procedure. But before we gather up our papers and return to the obscurity from whence we came--
Permit, please, a few final remarks.
First of all, I thank the Chief Justice not only for his patience and his perseverance but for the aura of dignity that he has lent to these proceedings. And it has been a great thrill for me to be here in his company, as well as in the company of you, distinguished Senators.
Secondly, I want to compliment the President's counsel. They have conducted themselves in the most professional way. They have made the most of a poor case, in my opinion. There is an old Italian saying--and it has nothing to do with the lawyers, but to your case--that `you may dress the shepherd in the silk, he will still smell of the goat.' (Laughter.)
But all of you are great lawyers. And it has been an adventure being with you.
You know, the legal profession, like politics, is ridiculed pretty much. And every lawyer feels that and understands the importance of the rule of law, to establish justice, to maintain the rights of mankind, to defend the helpless and the oppressed, to protect innocents, to punish guilt. These are duties which challenge the best powers of man's intellect and the noblest qualities of the human heart. We are here to defend the bulwark of our liberty, the rule of law.
As to the House managers, I want to tell you and our extraordinary staff how proud I am of your service. For myself, I cannot find the words to adequately express how I feel. I must use the inaudible language of the heart. I have gone through it all by your side--the media condemnation, the patronizing editorials, the hate mail, the insults hurled in public, the attempts at intimidation, the death threats, and even the disapproval of our colleagues, which cuts the worst.
You know, all a Congressman ever gets to take with him when he leaves this building is the esteem of his colleagues and his constituents--and we have risked even that for a principle, for our duty, as we have seen it.
In speaking to my managers, of whom I am interminably proud, I can borrow the words of Shakespeare, `Henry V,' as he addressed his little army of longbowmen before the Battle of Agincourt. And he said:
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers
For he that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother
And gentlemen in England, now abed
shall think themselves accursed they
were not here
And hold their manhood cheap
while any speaks
That fought with us upon St. Chrispen's day
As for the juror judges, you distinguished Senators, it is always a victory for democracy when its elected representatives do their duty, no matter how difficult and unpleasant, and we thank you for it. Please don't misconstrue our fervor for our cause to any lack of respect or appreciation for your high office. But our most formidable opponent has not been opposing counsel nor any political party; it has been the cynicism, the widespread conviction that all politics and all politicians are, by definition, corrupt and venal.
That cynicism is an acid eating away at the vital organs of American public life. It is a clear and present danger, because it blinds us to the nobility and the fragility of being a self-governing people.
One of the several questions that needs answered is whether your vote on conviction lessens or enlarges that cynicism. Nothing begets cynicism like the double standard--one rule for the popular and the powerful and another for the rest of us.
One of the most interesting things in this trial was the testimony of the President's good friend, the former Senator from Arkansas. He did his persuasive best to maintain the confusion that this is all about sex. Of course, it is useful for the defense to misdirect our focus to what everyone concedes are private acts and none of our business. But if you care to read the articles of impeachment, you won't find any complaints about private sexual misconduct. You will find charges of perjury and obstruction of justice which are public acts and Federal crimes, especially when committed by the one person duty bound to faithfully execute the laws. Infidelity is private and noncriminal. Perjury and obstruction are public and criminal. The deliberate focus on what is not at issue here is a defense lawyer's tactic and nothing more. This entire saga has been a theater of distraction and misdirection, time-honored defense tactics when the law and the facts get in the way.
One phrase you have not heard the defense pronounce is the `sanctity of the oath.' But this case deeply involves the efficacy, the meaning, and the enforceability of the oath. The President's defenders stay away from the word `lie,' preferring `mislead' or `deceive.' But they shrink from the phrase `sanctity of the oath,' fearing it as one might a rattlesnake.
There is a visibility factor in the President's public acts and those which betray a trust or reveal contempt for the law are hard to sweep under the rug, or under the bed, for that matter. They reverberate, they ricochet all over the land, and provide the worst possible example for our young people. As that third-grader from Chicago wrote to me, `If you can't believe the President, who can you believe?"
Speaking of young people, in 1946 a British playwright, Terrance Rattigan, wrote a play based on a true experience that happened in England in 1910. The play was called `The Winslow Boy.' And the story--as I say, a true story--involved a young 13-year-old lad who was kicked out of the Royal Naval College for having forged somebody else's signature on a postal money order. Of course, he claimed he was innocent, but he was summarily dismissed and his family, of very modest means, could not afford legal counsel, and it was a very desperate situation. Sir Edward Carson, the best lawyer of his time--barrister, I suppose--got interested in the case and took it on pro bono and lost all the way through the courts.
Finally, he had no other place to go, but he dug up an ancient remedy in England called `petition of right.' You ask
the King for relief. And so Carson wrote out five pages of reasons why a petition of right should be granted and, lo and behold, it got past the Attorney General, it got to the King. The King read it, agreed with it, and wrote across the front of the petition, `Let right be done. Edward VII.'
I have always been moved by that phrase. I saw the movie; I saw the play; and I have the book. And I am still moved by that phrase, `Let right be done.' I hope when you finally vote that will move you, too.
There are some interesting parallels to our cause here today. This Senate Chamber is our version of the House of Lords, and while we managers cannot claim to represent that 13-year-old Winslow boy, we speak for a lot of young people who look to us to set an example.
Ms. Seligman last Saturday said we want to win too badly. This surprised me because none of the managers has committed perjury nor obstructed justice and claimed false privileges, none has hidden evidence under anyone's bed nor encouraged false testimony before the grand jury. That is what you do if you want to win too badly.
I believe it was Saul Bellow who once said, `A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is great.' And those words characterize the defense in this case. `The need for illusion' is very great.
I doubt there are many people on the planet who doubt the President has repeatedly lied under oath and has obstructed justice. The defense spent a lot of time picking lint. There is a saying in the courts, I believe, that equity will not stoop to pick up pins. But that was their case. So the real issue doesn't concern the facts, the stubborn facts, as the defense is fond of saying, but what to do about them.
I am still dumbfounded about the drafts of the censures that are circulating. We aren't half as tough on the President in our impeachment articles as this draft is that was printed in the New York Times:
An inappropriate relationship with a subordinate employee in the White House which was shameless, reckless and indefensible.
I have a problem with that. It seems they are talking about private acts of consensual sexual misconduct which are really none of our business. But that is the leadoff.
Then they say:
The President deliberately misled and deceived the American people and officials in all branches of the U.S. Government.
This is not a Republican document. This is coming from here.
The President gave false or misleading testimony and impeded discovery of evidence in judicial proceedings.
Isn't that another way of saying obstruction of justice and perjury?
The President's conduct demeans the Office of the President as well as the President himself and creates disrespect for the laws of the land. Future generations of Americans must know that such behavior is not only unacceptable but bears grave consequences including loss of integrity, trust and respect.
But not loss of job.
Whereas, William Jefferson Clinton's conduct has brought shame and dishonor to himself and to the Office of the President; whereas, he has violated the trust of the American people--
See Hamilton Federalist No. 65--
Well, the next to the strongest terms. The strongest terms would remove him from office.
Well, do you really cleanse the office as provided in the Constitution or do you use the Airwick of a censure resolution? Because any censure resolution, to be meaningful, has to punish the President, if only his reputation. And how do you deal with the laws of bill of attainder? How do you deal with the separation of powers? What kind of a precedent are you setting?
We all claim to revere the Constitution, but a censure is something that is a device, a way of avoiding the harsh constitutional option, and it is the only one we have up or down on impeachment. That, of course, is your judgment, and I am offering my views, for what they are worth.
Once in a while I do worry about the future. I wonder if, after this culture war is over, this one we are engaged in, an America will survive that is worth fighting for to defend.
People won't risk their lives for the U.N., or over the Dow Jones averages. But I wonder, in future generations, whether there will be enough vitality left in duty, honor and country to excite our children and grandchildren to defend America.
There is no denying the fact that what you decide will have a profound effect on our culture, as well as on our politics. A failure to convict will make a statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided, is not all that serious. Perhaps we can explain this to those currently in prison for perjury. We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the President.
Wherever and whenever you avert your eyes from a wrong, from an injustice, you become a part of the problem.
On the subject of civil rights, it is my belief this issue doesn't belong to anyone; it belongs to everyone. It certainly belongs to those who have suffered invidious discrimination, and one would have to be catatonic not to know that the struggle to keep alive equal protection of the law never ends. The mortal enemy of equal justice is the double standard, and if we permit a double standard, even for the President, we do no favor to the cause of human rights. It has been said that America has nothing to fear from this President on the subject of civil rights. I doubt Paula Jones would subscribe to that endorsement.
If you agree that perjury and obstruction of justice have been committed, and yet you vote down the conviction, you are extending and expanding the boundaries of permissible Presidential conduct. You are saying a perjurer and obstructer of justice can be President, in the face of no less than three precedents for conviction of Federal judges for perjury. You shred those precedents and you raise the most serious questions of whether the President is in fact subject to the law or whether we are beginning a restoration of the divine right of kings. The issues we are concerned with have consequences far into the future because the real damage is not to the individuals involved, but to the American system of justice and especially the principle that no one is above the law.
Edward Gibbon wrote his magisterial `Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire' in the late 18th century--in fact the first volume was issued in 1776. In his work, he discusses an emperor named Septimius Severus, who died in 211 A.D. after ruling 18 years. And here is what Gibbon wrote about the emperor:
Severus promised, only to betray; he flattered only to ruin; and however he might occasionally bind himself by oaths and treaties, his conscience, obsequious to his interest, always released him from the inconvenient obligation.
I guess those who believe history repeats itself are really onto something. Horace Mann said:
You should be ashamed to die unless you have achieved some victory for humanity.
To the House managers, I say your devotion to duty and the Constitution has set an example that is a victory for humanity. Charles de Gaulle once said that France would not be true to herself unless she was engaged in some great enterprise. That is true of us all. Do we spend our short lives as consumers, space occupiers, clock watchers, as spectators, or in the service of some great enterprise?
I believe, being a Senator, being a Congressman, and struggling with all our might for equal justice for all, is a great enterprise. It is our great enterprise. And to my House managers, your great enterprise was not to speak truth to power, but to shout it. And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor and, oh, yes: Let right be done.
I yield back my time.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
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