THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Feb. 8: House Managers' Closing Argument
From the Congressional Record
Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that the February 5, 1999, affidavit of Mr. Christopher Hitchens and the February 7, 1999, affidavit of Ms. Carol Blue be admitted into evidence in this proceeding.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Is there objection?
Mr. DASCHLE. At this juncture in the trial, I am compelled to object.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Objection is heard.
Mr. LOTT. I believe we are ready to proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Sensenbrenner.
Mr. Manager SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished counsel for the President, and Senators, I am Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner. I represent 580,000 people in southeastern Wisconsin in the U.S. House of Representatives. During my entire service in Congress, I have served as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives.
We are nearing the end of a long and difficult process. The Senate has considered for the past several weeks the grave constitutional responsibility to determine whether the actions of President Clinton merit his conviction and removal from office. The Senate has been patient, attentive and engaged throughout this unwelcome task, and for this the House managers are grateful. The managers would also like to thank the distinguished Chief Justice for his patience and impartial demeanor throughout this trial.
At the outset of the managers' closing arguments, it is important to distinguish what has caused only the second Presidential impeachment in history from extraneous matters that bear no relation to the verdict the Senate will shortly reach. When this trial began 4 long weeks ago, we said that what was on trial was the truth and the rule of law. That has not changed, despite the lengthy legal arguments you have heard. The truth is still the truth and a lie is still a lie. And the rule of law should apply to everyone no matter what excuses are made by the President's defenders.
The news media characterizes the managers as 13 angry men. They are right in that we are angry, but they are dead wrong about what we are angry about. We have not spent long hours poring through the evidence, sacrificed time with our families and subjected ourselves to intense political criticism to further a political vendetta. We have done so because of our love for this country and respect for the Office of the Presidency, regardless of who may hold it. We have done so because of our devotion to the rule of law and our fear that if the President does not suffer the legal and constitutional consequences of his actions, the impact of allowing the President to stand above the law will be felt for generations to come.
The Almanac of American Politics has called me `a stickler for ethics.' To that, I plead guilty as charged because laws not enforced are open invitations for more serious and criminal behavior. This trial was not caused by Kenneth Starr, who only did his duty under a law which President Clinton himself signed. It was not caused by the House Judiciary Committee's review of the independent counsel's mountain of evidence. Nor was it caused by the House of Representatives approving two articles of impeachment, nor by the Senate conducting a trial mandated by the Constitution.
Regardless of what some may say, this constitutional crisis was caused by William Jefferson Clinton and by no one else. President Clinton's actions, and his actions alone, have caused the national agenda for the past year to be almost exclusively concentrated on those actions and what consequences the President, and the President alone, must suffer for them.
This trial is not about the President's affair with Monica Lewinsky. It is about the perjury and obstruction of justice he committed during the course of the civil rights lawsuit filed against him, and the subsequent independent counsel investigation authorized by Attorney General Janet Reno.
The President has repeatedly apologized for his affair, but he has never, never apologized for the consequences of the perjury and obstruction of justice he has committed. Perhaps those decisions were based upon a Dick Morris public opinion poll which told the President that the American people would forgive his adultery but not his perjury. Perhaps it was for another reason. Whatever the White House's motivations were,
the fact remains that the President's apologies and the statements of his surrogate contritionists have been carefully crafted for the President to continue to evade and, yes, avoid responsibility for his deceiving the courts to prevent them from for administering justice.
Because the President's actions to obstruct justice are so egregious and repeated, many have ignored his grand jury perjury, charges before you in article I. I wish to point out four glaring examples of William Jefferson Clinton's perjurious, false and misleading statements to the grand jury and not at the civil deposition in the Paula Jones case.
First, the President lied under oath to the grand jury when he falsely testified about his attorneys' use of a false affidavit at his deposition. Second, he lied under oath to the grand jury about his conversations with Betty Currie. Third, he lied under oath to the grand jury about what he told his aides about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky, knowing that those aides would be called to testify to the grand jury. Fourth, he lied under oath to the grand jury when he testified about the nature of his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky.
An ordinary citizen who lies under oath four times to a grand jury is subject to substantial time in a Federal prison. The decision each Senator must make with respect to article I is whether the President is to pay a price for his perjury, just like any citizen must. The President's defenders and spin doctors would have you believe that the President told all of these lies under oath to protect himself and his family from personal embarrassment, and even if he did tell a lie, it was not that bad a lie.
Senators, please remember that the President's grand jury appearance was over 6 months after the news media broke the story about the President's affair with Ms. Lewinsky. By August 17, few people doubted that he had an affair with her. There was little left to hide. And he lied after practically everyone who was asked--including many of you--advised the President to tell the truth to the grand jury. And still he lied.
We have heard a litany of excuses, including the President saying he was not paying a great deal of attention and that he was trying to figure out what the facts were, and that he needed to know whether his recollection was right, and that he had not done anything wrong. And on and on. The President knew what had happened. If Monica Lewinsky came on to him and made a sexual demand upon him and he rebuffed her, as he told Sidney Blumenthal, he would have nothing to apologize for.
Senators, don't be fooled by the President's excuses and spin control. The facts and the evidence clearly show that he knew what he was doing was to deceive everyone, including the grand jury. He and his defenders are still in denial. They will not accept the consequences of his repeated and criminal attempts to defeat the judicial process. His lies to the grand jury were not to protect his family or the dignity of his office but to protect himself from criminal liability for his perjury and obstruction of justice in the Jones case.
Over 9 years ago, the Senate removed Judge Walter Nixon from office for about the same offense--lying under oath to the grand jury. The vote in the Senate was 89-8 in favor of Judge Nixon's removal, with 48 current Senators and Vice President Gore voting guilty. To boot a Federal judge from office while keeping a President in power after the President committed the same offense sets a double standard and lowers the standard of what the American people should expect from the leader of their country. To conclude that the standard of Presidential truthfulness is lower than that of a Federal judge is absurd. To conclude that perjury and obstruction of justice are acceptable if committed by a popular President during times of peace and prosperity sets a dangerous precedent which sets America on the road back to an imperial Presidency above the law.
To justify the President's criminal behavior by demonizing those who seek to hold him accountable ignores the fact that President Clinton's actions, and those actions alone, precipitated the investigations which have brought us here today. To keep a President in office whose gross misconduct and criminal actions are a well-established fact will weaken the authority of the Presidency, undermine the rule of law, and cheapen those words which have made America different from most other nations on the Earth: Equal justice under law.
For the sake of our country and for future generations, please find the President guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice when you cast your votes.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Cannon. If you will wait a moment, Mr. Manager Cannon. If there is no objection, the Journal of the proceedings of the trial are approved to date. Please go ahead.
Mr. Manager CANNON. Mr. Chief Justice, counsel to the President, Members of the Senate, my name is Christopher B. Cannon, and I represent over 600,000 people in the Third District of Utah.
I want to begin with a couple of thank-you's. First, I thank you Senators for your attention during this series of presentations. I know that you all have deep conflicts over the matter before you. Some of you have made strong and public statements about it. But you have all paid extraordinary attention, and for that I thank you.
I also thank the other members of the management team. It has been a remarkable experience to have been associated with them during the last 5 months--almost as good, I might say, as it would have been to have been home with my wife, children, and our new baby.
If I might, I want to share with you a recent family experience. I have been home just about a little over a day out of the last 3 weeks. It took my 10-month-old baby a little while to warm up to me when I was home last. Later, as I started packing, she realized I was leaving again and she insisted that I hold her. I think she felt that if she held on, I wouldn't disappear. Unfortunately, she fell asleep during the trip to the airport. I know that the other managers have had similar disruptions in their families. For instance, Charles Canady's wife had a baby during the trial.
I, therefore, thank my wife and children, and the wives and children of all of the managers for their forbearance and support during this process. Like us, they believe in the obligation we have to assure good government. I might say that, like us, they are grateful that the managers' role is ending.
For the managers, this process is almost done. I hope that history will judge that we have done our duty well. We have been congratulated and condemned. But we are done.
And while our difficult role is ending, yours is just beginning. While I'm certain that sitting here silently has been difficult, the truly daunting task before you now is to conclude this trial with some sense of legitimacy. For America is deeply divided, and the end result of an impeachment trial was designed by the founding fathers to salve those wounds. Traditionally, after an airing of the facts and a vote by the Senate, either a President is removed or he is vindicated. In this case, it seems, neither of those results may be realized. While the facts are clear that the President committed perjury and obstruction of justice, it is equally clear that this body may not remove him from office. And from this perception, you face the challenge of legitimizing the end result. Your vote will end this matter. It is nonjusticiable. Whatever your decision is, it cannot be undone. The outcome will be right by definition. But how well you do the work of divining that outcome will affect the way we as a nation deal with the divisions among us.
To proceed in a manner that will be trusted, and viewed as legitimate by the American people, you must deal with the differences between this proceeding and prior impeachment trials. You must do this with an obvious commitment to your oath to do justice impartially according to the Constitution and the law. The law includes the rules and precedents of the Senate.
Senate resolution 16 made this process different from all of the preceding 13 Senate trials on impeachment, principally by removing from the managers the right to present our case as we see fit. I suspect that the lewd subject matter and the partisan fight in the House may have influenced your decision.
But there is an integrity to the historic rules and reasons for them. For instance, the Senate by nature will be divided in the impeachment proceedings while the managers are united. It is therefore easier for the managers to decide on how to present their case than for the Senate.
There are other differences in this proceeding from historic impeachment practice before the Senate. May I list the changes for you with the intent to help you focus on the goal of a conclusion that we, the people, will feel is legitimate.
Senate resolution 16 called for a 24 hour presentation or `trial,' that mainly consisted of what the public saw as the yammering of lawyers. Time was equally divided rather than sequenced as it is in a trial where opening statements are made and then evidence is put on through witnesses. In a trial, each side typically takes the time necessary to establish its case or undermine the witness through cross examination. After the moving party has made its case, the responding party makes it case. Time is dictated only by what each side feels it needs. Each witness is subject to whatever cross examination is appropriate. The case develops tested piece by tested piece, and ultimately one side prevails.
Here, the managers had to cut very important portions of our limited case. We had a limited number of witnesses, limited to video taped appearances, limited to fit an arbitrary three hour rule. That time was lessened because we had to reserve time for rebuttal.
According to judicial traditions, defendants have to challenge each witness as they appear, not wrap the credibility of all in one wide ranging response. In these proceedings, the Senate has not had the opportunity to assess the credibility of witnesses as the case developed. The White House then used its time with long video portions and small cutting accusations. Who knows what the White House might have done if it had been able, or found it necessary, to challenge witnesses as they testified?
Another diversion from judicial and Senate trial precedent was that the only rebuttal for the managers was what we reserved after our video presentation and, awkwardly, in the questioning period where important, complicated issues were cut off by artificial time limits, while peripheral issues got more time than they deserved. This questioning period had the unfortunate side effect of focusing the public on the partisanship of the Senate.
The problem of the newness of the presentation format was exacerbated by our new media environment. The Internet with its immediate and often unvetted content, and cable television with its perpetual talking heads, gave equal time and equivalency of weight to the managers and the White House, with no witness testimony to constrain them. The process gave rise to the perception that the `fix was in,' leaving some to gloat at having scammed the situation, and others angry at being unheard.
And that is the context within which the Senate must now find a legitimate outcome. Given the wide-ranging discussions of options, it is clear this is no easy task. Will it be:
Adjournment with condemnation?
Findings of fact about the President's behavior?
A bifurcated vote to show agreement with the articles of impeachment but not removing the President?
A simple up or down on the articles of impeachment?
Or a vote for acquittal followed by censure?
I don't know which, if any, of these options really makes sense. And I don't know of any other options. I do know that the issue is grave, and that your responsibility is great.
So I am here today to ask you to set aside some natural inclinations for the good of the country.
I would implore you, Senators, both Republican and Democrat, to set aside partisanship, politics, polls, and personalities and exchange them for loftier inclinations--those of `procedure,' `policy,' and `precedents.' These are the only guidelines this body should have.
As the Senate deliberates this case I would ask that a few key facts never be forgotten:
1. That the President committed perjury when he lied under oath.
2. The Senate has historically impeached judges for perjury--even recently by some of you assembled here.
3. Any American watching these proceedings who commits perjury would also be punished by the law.
4. If the Senate follows our Nation's precedents of punishing perjurers, and if the Senate follows its own precedents of convicting perjurers, then there is only one clear conclusion in this matter: conviction.
Senators, we as Americans and legislators have never supported a legal system which has one set of laws for the ruler, and another for the ruled. After all, our very own pledge of allegiance binds us together with the language of `liberty and justice for all.' If that is the case, if we intend to live up to the oaths and pledges we take, then our very own President must be subject to the precedents our Nation's judicial system and this Senate body have heretofore set.
Because I love this country and its institutions, I pray for inspiration for each of you as you seek the proper, legitimate outcome. May God bless you in the process.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Gekas.
Mr. Manager GEKAS. Mr. Chief Justice, colleagues on each side of the podium, Members of the Senate, if I were to take some time to thank the Chief Justice for his patience in all this, would that be counted against my time?
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Yes.
Mr. Manager GEKAS. Then I will send you a note. (Laughter.)
We do offer our thanks to the Chief Justice.
I come from Pennsylvania, and the people in my district, in the entire State, and the people in their 49 brethren States across the Nation recognize that there is really only one issue, with all the fury and the tumult and the shouting and the invective, the language, and just the plain shouting that has occurred across the Halls of Congress and every place else in the country.
It all swoops down the telescope to one issue: Did the President utter falsehoods under oath? Everyone understands that. Everyone comes to the conclusion that that is a serious allegation that has been made through the impeachment, and one which you must judge in the final vote that you will be casting.
But why is it important about whether or not the President uttered the falsehoods under oath? It is important not just to constitute the basis of perjury, as is alleged, and/or obstruction of justice, which is alleged, but even if those two were not proved in all their elements as crimes, you would still have to consider a falsehood under oath as constituting an impeachable offense. I say that advisedly.
It starts--my contention does--with the assertions of our esteemed colleagues who represent the President. Time after time, and in their briefs and in their statements on and off the floor, they have stated you need not have a criminal offense for it to constitute an impeachable offense. They provided examples of that. They said that all you have to demonstrate is that an impeachable offense is one that rocks against the integrity of the system of government. I am paraphrasing, of course.
I submit--and I feel this so strongly that it bothers me that I can't make it clear--that to violate the oath as a witness in a civil case, or a criminal case, in the Jones matter, or in the grand jury, smashes against the integrity of our system of government. There are sundry reasons for that.
In this case, if you follow the logic and the extreme intellectual presentation made by White House counsel that refutes every item that--or attempts to refute, not refutes--attempts to refute every item asserted by the managers, if you believe all of that and are confused or in doubt about the Jones case and whether lies under oath were committed, or at the grand jury, you must think about this. This is, to me, proof positive that the President uttered falsehoods under oath in all of his public stances.
On December 23, the President, under oath, answered interrogatories that were sent to him by the court in the Jones case in which he said, in answer to the question, Have you ever had sexual relations with anyone in a subordinate role while you were Governor of Arkansas, or President of the United States?--this is important. At that time--and the record will disclose all of this--at that time, there was no definition in front of him, no gaggle of attorneys trying to dispute what word meant what, no judge there to interpose the legal standard that should be employed, but rather the boldfaced, naked phrase of `sexual relations' that everyone in the whole world understands to be what it is--and the President answered under oath `None.'
I submit to the Members of the Senate, if the answer then, December 23, before ever stepping foot in the deposition of the Paula Jones case, if he never appeared there, or whatever he said there was so clouded you can't draw a conclusion, certainly you can refer back to December 23 and see a starting point of a pattern of conduct on the part of the President that proves beyond all doubt that he committed a pattern and actual falsehoods under oath time and time again.
If that is not enough, on January 15, as the record will disclose, he answered under oath requests for documents in which the question is asked under oath, to which the President responded, Have you ever received any gifts or documents from--and it mentioned among others Monica Lewinsky--and the President under oath said `No' or `None.' The record will show
for sure exactly what he said. But he denied that any gifts were transferred from, or any documents, or any items of personalty, from Lewinsky to the President.
I submit to you that if you are confused about that, because of the great presentation made by the counsel for the President about the murkiness and cloudiness of the Jones deposition, the maddening consequences of the President's testimony-- `maddening,' they said--then you can refer back to January 15 before the deposition, and December 23, and find proof positive in the documents already a part of the case that you have to decide that, indeed, a pattern of falsehoods under oath was initiated and conducted by the President of the United States.
That is very important. Those allegations, by the way, have gone completely uncontradicted by the President of the United States.
I think they took great delight--these colleagues of mine on behalf of the President--great delight in saying--at one point they put the marquee in the sky, that in so many different ways when Monica Lewinsky said, `Nobody told me to lie,' that was the case for them. What a case they made. `Nobody told me to lie.' They won the case right then and there in their minds, because that was exculpatory and that was brandishing in this case once and for all, Monica said, `Nobody told me to lie.'
I am going to take some liberties with the Latin that I learned in school, and we all learned in college and law school, `falsum in unum is falsum in toto,' meaning if you say something false in one phase of your testimony, more than likely the triors of fact can find that you were false in all of them.
Well, I am going to change that. I think I am right when I say that `veritas in unum is veritas in toto.' So when Monica Lewinsky says, `Nobody told me to lie,' and that is the indomitable, indestructible truth that the White House counsel say, that is the case, then it also must be `veritas in toto,' because when she said that she gave gifts to the President, then you must accept that `veritas in unum is veritas in toto.'
That goes on and on and on.
Somebody is waving, `Cut this short.' (Laughter.)
It is very tough for me to do that, but I will comply.
I have a witness. I call a witness to bolster my part of this summation. The witness is the American people.
Mr. Craig, in his last appearance on this podium, was delighted to be able to quote a poll that showed that 75 percent of the people of our country felt that there was no need to present videotapes to the Senate in the trial--75 percent, he said with great gusto, of the American people.
Of course the polls of all types were quoted time and time again by the supporters of the President as showing why you should vote to acquit. The polls, the polls, the polls.
I now call the American people's poll on whether or not they believe that the President committed falsehoods under oath--80 percent of the American people--I call them to my side here at the podium to verify to you that the President committed falsehoods under oath.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Chabot.
Mr. Manager CHABOT. Thank you. I am Steve Chabot. I represent the First District of Ohio, which is Cincinnati.
This week we will likely finally conclude this trial. Has it been difficult? Yes. Would we all have preferred that none of this ever happened? Of course. But the President has put our Nation through a terrible ordeal, and it has been our duty to pursue this case to its conclusion.
Despite the dire warnings, scare tactics and heavy-handed threats by those who would circumvent the solemn constitutional process that we are all engaged in, our great country has survived. We have finished this trial in just a few weeks. The economy continues to be strong, and the Nation's business is getting done.
But, Senators, before you turn out the lights and head home, you must make one final decision. It is a decision that should not be influenced by party affiliation or by politics or by personal ties. It is a decision that should be guided by our Constitution, by our laws, and by your own moral compass.
A few months ago I stood here in your shoes, as did all the colleagues here, and the colleagues in the House, preparing to make what would likely be the most important vote of our careers. Throughout the process, I did my best to be fair, to keep an open mind. I listened carefully to the views of my constituents, the people who sent me to Congress. I reviewed the evidence in excruciating detail. Ultimately, for me, the choice was clear. I came to the conclusion that it was my duty to support impeachment. Now it is your turn to cast what could be the most important vote of your political careers.
The question is, Will moral fortitude or political expediency rule the day?
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to spend a couple hours at my college alma mater, William and Mary, not too far from here, down in Williamsburg, VA. As I walked around the campus, I could not help but think back to my college days and what motivated me to seek public office in the first place.
Back in 1972, I was a 19-year-old college student casting my first ballot in a Presidential election. Like a majority of Americans that year, I voted for a Republican, Richard Nixon, for President. Four years later, however, I voted for a Democrat, Jimmy Carter. This decision stemmed from my profound disappointment over Watergate and a strong conviction that President Nixon should not have received immunity for his actions.
Now, just as in college, I find myself extremely troubled by the actions of a President. In fact, as I started to think about what I would say to you today, I wasn't sure how to begin. How exactly do you wrap up in 10 minutes or less everything we have witnessed in the last year? We have seen Bill Clinton's finger-waving denial to the American people. We have seen the President lie before a Federal grand jury. We have seen the President obstruct justice. We have seen the President hold a public celebration immediately following the House impeachment vote. We all know the President's behavior has been reprehensible.
President Clinton, however, refuses to admit what all of us know is true. To this day, he continues to deny and distort; he continues to dispute the undeniable facts that are before the Senate and before the American people. The President's attorneys have done their best to disguise the truth as well.
At the beginning of this trial, I predicted in my presentation that they would use legal smokescreens to mask the law and the facts. To their credit, they produced smoke so thick that it continues to cloud this debate. But if you look through the smoke and the mirrors employed by these very able lawyers, you will see the truth. The truth is that President Clinton lied to a Federal grand jury. He lied about whether or not he had committed perjury in a civil deposition, about the extent of his relationship with a subordinate Federal employee, about his coaching of his secretary, Betty Currie, and about the countless other matters.
In my opening statement before this body, I outlined the four elements of perjury: An oath, intent, falsity, materiality. In this case, all those elements have been met.
President Clinton also obstructed justice and encouraged others to lie in judicial proceedings. He sought to influence the testimony of a potentially adverse witness with job assistance, and he attempted to conceal evidence that was under subpoena.
These truths cannot be ignored, distorted, or swept under the rug. Some of the President's partisan defenders want you to do just that. But it would be wrong. It would be wrong for you to send the message to every American that it is acceptable to lie under oath and obstruct justice. It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.
I must agree with Phyllis and Jack Stanley, constituents of mine who live in my district, who wrote me a letter saying, and I quote:
We believe that President Bill Clinton should definitely be impeached for the sake of the country. If he is not impeached, will not the rule of law in this country be weakened? We do not feel glee over the prospect of President Clinton's impeachment, however. For the sake of coming generations, acknowledging that integrity, honor and decency matter greatly is very important, especially in the highest office of the land.
Like most of you, I have spent countless hours at grocery stores, shopping malls, in schools, in my church talking to my constituents. I have also read thousands of letters that have been sent to my office, just as we all have. What I have heard and read doesn't surprise me. People in Cincinnati, OH, have a variety of views on what the ultimate verdict should be by this body. Many want the President removed from office. Others want a censure. Still others would just like to see the process end. But regardless of their views, they are honorable people who care about our country and our future.
Now, I know that throughout the process some of the President's more partisan defenders have harshly criticized the managers, the House of Representatives, and anyone who would dare believe the President committed any crimes. These partisan attacks have been unfortunate because I think we all know that these issues are serious and that they deserve serious consideration. I know it, the American people know it, and I think you all know it, too. But despite the partisan rhetoric of the attacks, I believe that once this trial ends, we must work together.
So I would ask everyone here today to make a commitment, a
commitment to every American, that regardless of the trial's outcome, we will join together to turn the page on this unfortunate chapter that President Clinton has written into our Nation's history.
The question before you now is: How will this chapter end? Will the final chapter say that the U.S. Senate turned its back on perjury and obstruction of justice by a President of the United States, or will it say that the Senate took a principled stand and told the world that no person, not even the President, stands above the law; that all Americans, no matter how rich, how powerful, or how well connected, are accountable for their actions, even the President.
As the father of two children and a former schoolteacher myself at an inner-city school in Cincinnati, I believe it is very important that we teach our children that honesty, integrity, and the rule of law do matter.
While I am in Cincinnati, I spend a lot of time visiting schools throughout my community. I taught the seventh and eighth grades back in Cincinnati. When I go there, I go to elementary schools, I go to junior highs, I go to high schools; and I have been doing this for a number of years. Do you know what is inevitably one of the questions that the kids will ask me almost every time? It is, `Have you ever met the President of the United States?'
Now, why do kids ask that question? Because our kids understand how important the Office of the Presidency is. The person who occupies that office owes it to the children of this Nation to treat the office with respect. In the past, when those kids asked me that question, they asked me that question out of pride and respect. They looked up to the office. They looked up to everything the office represents. Bill Clinton has let our children down, and that is one of the greatest things that bothers me. It is the effect this will have on the children of this Nation.
Let me conclude with a statement that I received from a student, Juliette Asuncion, who is a student at Mother Mercy High School, who wrote to me recently:
I am writing to express my feelings on the scandalous situation that has taken over the White House for the past couple of months. First, I would like to state the qualities that should be found in the President of the United States. Since the President is the official representative of the United States, he should uphold the values and ideals held by the people of this country. The President should be honest and a trustworthy person. He should be a good decision maker, have good morals and have his priorities straight. He should devote his time to the country and set a good example for the people of this Nation. I feel that President Clinton does not measure up to these standards. He's lied to the American people; he's committed perjury. For someone in his position, this is an unforgivable act, and he should not be allowed to just walk away without a punishment. He has shown that he feels he can go above the law, and I strongly believe the President should be impeached.
I conclude by telling you, when you cast your vote, you remember that by your vote you are determining the lesson that Julia, your children and grandchildren will learn. So how will this chapter end? The decision is yours.
I now yield to the gentleman from Georgia, Robert Barr.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Barr.
Mr. Manager BARR. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Distinguished and worthy adversarial counsel for the President, including my good friend and former Georgetown law professor, Charles Ruff, gentlemen and ladies of the Senate, my name is Bob Barr. I represent the Seventh District of Georgia, but in a broader sense I represent the country because I have been directed, as every one of the other 12 managers of the House has been directed by the American people, by a majority vote of the House of Representatives, to urge you to review the evidence and issue a verdict of conviction on the two articles of impeachment passed by the House of Representatives.
Two days ago, all of us celebrated the birthday of former President Ronald Reagan. During his first year in office, on May 17th, 1981, this president, known for giving voice to America's best and most decent instincts, spoke to the American people from Notre Dame University. Though spoken nearly 18 years ago, and clearly not in contemplation of an impeachment, the former President's words provide guidance for you here today.
It was that date that President Reagan spoke of a certain principle; and in so doing, he quoted another giant of the 20th century, Winston Churchill. Specifically, President Reagan spoke of those who derided simple, straight-forward answers to the problems confronting our country; those who decried clarity and certainty of principle, in favor of vagueness and relativism. He said:
They say the world has become too complex for simple answers. They are wrong. There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers. We must have the courage to do what is morally right. Winston Churchill said that, `the destiny of man is not measured by material computation. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we are spirits--not animals.' And he said, `there is something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty.'
Duty. A clear, simple concept. A foundational principle.
Your duty is clearly set forth in your oath; your oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law.
In the past month, you have heard much about the Constitution; and about the law. Probably more than you'd prefer; in a dizzying recitation of the U.S. Criminal Code: 18 U.S.C. 1503. 18 U.S.C. 1505. 18 U.S.C. 1512. 18 U.S.C. 1621. 18 U.S.C. 1623. Tampering. Perjury. Obstruction. That is a lot to digest, but these are real laws and they are applicable to these proceedings and to this President. Evidence and law, you have seen it and you have heard it.
You've also seen and heard about straw men raised up by the White House lawyers, and then stricken down mightily. You've heard them essentially describe the President alternately as victim or saint. You've heard even his staunchest allies describe his conduct as `reprehensible.' Even some of you, on the President's side of the aisle, have concluded, `there's no question about his having given false testimony under oath and he did that more than once.'
There has also been much smoke churned up by the defense.
Men and women of the Senate, Monica Lewinsky is not on trial. Her conduct and her intentions are not at issue here. Vernon Jordan is not on trial and his conduct and his intentions are not at issue here. William Jefferson Clinton is on trial here. His behavior, his intentions, his actions--these and only these are the issues here. When the White House lawyers raise up as a straw man that Vernon Jordan may have had no improper motive in seeking a job for Ms. Lewinsky; or that there was no formal `conspiracy' proved between the President and Vernon Jordan; or that Ms. Lewinsky says she did not draw a direct link between the President's raising the issue of a false affidavit and the cover stories, keep in mind, these are irrelevant issues. When the White House lawyers strike these theories down, even if you were to conclude they did, they are striking down nothing more than irrelevant straw men.
What stands today, as it has throughout these proceedings, are facts--a false affidavit that benefits the President, the coaching of witnesses by the President, the secreting of subpoenaed evidence that would have harmed the President, lies under oath by the President. These reflect President Clinton's behavior; President Clinton's intentions; President Clinton's actions; and President Clinton's benefit. Not through the eyes of false theories; but by the evidence through the lens of common sense.
You've heard tapes, and read volumes of evidence. Not pursuant to the process we as House Managers would have preferred, but much evidence nonetheless, has been presented.
Many are saying, with a degree of certainty that usually comes only from ignorance, that there's nothing I or any of us can say to you today, on the eve of your deliberations, to sway your minds. I beg to differ with them. Moreover, we have been directed by the people of this country, by a majority vote of the House of Representatives, to fulfill and reaffirm a constitutional process, and to present evidence to you, and argue to you.
There is much, in urging a vote for conviction, that can be gained by turning to, and keeping in mind, President Reagan's words to
America, to do duty: Duty unclouded by relativism, unmarred by artificiality. Duty that lives on after your vote--just as America will live on and prosper after a vote to convict. Duty untainted by polls. The country's fascination with polls has wormed its way even into these proceedings when, just a few days ago, we heard one of the White House lawyers cite polls as a reason not to release the videotapes.
Polls played no role in the great decisions, decisive decisions that make America a nation and kept it a free and strong nation. Polls likewise played no role in the great trials of our nation's history that opened schools equally to all of America's children, or that provided due process and equal protection of the laws for all Americans, regardless of economic might or political power.
Yet, it is in many respects polls that threaten to become the currency of political discourse and even of judicial process as we near to enter the 21st century.
Your duty, which I know you recognize today, is and must be based not on polls or politics, but on law and the Constitution. In other words, principle.
What you decide in this case, the case now before you, will tell America and the world what it is we have, as a foundation for our Nation, not just today, but for ages to come. It will tell us and this Nation weather these seats here today will continue to be filled by true statesmen. Whether these seats will continue to echo with the booming principles, eloquence and sense of duty of Daniel Webster, John Calhound, Everett Dirksen, Robert Byrd. I would add to that list of statesmen my fellow Georgians and your former colleague, Sam Nunn, whose concern for duty and our Nation's security caused him recently on CNN to raise grave concerns over our Nation's security because of the reckless conduct of this President. Will the principles embodied in our Constitution and our laws be reaffirmed; wrested from the pallid hands of pollsters and pundits, and from the swarm of theorists surrounding these proceedings? Will they be taken up by you, and placed squarely and firmly back in the hands of Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and so many other true statesmen of America's heritage? Principles that have stricken down bigotry, tyrants, and demagogues; principles that, through open and fair trials, have saved the innocent from the hangman's noose; and likewise have sent the guilty, clothed in due process, to then ether regions.
It is principle, found and nurtured in our Constitution and our laws, that you are now called on to both use and reaffirm.
Not only America is watching, the world is, too. And, for those who say people from foreign lands look down on this process and deride this process, I say, `not so.'
Let me speak briefly of a man not born in this country, but a man who has made this his country. A man born not in Atlanta, Georgia, though Atlanta is now his home. A man born many thousands of miles away, in Eritrea. A man to who President Reagan surely was in a sense speaking, both in 1981 when he spoke of America's eternal sense of duty, and in January 1985, when he spoke of the `American sound' that echoes still through the ages and the continents.
The man whose words I quote is a man who watches this process through the eyes of an immigrant, Mr. Seyoum Tesfaye. I have never met Mr. Tesfaye, but I have read his works. He wrote, in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, just 3 days ago, on February 5th, that this impeachment process `is an example of America at its best . . . a core constitutional principle that profoundly distinguishes America from almost all other nations.' He noted without hyperbole, that this process, far from being the sorry spectacle that many of the President's defenders have tried to make it, truly `is a hallmark of representative democracy,' reaffirming the principle that `no man is above the law--not even the President.'
These are not the words of the House Managers; though they echo ours.
These are not the words of a partisan.
These are the words of an immigrant. A man who came to America to study, and has stayed to work and pay taxes just as millions of us do every day.
Men and women of the United States Senate, you must, by affirming your duty to render impartial justice based on the Constitution and the law, reaffirm those same laws and that very same Constitution, which drew Mr. Tesfaye and countless millions of other immigrants to our shores over the ages. This is not a comfortable task for any of us. But, as Martin Luther King, Jr., correctly noted, in words that hangs on my office wall, and perhaps on some of yours, it is not in `times of comfort and convenience' that we find the measure of a man's character, but in times of `conflict and controversy.' This is such a defining time.
Obstruction of justice and perjury must not be allowed to stand. Perjury and obstruction cannot stand alongside the law and the Constitution.
By your oath, you must, like it or not, choose one over the other, up or down, guilt or acquittal. I respectfully submit on behalf of the House of Representatives and on behalf of my constituents in the Seventh District of Georgia that the evidence clearly establishes guilt and that the Constitution and laws of this land demand it.
I thank the Members of the Senate and yield to Mr. Manager Buyer.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Buyer.
Mr. Manager BUYER. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Mr. Chief Justice, distinguished counsel and Senators, my name is Steve Buyer, House manager, from Monticello, IN. I represent 20 counties between South Bend and Indianapolis. I will not try to claim the cornerstone of Hoosier common sense. Mr. Kendall would wrestle me for that cornerstone. But as a former criminal defense attorney, I want to take a moment and compliment the White House counsel and Mr. Kendall for doing your best to defend your client in the face of overwhelming facts and compelling evidence. (Laughter.)
Your role here--a side comment here--your role here is much easier, though, in a Court of Impeachment as opposed to a criminal court of law.
As a former Federal prosecutor, I compliment Chairman Henry Hyde and my colleagues, the House managers, who have embraced and given life meaning of the rule of law and presented this case to the Senate in a professional, thorough, and dignified manner.
I assure you, the House managers would not have prosecuted the articles of impeachment before the bar of the Senate had we not had the highest degree of faith, belief and confidence that, based on the evidence, the President committed high crimes and misdemeanors which warrant his removal from office.
As you come to judgment, I recommend you square yourself with your duty first.
On January 7, I witnessed as the Chief Justice administered your oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws. You should follow this prescription: Find the truth, define the facts, apply the law, give reverence to the Senate precedents while defending the Constitution. But I submit, it is the integrity of your oath in which you must regulate to uphold the principle of equal justice under the law.
During the question-and-answer phase with the Chief Justice on Saturday, January 23, I stood in the well of the Senate and recommended that you vote on findings of fact. I want to clear the record of my intent of the recommendation. It has been grossly distorted.
It is not to establish the guilt, as some have alleged. A finding of fact is not a finding of fiction. On the contrary, it is to prevent decisions by triers of fact from basing their judgment on fiction or chance or politics. The Chief Justice ruled that you are triers of fact, and since this constitutional proceeding of impeachment is more like a civil proceeding than a criminal trial, I bring to your attention rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that provides, in pertinent part, that when a judge sits alone as a trier of fact, he or she is required to set down in precise words the facts as he or she finds them. This requirement is mandatory and cannot be waived by the parties of Federal practice.
A memorandum of findings of fact is not a radical concept to American jurisprudence. It is customary and habitually used in State and Federal courts all across this land. Since you sit collectively as a Court of Impeachment, as the triers of fact, I recommended the findings of fact to guarantee that you have carefully reviewed the evidence and have a rational basis for your final judgment.
To claim that findings of fact is unconstitutional is false. The Supreme Court has consistently permitted the Senate to shape the contours and the due process of an impeachment trial.
The Senate owes the American people and history an accounting of the stubborn facts.
I would like to comment on some statements.
I have heard some Senators state publicly that they are using the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. But the Senate has held consistently that the criminal standard of proof is inappropriate for impeachment trials. The result of conviction in an impeachment trial is removal from office; it is not meant to punish. You are to be guided by your own conscience, not by the criminal standard of proof of beyond a reasonable doubt.
I have also heard some Senators from both sides of the aisle state publicly, `I think these offenses rise to the level of high crimes and misdemeanors.' To state publicly that you believe that high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred, but for some reason you have this desire not to remove the President, that desire, though, does not square with the law, the Constitution, and the Senate's precedents for removing Federal judges for similar offenses.
So long as William Jefferson Clinton is President, the only mechanism to hold him accountable for his high crimes and
misdemeanors is the power of impeachment and removal. The Constitution is very clear. You cannot vindicate the rule of law by stating high crimes and misdemeanors have occurred, but leave the President in office subject to future prosecution after his term is expired.
Without respect for the law, the foundation of our Constitution is not secure. Without respect for the law, our freedom is at risk.
The President is answerable for his alleged crimes to the Senate here and now.
Moreover, if criminal prosecution and not impeachment is the way to vindicate the rule of law, then the Senate would never have removed other civil officers such as Federal judges, who are not insulated from criminal prosecution while holding office.
Thus, in providing for criminal punishment after conviction and removal from office, it was the framers who insured that the rule of law would be vindicated both in cleansing the office and in punishing the individual for the criminal act.
I have asked myself many times how allowing a President to remain in office while having committed perjury and obstruction of justice is fair to those across the country who are sitting in jail for having committed the same crimes. I have had the fairness argument thrown into my face consistently.
Fairness is important. Fairness is something that is simple in its nature and is powerful in the statement that it makes. A statement which you send carries us into tomorrow and becomes our future legacy.
If you vote to acquit, think for a moment about what you would say to those who have been convicted of the same crimes as the President.
What would you say to the 182 Americans who were sentenced in Federal court in 1997 for committing perjury?
What would you say to the 144 Americans who were sentenced in Federal court in 1997 for obstruction of justice and witness tampering?
Would you attempt to trivialize the evidence and say, `This case was only about lying about sex'?
I want to cite the testimony before the House Judiciary Committee of one woman who experienced the judicial system in the most personal sense, and that is the testimony of Dr. Barbara Battalino. I think it is compelling.
She held degrees in medicine and law, and Manager Rogan showed some of the testimony just the other day. You see, she was prosecuted by the Clinton Justice Department and convicted for obstruction of justice because of her lie under oath about one act of consensual oral sex with a patient on VA premises. Her untruthful response was made in a civil suit which was later dismissed. In a legal proceeding, Dr. Battalino was asked under oath: `Did anything of a sexual nature take place in your office on June 27, 1991?'
Her one word reply, `No,' convicted her and forever changed her life.
Her punishment? She was convicted of a felony, forced to wear an electronic monitoring device, and is presently on probation. She lost her license to practice medicine and her ability to practice law.
Our prisons hold many who are truly contrite, they are sorry, they feel pain for their criminal offenses, and some whose victims have even forgiven them, others who were very popular citizens and had many friends and apologized profusely,
but they were still held accountable under the law.
Just like the President is acclaimed to be doing a good job, many in prison today were doing a good job in their chosen professions. None of our laws provides for good job performance, contrition, forgiveness, or popularity polls as a remedy for criminal conduct.
These were the closing lines of Dr. Battalino's opening statement before the House Judiciary Committee:
We all make mistakes in life. But, common frailty does not relieve us from our responsibility to uphold the Rule of Law. Regardless, this nation must never let any person or people undermine the Rule of Law. . . . If liberty and justice for all does not reign, we--like great civilizations before us--will surely perish from the face of the earth.
What you would say to Dr. Battalino and others similarly situated is very important because fairness is important.
Alexander Hamilton, writing not long after the Constitution was adopted, well expressed the harm that would come to our Republic from those who, by example, undermine respect for the law. In a statement that bears repeating, Hamilton wrote:
If it were to be asked, What is the most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a Republic? The answer would be, an inviolable respect for the Constitution and Laws--the first growing out of the last. . . . Those, therefore, who . . . set examples, which undermine or subvert the authority of the laws, lead us from freedom to slavery; they incapacitate us from a government of laws. . . .
President Clinton, by his persistent and calculated misconduct and illegal acts, has set a pernicious example of lawlessness, an example which, by its very nature, subverts respect for the law. His perverse example inevitably undermines the integrity of both the office of the President and the judicial process.
You see, ladies and gentlemen, without choice we were all born free, and we inherited a legacy of liberty at great sacrifice by many who have come before us. We cannot collectively as a free people enjoy the liberties without measured personal restraint. And that is the purpose of the rule of law. It is the function of the courts to uphold the dignity of that prescription and the God-given liberties of all of us. That is how we are able to carry this Nation forward in the future generations.
So in light of the historic principles regarding impeachment, the overwhelming evidence to the offenses alleged, and the application of the Senate precedents, I believe it makes it very clear that our President--who has shown such contempt for the law, the dignity and the integrity of the office of the Presidency that was untrusted to him--must be held to account; and it can only be by his removal from office.
The House managers reserve the remainder of our time.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. Very well.
The Chair recognizes the White House counsel.
Mr. Counsel RUFF. Mr. Chief Justice, thank you.
I wonder, Mr. Majority Leader, whether we might take a brief break because there is going to need to be some rearrangement of furniture here.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
Mr. LOTT. I was hesitant to suggest it too early today, Mr. Chief Justice. (Laughter.)
Mr. LOTT. But on the request of counsel, I ask unanimous consent we take a 10-minute recess. And please return quickly to the Chamber so we can get back to business.
There being no objection, at 2:12 p.m. the Senate recessed until 2:35 p.m.; whereupon, the Senate reassembled when called to order by the Chief Justice.
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