THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Jan. 15: McCollum Summarizes the Evidence
From the Congressional Record
Mr. Manager McCOLLUM. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
Mr. Chief Justice, and my colleagues in the Senate, I drove in this morning to this Capitol. I drove up the George Washington Parkway, and I looked at the magnificent display of ice that was all over the trees, all over the grass, all over the foliage--a beautiful panorama.
And just before I got to the 14th Street Bridge, I saw this incredible number of geese--I guess in the hundreds--that were lined up together between the highway and the Potomac River. It looked like they were an invading army. I thought of the awe of this, the awe of the beauty of it, the awe of Mother Nature, the awe of God. And I thought, also, of the awe of the responsibility we have to our children and our grandchildren about what we are commencing today. This is an awesome undertaking for all of us.
I am here today to summarize for you what you heard yesterday. I do not want to bore you. I do not intend to do that. I am going to be as brief as I can. I am also here to help you digest the voluminous quantities of material that you have before you. There is a huge record out there. And I am also here to prepare you for the law discussion that is going to come after me about the law of the crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
First of all, I want you to know I bear no personal animosity toward our President. But I happen to believe that if the President--if any President--commits the crimes of perjury, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering, he should not be allowed to remain in office, for if he is allowed to do so, it would undermine our courts and our system of justice.
But that is for you to determine in the end, really, not me. That is my opinion. But you will have to weigh the evidence, you are going to have to hear the arguments, and ultimately make that decision. In fact, the first thing you have to determine is whether or not the President committed crimes. It is only if you determine he committed the crimes of perjury, obstruction of justice, and witness tampering that you will move on to the question of whether he is removed from office. In fact, no one, none of us, would argue to you that the President should be removed from office unless you conclude he committed the crimes that he is alleged to have committed--not every one of them necessarily, but certainly a good quantity, and there are a whole bunch of them that have been charged.
I would like to call your attention to a couple of things. First of all, I don't want to be a schoolteacher; I just want to relate my own experience to you so you can understand it. I have been involved with this a lot longer than most of you have probably been dealing with the details. I constantly have to refer back to things. Every time I read something, there is so much detail here, I learn something new.
While I go over the evidence with you, we will summarize the evidence one more time. As you are deliberating, as you are thinking about it, I want to call a couple of places to your attention that are the easiest places to refer back to, to find the facts and evidence. First of all, there is the official report that is in the record of the House's consideration of this, the Judiciary Committee report. In that report, right in the first couple of pages, there is a table of contents. While a couple of the articles did not come over to you that are listed in here, there are detailed discussions you can get from this table of contents as to every single count and every single part of these articles so you can figure out what we are talking about today.
Secondly, I would like to bring to your attention that there is a Starr Report, and I know that has been maligned by some people. This thing is so dogeared--I have underlined it, torn it apart, done all kind of things with it. It is a good reference source. You can find from the footnotes where else to check it out. There are two parts. These are the appendices. In the first part, you can find the transcript of all the key depositions, all the key testimony, all of the evidence that we are talking about, and read it for yourselves.
I don't want to leave here today having summarized this evidence, as long as I may take--and I don't want to take a long time, but I will take a little while--and have you go away and think, gosh, what all did McCollum or Hutchinson or Rogan or Bryant say yesterday. You can find and refresh yourself through that and through whatever information you have--trial briefs and all that you have.
Let's look at what the record shows. President Clinton was sued by Paula Jones in a sexual harassment civil rights lawsuit. To bolster her case, she was trying to show that the President engaged in a pattern of illicit relations with women in his employment, where he rewarded those who became involved with him and disadvantaged those who rejected him, as Paula Jones did.
Whatever the merits of that approach, on May 27, 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a unanimous decision that 'like every other citizen'--and that is a quote--'like every other citizen, Paula Jones has a right to an orderly disposition of her claims.' Then on December 11 of 1997, Judge Susan Webber Wright issued an order that said Paula Jones was entitled to information regarding any State or Federal employee with whom the President had sexual relations, proposed sexual relations, or sought to have sexual relations.
The record shows that President Clinton was determined to hide his relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the Jones court. His lawyers will argue to you next week, I am sure, that he did everything to keep the relationship hidden and he did it in a legal way. They will say that he may have split a few hairs and evaded answers and given misleading answers but that it was all within the framework of responses and actions that any good lawyer would advise his client to do.
They will also say if he crossed the line technically somewhere, he didn't do it knowingly or intentionally. Oh, how I wish that were true. We wouldn't be here today. But, alas, that is not so.
If you believe the sworn testimony of Monica Lewinsky, if you believe her testimony that is in the record--and she is very credible--the President knowingly, intentionally, and willfully set out on a course of conduct in December 1997 to lie to the Jones court, to hide his relationship, and to encourage others to lie and hide evidence and to conceal the relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the court. He engaged in a pattern of obstruction of justice, perjury, and witness tampering designed to deny the court what Susan Webber Wright, the judge in that court, had determined Paula Jones had the right to discover in order to prove her claim. If you believe the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, you cannot believe the President or accept the argument of his lawyers. You simply can't.
The record is so clear on this that if you have any significant doubt about Monica Lewinsky's credibility or testimony, you should bring her in here and let us examine her face to face so you can judge her credibility for yourself.
As you will hear explained later this afternoon, the same acts can constitute both the crimes of obstruction of justice and perjury, and the same acts can constitute the crimes of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. They are all cut from the same cloth. They are all crimes that obstruct the administration of justice and keep our courts from being able to get the evidence that they need to decide cases. Such obstruction is so detrimental to our system of justice that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines provide for a greater punishment for perjury and obstruction of justice than they do for bribery.
I want to show that to you. I know everybody can't see the chart. I think you have a handout of them. I will not show many charts today, but this is one about the sentencing guidelines. The guidelines rate these, in fact, in sequence. The most serious sentencing is a higher number; the lower number is the lower sentencing: Plain old vanilla bribery rights at a 10; other things are 8, 7, 4. Murder is way up there, much higher in the numbers. You will see that witness tampering is a 12, not a 10. Obstruction of justice is a 12, not a 10. Perjury is a 12, not a 10. All of them are the same. Interestingly enough, although I didn't put it on this chart, bribing a witness is different from plain vanilla bribery. If you try to bribe somebody in a business deal, that is one kind; if you go out and bribe a witness, that is another. Bribing a witness is also a 12.
Now, I want to point that out right up front because the most important point that makes is that when you read the phrase in the Constitution that what is impeachable is treason, bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors, bribery is not considered by our court system. Pure bribery, plain old bribery, is not considered as serious in sentencing as perjury, witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and of course bribing a witness. They are all of the same cloth. Why? Because that interferes with the administration of justice. Because we can't have justice if people block the courts from getting at the truth. And if you go about doing it intentionally, you have committed these crimes.
It should be pointed out that lies under oath in a court proceeding, whether or not they rise to the level of crimes of perjury, can be obstruction of justice. So when the President lied in the Jones deposition, this was part of the obstruction of justice charged under article II that is before you today, even though there is no separate count. And he lied a lot in that deposition. We will talk about that a little later. The fact that the House did not send you the article of impeachment for perjury in the Jones deposition does not keep you from considering the lies in that deposition as an obstruction of justice crime under article II that is before you. And you know that it is also incorporated in article I, because it is one of the four items specifically listed as the perjury that he lied about lying in the deposition.
Now, having said that, think about all of this as one big obstruction, because perjury can be obstruction. Just plain lying can be obstruction. Witness tampering, by the way, is a separate crime because it is titled that way, but it is one of two separate obstruction of justice sections in the United States Criminal Code. It is just another version of obstruction of justice. So don't be confused. Witness tampering is obstruction of justice--literally, figuratively, and in every other way. But people think about it separately because it has a separate element, a lesser element of proof actually than obstruction of justice. But it is all part of the same fabric, again.
To put the essence of all of this in a nutshell for you, think back on the evidence presented yesterday. I would suggest that President Clinton thought his scheme out well. He resented the Jones lawsuit. He was alarmed when Monica Lewinsky's name appeared on the witness list, and he was more alarmed when Judge Wright issued her orders signaling that the court would hear the evidence of other relationships. To keep his relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the court, once Judge Wright issued her ruling, he knew he would have to lie to the court. To succeed at this, he decided that he had to get Monica Lewinsky to file a false affidavit,
to try to avoid having her testify. And he needed to get her a job to make her happy, to make sure she executed that false affidavit, and then stick with her lies when she was questioned about it.
Then the gifts were subpoenaed and he had to have her hide the gifts--the only tangible evidence of his relationship with her that would trigger questions. She came up with the idea of giving them to Betty Currie, and the President seized on it. Who would think Betty Currie should be called to produce the gifts? Nobody would. Then he would be free to lie in his deposition, and that is, of course, what he did. But after he did this, he realized that he had to make sure that Betty would lie and cover for him.
He got his aides convinced to repeat the lies to the grand jury and to the public, and all of this worked--until the dress showed up. Then he lied to the grand jury to try to cover up and explain away his prior crimes.
That is the case in a nutshell. That is why we are here today. That is what this evidence in the record shows, I believe, in an exceptionally compelling way.
Now, let's review what happened and, as we do, I ask you to think back to what Mr. Bryant said to you yesterday. Always ask yourself what are the results of the act, and who benefited. I think you will find each time that it is the President who benefited. Now we are going to go over the facts.
On December 5, 1997, a year ago, about a week before Judge Wright issued her order making it clear that the President's relationship with Monica Lewinsky was relevant to the Jones case. Ms. Lewinsky's name appeared on the Jones witness list. The President learned this fact the next day, December 6. The President telephoned Monica Lewinsky at about 2 a.m. on December 17 and informed her about her name being on the witness list. That was about 10 days after he learned about it and about 5 days after Judge Wright's order. It was the order that made it clear that his relationship with Monica was discoverable by the Jones attorneys in that case.
Long before this, though, long before the President was called to give a deposition or Monica Lewinsky was named on the witness list in the Jones case, the evidence shows she and the President had concocted cover stories. They had an understanding that she would lie about the relationship, and so would he, if anybody asked about it.
During a telephone conversation on the 17th of December, the President told Monica she might be called as a witness, and he at that time suggested that she might file an affidavit to avoid being called as a witness to testify in person in that case. In the same conversation, they reviewed these cover stories that they had concocted to conceal their relationship. He brought them up. They went over them again.
Why do you think they did that? In her grand jury testimony, Monica said the President didn't tell her to lie, but because of their previous understanding she assumed that they both expected that she would lie in that affidavit. In this context, the evidence is compelling that the President committed both the crimes of obstruction of justice and witness tampering right then and there on December 17.
Now, Monica Lewinsky's testimony is so clear about this that the President's lawyers probably won't spend a lot of time with you on this; they didn't in the Judiciary Committee. I could be wrong, and they probably will just to show me I am wrong.
I want us to look at this and specifically look at her testimony together because it is so compelling. On pages 123 and 124 of her testimony--you can find it in Part 1 of the Starr Report. I know you can't see all of this that well back there, but you should have the charts. I point out in red on this chart the most important part of it. This is where she described the December 17 telephone conversation. I am going to read you part of it.
She said here in red:
At some point in the conversation, and I don't know if it was before or after the subject of the affidavit came up, he sort of said, 'You know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty or that you were bringing me letters,' which I understood was really a reminder of things that we had discussed before.
Question: So when you say things you had discussed, sort of ruses that you developed?
Answer: Right. I mean, this was--this was something that--that was instantly familiar to me.
Answer: And I knew exactly what he meant.
Question: Had you talked with him earlier about these false explanations about what you were doing visiting him on several occasions?
Answer: Several occasions throughout the entire relationship. Yes. It was the pattern of the relationship, to sort of conceal it.
Now, let's look at another chart. Monica Lewinsky's August 6 grand jury testimony, on pages 233 and 234. Both are from the
August 6 grand jury testimony, where in the context of the affidavit she makes the now famous statement, 'No one asked or encouraged me to lie.' She did say that, but let's look at how she said that: [Page: S262]
For me, the best way to explain how I feel what happened was, you know, no one asked or encouraged me to lie, but no one discouraged me either.
'. . . but no one discouraged me either.' I don't know how many times anybody said that to you when they made their arguments, but that is what she said and the context.
Later on, she says in her testimony on the same pages:
Question: Did you understand all along that he would deny the relationship, also?
Answer: Mm-hmm. Yes.
Question: And when you say you understood what it meant when he didn't say, 'Oh, you know, you must tell the truth,' what did you understand that to mean?
Answer: That--that--as we had on every other occasion and every other instance of this relationship, we would deny it.
After reading this, if you believe Monica Lewinsky, can there be any doubt that the President was suggesting that she file an affidavit that contains lies and falsehoods that might keep her from ever having to testify in the Jones case and give the President the kind of protection he needed when he testified?
And, of course, in that same December 17 conversation, the President encouraged Monica to use cover stories and tell the same lies as he expected her to do in the affidavit if and when she was called to testify live and in person. Both of those would be obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Taken together--encouraging her to file this false affidavit that she clearly describes here, and the encouraging of her to lie if she is ever called as a witness--both of these are counts 1 and 2 of the obstruction of justice charge.
If I don't leave you with any other impression walking away from here today, I want you to think about this. This is the clearest, boldest, most significant obstruction of justice charge. I don't see how anybody can walk away from it and explain it away. It is a pattern. It should not be looked at in isolation. Think about it. It is the kickoff to what really happened. It is why we got involved in this in the first place. The President had a scheme and he went through this process.
And it all ties together with the rest of it.
Two days later, Monica Lewinsky was subpoenaed and contacted Vernon Jordan who put her in touch with Attorney Frank Carter. That is the attorney he picked out. As we all know, this very false affidavit that Frank Carter prepared--and, of course, knowing it was false when he prepared it, but Monica knew it and the President knew it--was filed just before the President's deposition in the Jones case January 17. The record shows that the President was kept abreast of the participation by Vernon Jordan and all of its contents, and Jordan advised the President when Monica signed the affidavit on January 7. He advised the President of that fact. Two days before Monica says in a conversation she asked the President if he wanted to see the draft affidavit, he replied--you recall from yesterday--he replied that he didn't need to see it because he had already seen '15 others.'
I doubt seriously he was talking about 15 other affidavits of somebody else and didn't like looking at affidavits anymore. I suspect and I would suggest to you that he was talking about 15 other drafts of this proposed affidavit since it had been around the horn a lot of rounds.
The circumstantial evidence makes it clear the President knew the context of the Lewinsky affidavit and he knew it was false.
During the President's deposition in the Jones case on January 17, his attorney, Robert Bennett, at one point tried to stop the Jones lawyers from asking the President about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky by pointing out the affidavit she had signed.
I think we all remember that because there was a lot of that on TV up here yesterday. Mr. Bennett asserted at the time that the affidavit indicated 'there is no sex of any kind, manner, shape or form.' That is what he said. After a warning from Judge Wright, Mr. Bennett stated, 'I'm not coaching the witness. In preparation of the witness for this deposition, the witness is fully aware of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, so I have not told him a single thing he doesn't know.' The President did not say anything to correct Mr. Bennett, even though he knew the affidavit was false. The judge allowed the questioning to proceed and later Mr. Bennett read to the President a portion of paragraph 8 of Monica Lewinsky's affidavit in which she denied having a 'sexual relationship' with the President and asked him if Ms. Lewinsky's statement was true and accurate, to which the President responded, 'That is absolutely true.'
I am not going back over and put that on the screen again. But I do want to put up here before you what you have in front of you, paragraph 8 of Monica Lewinsky's affidavit.
Paragraph 8 of her affidavit was absolutely false and the President knew it.
I want to go over that a little bit. What it says up here at the beginning of it is, 'I have never had a sexual relationship with the President. He did not propose that we have a sexual relationship,' and so on. And we have a lot about that. But look at what it says down at the end of this. What is down at the end of this--you have it in front of you. It says down here, 'The occasions that I saw the President after I left my employment at the White House in April 1996 were official receptions, formal functions, or events related to the United States Department of Defense, where I was working at the time. There were other people present on those occasions.'
I just want to point out to you that paragraph 8, which was the subject of a lot of discussions, which the President certainly was fully aware of--which you watched where he was intensely responding, with regard to Mr. Bennett yesterday in that deposition--didn't just contain a lie about a sexual relationship where you quibble over a word. It is a full-fledged lie and a cover story about this. None of that is true. Monica Lewinsky saw him a lot of other times, and the President certainly knew that. They weren't all official events or anything else. This is a complete falsehood, paragraph 8, and the President knew it.
At that point in time when he allowed his attorney on the day of the deposition to make a false and misleading statement to the judge--and the attorney didn't know that--but it was a false and misleading statement to the judge characterizing this affidavit, he knew better. And the President at that point in time committed the crime of obstruction of justice. And that is count 5 of article II.
Now the President's lawyers are going to argue that he sat silent because he wasn't paying attention, and he didn't hear or appreciate what Mr. Bennett was saying. We have already seen the video. And you know that he was looking so intently. Remember he was intensely following the conversation with his eyes. I don't know if you watched it on TV yesterday and observed that. It was played twice. I don't know how anybody can say this man wasn't paying attention. He certainly wasn't thinking about anything else. That was very obvious from looking at the video.
The President's other defense also falls apart on its face. During his grand jury testimony, the President argued that when Mr. Bennett characterized the Lewinsky affidavit as indicating 'there is no sex of any kind, in any manner, shape or form' that it was a completely true statement because at that particular time, at that moment, when the statement was being made on January 17, 1998, there was no sex going on. That was when the President made his famous utterings to the jury, 'It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is.' That is when he said that. Of course the President knew perfectly well that the context of Mr. Bennett's discussions with the judge and characterization of the Lewinsky affidavit was referring to the denial in paragraph 8 of the affidavit that there had never been any sexual relationship at any time, not that there was no sex or sexual relationship going on on January 17, the day of the deposition.
I implore you not to get hung up on some of the details. It is absurd, some of the arguments that are being made and have been made by the President and his attorneys to try to explain this.
This is a perfect example of that. When we start looking around at this, you can't see the forest sometimes for the trees. The big picture is what you need to keep in mind, not the compartmentalized portion. There will be a lot of effort, I am sure, to try to go and pick at one thing or another. But this is an extraordinarily good example of how the argument failed when put in that situation. And we shouldn't play word games.
When Monica Lewinsky was subpoenaed to testify, she was also subpoenaed to produce any gifts that the President had given her. When she met with Vernon Jordan the day she received the subpoena, she told him of her concerns about the gifts and
she asked him to tell the President about the subpoena.
Early in the morning on December 28, near the end of the year, they met, the President and Monica, in his office, and they exchanged gifts and discussed the gifts being subpoenaed. According to Mrs. Lewinsky, she suggested that maybe she should put the gifts away outside of her house somewhere or give them to somebody like Betty Currie. She says he responded--the President responded--with an 'I don't know,' or 'let me think about that.' She was very clear that at no point did he ever give her the impression that she should turn the gifts over to the Jones attorneys.
That is consistent with their cover stories--the one later and later in the perjury where the count discusses his lying to the grand jury. Consistent with their cover stories and all the plans for denying the relationship, her testimony in this regard is very believable.
On the other hand, the President's testimony in front of the grand jury that encouraged her to turn all of the gifts over to the Jones attorneys is not believable. How can nobody believe that. When he said that to the grand jury, he committed perjury. When a few hours later, according to Monica Lewinsky, Betty Currie called her on the telephone and said, 'I understand you have something to give me,' or maybe she said, 'the President said you have something to give me,' and Betty Currie came over and got the gifts and took them back and hid them under her bed. At that moment, the President's crime of obstruction of justice as described in count 3 of article II was complete.
Remember by its nature obstruction of justice charges in crimes are most frequently proven by circumstantial evidence. As somebody said here the other day, we don't tell people we are going to go out under the elm tree and lie and obstruct things. Usually it is a lot more circuitous than that. In the context of all that was going on at the time and the general truthfulness of Monica Lewinsky's testimony, and other respects, how can anyone come to any other conclusion than that the President collaborated with Monica and Betty to hide these gifts on December 28? How can they? The sequence is there.
The President's lawyers may spend a lot of time attacking this particular obstruction of justice charge. They may question why the President would have given Monica Lewinsky more gifts on December 28 if he was expecting her to hide the gifts. Monica's explanation and her testimony is 'from everything he said to me,' he expected her to conceal the gifts, including the ones being given that day. When Ms. Currie's call came, wasn't it the logical thing for Monica to conclude that this was the result of the President's having thought about what to do with the gifts, which he said he was going to do according to her, and deciding to have Ms. Currie hide them?
That is the logical thing.
The President's attorney's will no doubt also question the veracity of Ms. Lewinsky with regard to who made the phone call, since Mrs. Currie's recollection isn't very good. And at first she says she recalls Monica made it. Of course, the phone records indicate that Ms. Currie called Ms. Lewinsky. That is the much more logical sequence.
Also it doesn't make sense that the President's secretary, who is so close to him--think about it--that she would have taken the gifts and would have hidden them under her bed and never talked with the President about doing so before or after
she did so. That doesn't make sense.
It is also noteworthy that the President did everything he could in his January 17 deposition to conceal the true nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. This is consistent with the arguments that he never intended the gifts be kept from the Jones attorneys. He never intended them to be given to the Jones attorneys. If he had intended to give these gifts to the Jones attorneys, or have them given, why would he have gone through this elaborate series of lies in that deposition? Common sense tells us if he knew these gifts were revealed, questions would be raised and his relationship revealed.
So all the logic is there. I don't know how you refute it.
Another obstruction count the President's attorneys are likely to spend time on is one concerning the job search. There is no question that Monica Lewinsky was looking for a job in New York a long time before we get to December of 1997 and when the affidavit and all of this took place, long before the President had reason to be concerned that she would have to testify or he would have to testify in the case. There is no question about that. That is not the issue. The question is whether or not the President intensified his efforts to get her a job and make sure she got one after it became clear to him that he would need her to lie, sign a false affidavit, and stick with her lies in any questioning. That is what counts. That is what is important. Did he intensify his efforts and really go after it? Was it part of that pattern I described to you earlier which Mr. Hutchinson described yesterday? That is what is important.
In other words, as count 34 of article II alleges, did she make sure she was rewarded with sticking with him in a scheme of concealment in anticipation that this reward would keep her happy and keep her from turning on him? Did the President make sure Monica Lewinsky signed a false affidavit by getting her a job?
The record shows that while she did give some interviews from earlier contacts, including one involving the job with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, no one of real influence around the President put on a full court press to get her a job and she had not had any success as of December 6.
She had not been able to get in touch with Vernon Jordan in her recent efforts. He had met with her once in November, but as you recall from yesterday's discussions, something he didn't even have a good memory of. He certainly wasn't very focused on it, and she wasn't getting where she wanted to get.
And so on December 6th she mentioned that fact to the President. Remember, that is one day after she was named on a witness list. In fact, that is the day that he learned or may have learned--we know he learned of her being on that witness list. The President met with Vernon Jordan the next day, but he apparently didn't mention Ms. Lewinsky, according to Jordan's testimony. The record shows that not only on December 11th did Mr. Jordan act to help Ms. Lewinsky find a job when he met with her and gave her a list of contact names on December 11th, Mr. Jordan that same day made calls to contacts at MacAndrews & Forbes, the parent corporation of Revlon, and two other New York companies. He also telephoned the President to keep him informed of his efforts.
Keep in mind that on this day, this very same day, December 11th, Judge Wright issued her order in the Jones case entitling Jones' lawyers to discover the President's sexual relations. Is that a mere coincidence?
Later in December, Monica Lewinsky interviewed with New York-based companies that had been contacted by Mr. Jordan. She discussed her move to New York with the President during that meeting on December 28th. On January 5th, she declined a United Nations offer. On January 7th, Ms. Lewinsky signed the false affidavit. The next day, on January the 8th, she interviewed in New York with MacAndrews & Forbes, but the interview went very poorly. Learning of this, Vernon Jordan, that very day, called Ronald Perelman, the chairman of the board of MacAndrews & Forbes. She was interviewed the next morning again, and a few hours later she received an informal offer. She told Jordan about it. He immediately told Betty Currie about it, and he personally told the President about it later.
On January 13th, her job offer at Revlon was formalized, and within a day or so President Clinton told Erskine Bowles that Ms. Lewinsky had found a job in the private sector. It was a big relief to him.
Then her false affidavit was filed, and on January 17th the President gave a deposition relying on the false affidavit and using their cover stories to conceal their relationship.
Was this full court press in December and early January to assure Monica Lewinsky had a job just a coincidence? Logical common sense says no; the President needed her to continue to cooperate in his scheme to hide their relationship, keeping her happy so he could control her and she would be--he would be assured that she had filed this false affidavit and testifying untruthfully if she was called. It is the only plausible rationale for this stepped up job assistance effort at this particular time. In doing so, the President committed the crimes of obstruction of justice and witness tampering as set forth in count 4 of article II.
Well, we have gone through quite a few of these, and I am trying to be brief with you, but I think each one of them is important. Each one of them entangles the President further in a web that fits together, and it is kind of sticky just like the spider weaves.
During his deposition in the Jones case, the President referred to Betty Currie several times and suggested that she
might have answers to some of the questions. He used the cover story, the same ones he and Monica talked about, and he talked about Betty Currie a good deal because she was a part of those cover stories. When he finished the deposition, he telephoned Ms. Currie, and he asked her to come to his office the next day and talk with him. Betty Currie told the grand jury when she came in the next day the President raised his deposition with her and said there were several things he wanted to know, then rattled off what you heard yesterday in succession: You were always there when she was there, right? We never were really alone. You can 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.
All of those weren't true. They were all falsehoods. They were all declaratory statements. They weren't questions. It is clear from the record that Ms. Currie always tried her best to be loyal to the President, her boss. That is normal. That is natural.
In answering the questions in her testimony, she tried to portray the events and the President's assertions in the light most favorable to him, even though she acknowledges that she could not hear and see everything that went on between Monica and the President and that she wasn't actually present in the same room with them on any number of occasions, so they were alone. And she could not say what they might have been doing or saying.
On January 20th or 21st, the President again met with Ms. Currie and, according to her, recapitulated what he said on Sunday, a day or two before, right after the deposition. In the context of everything, it seems abundantly clear that the President was trying to make sure that Betty Currie corroborated his lies and cover stories from the deposition if she was ever called to testify in the Jones case or grand jury or any other court proceeding. That is what he was doing. In doing so, the President committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice.
Later, the President testified, rather disingenuously, in my judgment, that he was simply trying to refresh his memory when he was talking to Ms. Currie. Ms. Currie's confirmation of false statements that the President made in his deposition could not in any way remind him of the facts. They were patently untrue. The idea that he was trying to refresh his recollection is implausible.
Recognizing the weakness of their client's case on this, the President's attorneys have suggested that he was worried about what Ms. Currie might say if the press really got after her. That is what we heard, at least over in the Judiciary Committee. Of course, it is possible the President was worried about the press. I would suspect so. But common sense says he was much more worried about what Betty Currie might say to a court, after he had just named her several times and talked about her, if she were called as a witness.
As those who follow me will tell you, the arguments by the President's lawyers that Betty Currie wasn't on the Jones witness list at the time and the window of opportunity to call her as a witness in that case closed shortly thereafter is irrelevant. They are going to argue--they argued to us that Betty Currie's name wasn't on the witness list. That is a big deal, they say. They say. But it is irrelevant. It doesn't matter; witness tampering law doesn't even require that a
pending judicial proceeding be going on for it to be a crime. So whether her name was on the witness list or not makes no difference.
There are two types of obstruction of justice. One does require a pending proceeding. I submit--and you will hear more about this later in the law--that in this instance the President committed both of them. He certainly should have anticipated that she would be called in the pending proceeding that was going on in the Jones case, but even if there was no pending proceeding--and you will, again, hear more about this later--for the witness tampering part of the obstruction of justice, it doesn't require there to have been an ongoing judicial proceeding.
Within 4 or 5 days of his Jones deposition, the President not only explicitly denied the true nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky to key White House aides, he also embellished the story when he talked with Sidney Blumenthal. To Sidney Blumenthal, he portrayed Monica Lewinsky as the aggressor, attacked her reputation by portraying her as a stalker and presented himself as the innocent victim being attacked by the forces of evil. Certainly he wanted his denial and his assertions to be spread to the public by these aides, but at the same time he knew that the Office of Independent Counsel had recently been appointed to investigate the Monica Lewinsky matter. He knew that at the time.
In the context of everything else that he was doing to hide his relationship, it seems readily apparent that his false and misleading statements to his staff members, whom he knew were potential witnesses before any grand jury proceeding, were designed in part to corruptly influence their testimony as witnesses. In fact, the President actually acknowledged this in his grand jury testimony, that he knew his aides might be called before the grand jury. And one of the aides testified he expected to be called. Sure enough, they were, and they repeated the false and misleading information he had given them. In this, the President committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction of justice as set forth in count 7 of article II.
Now, that is the obstruction of justice. Let's briefly review the grand jury perjury for a minute.
If you believe Monica Lewinsky, the President lied to the grand jury and committed perjury. If you believe her--and I think this one is very important, not that they all aren't. There was the web of the obstruction that I just described and then there is the grand jury perjury on top of it. I told you earlier, perjury and just plain lying can be all obstruction of justice as well. But the grand jury part is much later. It is after the President had time to really reflect on all of this, a long time later.
If you believe Monica Lewinsky, the President lied to the grand jury and committed perjury in denying he had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky even if you accept his interpretation of the Jones court's definition of sexual relations. That is really important. There isn't anything clearer in the whole darned matter than that. Just look at the President's grand jury testimony. And I am not going to go over all of that, but it is on pages 93 and 96 of his grand jury testimony. It is laid out in this chart which you have in front of you, and I encourage you to read every page of it carefully. Specifically, I call your attention to the fact--again, I am not going to read all of this--but they asked him about touching certain parts of the body that are defined in the definition that you have had repeated many times, publicly and otherwise. And two of those body parts he acknowledges, the breast and genitalia, were in fact part of the definition. And at the end of this, and I think this is very important and I am going to read it because it is part of his testimony, he answers the question that is the compelling bottom line crime. This is where he perjured himself above all else.
You are free to infer that my testimony is that I did not have sexual relations, as I understood this term to be defined.
Question: Including touching her breasts, kissing her breasts, or touching her genitalia?
Answer: That's correct.
In her sworn testimony, Monica Lewinsky described nine incidents of which the President touched and kissed her breasts and four incidents involving contact with her genitalia. On these matters, Lewinsky's testimony is corroborated by the sworn testimony of at least six friends and counselors to whom she related these incidents contemporaneously.
Again, if you believe the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, and it certainly is credible here--I think it is credible throughout but it is certainly credible, with all the corroboration you have got in the record--there is nothing clearer in all of this, in all of this you have before you, than that the President committed the crime of perjury in testifying before the grand jury regarding the nature and details of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
On the other hand, there is plenty here to indicate the President cleverly created his own narrow definition of sexual relations to include only sexual intercourse, absent the explicit definition of the court, after he had already lied in responding to the interrogatories and other pleadings and perhaps even in the depositions themselves in the Jones case. In other words, you are free to deduce that he knew full well what most people would include as sexual relations, oral sex and the other intimate activities that he was engaged in with Ms. Lewinsky, before he contrived his own definition. In that case, you don't even have to rely on Monica Lewinsky's testimony to conclude that he committed the crime of perjury in testifying before the grand jury on the nature of his relationship with her.
There are other perjurious lies the President's grand jury testimony contains regarding the nature and details of his relationship with her. I am not going to outline all of those. I want to call your attention to one. The President's prepared statement, given under oath, said, 'I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this conduct.' You may remember that from Mr. Rogan, I think, yesterday. 'I regret that what began as a friendship came to include this conduct.' That is what he said in the grand jury. The evidence indicates that he lied. As Ms. Lewinsky testified, her relationship with the President began with flirting, including Ms. Lewinsky showing the President her underwear, and just a couple of hours later they were kissing and engaging in intimacies. That is a little bit more than friendship. He lied when he said that to the grand jury.
Before the grand jury, the President swore that he testified truthfully at his deposition. Remember, I told you I was going to come back to this. It is important because the grand jury--I mean the Paula Jones deposition testimony is relevant to obstruction of justice but it is also relevant to the perjury here, because one of the portions of the perjury article that you have before us includes this issue of lying in the deposition. The perjury in this case is not the lying in the deposition, it is the lying to the grand jury about whether he lied in the deposition. He didn't have to have committed perjury. We didn't send you the perjury count over from the deposition. But if he lied--lying can be less than perjury.
If he lied in the deposition and then he told the grand jury that he didn't lie, he committed perjury in front of the grand jury.
The evidence indicates that he did lie. He testified before the grand jury that 'my goal in this deposition was to be truthful, but not particularly helpful . . . I was determined to walk through the minefield of this deposition without violating the law and I believe I did.'
Contrary to this testimony, the President was alone with Ms. Lewinsky when she was not delivering papers, which he even conceded in his grand jury statement. So he lied in the deposition then when he said he wasn't alone with her.
In the deposition the President swore he could never recall being in the Oval Office hallway with Ms. Lewinsky except when she was perhaps delivering pizza. The evidence indicates that he lied.
The President swore in the Jones deposition that he could not recall gifts exchanged between Monica Lewinsky and himself. The evidence indicates that he lied.
He swore in the deposition that he did not know whether Monica Lewinsky had been served a subpoena to testify in the Jones case at the last time that he saw her in December 1997. The evidence indicates that he lied.
In his deposition, the President swore that the last time he spoke to Monica Lewinsky was when she stopped by before Christmas 1997 to see Betty Currie at a Christmas party. The evidence indicates that he lied.
In his deposition in the Jones case, the President swore that he didn't know that his personal friend, Vernon Jordan, had met with Monica Lewinsky and talked about the case. The evidence indicates that he lied.
The President in his Paula Jones deposition indicated that he was 'not sure' whether he had ever talked to Monica Lewinsky about the possibility that she might be asked to testify in the Jones case. Can anybody doubt the evidence indicates that he lied?
The President in his deposition swore that the contents of the affidavit executed by Monica Lewinsky in the Jones case, in which she denied they had a sexual relationship, were 'absolutely true.' The evidence indicates that he lied.
In other words, when the President swore in the grand jury testimony that his goal in the Jones deposition was to be truthful but not particularly helpful, the evidence is clear that he lied and committed the crime of perjury, inasmuch as he had quite intentionally lied on numerous occasions in his deposition testimony in the Jones case. His intention in that deposition was to be untruthful. That is what it was all about, to be untruthful. So he committed the crime of perjury in front of the grand jury--big time.
The third part of article I concerning grand jury perjury relates to his not telling the truth about false and misleading statements his attorney, Robert Bennett--unintentionally, Mr. Bennett, by the way, but nonetheless false and misleading statements--Robert Bennett made to Judge Wright during the President's Jones case deposition. We have been on that a lot. I don't want to bore you with going over all those details again, but this is the third part of the perjury count as well as an obstruction of justice count.
During the President's deposition in the Jones case, Mr. Bennett, however unintentional on his part, misled the court when he said, 'Counsel [counsel for Ms. Jones] is fully aware that Ms. Lewinsky has filed, has an affidavit which they are in possession of saying that there is no sex of any kind, of any manner shape or form, with President Clinton . . .' Judge Wright, as you recall again, interrupted Mr. Bennett and expressed her concern that he might be coaching the President to which Mr. Bennett responded, 'in preparation of the witness for this deposition, the witness is fully aware of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, so I have not told him a single thing he doesn't know . . .'
In his grand jury testimony about these statements by Mr. Bennett to the judge in the Jones case, the President testified:
I'm not even sure I paid attention to what he was saying. . . . I didn't pay much attention to this conversation which is why, when you started asking me about this, I asked to see the deposition . . . I don't believe I ever even focused on what Mr. Bennett said in the exact words he did until I started reading this transcript carefully for this hearing.
In so testifying before the grand jury, the President lied and committed the crime of perjury. As you saw yesterday in the video, during this portion of that deposition when Mr. Bennett was discussing this matter with Judge Wright, the President directly looked at Mr. Bennett, paying close attention to his argument to Judge Wright. He lied about that to the grand jury. He committed perjury when he said that he wasn't paying attention and he didn't know what Mr. Bennett was saying.
Several of the most blatant examples of grand jury perjury are found in that portion of his testimony cited in the fourth part, the last part of article I which goes to his efforts, the President's efforts, to influence the testimony of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence in the Jones case. The President swore during the grand jury testimony that he told Ms. Lewinsky that if the Jones lawyers requested the gifts exchanged between them, she should provide them. If you believe Monica Lewinsky's testimony, the President lied and committed perjury.
In her grand jury testimony, Ms. Lewinsky discussed in detail the December 28 meeting where gifts were discussed which preceded by a couple of hours Ms. Currie coming to her apartment and taking the gifts and hiding them under a bed. As you recall, she said she raised with the President the idea of removing her gifts from her house and giving them to somebody like Betty Currie and that his response was something to the effect of, 'Let me think about that.'
She went on to say that from everything he said to her, they were not going to do anything but keep these gifts private. In a separate sworn statement, she testified she was never under the impression from anything the President said that she should turn over the gifts to the Jones attorneys, and obviously she didn't have the idea that she should do that because she gave them all to Betty Currie to hide under the bed.
When the President told the grand jurors that he was simply trying to 'refresh' his recollection when he made a series of statements to Betty Currie the day after his deposition, he lied and committed perjury. As I have already pointed out to you today, the evidence is compelling that those statements, such as 'I was never really alone with Monica, right?' were made to try to influence Betty Currie's possible testimony, so that she would corroborate his cover stories and other false statements and lies that he had given the previous day in the Jones deposition, if she was called as a witness.
If you conclude that these series of statements constitute witness tampering and obstruction of justice, then you must also conclude that the President committed perjury when he asserted that the sole purpose of these statements to Betty Currie was to 'refresh' his recollection. You have to. Even if you were to buy the President's counsel's suggestion these statements might have been made to influence her in order for her to corroborate him, not in actual testimony in a court case but with the press, which they have said again to us--I don't know if they will say it to you--you would still conclude he was lying when he said that this was simply only to refresh his own recollection.
In the context of all of this, the idea that he was refreshing his recollection by firing off these declarative statements doesn't make sense. It just doesn't make sense. If you read the statements and think about them on their face, they are inherently inconsistent with refreshing his recollection.
Also, the President told the grand jury that the things he told his top aides about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky may have been misleading but they were true. If you believe the aides testified truthfully to the grand jury about what the President told them about his relationship, the President told them many falsehoods, absolute falsehoods. So when the President described them under oath to the grand jury as truths, he lied and committed the crime of perjury.
One example of this comes from Deputy Chief John Podesta in his testimony before the grand jury on January 23 that the President explicitly told him that he and Monica Lewinsky had not had oral sex. Another is Sidney Blumenthal. His testimony was that on January 23 the President told him that Monica Lewinsky 'came at me and made a sexual demand on me' and that he rebuffed her. And also Blumenthal's testimony that the President told him that Lewinsky threatened him and said that she would tell people that they had had an affair and that she was known as a stalker among her peers.
In short, the President lied numerous times before the grand jury, my colleagues; he lied numerous times under oath last August 17. He committed perjury numerous times under oath. He certainly wasn't caught by surprise by any of this, by any of the questions that were asked him during the grand jury appearance, and he was given a lot of latitude. He was given latitude normally that grand jury witnesses don't have--to give a prepared statement, to have his counsel present, to refuse to answer questions without taking the fifth amendment.
It is hard to imagine a case where it is clear that the lies meet the threshold of the crime of perjury. But I will leave the discussion of the elements and the law to the next group that is going to come up here.
The facts are clear that the President lied about having sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky even under his understanding of the definition of the Jones case if you believe Monica.
He lied when he said he gave truthful testimony in his Jones deposition.
He lied when he said he wasn't paying attention to his attorney's discussion of Monica Lewinsky's false affidavit during his deposition in the Jones case.
He lied when he said he told Monica Lewinsky she should turn over the gifts to the Jones lawyers if they asked for them.
He lied when he told the grand jury that he made the declaratory statements to Betty Currie to refresh his recollection.
And he lied when he told the grand jury that he only told the truth to his White House aides, such as John Podesta who testified the President told him he had not had oral sex with Lewinsky, and to Sidney Blumenthal who testified he told him very exaggerated and highly untrue characterizations of Monica Lewinsky's role in all of this.
These impeachment proceedings aren't before you because of one or two lies about a sexual relationship. This is not about sex. This is about obstruction of justice. This is about a pattern. This is about a scheme. This is about a lot of lies. This is about a lot of perjury. They are before you because the President lied again and again in a perjurious fashion to a grand jury and tried to get a number of people, other people, to lie under oath in the Jones lawsuit and to the grand jury and encouraged the concealment of evidence.
In a couple of days the President's lawyers are going to have their chance to talk to you, and I suspect they will try to get you to focus on 10, 15, or 20 or 30, maybe even 100 specific little details. They are going to argue that these details don't square with some of the facts about this presentation. But I would encourage you never to lose sight of the totality of this scheme to lie and obstruct justice; never lose sight of the big picture. Don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. It is easy to do because there are a lot of facts in this case.
I suggest you avoid considering any of this stuff in isolation and treating it separately. The evidence and the testimony needs to be viewed as a whole. The weight, we call it in law--and you are going to hear that in a few minutes--the weight of the evidence in this case is very great, it is huge in its volume, that the President engaged in a scheme starting in December 1997 to conceal from the court in the Jones case his true relationship with Monica Lewinsky and then cover up his acts of concealment which he had to know by that time were serious crimes.
The case against the President rests to a great extent on whether or not you believe Monica Lewinsky. But it is also based on the sworn testimony of Vernon Jordan, Betty Currie, Sidney Blumenthal, John Podesta, and corroborating witnesses. Time and again, the President says one thing and they say something entirely different. Time and again, somebody is not telling the truth. And time and again, an analysis of the context, the motivation, and all of the testimony taken together with common sense says it is the President who is not telling the truth.
But if you have serious doubts about the truthfulness of any of these witnesses, I, again, as all my colleagues do, encourage you to bring them in here. Let's examine Monica Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan, Betty Currie and the other key witnesses, let you examine the testimony, invite the President to come, judge for yourself their credibility.
But on the record, the weight of the evidence, taken from what we have given you today, what you can read in all of these books back here, everything taken together is huge that the President lied. It is refutable, but it is not refutable if somebody doesn't come in here besides just making an argument.
I don't know what the witnesses will say, but I assume if they are consistent, they'll say the same that's in here. But you have a chance to determine whether they are telling the truth. The only way you will ever know that, other than just accepting it if you think the evidence and the weight is that huge--and it may be--is by looking them in the eye and determining their credibility.
I believe that when you finish hearing and weighing all of the evidence, you will conclude, as I have, that William Jefferson Clinton committed the crimes of obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and perjury, that these in this case are high crimes and misdemeanors, that he has done grave damage to our system of justice, and leaving him in office would do more, and that he should be removed from office as President of the United States.
Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that there now be a recess in the proceedings for 15 minutes. Please return to your positions within 15 minutes.
There being no objection, at 2:11 p.m., the Senate recessed until 2:30 p.m.; whereupon, the Senate reassembled when called to order by the Chief Justice.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, as all Senators return to the Chamber, I believe now we are going to go to a segment where we will hear from three of the managers, including Congressmen Gekas, Chabot, and Cannon, and then we will take another break shortly after 3:30.
The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Manager Gekas.
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