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THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL
Jan. 25: Managers' Rebuttal and Vote

  • More Transcripts From the Trial

  • From the Congressional Record
    Monday, January 25, 1999

    Mr. Manager HUTCHINSON. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, Senators. My fellow Manager Graham has extended me a few minutes before he comes up here just to allow me to respond to a couple of factual assertions by the White House counselors during the recent presentation. I know that there was a reference made to the impeachment proceedings of former President Nixon, and there were various articles that were considered. But one of them that I don't believe was talked about was obstruction of justice, and I believe that the Senators in this Chamber would agree that obstruction of justice has historically been a basis for impeachment of public officials because of the impact that it has on the administration of justice. And that was historically true during the time of the impeachment of President Nixon. It was an issue during that time and it should be no less of a concern this year, in 1999.

    Now, when I listen to a defense attorney make a presentation, oftentimes I will listen to what they didn't cover as much as what they did cover. And you always have to go back to that because many times that points to a big gap of something they just can't explain. As I listened to the presentation, of course they addressed the assertion that Ms. Currie, Ms. Betty Currie was, in fact, not a witness at the time the President called her in and went through the questioning of her after his deposition on January 17. But, yet, it has been clearly established that she was a known witness at the time. Now, they hoped, they prayed, they wished, they counted for the fact that that subpoena would never be uncovered.

    But the subpoena was uncovered. The fact was established that she was put on the witness list and that she was a known witness at the time. But the fact is, it does not matter. She was a prospective witness, and that was what the President did when he came back and talked to her.

    But what has never been addressed--has never been addressed--is why in the world did the President believe he needed to talk to her a second time. It was one time the questioning, but 2 days later she was brought in and taken through the same paces. The answer was, 'Well, he explained it.' Well, he tried to explain why he did it the first time, he was trying to get information. There could be no explanation for the second instance of which she was called in and questioned. She was a witness, she was a known witness and she had to be talked to, and it was done twice.

    Another thing that I do not recall ever being mentioned, they argue that, 'Well, there is no evidence of favors on a job search,' and I believe that is not supported by the record. How many times has the President's attorneys discussed the description and the report by Mr. Vernon Jordan to the President, 'Mission accomplished'? I do not believe they have ever discussed that particular terminology. I do not believe they have ever discussed the terminology, the call from Mr. Vernon Jordan to Mr. Perelman saying, 'Make it happen if it can happen.'

    So I think there are some gaps in their defense and, clearly, you understand that the facts have supported each of the allegations of obstruction that we have set forth.

    They argue that, 'Well, there was no evidence of any false affidavit.' Whether it is evidence that an affidavit was encouraged by the President of the United States, he suggested the affidavit and, as of necessity, it would have to be false if it was going to be accomplishing the intended purpose.

       


    They are asking you in this motion to dismiss to ignore the evidence that we have presented, to ignore the testimony, the documentary evidence, to ignore the common sense and simply to accept the denials of the President of the United States. That is not what a motion to dismiss is about. We ask that we move forward to consider the full development of these facts.

    I yield to Mr. Graham.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Mr. Graham.

    Mr. Manager GRAHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. How much time do we have left?

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The House managers have 32 minutes remaining.

    Mr. Manager GRAHAM. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. To my colleagues, my chairman wants 11 minutes. So, for my own sake, please let me know when we get close.

    (Laughter.)

    We meet again to discuss a very, very important event in our Nation's history. To dismiss an impeachment trial under these facts and under these circumstances would be unbelievable, in my opinion, and do a lot of damage to the law and to the ultimate decision this body has to make: whether or not Bill Clinton should be our President.

    As I understand the general nature of the law, the facts and the law break our way for this motion. What I would like to discuss with you is whether or not a reasonable person could believe that Bill Clinton should not be our President and the facts that have been presented rise to the level of creating

    serious doubts about whether he is a criminal, not just a bad man who did bad things. For he is a good man in some ways, as all of us are, and he has done some things that everybody in this body will condemn roundly.

    America needs no more lectures about Bill Clinton's misconduct, about his inappropriate relationship. We need no more lectures about his sins. We all have those. We need to resolve, Is our President a criminal? That is harsh, but the facts bear out those statements.

    When you dismissed the judges for perjury and filing statements under oath, some of you said some very harsh things about those judges, not because you are harsh people, but because their conduct warranted it.

    One thing I am not going to say, and I will quit this job before I do this, is, I am not going to run over anybody's conscience when they are exercising it as they deem appropriate for the good of this Nation. My name has been brought up a couple of times about whether or not reasonable people can disagree with me and still be reasonable about what we should do in this case. I have told you the best I can that there is no doubt these are high crimes, in my opinion. This is a hard decision for our country, but when I first spoke to you, I thought we would be better off if Bill Clinton left office, and I want the chance to prove to you why. Give me a chance to prove to you why I believe that, why my colleagues voted our conscience to get this case to where it should be, not swept under a rug, but in a trial to a disposition.

    I have lost no sleep worrying about the fact that Bill Clinton may have to be removed from office because of his conduct. I have lost tons of sleep thinking he may get away with what he did. But the question was: Could you disagree with Lindsey Graham and be a good American, in essence? Absolutely. You can disagree with me on abortion, and Mr. Hyde, and I am not going to trample on who you are, because I know that the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and the moderate wing of the Republican Party have different views than I do.

    But I didn't come up here to run you down. I came up here to build my country up the way I think it needs to be built up.

    Ladies and gentlemen of the Senate, if you will listen to our case, if you will let us explain why we have lost no sleep asking for this President to be removed and why we voted to get it here and you disagree with me at the end of the day, I will never ever say you don't love your country as much as I do. That is what that statement was meant to convey, and it will convey that until I am dead and gone.

    The idea that 130 years ago a Senator took a vote and made a statement that the only way you can remove a President is it has to be unquestionable in anybody's mind tells me he sure thought a lot of himself. I am glad to see that stopped in the Senate. One hundred thirty years later, we don't have people like that anymore. What that conveyed to me was that a person made a hard decision and tried to create a standard that slams somebody else who came out differently.

    I hope that is not what this is all about. He goes down in history, but I wouldn't want that as part of my epitaph, that when I voted my conscience, I reached a level that if you didn't go where I was, there is something wrong with you.

    What did Bill Clinton do, and why are we all here? Are we here because of Ken Starr, because of Lindsey Graham, because of--why are we here? We are here because William Jefferson Clinton, in my opinion--we are here because on our watch in the House, the President of the United States, when he was a defendant in a lawsuit, instead of trusting the legal system to get it right, did everything possible, in my opinion, to undermine the rule of law, including going to a grand jury in August of last year and committing perjury after people in this body and prominent Americans said, 'Stop it.' And now we are here to say, 'Well, we really didn't mean it. The motion to dismiss means we're sort of just kidding, Mr. President.'

    If you believe he is not guilty of these offenses based on this stage of the trial, then you ought to grant the motion to dismiss, but you will be changing the law as we know it today. We haven't had a chance to present our case, really, and all the facts should break our way. You can believe this if you would like. They stood up here and argued that the conversation between President Clinton and his secretary, Betty Currie, was to find out what she knew to refresh his memory. If you think that when the President goes to Betty Currie and makes the following statement, 'Monica wanted to have sex with me and I couldn't do that,' that he is trying to figure out what she knew and is trying to refresh his memory, you can do that.

    I would suggest that 'ain't' reasonable. If you believe that he wanted to figure out whether he was alone or not with her and he had to ask Betty, that is not reasonable. That is a crime.

    Let me tell you the subtleties of this case, things that really tell you a lot about why we are here--William Jefferson Clinton. Before we get into the subtleties of this case, Senator Bumpers made a very eloquent speech about the ups and the downs of this case and about his relationship with the President and how close it was, and the human nature of what is going on here. But here is what he said:

    You pick your own adjective to describe the President's conduct. Here are some that I would use: indefensible, outrageous, unforgivable, shameless.

    How about illegal?

    And he says:

    I promise you the President would not contest any of those or any others.

    When you put in the word 'illegal,' everything is a big misunderstanding.

    Take this case to a conclusion, so America will not be confused as to whether or not their President committed crimes. There will be people watching what we do here, and they will be confused as to whether or not the conversation between President Clinton and Ms. Currie was illegal or not. Let us know. That is so important.

    Let us know--when he went to Monica Lewinsky and talked about a cover story--if that is what we want to go on here every day. And a trial 20 months from now does us no good, because this happened when he was President, ladies and gentlemen. This happened when he raised the defense, 'You can't sue me because I'm President.'

    And what did he do after that defense was taken away from him by the Supreme Court? He went back to somebody who is very loyal to him, somebody who admires him, somebody whom you and I pay her salary--his secretary. And he put her in a situation, through misleading her, that she was going to pass on his lies. That is not what we pay her to do. He put her in a situation where she was going to incur legal costs because he cared more about himself than he did his secretary. He put his Cabinet Members, he put the people who work for him, in a horrible spot.

    The subtleties of this case. Let me tell you one of the subtleties of this case. And this was read by the defense in this case:

    The President had a followup conversation with Mr. Morris during the evening of January 22, 1998, when Mr. Morris was considering holding a press conference to blast Monica Lewinsky out of the water. The President told Mr. Morris to be careful. According to Mr. Morris, the President warned him not to be too hard on Ms. Lewinsky because 'there's some slight chance that she may not be cooperating with Starr and we don't want to alienate her by anything we're going to put out.'

    And they were trying to tell you that 'ain't' bad, that is a good thing. The best you can get from that statement is the President, when approached with the idea of blasting her, said, 'Let's wait.'

    The subtleties in this case. Who is this young lady? His consensual lover. But this case started not about consensual loving. This case started about something far from consensual loving. This case started about something like a Senator who ran into problems with you all. And if you will let us develop

    our case, you may have a hard time reconciling those two decisions. But that is up to you.

    Please don't dismiss this case. For the good of this country, for the good of the law, let us get to what happened here.

    John Podesta--the subtleties of this case--he talked to him about what happened, and he said, 'I had no relationship with her whatever.' Everybody who went into that grand jury, who talked to Bill Clinton, was lied to. And they passed those lies on to a Federal grand jury. You know what? In America that is a crime, even if you are President. And you need to address whether that happened or not. Don't dismiss this case.

       


    But you know what is even more subtle is that John Podesta, somebody who is very close to him, once he said nothing happened, felt the need to ask one more question--and pardon me for saying this--'Does that include oral sex?' That says a lot about what Mr. Podesta thinks about Mr. Clinton, because he felt he had to go one step further, and in his grand jury testimony he tells us the President took that behavior off the table.

    Some of you are worried about the perjury charge in this case. Let me tell you right now, you should have no worries, because you have a dilemma on your hands that is easy to resolve in terms of whether or not the President committed perjury in the grand jury. If you believe that he said that he was truthful when he said, 'I never lied,' or, 'I was always truthful to my subordinates, to the people that work for me, to my aides,' then when he told John Podesta, 'Our relationship did not include oral sex,' he was being truthful. If he was being truthful to John Podesta, he lied through his teeth about everything else in the grand jury when he considered or when he approached the grand jury with the idea that, 'Our relationship was of one kind of sex but not the other.' He told John Podesta it wasn't there at all.

    You pick the lie, but it is there. And if you can reconcile that, you are better than I am. That is up to you all. And does it really matter? So what? I think it matters a great deal if you are suing for sexually harassing somebody, and they are on to the fact that you can't control yourself enough to stop it 4 or 5 years after you are sued, and you are doing it in the White House with somebody half your age. I think that would matter. Maybe that is the difference between getting bamboozled in court and having to pay $850,000.

    People are going to be confused if we don't bring this case to a conclusion. I suggest to you, it matters a great deal, that any major CEO, any low-level employee of any business in the country, would have been tossed out for something like that. But I know he is the President. Electing somebody should not distance them from common decency and the rule of law to the point that, when it is all over with, you don't know what you have got left in this country.

    Is that what you want to do in this case? Just to save this man, to ignore the facts, to have a different legal standard, to make excuses that are bleeding this country dry?

    The effect of this case is hurting us more than we will ever know. Do not dismiss this case. Find out who our President is. Come to the conclusion, not that it was just bad behavior, it was illegal behavior. Tell us what is right. Tell us what is wrong. Give us some guidance. Under our Constitution, you don't impeach people at the ballot box, you trust the U.S. Senate. And I am willing to do that. Rise to the occasion for the good of the Nation.

    Thank you very much.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Do the House managers have any additional presentation?

    Mr. Manager GRAHAM. Yes. I am sorry. Mr. Chief Justice, I now yield to Manager Hyde.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes Manager Hyde.

    Mr. Manager HYDE. Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

    Mr. Ruff, and counsel, and distinguished Senators, I want to be very candid with you, and that may involve diplomatic breaches because I am parliamentarily illiterate. But nonetheless, I looked at this motion to dismiss and I was astounded, really. If the Senate had said something similar to the House, it would certainly have received such treatment as comports with comity, and I don't know enough about comity to wave that flag, but I don't want to waive my rights to raise that issue, anyway.

    I know Black's Law Dictionary is a resource book for all of us, but I looked in the Thesaurus about 'dismiss' and I came up with 'disregard, ignore, brush off.' I just was surprised that this motion is here now before we conclude the case.

    Some years ago when I was trying lawsuits, I appeared before a judge in Chicago. My opponent was an oldtimer who was just mean--a good lawyer, but he was mean--and the judge interrupted him in one tirade and he said, 'Counsel, I have a lot of respect for you. I wish you had a little respect for this court.' I sort of feel that way. I sort of feel that we have fallen short in the respect side because of the fact that we represent the House, the other body, kind of blue-collar people, and we are over here trying to survive with our impeachment articles.

    The most salient reason for defeating this motion is article I, section 3 of the Constitution which says that the Senate shall have the sole power to try--to try--all impeachments. Now, a trial, as I understand it, is a search for truth, and it should not be trumped by a search for an exit strategy.

    It seems to me this motion elevates convenience over constitutional process and by implication ratifies an unusual extension of sovereign immunity. If these articles are dismissed, all inferences in support of the respondents, in support of us, the managers, should be allowed; and if you allow all reasonable inferences in our favor, what kind of a message does it send to America to dismiss the articles of impeachment? Charges of perjury, obstruction of justice are summarily dismissed--disregarded, ignored, brushed off. These are charges that send ordinary folk to jail every day of the week and remove Federal judges. But I can see this President is different. But if the double standard is to flourish on Capitol Hill, I don't think we have accomplished a great deal.

    Yes, it is cumbersome. These proceedings are archaic in many ways. The question period was something out of the Old Bailey, I guess. I don't know. But democracy is untidy. I will stipulate that. It is untidy. But it is also a blessing. Impeachment and trial by the Senate were devised by our framers to make this difficult process as definitive as possible.

    'Let's get the matter behind us.' That is a mantra. That is a cliche. We all say it. You won't get it behind you if you dismiss this without voting on the articles. You guarantee contention. You will never get it behind us. Vote these articles up or down. That is the only way they really get it behind us.

    What this is--this motion--is a legal way of saying, 'so what' to the charges that we levied here. Now, look at what these charges are. So what that the President violated his oath of office and willfully corrupted and manipulated the judicial process for his personal gain and exoneration. So what that President Clinton willfully provided perjurious, false, and misleading testimony to the grand jury on several topics. So what that the President corruptly encouraged a witness in a Federal civil rights action brought against him to execute a

    sworn affidavit in that proceeding that he knew to be perjurious, false, and misleading. So what that the President encouraged a witness to lie to the grand jury and conceal evidence. So what that the President has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive to the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

    That is an awful lot to dismiss with a brushoff, to ignore with a mere 'so what.'

    No, it may be routine. We certainly don't have enough experience in these impeachment matters, and thank God for that. It may be routine to file a motion to dismiss. But I take very seriously a motion to dismiss, especially when it is offered by the very distinguished Senator who did that. But I hope in a bipartisan way, I would hope some Democrats would support the rejection of this motion, as difficult as it is, because I don't think this whole sad, sad, drama will end. We will never get it behind us until you vote up or down on the articles. And when you do, however you vote, we will all collect our papers, bow from the waist, thank you for your courtesy, and leave and go gently into the night. But let us finish our job.

    Thank you.

    Mr. WELLSTONE addressed the Chair.

    Mr. LOTT. Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chief Justice Rehnquist.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.

    Mr. LOTT. I believe under the agreement we entered into the next order of business, then, would be the vote on the motion by Senator Harkin to go into open session; is that correct?

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The managers have used their time. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Iowa, Mr. Harkin.

    MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES

    Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Chief Justice, in accordance with rule V of the Senate Standing Rules, I and Mr. Wellstone filed a notice of intent to move to suspend the rules solely regarding the debate by Senators on the motion to dismiss, so Senators can have open rather than a closed debate on this issue.

    This motion is offered on behalf of myself and Senators Wellstone, Feingold, Leahy, Lieberman, Johnson, Inouye, Schumer, Wyden, Kerrey, Bayh, Torricelli, Lautenberg, Robb, Dodd, Murray, Dorgan, Conrad, Kennedy, Kerry, Durbin, Boxer, Graham, Bryan, Landrieu, and Mikulski.

    My motion is at the desk. However, Mr. Chief Justice, I send a corrected copy of my motion to the desk. There were two typos in it; I want to have it corrected.

    Mr. LOTT addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the majority leader.

    Mr. LOTT. If it is appropriate at this point, I ask the Senators if they would remain at their desks so we can go through this vote, and I ask unanimous consent, since we are all here, to reduce the time for the vote from 15 minutes to 10 minutes.

       


    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Is there objection to the Senator from Iowa modifying his motion?

    Without objection, it is modified.

    The clerk will report the motion.

    The legislative clerk read the motion, as modified, as follows:

    I move to suspend the following portions of the Rules and Procedure and Practice in the Senate When Sitting on Impeachment Trials in regard to debate by Senators on a motion to dismiss during the trial of President William Jefferson Clinton:

    (1) The phrase 'without debate' in Rule VII;

    (2) The following portion of Rule XX: ', unless the Senate shall direct the doors to be closed while deliberating upon its decisions. A motion to close the doors may be acted upon without objection, or, if objection is heard, the motion shall be voted on without debate by the yeas and nays, which shall be entered on the record'; and

    (3) In Rule XXIV, the phrases 'without debate', 'except when the doors shall be closed for deliberation, and in that case' and ', to be had without debate'.

    Mr. HARKIN. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask for the yeas and nays.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Is there a sufficient second?

    There is a sufficient second.

    The yeas and nays were ordered.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The clerk will call the roll.

    The legislative clerk called the roll.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Are there any other Senators in the Chamber desiring to vote?

    The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 43, nays 57, as follows:

    Rollcall Vote No. 2

    [Rollcall Vote No. 2]

    Subject: Harkin motion to suspend the rules

    [SUBJECT: HARKIN MOTION TO SUSPEND THE RULES]

    YEAS--43

    • Akaka
    • Bayh
    • Biden
    • Bingaman
    • Boxer
    • Breaux
    • Bryan
    • Cleland
    • Collins
    • Conrad
    • Daschle
    • Dodd
    • Dorgan
    • Durbin
    • Edwards
    • Feingold
    • Feinstein
    • Graham
    • Harkin
    • Hollings
    • Hutchison
    • Inouye
    • Johnson
    • Kennedy
    • Kerrey
    • Kerry
    • Kohl
    • Landrieu
    • Lautenberg
    • Leahy
    • Levin
    • Lieberman
    • Mikulski
    • Moynihan
    • Murray
    • Reed
    • Reid
    • Robb
    • Schumer
    • Specter
    • Torricelli
    • Wellstone
    • Wyden

    NAYS--57

    • Abraham
    • Allard
    • Ashcroft
    • Baucus
    • Bennett
    • Bond
    • Brownback
    • Bunning
    • Burns
    • Byrd
    • Campbell
    • Chafee
    • Cochran
    • Coverdell
    • Craig
    • Crapo
    • DeWine
    • Domenici
    • Enzi
    • Fitzgerald
    • Frist
    • Gorton
    • Gramm
    • Grams
    • Grassley
    • Gregg
    • Hagel
    • Hatch
    • Helms
    • Hutchinson
    • Inhofe
    • Jeffords
    • Kyl
    • Lincoln
    • Lott
    • Lugar
    • Mack
    • McCain
    • McConnell
    • Murkowski
    • Nickles
    • Roberts
    • Rockefeller
    • Roth
    • Santorum
    • Sarbanes
    • Sessions
    • Shelby
    • Smith (NH)
    • Smith (OR)
    • Snowe
    • Stevens
    • Thomas
    • Thompson
    • Thurmond
    • Voinovich
    • Warner

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Are there any other Senators wishing to vote or change their vote? If not, on this vote the yeas are 43, and the nays are 57. Two-thirds of the Senators voting, and a quorum being present, not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is rejected.

    Mr. REID addressed the Chair.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair recognizes the Senator from Nevada.

    Mr. REID. May we have order in the Chamber, please?

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Senate will be in order.

    ORDER FOR CLOSED SESSION

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I move that we now go into closed session for the purpose of Senators debating the motion to dismiss.

    The motion was agreed to.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. The Chair, pursuant to rule XXXV, now directs the Sergeant-at-Arms to clear the galleries, close the doors of the Chamber, and exclude all the officials of the Senate not sworn to secrecy.

    RECESS

    Mr. LOTT. Mr. Chief Justice, I ask unanimous consent that we take a 10-minute break for the purposes of closing the doors and preparing for the debate.

    There being no objection, at 5:23 p.m., the Senate recessed until 5:50 p.m.; whereupon, the Senate reassembled when called to order by the Chief Justice.

    CLOSED SESSION

    (At 5:50 p.m., the doors of the Chamber were closed. The proceedings of the Senate were held in closed session until 9:51 p.m., at which time, the following occurred.)

    OPEN SESSION

    (At 9:51 p.m., the doors of the Chamber were opened and the Senate resumed proceedings in open session.)

    Mr. NICKLES. I ask unanimous consent that the Senate now return to open session.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    ORDER FOR ADJOURNMENT

    Mr. NICKLES. I ask unanimous consent that when the Senate adjourns, it stand in adjournment until the hour of 12 noon on Tuesday, and I further ask consent that during the remainder of the trial it be in order for Members to submit unanswered questions to the Chair.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?

    Without objection, it is so ordered.

    PROGRAM

    Mr. NICKLES. On tomorrow, we will resume and begin debate on the motion to subpoena. I now ask unanimous consent that the time for argument be reduced to 4 hours, equally divided, as provided for under Senate resolution 16.

    The CHIEF JUSTICE. Is there objection? It is so ordered.

    Mr. NICKLES. Mr. Chief Justice, for the information of all colleagues, tomorrow we will begin the debate at 12 noon instead of 1 o'clock.

       


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