Impeachment of Bill Clinton

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Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. House managers are seated beside the quarter-circular tables on the left and the president's personal counsel on the right. Senate in session.jpg
Floor proceedings of the U.S. Senate during the trial of President Bill Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. House managers are seated beside the quarter-circular tables on the left and the president's personal counsel on the right.

The impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was initiated in December 1998 by the House of Representatives and led to a trial in the Senate on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. [1] These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999. [2] Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House.

Impeachment formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity

Impeachment is the process by which a legislative body levels charges against a government official. It does not mean removal from office; it is only a statement of charges, akin to an indictment in criminal law. Once an individual is impeached, he or she must then face the possibility of conviction by a legislative vote, which judgment entails removal from office.

Bill Clinton 42nd President of the United States

William Jefferson Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Prior to the presidency, he was the governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981, and again from 1983 to 1992, and the attorney general of Arkansas from 1977 to 1979. A member of the Democratic Party, Clinton was ideologically a New Democrat and many of his policies reflected a centrist "Third Way" political philosophy.

President of the United States Head of state and of government of the United States

The President of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.


Leading to the impeachment, Independent Counsel Ken Starr turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Prosecutor David Schippers and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president. As a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives; two passed, making Clinton the second president to be impeached, after Andrew Johnson in 1868, and only the third against whom articles of impeachment had been brought before the full House for consideration (Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency in 1974, while an impeachment process against him was underway).

Ken Starr American lawyer

Kenneth Winston Starr is an American lawyer who has also been a United States circuit judge and U.S. solicitor general. He is the former president and chancellor of Baylor University, and formerly held the Louise L. Morrison chair of constitutional law at Baylor University Law School. He headed an investigation of members of the Clinton administration.

United States House Committee on the Judiciary Standing committee of the United States House of Representatives

The U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary, also called the House Judiciary Committee, is a standing committee of the United States House of Representatives. It is charged with overseeing the administration of justice within the federal courts, administrative agencies and Federal law enforcement entities. The Judiciary Committee is also the committee responsible for impeachments of federal officials. Because of the legal nature of its oversight, committee members usually have a legal background, but this is not required.

David Philip Schippers, Jr. was an American lawyer from Chicago, Illinois. He received his bachelor's and law degrees from Loyola University Chicago.His most notable cases include prosecuting Sam Giancana, as well as being the Chief Investigative Counsel during the Clinton Impeachment trial.

The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party held 55 Senate seats. A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges.

106th United States Congress

The One Hundred Sixth United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, DC from January 3, 1999, to January 3, 2001, during the last two years of Bill Clinton's presidency. The apportionment of seats in the House of Representatives was based on the Twenty-first Census of the United States in 1990. Both chambers had a Republican majority.

Republican Party (United States) political party in the United States

The Republican Party, also referred to as the GOP, is one of the two major political parties in the United States; the other is its historic rival, the Democratic Party.

A supermajority or supra-majority or a qualified majority, is a requirement for a proposal to gain a specified level of support which is greater than the threshold of more than one-half used for majority.


In 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton attempted to delay a trial until after he left office, but in May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the case to proceed and shortly thereafter the pre-trial discovery process commenced. Jones' attorneys wanted to prove that Clinton had engaged in a pattern of behavior with women that lent support to her claims. In late 1997, Linda Tripp began secretly recording conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky, a former intern and Department of Defense employee, in which Lewinsky divulged that she had had a sexual relationship with the President. Tripp shared this information with Paula Jones' lawyers, who put Lewinsky on their witness list in December 1997. According to the Starr report, after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship, including suggesting she file a false affidavit, suggesting she use cover stories, concealing gifts he had given her, and helping her obtain a job to her liking.

Paula Corbin Jones is a former Arkansas state employee who sued U.S. President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment. The Paula Jones case precipitated Clinton's impeachment in the House of Representatives and the subsequent acquittal by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Specifically, Clinton was asked under oath about Monica Lewinsky in the Jones suit, denied having ever had sexual relations with her, and was accused of perjury after evidence of sexual contact was exposed. The Jones lawsuit also led to a landmark legal precedent by the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled that a sitting U.S. president is not exempt from civil litigation for acts committed outside of public office.

Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature and the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of actions from mild transgressions to sexual abuse or assault. Harassment can occur in many different social settings such as the workplace, the home, school, churches, etc. Harassers or victims may be of either gender.

Linda Rose Tripp is a former U.S. civil servant who played a prominent role in the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal of 1998. Tripp's action in secretly recording Monica Lewinsky's confidential phone calls about her relationship with the president caused a sensation with their links to the earlier Jones v. Clinton lawsuit and with the disclosing of notably intimate details. Tripp claimed that her motives were purely patriotic, and she was able to avoid a wiretap charge in exchange for handing in the tapes. She then claimed that her firing from the Pentagon at the end of the Clinton administration was vindictive, while the administration claimed it to be a standard routine. Tripp works with her husband in a retail business in Middleburg, Virginia.

Clinton gave a sworn deposition on January 17, 1998, where he denied having a "sexual relationship", "sexual affair" or "sexual relations" with Lewinsky. He also denied that he was ever alone with her. His lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, stated with Clinton present that Lewinsky's affidavit showed that there was no sex in any manner, shape or form between Clinton and Lewinsky. The Starr Report states that the following day, Clinton "coached" his secretary Betty Curie into repeating his denials should she be called to testify.

Robert S. Bennett is an American attorney and partner at Schertler & Onorato, LLP, best known for representing President Bill Clinton during the Lewinsky scandal.

After rumors of the scandal reached the news, Clinton publicly stated, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." [3] Months later, Clinton admitted that his relationship with Lewinsky was "wrong" and "not appropriate". Lewinsky engaged in oral sex with Clinton several times. [4] [5]

Oral sex sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia by the use of the mouth

Oral sex, sometimes referred to as oral intercourse, is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a person by another person using the mouth or throat. Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on female genitals, while fellatio is oral sex performed on a penis. Anilingus, another form of oral sex, is oral stimulation of a person's anus. Oral stimulation of other parts of the body is usually not considered oral sex.

The judge in the Jones case later ruled the Lewinsky matter immaterial, and threw out the case in April 1998 on the grounds that Jones had failed to show any damages. After Jones appealed, Clinton agreed in November 1998 to settle the case for $850,000 while still admitting no wrongdoing. [6]

Independent counsel investigation

The charges arose from an investigation by Ken Starr, an Independent Counsel. Originally dealing with Whitewater, Starr, with the approval of United States Attorney General Janet Reno, conducted a wide-ranging investigation of alleged abuses, including the Whitewater affair, the firing of White House travel agents, and the alleged misuse of FBI files. On January 12, 1998, Linda Tripp, who had been working with the Jones lawyers, informed Starr that Lewinsky was preparing to commit perjury in the Jones case and had asked Tripp to do the same. She also said Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan was assisting Lewinsky. Based on the connection to Jordan, who was under scrutiny in the Whitewater probe, Starr obtained approval from Reno to expand his investigation into whether Lewinsky and others were breaking the law.

A much-quoted statement from Clinton's grand jury testimony showed him questioning the precise use of the word "is". Contending that his statement that "there's nothing going on between us" had been truthful because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, Clinton said, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the—if he—if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement". [7] Starr obtained further evidence of inappropriate behavior by seizing the computer hard drive and email records of Monica Lewinsky. Based on the president's conflicting testimony, Starr concluded that Clinton had committed perjury. Starr submitted his findings to Congress in a lengthy document (the so-called Starr Report), and simultaneously posted the report, which included descriptions of encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky, on the Internet. [8] Starr was criticized by Democrats for spending $70 million on an investigation that substantiated only perjury and obstruction of justice. [9] Critics of Starr also contend that his investigation was highly politicized because it regularly leaked tidbits of information to the press in violation of legal ethics, and because his report included lengthy descriptions which were humiliating yet irrelevant to the legal case. [10] [11]

Impeachment by House of Representatives

Since Ken Starr had already completed an extensive investigation, the House Judiciary Committee conducted no investigations of its own into Clinton's alleged wrongdoing, and it held no serious impeachment-related hearings before the 1998 midterm elections. Nevertheless, impeachment was one of the major issues in the election.

In November 1998, the Democrats picked up five seats in the House although the Republicans still maintained majority control. [12] The results were a particular embarrassment for House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who, before the election, had been reassured by private polling that Clinton's scandal would result in Republican gains of up to thirty House seats. [12] Shortly after the elections, Gingrich, who had been one of the leading advocates for impeachment, [13] announced he would resign from Congress as soon as he was able to find somebody to fill his vacant seat; [12] Gingrich fulfilled this pledge, and officially resigned from Congress on January 3, 1999. [14]

Impeachment proceedings were initiated during the post-election, "lame duck" session of the outgoing 105th United States Congress. Unlike the case of the 1974 impeachment process against Richard Nixon, the committee hearings were perfunctory but the floor debate in the whole House was spirited on both sides. The Speaker-designate, Representative Bob Livingston, chosen by the Republican Party Conference to replace Gingrich as House Speaker, announced the end of his candidacy for Speaker and his resignation from Congress from the floor of the House after his own marital infidelity came to light. [15] In the same speech, Livingston also encouraged Clinton to resign. Clinton chose to remain in office and urged Livingston to reconsider his resignation. [16] Many other prominent Republican members of Congress (including Dan Burton [15] of Indiana, Helen Chenoweth [15] of Idaho and Henry Hyde [15] of Illinois, the chief House manager of Clinton's trial in the Senate) had infidelities exposed about this time, all of whom voted for impeachment. Publisher Larry Flynt offered a reward for such information, and many supporters of Clinton accused Republicans of hypocrisy. [15]

Although proceedings were delayed due to the bombing of Iraq, on the passage of H. Res. 611, Clinton was impeached on December 19, 1998, by the House of Representatives on grounds of perjury to a grand jury (by a 228–206 vote) [17] and obstruction of justice (by a 221–212 vote). [18] Two other articles of impeachment failed – a second count of perjury in the Jones case (by a 205–229 vote) [19] and one accusing Clinton of abuse of power (by a 148–285 vote). [20] Clinton thus became the second U.S. president to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868. (Clinton was the third sitting president against whom the House of Representatives initiated impeachment proceedings since 1789.)

Five Democrats (Virgil Goode of Virginia, Ralph Hall of Texas, Paul McHale of Pennsylvania, Charles Stenholm of Texas and Gene Taylor of Mississippi) voted in favor of three of the four articles of impeachment, but only Taylor voted for the abuse of power charge. Five Republicans (Amo Houghton of New York, Peter King of New York, Connie Morella of Maryland, Chris Shays of Connecticut and Mark Souder of Indiana) voted against the first perjury charge. Eight more Republicans (Sherwood Boehlert of New York, Michael Castle of Delaware, Phil English of Pennsylvania, Nancy Johnson of Connecticut, Jay Kim of California, Jim Leach of Iowa, John McHugh of New York and Ralph Regula of Ohio), but not Souder, voted against the obstruction charge. Twenty-eight Republicans voted against the second perjury charge, sending it to defeat, and eighty-one voted against the abuse of power charge.

Article I charged that Clinton lied to the grand jury concerning: [21]

  1. the nature and details of his relationship with Lewinsky
  2. prior false statements he made in the Jones deposition
  3. prior false statements he allowed his lawyer to make characterizing Lewinsky's affidavit
  4. his attempts to tamper with witnesses

Article III charged Clinton with attempting to obstruct justice in the Jones case by: [22]

  1. encouraging Lewinsky to file a false affidavit
  2. encouraging Lewinsky to give false testimony if and when she was called to testify
  3. concealing gifts he had given to Lewinsky that had been subpoenaed
  4. attempting to secure a job for Lewinsky to influence her testimony
  5. permitting his lawyer to make false statements characterizing Lewinsky's affidavit
  6. attempting to tamper with the possible testimony of his secretary Betty Curie
  7. making false and misleading statements to potential grand jury witnesses

Acquittal by the Senate

Congressional Record from February 12, 1999, showing the end of Clinton's impeachment trial CongRec.png
Congressional Record from February 12, 1999, showing the end of Clinton's impeachment trial

The Senate trial began on January 7, 1999, with Chief Justice of the United States William Rehnquist presiding. The first day consisted of formal presentation of the charges against Clinton, and of Rehnquist swearing in all arguants in the trial.

Thirteen House Republicans from the Judiciary Committee served as "managers", the equivalent of prosecutors:

Clinton was defended by Cheryl Mills. Clinton's counsel staff included Charles Ruff, David E. Kendall, Dale Bumpers, Bruce Lindsey, Nicole Seligman, Lanny A. Breuer and Gregory B. Craig. [23]

A resolution on rules and procedure for the trial was adopted unanimously on the following day; however, senators tabled the question of whether to call witnesses in the trial. The trial remained in recess while briefs were filed by the House (January 11) and Clinton (January 13).

The managers presented their case over three days, from January 14 to 16, with discussion of the facts and background of the case; detailed cases for both articles of impeachment (including excerpts from videotaped grand jury testimony that Clinton had made the previous August); matters of interpretation and application of the laws governing perjury and obstruction of justice; and argument that the evidence and precedents justified removal of the President from office by virtue of "willful, premeditated, deliberate corruption of the nation's system of justice through perjury and obstruction of justice." [24] The defense presentation took place from January 19–21. Clinton's defense counsel argued that Clinton's grand jury testimony had too many inconsistencies to be a clear case of perjury, that the investigation and impeachment had been tainted by partisan political bias, that the President's approval rating of more than 70 percent indicated that his ability to govern had not been impaired by the scandal, and that the managers had ultimately presented "an unsubstantiated, circumstantial case that does not meet the constitutional standard to remove the President from office". [24] January 22 and 23 were devoted to questions from members of the Senate to the House managers and Clinton's defense counsel. Under the rules, all questions (over 150) were to be written down and given to Rehnquist to read to the party being questioned.

On January 25, Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia moved for dismissals of both articles of impeachment for lack of merit. On the following day, Rep. Bryant moved to call witnesses to the trial, a question that the Senate had scrupulously avoided to that point. In both cases, the Senate voted to deliberate on the question in private session, rather than public, televised procedure. On January 27, the Senate voted on both motions in public session; the motion to dismiss failed on a nearly party line vote of 56–44, while the motion to depose witnesses passed by the same margin. A day later, the Senate voted down motions to move directly to a vote on the articles of impeachment and to suppress videotaped depositions of the witnesses from public release, Feingold again voting with the Republicans.

Over three days, February 1–3, House managers took videotaped closed-door depositions from Monica Lewinsky, Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan, and White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. On February 4, however, the Senate voted 70–30 that excerpting these videotapes would suffice as testimony, rather than calling live witnesses to appear at trial. The videos were played in the Senate on February 6, featuring 30 excerpts of Lewinsky discussing her affidavit in the Paula Jones case, the hiding of small gifts Clinton had given her, and his involvement in procurement of a job for Lewinsky.

On February 8, closing arguments were presented with each side allotted a three-hour time slot. On the President's behalf, White House Counsel Charles Ruff declared:

There is only one question before you, albeit a difficult one, one that is a question of fact and law and constitutional theory. Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the President in office? Putting aside partisan animus, if you can honestly say that it would not, that those liberties are safe in his hands, then you must vote to acquit. [24]

Chief Prosecutor Henry Hyde countered:

A failure to convict will make the statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided, is not all that serious ... We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the President ... And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and, oh, yes, let right be done. [24]

On February 9, after voting against a public deliberation on the verdict, the Senate began closed-door deliberations instead. On February 12, the Senate emerged from its closed deliberations and voted on the articles of impeachment. A two-thirds vote, 67 votes, would have been necessary to convict and remove the President from office. The perjury charge was defeated with 45 votes for conviction and 55 against. [25] (Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania voted "not proved" for both charges, [26] which was considered by Chief Justice Rehnquist to constitute a vote of "not guilty".) The obstruction of justice charge was defeated with 50 for conviction and 50 against. [27]

Senate votes

The robe worn by Chief Justice William Rehnquist during the proceedings won some media attention for the distinctive gold stripes, which were inspired by a costume from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe. William Rehnquist's robe by Matthew Bisanz.JPG
The robe worn by Chief Justice William Rehnquist during the proceedings won some media attention for the distinctive gold stripes, which were inspired by a costume from the Gilbert and Sullivan opera Iolanthe .

All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted "not guilty" on both charges. The five Republican senators who voted against conviction on both charges were John Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Specter, who said he was not prepared to cast a guilty or not guilty vote, voted "not proved", which was counted as a not guilty vote. [28] The additional five Republican senators who voted "not guilty" only on the perjury charge were Slade Gorton of Washington, Richard Shelby of Alabama, Ted Stevens of Alaska, Fred Thompson of Tennessee, and John Warner of Virginia.

StateSenatorParty [note 1] Perjury chargeObstruction
of justice charge
Michigan Spencer Abraham RGuiltyGuilty
Hawaii Daniel Akaka DNot guiltyNot guilty
Colorado Wayne Allard RGuiltyGuilty
Missouri John Ashcroft RGuiltyGuilty
Montana Max Baucus DNot guiltyNot guilty
Indiana Evan Bayh DNot guiltyNot guilty
Utah Robert Bennett RGuiltyGuilty
Delaware Joe Biden DNot guiltyNot guilty
New Mexico Jeff Bingaman DNot guiltyNot guilty
Missouri Kit Bond RGuiltyGuilty
California Barbara Boxer DNot guiltyNot guilty
Louisiana John Breaux DNot guiltyNot guilty
Kansas Sam Brownback RGuiltyGuilty
Nevada Richard Bryan DNot guiltyNot guilty
Kentucky Jim Bunning RGuiltyGuilty
Montana Conrad Burns RGuiltyGuilty
West Virginia Robert Byrd DNot guiltyNot guilty
Colorado Ben Nighthorse Campbell RGuiltyGuilty
Rhode Island John Chafee RNot guiltyNot guilty
Georgia Max Cleland DNot guiltyNot guilty
Mississippi Thad Cochran RGuiltyGuilty
Maine Susan Collins RNot guiltyNot guilty
North Dakota Kent Conrad DNot guiltyNot guilty
Georgia Paul Coverdell RGuiltyGuilty
Idaho Larry Craig RGuiltyGuilty
Idaho Mike Crapo RGuiltyGuilty
South Dakota Tom Daschle DNot guiltyNot guilty
Ohio Mike DeWine RGuiltyGuilty
Connecticut Chris Dodd DNot guiltyNot guilty
North Dakota Byron Dorgan DNot guiltyNot guilty
New Mexico Pete Domenici RGuiltyGuilty
Illinois Dick Durbin DNot guiltyNot guilty
North Carolina John Edwards DNot guiltyNot guilty
Wyoming Mike Enzi RGuiltyGuilty
Wisconsin Russ Feingold DNot guiltyNot guilty
California Dianne Feinstein DNot guiltyNot guilty
Illinois Peter Fitzgerald RGuiltyGuilty
Tennessee Bill Frist RGuiltyGuilty
Washington Slade Gorton RNot guiltyGuilty
Florida Bob Graham DNot guiltyNot guilty
Texas Phil Gramm RGuiltyGuilty
Minnesota Rod Grams RGuiltyGuilty
Iowa Chuck Grassley RGuiltyGuilty
New Hampshire Judd Gregg RGuiltyGuilty
Nebraska Chuck Hagel RGuiltyGuilty
Iowa Tom Harkin DNot guiltyNot guilty
Utah Orrin Hatch RGuiltyGuilty
North Carolina Jesse Helms RGuiltyGuilty
South Carolina Ernest Hollings DNot guiltyNot guilty
Arkansas Tim Hutchinson RGuiltyGuilty
Texas Kay Bailey Hutchison RGuiltyGuilty
Oklahoma Jim Inhofe RGuiltyGuilty
Hawaii Daniel Inouye DNot guiltyNot guilty
Vermont Jim Jeffords RNot guiltyNot guilty
South Dakota Tim Johnson DNot guiltyNot guilty
Massachusetts Ted Kennedy DNot guiltyNot guilty
Nebraska Bob Kerrey DNot guiltyNot guilty
Massachusetts John Kerry DNot guiltyNot guilty
Wisconsin Herb Kohl DNot guiltyNot guilty
Arizona Jon Kyl RGuiltyGuilty
Louisiana Mary Landrieu DNot guiltyNot guilty
New Jersey Frank Lautenberg DNot guiltyNot guilty
Vermont Patrick Leahy DNot guiltyNot guilty
Michigan Carl Levin DNot guiltyNot guilty
Connecticut Joe Lieberman DNot guiltyNot guilty
Arkansas Blanche Lincoln DNot guiltyNot guilty
Mississippi Trent Lott RGuiltyGuilty
Indiana Richard Lugar RGuiltyGuilty
Florida Connie Mack III RGuiltyGuilty
Arizona John McCain RGuiltyGuilty
Kentucky Mitch McConnell RGuiltyGuilty
Maryland Barbara Mikulski DNot guiltyNot guilty
New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan DNot guiltyNot guilty
Alaska Frank Murkowski RGuiltyGuilty
Washington Patty Murray DNot guiltyNot guilty
Oklahoma Don Nickles RGuiltyGuilty
Rhode Island Jack Reed DNot guiltyNot guilty
Nevada Harry Reid DNot guiltyNot guilty
Virginia Charles Robb DNot guiltyNot guilty
Kansas Pat Roberts RGuiltyGuilty
West Virginia Jay Rockefeller DNot guiltyNot guilty
Delaware William V. Roth, Jr. RGuiltyGuilty
Pennsylvania Rick Santorum RGuiltyGuilty
Maryland Paul Sarbanes DNot guiltyNot guilty
New York Chuck Schumer DNot guiltyNot guilty
Alabama Jeff Sessions RGuiltyGuilty
Alabama Richard Shelby RNot guiltyGuilty
New Hampshire Robert C. Smith RGuiltyGuilty
Oregon Gordon Smith RGuiltyGuilty
Maine Olympia Snowe RNot guiltyNot guilty
Pennsylvania Arlen Specter RNot guilty [note 2] Not guilty [note 2]
Alaska Ted Stevens RNot guiltyGuilty
Wyoming Craig L. Thomas RGuiltyGuilty
Tennessee Fred Thompson RNot guiltyGuilty
South Carolina Strom Thurmond RGuiltyGuilty
New Jersey Robert Torricelli DNot guiltyNot guilty
Virginia John Warner RNot guiltyGuilty
Ohio George Voinovich RGuiltyGuilty
Minnesota Paul Wellstone DNot guiltyNot guilty
Oregon Ron Wyden DNot guiltyNot guilty
Total votes:Not guilty: 55
Guilty: 45
Not guilty: 50
Guilty: 50
  1. D = Democrat; R = Republican.
  2. 1 2 Specter announced his vote as "not proved", a verdict used in Scots law. His vote was recorded as "not guilty" at the direction of the Chief Justice.


Contempt of court citation

In April 1999, about two months after being acquitted by the Senate, Clinton was cited by Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright for civil contempt of court for his "willful failure" to obey her repeated orders to testify truthfully in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. For this citation, Clinton was assessed a $90,000 fine, and the matter was referred to the Arkansas Supreme Court to see if disciplinary action would be appropriate. [29]

Regarding Clinton's January 17, 1998, deposition where he was placed under oath, the judge wrote:

Simply put, the president's deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky was intentionally false, and his statements regarding whether he had ever engaged in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky likewise were intentionally false ... [29]

On the day before leaving office in January 2001, President Clinton agreed to a five-year suspension of his Arkansas law license as part of an agreement with the independent counsel[ clarification needed ] to end the investigation. [30] Clinton was automatically suspended from the United States Supreme Court bar as a result of his law license suspension. However, as is customary, he was allowed 40 days to appeal an otherwise-automatic disbarment. The former President resigned from the Supreme Court bar during the 40-day appeals period. [31]

Civil settlement with Paula Jones

Eventually, the court dismissed the Paula Jones harassment lawsuit, before trial, on the grounds that Jones failed to demonstrate any damages. However, while the dismissal was on appeal, Clinton entered into an out-of-court settlement by agreeing to pay Jones $850,000. [32] [33]

Political ramifications

Opponents of Clinton's impeachment demonstrating outside the Capitol in December 1998 19a.AntiImpeachRally.WDC.17December1998 (22717930575).jpg
Opponents of Clinton's impeachment demonstrating outside the Capitol in December 1998

Polls conducted during 1998 and early 1999 showed that only about one-third of Americans supported Clinton's impeachment or conviction. However, one year later, when it was clear that House impeachment would not lead to the ousting of the President, half of Americans said in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll that they supported impeachment but 57% approved of the Senate's decision to keep him in office and two thirds of those polled said the impeachment was harmful to the country. [34]

While Clinton's job approval rating rose during the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment, his poll numbers with regard to questions of honesty, integrity and moral character declined. [35] As a result, "moral character" and "honesty" weighed heavily in the next presidential election. According to The Daily Princetonian , after the 2000 presidential election, "post-election polls found that, in the wake of Clinton-era scandals, the single most significant reason people voted for Bush was for his moral character." [36] [37] [38] According to an analysis of the election by Stanford University:

A more political explanation is the belief in Gore campaign circles that disapproval of President Clinton's personal behavior was a serious threat to the vice president's prospects. Going into the election the one negative element in the public's perception of the state of the nation was the belief that the country was morally on the wrong track, whatever the state of the economy or world affairs. According to some insiders, anything done to raise the association between Gore and Clinton would have produced a net loss of support—the impact of Clinton's personal negatives would outweigh the positive impact of his job performance on support for Gore. Thus, hypothesis four suggests that a previously unexamined variable played a major role in 2000—the retiring president's personal approval. [39]

The Stanford analysis, however, presented different theories and mainly argued that Gore had lost because he decided to distance himself from Clinton during the campaign. The writers of it concluded: [39]

We find that Gore's oft-criticized personality was not a cause of his under-performance. Rather, the major cause was his failure to receive a historically normal amount of credit for the performance of the Clinton administration ... [and] failure to get normal credit reflected Gore's peculiar campaign which in turn reflected fear of association with Clinton's behavior. [39]

According to the America's Future Foundation:

In the wake of the Clinton scandals, independents warmed to Bush's promise to 'restore honor and dignity to the White House'. According to Voter News Service, the personal quality that mattered most to voters was 'honesty'. Voters who chose 'honesty' preferred Bush over Gore by over a margin of five to one. Forty Four percent of Americans said the Clinton scandals were important to their vote. Of these, Bush reeled in three out of every four. [40]

Political commentators have argued that Gore's refusal to have Clinton campaign with him was a bigger liability to Gore than Clinton's scandals. [39] [41] [42] [43] [44] The 2000 US Congressional election also saw the Democrats gain more seats in Congress. [45] As a result of this gain, control of the US Senate was split 50–50 between both parties, [46] and Democrats would gain control over the US Senate after Republican Senator Jim Jeffords defected from his party in the spring of 2001 and agreed to caucus with the Democrats. [47]

Al Gore reportedly confronted Clinton after the election, and "tried to explain that keeping Clinton under wraps [during the campaign] was a rational response to polls showing swing voters were still mad as hell over the Year of Monica". According to the AP, "during the one-on-one meeting at the White House, which lasted more than an hour, Gore used uncommonly blunt language to tell Clinton that his sex scandal and low personal approval ratings were a hurdle he could not surmount in his campaign ... [with] the core of the dispute was Clinton's lies to Gore and the nation about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky." [48] [49] [50] Clinton, however, was unconvinced by Gore's argument and insisted to Gore that he would have won the election if he had embraced the administration and its good economic record. [48] [49] [50]

Ensuing events for 13 House managers

Of the 13 members of the House who managed Clinton's trial in the Senate, one lost to a Democrat in his 2000 bid for re-election (James E. Rogan, to Adam Schiff). Charles Canady retired from Congress in 2000, following through on a previous term limits pledge to voters, and Bill McCollum ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate. Asa Hutchinson, after being re-elected in 2000, left Congress after being appointed head of the Drug Enforcement Administration by President George W. Bush. In 2014, Hutchinson was elected governor of Arkansas. In 2002, two former House managers lost their seats after redistricting placed them in the same district as another incumbent (Bob Barr lost to John Linder in a Republican primary, and George Gekas lost to Democrat Tim Holden), while two more ran for the U.S. Senate (Lindsey Graham successfully, Ed Bryant unsuccessfully). The other five remained in the House well into the 2000s (decade), and two (Jim Sensenbrenner and Steve Chabot) are still members (although Chabot lost his seat to Steve Driehaus in the 2008 elections; Chabot defeated Driehaus in a 2010 rematch). In 2009, Sensenbrenner served again as a manager for the impeachment of Judge Samuel B. Kent of Texas [51] as well as serving in 2010 as Republican lead manager in the impeachment of Judge Thomas Porteous of Louisiana. [52]

See also

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Monica Samille Lewinsky is an American activist, television personality, fashion designer, and former White House intern. President Bill Clinton admitted to having had what he called an "inappropriate relationship" with Lewinsky while she worked at the White House in 1995–1996. The affair and its repercussions became known later as the Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.

The Whitewater controversy, Whitewater scandal, or simply Whitewater, was an American political controversy of the 1990s. It began with an investigation into the real estate investments of Bill and Hillary Clinton and their associates, Jim McDougal and Susan McDougal, in the Whitewater Development Corporation. This failed business venture was incorporated in 1979 with the purpose of developing vacation properties on land along the White River near Flippin, Arkansas.

The Clinton–Lewinsky scandal was an American political sex scandal that involved 49-year-old President Bill Clinton and 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The sexual relationship took place between 1995 and 1997 and came to light in 1998. Clinton ended a televised speech in late January 1998 with the statement that he "did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky". Further investigation led to charges of perjury and to the impeachment of President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives. He was subsequently acquitted on all impeachment charges of perjury and obstruction of justice in a 21-day Senate trial. Clinton was held in civil contempt of court by Judge Susan Webber Wright for giving misleading testimony in the Paula Jones case regarding Lewinsky and was also fined $90,000 by Wright. His license to practice law was suspended in Arkansas for five years; shortly thereafter, he was disbarred from presenting cases in front of the United States Supreme Court.

Obstruction of justice, in United States jurisdictions, is a process crime, consisting of obstructing prosecutors or other officials. Common law jurisdictions other than the United States tend to use the wider offense of perverting the course of justice.

The Starr Report —officially known as Referral From Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr in Conformity with the Requirement of Title 28, United States Code, Section 595(c)— was an investigative account of United States President Bill Clinton by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and released on September 11, 1998.

Presidency of Bill Clinton U.S. Presidential term

The presidency of Bill Clinton began at noon EST on January 20, 1993, when Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd President of the United States, and ended on January 20, 2001. Clinton, a Democrat, took office following a decisive victory over Republican incumbent President George H. W. Bush and Independent businessman Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election. Four years later, in the 1996 election, he defeated Perot and Republican Bob Dole to win re-election. He was succeeded by Republican George W. Bush, who won the 2000 presidential election.

Henry Hyde American member of the United States House of Representatives

Henry John Hyde was an American politician, and served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from 1975 to 2007, representing the 6th District of Illinois, an area of Chicago's northwestern suburbs which included O'Hare International Airport. He chaired the Judiciary Committee from 1995 to 2001, and the House International Relations Committee from 2001 to 2007.

This section of the Timeline of United States history includes major events from 1990 to 2009.

1998 United States House of Representatives elections election

The 1998 United States House of Representatives elections were part of the midterm elections held during President Bill Clinton's second term. They were a major disappointment to the Republicans, who were expecting to gain seats due to the embarrassment Clinton suffered during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and the "six-year itch" effect observed in most second-term midterm elections. However, the Republicans lost five seats to the Democrats, but retained a narrow majority in the House. A wave of Republican discontent with Speaker Newt Gingrich prompted him to resign shortly after the election; he was replaced by Congressman Dennis Hastert of Illinois.

Sidney Blumenthal American political writer

Sidney Stone Blumenthal is an American journalist, activist, writer, and political aide.

Betty Currie Personal Secretary to Bill Clinton

Betty Currie is the former personal secretary for Bill Clinton. She became well known as a figure in the Lewinsky scandal for her alleged handling of gifts given to Monica Lewinsky by President Clinton.

Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997), was a landmark United States Supreme Court case establishing that a sitting President of the United States has no immunity from civil law litigation, in federal court, against him or her, for acts done before taking office and unrelated to the office. In particular, there is no temporary immunity, so it is not required to delay all federal cases until the President leaves office.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton's public image is most notably characterized by high public approval ratings, aided by his youthful appearance, as well as his charismatic, and soundbite-ready style of speech. His personal background and lifestyle led to Nobel Prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison to call him the first "black president." Clinton was also dogged by investigations throughout his presidency, particularly of sexual misconduct, damaging the public's beliefs of his trustworthiness, though his approval ratings remained high, even as his impeachment trial continued.

Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States (1993–2001), has been publicly accused of sexual misconduct by four women: Juanita Broaddrick accused Clinton of raping her in 1978; Leslie Millwee accused Clinton of sexually assaulting her in 1980; Paula Jones accused Clinton of exposing himself to her in 1991 as well as sexually harassing her; and Kathleen Willey accused Clinton of groping her without consent in 1993. The Jones allegations became public in 1994, during Clinton's first term as president, while Willey's and Broaddrick's accusations became public in 1999, toward the end of Clinton's second term. Millwee did not make her accusations until 2016.


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    That is my verdict: not proved. The President has dodged perjury by calculated evasion and poor interrogation. Obstruction of justice fails by gaps in the proofs.
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    That is my verdict: not proved. The President has dodged perjury by calculated evasion and poor interrogation. Obstruction of justice fails by gaps in the proofs.
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