(House of Representatives - October 08, 1998)

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[Pages H10015-H10032]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on the 
Judiciary, I call up H. Res. 581, and ask for its immediate 
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 581

       Resolved, That the Committee on the Judiciary, acting as a 
     whole or by any subcommittee thereof appointed by the 
     chairman for the purposes hereof and in accordance with the 
     rules of the committee, is authorized and directed to 
     investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds 
     exist for the House of Representatives to exercise its 
     constitutional power to impeach William Jefferson Clinton, 
     President of the United States of America. The committee 
     shall report to the House of Representatives such 
     resolutions, articles of impeachment, or other 
     recommendations as it deems proper.
       Sec. 2. (a) For the purpose of making such investigation, 
     the committee is authorized to require--
       (1) by subpoena or otherwise--
       (A) the attendance and testimony of any person (including 
     at a taking of a deposition by counsel for the committee); 
       (B) the production of such things; and
       (2) by interrogatory, the furnishing of such information;

     as it deems necessary to such investigation.
       (b) Such authority of the committee may be exercised--
       (1) by the chairman and the ranking minority member acting 
     jointly, or, if either declines to act, by the other acting 
     alone, except that in the event either so declines, either 
     shall have the right to refer to the committee for decision 
     the question whether such authority shall be so exercised and 
     the committee shall be convened promptly to render that 
     decision; or
       (2) by the committee acting as a whole or by subcommittee.

     Subpoenas and interrogatories so authorized may be issued 
     over the signature of the chairman, or ranking minority 
     member, or any member designated by either of them, and may 
     be served by any person designated by the chairman, or 
     ranking minority member, or any member designated by either 
     of them. The chairman, or ranking minority member, or any 
     member designated by either of them (or, with respect to any 
     deposition, answer to interrogatory, or affidavit, any person 
     authorized by law to administer oaths) may administer oaths 
     to any witness. For the purposes of this section, ``things'' 
     includes, without limitation, books, records, correspondence, 
     logs, journals, memorandums, papers, documents, writings, 
     drawings, graphs, charts, photographs, reproductions, 
     recordings, tapes, transcripts, printouts, data compilations 
     from which information can be obtained (translated if 
     necessary, through detection devices into reasonably usable 
     form), tangible objects, and other things of any kind.

  The SPEAKER. The resolution, since reported from the Committee on the 
Judiciary, constitutes a question of privilege and may be called up at 
this time.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, while the normal procedure grants 1 hour of 
debate on a privileged resolution, I propose doubling that time.
  Therefore, I ask unanimous consent that I be recognized for 2 hours 
for the debate on H. Res. 581, 1 hour of which I intend to yield to the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Conyers) for the purposes of debate only. 
And anybody on my side who was constrained to object, I hope they will 
withhold their objection so we can have the 2 hours of debate.
  The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, I appreciate 
the unanimous consent that is being put forward, and ask my friend, the 
distinguished gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), chairman of the 
Committee on the Judiciary, if he would add 2 hours to that request, 
  I understand the exigencies of the moment, but I have enormous 
pressure being put upon the ranking member for Members to merely have a 
chance to get in a brief expression on this historic occasion, and I 
ask that the gentleman give that his most generous consideration.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. CONYERS. I yield to the gentleman from Illinois.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I can only 
say that we have had extensive discussions and I am fearful that there 
would be several objectors to that. So, I am constrained to offer the 
extra hour only and not go beyond that.
  I would suggest a special order tonight where everybody can speak as 
long and as loudly as they want.

                              {time}  1100

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.
  The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request gentleman from 
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) is recognized for 
2 hours.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield 1 hour to 
the distinguished minority ranking member on the Committee on the 
Judiciary, the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. Conyers), pending which I 
yield myself such time as I may consume. During consideration of this 
resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, considering the historical importance of 
this vote today and the precedent we will set for decades to come, 
would it be within the rules of the House for me at this time to ask 
unanimous consent that each Member of this House, who feels in his or 
her conscience that he or she would want to speak for 2 minutes on this 
issue, be allowed that opportunity as they try to represent the 560,000 
people in their district?
  The SPEAKER. The gentleman is not recognized for that purpose, and 
the House has already established by unanimous consent the 2-hour time 

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. DINGELL. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object.
  The SPEAKER. There is no request to be objected to at this time, but 
the Chair would be glad to recognize the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Dingell) for a parliamentary inquiry.
  Mr. DINGELL. Then I will make this a parliamentary inquiry, Mr. 
  Why is it we are not being afforded more time to debate this? This is 
one of the most important questions----
  The SPEAKER. That is not a parliamentary inquiry, but that might be 
raised during debate, if the gentleman gets time.

                         Parliamentary Inquiry

  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, parliamentary inquiry. I would like to 
inquire if a unanimous consent request is in order.
  The SPEAKER. That would not be in order at this time unless the 
gentleman from Illinois yielded for that purpose.
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  The SPEAKER. The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) controls the 
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Will the gentleman yield for a unanimous consent 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I must insist on regular order or we will not 
get through with this, so I cannot yield for a unanimous consent 

                             General Leave

  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks 
on House Resolution 581, the resolution now under consideration.
  The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object, we are just 
asking for fairness.
  The SPEAKER. Does the gentleman from New York (Mr. Ackerman) object?
  Mr. ACKERMAN. In that case, Mr. Speaker, I object.
  The SPEAKER. Objection is heard.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde).

[[Page H10016]]

  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, general leave was objected to?
  The SPEAKER. General leave was objected to. The gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Hyde) controls the time and has yielded to himself.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend 
my remarks.
  (Mr. HYDE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, today we will vote on an historic resolution 
to begin an inquiry into whether the President has committed 
impeachable offenses. All of us are pulled in many directions by our 
political parties, by philosophy and friendships; we are pulled by many 
competing forces, but mostly we are moved by our consciences. We must 
listen to that still small voice that whispers in our ear, duty, duty, 
  Some years ago Douglas MacArthur, in a famous speech at West Point, 
asserted the ideal of our military forces as duty, honor and country. 
We do not have to be a soldier in a far-off land to feel the force of 
those words. They are our ideal here today as well.
  We have another ideal here, to attain justice through the rule of 
law. Justice is always and everywhere under assault, and our duty is to 
vindicate the rule of law as the surest protector of that fragile 
  And so here, today, having received the referral in 17 cartons of 
supportive material from the Independent Counsel, the question asks 
itself: Shall we look further or shall we look away?
  I respectfully suggest that we must look further by voting for this 
resolution and thus commencing an inquiry into whether or not the 
President has committed impeachable acts. We do not make any judgments, 
we do not make any charges, we simply begin a search for truth.
  My colleagues will hear from our opponents that, yes, we need to look 
further, but do it our way. Their way imposes artificial time limits, 
limits our inquiry to the Lewinsky matter, and requires us to establish 
standards for impeachment that have never been established before, 
certainly not in the Nixon impeachment proceedings, which we are trying 
to follow to the letter.
  We have followed the Rodino format. We will move with all deliberate 
speed. Many raise concerns about that proposition. Let me speak 
directly to those concerns. Some suggest the process to date has been 
partisan, yet every member of the Committee on the Judiciary voted for 
an inquiry in some form. We differ over the procedural details, not the 
fundamental question of whether we should go forward.
  Many on the other side of the aisle worry that this inquiry will 
become an excuse for an open-ended attack on this administration. I 
understand that worry. During times when Republicans controlled the 
executive branch and I was in the minority, I lived where they are 
living now.
  With that personal experience, I pledge to my colleagues the fairest 
and most expeditious search for the truth that I can muster. I do not 
expect that I will agree with my Democratic friends at each step along 
the way, but I know that to date we have agreed on many things. In 
fact, we have agreed on many more things than is generally known.
  I hope at the end of this long day we will agree on the result. I am 
determined we will continue to look every day for common ground and to 
agree where we can. When we must disagree, we will do everything we can 
to minimize those disagreements. At all times, civility must be the 
watch word for Members on both sides of the aisle. Too much hangs in 
the balance for us not to rise above partisan politics.
  I will use all my strength to ensure that this inquiry does not 
become a fishing expedition. Rather, I am determined that it will be a 
fair and expeditious search for truth. We have plenty enough to do now, 
we do not need to search for new material.
  However, I cannot say that we will never address other subjects, nor 
would it be responsible to do so. I do not know what the future holds. 
If substantial and credible evidence of other impeachable offenses 
comes to us, as the Independent Counsel hinted or suggested in a letter 
we received only yesterday, the Constitution will demand that we do our 
duty. Like each of my colleagues, I took an oath to answer that call. I 
intend to do so, and I hope my colleagues will join with me if that day 
comes. I do not think we want to settle for less than the whole truth.
  Some are concerned about timing. Believe me, nobody wants to end this 
any sooner than I do. But the Constitution demands that we take the 
amount of time necessary to do the right thing in the right way. A rush 
to judgment does not serve anybody's interest, certainly not the 
public's interest. As I have said publicly, my fervent hope and prayer 
is we can end this process by the end of the year. That is my new 
year's resolution. However, to agree to an artificial deadline would be 
irresponsible. It would only invite delay and discourage cooperation.
  For those who worry about the timing, I urge them to do everything 
possible to encourage cooperation. No one likes to have their behavior 
questioned. The best way to end the questions is to answer them in a 
timely and truthful manner. Thorough and thoughtful cooperation will do 
more than anything to put this matter behind us.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Solomon.)
  (Mr. SOLOMON asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I certainly thank the gentleman for 
yielding me this time, and I just rise in support of the resolution and 
to commend the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution to authorize and 
direct the Committee on the Judiciary to investigate whether sufficient 
grounds exist to impeach the President of the United States.
  I commend the Judiciary Committee for following the intent of the 
Rules Committee resolution, H. Res. 525, which passed the House 
overwhelmingly on September 11. That resolution instructed the 
Committee to carefully review and release the material in the 
independent Counsel's report, expunging that material in the 
Independent Counsel's report, expunging that material which is not 
relevant or may interfere with ongoing investigations.
  I would say to the Committee--you have judiciously carried out the 
instructions given to you by the House, and I commend you for it.
  The public release of the material in that report, with appropriate 
redactions, was necessary to give Members of the House the ability to 
cast informed votes here on the floor today. Members of the House and 
the public, unfortunately, must have a dialogue about the contents of 
this report.
  I believe that in approving the release of this material by such a 
large margin, the House relied on the traditional notion that an 
informed citizenry is critical to the success of our republic.
  In supporting this resolution before the House today, let me say to 
the Members that regardless of your personal feelings about the 
President, whether political supporters or not, you have a 
constitutional obligation to set aside those feelings and cast your 
vote solely on the basis of whether you believe the evidence submitted 
to this House is sufficient grounds to undertake an impeachment 
  Prior to today, I have withheld judgment and made no statements to 
the media regarding the substantive grounds for impeachment. However, I 
have reviewed the evidence in the report and I find it thorough, well-
documented, and exhaustive in its corroborating detail.
  After reviewing all of this evidence, I believe we have an 
overwhelming constitutional duty to vote to proceed with an inquiry.
  I for one will continue to reserve judgment on whether articles of 
impeachment should be brought until after the Judiciary Committee has 
completed its investigation and sends a further recommendation to the 
  Mr. Speaker, today we should not determine whether to impeach the man 
who holds the Executive Office of the President. Rather, we should 
ratify the Judiciary Committee's recommendation that there is enough 
evidence to formally ask that question.
  In doing so, we affirm the grim charge handed down by the framers of 
the Constitution, to guard against degradation of the office by the man 
who happens to hold it.
  During the debate on whether to include the impeachment clause in the 
Constitution at the convention, Governor Morris, a delegate from 
Pennsylvania, offered an amendment to strike the clause.
  At the conclusion of the debate, he changed his mind and supported 
the impeachment clause and argued, ``Our executive is not like a 
Magistrate having a life interest, much less like one having an 
hereditary interest in his office.''
  With the unique idea of this constitutional clause as a foundation 
for our deliberation, our action here today affirms that we are not 
like the rest of the world.

[[Page H10017]]

  I urge support for the resolution.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 10 seconds.
  I really want to say to the chairman of the Committee on the 
Judiciary, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Henry Hyde), that I respect 
the fulsomeness and fairness of his statement. I know that he is a 
person of his word, and I hope that these processes within our 
committee and the Congress will follow along the lines that he has 
outlined so admirably.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 4\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Virginia 
(Mr. Rick Boucher), the principal architect of the alternative proposal 
to the motion on the floor that will be embodied in a motion to 
  (Mr. BOUCHER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. BOUCHER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Michigan 
for yielding this time to me and commend him for the leadership that he 
has exerted as we have worked on this side in order to offer a fair and 
a balanced alternative to the resolution of inquiry.
  At the conclusion of this debate, I will offer a motion to recommit 
the resolution offered by the gentleman from Illinois to the Committee 
on the Judiciary with the instruction that the committee immediately 
report back that resolution to the House with instructions that it 
contain our Democratic alternative.
  While we would have preferred that Democrats have a normal 
opportunity to present our resolution as an amendment, the procedure 
that is being used by the House today does not make a Democratic 
amendment in regular course in order. The motion to recommit with 
instructions does, however, give us an opportunity to have the House 
adopt the Democratic plan.
  The Democratic amendment is a resolution for a full and complete 
review by the Committee on the Judiciary of the material that has been 
presented to the House by the office of Independent Counsel. The 
Republican resolution also provides for that full and complete review. 
The difference between the Democratic and the Republican approaches is 
only over the scope of the review, only over the time that the review 
will take, and only over our insistence that the Committee on the 
Judiciary, in conducting its process, pay deference and become aware of 
the historical constitutional standard for impeachment that has evolved 
to us over the centuries and was recognized most recently by the 
Committee on the Judiciary in 1974 and then recognized by the full 
House of Representatives.
  The public interest requires a fair and deliberate inquiry in this 
matter. Our resolution provides for that fair and deliberate inquiry. 
But the public interest also requires an appropriate boundary on the 
scope of the inquiry. It should not become an invitation for a free-
ranging fishing expedition, subjecting to a formal impeachment inquiry 
matters that are not before the Congress today. The potential for such 
a venture should be strictly limited by the resolution adopted today by 
the House, and our Democratic proposal contains those appropriate 
limits. It would subject to the inquiry the material presented to us by 
the office of Independent Counsel, which is the only material before 
the House today.
  The public interest also requires that the matter be brought to 
conclusion at the earliest possible time; that is, consistent with a 
thorough and complete review. The country has already undergone 
substantial trauma. If the committee carries this work beyond the time 
that is reasonably needed to conduct its complete and thorough review, 
that injury to the Nation will only deepen. We should be thorough, but 
we should also be prompt.
  Mr. Speaker, given that the facts of this matter are generally well-
known, given that there are only a handful of witnesses who have 
relevant information that can be addressed in this inquiry, and given 
the further fact that all of those witnesses have already been the 
subject of extensive review by the Grand Jury, and their testimony is 
available, this inquiry can, in fact, be prompt. The committee's work 
should not extend into next year. A careful and a thorough review can 
be accomplished between now and the end of this year, and our 
Democratic resolution provides that appropriate limitation on time.
  The resolution requires that the committee hold hearings on the 
constitutional standard for impeachment, which was clearly stated in 
the conclusion of the committee's report in the Watergate years of 
1974. Our substitute then directs that the committee compare the facts 
that are stated in the referral of the Independent Counsel to that 
historical constitutional standard and, if any facts rise to the level 
of impeachable conduct, that material would then be subjected to the 
thorough inquiry and review process contained within our resolution.
  Under the resolution that we are putting forth, the committee will 
begin its work on the 12th day of October, that is next Monday, and 
will conclude all proceedings, including the consideration of 
recommendations, during the month of December.

                              {time}  1115

  There would then be ample time for the House of Representatives to 
consider those recommendations and conclude its work by the end of this 
  The procedure we are recommending is fair, it is thorough, it is 
prompt. It is a recommendation for an inquiry. It would assure an 
appropriate scope. It would give deference to the historical 
constitutional standard for impeachment, and it would assure that this 
matter is put behind us so the Nation can proceed with its very 
important business by the end of this year.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Sensenbrenner), a member of the 
  Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution 
of inquiry.
  At Monday's meeting of the Committee on the Judiciary, Investigative 
Counsel David Shippers informed the committee that the material 
received to date shows that the President may have committed 15 
felonies. These alleged felonies were in the course of the President's 
successfully defeating Paula Jones' civil rights lawsuit, claims the 
Supreme Court in a 9-0 decision said that she had the right to pursue. 
The President denies all these allegations. Obviously someone is 
telling the truth and someone is lying.
  The Committee on the Judiciary must be given the power to decide this 
issue. What is at stake here is the rule of law. Even the President of 
the United States has no right to break the law. If the House votes 
down this inquiry, in effect, it will say that even if President 
Clinton committed as many as 15 felonies, nothing will happen. The 
result will be a return to the imperial presidency of the Nixon era 
where the White House felt that the laws did not apply to them, since 
they never would be punished. That would be a national tragedy of 
immense consequences.
  Vote for the resolution. Let the Committee on the Judiciary try to 
find the truth.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the able gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Schumer), a senior member of our Committee on the 
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a serious and solemn day. After a careful 
reading of the Starr report and other materials submitted by the Office 
of Independent Counsel as well as a study of the origins and history of 
the impeachment clause of the Constitution, I have come to the 
conclusion that, given the evidence before us, while the President 
deserves significant punishment, there is no basis for impeachment of 
the President and it is time to move on and solve the problems facing 
the American people, like health care, education and protecting 
seniors' retirement.
  To me, Mr. Speaker, it is clear that the President lied when he 
testified before the grand jury not to cover a crime but to cover 
embarrassing personal behavior. While it is true that in ordinary 
circumstances and in most instances an ordinary person would not be 
punished for lying about an extramarital affair, the President has to 
be held to a higher standard and must be held accountable. But high 
crimes and misdemeanors, as defined in the Constitution and as 
amplified by the Federalist Papers and Justice Story, have always been 
intended to apply to public

[[Page H10018]]

actions relating to or affecting the operation of the government, not 
to personal or private conduct.
  That said, the punishment for lying about an improper sexual 
relationship should fit the crime. Censure or rebuke is the appropriate 
punishment. Impeachment is not. It is time to move forward, not have 
the Congress and American people endure the specter of what could be a 
year-long focus on a tawdry but not impeachable affair. Today the world 
economy is in crisis and cries out for American leadership, without 
which worldwide turmoil is a grave possibility. The American people cry 
out for us to solve the problems facing them. This investigation, now 
in its fifth year, has run its course. It is time to move on.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale).
  Mr. McHALE. Mr. Speaker, Franklin Roosevelt once said that ``the 
presidency is preeminently a place of moral leadership.''
  I want my strong criticism of President Clinton to be placed in 
context. I voted for President Clinton in 1992 and 1996. I believed him 
to be the ``Man from Hope'' as he was depicted in his 1992 campaign 
video. I have voted for more than three-fourths of the President's 
legislative agenda and I would do so again. My blunt criticism of the 
President has nothing to do with policy. Moreover, the President has 
always treated me with courtesy and respect and he has been more than 
responsive to the concerns of my constituents.
  Unfortunately, the President's misconduct has now made immaterial my 
past support or agreement with him on issues. Last January 17, the 
President of the United States attempted to cover up a sordid and 
irresponsible relationship by repeated deceit under oath in a Federal 
civil rights suit. Contrary to his later public statement, his answers 
were not ``legally accurate,'' they were intentionally and blatantly 
false. He allowed his lawyer to make arguments to the court based on an 
affidavit that the President knew to be false. The President later 
deceived the American people and belatedly admitted the truth only when 
confronted some 7 months later by a mountain of irrefutable evidence. I 
am convinced that the President would otherwise have allowed his false 
testimony to stand in perpetuity.
  What is at stake is really the rule of law. When the President took 
an oath to tell the truth, he was no different at that point from any 
other citizen, both as a matter of morality and as a matter of legal 
obligation. We cannot excuse that kind of misconduct because we happen 
to belong to the same party as the President or agree with him on 
issues or feel tragically that the removal of the President from office 
would be enormously painful for the United States of America. The 
question is whether or not we will say to all of our citizens, 
including the President of the United States, when you take an oath, 
you must keep it.
  Having deliberately provided false testimony under oath, the 
President in my judgment forfeited his right to office. It was with a 
deep sense of sadness that I called for his resignation. By his own 
misconduct, the President displayed his character and he defined it 
badly. His actions were not ``inappropriate.'' They were predatory, 
reckless, breathtakingly arrogant for a man already a defendant in a 
sexual harassment suit, whether or not that suit was politically 
  And if in disgust or dismay we were to sweep aside the President's 
immoral and illegal conduct, what dangerous precedent would we set for 
the abuse of power by some future President of the United States?
  We cannot define the President's character. But we must define the 
Nation's. I urge an affirmative vote on the resolution.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from New York (Mr. Nadler), who coauthored the alternative proposal 
that we shall shortly offer this morning.
  Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, the issue in the potential impeachment is 
whether to overturn the results of a national election, the free 
expression of the popular will of the American people. It is an 
enormous responsibility, and an extraordinary power. It is not one that 
should be exercised lightly. It is certainly not one which should be 
exercised in a manner in which or would be perceived to be unfair or 
  The work of this House during the Nixon impeachment investigation 
commanded the respect and support of the American people. A broad 
consensus that President Nixon had to go was developed precisely 
because the process was seen to be fair and deliberate. If our conduct 
in this matter does not earn the confidence of the American people, 
then any action we take, especially if we seek to overturn the result 
of a free election, will be viewed with great suspicion and could 
divide a nation for years to come.
  We do not need another ``Who lost China?'' debate. We do not need a 
decade of candidates running for office accusing each other of 
railroading a democratically elected President out of office, or 
participating in a thinly failed coup d'etat.
  The issue has the potential to be the most divisive issue in American 
public life since the Vietnam War. The process by which we arrive at 
our decision must be seen to be both nonpartisan and fair. The 
legitimacy of American political institutions must not be called into 
  I do not believe personally that all the allegations in the Starr 
report, if proven true, describe impeachable offenses. We need to 
remember that the framers of the Constitution did not intend 
impeachment as a punishment for a wrongdoing but as a protection of 
constitutional liberties and of the structure of the government that 
they were establishing against a President who might seek to become a 
  The President's acts, if proven true, may be crimes, calling for 
prosecution or other punishment, but not impeachment. So I do not 
believe we need a formal impeachment inquiry. But if we are to have an 
inquiry, it must be fair. So far it has been anything but fair. The 
President was not given the Starr report before it was made public; a 
violation of all the precedents. No debate on the committee occurred on 
the merits whatsoever. We spent a month on deciding what should be 
released and what should be kept in private, and then we heard the 
report of the two counsels and then we discussed procedure but not a 
minute of debate on the merits on the evidence, on the standard of 
impeachment, on anything.
  The supreme insult to the American people, an hour of debate on the 
House floor on whether to start, for the third time in the American 
history, a formal impeachment proceeding. We debated two resolutions to 
name post offices yesterday for an hour and a half. An hour debate on 
this momentous decision is an insult to the American people and another 
sign that this is not going to be fair.
  The democratic amendment is a fair device for a fair process. It 
provides for a limitation in scope in time, and I urge its adoption.

                             Point of Order

  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, I make a point of order.
  The SPEAKER. The gentleman will state his point of order.
  Mr. OBEY. Mr. Speaker, this is a fairly important issue. It seems to 
me that if Members are going to vote on it the least they could do is 
be here in the chamber when it is debated, and I would hope that the 
leadership of both parties would be sending out messages to the Members 
that whatever they are doing, they ought to drop it and get their tails 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Canady), a member of the committee.
  Mr. CANADY of Florida. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the 
impeachment inquiry resolution of the Committee on the Judiciary, a 
resolution which ensures that we expeditiously deal with the serious 
charges against the President in a process that is fair, thoughtful and 
  In this resolution, we followed the pattern and procedures 
established in the Nixon impeachment inquiry. This model served the 
House well in the Nixon case. It has stood the test of time and there 
is no reason that we should abandon this model now.
  The House should reject the unprecedented Democratic alternative with 
its unwise, arbitrary and unrealistic limitations and restrictions on 
the ability of the Committee on the Judiciary to

[[Page H10019]]

do its job. We must recognize that the Democratic alternative sets up a 
process that has never, not once, been followed in the more than 200-
year history of impeachment under our constitution. It is totally 
without precedent.
  Some have claimed that the charges against the President do not 
amount to high crimes and misdemeanors but the very report cited by the 
President's lawyers, which was prepared by the impeachment inquiry 
staff in the Nixon case, recognizes that conduct of the President 
which, and I quote, ``undermines the integrity of office'' is 
impeachable. The unavoidable consequence of perjury and obstruction of 
justice by a President would be to erode respect for the office of the 
President. Such acts inevitably subvert the respect for the law, which 
is essential to the well-being of our constitutional system.
  If perjury and obstruction of justice do not undermine the integrity 
of office, what offenses would? Not long after the Constitution was 
adopted, one of the framers wrote, if it were to be asked what is the 
most sacred duty and the greatest source of security in a republic, the 
answer would be, an inviolable respect for the Constitution and laws. 
Those, therefore, who set examples which undermine or subvert the 
authority of the laws lead us from freedom to slavery. They 
incapacitate us for a government of laws.
  Today, as Members of this House, it is our solemn responsibility 
under the Constitution to move forward with this inquiry and to set an 
example that strengthens the authority of the laws and preserves the 
liberty with which we have been blessed as Americans.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Florida (Mr. Wexler), a valuable member of the Committee on the 
  Mr. WEXLER. Mr. Speaker, God help this Nation if today we become a 
Congress of endless investigation, accomplices to this unAmerican 
inquisition that would destroy the presidency over an extramarital 
  The global economy is crumbling and we are talking about Monica 
  Saddam Hussein hides weapons and we are talking about Monica 

                              {time}  1130

  Genocide wracks Kosovo, and we are talking about Monica Lewinsky.
  Children crammed into packed classrooms, and we are talking about 
Monica Lewinsky.
  Families cannot pay their medical bills, and we are talking about 
Monica Lewinsky.
  God help this Nation if we trivialize the Constitution of the United 
States and reject the conviction of our Founding Fathers that 
impeachment is about no less than the subversion of the government. The 
President betrayed his wife; he did not betray the country. God help 
this Nation if we fail to recognize the difference.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes the distinguished gentleman 
from Arkansas (Mr. Hutchinson).
  Mr. HUTCHINSON. Mr. Speaker, today we are considering a resolution of 
inquiry into the conduct of the President of the United States. It is 
not about a person, but it is about the rule of law. Each of us took a 
simple oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. The 
Constitution provides a path to follow in these circumstances. The path 
may not be well worn, but it is well marked, and we will be wise to 
follow it rather than to concoct our own ideas on how to proceed.
  The gentleman from New York concluded that the President has lied 
under oath, that he should be punished, but he should not be impeached. 
The gentleman is way ahead in his conclusion of where this process 
should be and where I am. I would say that this process is not about 
punishment. The purpose of this process is to examine the public trust, 
and, if it is breached, to repair it.
  We have been referred serious charges of perjury, obstruction of 
justice and abuse of power. The President and his lawyers have denied 
each of these charges, as is his right to do. Our response should be 
that we need to examine these facts to determine the truth and to weigh 
the evidence, and it is our highest duty today to vote for this inquiry 
so that, if the result is there are no impeachable offenses, we can 
move on, but if there is more to be done, we can be sure that the rule 
of law will not be suspended or ignored by this Congress.
  The Watergate model was chosen because that was what was demanded by 
my friends from across the aisle. This resolution does not direct the 
committee to go into any additional areas, but it does give the 
committee the authority to carry out its responsibility and to bring 
this matter to a conclusion without further delay.
  It is my firm commitment, as an Arkansan, as an American and as 
someone who has tried to work with my colleagues from both side of the 
aisle, to be fair in every way in the search for truth. Did the 
President participate in a scheme to obstruct justice? Did the 
President commit perjury? Do these allegations, if proven, constitute 
impeachable offenses? We can answer these questions in a fair and 
bipartisan manner, and that is my commitment.
  People say this is not Watergate. That is true. Every case is 
different. But the rule of law and our obligation to it does not 
change. They do not change because of position, personalities or power. 
The rule of law and justice depends upon this truth.
  I ask my colleagues to support the resolution.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Wisconsin (Mr. Barrett).
  Mr. BARRETT of Wisconsin. Mr. Speaker, many of the President's 
actions were wrong. In fact, they were indefensible. But our role today 
is not to attack him. Our role today is to make sure that this process 
is defensible.
  And this is not a defensible process. This Chamber spent a day, a 
little more than a day, debating renaming an airport, and we are 
spending 2 hours on deciding the future of this Presidency. That is 
  There should be an inquiry; we should move on. But it has to be fair, 
and what we are seeing today is not fair, it is not focused.
  We have a report from Kenneth Starr. We should focus our inquiry on 
the report and any subsequent matters Ken Starr brings us.
  We should have a target date of completion. We should aim to finish 
this by December 31. And if we cannot get it done, we can ask for an 
extension, and that can happen.
  But the American people want this to be a fair process, and they are 
not stupid, and they recognize that this is not a fair process. The 
President may be punished, the President should be held accountable for 
his actions, but we have a duty, each and every person in this Chamber 
has a duty, to do that in a fair way.
  And I think each of us has to examine our conscience and ask whether 
we want to have a wide-ranging fishing expedition or whether we want to 
focus it on the report that has been brought to us and any subsequent 
matters the special prosecutor brings to us. If we do that, I think we 
can do that on a bipartisan basis, and I think that will be fair, and 
that is what the American people want.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from California (Mr. Dreier).
  (Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, this is obviously a very difficult time for 
every Member of this House.
  I think it was said first by the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde): 
Duty, duty, duty. The gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Barrett) just 
talked about our duty. But I think, over and above our duty, I think it 
is important for us to recognize the words of the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania (Mr. McHale) who talked about the importance of the rule 
of law. That really is why we are here.
  Over the past several weeks and months a number of us have dusted off 
our copies of the Federalist Papers, John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, 
James Madison--James Madison being the author, the father of the 
Constitution. Towards the end of the 51st Federalist, James Madison 
puts it perfectly as we look at the challenge that we face today. He 

       Justice is the end of government. It is the end of civil 
     society. It ever has been and ever will be pursued until it 
     be obtained or until liberty be lost in the pursuit.

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that on the motion

[[Page H10020]]

to recommit we be granted 5 minutes on each side for the purpose of 
comments and for the purpose of debate.
  The SPEAKER. Has the gentleman from Illinois yielded to the gentleman 
from Michigan for the purpose of that request?
  Mr. HYDE. Yes, Mr. Speaker. I think 5 minutes on each side on the 
motion to recommit is justifiable, and I support the gentleman in his 
  The SPEAKER. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from 
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from New Jersey (Mr. Rothman), an able member of the Committee on the 
  Mr. ROTHMAN. Mr. Speaker, after 4\1/2\ years investigation of nearly 
every aspect of President Clinton's public and private life, 
Independent Counsel Ken Starr presented the House with 11 allegations 
of impeachment, all relating only to the President's misconduct with 
Monica Lewinsky. The Democrats say that these are serious allegations 
and that we should resolve these 11 charges by the end of this year and 
let the chips fall where they may. The Republicans say that they will 
not be limited to the 4\1/2\ year investigation by Mr. Starr. They feel 
that Mr. Starr was too light on President Clinton, and so they want an 
impeachment inquiry not only limited to Mr. Starr's charges regarding 
Miss Lewinski, but any other charges anyone can come up with on any 
subject at any time and with no time limit. And they want the American 
people to pay for it.
  Mr. Speaker, I believe the Republican bill is unfair, it is unfair to 
the President, it is unfair to our country, and it is not in our 
national interest. We already know that what the President did was 
wrong, It was morally wrong, and now we need to decide what is an 
appropriate punishment for his offenses.
  But let us reject the open-ended Republican inquiry. Let us instead 
follow the democratic model and resolve the 11 charges that Mr. Starr 
actually brought to us and do so before the end of the year so that we 
can get together as a Nation and address the serious and important 
other issues that face us here at home and around the world.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Ohio 
(Mr. Chabot), a member of the committee.
  (Mr. CHABOT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution.
  Our responsibility today is to determine if the evidence we have 
examined thus far warrants further investigation by the Committee on 
the Judiciary. We do not sit in judgment today. We are not here to 
convict or punish or sentence today. We are here to seek the truth.
  To fulfill our constitutional duty we must determine if the evidence 
presented to date strongly suggests wrongdoing by the President and if 
the alleged wrongdoing likely rises to the level of an impeachable 
offense; that is, a high crime or misdemeanor. I would submit that 
strong evidence exists that the President may have committed perjury 
and the historic record demonstrates that perjury can be an impeachable 
  Based on the facts and on the law, this House has a constitutional 
duty to proceed to a formal inquiry.
  Mr. Speaker, I think I speak for most of my colleagues when I say 
that this is not a matter to be taken lightly. Rarely in one's 
political life is one forced to confront such an awesome and historic 
responsibility. It is my sincere hope that we can work together as the 
Founding Fathers envisioned, in a bipartisan fashion, to complete this 
task as expeditiously as possible and to do what is in the best 
interests of the country.
  I would urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to rise above 
the partisan fires that too often burn in our Nation's capital. 
Consider the facts at hand and fulfill our constitutional 
responsibilities by moving forward with a fair and thorough 
investigation of this important matter.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Lofgren), a member of the Committee on the Judiciary 
who has worked tirelessly on crafting a middle course for the Members 
of the House of Representatives.
  Ms. LOFGREN. Mr. Speaker, many of us have labored very hard to craft 
a plan that would allow us to deal with the referral of the independent 
counsel in a way that is focused, in a way that is fair, in a way that 
is prompt and efficient, and, most of all, in a way that puts our 
Constitution first. I am very distressed to say that I do not see that 
that is going to happen today in this chamber.
  Mr. Speaker, I fear what Alexander Hamilton warned against in 
Federalist Paper Number 65, that ``there will always be the greatest 
danger that the decision will be regulated more by the comparative 
strength of parties than by the real demonstrations of innocence or 
guilt.'' That prophecy, that fear, is about to be realized. I believe 
that the majority has used its raw voting power to create a proposal 
that could result in a wide-ranging and lengthy impeachment inquiry. 
The Committee on the Judiciary may become the standing committee on 
impeachments. And I further fear that the rules in the Constitution may 
never be applied to the referral that has been sent to us. Even worse, 
we may end up--as happened Monday--with the majority counsel creating 
entirely new standards for high crimes and misdemeanors, which will 
have a very serious distorting effect on our constitutional system of 

                              {time}  1145

  When we are lost, the best thing for us to do is to look to our 
Constitution as a beacon of light and a guideline to get us through 
trying times. Historically, impeachment was to be used when the 
misconduct of the executive was so severe that it threatened the very 
constitutional system of government itself. Ben Franklin described it 
as the alternative to assassination. It is that standard that needs to 
be applied in this case.
  The question is not whether the President's misconduct was bad. We 
all know that the President's misconduct was bad. The question is, are 
we going to punish America instead of him for his misconduct? Are we 
going to trash our Constitution because of his misconduct? Are we going 
to make sure that this investigation goes on interminably while we 
ignore economic crises, or the needs of our students for education?
  I fear that we are letting down our country. Twenty-four years ago, 
as an idealistic student, I watched this body rise to the occasion. 
Twenty-four years ago, as an idealistic student, I worked on the staff 
of a member of the Judiciary Committee, and I saw the committee, and I 
saw this Congress do a very hard thing: come together, become 
nonpartisan, and do a tough job for America.
  I am very concerned that, instead of rising to this occasion today, 
we are falling down and lowering ourselves and America with it. I urge 
the adoption of the Boucher amendment.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
distinguished gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen).
  Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, our laws promise a remedy against 
sexual harassment. But if we say that lying about sex in court is 
acceptable or even expected, then we have made our sexual harassment 
laws nothing more than a false promise, a fraud upon our society, upon 
our legal system, and upon women.
  Lying under oath and obstruction of justice are ancient crimes of 
great weight because they shield other offenses, blocking the light of 
truth in human affairs. There they are a dagger in the heart of our 
legal system and our democracy. They cannot and must not be tolerated.
  The office of the presidency is due great respect, but the President 
is a citizen with the same duty to follow the laws as all other 
citizens. The world marvels that our President is not above the law, 
and my vote today helps assure that this rule continues.
  With a commitment to the principles of the rule of law, which makes 
this country the beacon of hope for political refugees like myself 
throughout the world, I cast my vote in favor of the resolution to 
undertake an impeachment inquiry of the conduct of the President of the 
United States.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt), my friend and a senior prosecutor.

[[Page H10021]]

  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I am aware of the fact that there is 
limited time for this debate. I think that is, indeed, unfortunate, 
because I was going on to talk about how we have abdicated our 
constitutional duties to an unelected prosecutor, how we have released 
thousands of pages that none of us in good conscience can say that we 
have read.
  We violated the sanctity of the Grand Jury so that we can arrive here 
today to launch an inquiry without an independent, adequate review of 
the allegations by this body, which is our constitutional mandate. Ken 
Starr is not the agent of the United States Congress. It is our 
  I was going to go on and speak about the proposal put forth by the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Boucher), one that would have addressed 
and would address all of the allegations raised in the Starr referral 
in a fair way and in an expeditious way without dragging this Nation 
through hearings that will be interminable in nature.
  What it really means for this country, is all the President's, any 
President's, enemies have to do to commence an impeachment process is 
to name an independent counsel so that we can here just simply rubber 
stamp that independent counsel's conclusions.
  I was going to speak about the letter that was referred to by the 
universally respected chairman of the committee and a gentleman whom I 
hold in high esteem, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the letter 
where Mr. Starr is saying that he may make further referrals and keep 
this inquiry going on indefinitely. That is not a process, Mr. Speaker; 
it is a blank check. That is what I was going to talk about.
  But out of deference to others that want to speak, I will conclude by 
saying, one hour to begin only the third impeachment inquiry in U.S. 
history is a travesty and a disgrace to this institution. I think that 
says it all, and besides, I am probably out of time.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from Florida (Mr. McCollum), a distinguished member of the 
  (Mr. McCOLLUM asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, the question for us today is not whether 
or not the President committed impeachable offenses or whether or not 
we are here to impeach, the question is, do the allegations that have 
been presented to us by Kenneth Starr and his report merit further 
  Some would have us believe today that, even if all of those 
allegations were proven to be true, that the answer is no. They are 
wrong. The issue before us when we consider this matter is not Monica 
Lewinsky. The issue is not sex. The issue is not whether the President 
committed adultery or betrayed his wife.
  The issue is did the President of the United States commit the felony 
crime of perjury by lying under oath in a deposition in a sexual 
harassment case. The issue is did the President of the United States 
commit the felony crime of perjury by lying under oath to a Grand Jury. 
The issue is did the President of the United States commit a felony 
crime of obstructing justice or the felony crime of witness tampering. 
If he did, are these high crimes and misdemeanors that deserve 
  I would suggest that these are extraordinarily serious; that if the 
President of the United States is to be judged not to have committed a 
high crime and misdemeanor if the facts are proven, and we do not know 
that, that these things are true and he committed these crimes, but if 
he is judged not to have committed a high crime and misdemeanor for 
committing these other crimes of perjury, we will have determined that, 
indeed, he is no longer the legal officer at the highest panicle of 
this country.
  Because to leave him sitting there is to undermine the very judicial 
system we have. It is to convey the message that perjury is okay, 
certainly at least perjury in certain matters and under certain 
circumstances. It is not okay. It is a very serious crime. Obstructing 
justice is. Witness tampering is.
  One hundred fifteen people are serving in Federal prisons today who 
may be watching these proceedings today, serving in prison for perjury. 
Two judges have been impeached since I have been in Congress for 
nothing more than perjury, committing perjury as we call it.
  What do we say in the future to all of those people who take the oath 
of office who say ``I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and 
nothing but the truth?'' What do we say to all of those people who 
swear to tell the truth, nothing but the truth, but the whole truth 
when they are witnesses in cases throughout this country, civil and 
criminal? What do we say to all of the people who we may judge in the 
future who may be judges or otherwise who come before us who commit 
perjury? Is it okay?
  If we leave this President alone if he committed these crimes, then 
we have undermined our Constitution, and we have undermined our system 
of justice. This is serious. We need to investigate these allegations.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentleman from California (Mr. Fazio), the departing chair of our 
  Mr. FAZIO of California. Mr. Speaker, today's proceeding is of such 
great historical importance that it should be approached with a deep 
and abiding respect for the Congress, the Constitution, and the 
  We had the opportunity to develop a fair and responsible process that 
would protect, not only the dignity of the office of the Presidency, 
but create a precedent worth following. But I believe the Republican 
majority has squandered that, and, by doing so, has set in motion a 
process that is too much about partisanship and not enough about 
  The Republican proposal offers no limits on how long this partisan 
inquiry will go on nor on how long independent counsel Ken Starr can 
drag up issues that he has had 4 years to bring to this House. Sadly, 
there has been no willingness to limit the duration or scope of this 
  The Republican proposal moves ahead with an impeachment inquiry 
before the Committee on the Judiciary has even conducted a review of 
the facts and determined whether those facts constitute substantial and 
credible evidence. It lowers the threshold for which a President can be 
harassed and persecuted to the point of distraction from his 
constitutional duties.
  From now on, any Congress dissatisfied with the policies of a 
particular administration or the personal behavior of any President 
could simply conduct an ongoing, costly, and distracting inquiry 
designed to dilute the authority of the Presidency.
  After this election, when rational behavior returns, and cooler heads 
can prevail, I urge us to forge a way to rise above the nasty politics 
that have clouded this body.
  I will not be here with those of you who return to this next 
Congress. I leave after 20 years with my self-respect intact. I have 
reached across the lines within my own party and, when necessary, 
across the aisle to the other party to make this House work and to get 
things done for this country.
  I fought partisan battles. I have stood my ground on issues that 
matter to my district. The American people expect us to do that. But 
they also expect us to, each of us, to rise above the base political 
instincts that drive such a wedge through this institution.
  In the months ahead, we must find a way, my friends, to do what is 
right for America to find a way to return this House to the people 
through a respect for law, for fairness, and due process. In the end, 
we must do a lot better than we will do today.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2\1/2\ minutes to 
the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Barr), a distinguished member of the 
  Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield to me very briefly?
  Mr. BARR of Georgia. I am happy to yield to the gentleman from 
Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the distinguished chairman of the Committee on the 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I just want the record to be clear. My good 
friend the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) talked about 
60,000 pages that were released that were not reviewed or looked at.
  I want him to know, and I want everyone listening to know that every 
single page of anything that was released was reviewed, and things that 
were not released were reviewed by our staff.
  I also would like to point out that total time spent looking at these

[[Page H10022]]

records by the Democrats, members of the Committee on the Judiciary on 
the Democrat side, were 21.81 hours. Six of them never came over to see 
the material. On the Republican side, 114.59 hours, and every Member 
came over to look at the material.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield to me?
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I will give the gentleman from Georgia 
additional time.
  Mr. BARR of Georgia. I yield to the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Conyers), the distinguished ranking member.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Hyde). That really contributes to the comity of this body, and I am 
sure it is an interesting statistic that everybody ought to know about.
  Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, I yield to the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the distinguished chairman of the 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I just want to say to my friend that when the 
gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) says this has been done 
careless or in a slipshod manner not reviewing these things, it is 
important to know we took our job seriously. They were there to be 
reviewed. If my colleagues did not choose to do it, that is their 
  Mr. CONYERS. Thank you, Mr. Hyde.
  Mr. HYDE. You are welcome, Mr. Conyers.
  Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, might I inquire of the gentleman 
from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), the distinguished chairman of the committee, 
if I have, in fact, 2 minutes remaining?
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, the gentleman has every reason to inquire, and 
I would like to give the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Barr) a total of 3 
minutes for his generosity.
  Mr. BARR of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, as the United States Attorney 
appointed by President Reagan, when a case was presented to me, I 
started at the beginning. I would look and see what the law says, and I 
would look and see what the history of that law said.
  Here we have similarly to look at the Constitution. It is pretty 
clear. What makes it even clearer, though, Mr. Speaker, is if we look 
at the sources for Article II Section 4, which is the impeachment 
power, we find, for example, Mr. Speaker, that, according to the 
Federalist writings 211 years ago, that an impeachable offense is, 
quote, ``Any abuse of the great trust reposed in the President.''

                              {time}  1200

  Moreover, they tell us, as Federalist 65 did, written by that great 
constitutional scholar Alexander Hamilton, an impeachable offense is a 
``violation of public trust.''
  I did not stop there, Mr. Speaker. I looked at further constitutional 
scholars. I find that 24 years ago, no less a constitutional scholar 
than William Jefferson Clinton, defined an impeachable offense as, 
``willful, reckless behavior in office.''
  I did not stop there. I looked at a report coauthored by Hillary 
Rodham, part of the impeachment team in the Watergate years, and I find 
that at page 26 of their report, she and others of her colleagues 
define an impeachable offense as ``wrongs that undermine the integrity 
of office.''
  Where are we now, Mr. Speaker? The step we are taking today is one I 
first urged nearly a year ago. All we are doing today is taking the 
constitutionally equivalent step of impaneling a grand jury to inquire 
into whether or not the evidence shall sustain that offenses have, in 
fact, occurred.
  The passage of H.R. 581 will mark the dawn of a new era in American 
government. We are sending the American people a clear message, that 
truth is more important than partisanship, and that the Constitution 
cannot be sacrificed on the altar of political expediency; that no 
longer will we turn a blind eye to clear evidence of obstruction of 
justice, perjury and abuse of power. We will be sending a message to 
this and all future Presidents that if, in fact, the evidence 
establishes that you or any future President have committed perjury, 
obstruction of justice, subversion of our judicial system, that we will 
be saying, no, sir, Mr. President, these things you cannot do.
  It is our job as legislators to diagnose threats to our democracy and 
eliminate them. By the time the damage to our system is so great that 
everyone can see it, the wounds will be too deep to heal. We have 
already waited too long to address this issue. We must move forward 
quickly, courageously, fairly, and most importantly, constitutionally, 
along the one and the one and only path charted for us in the 
Constitution, the impeachment process.
  We must do this, Mr. Speaker, so that tomorrow morning as we in this 
Chamber, as teachers all across America, lead their students in the 
pledge of allegiance, we can look America in the eye and say, yes, at 
least for today the Constitution is alive and well.
  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I think it is very important for the record and for the American 
people to know that yes, the staff worked hard; the staff, the majority 
staff and the minority staff, to review 60,000 and some odd pages. But 
let me suggest that no Member in this House, no member in this 
committee in good conscience can stand here in this well today and 
state that he or she adequately reviewed that testimony before its 
  And this is a responsibility mandated by the Constitution to Members, 
not to staff, and that is what this is about today. This is not about 
defending the President, this is about defending the Constitution of 
the United States.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Waters).
  Ms. WATERS. Mr. Speaker, the decision of the Republicans to limit the 
debate on this very important resolution to decide whether this body 
will move with an inquiry to impeach is a continuation of the partisan, 
unfair, inconsiderate actions that have dictated the management of this 
impeachment crisis since independent counsel Ken Starr dumped his 
referral in the laps of this Congress and in the laps of the public. 
This continuous, shameless and reckless disregard for the Constitution, 
basic civil rights and the citizens of this country cannot be 
  This is a sad and painful time for all of us. The least we can do is 
handle this matter with dignity and fairness for everyone involved. 
Four and one-half years, $40 million. Unnecessary. Subpoenas of 
uninvolved individuals, and Mr. Starr's close relationships with groups 
and individuals, with demonstrated hatred for the President, taints the 
independent counsel's investigation.
  This Congress does not need a protracted, open-ended witch-hunt of 
intimidation, embarrassment and harassment. The tawdry and trashy 
thousands of pages of hearsay, accusations, gossip, and stupid 
telephone chatter does not meet the standard of high crimes and 
  The President's actions in this matter are disappointing and 
unacceptable, but not impeachable. Mr. Schippers, the general counsel 
for the Republicans, extended the allegations in search of something, 
anything that may meet the constitutional standards, and even the 
extended and added allegations do not comport with the Constitution.
  It is time to move on. Reprimand the President, condemn him, but let 
us move on. These grossly unfair procedures will only tear this 
Congress and this Nation apart. I ask my colleagues to vote down this 
open-ended and unfair resolution. It does not deserve the support of 
this House.
  Mr. Speaker, the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have 
constantly warned this body about the dangers of a prosecutor run amok. 
They have warned this body about the abuse of the power of the 
majority. We ask our colleagues to listen to us as we remind our 
colleagues of the history of our people who have struggled against 
injustice and unfairness. Let us not march backwards; let us be wise 
enough to move forward and spend our precious time working on the 
issues of education, health care, senior citizens, children, and in the 
final analysis, Mr. Speaker, justice, and opportunity for all 
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I would like to inquire as to the time 
remaining on both sides.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde) has

[[Page H10023]]

33\1/2\ minutes; the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Delahunt) as 
34\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from South Carolina (Mr. Inglis), a valued member of the 
  Mr. INGLIS of South Carolina. Mr. Speaker, we are now engaged in a 
constitutional process that is about the search for truth. I believe 
that we should do that in a fair and expeditious way, completely 
disregarding polls, completely disregarding the pendency of an election 
on November 3, and answering the question that our colleague from 
California just asked about whether it is appropriate just to move 
  Of course, we do want to move along to important issues facing the 
country. We do want to restore freedom in health care, we do want to 
secure the future of Medicare and Social Security, and we do want to 
continue the progress toward balancing the budget. All of those things 
we want to do.
  But I would ask my colleagues to consider this. Really, this is the 
crucial business of the country. This is the crucial business.
  As we go into the next century, the question is, does the truth even 
matter. Now, some would say, let us move along, it does not matter, 
just move along. But if we move along, what we are leaving aside is 
serious allegations of serious crimes.
  Just this week one of my staffers was on her way over here with a 
staff member of one of our colleagues, the gentleman from Louisiana 
(Mr. Cooksey). An accident occurred, occurred on a bicycle, struck this 
young lady, not my staffer, but the other staffer. She was hurt. Now, 
she has two duties as a citizen. One is to testify, to be a witness, to 
come forward; and the second is to testify truthfully when called on, 
if necessary, in court.
  Now, what shall we say to her if we are going to just move along and 
say that the potential of the crime of perjury just does not matter, 
then what of that small case in a court here in D.C.? We say to that 
case, well, it is not necessary to tell the truth in court, and it is 
not necessary to testify, I suppose. But we must say, if we are going 
to preserve the rule of law in this Nation, that it does matter, and 
that when that young staffer is called on to testify, if she must, she 
must testify, and then she must tell the truth.
  This is the essential work of this Congress and of this Nation.
  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from North Carolina (Mr. Watt), and a distinguished member of 
the Committee on the Judiciary.
  Mr. WATT of North Carolina. Mr. Speaker, as members of the Committee 
on the Judiciary, we have had the opportunity to indicate our 
willingness to engage in a process that is fair, measuring the 
President's conduct against a constitutional standard, not a bicycle 
standard; focused on what the independent counsel has referred or might 
refer to us; and timely, one that sets an objective to conclude this 
matter and put it behind us.
  We have also had the opportunity to listen to our colleagues on the 
Committee on the Judiciary who want to engage in an unfair and open-
ended, partisan political fishing expedition, dealing with bicycles 
rather than constitutional standards, some of whom have already gone on 
television and already declared their conclusion in this matter before 
a trial even begins.
  We have had our opportunity.
  Mr. Speaker, I would like to yield the balance of my time to a 
nonmember of the Committee on the Judiciary, my good colleague from 
Texas (Mr. Edwards).
  Mr. EDWARDS. Mr. Speaker, I am deeply disappointed that the 
Republican leadership has placed an incredibly unfair gag rule on a 
constitutional debate of historic proportions. If this gag rule is the 
first test of the Republicans' fairness in this inquiry, they have 
failed that test.
  The most important issue today, Mr. Speaker, before us is not the 
November 3 elections, or even the fate of President Clinton. The most 
important issue before us is the historical precedent we set in 
beginning the process of undoing an election for the most important 
office of our land. The right to vote is the foundation of our entire 
democracy. To override the votes of millions of Americans in a 
Presidential election is an extraordinary action. It is a radical 
action, and, in effect, it is allowing the votes of 535 citizens to 
override the votes of tens of millions of citizens.
  In its rush to begin an impeachment inquiry just days before a 
crucial election, this Congress will have lowered the threshold for 
future Presidential impeachment inquiries in such a way that 
compromises the independence of the Presidency as a coequal branch of 
  The truth is the Committee on the Judiciary has not even had 1 day, 
not even 1 hour of hearings on our Founding Fathers' original intent 
about the threshold for impeachment. I find it ironic that the very 
Republicans who have preached all year long that we should impeach 
Federal judges for not abiding by our Founding Fathers' constitutional 
intentions have now decided we can start an historic constitutional 
process without even 1 hour of hearings. How ironic that those same 
Republicans will today force us to vote on a truly historic 
constitutional issue without even 1 hour, 1 day of hearings on our 
Founding Fathers' intent about high crimes and misdemeanors.
  To begin a formal impeachment inquiry after only a cursory review of 
the Independent Counsel's report, in light of a standard that has not 
been defined, within the context of a pending congressional election 
weeks away, at the very least undermines the credibility of this House 
on this important issue, and at the very worst has set an historical 
precedent that we can easily begin the process of undoing the freely 
exercised votes of millions of Americans.
  To even begin this radical process without the greatest of 
deliberation, regardless of one's final vote, is in itself, in my 
opinion, an attack upon the very core of our democracy.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Bryant), a member of our 
  (Mr. BRYANT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. BRYANT. Mr. Speaker, I want to remind our colleagues that we are 
not voting on impeachment today. We are here today simply to uphold our 
constitutional obligation to look further into the allegations of 
wrongdoing against this president, and not to look away.
  We seem to all agree that the President's conduct was wrong, and we 
seem to now agree that we must continue this process toward finding the 
truth. But this is not about keeping political score. It is not about 
allowing the President to dictate the terms of this process. We are 
here protecting our Constitution, which we have a duty to uphold. So 
let us complete our task fairly and expeditiously.
  I must respectfully disagree with my good friend and colleague, the 
gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Boucher) and his alternative to this. Now 
is not the time to set arbitrary time limits, because, as we have 
learned before, that encourages stonewalling. We can actually get this 
done quicker, as the chairman said, without time limits. Now is not the 
time to consider possibly piecemealing allegations. Let us get all this 
done, get all this behind us, and move forward.
  As part and parcel of that, our responsibility to the American people 
is to be fair throughout this process. It is an elementary principle of 
this fairness that the President should not be allowed to limit or 
direct or influence the process that Congress uses to investigate these 
  At the end of the day, our Constitution will still stand as a pillar 
of our Nation. It will and it should, fittingly, outlast any person, 
whomever it might be, who has the great privilege of serving in the 
office of the presidency.
  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I yield 10 seconds to the gentleman from 
New York (Mr. Ackerman).

                     Motion Offered by Mr. Ackerman

  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I move that when the House adjourn, we do 
so to Salem, a quaint village in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 
whose history beckons us thence.
  The SPEAKER. That is not a proper motion, the Chair would say to the 
gentleman from New York.

[[Page H10024]]

  Mr. DELAHUNT. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my friend and 
colleague, the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Meehan), whose 
district I do not think includes the town of Salem.
  Mr. MEEHAN. Mr. Speaker, this debate is as important for what it is 
not about as for what it is about. It is not about whether to conduct 
an inquiry. Both the Democratic and Republican resolutions would 
initiate an inquiry. It is not about who has been more faithful to the 
Watergate precedent. Neither side is pure on that subject.
  What this debate is about is whether the Committee on the Judiciary 
will take up Whitewater, Travelgate, and Filegate, without a shred of 
paper from the Independent Counsel on this subject. It is about whether 
the committee will commence a fullscale impeachment hearing without 
asking itself, as a threshold matter, whether even Ken Starr's best 
case compels impeachment.
  If Members can somehow convince themselves that after 4\1/2\ years 
and nearly $50 million in taxpayers' money, that Ken Starr has been 
less than aggressive in pursuing Whitewater, Travelgate, and Filegate, 
then Members should vote for the Republican resolution which authorizes 
the Committee on the Judiciary to take them up even without a referral 
from Kenneth Starr.
  If Members believe that the committee should avoid the question of 
whether even Ken Starr's best case compels impeachment, and, instead, 
plunge blindly into a month-long evidentiary fiasco, then they should 
vote for the Republican resolution.
  How is it in our Nation's best interest to initiate an impeachment 
inquiry which willfully blinds itself to the numerous constitutional 
scholars that say that even Ken Starr's best case does not compel 
impeachment? At this time of global political and economic turmoil, it 
is in our Nation's interest to deal with the Lewinsky matter fairly and 
expeditiously. Only the Democratic alternative would do that.
  So please, let us put the national interest above partisanship. I ask 
Members to vote their conscience, vote for the Democratic alternative, 
and against the Republican resolution.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Dennis Kucinich).
  Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Speaker, I rise today not on behalf of Democrats or 
Republicans, but as an American who is deeply concerned that our 
country bring closure to the charges against the President. A vote for 
an inquiry is not the same as a vote for impeachment. This vote is 
neither a vote to impeach nor a license to conduct a partisan 
  In fact, some have called for impeachment without a hearing. Some 
have called for resignation without a hearing. Some have called for 
exoneration without a hearing. I believe there will be no resolution 
without an open hearing. There will be no accountability without an 
open hearing. There will be no closure for this country, for this 
Congress, or for our president, without an open hearing.
  The Nation is divided. The House is divided. A House divided against 
itself will not stand, so if inquire we must, let us do it fairly, and 
in the words of Lincoln, with malice towards none, with charity towards 
all, because there will be an inquiry. The American people expect it to 
proceed fairly, expeditiously, and then they expect it to end. The 
people want us to get this over with, and they will be watching.
  Let the President make his case. Give him a chance to clear his name 
and get back to his job. Bring everything out in the open. Bring 
forward the accusers and subject them to the light of day, settle this, 
and then move forward to do the business of the people, the business 
for which the people elected us: to further economic growth, to protect 
social security, to improve health care, and to meet all the other 
pressing needs of the American people.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Maine (Mr. Allen).
  Mr. ALLEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to 
  Mr. Speaker, this is a solemn moment, but as theater, it is overdone. 
It is overdone because this vote is not about whether or not we should 
have an impeachment inquiry. Both resolutions call for such an inquiry, 
so we will have one. This vote is about what kind of impeachment 
inquiry we will conduct. That question is important.
  The majority wants an open-ended impeachment inquiry with no limits 
on its scope or duration. Under their plan, the Committee on the 
Judiciary can investigate anything and everything it wants for 6 
months, a year, or even longer. I believe their plan will inflame 
partisanship, and if prolonged, weaken the institution of the 
presidency and this country.
  This is not Watergate. That committee conducted a factual inquiry. We 
have piles of facts from the special prosecutor. Our task is to find an 
appropriate consequence for behavior we know is wrong. Our alternative 
will provide for thorough consideration of the Starr alternative, of 
the Starr referral, by December 31, 1998. What is wrong with that?
  I urge my colleagues to oppose an inquiry resolution that does not 
say when it will end or what it will cover, and instead, support the 
focused, fair, and expeditious Democratic alternative.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the 
distinguished gentleman from Missouri (Mr. Kenny Hulshof).
  Mr. HULSHOF. Mr. Speaker, last night I addressed this body and urged 
my colleagues to please avoid partisan wrangling. Today I implore the 
Members of this body to recognize the historical gravity of the moment. 
Today is not the day to condemn the process or the prosecutor. Today is 
not the day for talking points or pointing fingers.
  Mr. Speaker, in this debate, let us pledge not our loyalty to our 
party, let us pledge allegiance to our country. Let us not be 
partisans. Instead, let us be patriots.
  I, too, am concerned about the open-ended nature of the 
investigation. I believe each one of us would fervently wish this cup 
would pass us by, but I have faith in the integrity and ability of the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Hyde), and when he says this process will 
be handled fairly and expeditiously, I think his word deserves great 
weight in this body.
  So the question I have for the Members is simply this: Is it 
possible, is it possible, that there is credible evidence that exists 
that would constitute grounds for an impeachment? If Members' answer is 
a solemn yes, then vote in favor of the resolution.
  But I submit, even if Members' answer is an equivocal ``I do not 
know,'' then I think that the judgment of the doubt, the benefit of the 
doubt, must go in favor of the resolution.
  Mr. Speaker, last January I was privileged to enter this Chamber for 
the first time, my family proudly beaming from the House gallery as I 
rose in unison with the Members of this body to take an oath. I pledged 
my sacred honor to the Constitution of the United States. That is what 
this vote is about.
  In my humble and considered opinion, that oath requires from me a 
vote of aye on the resolution.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to yield 2 minutes to the 
able gentleman from New York (Mr. Charles Rangel).
  (Mr. RANGEL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I had the privilege of serving on the 
Watergate Committee on the Judiciary. One difference then, as opposed 
to now, is that we worked together as Republicans and Democrats to 
search for the facts and to report to the House of Representatives for 
them to make a determination.
  Now, we do not have any question of trying to impeach the President 
of the United States or protecting the integrity of the Congress or the 
Constitution. The Republicans do not want to impeach, and would not 
touch it with a 10-foot political pole. They know at the end of this 
year that this Congress is over, and they even want to carry this over 
for the next 2 years, to attempt to hound this president, who has been 
elected twice, out of office.
  The reason for it is because it is the only thing they have to take 
to the American people before this election. What else are they going 
to take? Their legislative record? The fact that they have renamed 
National Airport after Ronald Reagan, that they have deep-sixed the tax 
code to the year 2002?

[[Page H10025]]

  On the question of social security, what have they done? Tried to 
rape the reserve. What have they done as it relates to minimum wage and 
providing jobs? What have they done for education? What have they done 
for the health of the people in this Nation?
  They are not just going to get elected by hounding the President of 
the United States, because as they judge the President of the United 
States, the voters will be judging them on November 3.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 1 minute to the 
distinguished gentleman from California (Mr. Chris Cox).
  Mr. COX of California. Mr. Speaker, I thank the chairman for yielding 
time to me.
  Mr. Speaker, a member of the minority stated during the debate that 
the decision to limit the debate to 2 hours on this resolution is 
partisan. In allocating 2 hours for debate on a resolution authorizing 
an inquiry of impeachment, the Congress is adhering to precedent, the 
precedents established by the House of Representatives when it was 
under Democratic control. It is in fact doubling the amount of time 
that was spent in debate on the identical resolution in February, 1974.
  Likewise, the wording of the resolution adheres directly to 
precedent. The minority argues today that an impeachment inquiry should 
be narrowly limited to the evidence we already know, but on February 6, 
1974, when the Democrats were in the majority, Committee on the 
Judiciary Chairman Rodino stated: ``To be locked into . . . a date (for 
completion of the inquiry) would be totally irresponsible and unwise.'' 
The inquiry, he said, must be ``thorough, so that we can make a fair 
and responsible judgment.''
  The resolution does, as it must, follow precedent. We, in undertaking 
this solemn constitutional duty, must follow precedent. A vote for the 
resolution is a vote for a fair, full, and complete inquiry today, just 
as in 1974.

                              {time}  1230

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from 
Rhode Island (Mr. Kennedy).
  Mr. KENNEDY of Rhode Island. Mr. Speaker, today I will cast the most 
important vote of my whole time here in the United States Congress. And 
if we are not going to listen to each other, then I would like us to 
listen to the eminent scholar, Lawrence Tribe, on what we are doing 
  He said that, ``Today this Congress is twisting impeachment into 
something else, instead of keeping it within its historical boundaries, 
and our Nation and its form of government are imperiled as a result.'' 
He went on to say that, ``Today we are losing sight of the 
constitutional wreckage that this vote will cause as we lay down 
historical precedent that a President of the United States can be 
impeached for something other than official misconduct as President of 
the United States.''
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Kentucky (Mr. Bunning).
  (Mr. BUNNING asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. BUNNING. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution.
  Except for declaring war, impeachment is the most serious and 
sobering issue that the House can consider. The question before us 
today demands that we act out of statesmanship and not raw, political 
partisanship. Our history and our Constitution demand the best for us.
  I have read the referral to the House from the Independent Counsel, 
Ken Starr, and I believe there is enough evidence to warrant further 
inquiry by the Judiciary Committee.
  The Judiciary Committee's review of the evidence accumulated by the 
Independent Counsel indicates that there exists substantial and 
credible evidence of fifteen separate events directly involving the 
President that constitute grounds to proceed with an impeachment 
inquiry. The charges are troubling--perjury, obstruction of justice, 
witness tampering, and abuse of power. They are not simply about extra-
marital affairs, or making misleading statements. Instead, the 
allegations touch more profoundly upon claims of criminal conduct.
  I do not know if all of the allegations in the Starr report are true 
and factual. But, the charges are serious and some of the claims made 
against the President are compelling. However, the report represents 
only one side of the story, and the President deserves the right to 
exonerate himself before the Judiciary Committee, the full House and 
the American people.
  Our Constitution and historical precedent set out a procedure to 
follow in proceedings such as this, and I believe we must strictly 
follow the letter of the law. Impeachment is a grave matter, and at 
this crucial moment in our history we must not rush to judgment.
  The inquiry by the Judiciary Committee must be orderly, and 
judicious. But, it must also be expeditious. While I do not think that 
an arbitrary deadline should be imposed on the panel, for the good of 
the country I believe it is incumbent upon the Committee to work with 
all deliberate speed in order to conclude this matter as soon and as 
fairly as possible. Chairman Hyde's goal of the Committee concluding 
its work by the end of the year is fair and reasonable.
  By the same token, I also believe that the President has a duty to 
work with, and not against, the Judiciary Committee to speedily resolve 
this matter. The sooner we can conclude these proceedings, the better 
it will be for the country. Now is not the time for further foot-
dragging and delay by anyone.
  I believe the President was right yesterday when he said members of 
the House should cast ``a vote of principle and conscience'' on 
authorizing the impeachment inquiry. I agree. Of all the votes cast in 
this Congress, this should be one of integrity and honor.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from 
Texas (Mr. DeLay), the distinguished whip.
  Mr. DeLAY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Illinois (Chairman 
Hyde) for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I do not want to be here today. I wish I could just 
ignore all of this and make it go away. But I have a responsibility to 
answer a question today and that question is: How will history judge 
our actions that we take today?
  I believe that this Nation sits at a crossroad. One direction points 
to the high road of the rule of law. Sometimes hard, sometimes 
unpleasant. This path relies on truth, justice, and the rigorous 
application of the principle that no man is above the law.
  Now, the other road is the path of least resistance. This is where we 
start making exceptions to our laws based on poll numbers and spin 
control. This is when we pitch the law completely overboard when the 
mood fits us; when we ignore the facts in order to cover up the truth.
  Shall we follow the rule of law and do our constitutional duty no 
matter how unpleasant, or shall we follow the path of least resistance, 
close our eyes to the potential law breaking, forgive and forget, move 
on, and tear an unfixable hole in our legal system?
  No man is above the law and no man is below the law. That is the 
principle that we all hold dear in this country. The President has many 
responsibilities and many privileges. His chief responsibility is to 
uphold the laws of this land. He does not have the privilege to break 
the law.
  The American system of government is built on the proposition that 
the President of the United States can be removed if he violates his 
oath of office. This resolution simply starts that process of inquiry. 
Did the President break the law? And if he did, does that lawbreaking 
constitute an impeachable offense?
  Closing our eyes to allegations of wrongdoing by voting ``no,'' or by 
limiting scope or time, constitutes a breach of our responsibilities as 
Members of this House. So let history judge us as having done our duty 
to uphold that sacred rule of law.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
able gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kanjorski).
  (Mr. KANJORSKI asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks and to include extraneous material.)
  Mr. KANJORSKI. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to any impeachment 
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today with a heavy heart. Today, for only the 
third time in our nation's history, the House will consider whether to 
initiate an impeachment inquiry against the President. I take my sworn 
constitutional duty and responsibility in this matter very seriously.
  Over the last four weeks, I have reviewed the Starr report and other 
material submitted by his office. I have also listened to legal 
experts, constitutional scholars, and my constituents about the 
referral. I have further studied the origins and history of our 
Constitution's impeachment clause. After considerable deliberation, I 
have determined that there is no

[[Page H10026]]

convincing reason to vote for an impeachment inquiry into the matters 
referred by the independent counsel based on the evidence that we have 
before us at this time.
  Clearly, President Clinton behaved badly. He was wrong to engage in 
an inappropriate relationship with a young woman. He was wring to 
mislead the American people in his public statements, and he was wrong 
to provide misleading answers in judicial proceedings. For that wrong 
behavior the President should be reprimanded, but he should not be 
removed from office.
  Our Constitution demands a higher standard for the Congress to 
undertake the extraordinary action of removing a duly-elected 
President. This Congress has not sufficiently considered what 
constitutes an impeachable offense. Before we irreparably damage our 
nation's delicate system of checks and balances among our three 
branches of government, it is imperative that we establish that 
standard in a fair, non-partisan matter. The resolution we are 
considering today is not about whether the man who holds the highest 
elected office in the country engaged in an improper relationship and 
then tried to conceal it. Rather, this resolution is about the standard 
under which the Congress has the right to overturn the will of the 
people who elected the President of the United States.

                         impeachment definition

  Both the text of the Constitution and the comments of its authors 
place the bar for impeachment quite high, and mandate that Congress use 
the impeachment process to address only the gravest of wrongs. 
Specifically, Article II of the Constitution states that the President 
may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of 
``treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors.''
  Because this phrase is often truncated and used out of context, it is 
necessary to carefully examine the writings and debates of the 
Constitution's authors. Fortunately, evidence of the phrase's meaning 
and development is extensive. One individual who can provide especially 
helpful guidance about the meaning of the term is George Mason, the man 
who proposed the language adopted by the Constitutional Convention. Mr. 
Mason noted that ``Impeachment should be reserved for treason, bribery, 
and high crimes and misdemeanors where the President's actions are 
great and dangerous offenses or attempts to subvert the Constitution 
and the most extensive injustice.''
  Read in their entirety the writings of the Constitution's authors 
firmly imply that the bar for impeachment is extremely high, and that 
Congress should use it to address only those Presidential actions that 
threaten the stability of our democracy. Moreover, the debate over the 
Constitution indicates that the Founders clearly intended that ``other 
high crimes and misdemeanors'' had to be crimes and actions against the 
state on the same level of magnitude as treason and bribery.
  We can also look to precedent when seeking to understand the 
definition of impeachment and whether the actions of a President in his 
private life rise to the level of ``high crimes and misdemeanors.'' In 
1974, the House Judiciary Committee considered substantial evidence 
that Richard Nixon committed tax fraud during his presidency. Although 
the evidence overwhelmingly indicated that President Nixon had 
committed such fraud, the panel concluded by a bipartisan vote of 26 to 
12 that personal misconduct is not an impeachable offense. Further, the 
Supreme Court has ruled that other remedies exist for addressing 
Presidential wrongdoing, including civil lawsuits and criminal 
  Finally, it is important to note that the Founders included 
impeachment as a constitutional remedy because they worried about 
Presidential tyranny and gross abuse of power. They did not intend 
impeachment or the threat of its use to serve as a device for 
denouncing the President's private actions. Instead, they left 
punishment for improper private Presidential conduct to public opinion, 
the political process, and judicial proceedings. I support the Framers' 
wise counsel on impeachment. The consideration of whether to overturn a 
decision of the electorate should only be undertaken in extreme 
situations. In short, Presidents ought not to be impeached for private 
conduct, however reprehensible.

                             poor precedent

  Beyond failing to meet the standard of impeachment envisioned by our 
Founders and strengthened by past practice, an impeachment inquiry into 
the matters recently referred by the independent counsel would create 
dangerous and undesirable precedents for the country in at last three 
significant ways. First, if this politically-inspired effort ultimately 
succeeds, it will tip the delicate system of checks and balances in 
favor of Congress. The result would be a parliamentary system whereby 
the party in power in Congress could impeach a President and a Vice 
President of another party for virtually any reason. Our Founders 
created a government with three separate, but equal branches of 
government. We should remember this fact today and not upset the 
balance of power they so sensibly established.
  Second, as noted above, the House should vote to pursue an 
impeachment inquiry only if it has credible evidence of action 
constituting fundamental injuries to the governmental process. Assuming 
the facts presented by the independent counsel thus far to be true, the 
President's conduct does not rise to the level the Founders deemed 
impeachable because it was not ``a serious abuse of power or a serious 
abuse of official duties.'' Furthermore, Congress has in more than 200 
years never removed a President from office even though several 
Presidents have committed far more serious abuses. One must 
consequently ask whether this is where we want to set the bar for 
impeaching this and future Presidents. From my perspective it is not.
  Finally, based on the facts of this referral, an impeachment inquiry 
would impose an extraordinary invasion of privacy. An impeachment 
inquiry on what is fundamentally a private matter will likely deter 
worthy contenders in both parties from running for political office--
particularly the presiency--because they fear protracted, government-
sponsored investigations into their past, current, and possibly future 
actions. Moreover, it could also provoke a move to impeach future 
Presidents every time that Congress thinks they may have made false 

                              the solution

  Like most Americans, I am personally disappointed with the 
President's acknowledged inappropriate personal behavior. Clearly, the 
President engaged in an improper relationship about which he did not 
want anyone to know. The President, as a result, was not forthcoming 
with the truth regarding this relationship, not only with the 
independent counsel and Congress, but also with his family and the 
American people. Ultimately, after months of personal turmoil the 
President admitted the affair, and suffered great humiliation and much 
public embarrassment, probably more than any other individual in our 
nation who has made similar mistakes.
  The President's conduct was wrong and worthy of rebuke. Even if such 
personal behavior is not impeachable, as representatives of the people 
we must tell the President that his actions are not acceptable. We 
should, therefore, immediately consider some sort of censure against 
the President. Censure is a serious act that will certainly damage his 
standing in the public and lower his rank in history.


  At the end of my prepared remarks, I will attach four excellent 
articles that further elaborate on the points I have made today. They 
include an analysis by noted constitutional scholar Cass Sunstein, 
thoughts by Robert F. Drinan and Wayne Owens who served as Democratic 
Members on the House Watergate panel, and a commentary by former 
Republican President Gerald R. Ford. The former President argues that 
instead of impeachment, the House should publicly censure the current 
President's behavior. I have also attached several recent statements 
about the Starr referral from some of the individuals integrally 
involved in Watergate all of whom conclude that this is vastly 
different form and less serious than Watergate.
  Mr. Speaker, from my perspective Congress must swiftly resolve the 
matters referred by the independent counsel. We need to admonish the 
President for his inappropriate personal behavior and quickly move 
forward and address the nation's real priorities. We also need to 
ensure that we rebuke the President, and not punish the nation. The 
American people should not have to suffer through what could be an 
unlimited Congressional inquiry into a tawdry, but hardly impeachable 
extramarital affair. This Congress should begin the process of healing 
the nation's wounds. We should also begin to forgive. For these 
reasons, I will oppose this impeachment inquiry.

                [From the Washington Post, Oct. 4, 1998]

              ``Impeachment? The Framers Wouldn't Buy It''

                           (By Cass Sunstein)

       We all now know that, under the Constitution, the president 
     can be impeached for ``Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes 
     and Misdemeanors.'' But what did the framers intend us to 
     understand with these words? Evidence of the phrase's 
     evolution is extensive--and it strongly suggests that, if we 
     could solicit the views of the Constitution's authors, the 
     current allegations against President Clinton would not be 
     impeachable offenses.
       When the framers met in Philadelphia during the stifling 
     summer of 1787, they were seeking not only to design a new 
     form of government, but to outline the responsibilities of 
     the president who would head the new nation. They shared a 
     commitment to disciplining public officials through a system 
     of checks and balances. But they disagreed about the precise 
     extent of presidential power and, in particular, about how, 
     if at all, the president might be removed from office. If we 
     judge by James Madison's characteristically detailed accounts 
     of the debates, this question troubled and divided the 
     members of the Constitutional Convention.

[[Page H10027]]

       The initial draft of the Constitution took the form of 
     resolutions presented before the 30-odd members on June 13. 
     One read that the president could be impeached for 
     ``malpractice, or neglect of duty,'' and, on July 20, this 
     provision provoked extensive debate. The notes of Madison, 
     who was representing Virginia, show that three distinct 
     positions dominated the day's discussion. One extreme view, 
     represented by Roger Sherman of Connecticut, was that ``the 
     National Legislature should have the power to remove the 
     Executive at pleasure.'' Charles Pinckney of South Carolina, 
     Rufus King of Massachusetts and Gouvernor Morris of 
     Pennsylvania opposed, with Pinckney arguing that the 
     president ``ought not to be impeachable whilst in office.'' 
     The third position, which ultimately carried the day, was 
     that the president should be impeachable, but only for a 
     narrow category of abuses of the public trust.
       It was George Mason of Virginia who took a lead role in 
     promoting this more moderate course. He argued that it would 
     be necessary to counter the risk that the president might 
     obtain his office by corrupting his electors. ``Shall that 
     man be above'' justice, he asked, ``who can commit the most 
     extensive injustice?'' The possibility of the new president 
     becoming a near-monarch led the key votes--above all, 
     Morris--to agree that impeachment might be permitted for (in 
     Morris's words) ``corruption & some few other offences.'' 
     Madison concurred, and Edmund Randolph of Virginia captured 
     the emerging consensus, favoring impeachment on the grounds 
     that the executive ``will have great opportunitys of abusing 
     his power; particularly in time of war when the military 
     force, and in some respect the public money, will be in his 
     hands.'' The clear trend of the discussion was toward 
     allowing a narrow impeachment power by which the president 
     could be removed only for gross abuses of public authority.
       To Pinckney's continued protest that the separation of 
     powers should be paramount, Morris argued that ``no one would 
     say that we ought to expose ourselves to the danger of seeing 
     the first Magistrate in foreign pay without being able to 
     guard against it by displacing him.'' At the same time, 
     Morris insisted, ``we should take care to provide some mode 
     that will not make him dependent on the Legislature.'' Thus, 
     led by Morris, the framers moved toward a position that would 
     maintain the separation between president and Congress, but 
     permit the president to be removed in extreme situations.
       A fresh draft of the Constitution's impeachment clause, 
     which emerged two weeks later on Aug. 6, permitted the 
     president to be impeached, but only for treason, bribery and 
     corruption (exemplified by the president's securing his 
     office by unlawful means). With little additional debate, 
     this provision was narrowed on Sept. 4 to ``treason and 
     bribery.'' But a short time later, the delegates took up 
     the impeachment clause anew. Mason complained that the 
     provision was too narrow, that ``maladministration'' 
     should be added, so as to include ``attempts to subvert 
     the Constitution'' that would not count as treason or 
       But Madison, the convention's most careful lawyer, insisted 
     that the term ``maladministration'' was ``so vague'' that it 
     would ``be equivalent to a tenure during pleasure of the 
     Senate,'' which is exactly what the framers were attempting 
     to avoid. Hence, Mason withdrew ``maladministration'' and 
     added the new terms ``other high Crimes and Misdemeanors 
     against the State''--later unanimously changed to, according 
     to Madison, ``against the United States'' to ``remove 
     ambiguity.'' The phrase itself was taken from English law, 
     where it referred to a category of distinctly political 
     offenses against the state.
       There is a further wrinkle in the clause's history. On 
     Sept. 10, the entire Constitution was referred to the 
     Committee on Style and Arrangement. When that committee's 
     version appeared two days later, the words ``against the 
     United States'' had been dropped, probably on the theory that 
     they were redundant, although we have no direct evidence. It 
     would be astonishing if this change were intended to have a 
     substantive effect, for the committee had no authority to 
     change the meaning of any provision, let alone the 
     impeachment clause on which the framers had converged. The 
     Constitution as a whole, including the impeachment provision, 
     was signed by the delegates and offered to the nation on 
     Sept. 17.
       These debates support a narrow understanding of ``high 
     Crimes and Misdemeanors,'' founded on the central notions of 
     bribery and treason. The early history tends in the same 
     direction. The Virginia and Delaware constitutions, providing 
     a background for the founders' work, generally allowed 
     impeachment for acts ``by which the safety of the State may 
     be endangered.'' And consider the words of the highly 
     respected (and later Supreme Court Justice) James Iredell, 
     speaking in the North Carolina ratifying convention: ``I 
     suppose the only instances, in which the President would be 
     liable to impeachment, would be where he had received a 
     bribe, or had acted from some corrupt motive or other.'' By 
     way of explanation, Iredell referred to a situation in which 
     ``the President has received a bribe . . . from a foreign 
     power, and, under the influence of that bribe, had address 
     enough with the Senate, by artifices and misrepresentations, 
     to seduce their consent to a pernicious treaty.''
       James Wilson, a convention delegate from Pennsylvania, 
     wrote similarly in his 1791 ``Lectures on Law'': ``In the 
     United States and in Pennsylvania, impeachments are confined 
     to political characters, to political crimes and 
     misdemeanors, and to political punishments.'' Another early 
     commentator went so far as to say that ``the legitimate 
     causes of impeachment . . . can have reference only to public 
     character, and official duty. . . . In general, those 
     offenses, which may be committed equally by a private person, 
     as a public officer, are not the subjects of impeachment.''
       This history casts new light on the famous 1970 statement 
     of Gerald Ford, then a representative from Michigan, that a 
     high crime and misdemeanor ``is whatever a majority of the 
     House of Representatives considers it to be.'' In a practical 
     sense, of course, Ford was right; no court would review a 
     decision to impeach. But in a constitutional sense, he was 
     quite wrong; the framers were careful to circumscribe the 
     power of the House of Representatives by sharply limiting the 
     category of legitimately impeachable offenses.
       The Constitution is not always read to mean what the 
     founders intended it to mean, and Madison's notes hardly 
     answer every question. But under any reasonable theory of 
     constitutional interpretation, the current allegations 
     against Clinton fall far short of the permissible grounds for 
     removing a president from office. Of course, perjury and 
     obstruction of justice could be impeachable offenses if they 
     involved, for example, lies about unlawful manipulation of 
     elections. It might even be possible to count as impeachable 
     ``corruption'' the extraction of sexual favors in return for 
     public benefits of some kind. But nothing of this kind has 
     been alleged thus far. A decision to impeach President 
     Clinton would not and should not be subject to judicial 
     review. But for those who care about the Constitution's 
     words, and the judgment of its authors, there is a good 
     argument that it would nonetheless be unconstitutional.--Cass 
     Sunstein, who teaches at the University of Chicago School of 
     Law, is the author of ``Legal Reasoning and Political 
     Conflict'' (Oxford University Press).

                [From the New York Times, Oct. 1, 1998]

                        ``An Easy Line to Draw''

                 (By Robert F. Drinan and Wayne Owens)

       This is not the first time the House Judiciary Committee 
     has been called on to determine whether actions of the 
     President in his private life rise to the level of ``high 
     crimes and misdemeanors.'' In 1974, we were members of the 
     House Judiciary Committee that considered evidence that 
     Richard Nixon committed tax fraud while President. The panel 
     concluded that personal misconduct is not an impeachable 
       The evidence against President Nixon was convincing. He had 
     claimed a $565,000 deduction on his taxes for the donation of 
     his Vice Presidential papers, but the loophole that allowed 
     the deduction was closed in 1969. The IRS concluded that the 
     documents for the donation had been signed in 1970 and 
     backdated. There was persuasive evidence that Nixon was 
     personally involved in the decision, making him criminally 
     liable for tax fraud.
       But the committee decided by a vote of 26 to 12 that he 
     should not be impeached for tax fraud because it did not 
     involve official conduct or abuse of Presidential powers.
       As one of the committee's most partisan Democrats, Jerry 
     Waldie, said, ``Though I find the conduct of the President to 
     have been shabby, to have been unacceptable, and to have been 
     disgraceful even, this is not an abuse of power sufficient to 
     warrant impeachment.''
       This bipartisan conclusion was made easier because the 
     first order of business when the committee convened in 1974 
     was to discuss what the standards should be for impeachment. 
     Without such standards, the impeachment process could become 
     a partisan free-for-all.
       The committee stipulated from the beginning that ``because 
     impeachment of a President is a grave step for the nation, it 
     is predicted upon conduct seriously incompatible with either 
     the constitutional form and principles of our government or 
     the proper performance of constitutional duties of the 
     Presidential office.''
       The current House Judiciary Committee would do well to 
     ``follow the precedents set in the Nixon hearings,'' as the 
     chairman, Henry Hyde, recently pledged to do. If the panel 
     applies the standard that emerged in 1974, it will decide 
     that the charges against Clinton do not fall under the 
     articles of impeachment.--Robert F. Drinan and Wayne Owens 
     are former Democratic Representatives from, respectively, 
     Massachusetts and Utah.

    Recent Statements Comparing the Lewinsky Matter to Watergate by 
               Individuals Closely Involved in Watergate

       ``With Mr. Nixon, of course, you had really serious abuse 
     of high office. He engaged in wiretapping of newsmen and 
     government officials. He ordered break-ins--the staff did--of 
     government institutions, and then there was a cover-up where 
     there was clearly no question when you're paying hush money 
     that you're seeking silence of those involved. So, the width 
     and breadth of Watergate was much different than the 
     single incident we have involved here.''--John Dean (CNN, 
       ``The offenses being investigated are totally different. . 
     . . In the aggregate, Watergate was serious, piece-by-piece 
     subversion of presidential accountability to the Congress and 
     public. Those are very wide differences from Whitewater and 

[[Page H10028]]

     Lewinsky.''--Elliot Richardson (Associated Press, 9/10/98)
       Asked if the Starr Report established grounds for 
     impeachment, Ben-Veniste answered, ``No, I don't. And I 
     believe that the report itself is a flagrant and arrogant 
     misuse of the power and the authority of an independent 
     counsel. It had been reported that Mr. Starr was going to 
     follow the example of the Watergate prosecutors in 
     transmitting evidence as a statute permits him to do relating 
     to his view of impeachable offenses. Instead, he has set 
     himself up, not only as investigator and prosecutor, but as 
     judge and jury and has had the arrogance to write articles of 
     impeachment as to make an argument here, a prosecution 
     argument for the removal of the President of the United 
     States. This report has gone so far beyond what he was 
     authorized to do that is has now merged Starr, the 
     prosecutor, and Star the Supermarket tabloid.''--Richard Ben-
     Veniste (Meet the Press, 9/13/98)
       ``I think we have to remember what the crimes in Watergate 
     were. Watergate was about a vast and pervasive abuse of power 
     by a President who ordered break-ins; who ordered fire 
     bombings; who ordered illegal wiretappings; who ordered a 
     squad of goons to thwart the constitutional electoral 
     process. We've seen nothing like that here.''--Carl Bernstein 
     (CNN Saturday Morning News, 9/12/98)

                [From the New York Times, Oct. 4, 1998]

                      ``The Path Back to Dignity''

                          (By Gerald R. Ford)

       Grand Rapids, Mich.--Almost exactly 25 years have passed 
     since Richard Nixon nominated me to replace the disgraced 
     Spiro Agnew as Vice President. In the contentious days of 
     autumn 1973, my confirmation was by no means assured. Indeed, 
     a small group of House Democrats, led by Bella Abzug, risked 
     a constitutional crisis in order to pursue their own agenda.
       ``We can get control and keep control,'' Ms. Abzug told the 
     Speaker of the House, Carl Albert.
       The group hoped, eventually, to replace Nixon himself with 
     Mr. Albert.
       The Speaker, true to form, refused to have anything to do 
     with the scheme. And so on Dec. 6, 1973, the House voted 387 
     to 35 to confirm my nomination on accordance with the 25th 
     Amendment to the Constitution.
       When I succeeded to the Presidency, in August 1974, my 
     immediate and overriding priority was to draw off the poison 
     that had seeped into the nation's bloodstream during two 
     years of scandal and sometimes ugly partisanship. Some 
     Americans have yet to forgive me for pardoning my 
     predecessor. In the days leading up to that hugely 
     controversial action, I didn't take a poll for guidance, but 
     I did say more than a few prayers. In the end I listened to 
     only one voice, that of my conscience. I didn't issue the 
     pardon for Nixon's sake, but for the country's.
       A generation later, Americans once again confront the 
     specter of impeachment. From the day, last January, when the 
     Monica Lewinsky story first came to light, I have refrained 
     publicly from making any substantive comments. I have done so 
     because I haven't known enough of the facts--and because 
     I know all too well that a President's responsibilities 
     are, at the best of times, onerous. In common with the 
     other former Presidents, I have had to wish to increase 
     those burdens. Moreover, I resolved to say nothing unless 
     my words added constructively to the national discussion.
       This much now seems clear: whether or not President Clinton 
     has broken any laws, he has broke faith with those who 
     elected him. A leader of rare gifts, one who set out to 
     change history by convincing the electorate that he and his 
     party wore the mantle of individual responsibility and 
     personal accountability, the President has since been forced 
     to take refuge in legalistic evasions, while his defenders 
     resort to the insulting mantra that ``everybody does it.''
       The best evidence that everybody doesn't do it is the 
     genuine outrage occasioned by the President's conduct and by 
     the efforts of some White House surrogates to minimize its 
     significance or savage his critics.
       The question confronting us, then is not whether the 
     President has done wrong, but rather, what is an appropriate 
     form of punishment for his wrongdoing. A simple apology is 
     inadequate, and a fine would trivialize his misconduct by 
     treating it as a mere question of monetary restitution.
       At the same time, the President is not the only one who 
     stands before the bar of judgment. It has been said that 
     Washington is a town of marble and mud. Often in these past 
     few months it has seemed that we were all in danger of 
     sinking into the mire.
       Twenty-five years after leaving it, I still consider myself 
     a man of the House. I never forget that my elevation to the 
     Presidency came about through Congressional as well as 
     constitutional mandate. My years in the White House were 
     devoted to restoring public confidence in institutions of 
     popular governance. Now as then, I care more about preserving 
     respect for those institutions than I do about the fate of 
     any individual temporarily entrusted with office.
       This is why I think the time has come to pause and consider 
     the long-term consequences of removing this President from 
     office based on the evidence at hand. The President's 
     hairsplitting legalisms, objectionable as they may be, are 
     but the foretaste of a protracted and increasingly divisive 
     debate over those deliberately imprecise words ``high crimes 
     and misdemeanors.'' The Framers, after all, dealt in eternal 
     truths, not glossy deceit.
       Moving with dispatch, the House Judiciary Committee should 
     be able to conclude a preliminary inquiry into possible 
     grounds for impeachment before the end of the year. Once that 
     process is completed, and barring unexpected new revelations, 
     the full House might then consider the following resolution 
     to the crisis.
       Each year it is customary for a President to journey down 
     Pennsylvania Avenue and appear before a joint session of 
     Congress to deliver his State of the Union address. One of 
     the binding rituals of our democracy, it takes on added 
     grandeur from its surroundings--there, in that chamber where 
     so much of the American story has been written, and where the 
     ghosts of Woodrow Wilson, Franklin Roosevelt and Dwight 
     Eisenhower call succeeding generations to account.
       Imagine a very different kind of Presidential appearance in 
     the closing days of this year, not at the rostrum familiar to 
     viewers from moments of triumph, but in the well of the 
     House. Imagine a President receiving not an ovation from the 
     people's representatives, but a harshly worded rebuke as 
     rendered by members of both parties. I emphasize: this would 
     be a rebuke, not a rebuttal by the President.
       On the contrary, by his appearance the President would 
     accept full responsibility for his actions, as well as for 
     his subsequent efforts to delay or impede the investigation 
     of them. No spinning, no semantics, no evasiveness or blaming 
     others for his plight.
       Let all this be done without partisan exploitation or mean-
     spiritedness. Let it be dignified, honest and, above all, 
     cleansing. The result, I believe, would be the first moment 
     of majesty in an otherwise squalid year.
       Anyone who confuses this scenario with a slap on the wrist, 
     or a censure written in disappearing ink, underestimates the 
     historic impact of such a pronouncement. Nor should anyone 
     forget the power of television to foster indelible images in 
     the national memory--not unlike what happened on the solemn 
     August noontime in 1974 when I stood in the East Room and 
     declared our long national nightmare to be over.
       At 85, I have no general personal or political agenda, nor 
     do I have any interest in ``rescuing'' Bill Clinton. But I do 
     care, passionately, about rescuing the country I love from 
     further turmoil or uncertainty.
       More than a way out of the current mess, most Americans 
     want a way up to something better. In the midst of a far 
     graver national crisis, Lincoln observed, ``The occasion is 
     piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the 
     occasion.'' We should remember those words in the days ahead. 
     Better yet, we should be guided by them.--Gerald R. Ford, the 
     38th President of the United States, was a Republican member 
     of the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1973.

  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentlewoman 
from Houston, Texas (Ms. Sheila Jackson-Lee), an able member of our 
Committee on the Judiciary who was working until midnight on the floor.
  (Ms. JACKSON-LEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
her remarks.)
  Ms. JACKSON-LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the distinguished gentleman 
from Michigan (Mr. Conyers) for yielding me this time, and I thank my 
democratic colleagues for the convictions they have shared with America 
today and for helping them understand this most somber challenge and 
the high constitutional that we may have.
  To my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, truth matters, but 
the Constitution also matters. The President's behavior was 
reprehensible, outrageous, and disappointing. But as George Mason 
indicated, impeachable offenses are those dangerous and great offenses 
against the Constitution. They constitute a subversion of the 
  Members gathered in 1974 and refused to impeach Richard Nixon on the 
personal charge of tax evasion. It must be that we understand what 
these constitutional standards are for impeachment high crimes and 
misdemeanors--would that be private sexual acts--it appears not.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish in my Republican friends' attempt to explain to 
the American people that they stand by the Constitution that they would 
have implored their own counsel, Mr. Shippers, and, of course, Mr. 
Starr, not to hide the truth, for the presentations made by both men 
did not forthrightly acknowledge that Monica Lewinsky said, ``No one 
ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence.'' I 
am concerned about this uneven presenting of the facts.
  Democrats do not want a cover-up. We simply want to have an inquiry 
that is fair, that is expeditious, and is not open-ended and is not a 
fishing expedition.
  What is perjury? Perjury is lying; however perjury must be proven. 

[[Page H10029]]

eral defenses if raised would disprove lying--such truth, or whether 
the proponent thought he or she was telling the truth, and materiality. 
My friends on the other side of the aisle are rushing to judgment. But 
I am reminded of the words of Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, ``It is 
reason and not passion which must guide our deliberations, guide our 
debate, and guide our decision.'' We must proceed deliberately--not 
eager to accuse without the facts.
  Mr. Speaker, I implore my colleagues, to let reason guide us. And 
then let me say to my constituents and those who face a moral dilemma, 
I have been in churches in my district, they believe in redemption. 
And, yes, the President has sinned. But those of you who want to rise 
and cast the first stone, my question is: Who has not sinned?
  And whatever we do today, those of us who have received death threats 
in our office, attacks against our children because of the hysteria 
that has been created by this Congress, I simply ask that we give this 
proceeding a chance to be fair, to act judiciously, and to follow the 
  Lastly, might I say I believe that we will survive this together as a 
Nation and we will do this if we let constitutional principals guide us 
for Isaiah 40:31 says, ``They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their 
strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles and they shall walk 
and not be faint.''
  Mr. Speaker, I will stand for the preservation of the Constitution.
  It is fate that has put us all here today.
  But history will reflect--and tell the story of how we acted today--
whether or not the Constitution matters. Truth does matter, but the 
Constitution dictates that impeachable offenses be grounded in attempts 
to subvert the Constitution. I am supporting the democratic amendment 
today that focuses our review, establishes the constitutional 
standards, and allows us to bring this inquiry to closure by the end of 
the year.
  Truth matters and the Constitution matters. The President is not 
above the law, however, neither is he beneath the law. We need to act 
with reason, not fury, harmony not acrimony, with deliberation, not 
recklessness, with constitutional discharge, and not with opinion, and 
speculation with justice and fairness and not injustice and unfairness.
  Mr. Speaker, in November of 1992 President William Jefferson Clinton 
was elected President of the United States by focusing on the economy 
and using the slogan ``It's the Economy Stupid.'' I come here today 
with mixed feelings. We come here today not to focus on the economy, 
but the Constitution. It's the Constitution that matters!
  Article II, Section IV states that,

     the President . . . shall be removed from Office on 
     Impeachment for, and Conviction of, treason, Bribery, or 
     other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

  It's the Constitution that matters! The Framers of our Constitution 
set the standard. George Mason, one of the Framers, stated that ``high 
crimes and misdemeanors'' refers to Presidential actions that are 
``great and dangerous offenses'' to attempt to subvert the 
Constitution.'' The noted legal scholar from Yale University Professor, 
Charles Black, writes in his Impeachment Handbook that,

       In the English practice from which the Framers borrowed the 
     phrase, ``High Crimes and Misdemeanors'' . . . was intended 
     to redress public offenses committed by public officials in 
     violation of the public trust and duties. It was designed to 
     be justified for the gravest wrongs--offenses against the 
     Constitution itself.

  This is our standard. It is clear that while we have no conduct or 
allegations showing the President to have committed either treason or 
bribery, we must focus our attention on two questions. One, what is a 
``high crime and misdemeanor or an impeachable offense?, and two, did 
the President of the United States commit any high crimes and 
misdemeanors or an impeachable offense? Those are the questions, and it 
is up to the Congress to find the answers.
  We are at this point today because the President of the United States 
had an affair with a White House intern and he didn't want anyone to 
know about it, and that was wrong. However, what we have heard or seen 
thus far does not set out a prima facie case for impeachment.
  On the floor for consideration today is a Republican ``privileged 
resolution'' on the question to launch an impeachment inquiry ``to 
investigate fully and completely whether sufficient grounds exist for 
the House of Representatives to exercise its constitutional power to 
impeach the President.'' There are no limits to their investigation and 
no establishment of the necessary constitutional standards.
  Twenty-five years ago, this committee undertook the constitutional 
task of considering the impeachment of President Nixon. The process was 
painstaking, careful, and deliberative, and both the Nation and the 
world were reassured that America's 200 year-old Constitution worked.
  Impeachment is final, nonappealable without further remedy, a 
complete rejection of the people's will and thereby, I believe it must 
be done fully beyond a doubt and without rancor or vengeance--complying 
with every woven thread of the Constitution. Today, by contrast, the 
world and the American people have been alternatively puzzled, 
confused, and appalled by the reckless media circus our automatic 
dumping of documents has produced.
  On July 24, 1974, the House Judiciary Committee had a meeting to 
consider the Impeachment of President Richard Nixon. One of my 
predecessors of the 18th Congressional District of Texas, the late, 
great, Barbara Jordan said that,

       My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it 
     is total. I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator 
     to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the 

  So I, like my predecessor come not to subvert or destroy the 
Constitution, but to uphold it.
  I am fully aware like most of my colleagues, that this privileged 
resolution only allows for a 10-minute motion to recommit, and not the 
regular full time allotted to consider a Democratic amendment. In order 
for this process to be fair and balanced and for the American people to 
truly hear both sides of this debate the House should waive House Rule 
IX, and allow the Democratic amendment to be considered, for a certain 
designated time. The Republicans refused that request.
  While the Republican resolution does not have a time certain for the 
inquiry to end, the Democratic amendment calls for the Judiciary 
Committee to make a full recommendation to the House concerning 
Articles of Impeachment by no later than December 31, 1998. This is a 
compromise. There must be fairness and balance. The Democrats have also 
yielded on the provision which allows the House to consider other 
pertinent matters, as long as it is referred by the Independent 
Counsel, and not arbitrarily decided by Congress. This impeachment 
inquiry must be limited in scope and have a time certain. On February 
6, 1974, Congressman Hutchinson, then the ranking Republican on the 
committee spoke on the floor of the House about the Watergate inquiry 
and said,

       The resolution before you carries no cutoff date. Although 
     charges have raged in the media there has yet to be 
     demonstrated any evidence of impeachable conduct. Therefore, 
     if by the end of April no such evidence has been produced, 
     the committee should so report to the House and end its 

The American people have spoken and they have said that this has gone 
on too long. This can not be an endless process. There must be time 
certain or the House should ``end its labors.''
  So far what we have in Congress is the word of one man, an 
Independent Counsel who is not duly elected by the people. We have 
convoluted facts, inconsistent stories and versions, possible illegal 
tape recordings, but no real hard evidence.
  In Act V of Macbeth, William Shakespeare writes,

       Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and 
     frets his hour upon the stage, And then is heard no more; it 
     is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, 
     Signifying nothing.

  That's what we have so far Mr. Speaker. We have fury, but no facts, 
and a tale told by a nonelected official that is full of allegations, 
not yet fact signifying anything. As the Watergate Committee's February 
1974 Staff Report explained, ``In an impeachment proceeding a President 
is called to account for abusing powers that only a President 
possesses.'' In Watergate, as in all prior impeachments, the 
allegations concerned official misconduct that threatened to subvert 
the constitutional order or balance, not private misbehavior. 
Impeachment is not a personal punishment. In all of American history, 
no official has been impeached for misbehavior unrelated to his 
official responsibilities. I make no attempt to excuse the President's 
behavior, but as we vote on whether to launch a full scale impeachment 
inquiry, I admonish my colleagues that we must adhere to the 
constitution and the writings of the Framers. It's the Constitution 
that matters!
  As James Wilson explained in the Pennsylvania ratification 
convention: ``far from being above the laws, [the President] is 
amenable to them in this private character as [a] citizen, and in his 
public character by impeachment.'' The Constitution imposes a grave and 
serious responsibility on us to protect the fabric of the Constitution. 
To perform our job requires that we investigate the facts thoroughly 
before we begin dealing with what our predecessors called ``delicate 
issues of basic constitutional

[[Page H10030]]

law.'' We must avoid prejudging the issues or turning this solemn duty 
into another forum for partisan wrangling. The Republican resolution on 
the floor today, which may result in the House acting without all the 
facts, weakens the foundation of the Constitution.
  The former Congressman and now a renowned Georgetown Law Professor, 
Father Drinan, who served on the House Judiciary Committee during the 
Watergate Impeachment hearings stated that,

       There is no such thing as a Democratic or Republican 
     approach to the allegation of impeachment, The House of 
     Representatives is now involved in a proceeding which was 
     described by George Mason [a Founding Father] as the 
     Constitution providing for the regular punishment of the 
     executive when his misconduct should deserve it'' but also 
     ``for his honorable acquittal when he should be unjustly 

  It was George Washington, the first President of the United States 
who said in his Farewell Address on September 17, 1796, ``Let me now . 
. . warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of 
the spirit of party.''
  This should be a nonpartisan debate, and a constitutional debate. We 
need to act with reason, not fury, harmony not acrimony, with 
deliberation . . .  not recklessness, with constitutional discharge, 
and not with opinions and speculation, with justice and fairness, and 
not injustice and unfairness.
  I hope my colleagues will allow for full consideration and debate of 
the Democratic amendment which is focused and fair. I leave you with 
the words of Martin Luther King, who said, ``Injustice anywhere is a 
threat to justice everywhere . . . whatever affects one directly, 
affects all indirectly.'' It's the Constitution that matters Mr. 
Speaker, and I hope today it will rule.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from Texas 
(Mr. Smith), a distinguished member of the committee.
  (Mr. SMITH of Texas asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. SMITH of Texas. Mr. Speaker, others continue to argue or continue 
to imply that this inquiry is only about a personal relationship, but 
that is like saying Watergate was only about picking a lock or that the 
Boston Tea Party was only about tea.
  During a similar investigation of President Nixon 24 years ago, there 
was little focus on the burglary. The Committee on the Judiciary and 
the special prosecutor rightly wanted to know, as we should today, 
whether the President lied to the American people, obstructed justice 
or abused his office.
  While some try to describe this scandal as private, the President's 
own Attorney General found that there existed credible evidence of 
criminal wrongdoing.
  This is not a decision to go forward with an inquiry into a personal 
relationship. It is about examining the most public of relationships, 
between a witness and the courts, between the President and the 
American people.
  It is about respect for the law, respect for the office of the 
presidency, respect for the American people, respect for the officers 
of the Court, respect for women and ultimately about self-respect.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from New York (Mr. Ackerman).
  (Mr. ACKERMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. ACKERMAN. Mr. Speaker, I rise in passionate objection and 
opposition to the resolution.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Pelosi).
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan (Mr. 
Conyers) for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Hyde resolution, and in 
doing so point out the inconsistency of the Republican majority. At the 
start of this Congress, the Republican majority gave you, Mr. Speaker, 
the highest honor this House can bestow: The speakership. For the 
freshman Republicans, this was the first vote that they cast in this 
House. The Republican majority did this after you, Mr. Speaker, were 
charged with and admitted to lying under oath to the Ethics Committee 
about the conduct of your political affairs.
  How inconsistent then, Mr. Speaker, for this same Republican majority 
to move to an impeachment inquiry of the President for lying about his 
personal life. Our Republican majority have said lying under oath is a 
dagger in the heart of the legal system. We all agree that lying is 
wrong, but why the double standard?
  I urge my colleagues to reject this Republican double standard which 
exalts the Speaker and moves to impeach the President. I urge my 
colleagues to vote no on the Hyde resolution.
  Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished 
gentleman from Utah (Mr. Cannon), a member of the Committee on the 
  Mr. CANNON. Mr. Speaker, I would like to associate myself with the 
views expressed by the chairman, the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. 
Hyde), and also by those expressed by the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. 
  I am proud that my Republican colleagues have spent more than 5 times 
as much time reviewing the Starr referral material than my Democratic 
  This is a solemn occasion and I feel the full weight of the 
responsibility that we are assuming today.
  Some would trivialize this debate by giving it the name of a young 
intern or by referring to other important matters that face the Nation. 
They know that this is or they should know that this is inappropriate. 
Americans want this matter brought to closure. That can only occur if 
we fully determine the facts, place those facts in the context of the 
law and weigh the proper response that will preserve the integrity of 
the office of the presidency and the integrity of our Nation.
  Mr. Speaker, as a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, I pledge 
to work diligently to move this matter forward.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Davis).
  (Mr. DAVIS of Illinois asked and was given permission to revise and 
extend his remarks.)
  Mr. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Hyde 
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. DeFazio).
  (Mr. DeFAZIO asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
  Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the Democratic 
alternative and in opposition to the open-ended Republican resolution 
of inquiry.
  Mr. Speaker, the question of impeaching a sitting President has only 
come before the House of Representatives three times in our nation's 
history. There's a very good reason this has happened so seldom. Our 
nation's founders deliberately set very high standards for impeachment 
in order to spare the nation the trauma of such an inherently divisive 
debate and to maintain a strong and independent Presidency. At a time 
like this, we all have a responsibility to rise above party politics 
and short term political considerations. We are not just debating the 
fate of this President. We are setting precedents that will have a 
profound and long-lasting effect on our constitutional system of 
  The issue before the House today is whether we will initiate a 
lengthy and open-ended impeachment inquiry that will paralyze our 
government and throw this nation into a prolonged constitutional 
crisis, or whether we will demand a focused and speedy resolution of 
this matter. After carefully considering the evidence so far produced 
by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, I have concluded that the 
nation's interests are best served by an impeachment inquiry that is 
thorough, but focused--comprehensive, but promptly concluded.
  This debate is already preventing Congress from addressing important 
issues facing the nation--including issues like the future of Social 
Security, health care reform and improving our educational system. 
There is no profit to the people of the United States in a drawn-out 
impeachment debate that could go on for another year or more. We have 
the information we need to conclude this matter by the end of this 
year. The Republican leadership should work with Democratic leaders to 
make that happen.
  President Clinton's behavior has been outrageous, reckless and 
morally offensive. He flatly lied to the American people and may have 
committed perjury in a civil lawsuit. Mr. Starr also alleges that the 
President obstructed justice and otherwise abused his office.
  Reasonable people can differ over whether these charges--if true--
constitute the kind of offenses that warrant the national trauma of 
impeachment. For that reason, if for no other, I believe the Judiciary 
Committee should consider the evidence brought forward by the 
Independent Counsel, as well as any new evidence he sees fit to refer 
to us, and decide

[[Page H10031]]

without delay whether to forward articles of impeachment to the House. 
But I strongly disagree with the delay tactics and the blatantly unfair 
and partisan approach adopted by Republican leaders--a strategy aimed 
more at improving their party's election prospects than at promoting 
the national interest.
  Impeachment of a President is not a matter for Congress to take 
lightly or use for narrow partisan purposes. By its very nature, 
impeachment repudiates the will of the people as expressed in a popular 
election. it severely undermines the separation of powers, which is at 
the core of our system of government. And in the long term, it would 
weaken not only the office of the President, but the nation's strength 
and prestige in international affairs.
  For those reasons and others, I oppose the Republican leadership's 
drawn-out and open-ended impeachment inquiry proposal and will vote 
today in favor of the alternative: a prompt and focused impeachment 
inquiry aimed at resolving this crisis and putting these issues behind 
us, one way or another.
  Mr. CONYERS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. McDermott), my dear friend.
  (Mr. McDermott asked and was given permission to revise and extend 
his remarks, and to include extraneous matter.)
  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Hyde 
  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, in 1789, the Founding Fathers wrote a 
Constitution designed to create a stable government. They established a 
democracy of the people--not a parliamentary democracy--because they 
did not want a government that would change whenever the executive fell 
into disfavor with the majority party. The Founding Fathers wanted a 
government of laws, not people, so they made only one option available 
to change the chief executive outside of an election by the people--
impeachment. Impeachment was prescribed only in unique and 
extraordinary circumstances.
  The impeachment process was vaguely outlined in the Constitution and 
the established criteria are very few. Article II, Section 4 says that 
the President, ``Shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and 
Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and 
Misdemeanors.'' Impeachment does not require criminal acts. In fact, 
the House Report on the Constitutional Grounds of Presidential 
Impeachment states, ``the emphasis has been on the significant effects 
of the conduct--undermining the integrity of the office, disregard of 
constitutional duties and oath of office, arrogation of power, abuse of 
the governmental process, adverse impact on the system of government.'' 
The bar was set high so that impeachment would be neither casual nor 
easy for fear that we would undermine the stability of the office. 
Alexander Hamilton summed up the dangers of impeachment by saying, 
``there will always be the greatest danger that the decision will be 
regulated more by the comparative strength of parties, than by the real 
demonstrations of innocence or guilt.''
  Hamilton's warning seems prophetic today. Aside from its partisan 
nature, the situation before us is quite unusual. It is the first time 
an Independent Counsel has presented findings to the Congress for 
determination of the need for an impeachment process. Secondly, the 
House of Representatives undermined the process when they ignored the 
precedents which have been followed in the evaluation and released 
large volumes of testimony and documents collected in the grand jury 
process to not only the Congress but to the world at large.
  This has allowed the full membership of the House of Representatives 
and the public to come to conclusions before the process of impeachment 
has begun. The polls would suggest that the public does not favor 
removing the President from office but it is less clear what they feel 
is an adequate sanction.
  Today, the members of the House will be confronted with the question 
of whether or not an impeachment inquiry should begin. I will vote 
against an inquiry for the following reason:
  The evidence presented to the Congress by Mr. Starr does not support 
the charge of an impeachable offense. When all is said and done, the 
President made some false statements under oath about a sexual 
relationship and lied to many people about that relationship. While I 
in no way condone the President's behavior, I have concluded that it 
requires no further investigation and does not support impeachment.
  The framers of the Constitution did not anticipate litigation against 
a president in a sexual harassment case or investigation by an 
independent counsel. The framers limited impeachment to the kinds of 
improprieties--treason, bribery, and the like--that threatened the 
nation for the benefit of the individual. We have no such case before 
us. His actions, while totally unacceptable, do not rise to the level 
of a high crime or misdemeanor. The President's actions do not threaten 
our ability to act decisively in the world of politics for the benefit 
of all Americans, sadly, the House of Representative's actions do.

             [From the National Law Journal, Oct. 5, 1998]

                    Top Profs: Not Enough To Impeach

            NLJ `jury' of 12 con-law experts weighs evidence

                          (By Harvey Berkman)

       ON A `JURY' OF 12 constitutional law professors, all but 
     two told The National Law Journal that, from a constitutional 
     standpoint, President Clinton should not be impeached for the 
     things Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr claims he did.
       Some of the scholars call the question a close one, but 
     most suggest that it is not; they warn that impeaching 
     William Jefferson Clinton for the sin he admits or the crimes 
     he denies would flout the Founding Fathers' intentions.
       ``On the charges as we now have them, assuming there is no 
     additional report [from Mr. Starr], impeaching the president 
     would probably be unconstitutional,'' asserts Cass R. 
     Sunstein, co-author of a treatise on constitutional law, who 
     teaches at the University of Chicago Law School.
       The first reason for this conclusion is that the one charge 
     indisputably encompassed by the concept of impeachment--abuse 
     of power--stands on the weakest argument and evidence.
       ``The allegations that invoking privileges and otherwise 
     using the judicial system to shield information . . . is an 
     abuse of power that should lead to impeachment and removal 
     from office is not only frivolous, but also dangerous,'' says 
     Laurence H. Tribe, of Harvard Law School.
       The second reason is that the Starr allegation for which 
     the evidence is disturbingly strong--perjury--stems directly 
     from acts the Founders would have considered personal, not 
     governmental, and so is not the sort of issue they intended 
     to allow Congress to cite to remove a president from office.

                      NO `LARGE-SCALE INFIDELITY'

       Says Professor Sunstein, ``Even collectively, the 
     allegations don't constitute the kind of violation of loyalty 
     to the United States or large-scale infidelity to the 
     Constitution that would justify impeachment, given the 
     Framers' decision that impeachment should follow only from 
     treason, bribery or other like offenses . . . What we have in 
     the worst case here is a pattern of lying to cover up a 
     sexual relationship, which is very far from what the Framers 
     thought were grounds for getting rid of a president.''
       Douglas W. Kmiec, who spent four years in the Justice 
     Department's Office of Legal Counsel and now teaches at Notre 
     Dame Law School, agrees: ``The fundamental point is the one 
     that Hamilton makes in Federalist 65: Impeachment is really a 
     remedy for the republic; it is not intended as personal 
     punishment for a crime.
       ``There's no question that William Jefferson Clinton has 
     engaged in enormous personal misconduct and to some degree 
     has exhibited disregard for the public interest in doing so, 
     he says. But does that mean that it is gross neglect--gross 
     in the sense of being measured not by whether we have to 
     remove the children from the room when the president's video 
     is playing, but by whether [alleged terrorist Osama] bin 
     Laden is now not being properly monitored or budget 
     agreements aren't being made?''
       Adds Prof. John E. Nowak, of the University of Illinois 
     College of Law, the impeachment clause was intended ``to 
     protect political stability in this country, rather than move 
     us toward a parliamentary system whereby the dominant 
     legislative party can decide that the person running the 
     country is a bad person and get rid of him.'' Mr. Nowak co-
     authored a constitutional law hornbook and a multivolume 
     treatise with fellow Illinois professor Ronald Rotunda, with 
     whom he does not discuss these matters because Professor 
     Rotunda is an adviser to Mr. Starr.
       ``It seems hard to believe that anything in the report . . 
     . could constitute grounds for an impeachment on other than 
     purely political grounds.'' Professor Nowak says. ``If false 
     statements by the president to other members of the executive 
     branch are the equivalent of a true misuse of office . . . I 
     would think that the prevailing legislative party at any time 
     in our history when the president was of a different party 
     could have cooked up . . . ways that he had misused the 
       And that, says Prof. A.E. Dick Howard, who has been 
     teaching constitutional law and history for 30 years, would 
     be a step in a direction the Founders never intended to go.
       ``The Framers started from a separation-of-powers basis and 
     created a presidential system, not a parliamentary system, 
     and they meant for it to be difficult for Congress to remove 
     a president--not impossible, but difficult,'' says Professor 
     Howard, of the University of Virginia School of Law. ``We 
     risk diluting that historical meaning if we permit a liberal 
     reading of the impeachment power--which is to say: If in 
     doubt, you don't impeach.''
       Many of the scholars point to the White House's acquisition 
     of FBI files on Republicans as an example of something that 
     could warrant the Clintons' early return to Little Rock--but 
     only if it were proved that these files were acquired 
     intentionally and malevolently misused. The reason that would 

[[Page H10032]]

     grounds for impeachment, while his activities surrounding 
     Monica Lewinsky would not, the professors say, is that misuse 
     of FBI files would implicate Mr. Clinton's powers as 
     president. But if Mr. Starr has found any such evidence, he 
     has not sent it to Congress, which he is statutorily bound to 
       One professor who believes there is no doubt that President 
     Clinton's behavior in the Lewinsky matter merits his 
     impeachment is John O. McGinnis, who teaches at Yeshiva 
     University, Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. ``I don't 
     think we want a parliamentary system, although I would point 
     out that it's not as though we're really going to have a 
     change in power. If Clinton is removed there will be Gore, 
     sort of a policy clone of Clinton. A parliamentary system 
     suggests a change in party power. That fear is somewhat 
       Professor McGinnis considers the reasons for impeachment 
     obvious. ``I don't think the Constitution cares one whit what 
     sort of incident [the alleged felonies] come from,'' he says. 
     ``The question is, `Can you have a perjurer and someone who 
     obstructs justice as president?' And it seems to me self-
     evident that you cannot. The whole structure of our country 
     depends on giving honest testimony under law. That's the glue 
     of the rule of law. You can go back to Plato, who talks about 
     the crucial-ness of oaths in a republic. It's why perjury and 
     obstruction of justice are such dangerous crimes.''
       This argument has some force, says Professor Kmiec, but the 
     public is hesitant to impeach in this case because of a 
     feeling that ``the entire process started illegitimately, 
     that the independent counsel statute is flawed and that the 
     referral in this case was even more flawed, in that it was 
     done somewhat hastily by the attorney general.''
       Jesse H. Choper, a professor at the University of 
     California at Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall) and co-
     author of a con-law casebook now in its seventh edition, 
     agrees that perjury, committed for any reason, can count as 
     an impeachable offense. ``The language says `high crimes and 
     misdemeanor.' and [perjury] is a felony, so my view is that 
     it comes within the [constitutional] language. But whether we 
     ought to throw a president out of office because he lied 
     under oath in order to cover up an adulterous affair . . . my 
     judgment as a citizen would be that it's not enough.''

                       A Judge Would Be Impeached

       Many of the professors say Mr. Clinton would almost 
     certainly be impeached for precisely what he has done, were 
     he a judge rather than the president. That double standard, 
     they say, is contemplated by the Constitution in a roundabout 
     way. Says Professor Kmeic, ``The places where personal 
     misbehavior is raised have entirely been in the context of 
     judicial officers. There is a healthy amount of scholarship 
     that suggests that one of the things true about judicial 
     impeachments (which is not true of executive impeachments) is 
     the additional phraseology saying that judges serve in times 
     of good behavior. The counterargument is that there is only 
     one impeachment clause, applying to executive and judicial 
     alike. But . . . our history is that allegations of profanity 
     and drunkenness, gross personal misbehavior, have come up 
     only in the judicial context.''
       In addition to history, there is another reason for making 
     it harder to impeach presidents, says Akhil Reed Amar, who 
     teaches constitutional law at Yale Law School and who 
     recently published a book on the Bill of Rights: ``When you 
     impeach a judge, you're not undoing a national election . . . 
     The questions to ask is whether [President Clinton's] 
     misconduct is so serious and malignant as to justify undoing 
     a national election, canceling the votes of millions and 
     putting the nation through a severe trauma.''

                         They're Uncomfortable

       None of these arguments, however, is to suggest that the 
     professors are comfortable with what they believe the 
     president may well be doing: persistently repeating a single, 
     essential lie--that his encounters did not meet the 
     definition of sexual relations at his Paula Jones deposition. 
     Mr. Clinton admits that this definition means he could never 
     have touched any part of her body with the intent to inflame 
     or satiate her desire. It is an assertion that clashes not 
     only with Ms. Lewinsky's recounting of her White House trysts 
     to friends, erstwile friends and the grand jury, but also 
     with human nature.
       ``That's one of the two things that trouble me most about 
     his testimony--that he continues to insist on the quite 
     implausible proposition [of] `Look, Ma, no hands,' which is 
     quite inconsistent with Monica Lewinsky's testimony, and that 
     he's doing that in what appears to be quite a calculated 
     way,'' Professor Tribe laments. ``But I take some solace in 
     the fact that [a criminal prosecution of perjury] awaits him 
     when he leaves office.''
       Professor Amar agrees that ``whatever . . . crimes he may 
     have committed, he'll have to answer for it when he leaves 
     office, and that is the punishment that will fit his crime.''
       Also disturbing to Professor Tribe is the president's 
     apparent comfort with a peculiar concept of what it means to 
     tell the truth, a concept the professor describes as ``It may 
     be deceptive, but if you can show it's true under a 
     magnifying glass tilted at a certain angle, you're OK.''
       But even that distortion, he believes, does not reach the 
     high bar the Founders set for imposing on presidents the 
     political equivalent of capital punishment.
       ``It would be a disastrous precedent to say that when one's 
     concept of truth makes it harder for people to trust you, 
     that that fuzzy fact is enough to say there has been 
     impeachable conduct,'' Professor Tribe says. ``That would 
     move us very dramatically toward a parliamentary system. 
     Whether someone is trustworthy is very much in the eye of the 
     beholder. The concept of truth revealed in his testimony 
     makes it much harder to have confidence in him, but the 
     impeachment process cannot be equated with a vote of no 
     confidence without moving us much closer to a parliamentary 
       Professor Kmiec does suggest that something stronger than 
     simple ``no confidence'' might form the possible basis for 
     impeachment. Call it ``no confidence at all.'' ``It is 
     possible that one could come to the conclusion that the 
     president's credibility is so destroyed that he'd have 
     difficulty functioning as an effective president,'' Professor 
     Kmiec says, ``But the public doesn't seem to think so, and I 
     don't know that foreign leaders think so,'' given the 
     standing ovation Mr. Clinton received at the United Nations.
       In the end, Professor Howard says that he opposes 
     impeachment under these conditions not only because the past 
     suggests it is inappropriate, but also because of the 
     dangerous precedent it would set. ``Starting with the Supreme 
     Court's devastatingly unfortunate and totally misconceived 
     opinion [in Clinton v. Jones, which allowed Ms. Jones's suit 
     to proceed against the president while he was still in 
     office], this whole controversy has played out in a way that 
     makes it possible for every future president to be harassed 
     at every turn by his political enemies,'' Professor Howard 
     warns. ``To draw fine lines and say that any instance of 
     stepping across that line becomes impeachable invites a 
     president's enemies to lay snares at every turn in the path. 
     I'm not sure we want a system that works that way.''
       The other ``jurors'' on this panel of constitutional law 
     professors were:
       The one essentially abstaining ``juror'': Michael J. 
     Gerhardt, of the College of William and Mary, Marshall-Wythe 
     School of Law.
       Douglas Laycock, of The University of Texas School of Law.
       Thomas O. Sargentich, co-director of the program on law and 
     government at American University, Washington College of Law.
       Suzanna A. Sherry, professor at the University of Minnesota 
     Law School.