February 11, 1999 - Issue: Vol. 145, No. 25 — Daily Edition106th Congress (1999 - 2000) - 1st Session
STATEMENT ON THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS
(Extensions of Remarks - February 11, 1999)
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[Extensions of Remarks] [Pages E213-E214] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] STATEMENT ON THE IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDINGS ______ HON. ROBERT A. BRADY of pennsylvania in the house of representatives Thursday, February 11, 1999 Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I don't think I need to say anything about the facts of this case. The thousands of pages from the Independent Council say it all, and anyone who still thinks there's enough in there to convict the President on Purgery or Obstruction of Justice charges should read them again. I can't add anything to the case the White House council presented, so I won't try. I'm not going to talk about Constitutional Law, except to say that I don't see how the President can be removed from office in this case even if the charges could be proven. While President Clinton is guilty of bad behavior and lack of moral judgment in this issue, he didn't put the country in jeopardy. Instead, I'll tell you about the political lynching that's been going on, how we got here, and why we can't seem to get back to the issues of the people of America. Ever since I can remember, I have regarded the United States House of Congress with a kind of awe. Throughout my political career I've been impressed by the Representatives on both sides of the House and held them in very high regard. That is, until I was elected as a member of the House, walked through it's doors for the first time, and became witness to the most hateful and vicious attack on our Democracy that this country has ever seen; the hijacking of the American Government. The Conservative Republicans wanted nothing less than the total destruction of their political enemy, the nationally elected President of our United States. Maybe this sounds partisan, but I'm not here to make friends or win any popularity contests with my fellow Congressmen, I'm here to do what my people asked me to do--represent them. I won't pretend that I am not a staunch Democratic supporter of the President. I'll just give you a little history, tell you what I've seen, you be the judge. It started in 1992, when a Southern, pro-choice, environmentally minded moderate won the Presidency. The Republican minority in Congress were stunned. This Democratic President did not attempt to win their approval by advocating their issues. In fact, he made hard and fast enemies while he picked apart their proposals and vetoed them. They shouldn't have taken it so personally because the reality is, he didn't make friends with the Democrats either! But it was back then that they decided they had to get rid of him. In 1994, the Republicans succeeded in taking over the Congress with huge amounts of soft money from large corporations, rich special interest groups, and other ultra-conservative organizations. Even with their new Majority in the House, the President continued to win the political fights and continued to gain favor in the hearts and minds of the voters. While the new Majority tried to shut down the government, the President stood for issues of National concern such as education and social security. In effect, even though they had the House, they still lost. Now, they decided, it was time to make a move for the political assassination of their enemy. With the right wing organization behind them, the House Conservatives tried a variety of tactics, each one unsuccessful. They sought to indict him as a criminal. They proceeded to dredge up and spin allegations of illegal involvement by either President or First Lady, (whitewater, travelgate, filegate, etc. . . .) They knew that with the right amount of pressure and enough fuel, they could get the Attorney General to grant their request for a Special Prosecutor (a Republicans zealot of their choice) to ``get him''. With the help of the media, (there's no news like bad news involving the President), they succeeded. Just short of four years and forty million tax dollars later, not a single shred of indictable evidence was uncovered. This is incredible when you consider that EVERY stone had been unturned. This was also a serious problem for the Republican since they spent all that time and money with nothing to show for it and, in spite of the media storm they produced, the President's job approval rating was still climbing! Then BINGO! They got lucky. In walks that paragon of American virtue that we all know and love, Ms. Linda Tripp, with juicy tales of her illegally taped conversations with the now famous Monica. Although this wasn't exactly the stuff that ``High Crimes and Misdemeanors'' are made of, it's still all they had, so they had to make it work. The new leader of the effort to destroy the President, the so-called ``independent'' council, devised a plan to work with the lawyers on the Jones civil case and use the illegally obtained information to set a trap for the President! By now, you know the rest of the story, so I won't get into the details except to say that no other citizen of this country would ever be subject to such an outrageous and illegal bastardization of the American system of justice. It is only the right wing conspiracy, in justification of their destructive pursuit, who would have you believe this is simply ``equal justice under the law''. From almost the minute the case was placed in the hands of the Congress it became clear to me that I was no longer part of a ``Representative'' body. The American people, the people who voted and sent us here, were left completely out of the process. Their ``Representatives'' decided to pursue their OWN agenda instead and, with the approval of their counterparts in the Senate, used their majority muscle and pushed it through the House. No debate, no opposing arguments considered, no witnesses needed. Don't be fooled by the political theater you saw on C-Span. That was just a show to have you think we were doing our constitutional duty. In fact, Mr. Hyde even told you at one point that we shouldn't be concerned with the President's ``removal from office''. He said that's not what impeachment means, and that a vote in favor of the Articles didn't mean that we thought the President should be removed from office. Did you believe that? Well it may be true. They don't have to actually remove him to destroy his presidency, and that IS their primary goal. To be fair, some of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle were interested in doing the right thing and giving this issue the level of consideration it warranted. You might have heard about this ``secret evidence'' that was ``shown'' to those undecided voters that ``convinced'' them to vote in favor of the Impeachment Articles. I can tell you that there was no evidence, but it certainly was secret. They were presented with threats that they would lose their special committee positions unless they towed the Party line. They obeyed, and two Articles of Impeachment were pushed through the House on a strictly partisan vote in spite of the President's consistently high job approval ratings. Into the House of the Senate marched the 13 Conservative Managers, with their own special ``rule of law'' and their own version of ``truth and justice'', as self proclaimed ``Representatives of the People''. What people? Certainly not the majority of the American people. They continued to support the President. They don't want him removed from office. They know his character is flawed, and while the scandal is fund to watch on TV, they trust him to do his job because they know he has the best interests in his heart. In spite of the very best efforts to ruin him, the Conservative Republicans have failed. This brings us to our current dilemma. The Conservatives have a problem. We need to end this and gain back the respect of the American people but how can THEY get out of this gracefully? How can the Conservative Senators save face for their Congressional counterparts? It seems that the Republicans finally have their exit strategy. They will refuse to exit. They will take their chances and keep this going as long as they possibly can with the hope that they will publicly destroy the President and the Democratic party. Even now, knowing that the President will not be removed from office by the required \2/3\rds margin, they will attempt to use their 51% majority to continue beating their dead horse, allowing the House managers to run the show. If this goes on long enough, it doesn't matter if the [[Page E214]] final vote is not enough to remove Clinton or not. Before they are finished, they will have gone as far as they can by any means possible (witnesses, furthering the independent investigation into any other areas they can find and lots and lots of press) to publicly destroy and defame Clinton. We have a problem, because with the 51% that the Senate requires to pass each step of the way short of the removal vote, the same railroading that took place in the Congress will take place in the Senate. My fear is that this can only be stopped by the next election but by then, the ensuing media storm and the Republican spin doctors will have swayed too many innocent American minds. They have clearly demonstrated their power today by forcing a private citizen to be interviewed by the House Managers under threat of imprisonment according to her agreement with the OIC (who is now acting as a 14th House Manager). They will insist on closed door sessions for the debates regarding dismissal and witnesses and muscle the Senate in the very same way they succeeded in the Congress. The bottom line is, the Democrats want an up or down vote now, and the Republicans want to drag this on and keep the government in a state of paralysis so they can continue to humiliate the President. They worked so hard at making war that they forgot how to make peace. They drew their line in the sand and it can't even be washed away by the tide of public outrage. The longer this goes on, the more ground we all lose, and still the President's approval ratings continue to rise. I say, NOW is the time to get over it and get back to doing our jobs. We have wasted too much time already in not representing the interests of our public. We must make peace among the parties and the branches of our government and get back to work on the PEOPLE'S agenda of education, social security reform, Medicare, the Patient's Bill of Rights, housing, anti-crime, and other issues that are important to the people who put us here to serve them. ____________________