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The Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton

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Abstract

President William Jefferson Clinton became only the second president to be impeached, following acrimonious and highly partisan proceedings in the House. The charges of perjury and obstruction of justice that formed the basis of the impeachment arose from a lawsuit brought by Paula C. Jones alleging improper sexual conduct on Clinton’s part when he was governor of Arkansas and Jones was a state employee, and Clinton’s attempt to keep secret a sexual liaison he had had with a former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, who was to be a witness in the Jones lawsuit. These charges differed materially from those brought against both President Johnson and President Nixon in that the misconduct attributed to Clinton, although criminal in nature, did not relate directly to his actions as president. Thus, the impeachment did not center upon an abuse of his public office or authority but rather was concerned exclusively with his character and fitness for office.

Keywords

High Crime False Statement House Manager Grand Jury Federal Judge 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Peter Baker, The Brea ch: Inside the Impea chmentandTrial of Willia m Jefferson Clinton (New York: Scribner, 2000) 18Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Starr was appointed independent counsel by order of the Special Court, a three judge panel of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in the case of In re: Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association, Division No. 94–1. In appointing Starr, the panel of judges rejected the request of the attorney general that Robert B. Fiske, Jr., be reappointed because of a perceived conflict of interest. It has been suggested that the appointment of Starr to replace Fiske was the result of congressional influence. Nicol C. Rae and Colton C. Campbell, Impeaching Clinton: Partisan Strife on Capital Hill (Lawrence: Kansas UP, 2004) 21.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    Ibid., pp. a-d. From its inception, the Jones suit was as much a vehicle, or a strategem, for political conservatives to attack and embarrass Clinton as it was to vindicate purported violations of Jones’ civil rights. Prior to filing her suit, Jones had appeared at a convention of the Conservative Political Action Committee in Washington, DC. Jones’ expenses had been paid by another conservative group, the Legal Affairs Council. Following the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court allowing the Jones case to proceed against Clinton, an offer was made to Jones to settle the case for $700,000, the amount of damages sought in her complaint. Joe Conason and Gene Lyons, The Hunting of the President: The Ten Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000) 120–121Google Scholar
  4. David Brock, Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative (New York: Crown Publishers, 2002) 184Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Kenneth W. Starr, The Starr Report: The Findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair (New York: Public Affairs, 1998) 48–74Google Scholar
  6. 13.
    Starr, Starr Report, 62–65; Bob Woodward, Shadow: Five Presidents and the Legacy of Watergate (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1999) 424Google Scholar
  7. 147.
    William C. Berman, From the Center to the Edge (Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000) 87.Google Scholar
  8. 148.
    Indeed, according to Sidney Blumenthal, the party of the incumbent president had gained seats in Congress only during the presidencies of Franklin Roosevelt in 1934 and James Monroe in 1822. Sidney Blumenthal, The Clinton Wars (New York: Penguin, 2003) 494.Google Scholar
  9. 150.
    John J. Janssen, Constitutional Equilibria: The Partisan Contingency of American Constitutional Law from the Jeffersonian “Revolution” to the Impeachment of Bill Clinton (Lanham: University Press of America, 2000) 147.Google Scholar
  10. 152.
    Richard A. Posner, An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1999) 204–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© H. Lowell Brown 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.FalmouthUSA

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