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Bill Clinton | The First Clinton Impeachment

Bill Clinton Impeached

Bill Clinton has been the only sitting President in United States history to have been impeached. President Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868 following his leave of office.

The facts and events of the Bill Clinton impeachment are as simple or complex as the bias of the reader.

PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON (BILL) CLINTON: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky...

Mr. Clinton lied to the American people. President Clinton did have sexual relations with Miss Monica Lewinsky. Following the first public denial in early 1998, President Clinton lied again seven months later while under oath to a federal grand jury.

Later, following the receipt of physical evidence supporting Miss Lewinsky's claims of a sexual relationship, President Clinton changed his position.

PRESIDENT WILLIAM JEFFERSON (BILL) CLINTON: "Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong…. I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that."

Tom Delay, the then majority whip of the House of Representatives, persuaded speaker Newt Gingrich and Republican leaders that Clinton's lie to a federal grand jury justified removing president Clinton from office. Special prosecutor Ken Starr was appointed to gather evidence. Starr later sent 36 boxes of evidence to the capitol. The evidence catalogued his investigation of Clinton's finances, a sexual harassment suit filed by Paula Jones and related investigations by the prosecutor to uncover the truth of the Lewinsky affair. Nearly 500 pages summarizing the report were made available to the public. The house judiciary committee evaluated the report and sided largely on party affiliation. Democrats insisted it all came down to lying about sex. Republicans insisted it came down to lying to a grand jury.

The House Judiciary then drafted two articles of impeachment accusing Bill Clinton of perjury. A third was then drafted accusing him of obstruction of justice and finally a fourth article accused the President of making false statements. A week later, December 19, 1998, the full House met to debate the articles. Two artciles were approved; one for perjury and one for obstruction of justice. Republican leaders called for Bill Clinton to resign from office. Clinton refused so it became the Senate's constitutional responsibility to implement the impeachment trial ordered by the House of Representatives. The Senate chose to meet behind closed doors. On Friday, February 12, 1999, the verdict was delivered to Chief Justice William Rehnquist who pronounced "is not guilty as charged in the second article of impeachment."

Bill Clinton Impeached
Bill Clinton on January 7, 1999; the day his impeachment trial began

 

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