Responses by Members of the United States Senate
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"The Impeachment of the President"
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DOCUMENT NUMBER 1: SENATOR MAX CLELAND
Thank you for your e-mail to me regarding your views of President Clinton following the release of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's report. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
President Clinton's conduct was wrong, and it was wrong that he did not disclose his conduct sooner. With the release of the independent counsel's report, the Constitutionally prescribed process resolving this matter is now in the hands of the 37 members of the House Judiciary Committee, who soon must recommend whether to conduct a full-scale impeachment inquiry. It is my hope and prayer that Congress will resolve this matter objectively, expeditiously, and with a bipartisan spirit, ever mindful of the awesome responsibility entrusted to us by the Constitution.
In the meantime, members of Congress also have a Constitutional responsibility to conduct the nation's business. We must not allow the investigation of the President to divert our attention from the pressing challenges before us, including the economic and political problems in Asia and Russia, the threat of terrorism around the world, crime control at home, and the preservation of Social Security and Medicare.
Again, thank you for giving me the benefit of your views.
DOCUMENT NUMBER 2: SENATOR ORRIN HATCH
Thank you for your recent Internet e-mail message to my office.
Please accept this response as an indication that I have received your message and will note your comments.
I have received an incredible number of e-mail messages, as well as letters, postcards, and phone calls, regarding President Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and the Independent Counsel. I regret that I cannot answer all of these more fully. Rest assured, however, that I appreciated your comments. The views I have received run the continuum of opinion from support for impeachment to opposition to the Independent Counsel. Of course, public opinion will be a factor in any decision the Congress ultimately makes in this matter after receiving and reviewing the final report of the Independent Counsel's investigation.
Again, I appreciate hearing from you. Please continue to keep me informed on issues of importance to you.
Orrin G. Hatch
United States Senator
DOCUMENT NUMBER 3: SENATOR JOHN KERRY
Thank you for contacting me about the report of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and his investigation of President Clinton.
Your opinion is very important to me and I appreciate your sharing it with me.
I have read the Starr Report. I am personally disappointed with the actions of the President and have communicated this anger directly to him. I also believe that the report is filled with unnecessary details about the President's personal life -- sordid details which lead some Americans to conclude that the report is part of a larger political strategy. In either case, Congress needs to come to a swift resolution of this issue without partisanship or needless delay.
There are many domestic and foreign policy issues which scream for our attention and Congress must address them as quickly as possible.
This serious issue calls for cool heads and measured responses. I will weigh all the evidence which comes before the Congress and certainly take your views into account as we move forward in deciding how to hold the President accountable without a major national upheaval.
John F. Kerry
DOCUMENT NUMBER 4: SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR
October 1, 1998
Thank you for contacting me.
I share your anger and anxiety with the effect of recent developments
surrounding President Clinton. Character is
indispensable to leadership. A President's behavior and truthfulness
inevitably affect his standing in the world, his capacity for
leadership, and his ability to ask for sacrifices from the American people. President Clinton's actions and words have damaged the country and the presidency.
The delivery of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's report to Congress has begun a necessary process that may result in the impeachment and removal of the President. This is a process prescribed by the Constitution, and it should be approached with the gravity and judiciousness befitting a duty conceived by the Founders of our country.
Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives will evaluate evidence, decide how it should be released, determine if hearings should be held, and decide whether to draft and pass articles of impeachment.
If the House impeaches the President, then the Senate will hold a trial to determine if President Clinton should be removed from office.
A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required to remove the President. As Alexander Hamilton discussed in the Federalist Papers, the framers intended Senators to suspend final judgment on impeachment until the trial, when they would act in the capacity of a jury.
As deliberations move forward, Congress must simultaneously address the business of the nation. I have been alarmed by the inattention of the administration to issues affecting the security and prosperity of our country. In the midst of White House preoccupation with the scandal, the Congress must ensure that there is no gap in leadership on the budget, the economy, national defense, and many other issues of importance to the United States.
I am grateful for your interest in this vital issue, and for taking the time to communicate your views to me.
Richard G. Lugar
United States Senator
DOCUMENT NUMBER 5: SENATOR DALE BUMPERS
This is in response to your email of 9/29.
US Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Arkansas)
LET US RESERVE JUDGMENT ON IMPEACHMENT
Senate - September 11, 1998
Mr. BUMPERS. Mr. President, I had not intended to discuss the subject
of the hour this morning, and I will only do so briefly
and, hopefully, not in a controversial way. I heard the Senator from Pennsylvania pleading with people to reserve judgment.
And I simply want to echo what he said. These are very traumatic times for this country. And I would say, despite the trauma the country is experiencing over the apparently possible impeachment of the President, we still have a tremendous amount owork to do in the U.S. Congress, and the American people have a right to expect us to do that business before we leave here.
While it is more gratifying, I suppose, from a political standpoint, as well as from a personal standpoint, to immerse ourselves in the Starr report, we still have so much very serious, important work to do here, and I would be willing to suggest that we should come back after the election if necessary to deal with some of these things.
Having said that, let me say that the President will respond in time
to the Starr report, I am sure. He is entitled to be heard. The
American people are entitled to an objective, nonpartisan deliberation based on the facts.
As a former trial lawyer, I have gone before jurors who I had a sneaking suspicion had made up their mind before I got to make my opening statement. And I can tell you, it is a very queasy feeling. I have tried cases when, in my own mind, I was satisfied that the jury had made up its mind before the case was tried, before they heard the evidence, despite what we lawyers call voir dire examination, where you ask the jurors: `Do you have any preconceived notions about this case?' All of them said no. And I did not come to that conclusion that they made up their mind before they heard the evidence just because I lost, it was based on other things.
The American people have an inimitable, innate sense of fairness. The vast majority of the people in this country want, expect, and have a right to know that this whole situation is going to be considered in a very dignified way in accordance with the process.
This should not be--and I do not think it will be a political witch hunt. And I want to compliment the people in the House whom I have watched in the Rules Committee and in the Judiciary Committee, and the Speaker of the House, in their admonitions to their own Members about this being a very solemn, somber time in the history of this country and we must treat it with the seriousness it deserves. This is not one of those `let's give them a fair trial and string them up' kind of hearings.
So as an English philosopher once said, `There's nothing more utterly impossible than undoing that which has already been done.' Whatever the President's sins, they have been done. So far as anybody much knows at the present, the American people know what those sins were, his indiscretions, what he described as `indefensible.'
So the question before the House will be whether or not any or all of those things combined reach the threshold that the Founders intended in the Constitution; and that is, we know it is not treason and it is not bribery, and the next question will be: Does it reach the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors?
The President has admitted, as far as I know, virtually everything. So he has bared his soul to the American people and pleaded for their forgiveness, as he did this morning before a prayer breakfast.
So, Mr. President, while I did not come over here to speak on that, I just wanted to add my comments to those of the Senator from Pennsylvania, Mr. Specter.
And I would also like to say that when I talk about the work we have yet to do here, I am talking about issues of health care, I am talking about issues of the environment, and I am talking about issues of education. I am not trying to make a comparison, but what I am saying is that morality is often like beauty, it is in the eye of the beholder.
There has been an awful lot said about the President sacrificing his moral authority. And I would simply remind people--and this is not intended to be defensive--I would simply remind people that allowing children to go without health care is immoral, too, in this Senator's opinion. And abusing the only planet God gave us to sustain ourselves is also immoral.
Probably next Tuesday, The Senate will debate a provision included in the Interior Appropriations bill that would prevent the Secretary of Interior from being able to strengthen the environmental rules determining how the giant mining companies of this country will mine gold, silver and so on from our public lands. Most people don't know it, but we mine gold through a process called heap leach mining. And do you know what we use? Cyanide. I am not saying it is immoral to use cyanide, but I am saying it is immoral to block regulations determining how you are going to use cyanide to keep it out of rivers, streams and the underground water supply. That is what the amendment on Tuesday will be about.
I put in the category of being immoral to say the Secretary of the Interior
must wait and let somebody else do a study before he can protect the environment.
Last year, we had a handshake deal on this subject--we agreed not to procrastinate
and delay Interior Department regulations any longer. Now,
this year we have to have the National Academy of Sciences study
it--postpone it for another 27 months. At the end of that, the mining industry
will probably want the National Organization of Women to study it.
After that, they will want NASA to study it --anything to keep from facing
up to despoiling the only planet we have to sustain our
children and grandchildren. As I say, morality takes a lot of forms.
DOCUMENT NUMBER 6: SENATOR MURKOWSKI
Dear Dr. Vaknin:
The following is Senator Murkowski's position on the current investigation into the Monica Lewinsky matter. Thank you for contacting our office.
CHRISTOPHER W. EYLER
Thank you for contacting my office regarding the current investigations into President Clinton and his Administration. I appreciate your taking the time to write.
On September 11, 1998, Congress and the American people were able to read the 445-page report on the investigation of Independent Counsel, Judge Kenneth Starr. It is now the Constitutional duty of the House of Representatives to review the report and determine whether Articles of Impeachment are warranted against the President.
If the House of Representatives approves Articles of Impeachment, the matter is then tried in the Senate where the Chief Justice of United States presides.
Two thirds of the members of the Senate must find any one of the Articles of Impeachment warranted before the President is removed from office. If two-thirds of the Senate do not find any the Articles of Impeachment warranted, a judgement of acquittal is granted.
If impeachment proceedings commence, I will be sure to keep your thoughts
in mind. Again, thank you for contacting me.
DOCUMENT NUMBER 7: SENATOR THAD COCHRAN
Dr. Vaknin-- Thank you for your request. Please use the following response from U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) to be used in your article:
"Thanks for your message and inquiry about my views of the President's impeachment situation. Since this matter is still under active investigation, I am not making any judgments about the facts of the case or the impeachment process until the House Judiciary Committee has completed its work. Our government will continue to function effectively in spite of this distraction. We are not a one leader country. In our government, power is shared in a unique but successful way.
I think it is likely that the House of Representatives will vote to
impeach the President. The Senate will then be required to sit as
a court to decide whether the President is guilty and should be removed
from office. I will do my utmost to ensure that the Senate does what
is best for the country."