The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government

The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government

The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government

The Clinton Scandal and the Future of American Government

Excerpt

On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton. The first article, passed by a vote of 228 to 206, charged that the president had given “perjurious, false and misleading testimony to a federal grand jury.” The second article, passed by a vote of 221 to 212, charged that the president had committed obstruction of justice in the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him by Paula Corbin Jones. Clinton thus became only the second president in the nation's history to be impeached by Congress and the first elected president to suffer that fate.

Clinton faced the prospect of also being the first president in history to be removed from office. A two-thirds majority vote in the Senate on either article of impeachment would have required the president to vacate his office and turn the presidency over to Vice President Al Gore. Yet, on February 12, 1999, the U.S. Senate voted not to remove Clinton from office. Neither article of impeachment mustered even a simple majority in favor of removing Clinton from office.

The Clinton scandal consumed the better part of a year of American public life. In January 1998, news reports revealed that the president had engaged in extramarital sexual relations with a young, former White House intern. More damaging still, the nation learned that by previously denying the affair, the president possibly had committed perjury in a legal deposition while under questioning about his past . . .

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