Ohio Congress Members On Impeachment: Then And Now
WASHINGTON, D. C. - The year was 1998. The president was Bill Clinton. The parties in control of the House of Representatives and the White House were reversed. In those days, an embattled Democratic president was fending off Republicans who argued he should be impeached for the nation’s good. More than 20 years ago, the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach Clinton for lying to a grand jury about his affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and impeding an investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Weeks later, the U.S. Senate acquitted Clinton on perjury and obstruction of justice charges after moderate Republicans sided with Democrats to vote against a conviction. Nowadays, Democrats are examining whether President Donald Trump should be impeached for asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his family. The U.S. Constitution gives the House of Representatives sole power to impeach a public official.
If the House votes to impeach a president, the Senate conducts a trial to determine whether the president should be removed from office. A two-thirds Senate majority is required to remove a president. The Senate didn’t agree to remove Clinton or the only other president the House of Representatives ever impeached - Andrew Johnson in 1868. Both remained in office. There was much talk about impeaching President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, but he resigned in 1974 before Congress could act. Four Ohio members of Congress who deliberated over Clinton's impeachment are still on the job, although two have moved on to serve in the U.S. Senate. Some of their impeachment views seem diametrically different from two decades ago. Here's what each of them had to say about impeachment then and now. Cincinnati Republican Steve Chabot was among Ohio's most vocal Clinton impeachment proponents. In addition to voting for impeachment as a House Judiciary Committee member and on the House of Representatives floor, https://5d9bbc65cf9e0.site123.me/ Chabot was among the 12 House Republicans who prosecuted Clinton's case before the U.S.
Senate. Only two of the other prosecutors are still in Congress: South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham - who is currently a U.S. Senator - and Wisconsin’s Jim Sensenbrenner. Here's a 1999 speech Chabot made about Clinton before the U.S. Mr. Chief Justice, members of the Senate, throughout this long and difficult process, apologists for the president have maintained that his actions might well have been reprehensible but are not necessarily worthy of impeachment and removal from office. The president of the United States, the chief law enforcement officer of this land, lied under oath. He raised his right hand and he swore to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, and then he lied, pure and simple. Why is perjury such a serious offense? Under the American system of justice, our courts are charged with seeking the truth. Every day, American citizens raise their right hands in courtrooms across the country and take an oath to tell the truth.
Breaking that oath cripples our justice system. By lying under oath, the president did not just commit perjury -- an offense punishable under our criminal code -- but he chipped away at the very cornerstone of our judicial system. The first chief justice of the United States Supreme Court, John Jay, eloquently stated why perjury is so dangerous, over 200 years ago. Controversies of various kinds exist at all times and in all communities. To decide them, the courts of justice are instituted. Their decisions must be regulated by evidence, and the greater part of evidence will always consists of the testimony of witnesses. This testimony is given under those solemn obligations which an appeal to the God of truth impose, and if oaths would cease to be held sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights would become insecure. Why has the president been impeached by the United States House of Representatives?
Why is he on trial here today in the United States Senate? Because he lied under oath. Because he committed perjury. Because if oaths cease to be held sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights will become insecure. During the course of this trial, members of this distinguished body, the jurors in this case, will have to consider the law and the facts very carefully. It is a daunting task and an awesome responsibility, one that cannot be taken lightly. I would humbly suggest to those sitting in judgment of the president that we must all weigh the impact of our actions, not only our beloved nation today, but on American history. It is my belief that if the actions of the president are ultimately disregarded or minimized, we will be sending a sorry message to the American people that the president of the United States is above the law. We will be sending a message to our children, to my children, that telling the truth doesn't really matter if you've got a good lawyer or you're an exceptionally skilled liar. That would be tragic.