Monitor: Impeachment of Bill Clinton - The year of Monicagate

US comment on the wisdom of Congress removing the President from office for committing `high crimes and misdemeanors'
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The Independent Culture
The Dallas Morning News

PRESIDENT CLINTON has joined an ignoble list. The House of Representatives' decision to allow the House Judiciary Committee to launch an impeachment inquiry against Clinton, places him alongside Nixon and Johnson, both of whom went through stages of impeachment. What a badge of shame. It's not too late for the President to spare the country more protracted turmoil by resigning. If not, the inquiry will begin after the elections. May it be fair and prompt. The public deserves at least that much.

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The Washington Post

THE HOUSE made the right decision in authorising an open-ended inquiry into whether Clinton should be impeached. Democrats tried to limit the investigation, arguing that Republicans would abuse the writ. Our instinct is to doubt that. If the Republicans indulge in a standing inquest into the President's behaviour, as a few have threatened, it will be they who pay, with cause, the greater price in terms of public opinion.

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The Los Angeles Times

THIS IS all familiar stuff but it's going to be rehashed nonetheless. Given the public's strongly expressed wish to have this whole matter over and done with, it will be interesting to see how much attention is paid to the planned coverage of the committee's hearings. Chairman Hyde originally and laudably said he intended to hold quick, decorous and focused hearings. Right now, unhappily, none of these objectives seem realizable. We may have seen this movie before, but like it or not we're going to have to sit through it again.

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New York Times

WE STILL do not see impeachment as the appropriate legal response. A substantial majority of the American people would not support impeachment or removal on the existing facts, and Mr Starr's bottom line yesterday was that he has no more to offer. Mr Starr has dark and reasonable suspicions about, say, jobs for silence, but he cannot prove them. Those parts that he can prove, such as Mr Clinton's blatant lying under oath about sex, will not be supported as grounds for impeachment by a majority of the House, even though it is controlled by the Republicans.

Boston Globe

UNDOUBTEDLY, THE president, who is also the nation's chief law enforcement officer, lied to the investigators and to the American people. But do these lies constitute perjury in the narrow legal sense, and if so, do they constitute grounds for impeachment according to the Constitution of the United States? Undoubtedly, the investigation itself has been deeply flawed. But so flawed that its findings and charges should be dismissed - the fruit of the poison tree, as the lawyers say?

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Philadelphia

Inquirer

THE EXTREME punishment of removal from office is disproportionate to Clinton's misconduct. Both houses of Congress ought to pass a searing condemnation of his disregard for the law. Some critics have called such a censure an affront to the constitution, which specifies the process of impeachment and conviction. On the contrary, it is a sensible middle ground between the over-reaction of impeachment and the unacceptability of doing nothing.

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Salon Magazine

OPPONENTS OF impeachment stress the harm that the process might inflict on the country. Excuse me? Is there any Democrat who has voiced second thoughts about the Watergate inquiries? Wasn't it an extreme step to terminate a president who had run the country well for six years and remained popular with the majority of the voting public until the moment his own party turned against him? Suppose that a few honorable Democrats were to step forward now to provide the concrete evidence of Clinton's obstructions of justice and to raise a non-partisan voice in support of his removal - what do you think that would do to the current poll numbers?(David Horowitz)

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Houston Chronicle

TO THOSE who say they already know the facts and evidence against the president, we say fine. Let those facts and that evidence be laid out in a formal proceeding. On the other hand, if some evidence and details are not widely known, the whole purpose of the Senate trial is to get them on the table for the president to defend and the senators to judge. Only then will the nation as a whole gain a full understanding of the seriousness of the charges and how the Congress is dealing with them.

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