Clinton Acquitted: Five years of living dangerously

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The trials of a President from the Whitewater inquiry to the Paula Jones affair to Monica Lewinsky, The Starr Report, impeachment by The House of Representatives and the final Senate verdict.

12 January 1994.

Bill Clinton, under pressure, requests a special prosecutor to investigate questions about his involvement in Whitewater.

20 January 1994

Janet Reno the Attorney General selects Robert B. Fiske Jr. as special prosecutor.

6 May 1994

Paula Jones files a lawsuit alleging Clinton sexually harassed her in an Arkansas hotel room three years earlier while she was a state clerk and he was governor.

5 August 1994

After Congress reauthorises the defunct Independent Counsel Act - and Clinton signs it- a panel of three federal appeals court judges appoints former Bush administration Solicitor-General Kenneth Starr to take on Fiske's investigation.

7 January 1998

Called to testify in Paula Jones's sexual harassment case, Monica Lewinsky denies she ever had a sexual relationship with the President. She allegedly asks Linda Tripp, a "friend", to lie for her as well. But Tripp has another agenda.

13 January

Tripp wears a hidden microphone for the FBI and records intimate conversations with Lewinsky about the President. Prosecutors vainly ask Lewinsky to co-operate with them.

17 January

Matt Drudge, the scandalmonger of the Internet, reports that Newsweek has shelved an expose of an affair between Clinton and Lewinsky.

21 January

The Washington Post reports the existence of the tapes that Tripp made of her chats with Lewinsky.

26 January

Clinton denies sexual relations with Lewinsky: "I did not have sexual relations with that woman," he tells reporters, without elaborating on his somewhat idiosyncratic definition of sex.

27 January

Hillary Clinton appears on national television to defend her husband, calling detractors' allegations a "vast right-wing conspiracy."

29 January

The Clintons' aplomb, combined with Middle America's indifference, combine to give "President Houdini" his first great escape of the year. Opinion polls show Clinton's approval ratings at an all-time high.

15 March

As Kenneth Starr, the special prosecutor, continues his investigation into the President's peccadilloes, Kathleen Willey, another former White House worker, accuses the President on television of fondling her next to the door of the Oval Office.

2 April

Paula Jones's sexual harassment case against the President is dismissed. Willey's claims justfade away

2 June

Lewinsky replaces her high-profile lawyer, William Ginsburg. Starr hasn't managed to convince Lewinsky to testify, but his tentacles are spreading.

30 June

Linda Tripp testifies before a grand jury in Washington. She makes no public comments. Clinton's approval remains high.

28 July

Kenneth Starr announces he has finally reached a deal giving Lewinsky immunity from prosecution for perjury. In exchange he will get from her full details about her relationship with the President.

6 August

Lewinsky testifies in front of a grand jury for six hours.

17 August

On the day of his long-awaited testimony the President tells the grand jury, and the nation, that he had a relationship with Lewinsky that was "not appropriate." He does not apologise.

20 August

Clinton orders the bombing of a "chemical weapons plant" in Sudan and a terrorist base in Afghanistan.

4 September

Clinton apologises for the affair: "I'm sorry," he tells America.

9 September

Starr sends his finished report to Congress under high security. He has found "substantial and credible information...that may constitute grounds for impeachment." Clinton is contrite on TV.

11 September

The Starr report, in all its damning, lurid detail, is published on the Internet.

21 September

Clinton's video testimony to the grand jury is shown on TV, but it does not trigger his anticipated downfall

3 November

Democrats increase seats in the Congressional mid-term elections - a massive boost for Clinton.

23 November

House speaker-elect Bob Livingston insists he wants an impeachment vote even if it appears it will go in favour of the President.

9 December

The House judiciary committee proposes four articles of impeachment.

18 December

Congressmen launch into a heated and controversial debate on impeachment.

19 December

The House votes to impeach Clinton.

20 December

Polls show Clinton's approval rating still rising.

7 January 1999.

Impeachment trial of the President begins in Senate. Chief Justice William Rehnquist sworn in to preside. He swears in the 100 senators as jurors.

24 January

Monica Lewinsky is interviewed privately by House prosecutors.

28 January

The Senate rejects a motion to dismiss the charges. It authorises subpoenas for questioning of Monica Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan and Sidney Blumenthal.

1-3 February

Lewinsky, Jordan and

Blumenthal give videod deposition to House managers and the president's lawyers.

4 February

Senate votes to allow showing of the videotaped testimony during the trial. Senators reject calling live witnesses.

6 February

Clips from the videotaped testimony of Lewinsky, Jordan and Blumenthal as well as Clinton are played publicly at the Senate trial.

8 February

House managers and White House lawyers present closing arguments.

9 February

Senate declines to change rules to allow open deliberations on impeachment articles and begins private deliberations.

12 February

Senate votes. President Clinton survives.