The Impeachment Of A President: From the moment of madness to the moment of truth: William Jefferson Clinton's year of living dangerously

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The Independent Online
It's hard to believe now, but a year ago none of us had heard of Monica Lewinsky. She was just one of many ambitious young things who had done an internship at the White House. The "bimbo eruption" on everybody's lips was Paula Jones, who was bringing a sexual harassment suit against the President, and a minor player in her case became the catalyst for his impeachment.

7 January 1998

Lewinsky testifies in Jones case

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 and ex-White House employee, to lie for her as well. But Tripp has another agenda.

13 January

Tripp tapes chats with Lewinsky

Tripp wears a hidden microphone for the FBI and records intimate conversations with Lewinsky about the President. Subsequently, prosecutors ask Lewinsky to co-operate in their investigation. She refuses.

18 January

Rumours fly on the Internet

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

21 January

Existence of Tripp's tapes reported

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

The scandal has enveloped Washington and the world. With newspapers debating the President's demise, he denies having an affair with Lewinsky.

"I did not have sexual relations with that woman," he tells reporters, without elaborating on his somewhat unusual definition of sex.

27 January

Hillary Clinton defends husband on television

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

29 January

President Houdini appears to escape

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

15 March

Kathleen Willey accuses Clinton of fondling

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

2 April

Jones case dismissed

Paula Jones's sexual harassment case against the President is dismissed. Willey's claims fade without making much impact.

2 June

Lewinsky fires lawyer

After weeks of tense negotiations and impasse between Starr's office and Lewinsky, she replaces her high-profile lawyer, William Ginsburg. Starr hasn't managed to convince Lewinsky to testify, but his tentacles are spreading.

30 June 1998

Linda Tripp testifies before a Grand Jury

Linda Tripp testifies before a Grand Jury in Washington. She makes no public comments, but has already become one of the most unpopular women in America. Clinton's approval remains high.

28 July 1998

Starr offers Monica Lewinski immunity

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

6 August

Lewinsky testifies in front of a Grand Jury

Lewinsky testifies in front of a Grand Jury for six hours.

17 August

Clinton confesses on national TV

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 and looks relaxed on TV as he goes to Martha's Vineyard on 18 August

20 August

Clinton orders bombing

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

4 September

Clinton says he is sorry

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

9 September

Starr completes report

Starr sends his completed report to Congress under high security; Clinton appears contrite on TV again.

11 September

Starr report published

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

21 September

Clinton's testimony shown on TV

Clinton's video testimony to the Grand Jury is shown on TV. Predictions that it would trigger his immediate downfall are wrong.

15 October

Impeachment flounders

The impeachment inquiry appears to be floundering.

3 November

Democrats gain seats

Democrats increase seats in the Congressional mid-term elections. Clinton sheds his contrition and regains his confidence - and cockiness.

20 November

Ethics adviser resigns

Starr's ethics adviser resigns after the special prosecutor defends his much-derided report in front of Congress.

23 November

Demand made for impeachment vote

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

Impeachment proposed

The House Judiciary Committee proposes four articles of impeachment.

18 December

Impeachment debate

After lobbying by the President's aides and Hillary, Congressmen launch into a heated and controversial debate on impeachment.

19 December

Vote to impeach

Lobbying fails. The House votes to impeach Clinton.