14 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, October 9, 1998
INVESTIGATING THE PRESIDENT
Clinton: Public, God will decide
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Clinton
tried hard to treat yesterday like a regular day.
He stood with senior citizens and
announced steps being taken to prevent
HMOs from dropping Medicare patients.
He denounced the attacks in Kosovo that
threaten to again turn the Balkans into a
humanitarian catastrophe. He huddled with
his economic advisers.
But the mood at the White House seemed as
dreary as the rainy chill outside.
Toward day's end, Clinton sat among his
budget advisers in the Cabinet Room, clasped
his hands on the conference table and declared
the matter of possible impeachment out of his
"It is in the hands of Congress and the peo-
ple of this country - ultimately, in the hands
of God," Clinton said. "I have surrendered this.
I trust the American people. ... And I'm work-
ing in a way that I hope will restore their trust
Earlier, Clinton's eyes locked into a pensive
gaze as Health and Human Services Secretary
Donna Shalala talked about Medicare in the
Roosevelt Room. He bit his lower lip, seemed
to force a smile. He laughed harder than might
have been expected as Rep. John Dingell (D-
Mich.) jokingly declined to shake hands with
the crowd because of a cold: "If I can find a
room full of people I don't like, I'll be happy
to shake hands with them."
TV coverage of the House impeachment
debate poured out of television sets elsewhere
in the White House as Clinton gripped the
podium with both hands and began to speak.
"Since this is the only time I'll have to talk
to the press for the next several hours, I hope
you will indulge me for a moment while I
make a few comments," he said, pausing
slightly, "about the present situation in
The violence there was unconscionable, he
said, and NATO should be allowed to prepare
for military action.
And, closer to home, he promised a speedy
federal review and approval process for health
plans applying to enter markets being vacated
by some three dozen other HMO plans because
of fee limits on Medicare patients.
"We were not going to allow Medicare to
be held hostage to unreasonable demands," the
Afterward, the man who usually glides
around to shake hands with supporters pro-
ceeded to greet only a few, including Sens. Jay
Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Ted Kennedy (D-
Mass.) behind a curtain of applause that
drowned out shouted questions about the*
House vote. Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)
hovered at the edge of the room with Kennedy,
watching somberly with his hand on his face.
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.)
arrived toward the end of the ceremony.
Clinton took Dodd by the hand, escorted
him to the microphones and thanked Dodd
for being there - then turned on his heel
and stepped out the door.
The president did not see the House debate
"unless he's watched it in passing, walkingO
through a hallway," said spokesperson Joe
Preident Clinton and U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) announce a new health care initiative yesterday at
the White House while the House debates the possibility of an impeachment inquiry.
A partisan process
The historic 258 to 176 vote to launch
an open-ended inquiry into President
.Clinton's actions will go down in history
books as the second impeachment
tnvestigation this century. But the other
fcident, when the Judiciary committee
Investigated Richard Nixon, was almost
unanimously supported by both
Republicans and Democrats in a 410 to
our vote. Yesterday's vote was mostly
Ivided along partisan lines, with only 31
Democrats voting for the inquiry and no
Republicans voting against the
nvestigation. -The Associated Press
The real vote on
will be Nov. 3
Few Dems voted
fo r investigation
WASHINGTON (AP) - Historic yes, but yesterday's
vote was no surprise. The real suspense comes Nov. 3 when
Americans elect a new Congress - in effect picking the
jurors who will hear President Clinton's case and render a
The outcome of that election could draw a road map for
the House's impeachment hearings and Clinton's future.
If Republicans pick up a lot of seats, say 15 or more in
the House and five or more in the Senate, the GOP could be
emboldened to push ahead aggressively with hearings delv-
ing deeply into Clinton's behavior, not only with Monica
Lewinsky but on Whitewater, fund raising and missile tech-
But if Republican gains are modest and public opinion
remains in the president's corner, Clinton's prospects for a
pta bargain grow brighter, perhaps along the lines of the
public rebuke suggested by former President Ford.
"This election is crucially important in determining what
the next phase of this inquiry looks like," said Thomas
Mann, director of governmental studies at the Brookings
The impeachment fight will not be a driving force in
many campaigns, Mann said. Nevertheless, "the election
results will be interpreted as a referendum on impeach-
The House voted 258 to 176 Thursday to launch the
impeachment review against Clinton, only the third time in
history that lawmakers have taken such a step. If the House
decides to impeach Clinton, the case will move to the Senate
for a trial where a two-thirds vote would be required to
remove the president.
The White House professed delight that only 31
Democrats - fewer than expected - joined in the
impeachment vote. "You got a vote that was along party,
partisan lines because they don't think the process is going
to be fair, fast or focused," said presidential counselor Rahm
Emanuel. That has been -and will be - the White House
matra about impeachment.
"This looks like a highly partisan inquiry at this stage,"
Mann said. "It's getting off to a very different start than the
Watergate inquiry did. And given the public sentiment out
there among the broad public, it suggests to me, absent addi-
tional devastating referrals, that the president is certainly
likely to survive all this."
"What we can't say until after the election is how long
the agony will go on."
Boston University historian Robert Dallek said Clinton
should take little comfort from Thursday's vote because
only five lawmakers voted against both the Republican
impeachment measure and the Democratic alternative.
With most "voting for some kind of impeachment pro-
...X sn. L;, L 4" h ho " rlnac; Tt- a a _-
begins witness list draft
WASHINGTON (AP) - The House Judiciary Committee
began drafting a list yesterday of potential witnesses in its
impeachment inquiry, but lawmakers said they preferred wait-
ing until after the November election to hold hearings.
Sources close to the committee said it is likely to seek testi-
mony from former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and
her former friend Linda Tripp; Clinton's personal secretary,
Betty Currie, and friend, Vernon Jordan, and Deputy White
house Counsel Bruce Lindsey.
The committee embarked on some "intense strategizing ... to
see in what direction we want to
move, what evidence we need to
acquire, what subpoenas we need to "
issue, and how fast we can do it," W hat they
Chair Henry Hyde of Illinois, told
reporters. de n on
senior lawmakers and their aides will elecio
dominate the committee's work
between now and the Nov. 3 elec-
tion, with hearings likely between
then and the end of the year, Hyde
"We don't want to be accused of politicizing this," Hyde
said. "But we will be doing a lot of planning and interviewing
and whatever's necessary to get ready to have hearings after
However, the committee's subcommittee on the Constitution
has scheduled an Oct. 22 hearing on defining impeachable
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) said Republicans are waiting
for direction from the electorate on how much support exists
"What they will do will depend on the election," Frank said.
Rep. James Rogan (R-Calif.) agreed that the Nov. 3 election
could influence how the committee proceeds in the future. "If
we came back with 10-15 more Republicans in the House,"
and gained seats in the Senate, "that could have a lot to do with
a new attitude on (the Democratic) side of the aisle," he said.
Judiciary Committee members eagerly shared their thoughts
on whose testimony they consider crucial to the inquiry.
Lewinsky, Tripp, Currie and Jordan are sure bets, several
committee members said. Lawmakers of both parties want to
question them on whether Clinton conspired with Currie to hide
his affair with the former intern or
tried to buy Lewinsky's silence with
a job secured for her by Jordan.
will do will The president, however, is not
-- Rep, Barney Frank
likely to be subpoenaed, Hyde said.
Inquiry rules say disagreements
over subpoena targets must be
resolved by a vote of the full com-
(D-Mass.) Republicans are clamoring to
call Lindsay but Democrats are
likely to resist, pending a
Supreme Court review of his executive privilege
appeal. Democrats, meanwhile, want to call as a wit-
ness Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, whom they
accuse of conducting a politically motivated investiga-
Hyde has already rejected that idea, saying the Starr's moti-
vations are not subject to his committee's review.
Republicans also are considering calling witnesses not direct-
ly related to the Lewinsky matter. For example, Rep. Steve
Buyer in two public hearings has indicated that he considers
Clinton's ability to lead and command the nation's military
U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit), the ranking Democrat on
the Douse Judiciary Committee, has been one of Clinton's
top congressional supporters.
Representatives support Democratic
proposal that would have stalled
impeachment inquiry process
WASHINGTON (AP) - Michigan's 10 Democrats in
the U.S. House were united yesterday in voting against an
impeachment inquiry that would make President Clinton
subject to an open-ended investigation into whether ho
should be removed from office.
Several Democrats were undecided about their votes until
the last day, and one, Rep. Jim Barcia, had been leaning
toward voting for the Republican-written language for the
House impeachment inquiry. But in the end, the delega-
tion's Democrats said they could not support it because
Republicans were pursuing an inquiry that was open-ended
in scope and time. Only 31 Democrats supported the
Instead, the 10 lawmakers swung behind a Democratic
alternative measure that called for an inquiry limited to any
evidence provided by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr
and would wrap up at the end of the year. That measure was
rejected by the full House.
All six Republicans in the Michigan delegation voted for
the Republican-written impeachment inquiry, which passed.
But the spotlight was on Democrats because the vote
involved a president of their own party and came just one
month before the November elections.
"I reiterate my deep dismay at the president's personal
conduct and his misleading the American people," said Rep.
Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak) who is facing a tougher rac,
than most of his congressional colleagues in Michigan.
Rep. David Bonior of Mount Clemens, the No. 2 House
Democrat, took a lead in the House floor debate, accusing
Republicans of plotting to drag out the inquiry for political
"The Republican leadership's long-term strategy is very
clear - drag this thing out, month by month and year by
year ... for their own partisan advantage," Bonior said. "We
in this chamber have the power to stop this daily mudslide
into America's living rooms."
House Judiciary Chair Henry Hyde (R-Illinois) said h
wants to conclude the investigation as soon as possible -
hopefully by the end of the year. Rep. John Conyers of
Detroit, the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary
Committee, urged lawmakers to stick to that deadline.
The lack of a deadline was the primary reason previously
undecided Michigan Democrats said they voted against the
Renublican-written inquiry language.
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