|00:00:01||I SHARE MANY OF MY COLLEAGUES' CONCERNS ABOUT THIS UNFORTUNATE TIMING.|
|00:00:07||WITH YOU JUST AS WE HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO OUR TROOPS, WE NOW HAVE A RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP OUR WORD TO THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND PUT THIS MATTER BEHIND THE COUNTRY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.|
|00:00:18||THROUGHOUT THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE'S CONSIDERATION OF THIS VERY SERIOUS MATTER, I WORKED TO UPHOLD MY CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY TO FAIRLY AND THOROUGHLY INVESTIGATE THE CHARGES BROUGHT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.|
|00:00:28||THROUGHOUT THE PROCEEDINGS I TRIED TO KEEP AN OPEN MIND, GIVING THE PRESIDENT EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO REFUTE THE EVIDENCE.|
|00:00:34||BUT THE PRESIDENT MADE A CALCULATED DECISION TO AVOID THE FACTS.|
|00:00:39||INSTEAD, HE PRESENTED WITNESSES THAT COULD OFFER LITTLE MORE THAN EXCUSES, INSULTS, AND HISTORICAL PER EXPECTIVES TAINTED BY PARTISAN POLITICS.|
|00:00:50||ITS PRESIDENT'S ATTORNEYS DID NOT FAIR MUCH BETTER.|
|00:00:53||THEY, TOO, DECIDED TO HIDE FROM THE TRUTH, CONSISTENTLY ADHERING TO THE COMPANY LINE, THE PRESIDENT DIDN'T REALLY LIE UNDER OATH, THEY TESTIFIED.|
|00:01:02||IT DEPENDS ON HOW ONE DEFINES THE WORD "ALONE.|
|00:01:06||" THE PRESIDENT WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION WHEN HIS ATTORNEY OFFERED FALSE EVIDENCE TO THE COURT.|
|00:01:12||THE PRESIDENT HAS CONTINUED TO RELY ON THESE ABSURD EXPLANATIONS AND LINGUISTIC CON TORINGSES FOR ONE REASON AND ONE REASON ALONE -- HE CANNOT DISPUTE THE FACTS.|
|00:01:25||THE EVIDENCE AGAINST PRESIDENT CLINTON IS CONCLUSIVE.|
|00:01:27||THE PRESIDENT LIED UNDER OATH BEFORE A FEDERAL GRAND JURY.|
|00:01:31||HE LIED UNDER OATH IN A SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE.|
|00:01:33||HE OBSTRUCTED JUSTICE.|
|00:01:35||AND HE ABUSED HIS CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY.|
|00:01:40||STANDING ALONE, EACH INDIVIDUAL OFFENSE IS EXTREMELY SERIOUS.|
|00:01:47||COLLECTIVELY, THEY ARE OVERWHELMING.|
|00:01:48||AFTER MONTHS OF PAINSTAKING REVIEW, IT HAS BECOME APPARENT TO ME THAT IMPEACHMENT IS THE ONLY REMEDY THAT ADEQUATELY ADDRESSES THE PRESIDENT'S ILLEGAL AND UNETHICAL ACTS.|
|00:01:58||THE PRESIDENT'S ACTIONS HAVE GRAVELY DAMAGED THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY, OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM, AND OUR COUNTRY.|
|00:02:06||THIS WAS NOT AN EASY DECISION TO REACH.|
|00:02:10||IMPEACHING A PRESIDENT CANNOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY.|
|00:02:12||BUT IN THIS CASE, OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY IS CLEAR.|
|00:02:16||SOME OF MY COLLEAGUES HAVE COME TO THE FLOOR TODAY USING INFLAMMATORY RHETORIC AND ATTACKING MEMBERS FOR VOTING THEIR CONSCIENCE.|
|00:02:25||THIS IS UNFORTUNATE AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE DIGNITY THAT WE OWE THIS DEBATE.|
|00:02:31||IT IS THE PRESIDENT, BY BREAKING HIS OATH TO PRESERVE, PROTECT, AND DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES WHO HAS VIOLATED THE TRUST BESTOWED UPON MY HIM BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE.|
|00:02:43||AS TO THOSE THAT MISTAKENLY CLAIM THAT THIS BODY IS SEEKING TO OVERTURN AN ELECTION OR WERE INVOLVED IN A COUP D'ETAT, LET ME INVOLVE MY FRIENDS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE AISLE THAT IT IS THE VICE PRESIDENT, AL GORE, WHO WOULD BECOME PRESIDENT IF THE SENATE DECIDES TO REMOVE PRESIDENT CLINTON BECAUSE OF HIS CRIMES AND REMOVE HIM FROM OFFICE.|
|00:03:05||I ASK EVERY MEMBER OF THE HOUSE TO CONSIDER THE QUESTION I POSE TO MY COLLEAGUES ON THE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE LAST WEEK.|
|00:03:12||WHAT MESSAGE ARE WE SENDING TO THE YOUTH OF AMERICA IF WE ABDICATE OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY AND CONDONE PERJURY, OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, AND ABUSE OF POWER BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES?|
|00:03:25||I HAVE TWO CHILDREN AT HOME, A DAUGHTER AND A SON.|
|00:03:29||WITH THE HELP OF THEIR TEACHERS AND THEIR CHURCH, MY WIFE AND I HAVE TRIED TO TEACH THEM ABOUT HONESTY AND INTEGRITY.|
|00:03:37||WE HAVE TRIED TO INSTILL IN THEM A BELIEF THAT CHARACTER DOES, INDEED, MATTER.|
|00:03:42||WE HAVE TAUGHT THEM 0 OBEY THE LAW -- WE HAVE TAUGHT THEM TO OBEY THE LAW.|
|00:03:47||SADLY THEY HAVE SEEN THESE PRINCIPLES CORRUPTED BY THE CHIEF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THIS LAND, THE PUTS.|
|00:03:54||-- PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.|
|00:03:57||WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON HAS CHEAPENED THE OATH.|
|00:04:01||HE HAS DISI ILLUSIONED AN ENTIRE GENERATION OF YOUNG AMERICANS, AND REFUSES TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS ACTIONS.|
|00:04:11||ABRAHAM LINCOLN, PERHAPS OUR NATION'S GREATEST PRESIDENT, ONCE SAID, "LET US HAVE FAITH THAT RIGHT MAKES MIGHT AND IN THAT FAITH LET US DARE TO DO OUR DUTY AS WE UNDERSTAND IT.|
|00:04:25||" TODAY WE MUST FULFILL OUR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY AND VOTE TO IMPEACH THE PRESIDENT.|
|00:04:30||I YIELD BACK THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.|
|00:04:32||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN FROM MICHIGAN.|
|00:04:35||CONYERS: MR. SPEAKER, I AM DELIGHTED NOW TO RECOGNIZE THE GENTLELADY FROM CALIFORNIA, MS.|
|00:04:41||WOOLSEY, FOR THREE MINUTES, AND I WOULD ASK HER TO YIELD TO ME.|
|00:04:46||WOOLSEY: I WILL YIELD.|
|00:04:48||MR. CONYERS: THANK YOU FOR YIELDING.|
|00:04:50||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN IS RECOGNIZED.|
|00:04:52||MR. CONYERS: DID|
Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, every Member of the House now recognizes what members of the Committee on the Judiciary have come to realize over the last few months: This is likely the most important vote that we as Members of Congress will ever cast. It also comes at an especially difficult time, a time when our Nation's brave sons and daughters are actively defending our Nation's freedom overseas.
I share many of my colleagues' concerns about this unfortunate timing. But, just as we have a responsibility to our troops, we now have a responsibility to keep our word to the American people and put this matter behind the country as soon as possible.
Throughout the Committee on the Judiciary's consideration of this very serious matter, I worked to uphold my constitutional duty to fairly and thoroughly investigate the charges brought against the President. Throughout the proceedings, I tried to keep an open mind, giving the President every opportunity to refute the evidence. But the President made a calculated decision to avoid the facts. Instead, he presented witnesses that could offer little more than excuses, insults and historical perspectives tainted by partisan politics.
The President's attorneys did not fare much better. They, too, decided to hide from the truth, consistently adhering to the company line. `The President did not really lie under oath,' they testified. `It depends on how one defines the word `alone.' The President was not paying attention when his attorney offered false evidence to the court. The President has continued to rely on these absurd explanations and linguistic contortions for one reason and one reason alone; he cannot dispute the facts.
The evidence against President Clinton is conclusive: The President lied under oath before a Federal grand jury. He lied under oath in a sexual harassment case. He obstructed justice, and he abused his constitutional authority. Standing alone, each individual offense is extremely serious. Collectively, they are overwhelming.
After months of painstaking review, it has become apparent to me that impeachment is the only remedy that adequately addresses the President's illegal and unethical acts. The President's actions have gravely damaged the office of the presidency, our judicial system, and our country.
This was not an easy decision to reach. Impeaching a President cannot be taken lightly. But in this case, our constitutional duty is clear.
Some of my colleagues have come to the floor today using inflammatory rhetoric and attacking Members for voting their conscience. This is unfortunate and does not reflect the dignity that we owe this debate. It is the President, by breaking his oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, who has violated the trust bestowed upon him by the American people.
As to those who mistakenly claim that this body is seeking to overturn an election or we are involved in a coup d'etat, let me remind my friends on the other side of the aisle that it is the Democratic Vice President, Al Gore, who would become President if the Senate decides to remove President Clinton because of his crimes and remove him from office.
I ask every Member of the House to consider the question I posed to my colleagues on the Committee on the Judiciary last week: What message are we sending to the youth of America if we abdicate our constitutional duty and condone perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power by the President of the United States? I have two children at home, a daughter and a son. With the help of their teachers and their church, my wife and I have tried to teach them about honesty and integrity. We have tried to instill in them a belief that character does indeed matter. We have taught them to obey the law.
Sadly, they have seen these principles corrupted by the chief law enforcement officer of this land, the President of the United States. William Jefferson Clinton has disgraced his sacred office, he has cheapened the oath, he has disillusioned an entire generation of young Americans, and he refuses to accept responsibility for his actions.
Abraham Lincoln, perhaps our Nation's greatest President, once said, `Let us have faith that right makes might, and, in that faith, let us dare to do our duty as we understand it.' Today, we must fulfill our constitutional duty and vote to impeach the President.