Cloud Law up in the clouds


Impeachment Hearing Leaves Cloud Over Hillary Clinton – 1998 Editorial

There was good news and bad news for the Clintons from the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Thursday. Good news for the president is that Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr gave him a pass on Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate. The bad news is that Hillary was not mentioned. While giving Bill's Teflon a polish, Starr said investigations about the gate trio continue. He stated there was some evidence the president lied about his involvement in the Madison Guaranty fraud, but assertions by a single witness would be a weak case.

Having obtained 14 convictions of the many Whitewater finaglers -- including the governor of Arkansas -- Starr seems to be focusing on a final culprit. Is it Hillary or her law partner Webster Hubbell? Starr told the committee there still were unanswered questions about Mrs. Clinton's legal work for another land fraud known as Castle Grande. Also, he wants to know how subpoenaed law firm billing records -- allegedly destroyed -- were discovered by a secretary two years later in Mrs. Clinton's private study.

The independent counsel said his office was investigating "a single individual" in the travel office firings and in the illegal possession of confidential FBI files.

Last week's hearing shed no new light on White House lies and cover ups. During 12 hours of harassment by Democrats, not one question was asked about the charges in Starr's referral to the committee.

The affair was bitterly partisan from the opening statement by minority ranking member John Conyers, to a final call by Zoe Lofgren that Starr's answers under oath be examined for perjury.

Highlight of the day was the usual pit-bull attack against Starr by Clinton's personal Lawyer David Kendall. The latter spent the half hour allotted him -- plus an extra 35 minutes allowed by Chairman Henry Hyde -- trying to prove Starr was a biased prosecutor.

Not once did Kendall try to disprove the charges against Clinton. At each accusatory question, Starr waved a copy of his referral at Kendall and challenged him to refute "the facts."

Starr sailed through the partisan mine field unscathed. Indeed, he received an unprecedented standing ovation from sympathetic onlookers and Republican committee members after concluding questions by majority counsel. A smiling Starr shyly stood up to acknowledge the accolade. All in all, the hearing was a dud insofar as advancing the impeachment process. Democrat zealotry was painful to watch, it was so pitiful in effect. Particularly disgraceful was the mindless bias of the black members in asserting perjury about sex by the president doesn't matter. The civil rights movement stressed that lying by whites about offenses against blacks was heinous. The Black Caucus has become Uncle Tom to the Democratic plantation.

African-Americans overcame official discrimination through the courts by the rule of law. Truth-telling is the cornerstone of the American legal system. Perjury is a crime masking all other crimes. Friends of Bill -- and majority of Americans according to opinion polls -- contend lying under oath about sex by a president is not impeachable. How sad.

Perjury, for any reason, is perjury. This, alone, fully justifies impeachment.

However, there are larger justifications for removing Bill Clinton. He solicited sex service in the Oval Office. This was adultery, and adultery is a sin defined by the Ten Commandments. It is an offense established by four thousand years of social consensus.

Perhaps worse was the tawdry nature of the repeated sex overtures by the president. It was on the level of two-dollar deals with street walkers in darkened doorways. President John F. Kennedy at least carried off his sexcapades with style.

Those in Congress, and in the public, who clamor for overlooking perjury and tawdry sex are as guilty as Clinton. More so because they aren't even getting 10 seconds of ecstasy.

Now that Democrats have had their free shot to discredit the independent counsel, sterner ethicists can take charge. Facts speak for themselves.

Immediately after the hearing, Chairman Hyde issued four subpoenas for witnesses in the Kathleen Willey sexual harassment charge against Clinton. They are Bruce Lindsey, Clinton's most trusted confidant; Robert Bennett, Clinton's lawyer for "bimbo eruptions;" Daniel Gecker, Willey's attorney; and Nathan Landow, a wealthy contractor accused of trying to persuade Willey from pressing charges.

Again, there is possible perjury, witness tampering and conspiracy to obstruct justice.

It is likely that Hyde will call John Huang, the White House bag man for questionable campaign contributions. Attorney General Janet Reno is inching toward establishment of another independent counsel to investigate massive violations of campaign financing. This might rap Republican knuckles but decapitate Democrats.

Eventually, articles of impeachment will be reported to the full House by party-line vote. If that was to happen today, a batch of wobbly-knee Republicans might refuse to impeach.

The more that Democrats obfuscate and delay the Judiciary Committee proceedings, the more likely the impeachment process will continue well into next year.

New revelations of wrong doing by the Clintons and associates would gradually sober up public opinion.

Let the games begin.

November 22, 1998


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