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It's Time to Tell Congress to Get Moving on Clinton Issue

  • Despite foot-dragging in the Congress and obfuscation by the White House, there is a real possibility that Bill Clinton could be removed from office before his second term expires.
By P. Samuel Foner

A breakthrough in the congressional investigation of wrongdoing by President Bill Clinton and the Democratic National committee (DNC) vis-a-vis illegal campaign funding may be the crack in the dike holding back impeachment proceedings.

Key Senate Democrats involved in the probe said in mid-July that they agree with Senate Governmental Affairs committee Chairman Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) that China illegally plotted to influence the U.S. political system. That decision was announced on Tuesday, July 15 when the committee revealed it had the first hard evidence of an illegal foreign contribution made in 1992.

Central to an impeachment process against the president would be a positive vote from the House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Hyde (R-Ill.). But that committee has agreed to hold off its hearings until the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee, chaired by Rep Dan Burton (R-Ind.), explores the situation further. Spokesmen for the House Judiciary Committee are also suggesting that the House Judiciary Committee is waiting for action by the Senate Judiciary Committee on possible irregularities or illegalities on the part of the president.

Those who are serious about possible impeachment proceedings are not getting any help from Janet Reno's Justice Department which is "investigating."

Maj. Alyn Denham, chairman of the Committee to Impeach Bill Clinton (CIBC), has called on all patriotic Americans to contact their federal representatives and senators to demand action. Ask them to do the jobs they swore they would do when they took office," he said. "Without pressure from the people, nothing will happen: it will be business as usual."

"Many people mistakenly believe 'impeachment' is the removal of a president or vice president or other high official from office," said Denham. He explained that technically this is not correct.

Impeachment is only a formal issuance of charges by the House of Representative. It is the Senate which votes on charges issued in the impeachment and the Senate which convicts or acquits.

Only on president -- Andrew Johnson -- has ever been impeached and he was acquitted when the charges filed in the impeachment were tried in the Senate. In fact, of the 11 articles of impeachment levied against Johnson in 1868, the Senate actually voted on only three of the charges. Johnson was acquitted on each article by identical votes of 35-19.

Clinton is indeed ripe for impeachment," said Denham.

Liberty Lobby Board of Policy (BOP) Chairman Vince Ryan had previously reported that the majority of the members of the BOP feel Clinton must go. "The movement to impeach the president is gaining momentum," Ryan said.

But "we can't depend on the Republican leadership, the people who tried to give us Bob Dole to replace Clinton, to take a leading role in this," Ryan said. "The people must support the individual congressmen who have the courage to try to eject Clinton & Co. from the White House."

The republican members of the House Judiciary Committee are:

Henry J. Hyde (Ill., chairman); F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (Wis.); Bill McCollum (Fla.); George W. Gekas (Pa.); Howard Coble (N.C.); Lamar S. Smith (Texas; Steven Schiff (N.M.); Elton Gallegly (Calif.); Charles Canady (Fla.); Bob Inglis (S.C.); Bob Goodlatte (Va.); Steve Buyer (Ind.); Sonny Bono (Calif); Ed Bryant (Tenn.); Asa Hutchinson (Ark.); Edward A Pease (Ind.) and Christopher Cannon (Utah).

About the author

"P. Samuel Foner" is anom-de-plume for Liberty Lobby founder Willis A. Carto.