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Clinton Impeachment Trial: 50 Questions Asked By Senators

After six days of silence whilst the House Managers presented the case against President Clinton and the White House legal team rebutted the charges, Senators were able to submit written questions to both sides.

The questions were read by the Chief Justice, William Rehnquist.

Text of 50 questions asked by Senators in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton.

1. Sens. Allard, Bunning, Coverdell and Craig to the House managers:

Is it the opinion of the House managers that the president’s defense team in the presentation mischaracterized any factual or legal issue in this case? If so, please explain.

 

2. Sen. Sarbanes to the president’s counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal of factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question from Sens. Allard, Bunning, Coverdell and Craig?

 

3. Sens. Enzi and Coverdell ask the House managers:

Please elaborate on whether the president’s defense team failed to respond to any allegations made by the House managers.

 

4. Sen. Levin asked the president’s counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question?

 

5. Sens. Thurmond, Grassley, Chafee and Craig direct to the House managers:

President Clinton has raised concerns about whether the articles of impeachment are overly vague and whether they charge more than one offense in the same article. How do you respond to these concerns?

 

6. Sens. Dodd and Leahy to the president’s counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous questions by Sens. Thurmond, Grassley, Chafee, and Craig. Particularly, what would have stopped or limited the House in specifying precisely the statements on which the articles were based?

 

7. Sens. Thompson, Grassley, Thurmond, Allard, Frist to the president’s counsel:

If the president were a federal judge accused of committing the same acts of perjury and obstruction of justice and the Senate found sufficient evidence that the acts alleged were committed, should the Senate vote to convict?

 

8. Sens. Dorgan and Baucus and Schumer, to the president’s counsel:

In Counselor Ruff’s presentation he set forth a time line that undermined the managers’ theory that Judge Wright’s December 11 discovery order triggered an intensification of the president’s and Jordan’s efforts to assist Lewinsky in finding a job. In response to Mr. Ruff’s presentation, the managers handed out a press release outside the Senate chamber asserting that it was the December 5 issuance of the witness list in the Jones case and not the judge’s discovery order on the 11th that triggered the intensification of the job search. This does not appear consistent with assertions made by the House managers in their trial brief and oral presentations. Please comment.

 

9. Sens. Ashcroft and Hatch to the House managers:

The White House makes much of the fact that Vernon Jordan was on a flight to Holland on December 11th, before Judge Wright ruled that afternoon that other women who may have had relationships while in President Clinton’s employ were relevant to the Jones suit.

However, the president was faxed a witness list on December 5th and actually reviewed it no later than the eighth. Thus, isn’t the White House argument that the president had no incentive to assist Ms. Lewinsky’s job search until December 11, just a red herring?

 

10. Sen. Boxer to counsel for the president:

In light of the confession of Manager Hutchinson that Judge Wright’s order had no bearing on the intensity of the job search, can you comment on the balance of his claim on the previous question?”

 

11. Sens. Sessions, Gramm, Smith (New Hampshire), Inhofe, Allard and Roberts to the House managers:

In defense of the president, Ms. Mills has repeatedly stated and has just reiterated that the crime of witness tampering requires some element of threat, intimidation or pressure. Isn’t true that Section 1512b criminalizes anyone who corruptly persuades or engages in misleading conduct with the intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding? Please explain.

 

12. Sen. Byrd to the president’s counsel:

Alexander Hamilton, in Federalist SA 65, states that the subjects of impeachment are those offenses which proceed from the misconduct of public men. Or in other words, from the abuse of violation of some public trust.

 

13. Sen. Lott to the House managers:

Do the managers wish to respond to the answer just given by the
president’s counsel?

 

14. Sens. Torricelli and Rockefeller to the president’s counsel:

The House managers have made the overly broad argument that nothing in the text, structure, or history of the Constitution suggests that officials are subject to impeachment only for official conduct. Can this unbending argument be reconciled with the following statement from Justice James Wilson, “Our president is amenable to the laws and his private character as a citizen and in his public character by impeachment and with the standard adopted by a bipartisan majority in the Watergate proceedings?

 

15. Sen. Nickles to the House managers:

The president’s counsel stated the president did not commit perjury. Please respond.

 

16. Sens. Conrad and Torricelli to the president’s counsel:

The House of Representatives rejected two proposed articles of impeachment, including an article alleging perjury in the Jones deposition. Do you believe that the Senate may, consistent with its constitutional role, convict and remove the president based on the allegations underlying the rejected articles, including the allegations of perjury?

 

17. Sens. Santorum, Smith (Oregon) and Thomas to the House managers:

Please respond to the presentation made by the counsel to the president, including the argument made by Mr. Craig to the effect that the rejection of Article II had the effect of eliminating that portion of Article I. Did the House conclude that lying in a civil deposition is not impeachable but that lying to the grand jury about whether the witness lied in a civil deposition is impeachable?

 

18. Sens. Reed to the White House counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question?

 

19. Sens. Shelby and Snowe to the House managers:

There has been much debate regarding the nature of the offenses that fit within the definition of high crimes and misdemeanors. When employing this phrase in the Constitution, the framers relied on precedents supplied by colonial and English common law to provide context and meaning. Please explain whether or not the offenses charged in the two articles fit within the types of impeachable offenses contemplated by the framers as they interpreted colonial and English common law precedent.

 

20. Sen. Bingaman to White House counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question?

 

21. Sens Grassley, Smith (New Hampshire), Bunning and Craig to the House managers:

“In your presentation, you made the case that the Senate should call witnesses. In light of the White House’s response to this argument, do you still hold this position? Please elaborate.”

 

22. Sen. Bryan to the White House counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question, focusing on the need for witness and the time likely required to prepare for and conduct discovery.

 

23.Sen. Chafee to the House managers:

The White House defense team makes a lot out of Monica Lewinsky’s statement that she delivered the presents to Betty Currie around 2:00 or 2:30 and about the fact that the phone call came from Betty Currie at 3:32. Isn’t it reasonable to assume that Ms. Lewinsky meant that she delivered the presents to Mrs. Currie in the afternoon? If the president was unconcerned about the presents, as he said in his grand jury testimony, why didn’t he simply tell Ms. Lewinsky not to worry about it?”

 

24. Sens. Leahy, Schumer, and Wyden to the president’s counsel:

Notwithstanding the previous response by the House manager, does not the evidence show (A) Ms. Lewinsky’s testimony, that it was her idea to give the gifts to Betty Currie?; (B) the president’s testimony that he never told Betty Currie to retrieve the gifts from Ms. Lewinsky?; (C) Betty Currie’s testimony that it was Ms. Lewinsky, not the president, who asked her to pick up the gifts? And indeed the fact that the president gave Ms. Lewinsky additional gifts on the very morning that he is alleged to have asked them back.

 

25. Sens. Snowe, Ashcroft, Enzi, Burns, Smith (New Hampshire) and Craig to House managers:

At the end of the Jones deposition, Judge Wright admonished the parties that ‘this case is subject to a protective order regarding all discovery and all parties present, including the witness, are not to say anything whatsoever about the questions they were asked, the substance of the deposition, any details. And this extremely important to this court.’ Within hours of Judge Wrights admonition to all parties not to discuss details of the deposition, didn’t the president telephone Betty Currie to ask her to make a rare Sunday visit to the Oval Office?

 

26. Sen. Kennedy to White House counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers and their response to the previous question?

 

27. Sens. Gramm and Smith (New Hampshire) to the White House counsel:

If you said that our oath to do impartial justice required us to allow the president to have a handful of witnesses to defend himself, don’t you believe that all hundred senators would say yes? How can we do impartial justice by turning around and denying the House that same right?

 

28. Sen. Feingold to the House managers:

In light of the allegations in the articles of impeachment that the president is guilty of providing perjurious statements to a grand jury, and has obstructed the administration of justice, is the appropriate burden of proof for these particular articles beyond a reasonable doubt as it would be in an ordinary criminal proceeding? Should a senator vote to convict the president based on his allegedly committing these federal statutory crimes if each of the elements of the crimes has not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt?

 

29. Sens. Thompson, Snowe, Enzi, Frist, Craig, DeWine and Hatch to the president’s counsel:

Four days after the president’s Paula Jones testimony, wherein he testified under oath about Ms. Lewinsky, why would Dick Morris conduct a poll on whether the American people would forgive the president for committing perjury and obstruction of justice?

 

30. Sen. Lieberman to the House managers:

The House managers argue that the president should be removed from office because of the inconsistency between his actions and the president’s duty to faithfully execute the laws. Given that any criminal act would arguably be at odds with the president’s duty to execute the laws, is it your position that the president may be impeached and removed for committing any criminal act, regardless of the type of crime it is? If the president were convicted of driving while intoxicated, would that be grounds for removal? What if he were convicted of assault?

 

31. Sens Thompson and Snowe to the House managers:

Do the managers wish to respond to the answer given by the president’s counsel with regard to the poll taken by Dick Morris?”

 

32. Sens. Leahy, Harkin, Dorgan and Reid to the president’s counsel:

In its opening remarks to the Senate, Manager McCollum stated, ‘I don’t know what the witnesses will say, but I assume if they are consistent they’ll say the same thing that’s in here,’ referring to the 60,000-page record currently before the Senate. ‘I see no reason to call witnesses to provide redundant testimony.’ Could you comment on Mr. McCollum’s statement and clarify also the timetable which might have to be considered for discovery if witnesses are called.

 

33.Sens. Hatch, Thompson, DeWine and Warner to the House managers:

The unanimous consent agreement pending before the Senate permits the filing of a motion to dismiss next week. What legal standards should the Senate apply? In applying that standard to this case, what specific acts of presidential misconduct would a Senator deem unworthy of impeachment by voting for a motion to dismiss?

 

34. Sen. Durbin to counsel for the president:

Can you comment on Manager Hyde’s contention that the president was free to call witnesses before the House but that the House did not have the time to do so, or to call any witnesses?

 

35. Sen. Nickles to the House managers:

Which of the president’s statements not already discussed today do you believe to be of particular importance to the perjury charge?

 

36. Sens. Schumer and Kerrey to the president’s counsel:

Isn’t it true that the alleged perjurious statements have changed in number and substance since the OIC first delivered its referral to the House and that the referral, Mr. Schippers’ presentation before the House, the majority report, the trial brief and the managers’ statements before this body contain different allegations of what constitutes the alleged perjurious statements?

 

37. Sen. Lott to the House managers:

Do you wish to respond to the answer just given by the president’s counsel?

 

38. Sens. Boxer, Schumer and Kohl to the president’s counsel:

To the best of your knowledge, has the United States Department of Justice ever brought a perjury prosecution where the alleged perjury was inferred from the direction in which the defendant was looking?

 

39. Sens. Hatch and Burns to the House managers:

The president’s lawyers cite in their brief Professor Michael Gerhardt for the proposition that for an act to be impeachable, there must be a nexus between the misconduct of an impeachable official and the latter’s official duties.

But isn’t it true that Professor Gerhardt also stated that impeachment may lie for conduct unrelated to official duties if such conduct is outrageous and harms the reputation of the office? And there’s citation to the testimony of Mr. Gerhardt. Would the House managers care to respond to this?

 

40. Sen. Dodd to the counsel for the president:

Given the election of a president of the United States is the most important and solemn political act in which we as citizens engage, how much weight should the Senate give to the fact that conviction and removal by the Senate of the president would undo that decision?

 

41. Senator Lott to the House managers:

Didn’t the framers of the Constitution understand in 1787 that the conviction and removal from office of a president would under the system devised reverse the result of a national election by elevating not a president’s vice presidential running mate, as we would do today, but the person who would receive the second highest number of electoral votes?

 

42. Sen. Edwards to the House managers:

Are there any statements contained in the exhibits used during the managers presentations or omissions from those exhibits that you believe in the interest of fairness or justice should be corrected at this time? If so, please do so now.

 

43. This is from Senator Roberts to the House managers and White House counsel:

Given the fact that the White House characterizes the assistance that Monica Lewinsky received was routine, does the record reflect that any other White House interns, other than Monica Lewinsky, received the same level of job assistance from Vernon Jordan, John Podesta, Betty Currie, and then-Ambassador Richardson?

 

44. Sens. Dodd and Levin to the House managers:

On page 11 of House Committee report, accepting House resolution 611 — accompanying House resolution 611 — the report states that Judge Susan Webber Wright issued her order on the morning of December 11th. Will the managers now acknowledge that the report was factually incorrect — yes, or no?

 

45. Sens. Domenici, Frist, McCain and Warner to the House managers:

What is the historical significance and legal import of taking an oath for performance in public office? What is the historical significance and legal import of taking an oath to tell the truth in a legal proceeding? Please discuss whether oath-taking in such circumstances is a public matter.

 

46. Sen. Kerry to the counsel for the president:

Is it fair to say that the articles and manager presentations stress the Jones perjury allegations rejected by the House because they can not credibly on the law satisfy the elements and argue perjury in the grand jury investigation?

 

47. Sens. Hatch, Thompson and DeWine to the House managers:

In her presentation to the Senate, Ms. Mills emphasized that Ms. Lewinsky testified on 10 different times about the subject of gifts. Did she ever testify that the president told her that she must turn over the gifts because that is what the law requires?

 

48. Sen. Reid to the White House counsel:

Would you please comment on any of the legal or factual assertions made by the managers in their response to the previous question?

 

49. Sens. Helms, Abraham, Ashcroft and Stevens to the president’s counsel:

President Clinton testified before the grand jury that he was merely trying to refresh memory when he made these statements to Betty Currie. How can someone refresh their recollection by making statements they know are false?

 

50. Sen. Bayh to counsel for the president:

Can you comment on the importance of proportionality to the rule of law?

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