Clinton Impeachment: Statement By Senator James Jeffords

The following is a statement from the Senate’s closed deliberations on the Articles of Impeachment against President Clinton, excerpts of which senators were allowed to publish in the Congressional Record for Friday, February 12, 1999.

Senator James Jeffords was a Democrat senator from Vermont. He served from 1989 until 2007. He left the Republican Party in 2001 and became an Independent, before caucusing with the Democrats.

Statement by Senator James Jeffords (Democrat – Vermont)

On January 7, 1999, the House of Representatives presented the Senate with two articles of impeachment against President William Jefferson Clinton. The articles charged the President with lying under oath before a federal grand jury and with obstruction of justice. In the days following the House’s presentation of the articles, many have criticized the Senate for continuing on where the House left off. They argue that if there are not enough votes in the Senate to remove the President, then the Senate should not have bothered proceeding with the trial. While this may seem like a reasonable way of disposing of an unpopular process, the Senate has a Constitutional duty to hold an impeachment trial. Although the Constitution provides little guidance, one thing was clear: In order to fulfill this duty, we had to come together as a body and proceed in a manner that was judicious, deliberative and fair. That meant that before the Senate could make any decision on the articles of impeachment, each side had to be given the opportunity to present its case. [Read more…]