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Senator Byrd To Move For Impeachment Trial To Be Dismissed

As the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton entered its third week, Senator Robert Byrd moved for it to be dismissed.

Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, had served in the Senate since 1959. At his death in 2010, Byrd was the longest-serving Senator.

His move to dismiss the trial came during the question state of the trial. It was rejected.

Text of statement issued by West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV)I have met with the Senate Republican and Democratic Leaders to inform them that I plan to offer a motion to dismiss the charges and end this impeachment trial.

In the agreement entered into between Republican and Democratic Senators a few days ago, provision was made for a motion to dismiss that could come as early as the beginning as next week. I plan to make this motion not because I believe that the President did no wrong. In fact, I think he has caused his family, his friends, and this nation great pain. I believe that he has weakened the already fragile public trust that has been placed in his care. But I am convinced that the necessary two-thirds for conviction are not there and that they are not likely to develop.

I have also become convinced that lengthening this trial will only prolong and deepen the divisive, bitter, and polarizing effect that this sorry affair has visited upon our nation. I am well acquainted with the charges and the evidence. I do not believe that witnesses will add anything of consequence to this process, but, to the contrary, they will only foster more of the same hallway press conferences and battle of press releases that are contributing to the division of our parties and our nation.

I have heard the public, and while it is clear that there is a great rift of public opinion on this matter, there is also a consensus that the nation is sorely in need of leadership and healing. Pressing issues are facing this nation — issues including social security, education, health care, jobs, and national security. Given the importance of these matters, I see a motion to dismiss as the best was to promptly end this sad and sorry time for our country. It is necessary that we begin now the process of healing and reconciling the differences caused by these events and address together the issues, challenges, and opportunities facing our nation.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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