Clinton Guilty Of Perjury And Obstruction - Sen. John Ashcroft
United States Senator - Missouri
Today the Senate voted that the President was not guilty of impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives. Because you took the time and effort to let me know your thoughts, I wanted to let you know how I voted and why before the sun sets on this historic day.
When the impeachment trial began, I took an oath to render "impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: So help me God." This oath requires me to decide this case based on the evidence, arguments of the parties, and the applicable law -- and on no other basis.
After sitting in trial for more than a month and spending countless hours reviewing the record, I concluded that the President committed grand jury perjury and obstructed justice. While not every allegation against the President was proven, two of the four examples of perjury and five of the seven examples of obstruction of justice were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Inserted in the Congressional Record and on my home page ( is my analysis of the evidence and law in this case.
As an example of my reasoning, let me mention one aspect of this case the President's conversation with Ms. Betty Currie. Ms. Currie told the grand jury that after the President's sworn deposition in the Jones case, the President requested that she make a rare Sunday appearance at the White House. When she arrived, the President asked her a series of unusual questions, including "Monica came on to me, and I never touched her, right?"; "You were always there when Monica was there, right?"; and "I was never really alone with Monica, right?" When asked to explain this to the grand jury, he stated that he was "trying to refresh [his] memory about what the facts were."
This statement is demonstrably false. A person cannot refresh their memory by repeating lies. The President's leading questions were falsehoods. For example, the President knew that he had been alone with Ms. Lewinsky. The true purpose of the President's conversation with Ms. Currie was not to refresh his memory, but to ensure that she would confirm his false testimony if she were called as a witness.
During his deposition, the President repeatedly invoked Ms. Currie as an alibi. The President then made sure that Ms. Currie's story supported his testimony. The law criminalizes such witness tampering. These are not the only examples of criminal misconduct.
The President also committed grand jury perjury in claiming he was truthful with his aides and in describing his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. The President obstructed justice by encouraging Ms. Lewinsky to file a false affidavit, by providing her with job assistance and by coaching testimony of his aides. The President's actions constitute perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate's precedents make clear these are high crimes and misdemeanors that require the President's removal.
Three times in the last fifteen years the House has impeached and the Senate has removed federal judges for perjury or related crimes. Chief Justice Rehnquist has described perjury as a "flagrant abuse of office." During the Watergate scandal, the Special Prosecutor thought subornation of perjury by the President was "as demeaning an act as could be imagined." Perjury and obstruction of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors. The Constitution leaves no discretion -- it states that the President "shall be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors."
This is the only conclusion that I believe is consistent with my oath to do impartial justice. This case is, in large measure, about the importance of oaths. The President's failure to honor his oath caused this entire proceeding.
Although some might see a vote to acquit as the expedient course, I will not do further damage to our culture by disregarding my oath. I regret that the President's conduct has forced the Congress to consider this matter. Now that the trial is concluded, I am eager to accomplish my legislative agenda of tax cuts, retirement security, educational opportunity and safety from drugs and crime.
The letters, phone calls and e-mail that I received from Missouri were a motivation for me to decide this issue carefully. I am grateful you cared enough about our country to share your thoughts.
John Ashcroft
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