tv Scandalous FOX News March 4, 2018 4:00pm-5:00pm PST
♪ >> previously on "scandalous"... >> we had a special prosecutor for whitewater. now we're looking at monica lewinsky. i mean, at what point do you stop? >> that's the way these independent-counsel things work. you're appointed to do "a," and you wind up to "z." >> we, as counsel for monica lewinsky, have reached an agreement today. >> the last person to talk to is president clinton. >> the blue dress made it impossible for the president to deny that he had had some sexual contact. >> indeed, i did have a relationship with ms. lewinsky that was not appropriate. >> i was heartbroken. >> i knew he was in real trouble. >> if you have substantial and credible evidence that may constitute grounds for an impeachment, you shall refer that to the house. >> ken starr decided we're going
to submit the referral on september 9. >> and it was then up to the political process -- what do we do with the truth? ♪ ♪ [ crowd cheering ] >> the summer of 1998 saw baseball fans transfixed on the race between chicago cubs outfielder sammy sosa and mark mcgwire of the st. louis cardinals, both on track to potentially break the home-run record set by roger maris in 1961. on september 8, the cubs played the cardinals, and history was made. [ bat hits ball ] [ crowd cheering ] as mcgwire's home run sailed over the left field wall, the independent counsel team investigating president clinton's conduct had little time for baseball. they worked through the night and into the morning to finish the long-awaited starr report. ♪
on the morning of september 9, 1998, the starr report was complete. >> judge starr, ever the careful editor, was, you know, fixing the commas or kind of changing the phrases, and then it was ready to go. >> the team boxed up the 445-page report and sent it all off to congress. >> i remember them bringing the trolleys up the elevator and loading it in. >> we were loading all the boxes into the paneled truck. >> the starr report arrived on capitol hill with a swarm of media trailing behind. >> after investigating the president for four years, ken starr's office has finally delivered a report to congress. >> 36 boxes of evidence and a 445-page report to congress containing what he called substantial and credible information, which could lead to impeachment proceedings against the president -- accusing him of perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering, and abuse of power. >> when ken starr's report was delivered to congress, it was like the entire media
establishment was on red alert. >> bob bittmann traveled with the documents and personally presented the report to the house of representatives. >> i was met by the sergeant at arms. i handed the speaker, newt gingrich, the actual referral itself and the supporting documents. >> my office -- i was right across the street from the capitol, and i went out and watched the delivery of it. >> it was a circus day on capitol hill. all of the boxes were revealed in huge quantities. i don't think any of us realized how much paperwork was coming. >> we had a very short press conference outside just announcing what we had done and that basically our role had ended. >> any further action now lie with the congress as provided for by the constitution. >> seeing on tv it was being delivered up to the hill, and then it was there. and for all of us, it felt like a huge sense of relief. >> the fate of bill clinton was now in the hands of congress. the blueprint of american democracy was about to be tested. >> i think maybe it was about that time when i realized,
"yeah, this is probably going to go to an impeachment proceeding." >> it was almost unanimous, this feeling that the public should have a right to see this. >> without conducting any formal review, in a bipartisan vote of 363 to 63, the house of representatives decided to publish the full report on the internet. >> if i'd been a duly elected member of congress, i'd have said, "i've got some reservations about that." >> it was only supposed to go to a select group of people in congress. and it was supposed to be in a room where people could read it but they couldn't take it out. ♪ >> we had no inkling that there was going to be as much graphicness, and had we reviewed the report in advance, we would have seen judge starr's referral that said, "you might want to take a look at this before you toss it out there in public." >> the 455-page report reads more like something you'd find inpenthousemagazine than a grand-jury investigation. it is filled with explicit details about the president and monica lewinsky. >> the tawdry details played
into the argument that it had all just been an attempt to embarrass the president. meanwhile, president clinton's push for forgiveness and redemption continued. >> president clinton convened a meeting in the white house with a significant group of clergymen and -women of all religions and denominations, and he basically apologized for what he'd done. >> i don't think there is a fancy way to say that i have sinned. monica lewinsky and her family and the american people... i have asked all for their forgiveness. >> yet all of the apologies did little to temper the emotions on both sides of the aisle. >> nothing surprised me about him -- the good, the bad, or the ugly. we'd known for a long time that his interest in women was certainly something that surfaced every now and then. >> even the most ardent supporters of president clinton understood clearly his behavior was reprehensible. >> the thing that really broke it for me was the fact that he lied to the grand jury.
>> emotions aside, the nation's representatives now had to delve into the facts and findings of the starr report and decide if william jefferson clinton should be the first u.s. president to be impeached since andrew johnson in 1868. but first, they took a vote on another explosive matter -- releasing the videotape of president clinton's grand-jury deposition. >> it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is. >> at 9:27 a.m. eastern time, the president's videotaped grand-jury testimony rolled. it played in congressional offices in washington. media members got their first look at the same time the public did. ♪ >> the decision to release the video was not without controversy. >> it is a disappointment to us because it is not only partisan, but it is not a process of trying to get into fact finding or defining impeachment. it's basically an effort to discredit the president. >> the issue of whether this grand-jury videotape should have
been released at all was debated hotly right up to the moment the tape rolled. >> but on september 21, 1998, all four hours of the president's testimony was made public. it caused, of course, a media frenzy. >> the video was boring. the camera never moved. the script, on the other hand, was so racy that abc and cbs broadcast all or part of the show on tape delay. >> did i want this to come out? no. was i embarrassed about it? yes. did i ask her to lie about it? no. did i believe there could be a truthful affidavit? absolutely. >> it didn't hurt him in front of the grand jury, but it did hurt him in the court of public opinion. >> for the first time, the public would see the tactics used by the president behind closed doors. >> the president is shown to be very evasive, to have very tortured and legalistic definitions of sexual relations. >> the once-secret proceedings now face the court of public opinion. 22.5 million people watch the testimony play out just in the united states alone.
>> the president started with a nonsubstantive statement. i mean, it doesn't address whether he engaged in the conduct or not, and he says that he's not going to answer any direct questions about it. >> when i was alone with ms. lewinsky, i engaged in conduct that was wrong. these encounters did not consist of sexual intercourse. they did not constitute sexual relations as i understood that term to be defined at my january 17, 1998, deposition. >> the president was definitely tiptoeing the line because first, i think that he engaged in sexual relations in any event, regardless of which definition he was applying. >> there was an undeniable mincing of words and dodging of questions that followed. >> the american people watched a politician do what he was best known for, and that was conniving and lying. >> one of the president's most infamous answers came when sol wisenberg asked about
monica lewinsky's false affidavit in the paula jones case. >> the statement that there "is no sex of any kind, in any manner, shape, or form" with president clinton was an utterly false statement. is that correct? >> that's when he said with kind of a smart-alecky look on his face... >> it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is" is. >> because what his attorney had said was, "i have an affidavit that says, 'there is no sex of any kind.'" >> if "is" means "is and never has been," that is not a... if imeans, "there is none, that was a completely true statement. >> so, i guess because the president was not having sex with ms. lewinsky at the moment that the question was asked by paula jones' attorneys right there in front of judge susan webber wright, that it was technically true. >> i just want to make sure i understand, mr. president. do you mean today that because
you were not engaging in sexual activity with ms. lewinsky during the deposition, that the statement of mr. bennett might be literally true? >> no, sir. i mean that at the time of the deposition, it had been...that was well beyond any point of improper contact between me and ms. lewinsky. >> it did more to damage his image than anything throughout the entire process. >> the use of the word "is" might have a perfectly appropriate legal defense in a brief written by his lawyer. but it was not the right way to approach testimony in front of a grand jury that would be seen by the whole world. >> he knew that there was a lot of evidence about it and that he was left really to sort of split hairs with the meaning of the word "is." >> it would become the defining moment of the entire ordeal.
>> people remember the sound bite and the look on his face when he gave that answer. he was never going to explicitly answer some of the questions that we had for him because doing so would absolutely implicate him. >> nothing else summarizes quite so clearly the fact that this is a man who is lying and who is simply using wordsmithing to avoid saying the obvious. >> amazingly, after the tape's release, the president's approval ratings ticked up another notch. to republicans in congress, this was an ominous sign because a major decision was looming. >> on capitol hill, the house judiciary committee is expected to vote in two weeks on whether to start a formal impeachment inquiry. ♪ you tell your insurance company they made a mistake. the check they sent isn't enough to replace your totaled new car. the guy says they didn't make the mistake. you made the mistake. i beg your pardon? he says, you should have chosen full-car replacement.
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>> on capitol hill, partisan fissures became canyons as both sides dug in. >> all of it is going forward amid accusations from democrats that the whole process is flawed, unfair, and partisan. republicans deny that. >> the issue would first fall to the house judiciary committee, led by 12-term republican congressman henry hyde of illinois. >> we have to determine whether or not we will have an inquiry resolution. if that would pass and the floor passes it, then we would get into hearings.
>> october 5 was a long day of heated debate among the contentious, partisan members of the judiciary committee. >> we were in the eye of the hurricane. i think people really did take it very seriously. >> in the end, the vote to move forward came down party lines. >> mr. graham. >> aye. >> mr. graham votes aye. mr. chairman, there are 21 ayes and 16 nos. >> the full house of representatives now had to decide whether the starr report showed enough evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors" to warrant an impeachment inquiry. >> "high crimes and misdemeanors," it's very clear historically, means anything that congress wants it to mean. >> we must make this determination or else forever sacrifice our heritage that no person is above the law. >> if the president did commit high crimes and misdemeanors, we had an obligation to the constitution and to the rule of law to do our job. and that was to bring forth
articles of impeachment. >> the issue is not sex. the issue is, did the president of the united states commit the felony crime of perjury by lying under oath in a deposition? >> lying under oath is a crime, a big crime, a felony crime that people go to prison for quite a long time about, in many cases. >> democrats argued that the president's actions, while reprehensible, did not warrant dragging the country through impeachment proceedings. >> it was clear that the president had breached his obligations to his wife. but he did not breach his obligations to the country. god help this nation if we fail to recognize the difference. >> democrats also continued to take aim at starr and his report. >> the tawdry and trashy thousands of pages of hearsay, accusations, gossips, and stupid telephone chatter does not meet the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors. >> impeachment is more about politics than it is about the law. >> on one side, there was a feeling that justice was going
to be done, and on the other side, there was a feeling that the process was being abused. >> after impassioned debate from both sides, the house of presentatives to vote. >> there was an uproar on the floor. people were watching the board, watching the numbers. ♪ >> the final tally of 258 to 176 locked the house into starting an official impeachment inquiry over charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. despite a largely partisan vote, 31 democrats would approve the inquiry, with some seeing it as the only way for the president to get closure. >> i believe there will be no resolution without an open hearing, and there will be no accountability without an open hearing. was there enough information to start an inquiry? yeah. i voted to do that. is there enough there to warrant an impeachment? no, not a chance. >> it was only the third time in american history that the president had been the subject of such an inquiry. >> you realize that what's
happening is incredibly important and incredibly historic and a kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing. that's not to mean that any of us enjoyed it. but we knew it was important, and we knew it was important to be handled well. >> what was not yet clear was how these historic events would play out with the american people. >> as we were heading into the november 1998 midterm elections, president clinton's poll numbers were holding. nobody wanted him impeached. but they also didn't trust him. don't we need that cable box to watch tv? nope. don't we need to run? nope. it just explodes in a high pitched 'yeahhh.' yeahhh! try directv now for $10 a month for 3 months.
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by going to global emergency response dot org today. ♪ >> on the brink of a presidential impeachment, republicans in congress felt that the political winds were in their favor. >> a week or two before the election, the republican national committee started running ads of two people sitting over coffee in the kitchen talking about, you know, "we really need to hold this president accountable." >> what did you tell your kids? >> i didn't know what to say. >> it's wrong. for seven months, he lied to us. >> republicans are spending millions on this last-minute tv blitz, betting that attacks on the president will energize their core voters and perhaps pick up a few undecideds along the way. >> the aggressive political move wouldn't go as planned. >> what turned out and what we...well, i didn't know would happen -- i'm not sure anybody did -- was that the impeachment move by the republicans backfired. >> on election night, democrats picked up an unexpected five house seats, and the senate
balance of power remained unchanged. >> the american people did not believe that the republic was at risk and that we were in grave danger. there seemed to be unanimity on that. "let's get on with the business of governance." >> to the president, if the election was a referendum on his potential impeachment, the voters had sent a strong message. ♪ >> times were good. bill clinton had done... the things had got him reelected, and they were still in place, and the economy was doing as well as ever. and this story did not offend the country to the extent that we all more or less assumed it would. it just didn't. >> bill clinton's presidency was a period of peace and prosperity. >> the american public was willing to separate to some degree bill clinton the person, as a deeply flawed person, and his conduct as president -- that is, the performance of the economy, performance on foreign policy. >> that's the first time i'd heard of the term "compartmentalization."
and in some ways, we're dealing with a little bit of that now where you have all these controversies swirling around about some personal aspects or the demeanor or what have you of the president, but what they really cared about fundamentally was all those kind of bread-and-butter issues. >> you could draw some parallels between bill clinton and donald trump. people understand their faults. they like them anyway. >> it seemed that the president had outmaneuvered republicans again. >> this town is certainly buzzing, and the happy sounds are almost all coming from relieved and delighted democrats. as for the republicans, it is a time of agonizing reappraisal. >> the republicans way overplayed their hand. i think the public was with them in terms of the conduct being, you know, not acceptable. if they'd stopped short of impeachment, the election probably would have gone much more favorably toward the republicans. >> by pushing impeachment as hard as they did, there was a backlash by the public. >> the white house and its allies felt they now had the upper hand in the fight for the president's survival. >> i remember the morning of november 4, sitting in dick gephardt's office, and we
knew we were on the winning side. >> i think people really spoke up tonight. the republicans outspent our candidates by about $110 million, so there's a big message here. >> across the aisle, the mood was grim, with many fingers pointed at the speaker of the house. >> newt gingrich had been largely responsible for the tactics and the strategy that had led the republicans out of the wilderness to control the house in the first time in forever. >> this was the beginning of the end for newt gingrich. not for bill clinton. >> the tide had turned, and gingrich found himself paying the price for what many saw as g.o.p. overreach. >> at this hour, the associated press is reporting that house speaker newt gingrich plans to resign. >> for me to stay in the house would make it impossible for a new leader to do what they need to do. >> people saw us as a majority that kind of went out of control. impeachment is a political exercise as much as it is a legal exercise. it changed the standing of the republican majority.
>> the political victory left democrats emboldened, but republicans made clear that the legal battle was far from over. impeachment was not going away. >> i see us proceeding with our hearings, getting a bill of impeachment on the table, and then if we have the majority votes, getting it to the floor, asking the speaker to call back the members for a vote. >> if we didn't do everything we had to prepare a case and bring it to the public and ultimately to the house and senate, we would be judged poorly by history. >> he engaged in this behavior as president of the united states, and therefore, the american people have a right to see what the evidence is against him. smile dad. i take medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. but they might not be enough to protect my heart. adding bayer aspirin can further reduce the risk of another heart attack. because my second chance matters. be sure to talk to your doctor
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by ken starr. >> following the surprisingly dismal midterm elections, republicans looked to put the pressure back on the white house. >> some on capitol hill argue that if the president's lawyers decide to dispute a large number of allegations, that any blame for slowing things down will shift from republican shoulders onto the democrats. >> the letter asked 81 questions directly to the president, each one beginning with "do you admit or deny." >> the purpose of the 81 questions was to try to get the president to kind of double down on statements that he made about the affair, about the alleged "obstruction." >> november 1998 was an unseasonably warm month in washington, d.c., but as fall turned to winter, hyde's questions remained unanswered. >> the idea was, if the president would concede those facts, the investigation could be ended quickly. so far, no answer and no certainty there will be an answer. >> there were some things going on in the white house and around
the world that occupied our time over the last four or five days. >> one of those things was the ongoing saga of the paula jones lawsuit. ♪ though the case had been thrown out in april, jones appealed, and it had landed once again in federal court. by mid-november, both sides had had enough. >> paula looked over, and she said, "i'm really tired, susie. i'm so tired. i just want to get out of this." and while everybody had encouraged her, including myself, to continue with this battle, i said, "paula, whatever you do, i'll stand beside you." >> paula's previous settlement demands had gone as high as $2 million and a public apology, which the president's lawyers rejected. >> they settled the case, and so we never went to trial. >> i was just so tired of all the bickering and the media and how they treated me. "am i ever going to get justice here?" it was looking to the point
where i wasn't going to. >> the settlement number was $850,000. the president does not want to spend one more minute on this matter. >> for $850,000, the lawsuit would finally go away for good. the damage had already been done. president clinton's deposition in the jones case is what had set in motion the very chain of events now threatening to derail his presidency. [ applause ] >> the clintons have won many battles, but they lose major wars, and this was one of them. >> the complete strategy by the legal team to stretch this out and to use the publicity for their own aggrandizement was a terrible mistake. they hurt the president. they made him go through a deposition and, in essence, forced him to commit a crime. >> the president could have avoided this. he never would have been called in front of a grand jury. he never would have been deposed. >> the blue dress would have never been discovered. the lawsuit would have been
dropped. >> the mind-set of the clintons, that they thought that they could destroy this woman through litigation, was foolish. to be able to settle this for a couple of hundred thousand dollars would have been a lot simpler process. you're still he? we're voya! we stay with you to and through retirement. i get that voya is with me through retirement, i'm just surprised it means in my kitchen. so, that means no breakfast? voya. helping you to and through retirement.
>> on november 17, the judiciary committee released all 22 hours of linda tripp and monica lewinsky's taped conversations. >> on television and radio, the entire day was consumed by the audio of tripp's secret recordings. >> the general depiction of me as this horrific human being was beyond painful. it meant the country didn't get it. they weren't allowed to get what had actually happened. >> the late-night drama-filled phone calls dominated the news for 48 hours until events on capitol hill reclaimed the news cycle. >> mr. starr, do you swear that the testimony you're about to give before this committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you god? >> i do. >> president clinton was 11,000 miles from washington on november 19, the start of a
six-day trip through asia. the brewing storm back home would not wait for his return. all eyes were on judge kenneth starr, who had been called before the impassioned, bitterly divided house judiciary committee. >> the day judge starr testified was really grueling for him. it was very long. >> i really was not seeking to testify. we had set forth what the office had to say in the referral, but that was a political judgment by the judiciary committee, and of course i respected that. >> it was really the first opportunity for the american people to see "who is ken starr?" and to evaluate him. >> starr began his daylong testimony with a two-hour explanation of the investigation and the lies that it uncovered. >> the president testified that he did not know that vernon jordan had met with ms. lewinsky and talked about the jones case. that was untrue. he testified that he could not recall being alone with ms. lewinsky. that was untrue.
>> ken starr came across as very believable, very sincere, and that was, of course, very different from the way the democrats had demonized him. ♪ >> of course, democrats were less impressed. >> ken starr's testimony, at the end of the day, was a nothing burger. if there was ever an opportunity to change the arc of that fall, that day was it. and he didn't accomplish it. >> judge starr was cross-examined by david kendall, president clinton's lawyer, and endured hour after hour of questions from committee members. democrats demanded to know why his referral focused only on lying about sex. >> it is clear to me that if this case, as it seems to be, and as it seems clear to me, is only about sex and lying about sex, that it will never be found impeachable by congress... nor should it be. >> they tried to turn the tables and shift the focus from the president to the independent counsel. >> we did get him to say many,
many times, "i don't recall." and part of the case that he made against the president was the number of times the president said in the grand jury testimony, "i don't recall." >> "i don't recall" can in fact be an untruthful statement, so that it becomes a question of the context. if you say, "no, i don't remember that i had a dog," and your dog just got run over, then you're either suffering from some terrible disability or amnesia, or you're not telling the truth. i beg your pardon. private investigators... >> he acquitted himself very, very well in his grueling testimony, which went on all day and long into the night. >> mr. starr, do you want a little break, or...? >> no, mr. chairman. >> okay. we're at the final -- >> we're almost at my bedtime. so -- >> all right. >> mr. chairman -- >> and mine, i can assure you. >> the marathon 12-hour testimony did not appear to change many minds in the committee room. >> if there was a day where we were relatively certain that there would never be a conviction in the senate, it was when he finished his testimony. ♪
>> at the end of november, the president finally submitted answers to the 81 questions. >> in his responses, the president denies giving false and misleading statements... >> and those 81 questions, which were an attempt to convict the...have the president convict himself out of his own mouth to avoid the necessity of bringing witnesses were frankly unworthy of the committee. >> republicans were not satisfied. >> many members of the committee are not pleased with the president's answers. the answers the committee received were "evasive, vague, and legalistic." >> it just reinforced the fact that this man was perjuring himself. >> the whole manipulation of the legal system is what made me believe that he needed to be held accountable, and the only way to hold him accountable was impeachment. ♪ >> but there was not even agreement on what constitutes an impeachable offense and if the president's misleading statements under oath qualified. >> when the framers drafted the constitution, they wrote that a
president may only be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. but they never defined what is a high crime and misdemeanor. >> this doesn't fit even close to those categories. it was purely a political decision by republicans in the house of representatives. >> i challenge anybody to respond and say that there is no difference between a police officer who deliberately frames an innocent man and someone who lies to cover up a private, embarrassing sex act. >> the purpose of this hearing, as i understood it, mr. chairman, is so weould shed some light upon that preposterous concept that perjury somehow is no longer important or doesn't have significance. >> high crimes and misdemeanors does not mean, strictly speaking, a criminal offense. it means actions by a president or other high official in the government that are utterly incompatible with their oath of office. when you look at the evidence of perjury and obstruction of justice, it is clear beyond a
reasonable doubt that president clinton did commit high crimes and misdemeanors. >> i'm afraid that this committee has become the theater of the absurd. the only question before this judiciary committee is whether the president's actions arise to the level of an impeachable offense. ♪ >> in the final days of 1998, republicans were forging ahead, determined not to let public opinion stand in the way of holding the president accountable. before a packed chamber and worldwide television audience, chief republican investigator david schippers made his case. >> monica lewinsky testified, "no one ever told me to lie. no one ever promised me a job." but once she signed that false affidavit, she got one, didn't she? schippers methodically laid out the evidence, playing never-before-seen video and audio clips of monica lewinsky, linda tripp, and the president. for the first time, the country
saw president clinton's january 17 paula jones deposition and heard the misleading answers that brought him to this point. >> and i'd like you to listen to the president's deceptions for yourself. >> at any time, have you and monica lewinsky ever been alone together in any room in the white house? >> i think i testified to that earlier. i think that there is a... it is... i have no specific recollection -- >> life was so much simpler before they found that dress, wasn't it? >> there were four articles of impeachment that were referred from the judiciary committee to the full house. ♪ >> the first two articles involved perjury -- in front of the grand jury and in the paula jones case. article iii charged the president with obstruction of justice by trying to conceal evidence, and article iv with abusing his office by lying to congress in his answers to the 81 questions. many in congress had still been hoping for some sort of an
escape hatch from the looming chaos of impeachment. to spare the nation a nasty impeachment fight, an idea was floated to simply censure the president instead. >> dick gephardt tried to persuade the president to accept a censure resolution. and i think we would have had republicans voting for it. and it's...it's...it's serious. ♪ >> we were getting a lot of pressure from the democrats in the house to consider that and also a great deal of pressure from some of the more moderate republicans in the house. >> a censure vote would be a formal condemnation of the president's actions but eliminate the possibility of him being removed from office. but the constitutionality of a censure vote was called into question. >> we were not authorized in law or in the constitution to censure a president. congress censuring somebody violates the spirit of the bill of attainder clause. the bill of attainder clause basically says that sanctions should be imposed by the judicial branch of the government, not the legislative branch. >> republicans on the committee
also felt that the president deserved a much more severe punishment. >> if, in fact, what was contained in the starr report -- that is, very strong evidence that mr. clinton perjured himself and obstructed justice -- then these are far too serious to be dealt with simply by a slap on the wrist. >> the president of the united states, the highest-ranking public official in our country, that he just be censured would be sending the wrong message out. why should the president of the united states be treated differently? >> a censure resolution was drafted, but with a party-line vote, the judiciary committee gave their answer. it would be impeachment or nothing. at 3:00 on december 15, house judiciary chairman henry hyde delivered the articles of impeachment to the house secretary. the 105th congress was poised to begin the first such proceedings in 130 years. but 12 hours before debate was set to begin, it was put on hold. >> good evening. earlier today, i ordered
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♪ let's groove tonight ask your doctor about toujeo. ♪ >> with an imminent impeachment vote looming in the house, the nation's attention was briefly distracted. >> i have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against iraq. >> president clinton ordered the strikes, known as operation desert fox, after iraqi leader saddam hussein refused to cooperate with u.n. weapons inspectors. >> we are delivering a powerful message to saddam -- "if you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price." >> as hundreds of missiles rained down on iraq, the impeachment debate was set aside -- momentarily. >> the house's historic impeachment debate was originally set to begin thursday but is now delayed for at least a few days. >> the delay caused some republicans to question the timing behind the president's decision. >> the news media was calling it "wag the dog." and i remember asking the president, "mr. president, what's the exit plan here?" and he didn't have a good answer. >> as he sat down with his foreign policy team, mr. clinton
was asked what he can say about charges the timing of the attacks was aimed at delaying impeachment. >> i don't think any serious person would believe that any president would do such a thing. this was the right thing for the country. >> a lot of republicans thought the air strikes that the president ordered were somehow motivated by his own interest in distracting attention. >> the house of representatives would not be held at bay for long. the full debate began on december 18, 1998. >> articles of impeachment exhibited by the house of representatives of the united states of america against william jefferson clinton. >> the vote on the articles of impeachment was set to begin the following day, but as members prepared for the historic vote, they were hit with some unexpected news, courtesy of a prominent republican congressman. >> bob livingston was a congressman from louisiana, and he'd been a serious senior member of the house for a long time. >> newt had stepped down, and bob had been elected by the caucus to be the new speaker. he had called a caucus of the republicans.
and bob announced that larry flynt was about to disclose that he had had an affair. >> the next morning, the speaker designate stunned a packed chamber of the house of representatives. >> bob livingston, who was presumed to be the next speaker, resigned on the floor. >> to the president -- you, sir, may resign your post. [ people murmuring ] and i can only challenge you in such fashion if i am willing to heed my own words. i cannot be the kind of leader that i would like to be under current circumstances. >> it was just a bizarre moment. >> it was like a bomb went off in the chamber. nobody expected that. he gave that very brief speech, and he walked right out the door. >> amid a shocked chamber, the house would press on. >> on this vote, the yeas are 228. the nays are 206. article i is adopted. the yeas are 221.
the nays are 212. article iii is adopted. the adoption... >> at 1:22 p.m., by a party-line vote, the house approved articles of impeachment alleging perjury and obstruction of justice against president william jefferson clinton. for the first time since 1868, the president had been impeached. >> when the speaker brought down the gavel on article i with a majority of votes, it was a very quiet moment in the chamber. people were not applauding. people were not clapping. i think we were all very sober. >> a stunned congress and nation had just witnessed a day in washington unlike any other. >> it was a very, very serious and...and emotional day in many ways for a lot of people. >> and we were mesmerized by these events. you don't see a leader of the house of representatives go down on the same day a president is impeached very often. so, this was, you know, huge news. >> following the vote, president clinton addressed his
supporters from the white house rose garden. >> i have accepted responsibility for what i did wrong in my personal life. meanwhile, i will continue to do the work of the american people. >> usually, you know, political journalists hold things up to the light of previous experience and try to give people some perspective with which to view them. we had no perspective for this. none of us had ever seen it. >> president clinton's fate was now in the hands of 100 united states senators. >> the house has the power to impeach. and then if impeachment occurs, the senate has to hold a trial and decide whether or not to convict. >> it would take a 2/3 majority to remove the president from office. >> i realized that it was in my lap. as majority leader of the senate, i was going to have to try to figure out "how do we fulfill our constitutional responsibility for a trial?" >> i can tell you -- the senate was not prepared for that. i saw the expressions on their faces, and it was like shell shock. ♪ >> next time, on the finale of "scandalous"... >> the 13 house republicans have
the job in the senate trial of making the case for the removal of the president. >> and they realized, "oh, my gosh, we're going to get this thing." >> i was really disturbed. >> we walked over, all 13 of us, in single file, and, you know, a million cameras. >> it's the future of our country. there's somebody looking back on this and saying, "did somebody stand up for what they should have?" >> do you solemnly swear, so help you god? >> i do. >> i did not run for united states senate to have to deal with an impeachment of a president. >> william jefferson clinton has brought disrepute on the presidency. >> he must not be removed from office. >> no matter how powerful they are, they have to play by the same rules. >> i was utterly physically exhausted. >> i will not have monica lewinsky in the well of the senate testifying about the stained blue dress. >> it's a sham trial. >> each senator stands and announces "guilty" or "not guilty." >> it is the constitutional death penalty. >> i want to say again to the american people how profoundly
sorry i am. >> we are presenting a case to impeach the president of the united states. my god, how surreal is this! ♪ ♪ >> previously on "scandalous"... >> i was shocked because i believed him. what mr. clinton did to me was wrong. >> hwas the st powerful person on the planet, and she was an intern just out of college. >> if the president's genetic material was on that dress, there would be no denying that the president had not been telling the truth. >> a lot of people thought he was toast. you couldn't survive a scandal like this. >> after investigating the president for 4 years, ken starr's office has finally delivered a report to congress. >> we had no inkling that there was going to be as much graphicness. >> the president has shown to be very evasive, to have very tortured and legalistic definitions of sexual relations. >> it depends upon what the meaning of the word "is," is. did i want this to come out? no. was i embarrassed about its.