Mueller’s report essentially accuses Trump of witness tampering – one of the offences Republicans impeached Clinton on. Here’s how they explained their votes
Robert Mueller’s report effectively accused Donald Trump of obstructing justice by witness tampering, one of the offences that led Republicans to impeach Bill Clinton 20 years ago.
Mueller’s team found Trump repeatedly made efforts to “encourage witnesses not to cooperate with the investigation” into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the special counsel’s final report said.
Following his deposition, the president had to decide what to do with his loyal secretary, Ms Betty Currie. And, again, the undisputed evidence shows that the president took the path of lies and deceit.
Contrary to federal obstruction of justice laws and contrary to judge Wright’s protective order … President Clinton left the deposition, went back to the White House and called Ms Currie at home to ask her to come to the White House the next day, which, I might add, was a Sunday.
Senate floor, 12 February 1999
It is clear to me that the president committed serious crimes when he coached his secretary, Betty Currie, and when he misled his aides Sidney Blumenthal and John Podesta … These actions weren’t just outrageous and morally wrong. They were also illegal. They were a direct assault on the integrity of the judicial process.
Statement, 12 February 1999
The question I have that needs to desperately be answered by somebody is – when he approached Ms Currie to coach her in the fashion he did, is that a crime? Because I don’t want people at home to be confused that they can do these things, because if they do what the president did, in my opinion, they will wind up in jail.
Interview with CNN, 27 January 1999
[N]obody because of their position in society has the right to cheat and to get somebody to lie for them, even as the president. That means we’re not a nation of men or kings. We’re a nation of laws, and that’s what this case has always been about to me … He turned the judicial system upside down, every way but loose. He sent his friends to lie for him. He lied for himself.
Speaking on the Senate floor while a House impeachment manager, 8 February 1999
We in Kansas know that you don’t call witnesses in the middle of the night unless you want to sway them. The president did so. We in Kansas know that you don’t urge hiding legal evidence under the bed unless you want to affect the outcome of a legal proceeding. The president did so.
… Do these actions rise to the level envisioned by our founding fathers in the constitution as ‘high crimes and misdemeanors’ so warranting removal from office? Our constitution requires that the threshold for that judgment must be set by each senator sitting as a juror.
Statement, 12 February 1999
While most of the national attention has focused on the tawdriness of this matter, this intense fixation on sensationalism diverts attention from the true issues – the true issues related to abuse of the power of the presidency, perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Statement, 20 December 1998
Tampering with the truth-seeking functions of the law undermines our justice system and the foundations on which our freedoms lie. All Americans must abide by the rule of law, including the president of the United States, who is the highest official in the land and who has the additional duty to ensure that the laws are faithfully executed.
Opinion article in the Idaho Falls Post Register, 21 February 1999
The president’s lawyers have argued that the president made these statements to refresh his recollection or to find out what Ms Currie knew in the event of a press avalanche. Neither of these explanations is plausible. It is impossible to refresh one’s recollection with false, leading questions. It is also impossible to find out what someone else knew if you tell them what they are supposed to believe.
The plausibility of either of these explanations is entirely discounted when you consider that the president called Betty Currie in a second time, on January 20, to ‘remind’ her of these statements.
Statement entered into Senate record, 22 February 1999
Isn’t it true that [the federal law on witness tampering] criminalizes anyone who corruptly persuades or engages in misleading conduct with the intent to influence the testimony of any person in an official proceeding?
Question co-signed by Inhofe submitted in impeachment proceedings, 23 January 1999
Shelby said Clinton’s January 1998 meeting with Ms Currie, after returning from his own testimony in the Jones lawsuit, was a key factor in his decision to vote for conviction on the obstruction charge. House managers accused Clinton of using that meeting to try to influence Currie’s testimony.
‘That was a strong component,’ Shelby said. ‘But it’s not just one thing in the obstruction evidence. If you put it all together, I thought it was beyond a reasonable doubt.’
Associated Press report, 12 February 1999
There is clear evidence that President Clinton committed perjury on two or more occasions, and urged others to obstruct justice. These are serious felonious acts that strike at the heart of our judicial system. Oaths taken in the American system of government are serious commitments to truth and the rule of law. Violating these oaths or causing others to impede the investigation into such acts are serious matters that meet the standard for impeachment.
I believe the facts presented by the judiciary committee prove beyond a reasonable doubt that President Clinton repeatedly lied to a grand jury and encouraged a witness before that grand jury to provide false information. The United States is a nation of laws, not men. And I do not believe we can ignore the facts or disregard the constitution so that the president can be placed above the law.
Statement, 19 December 1998
It is clear that President Clinton on numerous occasions lied to a federal grand jury, lied in a civil proceeding affecting the civil rights of an American citizen, and orchestrated an attempt to obstruct justice.
… The untruthful actions of the president are not mere technical violations of federal law; rather, the president’s lies, obfuscation and overt acts to obstruct justice are serious and felonious, and they tear at the essential foundation of our judicial system.
I believe the evidence of serious wrongdoing is simply too compelling to be swept aside. I am particularly troubled by the clear evidence of lying under oath in that it must be the bedrock of our judicial system.
I believe the long-term consequence to this country of not acting on these serious charges before us far outweigh the consequences of following what the constitution provides for and bringing this matter to trial in the United States Senate.
[Allegations that Clinton urged Lewinsky to lie] would amount to a federal felony, and that would mean serious, serious problems for President Clinton.
Interview with the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 23 January 1998
Our declaration of independence says it best. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ In America there is no emperor, and there is no Praetorian guard. There is one standard of justice that applies equally to all, and to say or do otherwise will undermine the most sacred of all American ideals.
President Clinton has committed federal crimes, and there must be a reckoning, or no American shall ever again be prosecuted for those same crimes.
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