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Impeachment Debate Excerpts-6

December 18, 1998

``Just as every crime does not justify the death penalty, neither should impeachment _ the political equivalent of the death penalty _ be the punishment for every presidential misdeed.

... Unfortunately, fairness has taken a back seat to partisan politics during this very serious, one-sided debate. The overwhelming majority of Americans agree that the president deserves to be punished, but the majority of Americans also agree the punishment needs to fit the crime, and the president’s conduct, however reprehensible, is not an act of treason, of bribery or other high crimes.″ _ Rep. Ron Klink, D-Pa.

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``I was removed from office after being found not guilty, and here we are, talking can we censure. Today, we reach the zenith of unfairness. Our military, under the aegis of our president, is attempting to downgrade weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and we are unmasked, as a body, degrading the institution of the presidency. It’s not sad, it’s irrational.″ _ Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla.

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``The circumstances of history have our nation facing two grave issues, impeachment and war, at the same moment. President Clinton decided to unleash the awesome power of war and why did he do this? One, because Saddam Hussein has lied to the United Nations. Another because Saddam Hussein has obstructed justice by blocking the work of the weapons inspectors and another one is he violated the rule of law in defiance to the ceasefire resolution of the Gulf War.

I support the president of the United States in his rightful action and pray for the safety of our troops. If we are willing to ask the ultimate sacrifice in defense of the international rule of law, how can we not act to defend its foundations at home?″ _ Rep. Jim Hansen, R-Utah

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``Make no mistake my colleagues, not all coups are accompanied by the sound of marching boots and rolling tanks. Some like today, are wrapped in a Constitutional veneer, softened by pious assertions of solemn obligation and duty, but the result is the same: defiance of the public will and rejection of the regular political process.″ _ Rep. Lowey, D-N.Y.

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``Perjury and obstruction of justice, even regarding a private matter, are offenses that have a substantial impact on the president’s official duties because they are grossly incompatible with his preeminent duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.

Perjury and obstruction of justice are not private matters, they are crimes against the system of justice, crimes for which this president must be impeached.″ _ Rep. Charles Canady, R-Fla.

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``Millions of dollars have been spent. Many reckless charges were investigated, investigated to death, and they were found to have no basis in fact, and they were found to have no basis in fact. As a matter of fact, a resolution of impeachment was introduced before anybody had ever heard of President Clinton’s affair with Monica Lewinsky.

There has been an impeachment in search of an impeachable offense. What has been presented to us today do not amount to impeachable offenses.″ _ Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

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``I stand here as a Republican. I’m proud of my party, but I’m opposed to impeachment, and having proposed my own censure motion, which sadly will die with this session.

But this is today; what about tomorrow? Today, we deal with the law. Tomorrow, we deal with people’s lives. ...

So Mr. Speaker, when all the arguments are done and when the votes are taken, this is what we must work for: the humanity, the healing of this nation.″ _ Rep. Amo Houghton, R-N.Y.

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``We are perhaps at one of the lowest point in American politics. We’re in the midst of a parliamentary coup. The party in the majority wants to remove an elected president and that’s the parliamentary system. That’s not the democratic system. They’re doing so without any legitimacy. Legitimacy demands bipartisanship. There is no bipartisanship on the floor today, simply the will of this majority to drive out this president _ a true parliamentary coup.″ Albert Wynn, D-Md.

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``How can the Republicans exalt Newt Gingrich to the highest post of speaker after he admitted lying to Congress and try to impeach the president of the United States for lying about his personal affairs? I urge my colleagues to vote no, stop this hatchet job on the presidency, stop this hypocrisy, stop this hatred.″ _ Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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``The poison of division that infects this House today spreads throughout the American populace. It is a poison that invades our body politic and thwarts our ability to come together as a nation to resolve our problems.

Don’t rip our nation asunder. Bring us together, censure and move on.″ _ Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Texas

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``Standing alone, each individual offense is extremely serious. Collectively, they’re overwhelming. After months of painstaking review, it has become apparent to me that impeachment is the only remedy that adequately addresses the president’s illegal and unethical acts. The president’s actions have gravely damaged the office of the presidency, our judicial system and our country.″ Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Ohio

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``History will record that on this day, the House of the People, through searing, brutal partisanship disallowed the right of each member and this member to express their own conscience.

Today, impeachment, and only impeachment, counts. It is a day when the overwhelming voices of the American people are turned away. It’s a day when the framers’ intent for removal of the chief executive of our nation _ treason, bribery, high crimes against the people _ is ignored.″ _ Rep. Anna Eshoo, D-Calif.

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``As to the polls and the newspapers around the country, more than 100 major newspapers have called on the president to resign. And if this president would put the country in front of himself for one time, and follow the advice of ... many of the same newspapers to resign, and the polls would show a majority of Americans would like to see the president resign, I think we’d all be better suited.″ _ Rep. Ed Bryant, R-Tenn.

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