HENRY HYDE: With today's vote in the Senate on the articles of impeachment against William Jefferson Clinton, this difficult chapter in our nation's history comes to a close. We have all been eye-witnesses to the genius of our Constitution which establishes a peaceful and orderly process for addressing criminal wrongdoing by the chief executive. All Americans can take great comfort in knowing that by remaining faithful to this constitutional process, the Congress has strengthened, not weakened, the ties that bind our nation together.
When the House of Representatives received the referral from the Office of the Independent Counsel on September 9th, a referral required by law I might add, we faced a critical choice. We could have studied the polls and listened to the pundits and decided that following the Constitution was not in our political best interest. But we didn't do that. Instead, we studied the Constitution, reviewed the precedents, and proceeded forward according to the law. Five months later, after a trial and much tribulation, I have no regrets. We fulfilled our oath of office to discharge our duty according to the Constitution.
On the opening day of the Senate's proceedings, I suggested that the Senators had become "stewards of the oath." I was referring in particular to the judicial oath, the act of promising before God almighty to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Now that this constitutional process is over, only time will tell what effect all of this has had on that oath. It is one of the pillars of an honest system of justice, and I hope and pray it will remain strong.
I want to express my profound thanks to my fellow managers and the Committee staff for their dedication and sacrifice during this long process. Few could ever know what we experienced together, but I will remain forever grateful for your outstanding professionalism.
Now this entire experience is in the hands of history. And you, ladies and gentleman of the press, are stewards of the truth. I trust you will judge us fairly.
We must all now look forward to the many challenges facing our great nation in a spirit of reconciliation not revenge. I look forward to tackling many important issues on a bipartisan basis in the Judiciary Committee. The Committee has always been one of the most productive committees in the House, and I fully expect that record of accomplishment will continue.