|REP. GEORGE GEKAS|
Following the completion of the factual arguments, the House managers began outlining the legal and constitutional case against the president. Rep. George Gekas (R-PA) began these presentations.
If it pleases the Senate, you have heard a detailed presentation of the evidence against President Clinton by my House colleagues and fellow managers. We believe the evidence supports the conviction and removal of the President on Articles I and II. As you are probably aware, and as the President has conceded, impeachable acts need not be criminal acts. In this case, the clear and convincing evidence establishes that the President of the United States has committed acts which require removal from office.
I want to give you an overview of the legal presentation that will follow on Article I and Article II. I want to commence with the beginning of the lies: conduct of the President which supports Article II, the obstruction of justice, first. And while acts of obstruction may have occurred earlier, when and how the lies under oath first started, sets the scene for understanding what the President's true motivation and state of mind were when he continued on a path designed to ensure that no evidence incriminating him would be discovered in the Jones v. Clinton case. When and how did this course of conduct and the President's lies first start?
On December 23, 1997, the President committed the first lie under oath and an act of obstruction -- he lied on the first occasion he was required by the Court to provide discovery concerning what his lawyer, Bob Bennett, conceded was relevant - - evidence that the President provided "sex for jobs." In other words, sexual harassment evidence that the President treated more favorably in the work place those women with whom he had sexual relations. In response to the question requiring the President to identify the names of women (other than his wife) with whom he had or sought to have sexual relations while he was the Attorney General of the State of Arkansas, Governor of the State of Arkansas and President of the United States, he responded, "None." When in truth, as the President well knew, "None" was a false statement under oath because, in addition to Monica Lewinsky, the President, as he later conceded in his deposition testimony, also had sexual relations with Gennifer Flowers. It should be noted that the answers to Interrogatories can always be corrected. The President's answer, "None," however, has stood in the record. It has never been corrected.
That did not end the President's lies, deceptions, and acts of obstruction. He also lied under oath when he responded that he had no documents or tangible things related to Monica Lewinsky or Kathleen Willey in response to requests for documents which included Lewinsky's gifts and notes. On January 17, 1998, three weeks after the December exchange of gifts with Lewinsky, he lied repeatedly in his deposition about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky and whether he had ever been alone with her. The following are examples of these lies in his deposition. He was asked in his deposition, "Do you recall ever walking Monica Lewinsky down the hallway from the Oval Office to your private kitchen?" In his answer, he says, ".... my recollection is that, that at some point during the government shutdown, when Ms. Lewinsky was still an intern but was working the chief staff's office because all the employees had to go home, that she was back there with a pizza that she brought to me and to others. I do not believe she was there alone, however. I don't think she was. And my recollection is that on a couple of occasions after that she was there but my secretary, Betty Currie, was there with her. She and Betty are friends. That's my recollection. And I have no other recollection of that." That testimony was given, in the face of the fact that the President was alone with Monica Lewinsky 21 times. His lies about his own conduct are significant, but his conduct in identifying Betty Currie during his deposition as the person with personal knowledge of his actions with Monica Lewinsky and then coaching her to adopt his false version of his interactions with Lewinsky, is even more egregious. What begins to happen here in the President' deposition is evidence of his plan to make sure that Betty Currie would be called as a corroborating witness to support his false story.
It is noteworthy that the law, for purposes of obstruction of justice, defines a witness as a person the defendant expects to testify as a witness. Let me give you some examples of his efforts during his deposition testimony to make sure the next witness to be called would be Betty Currie. The President was asked, "When was the last time you spoke with Monica Lewinsky?" He answers, "I'm trying to remember. Probably sometime before Christmas. She came by to see Betty sometime before Christmas. And she was there talking to her and I stuck my head out, said hello to her." Question: "You stuck your head out of the Oval Office?" Answer: "Uh-huh, Betty said she was coming by and talked to her, and I said hello to her."
But the President's acts of obstruction did not end with his own lies under oath. He reached out through employees and friends to ensure that Paula Jones' lawyers would develop no evidence to support her sexual harassment claim. In the case of witnesses, the President suborned perjury and tampered with witnesses such as Betty Currie and Monica Lewinsky. As to both witnesses, the President himself provided false stories for the witnesses to tell in the Jones case. Prior to his deposition testimony, the President lined Monica Lewinsky up as a witness who would lie to support his testimony: false testimony that he had not had sexual relations with her. On December 17, 1997, late in the evening, he contacted Monica Lewinsky by telephone to encourage her to file an affidavit in order to avoid providing deposition testimony. An affidavit, which to accomplish this objective, had to, by necessity, be false and, according to Monica Lewinsky, had to continue the cover stories. Lewinsky was not the only witness with relevant testimony concerning the President who sought to evade providing truthful deposition testimony. Having achieved his goal of getting Lewinsky to file a false affidavit denying sexual relations, the President then sought to avoid all together answering any questions concerning Lewinsky. When this tactic failed, he lied.
Immediately following his deposition lies, on January 18, 1998, he met face to face with Betty Currie. His purpose in this meeting was to set up the lies he needed her to tell to support and corroborate his lies and to evade discovery of evidence relating to the jobs provided Lewinsky. He did not direct Currie to lie. Rather, he provided a story. Elliptical suggestions that were false, which the law states are equally forbidden.
The President called Betty Currie and ordered her to come to work on a Sunday, specifically for the purpose of persuading her to adopt the following false tale. The President said to Betty Currie:
"I was never really alone with Monica, right?"
"You were always there when Monica was there, right?"
"Monica came onto me, and I never touched her, right?"
"You could see and hear everything, right?"
"She wanted to have sex with me, and I cannot do that."
Currie was not the only White House employee the President used to spin his web of deceit; employees the President conceded would be called as witnesses were also drawn into this web. On January 21st and 23rd , 1998 and thereafter, the President lied to Harold Ickes, Deputy Chief of Staff; Sylvia Matthews, Deputy Chief of Staff; and Erskine Bowles, White House Chief of Staff. He told them he never had sex with Monica Lewinsky and that they had not had oral sex. And to Sidney Blumenthal, Special Assistant to the President, the President added that it was Monica who was the aggressor; that she stalked him - all stories constituting suggestions which were designed to prevent discovery of the truth and relevant evidence in the Jones v. Clinton case.
Then in August, the President appeared before the grand jury and contrary to his public assertions that he would tell the truth, he perpetuated and continued his scheme to evade the discovery of the truth. The President continued to lie under oath: this time to the grand jury about his testimony in the Jones case and the nature of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. These lies and other acts constitute the basis for Article I.
As we know, the Constitution explicitly identifies treason and bribery as offenses that warrant impeachment and removal from office, but it does not specify what "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" are. Some argue that the phrase "high Crimes and Misdemeanors" does not include perjury and obstruction of justice - that they are not crimes against the state in the way that bribery is.
It is easy to understand why the Founders viewed bribery as so serious an attack on the integrity of government that it should be explicitly proscribed by the Constitution. Bribery strikes at the very heart of government and erodes the public's confidence in the integrity of its institutions. Pervasive bribery is a threat to democracy itself.
But so are perjury and obstruction of justice. These crimes strike at the very heart of the judicial system, and, if they were not vigorously prosecuted, the system would soon be undermined. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which the courts must apply when sentencing defendants convicted of crimes, treat perjury and obstruction of justice more seriously than bribery - conviction for these crimes can lead to longer prison sentences. So the argument that perjury and obstruction of justice are somehow less serious than bribery does not hold water given their treatment under modern criminal sentencing rules. In the final analysis, bribery, perjury, and obstruction of justice are all crimes against the integrity of government, and they are all impeachable offenses.
The judicial system has as its main objective the search for the truth. The truth is discovered through the introduction of evidence that proves what the truth is. Evidence consists of the testimony of live witnesses - including ones with personal knowledge - as well as documentary and other physical evidence. In the absence of such evidence, a party cannot prove its case. In this case, at every juncture with respect to each item of evidence that would prove a truth contrary to the President's interests, the President employed whatever means he had available and found to be necessary, depending on the nature of the evidence and the level of control that he had over the evidence, to prevent discovery of the truth before the U.S. district court and the federal grand jury.
He turned the judicial system on its head for his own legal and political gain. This case is about perjury, multiple obstructions of justice, false and misleading statements, and witness tampering, all committed or orchestrated by the President. In all that has happened over the past year, the President has brought shame to himself and to the office he holds. Left unchecked, his crimes will lower the bar of what is considered acceptable conduct for future Presidents, and will produce and foster disrespect and contempt for the judicial branch of government.
We all know that perjury occurs when a person intentionally lies under oath during a judicial proceeding and the lie is material to what is at issue in the case. Obstruction of justice occurs when a person intentionally acts to impede or obstruct the due administration of our judicial system, for example, by tampering with a witness, or concealing and destroying evidence. So what is perjury in this case? What is obstruction of justice in this case? We need to examine the specifics of the law, and you will hear the answers to these questions from my colleagues Mr. Chabot, Mr. Cannon, and Mr. Barr. They will review the law of perjury and obstruction of justice. Mr. Chabot will summarize the law of perjury, Mr. Cannon will tell you about obstruction of justice - walking you through the elements of these offenses under Title 18 of the United States Code. Mr. Barr will apply the law to the President's misconduct and demonstrate conclusively that the President committed felony crimes on numerous occasions.
As you listen to our presentation and consider the President's conduct, including his collusion with Monica Lewinsky and others, you need to view his conduct as a whole. Do not be persuaded into considering each event in isolation, and then treating it separately - the President and his counsel would like you to do that. The evidence cannot and should not be compartmentalized. Remember, events and words that may seem innocent or even exculpatory in a vacuum, may well take on a sinister, or even criminal connotation when viewed as a whole.
Thank you for your attention.
With the Senate's indulgence, I submit my written presentation for the record.