|REP. WILLIAM MCCOLLUM|
The House managers ended their factual presentations by having Rep. William McCollum (R-FL) summarize the information the Hour presented yesterday. The following is Mr. McCollum's prepared text.
I'm here today to summarize the evidence that you heard yesterday, help you digest the huge quantity of material you have in front of you and that you've already heard, and prepare you for the discussion of the crimes of perjury, obstruction of justice and witness tampering that will follow what I have to say.
I bare no animosity towards President Clinton. But I happen to believe that allowing a President who committed crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice and witness tampering to remain in office would undermine our courts and our system of justice. But that is a determination for you to make after you have reviewed and weighed all of the evidence and heard all of the arguments.
In fact the first thing you have to determine is whether or not the President committed crimes. If he didn't obstruct justice or witness tamper or commit perjury no one believes he should be removed from office.
So let's review what the record shows. (REFER TO COMMITTEE AND STARR REPORTS)
President Clinton was sued by Paula Jones in a sexual harassment civil rights law suit. To bolster her case, she was trying to show that the President had engaged in a pattern of illicit relations with women in his employment, where he rewarded those who became involved with him and disadvantaged those who rejected him as Paula Jones did. Whatever the merits of this approach on May 27, 1997 the United States Supreme Court ruled in an unanimous decision that "like every other citizen," Paula Jones "has a right to an orderly disposition of her claims." Then on December 11, 1997 Judge Susan Weber Wright issued an order that said Paula Jones was entitled to information regarding any state or federal employee with whom the President had sexual relations, proposed sexual relations or sought to have sexual relations.
The record shows that President Clinton was determined to hide his relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the Jones' court. His lawyers will argue to you next week that everything he did to keep the relationship hidden was legal. They will say he may have split a few hairs and evaded answers and given misleading answers, but it was all within the framework of responses and actions that any good lawyer would advise his client to do. They will also say that if he crossed the line technically anywhere he didn't knowingly or intentionally do so.
Oh, how I wish that were true! We wouldn't be here today. But, alas, that's not so. If you believe the sworn testimony of Monica Lewinsky in this record (and she's very credible), the President knowingly, intentionally and willfully set out on a course of conduct in December 1997 to lie to the Jones' court, to hide his relationship and to encourage others to lie and hide evidence, and to conceal the relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the court. He engaged in a pattern of obstruction of justice, perjury and witness tampering designed to deny the court what Judge Susan Webber Wright had determined Paula Jones had a right to discover in order to prove her claim. If you believe the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, you cannot believe the President or accept the arguments of his lawyers. The record is so clear on this that if you have any significant doubt about Monica Lewinsky's credibility on this testimony, you should have us bring her in here and examine her face to face and judge her credibility yourself.
As you will hear explained later this afternoon, the same acts can constitute both the crimes of obstruction of justice and perjury and the same acts can constitute the crimes of obstruction of justice and witness tampering. They are all cut from the same cloth. They are all crimes that obstruct the administration of justice and keep our courts from being able to get the evidence they need to decide cases. Such obstruction is so detrimental to our system of justice that the federal sentencing guidelines provide for a greater punishment for perjury and obstruction of justice than they do for bribery. (CHART 1) Now bribing a witness is different. It gets the same more severe punishment as perjury and obstruction of justice.
It should be pointed out that lies under oath in a court proceeding whether or not they rise to the level of crimes of perjury can be obstruction of justice. So when the President lied in the Jones deposition this was part of his obstruction of justice charged under Article II even though there is no separate count. And he lied a lot in that deposition as we shall see later. The fact that the House did not send you the Article of Impeachment for perjury in the Jones deposition does not keep you from considering the lies in that deposition as an obstruction of justice crime under Article II that is before you.
So what is this story of obstruction?
To put the essence of this in a nutshell think back on the evidence presented yesterday. I would suggest President Clinton thought his scheme out well. He resented the Jones lawsuit. He was alarmed when Monica Lewinsky's name appeared on the witness list and even more alarmed when Judge Wright issued her order signaling the court would hear evidence of other relationships. To keep his relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the court once Judge Wright issued her ruling he knew he would have to lie to the court. To succeed at this he decided he had to get Monica Lewinsky to file a false affidavit to try to avoid her testifying, and he needed to get her a job to make her happy, make sure she executed the false affidavit and then stuck with her lies if questioned. Then the gifts were subpoenaed, and he had to have her hide the gifts, the only tangible evidence that could link him to her. She came up with the idea of giving them to Betty Currie and the President seized on that. Who would think to ask Betty to produce the gifts. Then he would be free to lie to the court in his deposition. But after he did this he realized he had to make sure Betty would lie and cover for him. He got his aides convinced to repeat his lies to the grand jury and the public. And all this worked well until the dress showed up. Then he lied to the grand jury to try to cover up and explain away his prior crimes.
Now let's review what happened. And as we do I ask you to keep in mind what Mr. Bryant said to you yesterday: always ask yourself "what are the results of the act and who benefitted?"
On December 5, 1997, about a week before Judge Wright issued her order making it clear that the President's relationship with Monica Lewinsky was relevant to the Jones case, Ms. Lewinsky's name appeared on the Jones witness list. The President learned this fact the next day, December 6. The President telephoned Monica Lewinsky at about 2:00 a.m. on December 17 and informed her about her name being on the witness list. That was about ten days after he learned of it and about five days after Judge Wright's order made it clear that his relationship with Monica was discoverable by the Jones lawyers in that case.
Long before the President was called to give a deposition, or Monica Lewinsky was named as a witness in the Jones case the evidence shows that she and the President had an understanding the she would lie about the relationship if asked by anybody. During the telephone conversation when he told her she might be called as a witness, President Clinton suggested she might file an affidavit to avoid being called to give a deposition or testify in person. In the same conversation they reviewed the cover stories they had concocted to conceal their relationship. In her grand jury testimony, Monica Lewinsky says the President didn't tell her to lie, but because of their previous, understanding she assumed they both expected her to lie in that affidavit. In this context, the evidence is compelling that the President committed both the crimes of obstruction of justice and witness tampering.
Now Monica Lewinsky's testimony is so clear about this that the President's lawyers didn't spend a lot of time with us on this in the House Judiciary Committee, and I suspect they won't with you either because they don't want you to focus on this. I do.
MONICA LEWINSKY TESTIMONY (A)
Let's look specifically at pages 123 and 124 of Monica Lewinsky's August 6 grand jury testimony. (CHART 2) This is where she describes the December 17 telephone conversation with the President when she learned she was on the witness list. Let me read you part of it:
ML: At some point in the conversation, and I don't know if it was before or after the subject of the affidavit came up, he sort of said, "You know, you can always say you were coming to see Betty or that you were bringing me letters." Which I understood was really a reminder of things which we had discussed before.
Q: So when you say things you had discussed, sort of ruses that you had developed.
ML: Right. I mean, this was - - this was something that - - that was instantly familiar to me.
ML: And I knew exactly what he meant.
Q: Had you talked with him earlier about these false explanations about what you were doing visiting him on several occasions?
ML: Several occasions throughout the entire relationship. Yes. It was the pattern of the relationship, to sort of conceal it.
MONICA LEWINSKY TESTIMONY (B)
And let's look at pages 233 and 234 (CHART 3) of her August 6 grand jury testimony where in the context of her affidavit she makes the now famous statement "no one asked or encouraged me to lie":
ML: For me, the best way to explain how I feel what happened was, you know, no one asked or encouraged me to lie, but no one discouraged me either...
ML: ...it wasn't as if the President called me and said, "You know Monica, you're on the witness list, this is going to be really hard for us, we're going to have to tell the truth and be humiliated in front of the entire world about what we've done," which I would have fought him on probably. That was different. And by him not calling me and saying that, you know, I knew what that meant...
Q: Did you understand all along that he would deny the relationship, also?
Yes. Q: And when you say you understood what it meant when he didn't say, "Oh, you know, you must tell the truth," what did you understand that to mean?
ML: That - - that - - as we had on every other occasion and every other instance of this relationship, we would deny it.
After reading this, if you believe Monica Lewinsky, can there be any doubt that the President was suggesting that she file an affidavit that would contain lies and falsehoods that might keep her from ever having to testify in the Jones case and give him the protection he wanted when he testified?
And, of course, in the same December 17 conversation the President encouraged Monica to use the cover stories and tell the same lies as he expected her to do in an affidavit if she were called to testify personally in the case. This also was obstruction of justice and witness tampering. Taken together these are the basis for counts (1) and (2) of the second impeachment article.
Two days later, Monica Lewinsky was subpoenaed and contacted Vernon
Jordan who put her in touch with attorney Frank Carter. As we all
know, this very false affidavit was filed just before President
Clinton's deposition in the Jones' case January 17. The record shows
that the President was kept abreast of the preparation of this affidavit
and the contents by Vernon Jordan and that Jordan notified the President
when she signed the affidavit on January 7. Two days before Monica
Lewinsky says in a phone conversation she asked the President if
he wanted to see the draft affidavit, and he replied that he didn't
need to see it because he had already seen "15 others." The circumstantial
evidence makes it clear the President knew the content of the Lewinsky
affidavit and knew it was false.
During the President's deposition in the Jones case on January
17, his attorney Robert Bennett at one point tried to stop one of
the Jones lawyers from asking the President about his relationship
with Monica Lewinsky by pointing out the affidavit she had signed.
Mr. Bennett asserted that the affidavit indicated "there is no sex
of any kind in any manner, shape or form." After a warning from
Judge Wright, Mr. Bennett stated, "I'm not coaching the witness.
In preparation of the witness for this deposition, the witness is
fully aware of Ms. Lewinsky's affidavit, so I have not told him
a single thing he doesn't know." The President did not say anything
to correct Mr. Bennett, even though he knew the affidavit was false.
The Judge allowed the questioning to proceed and later Mr. Bennett
read to the President a portion of paragraph 8 of Monica Lewinsky's
affidavit in which she denied having a "sexual relationship"with
the President and asked him if Ms. Lewinsky's statement was true
and accurate, to which the President responded, "That is absolutely
Paragraph 8 of Monica Lewinsky's affidavit was absolutely false
and the President knew it. (CHART 4) In allowing
his attorney on the day of the deposition to make false and misleading
statements to the judge characterizing this affidavit when he knew
better, President Clinton committed the crime of obstruction of
justice. This is count 5 of Article II.
When Monica Lewinsky was subpoenaed to testify she was also subpoenaed
to produce any gifts that the President had given her. When she
met with Vernon Jordan the day she received the subpoena she told
him of her concerns about the gifts and asked him to tell the President
about the subpoena.
The President's lawyers may spend a lot of time attacking this
particular obstruction of justice charge. They may question why
the President would have given Monica Lewinsky more gifts on December
28 if he was expecting her to hide the gifts. Monica's explanation
in her testimony is that "from everything he said to me," he expected
her to conceal the gifts including the ones being given that day.
When Mrs. Currie's call came, wasn't it the logical thing for Monica
to conclude that this was the result of the President's having thought
about what to do with the gifts and deciding to have Mrs. Currie
Another obstruction count the President's attorneys are likely
to spend a lot of time on is the one concerning the job search.
There is no question that Monica Lewinsky sought the President's
help in getting a job in New York long before the President had
reason to be particularly concerned about the Jones case probing
into his relationship with her. That is not the issue. The question
is whether or not the President intensified his efforts to get her
a job and made sure that she got one after it became clear to him
that he would need her to lie, sign a false affidavit and stick
with cover stories to conceal their relationship from the court
in the Jones case. In other words as count 4 of Article II alleges
did he make sure she was rewarded for sticking with him in this
scheme of concealment in anticipation that this reward would keep
her happy and keep her from turning on him? Did the President make
sure Monica Lewinsky signed a false affidavit by rewarding her with
During his deposition in the Jones case the president referred to Betty Currie several items and suggested she might have answers to some of the questions. He used the cover stories he and Monica Lewinsky had created which included Betty Currie a good deal. When he finished the deposition he telephoned Mrs. Currie and asked her to come to his office the next day and talk with him. Betty Currie told the grand jury that when she came in the next day the President raised his deposition with her and said there were several things he wanted to know. He then rattled off in succession the following:
It's clear from the record that Mrs. Currie always tried her best
to be loyal to the President, her boss. In answering questions in
her testimony she tried to portray this event and the President's
assertions in the light most favorable to him. Even so she acknowledges
that she couldn't hear and see everything that went on between Monica
and the President and that she wasn't actually present in the same
room with them on any number of occasions so they were alone and
she couldn't say what they might have been doing or saying.
Within four or five days of his Jones deposition the President
not only explicitly denied the true nature of his relationship with
Monica Lewinsky to key White House aides, he also embellished the
story when he talked to Sydney Blumenthal. To Blumenthal he portrayed
Monica Lewinsky as the aggressor; attacked her reputation by portraying
her as a "stalker"; and presented himself as the innocent victim
being attacked by the forces of evil. Certainly he wanted his denial
and his assertions to be spread to the public by these aides, but
at the same time he knew that the Office of Independent Counsel
had been recently appointed to investigate the Monica Lewinsky matter.
In the context of everything else he was doing to hide his relationship
it seems readily apparent that his false and misleading statements
to these staff members whom he knew were potential witnesses in
any federal grand jury proceeding were designed in part to corruptly
influence their testimony as witnesses. In fact the President actually
acknowledged in his grand jury testimony that he knew his aides
might be called before the grand jury. And one of the aides testified
he expected to be called. Sure enough they were, and they repeated
the false and misleading information he had given them. In this
the President committed the crimes of witness tampering and obstruction
of justice as set forth in count 7 of Article II.
Now let's briefly review the grand jury perjury.
If you believe Monica Lewinsky, the President lied to the grand
jury and committed perjury in denying he had sexual relations with
Monica Lewinsky even if you accept his interpretation of the Jones
court's definition of sexual relations. There isn't anything clearer
in this whole matter. Just look at the President's grand jury testimony
on pages 93-96. (CHART 5) I urge you to read every
page of this carefully. Specifically I call your attention to the
following questions and answers:
A That's correct, sir. ...
Q If the person being deposed touched the genitalia of another person would that be - - and with the intent to arouse the sexual desire, arouse or gratify, as defined in definition in (1) would that be under your understanding then and now - -
A Yes, sir
Q - - sexual relations?
A Yes, sir.
Q Yes, it would?
A Yes, it would. ...
A You are free to infer that my testimony is that I did not have sexual relations, as I understood this term to be defined.
Q Including touching her breasts, kissing her breasts, or touching her genitalia?
A That's correct.
Before the grand jury the President swore that he testified truthfully
at his deposition. The evidence indicates that he lied. He testified
before the grand jury that, "my goal in this deposition was to be
truthfull, but not particularly helpful... I was determined to walk
through the mine field of this deposition without violating the
law and I believe I did." But contrary to his deposition testimony,
the President was alone with Ms. Lewinsky when she was not delivering
papers which he even conceded in his grand jury statement. So he
lied in his deposition when he said he was not alone with her.
The third part of Article I concerning grand jury perjury relates
to his not telling the truth about false and misleading statements
his attorney Robert Bennett made to Judge Wright during the President's
Jones case deposition. During the President's deposition in the
Jones case Mr. Bennett, however unintentional on his part, misled
the court when he stated, "Counsel (for Ms. Jones) is fully aware
that Ms. Lewinsky has filed, has an affidavit which they are in
possession of saying that there is no sex of any kind, of any manner
shape or form, with President Clinton..." Judge Wright interrupted
Mr. Bennett and expressed her concern that he might be coaching
the President to which Mr. Bennett responded, "in preparation of
the witness for this deposition, the witness is fully aware of Ms.
Lewinsky's affidavit, so I have not told him a single thing he doesn't
Several of the most blatant examples of grand jury perjury are
found in that portion of his testimony sited in the fourth part
of Article I which goes to his efforts to influence the testimony
of witnesses and to impede the discovery of evidence in the Jones
case. The President swore during the grand jury testimony that he
told Ms. Lewinsky that if the Jones lawyers requested the gifts
exchanged between them, she should provide them. If you believe
Monica Lewinsky's testimony the President lied and committed perjury.
In her grand jury testimony Ms. Lewinsky discussed in detail their
December 28 meeting where the gifts were discussed which preceded
by a couple of hours Mrs. Currie coming to her apartment and taking
the gifts and hiding them under her bed. As you will recall she
said she raised with the President the idea of removing her gifts
from her house and giving them to somebody like Betty Currie and
that his response was something to the effect of "let me think about
that." She went on to say that from everything he said to her they
were not going to do anything but keep these gifts private. In a
separate sworn statement she testified that she was never under
the impression from anything the President said that she should
turn over the gifts to the Jones attorneys and obviously didn't
have the idea that she should do that because she gave them all
to Mrs. Currie.
In short the President lied numerous times to the grand jury under
oath when he testified last August 17. He certainly wasn't caught
by surprise by any of the questions asked him during the grand jury
appearance, and he was even given wide latitude not normally given
to grand jury witnesses to give a prepared statement, have his counsel
present and refuse to answer questions without taking the fifth
amendment. It's hard to imagine a case where it's clearer that the
lies meet the threshold of the crime of perjury. But I'll leave
the discussion of the elements and the law of perjury and how it
applies to this case to those who come after me. The facts are clear
that the President lied about having sexual relations with Monica
Lewinsky even under his understanding of the definition of the Jones
case if you believe Monica Lewinsky. He lied when he said he gave
truthful testimony in his Jones deposition. He lied when he said
he wasn't paying attention to his attorney's discussion of Monica
Lewinsky's false affidavit during his deposition in the Jones case.
He lied when he said he told Monica's Lewinsky she should turn over
the gifts to the Jones lawyers if asked for them. He lied when he
told the grand jury he made the declaratory statements to Betty
Currie the day after his deposition simply to refresh his recollection.
And he lied when he told the grand jury that he only told the truth
to his White House aides such as John Podesta who testified the
President told him he had not had oral sex with Lewinsky and to
Sydney Blumenthal who testified he told him very exaggerated and
highly untrue characterizations of Monica Lewinsky's role in all
of this. These impeachment proceedings aren't before you because
of one or two lies about a sexual relationship. They're before you
because the President lied again and again in a perjurious fashion
to a grand jury and tried to get a number of other people to lie
under oath in the Jones law suit and to the grand jury and encouraged
the concealment of evidence.
In a couple of days the President's lawyers are going to come before
you and try to get you to focus on 10 or 15 or 20 or 30 or possibly
100 specific little details that they are going to argue don't square
with some aspects of this fact presentation about the lies and obstruction
of justice. But never lose sight of the totality of this scheme
to lie and obstruct justice. Avoid considering each event in isolation,
and then treating it separately. The evidence and testimony must
be viewed as a whole. The weight of the evidence is very great -
it's huge - that the President engaged in a scheme starting in December
of 1997 to conceal from the court in the Jones case his true relationship
with Monica Lewinsky and then cover up his acts of concealment which
he had to know by then were serious crimes.
The case against the President rests to a great extent on whether
or not you believe the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. But it is also
is based upon the sworn testimony of Vernon Jordan and Betty Currie
and Sydney Blumenthal and John Podesta and corroborating witnesses.
Time and again the President says one thing and they say something
entirely different. Time and again somebody is not telling the truth
and time and again an analysis of the context the motivation and
all of the testimony together with common sense says it's the President
who is not telling the truth. But if you have serious doubts about
the truthfulness of the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, Vernon Jordan,
Betty Currie and other key witnesses then let us bring them before
you to testify in person and invite the President to come and judge
everybody's credibility for yourself.