Tag Archives: Monica Lewinsky

‘Great job’ doesn’t preclude impeachment

Donald J. Trump Sr. was in full rant mode in Billings, Mont., earlier this week.

He went to Montana to stage a campaign rally and then launched into a bizarre riff about the possibility of his being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. He mentioned Rep. Maxine Waters, the Democrat who vows that Trump will be impeached. “I’m doing a great job,” Trump bellowed, wondering how he could be impeached even though his presidency — he says — is the most successful in the history of the republic.

Trump seems to assert that a president who does a “great job” shouldn’t be impeached. We can debate until hell freezes over whether Trump is doing anything approaching a great job. We’ll save that one for another day.

However, let’s review a bit of recent history … shall we?

President Bill Clinton also was doing a great job during his second term in the White House. The economy was on fire. We were heading toward a balanced federal budget. Joblessness was low. Times were good.

Then the president committed what Republicans believed was an impeachable offense. Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr was conducting a wide-ranging investigation that turned up a relationship that the president had with a young White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Starr summoned the president to talk to a grand jury, which then asked him about the relationship. The president who took an oath to “tell the whole truth” didn’t tell the truth. He committed perjury.

Boom! There you have it! Republicans had their impeachable offense!

The House impeached the president who was doing a “great job.” Clinton went to trial in the Senate. He was acquitted on all charges.

So … for the current president to suggest that he shouldn’t be impeached because he’s doing a “great job” is to ignore recent political history.

Donald Trump well might be found to have committed an impeachable offense. Impeachment, let us remember, has nothing to do with the president’s performance in office. It has to do with conduct.

Bill Clinton paid the price for his misbehavior

We’re talking these days about sexual predation, abuse, assault, harassment. Men do behave badly at times. A number of men in powerful positions have been accused of that bad behavior.

I feel the need to set the record straight on one powerful man who once was in the news because of his misdeeds.

Republicans keep harping on former President Bill Clinton’s misbehavior while he was in the White House. They use that historical context to “defend” the actions of one currently prominent GOP politician, U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama, who’s been accused of sexual abuse involving underage girls.

These Republicans, some of whom are friends of mine — and even a family member — wonder why President Clinton got a pass when he was messing around with Monica Lewinsky, a young White House intern in the late 1990s.

I must remind them: President Clinton got impeached. The House of Representatives — led by its GOP majority — impeached the president because he lied under oath to a federal grand jury that was snooping around, looking for something to stick to the president. The special counsel, Kenneth Starr, uncovered the Clinton-Lewinsky relationship, summoned the president to testify to the grand jury, asked him whether he had an sexual relationship with Lewinsky.

Clinton said “no.” That was untrue. Thus, the House had its grounds for impeachment: perjury. The president was humiliated. His wife became, shall we say, quite angry with him.

Did the president get off scot-free? Hardly. He paid a huge political price in the moment.

The U.S. Senate put him on trial. Senators acquitted him. Thus, the president was allowed to serve out the remainder of his second term in office.

Yes, there were other allegations. Clinton did settle with one of the accusers. He was stripped of his law license in Arkansas.

There’s no doubt that the former president has reclaimed his political standing. Time does have a way of putting some matters into different contexts.

However, the notion that Bill Clinton did not pay a price for his misbehavior is a canard those who still despise him are using to divert attention from the issue of the moment, which involves the conduct of the current crop of high-powered men.

Bill Clinton should have quit? No … way!

Kirsten Gillibrand has ’em talking among Democratic Party officials and loyalists.

The U.S. senator from New York has said that President Bill Clinton should have resigned his office when it became known he was fooling around with a young female White House intern.

I could not possibly disagree more with Sen. Gillibrand.

She has been swept up in this “Me Too” movement spawned by the rash of sexual abuse/harassment/assault allegations that are swirling though the entertainment industry and the political world.

And of course we have Republican U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls.

Back to President Clinton.

The president got impeached because he lied to a grand jury about the relationship he had with the intern. Republican House members said the lie rose to the level of an impeachable offense. So the House impeached him; the president stood trial on obstruction charges and was acquitted by the Senate.

Should he have quit … over that? It sounds to me as if Sen. Gillibrand is being swept up in a moment of frenzy.

Do I need to remind the senator that the intern was an adult when she was fooling around with the president? The relationship, while it was sickening, was a consensual one. The intern has gone on with her life. The president finished his two terms in office and has become a beloved figure among Democrats across the country.

Gillibrand’s statement has ’em talking within the Democratic Party. Fine. Let ’em talk, squawk and wail about whether the former president should have quit.

It was an embarrassing episode for the president and for the presidency. No one seriously doubts any of that. It also proved embarrassing for Republicans who were looking for any reason to impeach a detested Democratic president — who delivered it to them when he lied under oath to a federal grand jury.

The president paid plenty in the moment for his indiscretion and his effort to cover it up. That’s enough. President Clinton need not have resigned over it.

Trump using tenuous ‘defense’

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What am I missing here?

Donald J. Trump — at the time newly married — went off on a hot-mic rant 11 years ago in which he talked about having sex with a married woman, groping another woman, about how his “star” status enabled him to have his way with women, disparaged another woman’s appearance … all while dropping f-bombs and using crude references to the female anatomy.

Then he defends himself by saying essentially two things:

* The audio recording is more than a decade old and does not reflect the person he is or was — or will be as president of the United States.

* Bill Clinton abused women and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, fought savagely to defend her husband over what he did more than two decades ago.

So, which is it? Does the 11-year-old audio recording count more or less than a 20-plus-year-old series of alleged sexual dalliances — plus an actual relationship that occurred while Bill Clinton was president of the United States?

Trump, the Republican nominee for president, is running against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee.

I’ll ask one more question: Does the behavior of a nominee’s spouse even rise the level of actual relevance that’s equal to the behavior of a current candidate for the presidency?

Is a spouse’s conduct really fair game?

clinton

Maybe I’m a bit slow on the uptake, which wouldn’t be much of a shock, truth be told.

I’m having trouble connecting a few dots, though, between the behavior of a former president of the United States to the current campaign for the White House featuring the former president’s wife.

Bill Clinton messed around with a White House intern in the late 1990s and got impeached because of it. His wife, Hillary Clinton, wants the job Bill used to have.

So, what does she do? She challenges a potential Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, for his attitudes toward women. She calls him a sexist.

Trump’s response? He said Clinton’s husband is among the most sexist men in recent history . . . because of his alleged extramarital affairs and, of course, the dalliance with the intern.

I’m finding myself asking: Why is that relevant to the job that Hillary Clinton might do as president? Why does it matter what Bill Clinton was alleged to have done? I used the term “alleged” relating to the previous accusations because I do not believe any of them has ever been proved.

Hillary Clinton’s assertions about Trump relate to the here and now. They speak to Trump’s statements — which are on the record — about women; they speak to the very issues that Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly brought up during that first Republican presidential debate and which garnered Trump all that notoriety.

Trump’s retort is to dredge up a relationship that resulted in a presidential impeachment that occurred more than 17 years ago; let us remember, too, that the U.S. Senate acquitted President Clinton of the charges brought by the House of Representatives.

Oh, my. This is going to be some kind of presidential campaign year.

Here we are on the third day of 2016 and I’m already wishing this year would be over.

 

Fibs = lies? Sometimes

Someone asked me the other day if I could explain the difference between a “fib” and a “lie.”

My quick answer to him was that I “like the word ‘fib’ better.”

“Fib” has a less-damaging ring to it than “lie.”

I’ve given some further thought to the question, which actually is a pretty good one.

Here’s my more thoughtful answer: A fib is meant to describe a false statement that doesn’t carry as much consequence as a lie.

I used the term “fib” to describe, in this latest instance, what NBC reporter/news anchor Brian Williams had said about being shot down in Iraq. He fibbed about it. He wasn’t shot down. He was riding in a helicopter that accompanied the ship that actually was shot down.

Why is that a “fib” and not a “lie”? Because all it means is that one man’s career is likely ruined. The rest of us will carry on.

What, then, constitutes a lie?

Let’s try this one: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” That came from President Bill Clinton as he wagged his finger at the American public and told a lie about what he did with the White House intern. All by itself, that shouldn’t constitute a lie. Except that the result of that untrue statement — which he also made to a federal grand jury — resulted in his impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives.

I suppose I could go on with more actual lies, such as when the Bush administration kept telling us about Saddam Hussein’s alleged complicity in the 9/11 attacks. We all know where those lies led us.

It’s one thing to fib about a personal experience and another thing to lie when it involves the future of the country.

Awww, what the heck. I still like the sound of the word “fib” better.

 

IRS controversy lives on … and on

The Internal Revenue Service controversy hasn’t yet blown up into a full-scale scandal, no matter how hard the right wing tries to make it so.

Now the talking heads and pols on the right are clamoring for a special counsel to investigate the matter. Recall, now, that it began with revelations that the IRS was vetting conservative political action groups’ requests for tax-exempt status. It does the same thing for liberal groups, too, but the conservative chattering class got all wound up over it and have raised a stink ever since.

Now there’s been further revelations about two years worth of emails that went missing from IRS honcho Lois Lerner’s computer. What the heck happened to them?

Republicans, not surprisingly, are trying to tie the IRS matter to the White House, even though no evidence has been uncovered that the IRS was doing anything under White House orders. They want to implicate the president — naturally! — for all this. So far they’ve come up empty.

A special prosecutor might be a good idea if Congress could limit the scope of his or her probe. The last notable special prosecutor hired was one Kenneth Starr, who was brought in to investigate the Whitewater real estate dealings involving President and Mrs. Clinton. Starr, though, went rogue and discovered the president had engaged in a tawdry relationship with a young White House intern.

The House of Reps impeached him because he lied to a federal grand jury about that relationship; the Senate acquitted the president at trial.

Is a special prosecutor needed in this case? I believe the GOP-led House of Representatives has looked thoroughly into this matter and has found zero evidence of White House complicity in anything involving the IRS.

That, of course, will not end the clamor.

Monica's back; now, just go away

She’s back.

Monica Lewinsky is now 40 and she’s written a book. She has returned to the public eye apparently to sell a few copies of her book, to make some money and to set the record straight on what happened between her and the 42nd president of the United States.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/the-return-of-monica-lewinsky-106507.html?hp=r16#.U22Y5FJOWt8

Count me as one American who doesn’t care what she has to say.

Lewinsky’s role in the impeachment of President Clinton has been covered, dissected, micro-examined and analyzed to the hilt. It’s all been revealed.

She now wants to “move on,” and wants to “burn the beret and bury the blue dress.” You remember the blue dress, right? The one with the president’s, um, DNA that proved he did something naughty with the then 20-something White House intern.

He had denied doing it in testimony before a federal grand jury. Yes, he told a lie under oath and that became — officially — the reason the House of Representatives impeached him. The Senate put the president on trial, but he was acquitted.

The question perhaps always will remain, in my mind at least: How did a special prosecutor’s investigation into a real estate deal — which we called “Whitewater” — then involve what the president was doing after hours with a young woman?

I smelled a witch hunt at the time and I believe the prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, was motivated to find something, anything, to pin to the president. He found it when he discovered Monica Lewinsky.

She’s back, telling her side of the story. She believes she was scapegoated by the president and first lady — and their allies. Fine. She’s entitled to say it.

I’m already hoping she’ll now move back to private life and doing whatever she’s been doing since her moment of notoriety flamed out.

Reliving old scandal scars a familiar victim

Now that Rand Paul has dug up an old political scandal in an effort to score points in a possible pending new political campaign, it’s good to recall one of the principals in that long-ago event.

Monica Lewinsky was “that woman” with whom President Clinton said he “did not have sexual relations.”

She was a 20-something White House intern to whom the married president became attracted in the late 1990s. He fooled around with her. A special prosecutor who had been assigned to cover another story — the Whitewater real estate investment matter — stumbled upon reports of indiscretion. The president was forced to testify before a federal grand jury and then he lied under oath about what he did with the young woman.

The House of Representatives impeached him for it. The Senate tried him, but he was acquitted.

Sen. Paul may seek the Republican presidential nomination in two years and now he is suggesting that possible Democratic nominee, Hillary Rodham Clinton — the wife of the former president — isn’t trustworthy because she’s married to a “sexual predator.”

But what about Lewinsky?

http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/02/monica-lewinsky-reconsidered-103513.html?hp=t1#.Uv4Hc1KYat8

She’s been leading a fairly private life since those bad ol’ days. Few of us out here have heard or seen a thing about her. I don’t even know how she’s making a living these days.

Frankly, I had hoped never to see her face again. It looks as though those hopes have been dashed now that Rand Paul has dredged that sordid story from the trash heap.

What’s more, I feel a kind of sympathy for her now that she’s about to be dragged through the media arena once again. Maybe she just wants to be left alone. Perhaps she has turned the page on that hideous chapter in her life and her infamous activities that led to the second presidential impeachment in U.S. history.

Surely she cannot welcome this kind of attention yet again. Can she?

Is Bill Clinton going to run as well in 2016?

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., may be considering a run for the presidency in 2016, which is partly why he appeared today on “Meet the Press.”

As a potential GOP candidate, therefore, the conversation turned to — who else? — Hillary Rodham Clinton, a possible (if not probable) Democratic candidate for president.

Paul then dropped this little nugget: If the former secretary of state runs, the impeachment of her husband, the former president, could become an issue.

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/rand-paul-women-have-already-won

Interesting, yes?

It’s also a bit of a stretch for those of us who want to judge the former first lady, U.S. senator and chief diplomat on her own merits. Paul sees it differently, which is no surprise. He and those in his party are going to seek every possible advantage they can find — even if they make things up — against the Hillary Juggernaut that could await them in 2016.

Paul said Democrats’ assertion that they are the party that cares about women doesn’t hold true, given President Clinton’s dalliance with a young female intern that led to his impeachment and Senate trial.

“Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked: “Is it something that Hillary Clinton should be judged on if she were a candidate in 2016?” Paul’s response: “Yeah – no, I’m not saying that. This is with regard to the Clintons, and sometimes it’s hard to separate one from the other. But I would say that, with regard to his place in history, that it certainly is a discussion.”

OK, he said “no” after he said “yeah,” meaning that it is an issue.

I would beg to differ. Hillary Clinton has made her mark on U.S. history, first as a U.S. senator from New York who distinguished herself in the eight years she served in that body. Then came her unsuccessful run for the presidency in 2008 in which she gave eventual nominee Barack Obama all he could handle. Then she got the call to become secretary of state in the Obama administration, and she distinguished herself in that service.

She’s a player and a big hitter all on her own.

Whatever her husband did to warrant impeachment should have no little if any bearing on a possible second run for the presidency. She’ll have her own record to defend.

However, as NBC White House correspondent Chuck Todd noted, her task will be to run as “Hillary” not as a “Clinton.” I’m guessing Hillary is going figure it out.