Washingtonpost.com Special Report: Clinton Accused

'Follow the Truth Wherever It Leads'

Following are excerpts from statements of House members debating a recommendation by the Judiciary Committee to allow the committee to begin a formal impeachment inquiry into President Clinton's conduct. The Republican motion called for an inquiry that was open-ended in time and scope, while many Democrats argued for limiting the inquiry.

Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.):
. . . I believe that this nation sits at a crossroads. One direction points to the higher road of the rule of law. Sometimes hard, sometimes unpleasant, this path relies on truth, justice and the rigorous application of the principle that no man is above the law....

Committee Chairman Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.):
Today we will vote on an historic resolution to begin an inquiry into whether the president has committed impeachable offenses. All of us are pulled in many directions by our political parties, by philosophy and friendships. We're pulled by many competing forces, but mostly we're moved by our consciences. We must listen to that still small voice that whispers in our ear, "Duty, duty, duty."

Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wis.):
..What's at stake here is the rule of law. Even the president of the United States has no right to break the law. If the House votes down this inquiry, in effect it will say that even if President Clinton committed as many as 15 felonies, nothing will happen. The result will be a return to the imperial presidency of the Nixon era, where the White House felt that the laws did not apply to them, since they never would be punished. That would be a national tragedy of immense consequences. . . .

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.):
The president is a citizen with the same duty to follow the laws as all other citizens. The world marvels that our president is not above the law, and my vote today helps assure that this rule continues. With a commitment to the principles of the rule of law which makes this country the beacon of hope for political refugees like myself throughout the world, I cast my vote in favor of the resolution to undertake an impeachment inquiry of the conduct of the president of the United States.
Washingtonpost.com Special Report: Clinton Accused


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