- Today the Senate voted that the President
was not guilty of impeachment charges brought by the House of Representatives.
Because you took the time and effort to let me know your thoughts, I wanted
to let you know how I voted and why before the sun sets on this historic
- When the impeachment trial began, I
took an oath to render "impartial justice according to the Constitution
and laws: So help me God." This oath requires me to decide this
case based on the evidence, arguments of the parties, and the applicable
law -- and on no other basis.
- After sitting in trial for more than
a month and spending countless hours reviewing the record, I concluded
that the President committed grand jury perjury and obstructed justice.
While not every allegation against the President was proven, two of the
four examples of perjury and five of the seven examples of obstruction
of justice were proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Inserted in the Congressional
Record and on my home page (http://ashcroft.senate.gov) is my analysis
of the evidence and law in this case.
- As an example of my reasoning, let me
mention one aspect of this case the President's conversation with Ms.
Betty Currie. Ms. Currie told the grand jury that after the President's
sworn deposition in the Jones case, the President requested that she make
a rare Sunday appearance at the White House. When she arrived, the President
asked her a series of unusual questions, including "Monica came on
to me, and I never touched her, right?"; "You were always there
when Monica was there, right?"; and "I was never really alone
with Monica, right?" When asked to explain this to the grand jury,
he stated that he was "trying to refresh [his] memory about what the
- This statement is demonstrably false.
A person cannot refresh their memory by repeating lies. The President's
leading questions were falsehoods. For example, the President knew that
he had been alone with Ms. Lewinsky. The true purpose of the President's
conversation with Ms. Currie was not to refresh his memory, but to ensure
that she would confirm his false testimony if she were called as a witness.
- During his deposition, the President
repeatedly invoked Ms. Currie as an alibi. The President then made sure
that Ms. Currie's story supported his testimony. The law criminalizes
such witness tampering. These are not the only examples of criminal
- The President also committed grand jury
perjury in claiming he was truthful with his aides and in describing his
relationship with Ms. Lewinsky. The President obstructed justice by encouraging
Ms. Lewinsky to file a false affidavit, by providing her with job assistance
and by coaching testimony of his aides. The President's actions constitute
perjury and obstruction of justice. The Senate's precedents make clear
these are high crimes and misdemeanors that require the President's removal.
- Three times in the last fifteen years
the House has impeached and the Senate has removed federal judges for perjury
or related crimes. Chief Justice Rehnquist has described perjury as a
"flagrant abuse of office." During the Watergate scandal, the
Special Prosecutor thought subornation of perjury by the President was
"as demeaning an act as could be imagined." Perjury and obstruction
of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors. The Constitution leaves no
discretion -- it states that the President "shall be removed from
office on impeachment for, and conviction of, treason, bribery, or other
high crimes and misdemeanors."
- This is the only conclusion that I believe
is consistent with my oath to do impartial justice. This case is, in large
measure, about the importance of oaths. The President's failure to honor
his oath caused this entire proceeding.
- Although some might see a vote to acquit
as the expedient course, I will not do further damage to our culture by
disregarding my oath. I regret that the President's conduct has forced
the Congress to consider this matter. Now that the trial is concluded,
I am eager to accomplish my legislative agenda of tax cuts, retirement
security, educational opportunity and safety from drugs and crime.
- The letters, phone calls and e-mail that
I received from Missouri were a motivation for me to decide this issue
carefully. I am grateful you cared enough about our country to share your
- John Ashcroft
- Do you think that America's best days
are yet to come? Find out how Senator Ashcroft intends to make sure that
they are with his economic plan, A New Beginning at http://ashcroft.senate.gov/plan.htm.