Skip to main content
Iowa Attorney General
Main Content

December 19, 1998

Statement of Attorney General on Presidental Impeachment

I am dismayed because I do not believe impeachment was warranted under the law, because it was extremely partisan, and because it threatens to overturn the people's strong support for the President in the last election.

I profoundly disagree with today's party-line impeachment vote by the U.S. House of Representatives. The vote is out of touch with the judgment of the American people, world opinion, and the opinion of many Republicans, including prominent Republican Governors.

The most important and fundamental act of a democracy is an election. Twice, tens of millions of Americans elected Bill Clinton as their President. Today, 228 members of the House of Representatives voted to overturn that election. They didn't have the basis or right to do that. Republican Congressman Christopher Shays said it correctly: "What has been proven is not impeachable, and what is impeachable has not been proven."

Any successful impeachment of a President must in the end be done on a bipartisan basis. The Senate vote must be by a two-thirds margin. The House leadership should have recognized this and sought a bipartisan resolution. Instead, they pursued a highly partisan, strident approach, including prohibiting a vote on the result sought by an overwhelming majority of Americans -- censure.

My strong hope is that the impeachment issue can be resolved swiftly by the Senate in a manner that is non-partisan and characterized by statesmanship and fairness.

The President made serious mistakes, he has apologized for them, and he has paid heavily for them. While certainly not perfect, President Clinton functions very effectively as our President, as evidenced by his current handling of the Iraqi crisis under difficult circumstances. I support President Clinton, and I fully expect him to continue and be an effective leader of our Nation. I anticipate many more important accomplishments during the last two years of his administration.


« Back

Quick Exit
© 2022 State of Iowa Office of the Attorney General. All rights reserved.