Paul Hager for Congress

For more information contact campaign manager R. David Fisher (812-723-4288 office) or the candidate directly (317-510-3198 office).

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Clinton shouldn't be impeached for Lewinsky affair.

For immediate release: 27-September-1998

(Bloomington, IN) - Libertarian candidate Paul Hager is issuing the following statement.

"As I've campaigned around the 8th District, one question I've been asked with increasing frequency over the past couple of months is whether or not I think that President Clinton should be impeached. Until now, my answer has been that I thought a Congressional inquiry into impeachment was appropriate, particularly if it were expanded to include other issues, but that impeachment itself was premature. After considerable reflection as well as reviewing the publicly available material on the Lewinsky affair, I have concluded that the drive to impeach Clinton and try him before the Senate should be abandoned.

"Before I lay out my reasons for this conclusion, I want to state in the clearest possible terms that I consider Bill Clinton to be a terrible President. He has repeatedly demonstrated contempt for the U.S. Constitution and for individual rights, ranging from his attempts to censor the Internet and allow government to eavesdrop on all digital communication to his calculated assault on the personal right of self-defense. A catalogue of Clinton's constitutional transgressions is far too lengthy to recount so I won't try to do so here.

"You may rightly ask, 'if Clinton is so bad, why not impeach him?' The short answer is that Congress has often aided and abetted Clinton in his constitutional depredations. The system has degenerated so much that Congress cannot legitimately sit in judgement of Clinton for something as ordinary as violating his oath of office. If our constitutional system is to be reformed, it must be done at the ballot box and not through the impeachment process.

"And that brings us to the issue at hand. No matter what you or I think of President Clinton as a person or a chief executive, it is wholly improper to remove him from office by using the Lewinsky affair as a proxy. His fate should be decided solely on the basis of whether or not Clinton committed high crimes and misdemeanors in order to conceal his relationship with Lewinsky. In my view, he did not.

"If one looks at this as a criminal prosecution, and I think one must, the entire case against Clinton flows from the testimony of Monica Lewinsky. Ms. Lewinsky was rudely introduced to the workings of the modern criminal justice system when she was descended upon by government agents and spirited to a hotel room where she was held incommunicado and interrogated for a period of hours while being denied legal counsel. Although there is a certain element of poetic justice to Clinton being undone by the kind of investigative and prosecutorial misconduct that his administration has helped to create, I am too much of a civil libertarian to find this acceptable. For me, all of the evidence garnered from the testimony of Monica Lewinsky is the proverbial fruit of the poisonous tree and should be disallowed. Perhaps the President will emerge from this affair with a new appreciation for the wisdom of the founding fathers in attaching a Bill of Rights to the Constitution.

"Even if one accepts the testimony of Monica Lewinsky as both untainted and truthful, there remains the problem of proving perjury, subornation of perjury, and obstruction of justice. On this assumption, Clinton lied under oath, but he did so in a case that almost certainly should have never come to trial, which was eventually thrown out by the presiding judge. To be perjury, the lie has to be material. I have a hard time seeing that Clinton's lies were material here.

"The best shot for finding an impeachable offense is obstruction of justice. But removal of a President from office should require absolutely solid evidence of obstruction and there is no smoking gun here. Perhaps there is the appearance of obstruction -- for example, Vernon Jordan assisting Lewinsky in her job search -- but Lewinsky herself said that no one told her to lie, and it is her testimony that everyone is relying on. This is all just too thin to warrant spending any more time on it.

"So, what should Congress do? Whether or not Congress chooses to censure the President, they should immediately repeal the statute that created the special prosecutor. In my view, the special prosecutor is an improper delegation of the responsibility of the House of Representatives and I question the constitutionality of the office. But constitutional or not, most people probably would agree that the special prosecutors have operated as laws unto themselves, to the great detriment of the system they were supposed to protect."

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