January 7 1999 - The Impeachment Trial of President Clinton Begins in the Senate


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WHAT HAPPENED?


Back when Bill Clinton was the governor of Arkansas, he was accused of sexual harassment by Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. He attempted to delay a trial until he left office, but he was unable to. In 1997, a pre-trial discovery process began. Jones' lawyers tried to prove a pattern of bevahior with women. Enter: Linda Tripp and Monica Lewinsky.


In late 1997, Linda Tripp, co-worker of Lewinsky, began secretly recording their conversations where she shared details of her sexual relationship with Clinton. Once the lawyers had received this evidence, Lewinsky was added to the witness list. According to lawyer Ken Starr, after she appeared on this list, he tried to conceal their relationship.


Clinton denied in a disposition, and upon rumors of the scandal reaching the media, Clinton gave his famous "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" speech. However, he later claimed wrongdoing and said his relationship with Lewinsky was wrong and inappropriate.


Later on, Ken Starr was investigating some other unrelated issues, including the Whitewater Controversy, firing of White House travel agents and misuse of FBI files. Upon receiving more information from Linda Tripp, Starr expanded his investigation to include the scandal. Eventually, Starr concluded that Clinton had committed perjury in his testimonies, and on October 8, 1998, the House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings.


The House voted in favor of 2 articles of impeachment: perjury and obstruction of justice. He became the second U.S. President to be impeached.


The Senate began their work on January 7, 1999, 21 years ago today. On January 25th, there was a movement to dismiss both articles of impeachment. On February 12th, the senate found Bill Clinton not guilty of either article.



ALL OF THOSE INVOLVED


A lot of names are thrown around when talking about the Bill Clinton impeachment - here are the 5 major players, their role, and where they are now.


Bill Clinton:

Bill Clinton was the Governor of Arkansas and after, the President of the United States. He was accused of sexual harassment by Paula Jones which kickstarted all of the impeachment proceedings.


He has been accused of sexual misconduct by 3 other women: Juanita Broaddrick accused him of rape in 1978, Leslie Milwee accused Clinton of sexual assault in 1980, and Kathleen Willey accused him of groping her in 1993. Willey and Broaddrick's accusations became public in 1999, while Milwee's didn't come to light until 2016.


He denied all 4 accusations. Additionally, Bill Clinton admitted to having 2 extramarital affairs: One with Monica Lewinsky, and one with Gennifer Flowers. He denied both before eventually admitting to them.


Bill Clinton became the 2nd U.S. president to be impeached, but he was ultimately not removed from office. (1)


Since leaving office, he has stayed politically active and was involved in his wife Hillary Clinton's presidential run in 2016. (2)


Monica Lewinsky:

Monica Lewinsky was the 21-year-old white house intern who engaged in oral sex with Bill Clinton, the President. He lied about his relationship with her under oath, ultimately leading to the perjury and obstruction of justice impeachment articles brought against him.


Monica experienced years of death threats, slut-shaming and depression following the entire ordeal - her name becoming synonymous with a "whore" or a "homewrecker" (even though she was a 21 year old unpaid intern and he was the President of the United States. I digress.) (1)


Recently, Lewinsky wrote a powerful essay for Vanity Fair helping her to take the experience back into her own hands. Likely being one of the first people to go through such a scandal in the age of the internet, Lewinsky has become an advocate against cyberbullying and is involved in the #MeToo movement. (2)


Lewinsky will be producing the 3rd season of FX's "American Crime Story" detailing the impeachment saga. (3)


Linda Tripp:

Linda Tripp was a coworker of Lewinsky's. She secretly recorded private conversations between the 2 of them to turn into Paula Jones' team. She was "vilified" for doing this, and she retired quietly and stayed mostly out of the media afterwards.


In 2018, she emerged, speaking on National Whistleblower Day. She now has a voice in the #MeToo movement, encouraging people to come forward if they see or hear anything about sexual assault.


Paula Jones:

Paula Jones made the initial complaint against Bill Clinton while he was governor, claiming that when in his hotel room he propositioned her and exposed himself to her. Though this happened in 1991, she stayed quiet about it until 1994, filing the suit 2 days before the 3-year statue of limitations expired.


Jones won $850,000 in the suit, but only ultimately took home $200,000 after legal fees. She posed for penthouse but then moved on to a quieter life. She began speaking up again in 2016, endorsing Donald Trump for the presidency. (4)


Ken Starr:

Ken Starr was the lawyer to concluded that Bill Clinton committed perjury by lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. His investigation is ultimately what lead to the impeachment of Clinton.


After the impeachment hearings, he became the president of Baylor University in 2010 and then the chancellor, but left in 2016 following the mishandling of the football teams' sexual assault allegations.


He has made appearances in the news, weighing in on the Mueller Investigation and Brett Kavanaugh.



CONCLUSION


With a 3rd U.S. president being impeached at the end of 2019, all of the details of impeachment have become a big topic of conversation. Though not removed from office, Bill Clinton was officially impeached during his presidency.


The next step was moving to the senate, which happened 21 years ago today. The next steps for Donald Trump's impeachment will begin this year.



REFERENCES:

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton

2. https://www.marketplace.org/2018/08/07/clinton-impeachment-where-are-they-now/

3. https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/monica-lewinsky-produced-impeachment-set-as-next-american-crime-story-at-fx-1229819

4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paula_Jones


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