following statements are those made on television by President
Clinton at key points in his impeachment and trial. Perhaps
the most remembered words (in part because of the finger-wagging
gesture that accompanied them) to come out of the President's mouth
during this period were, "I did not have sexual relations with that
woman, Miss Lewinsky." That statement came during an
interview on PBS's NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on
January 21, 1998. Here are some later statements from
from the White House Following Grand
August 17, 1998
afternoon in this room, from this chair, I testified before the Office
Independent Counsel and the grand jury. I answered their questions
including questions about my private life, questions no American
ever want to answer. Still, I must take complete responsibility for all
actions, both public and private. And that is why I am speaking to you
But I told the grand jury
today and I say to you now that at no time did I ask anyone to lie, to
destroy evidence, or to take any other unlawful action. I know that my
comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I
people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.
you know, in a
deposition in January, I was asked questions about my relationship with
Lewinsky. While my answers were legally accurate, I did not volunteer
information. Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that
appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in
and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely
can only tell you I was
motivated by many factors. First, by a desire to protect myself from
embarrassment of my own conduct. I was also very concerned about
family. The fact that these questions were being asked in a politically
inspired lawsuit, which has since been dismissed, was a consideration
addition, I had real and
serious concerns about an independent counsel investigation that began
private business dealings twenty years ago, dealings, I might add,
an independent federal agency found no evidence of any wrongdoing by me
wife over two years ago. The independent counsel investigation moved on
staff and friends, then into my private life. And now the investigation
is under investigation.
has gone on too long,
cost too much, and hurt too many innocent people. Now, this matter is
me, the two people I love most-my wife and our daughter-and our God. I
it right, and I am prepared to do whatever it takes to do so. Nothing
important to me personally. But it is private, and I intend to reclaim
family life for my family. It's nobody's business but ours. Even
have private lives.
is time to stop the
pursuit of personal destruction and the prying into private lives and
with our national life. Our country has been distracted by this matter
long, and I take my responsibility for my part in all of this. That is
can do. Now it is time-in fact, it is past time-to move on. We have
work to do-real opportunities to seize, real problems to solve, real
matters to face.
so tonight, I ask you
to turn away from the spectacle of the past seven months, to repair the
of our national discourse, and to return our attention to all the
and all the promise of the next American century.
you for watching. And
in the Rose Garden
Before the Impeachment Vote by House
December 11. 1998
afternoon. As anyone
close to me knows, for months I have been grappling with how best to
myself to the American people, to acknowledge my own wrongdoing and
maintain my focus on the work of the presidency.
are presenting my
defense on the facts, the law, and the Constitution. Nothing I can say
add to that.
I want the American
people to know, what I want the Congress to know, is that I am
for all I have done wrong in words and deeds. I never should have
country, the Congress, my friends, or my family. Quite simply, I gave
in to my
shame. I have been condemned by my accusers with harsh words. And while
hard to hear yourself called deceitful and manipulative, I remember Ben
Franklin's admonition that our critics are our friends, for they do
show us our
words cannot fully
express the profound remorse I feel for what our country is going
for what members of both parties in Congress are now forced to deal
past months have been a torturous process of coming to terms with what
I did. I
understand that accountability demands consequences, and I'm prepared
them. Painful as the condemnation of the Congress would be, it would
comparison to the consequences of the pain I have caused my family.
There is no
anyone who honestly
faces the shame of wrongful conduct, I would give anything to go back
what I did. Bur one of the painful truths I have to live with is the
that that is simply not possible. An old and dear friend of mine
me the wisdom of a poet who wrote, "The moving finger writes and having
moves on. Nor all your piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half
Nor all your tears wash out a word of it."
nothing, not piety, nor
tears, nor wit, nor torment can alter what I have done. I must make my
with that. I must also be at peace with the fact that the public
of my actions are in the hands of the American people and their
in the Congress. Should they determine that my errors of word and deed
their rebuke and censure, I am ready to accept that.
I will continue
to do all I can to reclaim the trust of the American people and to
well. We must all return to the work, the vital work, of strengthening
nation for the new century. Our country has wonderful opportunities and
daunting challenges ahead. I intend to seize those opportunities and
challenges with all the energy and ability and strength God has given
is simply all I can do-the work of the American people.
you very much.
with House Democrats after House Vote to Impeach
December 19, 1998
me begin by expressing
my profound and heartfelt thanks to Congressman Gephardt and the
all the members of the Democratic caucus for what they did today. I
few brave Republicans who withstood enormous pressures to stand with
the plain meaning of the Constitution and for the proposition that we
pull together, to move beyond partisanship, to get on with the business
thank the millions upon
millions of American citizens who have expressed their support and
friendship to Hillary, to me, to our family, and to our administration
these last several weeks. The words of the members here with me and
are a part of their endeavor in defense of our Constitution were
moving, and I will never forget them.
question is, what are
we going to do now? I have accepted responsibility for what I did wrong
personal life, and I have invited members of Congress to work with us
to find a
reasonable bipartisan and proportionate response. That approach was
today by Republicans in the House, but I hope it will be embraced by
Senate. I hope there will be a constitutional and fair means of
matter in a prompt manner.
I will continue
to do the work of the American people. We still, after all, have to
Security and Medicare for the twenty-first century. We have to give all
children world-class schools. We have to pass a patients' bill of
have to make sure the economic turbulence around the world does not
economic opportunity here at home. We have to keep America the world's
strongest force for peace and freedom. In short, we have a lot to do
enter the twenty-first century. And we still have to keep working to
elusive one America I have talked so much about.
six years now, I have
done everything I could to bring our country together across the lines
us, including bringing Washington together across party lines. Out in
country, people are pulling together. But just as America is coming
it must look-from the country's point of view-like Washington is coming
want to echo something
Mr. Gephardt said. It is something I have felt strongly all my life. We
stop the politics of personal destruction. We must get rid of the
venom of excessive partisanship, obsessive animosity, and uncontrolled
is not what America deserves. That is not what America is about. We are
well now. We are a good and decent country but we have significant
we have to face. In order to do it right, we have to have some
decency and civility, some presumption of good faith, some sense of
proportionality and balance in bringing judgment against those who are
have important work to
do. We need a constructive debate that has all the different voices in
country heard in the halls of Congress. I want the American people to
today that I am still committed to working with people of good faith
will of both parties to do what's best for our country, to bring our
together, to lift our people up, to move us all forward together.
what I've tried to do
for six years. It's what I intend to do for two more until the last
hour of the
last day of my term.
with profound gratitude
for the defense of the Constitution and the best in America that was
today by the members here and those who joined them, I ask the American
to move with me-to go on from here to rise above the rancor, to
pain and division, to be a repairer of the breach-all of us-to make
country as one America, what it can and must be for our children in the
century about to dawn.
you very much.
Statement Following Acquittal
by the Senate in Impeachment Trial
February 12, 1999
that the Senate has
fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a
conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly
am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden
have imposed on the Congress and the American people.
also am humbled and very
grateful for the support and the prayers I have received from millions
Americans over this past year.
I ask all Americans,
and I hope all Americans-here in Washington and throughout our
rededicate ourselves to the work of serving our nation and building our
together. This can be and this must be a time of reconciliation and
you very much.
from the press: In
your heart, sir, can you forgive and forget?
Clinton: I believe any person who
asks for forgiveness has to be prepared to give it.
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