Videotape of Clinton includes few surprises Next move: Let Judiciary Committee determine whether grounds for impeachment exist.

September 22, 1998

THE ADVANCE reports that making public Bill Clinton's grand jury testimony would be damaging to him and the American nation were not accurate.

His testimony was unseemly, yes. But the presidency and the republic will survive. The exercise, indeed, may have the effect of strengthening democracy, as an example of how the system should work.

So, on with the work of the House Judiciary Committee, whose members have to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to warrant impeachment proceedings.

We are not yet persuaded that evidence of "high crimes and misdemeanors" -- the standard set by the Constitution -- exists. And neither, it appears, are the American people. Polls continue to show that a majority of the public wants neither resignation nor impeachment. That doesn't mean, however, that a full airing of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's bill of particulars on the issues of perjury, subornation of perjury and obstruction of justice isn't needed.

Release of the videotape of the president's grand jury testimony a start. It allowed Americans to see for themselves their president dealing with some of the questions they have been agonizing over for months. We did not discern much in the way of squirming, outbursts or loss of temper on his part. Just aggressive lawyers and a smart witness, also an attorney, jousting with each other.

Others, no doubt, saw it differently. And viewing the videotape is likely to have changed few minds. Those appalled by Republican guerrilla tactics will remain so, as will those who want the president out.

But now, perhaps, the voyeurism can give way to reasonable ideas on how to resolve the matter. One suggestion is the proposal by Sen. John Kerry, Massachusetts Democrat and strong supporter of the president, that Mr. Clinton testify before the Judiciary Committee, answer its relevant questions and, thereby, help us come to terms with the controversy, and possibly end it.

We all deserve an end to this sordid he-said, she-said saga that is sapping the national will.

Pub Date: 9/22/98

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.