Your government, hard at work

January 24, 1999|By Dave Barry | Dave Barry,Knight Ridder/Tribune

In case you've been too busy to follow the Trial Of The Century in the U.S. Senate, here's the complete official transcript so far: Sergeant-at-arms: Hear ye! Hear ye! Hear ye! All persons shut up and pay attention for the trial of the impeachment of the president of the United States, William Jefferson Clinton, on charges of messing around! No chewing of gum!

Sen. Lott: At this time, in accordance with the United States Senate Big Book O' Rules, Sen. Thurmond shall swear in the Chief Justice of the United States.

Sen. Thurmond: Raise your right hand.

(The Chief Justice raises his hand.)

Sen. Thurmond (whispering to Sen. Lott): Why is he raising his hand?

Sen. Lott: You told him to.

Sen. Thurmond: I told who to?

Sen. Lott: The Chief Justice.

Sen. Thurmond: Well, that's different. (To the Chief Justice:) Do you solemnly swear to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, until death do you part?

Chief Justice: I do.

Sen. Thurmond: You do what?

Sen. Lott: At this time, the Chief Justice shall administer the Oath Of Solemn Swearing to all senators hereintofore present.

Chief Justice: Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to and in pursuance of the trial of the impeachment of William James Madison Clinton, cross your heart and hope to die, including engine and transmission for three years or 30,000 miles, whichever comes first?

Senators: I do.

Chief Justice: At this time, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee shall present the Articles of Impeachment of President Abraham Lincoln Clinton.

Rep. Hyde (presenting the articles): Check out these babies.

Senators: Whoa.

Sen. Kennedy: Does anybody want that cigar?

Chief Justice: The articles of impeachment of President William Woodrow Wilson having been presented, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader shall now proceed with the Choosing Of Who Goes First.

Sen. Lott and Sen. Daschle: Once, twice, three ... shoot!

Chief Justice: The Chair observes that the Minority Leader made a rock and the Majority Leader made paper. The Chair rules that paper beats rock.

Sen. Daschle: I didn't make a rock! I made a crab!

Sen. Lott: Objection! This is Rock, Paper, Scissors! You can't make a crab!

Sen. Daschle: Yes I can! Look! He's waving his claws!

Chief Justice: The Chair rules that paper beats crab. The prosecution shall proceed.

Rep. Hyde: For its first witness, the prosecution calls to the stand White House aide Sidney Blumenthal. Mr. Blumenthal, please state your name.

Mr. Blumenthal: I don't recall.

Sen. Thurmond: Me either.

Rep. Hyde: Mr. Blumenthal, would it be fair to state that you remind a lot of people of some kind of burrowing carnivore?

Perry Mason: Objection, your honor! He's badgering the witness!

Rep. Hyde: I'll withdraw the question. The prosecution calls as its next witness Monica S. Lewinsky. Miss Lewinsky, on the evening of Nov. 15, 1995, did you go to the White House wearing thong-style underwear?

Miss Lewinsky: Yes.

Rep. Hyde: And are these the underwear in question?

Perry Mason: Objection! He's wearing them backward!

Chief Justice: The Chair will allow it.

Rep. Hyde: And while you were thus bethonged, Miss Lewinsky, did the president, William Baines Johnson, to your knowledge, commit a high crime or misdemeanor or take some form of gander?

Sen. Thurmond: Are we voting on Barbecue Safety Awareness Week?

Rep. Hyde: Not right now.

Sen. Thurmond: Good, because I'm against it.

Miss Lewinsky: Yes.

Rep. Hyde: Yes what?

Miss Lewinsky: I don't recall.

Sen. Thurmond: Or I'm for it.

Chief Justice: You know, The Chair has been thinking, and The Chair is starting to wonder if maybe crab beats paper, after all. Because the crab could eat the paper, right? Is The Chair right?

Sen. Lott: How come you always refer to yourself as "The Chair?"

Chief Justice: The Chair doesn't know; The Chair just always has. Even as a child, The Chair would tell its mother, "Wah! The Chair wants a bottle!" Speaking of which, The Chair could eat a horse. All in favor of lunch say "Aye."

Senators: Aye!

Sen. Thurmond: You may now kiss the bride.

The Chair observes that the Minority Leader made a rock and the Majority Leader made paper.

Chief Justice

Pub Date: 01/24/99

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