Nixon led to Clinton and then Bush/Cheney

1. Apr 25, 2007

Rothiemurchus

If President Nixon had been imprisoned for breaking the law it would have set a precedent that would have deterred Clinton from lying to Congress and Bush and Cheney too.Isn't it about time leaders got locked up for law breaking or else what is the point of the law?

2. Apr 25, 2007

BobG

Nixon's and Clinton's situations were completely different. Nixon's situation didn't affect Clinton's situation.

Nixon was accused of obstructing an investigation into crimes that affected the fairness of elections, misusing government agencies, such as the IRS and FBI, to persecute political opponents, and ignoring Congressional subpoenas. It's very doubtful Nixon would have been found guilty of the last, because there was a divided opinion about whether the President should be required to respond to Congressional subpoenas. He would have almost certainly been found guilty of the first two articles. Whatever deterrence a conviction would have provided, being forced to resign as President (because of the inevitability of being found guilty) provided nearly equal deterrence.

Clinton was accused of lying about sexual relations with an intern and obstructing an investigation into sexual harrassment claims. The sexual harrassment case was a civil case (not a criminal case) that still proceeded independently of the impeachment and was eventually dismissed. While Clinton may have made a crude sexual advance to Paula Jones in a hotel room, she failed to show any evidence that could relate a single sexual advance into harrassment. Even if guilty of sexual harrassment while governor of Arkansas, the only impact it would have on his job as President of the US is that a lot of people would be muttering that they would have liked to know that during the last election.

Edit: And I think Clinton was actually charged with lying to investigators in the sexual harrassment case, not Congress.

Last edited: Apr 25, 2007
3. Apr 25, 2007

Staff: Mentor

Yes. Clinton was impeached for (allegedly some might say) lying under oath (perjury) to the grand jury and obstruction of justice.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton#Impeachment_by_the_House_of_Representatives

4. Apr 25, 2007

Jimmy Snyder

It's not good to be accused of jaywalking and murder, even if you weren't jaywalking.

5. Apr 25, 2007

slugcountry

holy crap the guy got a blowjob, how can you possibly compare that to crimes against humanity?? (torture, imperialistic warfare etc...)

6. Apr 25, 2007

Rothiemurchus

Isn't the bottom line here that leaders would be less inclined to do wrong if the law was rigrously applied - Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon - he could have got him tried in court.Nixon was a friend of Ford - this looks bad - it is bad!!

7. Apr 26, 2007

BobG

Having the issue resolved in a court of law would have had some benefit. For one thing, the 'lesson' of Watergate is that the cover-up was worse than the crime. That ignores the second article of impeachment.

Focusing on the first article rather than the second suggests that many politicians saw Watergate as a politically motivated move rather than a legitimate investigation of potential crimes.

You hear the 'lessons' of Watergate rehashed all the time. None of Clinton's 'crimes' affected his presidency, but alledged attempts to block the investigation led to impeachment. No one was prosecuted for leaking Plame's name, but Libby was found guilty of obstructing the investigation into the leak.

Unless the facts are resolved in a non-political environment, every investigation into wrong doing is perceived as a political attack designed to trip someone up into committing a trivial, but real crime.

8. Apr 26, 2007

Jimmy Snyder

As I remember (or disremember) it, Clinton was sued for harassment. During the trial he was asked certain questions which were to determine whether there was a pattern of such behavior. I believe that while under oath he lied in order to hide that pattern. If so, that would leave him open to a charge of perjury. No such charge was brought. Regardless of the political implications, the implications for the harassment suit were clear. Clinton could not continue to pursue his defense and he settled.

9. May 10, 2007

Skyhunter

The case was dismissed. When it appeared that an appeals court might grant the appeal Clinton settled for $850,000 to drop the appeal. He was impeached for denying having "sexual relations" with Monica Lewinsky during his deposition. He was allowed to review the legal definition of "sexual relations" and concluded that oral sex was not "sexual relations". BTW he was acquitted. When he left office he had his law license suspended for 5 years. Now he is the most popular man in the word, and Paula Jones is being called trailor trash by non other than Ann Coulter. :rofl: Of the$850,000 about \$600,000 was legal expenses.

She bought a house and then posed for Penthouse to pay the taxes.

10. May 11, 2007

Jimmy Snyder

Thanks for clearing that up. I hadn't realized this.

This page shows 4 versions of the bill connected with the impeachment.
http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:H.RES.611:
The exact wording of the charge on the first of these is:
In other words, denying would not have been an issue if it hadn't been perjury. I don't mean to imply that he perjured himself, only that he was impeached for that reason.

11. Jun 5, 2007

Staff: Mentor

Court Rebuffs F.C.C. on Fines for Indecency