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Tuesday, October 25, 2005
 
Irony, Thy Name Is Kay Bailey Hutchinson
Looking like the sinister housewife in a touring production of The Handmaid's Tale, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) insisted on the Sunday morning chat shows that perjury and obstruction of justice are silly crimes and shouldn't be prosecuted:

I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars.
Oh, but things were quite different on Friday, February 12, 1998 -- the day Sen. Hutchinson stood in the well of the Senate and cast her votes against Bill Clinton on the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice:

The false testimony complained of in Article I of the Articles of Impeachment relates to testimony before the grand jury, and only indirectly to the testimony in the Arkansas case. The Federal grand jury was investigating broad issues and many persons at the time the President gave false and misleading testimony before it.

Willful, corrupt, and false sworn testimony before a Federal grand jury is a separate and distinct crime under applicable law and is material and perjurious if it is `capable' of influencing the grand jury in any matter before it, including any collateral matters that it may consider. See, Title 18, Section 1623, U.S. Code, and Federal court cases interpreting that Section.

The President's testimony before the Federal grand jury was fully capable of influencing the grand jury's investigation and was clearly perjurious.

On that first charge -- perjury -- Senator Hutchinson voted to convict.

Then came the vote on the charge of obstruction of justice:

The attempt to obstruct and cover-up grew, expanded, and developed a life of its own. It overpowered the underlying offense itself. A new strategy was required, fast: The President was advised: `Admit the sex, but never the lies.' Shift the blame; change the subject. Blame it on the plaintiff in the Arkansas case. Blame it on her lawyers. Blame it on the Independent Counsel. Blame it on partisanship. Blame it on the majority members of the House Judiciary Committee. Blame it on the process.

The blame belongs to the President of the United States. This juror has concluded that the President is guilty of obstructing justice beyond a reasonable doubt, as alleged in Article II of the Articles of Impeachment in this proceeding.

Senator Hutchinson voted to convict on the obstruction charge as well.

She concluded her address to her Senate colleagues with these stirring words:

But we should all be thankful that our Constitution is there, and we should take pride in our right and duty to enforce it. A hundred years from now, when history looks back to this moment, we can hope for a conclusion that our Constitution has been applied fairly and survives, that we have come to principled judgments about matters of national importance, and that the rule of law in American has been sustained.

The Senate stenographer -- apparently misty-eyed from hearing this soaring bit of rhetoric -- inadvertently failed to record the final word of her speech: IOKIYAR.



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