The 1998 Clinton Impeachment Crisis

The political impact and growing readership of the World Socialist Web Site

By Patrick Martin, 30 October 2020

The WSWS represents something completely new. It is the voice of the international working class, conscious of itself and its historical mission.

The Wall Street Journal demands Clinton's indictment

By Patrick Martin, 15 January 2001

In an extraordinary editorial published January 5, the Wall Street Journal has demanded that Independent Counsel Robert Ray indict President Clinton on criminal charges as soon as he leaves the White House. The page-length diatribe in the leading US right-wing newspaper is headlined “Yes, Indict Clinton.”

Right-wing conspiracy continues: new grand jury to investigate Clinton

By David Walsh, 19 August 2000

The report that Independent Counsel Robert Ray has impaneled a new grand jury to look into evidence against President Bill Clinton in the Monica Lewinsky affair demonstrates that the conflict within the American ruling elite that resulted in Clinton's impeachment continues to rage.

New Clinton special prosecutor linked to religious fundamentalists

By Martin McLaughlin, 25 November 1999

The new head of the Office of Independent Counsel, who succeeded Kenneth Starr last month, has longtime links to the extreme-right circles which organized the impeachment coup against the Clinton administration, it was reported Monday. Robert Ray, who was selected by the same three-judge panel which picked Starr, ran as a school board candidate in Brooklyn, New York with the backing of Christian fundamentalist groups.

Kenneth Starr and his accomplices: new aspects of the impeachment conspiracy

By Martin McLaughlin, 23 August 1999

Two developments this past week have shed additional light on the connections between right-wing political forces, the media and the investigation into the Clinton White House by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, which triggered Clinton's impeachment and trial by the Senate.

The New York Times and Clinton's contempt fine: the impeachment cover-up continues

By Martin McLaughlin, 4 August 1999

Nearly six months after the right-wing campaign to remove Bill Clinton from the White House ended with the defeat of two impeachment counts in the Senate, the opinion-makers of the ruling class are still working to obscure the political lessons of this experience. This is evident from the media reaction to the decision last week by a federal district judge in Washington to impose $90,000 in costs on President Clinton.

Clinton at the Gridiron Club: making light of a political coup

By Martin McLaughlin, 24 March 1999

The Gridiron Club dinner, sponsored by the Radio & Television Correspondents' Association, is an annual ritual of the Washington establishment. Two thousand journalists, politicians, judges, lobbyists and assorted celebrities gather for an evening of humorous speeches and skits.

In second week of Arkansas trial

Witnesses undermine Starr case against Susan McDougal

By Martin McLaughlin, 19 March 1999

The trial of Susan McDougal on criminal contempt and obstruction of justice charges continued this week in Little Rock, Arkansas with prosecutors from the Office of Independent Counsel increasingly on the defensive. McDougal, who has already served nearly two years in prison for two previous Whitewater-related convictions, faces yet a a third trial which could result in a prison term of 10 years and $750,000 in fines.

Aftermath of the US impeachment drive: Starr presses persecution of Susan McDougal

By Martin McLaughlin, 13 March 1999

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has resumed his attack on one of the victims of his long-running political campaign against the White House, putting Susan McDougal on trial in Little Rock, Arkansas. Starr is seeking to send her to prison for the third time.

China spy scare: a new stage in the political warfare in Washington

By Martin McLaughlin, 10 March 1999

Congressional Republicans have seized on reports of Chinese espionage against US nuclear weapons facilities to launch a new round of political attacks on the Clinton administration. Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott announced that the Senate Intelligence Committee would begin holding hearings next week on the charges, which surfaced in a March 6 front-page report in the New York Times.

Monica Lewinsky describes intimidation and threats by Kenneth Starr

By Martin McLaughlin, 6 March 1999

The television interviews with Monica Lewinsky, broadcast Wednesday in the United States and Thursday in Britain, and her ghost-written book released at the same time, provide chilling details of the methods employed by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr and his squad of special prosecutors and FBI agents.

The Broaddrick affair: the media renews the war against the White House

By Barry Grey, 4 March 1999

In a February 27 editorial ("The President's Missing Voice") the New York Times denounced Bill Clinton for refusing to personally respond to Arkansas businesswoman Juanita Broaddrick's charges, avidly promoted by prominent segments of the US media, that Clinton raped her in a Little Rock motel room 21 years ago.

Right-wing in US mounts new political provocation

The Wall Street Journal and Juanita Broaddrick

By Barry Grey, 27 February 1999

The latest round of scandal-mongering against the White House demonstrates that extreme right-wing elements, backed by the media, are determined to press ahead with their campaign of political destabilization.

Impeachment trial ends, but the conspiracy continues

the Editorial Board, 13 February 1999

The vote to acquit President Clinton in the Senate impeachment trial was followed by a fusillade of self-congratulatory declarations, hymns to bipartisanship, compliments on the senators' sagacity and variations on the theme that the proceedings had once again demonstrated how well "the system works."

Behind the Clinton impeachment trial

Profile of a right-wing conspirator

The case of Theodore Olson

By Martin McLaughlin, 13 February 1999

Last November, at a conference of the Federalist Society at Washington's Mayflower Hotel, attorney Theodore Olson welcomed his audience to "the vast right-wing conspiracy. In fact, you're at the heart of it."

Journalist who turned in Clinton aide

Scoundrel time redux: Christopher Hitchens as a social type

By David Walsh, 13 February 1999

These are politically instructive times, and that perhaps has its own objective significance. At historical turning points a variety of pretensions and guises fall away. Individuals, as well as social forces, are obliged to declare who and what they are.

US Senate debates impeachment behind closed doors

By Martin McLaughlin, 11 February 1999

It is fitting that the Senate impeachment trial of Bill Clinton should end with a debate behind closed doors, after the Republican majority blocked a move to open it to the public. From its inception the campaign to drive Clinton from the White House has been a secretive, back-room effort to overturn the results of two presidential elections. It concludes as it began, as a conspiracy against the democratic rights of the American people.

The Senate impeachment trial

Why are the Democrats pushing for a censure resolution against Clinton?

By Barry Grey, 11 February 1999

As the Senate trial of Bill Clinton enters its final hours, it is universally acknowledged that the ultimate vote will fall short of the two-thirds required to convict and remove him from office. But the response of most Democratic senators to the failure of the Republican effort to oust the president is a frenzied attempt to pass a bipartisan censure resolution condemning him.

Nation columnist Christopher Hitchens fingers Clinton aide

By Martin McLaughlin, 9 February 1999

Saturday's proceedings in and around the Senate impeachment trial provided an instructive demonstration of the politics and principles of the milieu of ex-radicals and ex-Stalinists which sustains such publications as the weekly journal The Nation.

As Senate trial winds down, efforts intensify to cover up conspiracy against democratic rights

By Barry Grey, 6 February 1999

As the Senate impeachment trial limps toward a conclusion, the efforts of the White House and both the Republicans and Democrats are focused on finding a formula for bestowing constitutional legitimacy on what all sides know to be an attempted political coup d'etat.

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to address right-wing, pro-impeachment organization

By Barry Grey, 5 February 1999

The year-long impeachment campaign has lifted the lid on a political fact well known within the political and media establishment, but concealed from the American people--the intimate links between extreme right-wing organizations and individuals and officials in the highest echelons of government.

Nat Hentoff and the decay of American liberalism

By David Walsh, 3 February 1999

The Clinton impeachment crisis has put American liberals and radicals to the test, and they have been found largely wanting. Very few have been able to appraise the events in a serious and objective manner or provide the general population with any semblance of principled political leadership. The crisis has exposed the intellectual decay of this social grouping.

In frame-up of Julie Hiatt Steele

Judge issues gag order sought by Starr

By Martin McLaughlin, 2 February 1999

A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia issued a gag order January 29, requiring some evidence to be kept secret in the case of Julie Hiatt Steele, who is the target of frame-up charges brought by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Independent counsel threatens to indict Clinton

Starr sends a message: the political coup will continue

By Barry Grey, 2 February 1999

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has once again intervened into the Senate impeachment trial, leaking to the New York Times a report that he is considering seeking the indictment, trial and conviction of Bill Clinton during Clinton's tenure as president.

Why these witnesses?

The racist and anti-Semitic subtext of the Senate impeachment trial

By Barry Grey, 30 January 1999

Why Sidney Blumenthal, Vernon Jordan and Monica Lewinsky?

Senate approves anti-democratic rules

Impeachment trial procedure violates due process

the editorial board, 30 January 1999

There comes the time in any major political struggle when a correspondence begins to emerge between the goals of those waging the struggle and the means which they employ to achieve their ends. The right-wing campaign to depose the Clinton administration is a political coup d'etat, cloaked in quasi-constitutional garb, whose goal is to impose new forms of rule on the American people. The character of these new forms of rule can now be glimpsed in the anti-democratic methods used by the Senate Republican majority in the trial of the President.

Independent Counsel Starr presses attack on witnesses

Appeals court reinstates tax case against Webster Hubbell

By Barry Grey, 29 January 1999

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's relentless pursuit of recalcitrant witnesses was given a boost Tuesday by a Federal appeals panel, which reinstated Starr's criminal tax fraud case against Clinton associate and former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell.

Paul Wellstone on "Larry King Live": a revealing exchange

28 January 1999

On January 23 Senator Paul Wellstone, Democrat from Minnesota, appeared as a guest on the "Larry King Live Weekend" program on CNN. The television program was devoted to a discussion of the Senate trial of Bill Clinton and, in particular, the issue of whether witnesses should be called to testify. When host Larry King fielded questions from callers, the following exchange took place:

Conyers defends Democrats' silence on impeachment conspiracy

By Jerry White, 28 January 1999

At a forum held last Sunday at Michigan State University, John Conyers, a senior Democratic Congressman from Detroit, acknowledged that the Senate impeachment trial is the outcome of an immense political conspiracy, but that he and his fellow Democrats have decided to conceal their knowledge of this plot from the American people.

Senate impeachment trial: a conspiracy of silence

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 January 1999

As the Senate trial of President Clinton moves towards a decision, the policy of the White House and the Senate Democrats is to keep hidden from the American people the true implications of the political crisis that has dominated Washington for over a year.

The Senate impeachment trial

Starr intervenes to salvage House Republicans' case against Clinton

By Barry Grey, 25 January 1999

Republican House prosecutors, acting under the auspices of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, questioned Monica Lewinsky behind closed doors on Sunday in a transparent effort to coerce testimony damaging to the White House's defense in the ongoing Senate impeachment trial.

The Senate impeachment trial: White House lawyers expose legal frame-up

By Barry Grey, 23 January 1999

In three days of pointed arguments, White House lawyers presented a devastating rebuttal of the articles of impeachment against President Clinton. One after another, the attorneys dismantled the entire edifice of the Republican case. They demonstrated that the charges of perjury and obstruction of justice were based on the falsification of evidence, misrepresentation of testimony and groundless speculation.

In fourth day of impeachment trial

White House Counsel refutes case against Clinton

By Martin McLaughlin, 21 January 1999

The opening statement by White House Counsel Charles C.F. Ruff in the Senate trial of President Clinton combined effective legal and constitutional arguments with veiled hints to his audience of 100 senators that a full-scale trial, with witnesses and intensive cross-examination, would have politically explosive and unpredictable results.

Clinton's State of the Union address: a speech in full denial

By Barry Grey, 21 January 1999

"To describe the State of the Union, I suppose I must begin by noting that I am the first elected president in the history of the United States to be impeached, and even as we meet more than half of the senators who are in this chamber are planning to convict me in the trial that is presently under way. This trial is the product of a political conspiracy aimed at removing the government by means of a pseudo-legal coup d'etat. This situation, clearly, does not indicate that the State of the Union is all that healthy. Rather, to be blunt, our Union is a very sick one."

Julie Hiatt Steele to fight Starr's indictment

By Jerry White, 21 January 1999

Julie Hiatt Steele told a federal judge Tuesday that she was "absolutely not guilty" of the charges brought by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr of obstruction of justice and making false statements. Following her not guilty plea Steele told reporters outside the Alexandria, Virginia courthouse that she would fight the Independent Counsel's indictment with "every last breath in my body."

Networks fail to report Republican ties to racist groups

A curious silence

By David Walsh, 20 January 1999

A significant aspect of the ongoing drive to oust Bill Clinton has been the virtual silence of the American mass media, particularly the major networks, on the links between leading Republicans in the House and Senate and extreme right-wing and racist organizations.

On the eve of the State of the Union address

Clinton silent on the impeachment conspiracy

By Barry Grey, 19 January 1999

On the eve of the State of the Union address, White House spokesmen have made it clear that Bill Clinton intends to make no mention of the Senate impeachment trial. In what could be his last opportunity to publicly counter his accusers before a mass television audience, Clinton will do what he has done consistently since the present crisis erupted nearly a year ago--sidestep a confrontation with the right-wing forces pressing for his removal.

The Senate impeachment trial

Democrats paralyzed as Republicans present their case against Clinton

the Editorial Board, 16 January 1999

In the first two days of the Senate impeachment trial, the House Republicans have established their line of attack--to portray Clinton's ineffectual attempt to conceal his relationship with Monica Lewinsky as a crime against the "rule of law."

The Senate impeachment trial: The legal framework of a right-wing witch-hunt

By Martin McLaughlin, 15 January 1999

The briefs filed by attorneys for Bill Clinton demonstrate that the impeachment charges against the president have no legitimate legal foundation. If the Senate trial were a genuinely fair legal proceeding, rather than a politically motivated witch-hunt, Clinton's right-wing political enemies would not have a leg to stand on.

A letter from a Massachusetts attorney

Continue your coverage and protests of the Julie Hiatt Steele indictment

12 January 1999

To the editor,

Clinton at the Detroit Economic Club

The politics of self-delusion

By Martin McLaughlin, 12 January 1999

President Bill Clinton's appearance in Detroit January 8 was an exercise in political self-delusion. Clinton gave a speech to the Economic Club of Detroit which painted an idyllic picture of life in today's America, ignoring both the raging political crisis in Washington and the deep-seated social tensions wracking Detroit and other major urban centers.

Week one of the impeachment trial: bipartisan agreement delivers setback to the White House

By Barry Grey, 12 January 1999

Last Friday's unanimous passage of the Senate resolution on the rules for the impeachment trial marked yet another major political setback for President Clinton. The fact that all 45 Democratic senators joined their Republican colleagues in approving the procedure for the trial has endowed the proceedings with precisely what they lacked following the impeachment vote in the House of Representatives: a politically-indispensable aura of constitutional legitimacy.

Attorney for Julie Hiatt Steele charges Starr with abuse of prosecutorial power

9 January 1999

For the benefit of our readers, we are publishing here in full the press release issued on January 7 by Nancy Luque, the attorney for Julie Hiatt Steele.

Starr indicts recalcitrant witness Julie Hiatt Steele

By Barry Grey, 9 January 1999

Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's January 7 indictment of Julie Hiatt Steele is a flagrant example of prosecutorial abuse, but it is only the latest in a long string of attempts to use indictment or the threat of indictment to terrorize and punish witnesses who refuse to provide the testimony demanded by Starr and his gang of prosecutors.

Senate impeachment trial opens: political coup enters climactic stage

the Editorial Board, 8 January 1999

The opening of the Senate impeachment trial will be remembered in history as a critical milestone in the political degeneration and breakdown of the institutions of American democracy. Despite overwhelming popular opposition, a political coup d'etat--organized by a cabal of neo-fascist conspirators and the far-right groups that control the Republican Party--is on the verge of victory.

The impeachment of President Clinton

Is America drifting towards civil war?

the Editorial Board, 21 December 1998

In light of the disputed outcome of the US presidential election, the World Socialist Web Site is reposting for the benefit of our readers our statement from December 21, 1998, "The impeachment of President Clinton: Is America drifting towards civil war?" This statement sums up many of the most important aspects of the social and political crisis which underlies both the right-wing campaign to drive Clinton from office and the political and constitutional impasse revealed by Tuesday's election.

Readers comment on WSWS coverage of Starr investigation

20 October 1998

"China funds" charges against Clinton

A new phase in Washington's political warfare

By Martin McLaughlin, 19 May 1998

A new front has been opened up in the political warfare in Washington, with claims by congressional Republicans that the Clinton administration agreed to reverse US policy on the export of satellite technology to China after large campaign contributions from aerospace companies and the Chinese government itself.

The crisis in Washington: what history tells us

Part 3: The Clinton scandals

By Martin McLaughlin, 14 April 1998

The following is the concluding article in a three-part series contrasting the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs of the 1970s and 1980s to the current political scandals in Washington. The first two parts were posted on March 21 and April 4.

The dismissal of the Paula Jones suit : What it says about the Clinton sex scandal

By the Editorial Board, 4 April 1998

In throwing out Paula Jones's sexual harassment suit against Bill Clinton, Judge Susan Webber Wright simply confirmed what objective and informed observers have known all along--that the entire case was a contrived amalgam without any legal merit.

The crisis in Washington: what history tells us

Part 2: Iran-Contra

By Martin McLaughlin, 4 April 1998

The following is the second article in a three-part series outlining the most important political crises in the US of the 1970s and 1980s, the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, and the profound abuses of presidential power which they involved. The first article, on Watergate, was posted Saturday, March 21. The final article, which contrasts these earlier scandals with the political offensive against the Clinton administration spearheaded by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, appeared on April 14.

Legal offensive against Clinton continues

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 March 1998

While President Clinton travels in Africa, the legal warfare between the White House and its right-wing opponents continues to intensify, in a series of moves and countermoves in courtrooms in Washington, DC, Little Rock, Arkansas and Lubbock, Texas.

The crisis in Washington: what history tells us

Part 1: Watergate

By Martin McLaughlin, 21 March 1998

The following is the first article in a three-part series outlining the most important political crises of the 1970s and 1980s, the Watergate and Iran-Contra affairs, and the profound abuses of presidential power which they involved. The final article contrasts these earlier scandals with the political offensive against the Clinton administration spearheaded by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.

Starr’s attack on First Amendment rights

By Martin McLaughlin, 27 February 1998

The decision of independent counsel Kenneth Starr to subpoena White House officials about their contacts with the press raises a direct challenge to First Amendment rights.

The social roots of the Clinton crisis

By the Editorial Board, 14 February 1998

The present furor over an alleged White House sexual liaison is only the latest in a string of scandals and investigations that date back to Clinton’s 1992 election campaign and have dogged his administration from its inception.

The media and the Clinton scandal

On their moral high horse

10 February 1998

How is the following anomaly to be explained? Despite the massive coverage given to Bill Clinton’s alleged sexual improprieties over the past few weeks, his popularity, as registered in opinion polls, has risen sharply.

Clinton crisis exposes threat to democratic rights

By the Editorial Board, 7 February 1998

At week’s end the conflict between the Clinton White House and Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr intensified, as Starr escalated his offensive with new leaks of grand jury testimony, and Clinton officials threatened to retaliate with legal action against the independent counsel’s office.

Clinton's State of the Union speech

The politics of illusion

By the Editorial Board, 31 January 1998

Last Tuesday's State of the Union address, given by Bill Clinton to a joint session of Congress, was an exercise in both political deception and self-delusion. Neither Clinton nor his Republican opponents addressed themselves to the deepening social crisis in America or the spreading impact of the financial collapse sweeping Asia.

On the eve of the State of the Union address 

The political issues behind the Clinton scandal begin to emerge 

By Barry Grey, 27 January 1998

From the onset of the scandal that has shaken the Clinton administration, The International Workers Bulletin has focused its analysis on the intense struggle within the ruling class over the policies of the government that underlie the crisis, rather than the sexual allegations within which this struggle has been packaged for mass consumption.

Clinton crisis signals a further shift to the right 

By the Editorial Board, 26 January 1998

On the eve of the State of the Union address the Clinton administration remained engulfed in crisis. On Monday, with allegations of sexual misconduct, perjury and obstruction of justice continuing to dominate the airwaves, Clinton made a brief appearance and issued a terse denial of the charges against him. 

Right-wing “dirty tricks” and the Clinton scandal 

26 January 1998

The sex scandal that has rocked the Clinton Administration has all the hallmarks of a well-planned "dirty tricks" conspiracy, involving individuals with long-standing links to neo-fascist elements within and on the fringes of the Republican Party, covert operations specialists in the national security apparatus, and right-wing propagandists who hold powerful positions in the media. The curricula vitae and political agenda of these individuals have been largely ignored, if not actually covered up, in the mainstream media. 

Whitewater, Paula Jones and the ultra-right 

By Martin McLaughlin, 22 January 1998

The latest stage in the Clinton political crisis, centered on his alleged sexual relations with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, marks a coming together of the long-running Whitewater investigation and the lawsuit by Paula Jones.