Tuesday, February 09, 1999

Chabot pleads for guilty verdict

Final argument cites moral duty

Enquirer Washington Bureau

Steve Chabot
        WASHINGTON — Rep. Steve Chabot told the Senate on Monday that President Clinton's alleged perjury and obstruction of justice “cannot be ignored, distorted or swept under the rug” and their verdict will send a powerful lesson to the nation's youth.

        Mr. Chabot, R-Cincinnati, was one of the House managers who presented closing arguments in the impeachment trial.

        He also played a role in presenting their opening arguments on Jan. 15.

        “The question before you now is, how will this chapter end?” Mr. Chabot told sena tors in a 10-minute address that stressed the need for them to set a moral example.

President on trial
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        “Will the final chapter say that the United States Senate turned its back on perjury and obstruction of justice by the president of the United States? Or will it say that the Senate took a principled stand and told the world that no person, not even the president, stands above the law?”

Dent couple quoted
        Mr. Chabot cited comments from constituents in the 1st Congressional District, pointing to their opinions as representative of public concern over the example set by the president's behavior and the effect it could have on the country if it goes unpunished.

        Phyllis and Jack Stanley of Dent wrote to Mr. Chabot asking, “If he is not impeached, will not the rule of law in this country be weakened?”

        Mr. Chabot also quoted from their letter, “For the sake of coming generations, acknowledging that integrity, honor and decency matter greatly is very important, especially in the highest office in the land.”

        Mrs. Stanley, 71, said she was surprised Mr. Chabot used her letter.

        “We know so many people who feel the same way,” she said.

        Mr. Chabot told the senators such comments are what they have to consider “before you turn out the lights and head home.”

        The president's defense team, he said, has lived true to his earlier prediction that they would present an array of legal smoke screens to divert attention from the president's ac tions.

        “To their credit, they produced smoke so thick that it continues to cloud this debate,” he said.

"It would be wrong'
        But the facts of the case remain, Mr. Chabot charged, saying Mr. Clinton obstructed justice and encouraged others to lie, sought to influence Monica Lewinsky's testimony with job assistance and attempted to conceal evidence that was under the subpoena.

        “It would be wrong for you to tell America's children that some lies are all right. It would be wrong to show the rest of the world that some of our laws don't really matter.”

        He added: “But despite the partisan and rhetoric attacks, I believe that once this trial ends, we must work together.”


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