The House Judiciary Committee needs to proceed with its investigation of President Clinton. However, it needs to do so properly.
Parading the videotape of Clinton's grand jury testimony before the public does not seem proper or necessary. The same goes for releasing additional sexually explicit testimony that is contained in thousands of pages of material before the committee. House Republicans, unfortunately, may soon vote to do both.While this page has called for the president to resign based on information already available, we see nothing to be gained by further embarrassing Clinton. The videotape reportedly shows Clinton becoming angry and defensive as he struggles with questions about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Should this surprise anyone? The Starr Report, released to the public last week, chronicles the pathetic affair between Clinton and Lewinsky in appallingly lurid detail. Enough already.
A CBS poll released Wednesday shows Americans, by a margin of more than 2 to 1 (70 percent to 28 percent), don't think the committee should release Clinton's videotaped testimony to the public. And while a poll shouldn't be the determining factor in how this difficult yet crucial probe proceeds, in this case it reflects what should be done.
Clearly the president's grand jury testimony needs to be part of the committee's investigation as it compiles evidence to see if impeachment hearings are warranted. And the committee is perfectly capable of rendering judgment on the impact of the president's videotaped responses without public input.
The Starr Report charges that Clinton lied under oath in both the Paula Jones deposition and before the grand jury on Aug. 17, committed perjury, obstructed justice, tampered with witnesses and abused the power of his office.
The charges are serious and need to be addressed in a serious, non-sensational manner.
Ideally, there should be bipartisan support during all of the proceedings. Republicans should use their majority clout sparingly and only when needed to maintain the integrity of the investigation.
The president should resign now and save the country from months of sickening detail and debasing examinations of his conduct. However, if he doesn't, the integrity of the investigation must be maintained. Releasing the videotape and additional sexually explicit testimony to the public would bring that integrity into question. Therefore, it shouldn't be done.