Bill Clinton was perceived as illegitimate in a lot of quarters when he was elected, and with immense suspicion and hostility. Some of it was because he had disrupted a long Republican era and all the relationships that had gone with that. Some of it was generational. There was a lot of antagonism toward Clinton as a representative of the ’60s generation.
…JAMES CARVILLE: ….The high point was the Sally Quinn piece in The Washington Post where every fool was mouthing off about how Washington was a village and how dare the Clintons intrude on their turf. I don’t think she intended it this way, but she turned the tape recorder on and people just stood in line.
…There was talk in Congress of impeachment at least as early as November 1997, when Representative Bob Barr moved to open an inquiry into foreign donations to Clinton’s 1996 reelection campaign.
…Since 1994, a team led by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, a former federal judge and solicitor general, had been investigating a series of scandals involving the Clintons, beginning with the failed Whitewater real-estate deal and expanding to include other matters—Travelgate, a contested shake-up of the White House Travel Office; Filegate, which involved allegedly improper use of FBI background checks; and the apparent suicide of White House counsel Vince Foster, whom conspiracy theorists believed had been murdered.
…Brill quoted Kenneth Starr as admitting that he or members of his staff had selectively leaked information to the press—and took the press to task for running stories that advanced the independent counsel’s agenda.
…The role of the press vis-à-vis the government had totally flipped since Watergate. Watergate was all about two reporters for The Washington Post—and then a lot of other reporters—not believing the prosecution’s version of things and refusing to be misled by Richard Nixon’s Justice Department. With Ken Starr, it was exactly the opposite: The press was the tool of the prosecution. The prosecution just kept leaking, and the press just kept lapping it up. In my view, Starr was also violating a statute related to grand-jury secrecy, which is now a little bit relevant because his deputy at the time was Brett Kavanaugh, and Kavanaugh was one of two people who were basically identified as leaking to the press.
…SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: We did not fully know what we know now about what was going on in Starr’s office. We knew that they were politically motivated, we knew that they were leaking grand-jury information in violation of Federal Rule 6(e) to reporters, and that they were obsessed with media relations and controlling the narrative. But we didn’t know that they had divided their office into what they called a “Likud faction” and “commie wimps” and written it on a blackboard with names underneath. We learned that afterward.
…SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL: Like others in the White House, I was subjected to right-wing suits from Judicial Watch, by Larry Klayman, who eventually sued his own mother. They were nuisance suits that nonetheless required you to have a lawyer and were attempts to create immense financial burdens and distract you and scare you. There was the Linda Tripp defamation suit. There was a suit from Bob Barr [a Republican representative from Georgia], in which he claimed that somehow information about his wife’s abortion had been leaked. There was no end to it. The legal bills all added up.
…In July 1995, Monica Lewinsky started work at the White House, initially as an intern. She and the president developed a flirtatious rapport, which intensified during a weeklong government shutdown, during which interns served as support staff. By early 1996, White House aides had grown concerned about the relationship. In April, Lewinsky was reassigned to the Pentagon, where she became friends with Linda Tripp, a career civil servant who disliked the Clintons.
…On January 13, Tripp met Lewinsky for lunch, wearing a wire provided by FBI agents working for the independent counsel. On January 16, Starr sought and was granted permission to expand his investigation, and later that day FBI agents and prosecutors ushered Lewinsky into a room at the Ritz-Carlton in Arlington, Virginia, and questioned her for 11 hours.
…A statement that remarkably was not included in the report was this one, from Ms. Lewinsky’s grand-jury testimony: “No one ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence.”
….We have been living with the consequences of the Clinton impeachment ever since. The political battle has stoked resentments, influenced elections, given rise to conspiracy theories, and prompted many to [talk] about the nature of the relationship that lay at its core.
…JAMES CARVILLE: …Maybe it’s just growing up in Louisiana or maybe it’s just my kind of view of the world, but it was about sex, and lying about sex, in my world—you know, it’s different. He lied about it because he didn’t want his wife and other people to find out. Okay. That bothers me about one-100th of 1 percent. I was way more upset when they passed the welfare bill.
….MARK PENN: …He very artfully told me something like “I did not have intercourse with that woman,” which said to me all I needed to know. I’d been around the president for a number of years. He was very precise in his phrasing.
…LANNY DAVIS: Bad judgment. Personal. Whatever you want to say. Nothing to do with abuse of presidential power. Nothing to do with the impeachment clause. He had publicly apologized to the country, to Ms. Lewinsky, and to his wife and family. It took all of Washington, including me, about a year to figure that out. …Everybody in the [rest of the] country got it in about a week.
…In October 1998, Hustler’s publisher, Larry Flynt, took out a full-page ad in The Washington Post offering $1 million to anyone who could prove they had had “an adulterous sexual encounter with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking government official.” Flynt also had his own investigators dig for dirt. Outwardly, Washington laughed. “I’d like to commit adultery so I could get the $1 million,” Representative Alcee Hastings, a Florida Democrat, told the Post. Privately, some members were nervous. Gingrich, while married, was conducting an affair with his now-wife, Callista. Several representatives confessed to earlier extramarital affairs, including Henry Hyde, Helen Chenoweth, and Dan Burton, who had become infamous for shooting at melons in his yard in a bid to prove that Vince Foster had been murdered.
Around midnight on December 15, a staffer called House Speaker-designate Bob Livingston and said Flynt had turned up affairs of his from years earlier. On December 19, Livingston told a shocked House that he would not stand for speaker and planned to resign.
…LARRY FLYNT: It was hypocrisy up to his eyeballs. I remember somebody asked Livingston what he thought of me and he said, “I think he’s a bottom feeder.” Somebody asked me for comment and I said, “Well, that’s right, but look what I found when I got down there.”
…JAMES ROGAN: Trent Lott did handsprings trying to make it go away. Lott finally told Schippers and me, and this is about as precise a quote as I can give you, because it still rings in my ears, “We don’t care if you have photographs of Clinton standing over a dead woman with a smoking gun in his hand. I have 55 Republican senators, seven of whom are up for reelection next year in very tough races. You guys in the House just jumped off a cliff. We’re not following you off the cliff.”
Bill Clinton’s Impeachment: The Inside Story – The Atlantic
Pssssst guys…. Al Gore was pretty involved in losing that election on his own. He was perfectly capable of doing that all by himself. It is just as logical, if not more so, to surmise that had Gore allowed the then-popular President to campiagn for him he could have had won.