CONGRESSIONAL RECORD 106th Congress, 1st Session Friday, February 12, 1999
I learned about the burden of proof and presumption of innocence as a young boy, long before law school, when my father, who was a lawyer, taught me that American justice is dependent on these principles. As I grew up and became a lawyer myself, I experienced firsthand the significance of these bedrock principles and learned that it applies to all Americans accused of crimes, including the President. These principles of the burden of proof and the presumption of innocence help guide me now as we exercise our constitutional duty to judge the specific accusations of criminal behavior lodged against the President of the United States. The burden of proof on the House of Representatives that the President has committed serious crimes and should be removed from office is a heavy one, because overturning an election in a democracy is a drastic and dire action. The House has not carried that burden of proof as to the specific accusations against the President.
The arguments of the House Managers in support of the Articles suffer from fundamental weaknesses. They repeatedly rely on inferences while ignoring direct testimony to the contrary; they omit key materials which contradict their charges; and they contain serious misstatements of key facts. In a matter of such consequence as the removal of an elected President from office, such a case should not lead to conviction.
Let me cite some key examples from Article II, the allegation of obstruction of justice. First, the House Managers in their report, brief, and arguments to the Senate repeatedly rely on inferences to prove key points and ignore direct testimony to the contrary. In opening arguments, House Manager Hutchinson made the following claims:
"As evidenced by the testimony of Monica Lewinsky, [the President] encouraged her to lie."
"...(T)he testimony of Monica Lewinsky ... leads to the conclusion that it was the President ...