Things have come full circle now, with all the key Republican players in the Clinton impeachment hearings proven now to be hypocrites and liars.
On December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives approved two articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton for actions related to his extra-marital affair with Monica Lewinsky, a 21-year-old unpaid White House intern. The trial of President Clinton commenced on January 7, 1999, and five weeks later, on February 12, the Senate voted to acquit Clinton on both articles of impeachment.
As ThinkProgress reports, nearly 17 years later things have finally come full circle for the Republican hypocrites who led that effort.
Responsibility for determining the recommending action on the articles of impeachment fell on the House Judiciary Committee and its Chairman, Henry Hyde. However, as Time reports,
Ironically, Hyde turned out to have been guilty of his own extramarital indescretions. In a September 1998 article, Salon.com reported that Hyde had carried on an affair with a married woman named Cherie Snodgrass during the 1960s, a story the Congressman later acknowledged was true. The admission dogged him for the rest of his political career and he was repeatedly criticized for his zeal in prosecuting Clinton while failing to mention his own transgressions.
As Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich (R-GA) led the initial charge against President Clinton. However, like with Hyde, it turns out that Gingrich had multiple affairs of his own. In a 2007 interview with Focus on the Family‘s James Dobson, “Gingrich for the first time publicly acknowledged cheating on his first and second wives,” admitting that he was cheating on his wife while leading the impeachment proceedings. Speaking to Dobson, Gingrich stated:
There were times when I was praying and when I felt I was doing things that were wrong. But I was still doing them. I look back on those as periods of weakness and periods that I’m not only not proud of, but I would deeply urge my children and grandchildren not to follow in my footsteps.
Shortly after the November 1998 elections Gingrich resigned, having predicted Republicans would pick up twenty seats in the House when in fact they ended up losing five. Rep. Bob Livingston (R-LA) succeeded him as Speaker, but the day of the House vote on the articles of impeachment against Clinton, he suddenly resigned after Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt threatened to release details about what he described as four extramarital affairs by Livingston. In an interview with The Washington Post, Flynt stated that he “just wanted to expose hypocrisy. If these guys are going after the president, they shouldn’t have any skeletons in their closet.”
Before Flynt had the opportunity to release any details, Livingston admitted on the House floor that “I have on occasion strayed from my marriage” and promptly resigned.
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-IL) reportedly “began lobbying on the House floor within moments” of Livingston’s announcement, gaining the quick support of the Republican leadership and served as speaker from 1999 to 2007, to include the period while the Senate conducted their trial of Bill Clinton. Hastert has the distinction of being the longest serving Republican Speaker of the House in U.S. history. As NBC’s Chuck Todd reported last week, Hastert was selected by his Republican colleagues because “they were scandal-plagued at the time and he was considered the most ethical of the bunch. “
As it turns out, ThinkProgress reported that last Thurday,
Hastert was indicted on charges that he illegally structured $1.7 million in payments to an individual in an attempt to cover up prior misconduct. According to reports, the payments were allegedly intended to “conceal sexual abuse against a former male student he knew during his days as a teacher in Yorkville, Ill.” The LA Times also reported that “investigators also spoke with a second man who raised similar allegations that corroborated what the former student said.”
While these were some of the key Republican players in the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton, there were several others that had extra-marital affairs of their own during the same time frame as those hearings. For instance, Chicago Tribune reported at the time that Rep. Helen Chenoweth (R-ID), and Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) “acknowledged affairs in the wake of Lewinsky investigation with Burton acknowledging that he had a child out of wedlock.
As Chuck Todd concluded in his report on the Hastert indictment,
It really is a stain on Congress. I had one [member of Congress] say to me, “you know, people sit there and say the place is filled with crooks and creeps and I want to say that it’s not, but if Dennis Hastert turns out to be a crook and a thief, maybe the place really is.”