Clinton's bad behavior

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This page is about Bill Clinton's bad behavior during his time in public office, with the emphasis on his two terms as US president.

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The List

  • During election primaries, was accused of having an extramarital affair with Gennifer Flowers during his time as Governor of Arkansas; Clinton later admitted to this.
  • The Lewinsky scandal: During his first term, had an extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Only after being presented with damning evidence did Clinton admit to having had an "improper physical relationship" with Lewinsky. (He then also admitted to misleading people with his earlier statements, and that this was inappropriate of him.) There is considerable ambiguity regarding the truthfulness of Clinton's earlier statements, however; see "Accusations of lying..." below.
  • During his first term, was accused of having an extramarital affair with Paula Jones during his time as Governor. The case was settled out of court; Clinton was later (1999) found in contempt of court for having given misleading testimony in the Jones case. The Judiciary Committee initially included a charge of perjury for this case in their articles of impeachment, but Congress voted down the relevant article (along with the article on abuse of high office), so that charge was not included in the formal impeachment charges.

Accusations of lying and perjury in the Lewinsky case

  • Clinton was impeached for perjury in the Lewinsky case, but the Senate voted against conviction by a significant majority (55 against, including 10 Republicans, and 45 in favor; a 2/3 majority is required to convict).
  • It is entirely possible that Clinton believed he was telling the truth according to the very specific but also ambiguously-worded definition of "sexual contact" he was ordered to use as a basis for his response, which seemed to exclude oral sex.
  • It may even be that Clinton may have thought it reasonable not to count oral sex as a "sexual relation" in his earlier statements, e.g. "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." He may have also believed it reasonable to lie about a matter which was, at its core, intensely personal and which should never have been matter of concern outside the Clinton family.

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Related Information

  • "Republicans in the Clinton years spent more than $35 million investigating the administration. The total amount of taxpayer funds spent, when independent counsels are taken into account, was more than $150 million. Included in that number was $2.2 million to investigate former HUD secretary Henry Cisneros for lying about improper payments he made to a mistress. In contrast, today's Congress spent barely half a million dollars investigating the outright fraud and government bungling that followed Hurricane Katrina, the largest natural disaster in American history." [1]