Dec. 15, 1998: Bill Clinton is impeached

The House of Representatives accused Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.
6:37 | 05/17/17

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Transcript for Dec. 15, 1998: Bill Clinton is impeached
President Clinton has been impeached the House of Representatives today approved two of the four articles of impeachment. Accusing him of perjury and obstruction of justice the issue now goes to the United States senate for a possible trial. In the house today it was a partisan vote and it will have repercussions not only for this president but for the presidency itself and for the House of Representatives. It is almost impossible to describe this day but will try starting with a ABC's Linda Douglass on Capitol Hill. At 3 o'clock this afternoon. The articles of impeachment were delivered to the secretary of the United States senate. By house Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde and the thirteen Republicans who will prosecute the case against the president. It was an emotional today. The days are 228. And aides are 206. Article one is adapted. Article one charging President Clinton committed perjury before the grand jury. Past 228. To 206. With five members of each party voting with the other party. Article two perjury in the Paula Jones civil case was defeated 2292205. Article three obstruction of justice past 221 to 212. And article four abuse of power was defeated 285 to 148. As if impeaching the president was not drama enough. Earlier house speaker designate Bob Livingston plunge of the house into chaos with a stunning announcement first an appeal to the president. You sir may resign your post. And then he dropped a bombshell I can only challenge you are in such fashion. If I am willing to heed my own words. I will not stand for speaker of the house on due January 6. Livingston announced he will also resign from congress he made the decision two days after confessing to several extramarital affairs. Democrats rose up to plead for an end to the poisonous political climate. We need to stop destroying imperfect. People. At the altar of an an obtainable. Morality. They note to resignation. No to impeachment. And no to vicious self righteousness. But Republicans argued that climate did not create president Clinton's problems he did. A nation of laws cannot be ruled by a person who breaks the law. At one point Democrats walked out after being denied the chance to vote on censure instead of impeachment. They charged Republicans are ignoring the will of the people. They tell you people are angry. They are frustrated. They are B weld. And now the congress is preparing for self think people thought they would never see that is a trial in the senate. The majority leader the senate Trent Lott issued a statement tonight suggesting that. The beginning data that trial may depend on how long it takes the president to prepare his defense. Meanwhile course the White House is hoping that some how in the interim they can make a deal for a censure resolution. The democratic senators are saying Charlie that they do expect the trial and they expected to last for months. Linda Douglass on Capitol Hill who will be back with us and just a few moments President Clinton was wit his pastor. While the house was impeaching him ABC's Sam Donaldson has the reaction from the White House and. Charlie when the first impeachment vote was taken the president was in the Oval Office who didn't watch it when it was over his chief of staff informed him he'd been impeached. And that's right he was with the reverend Tony come polo one of the ministers with whom he's been working components said later they prayed together. The president watch some of the next three impeachment votes but after what must have been the most devastating moment of his life. Things picked up here the White House long into a campaign mode. A campaign to save the president from possible removal from office. House Democrats came down to the White House to rally round their leader. Mrs. Clinton walked arm in arm or their husband as they along with vice president gore and house democratic leader Gephardt. Came to the lawn below the Oval Office where surrounded by his backers the president made his case to the American people for avoiding a long senate trial. I have accepted responsibility for what I did wrong in my personal life. And I have invited. Members of congress to work with us to find a reasonable. Bipartisan and proportionate. Response. That approach. Was rejected today by Republicans in the house. But I hope it will be embraced. By the senate. I hope there will be a constitutional and fair means of resolving this matter in a prompt manner. Not once did mr. Clinton mentioned that he had been impeached. Nor did he mention any specifics of what he had done wrong in fact he suggested he was to some extent a victim of the times. We must stop the politics. Of personal destruction. We must get rid of the poisonous venom. Of excessive partisanship. Obsessive animosity. And un controlled anger. That is not what America deserves. That is not what America is about the president said he has try to bring the nation together it's what I've tried to do for six years. It's what I intend to do for two more. Until the last hour of the last day of my term. When it was over the president withdrew to the Oval Office complex forty got a big hug from his assistant Betty Currie. This all round show of support was meant to underscore mr. Clinton's determination to serve out his term. Dicks got our reported on their private meeting a few minutes earlier that he cannot and he must not. Resign. The strategy now is to be very conciliatory toward the senate including senate Republicans. Let house Democrats continued to bash house Republicans the president now once a censure deal in the senate. In possible in order to avoid a trial. And so China this long sad historic day in and edits and the clintons are hosting a White House Christmas party. Or friends supporters and Democratic Party donors.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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