The Impeachment Hearings, Unfortunately, Will Be Televised

  • Share
  • Read Later
This is how the day has gone at President Clinton's impeachment hearings: At one point, North Carolina Republican Howard Coble presented Clinton lawyer Greg Craig with this riddle: "Can you all confirm or reject my anxiety process?" Nobody even blinked, which was only appropriate for a day in which everyone stuck to the script and nobody appeared to be listening. It didn't look like a judiciary committee, and it barely played one on TV.

Special Report Still, Republicans have managed to score a few points off Craig. In a testy exchange with South Carolina's Bob Inglis, the White House lawyer got boxed into defending the perjury rap by making the argument that if you don't think you lied about something, it isn't really a lie. "Republicans made Craig defend Clinton a little more than he was prepared to do," says TIME White House correspondent Jay Branegan. "They succeeded in reminding everyone about the President's evasiveness."

The day has featured a former U.S. attorney general and a passel of historians, star experts for the Clinton defense who gave their view on whether the President has committed an impeachable offense (he hasn't). This was followed by three Nixon impeachment veterans who gave their "what would the Rodino committee do" take (they wouldn't impeach). Still to come: Witnesses discussing abuses of power and defining whether obstruction of justice and perjury has been committed (our guess: it hasn't). The big guns come tomorrow when Clinton tries to appeal to the swing vote, the moderate Republicans, by trotting out the former darling of the middle-of-the-road GOP, William Weld.