Judiciary Hands Off to the House

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WASHINGTON: To Livingston’s House we go. After hours and hours of tortuous debate that even included a moment of silence for fallen Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles, Henry Hyde’s Judiciary Committee on Saturday approved a whittled-down version of its fourth article of impeachment. "Obstruction of justice" now accuses the President only of lying to the committee in his 81 written responses made under oath last month. Though Republicans spun it as best they could for the viewing audience – at one point Bill McCollum even insisted that the Senate could convict Clinton without removing him from office – America is now six days away from its first House impeachment vote in 130 years.

Special Report And it’s not looking too good for Bill Clinton. On Thursday, the House will tuck into a veritable buffet of impeachment options, but a censure alternative – rejected by the committee late Saturday afternoon by a 22-14 vote – still looks unlikely to make it onto Speaker-to-be Bob Livingston’s menu for a full House vote on Friday. Desperate White House aides are already whispering about yet another last-ditch Presidential apology before then, although no one seems to know what magical words are left for Clinton to say. With the Senate still expected to acquit, however, cautious GOP moderates looking for what their colleagues call "the ultimate censure" may decide next week that they need only one: aye.