Despite Impeachment Outcome 

Clinton Foes Claim Victory

Getting Their Man: Longtime foes to President Clinton weigh in on the impeachment. "It's like getting Al Capone on tax evasion," said one. "He's a phony, a con man and the greatest liar in history," said another. All the while, Clinton's job performance polling remained at historic highs (1999).


WASHINGTON, Jan.15 - Larry Klayman walks with a bounce in his step these days. Wearing a blue upturned baseball cap and a green winter coat, the longtime White House foe and legal combatant bounds up the steps of the federal courthouse where years of grand jury testimony have been heard in the investigations against President Clinton.

"You can always count on having a press conference here," Klayman boasts, waving his arm at the permanent stakeout of camera crews waiting for sound bites from those exiting the courthouse. "You don't even have to announce an event."

Lawsuits Against President in Gear

Just blocks away, the Senate impeachment trial is in full throttle as House Republicans argue that President Clinton should be thrown out of office. It's a sweet victory for Klayman, whose group, Judicial Watch, has filed 21 lawsuits in federal court against the Clinton administration.

The claims involve a litany of well-known stories accusing Clinton of abuses associated with campaign finance, the firing of White House travel office employees, the gathering of FBI files on prominent Republicans, Whitewater, and, yes, Monica Lewinsky.

All of Klayman's lawsuits remain very much alive.

"It's the culmination of everything, and not just the Lewinsky thing," Klayman says of the impeachment effort, although he concedes that the president could very well keep his job. "He'll be weakened, but he'll get off."

No matter, says Klayman. "There's more to come and I bet he'll be asked to step down by his own party."

In fact, Linda Tripp, Lewinsky's tape-recording former confidante, just visited Klayman's office this week to answer questions about the inner workings of the White House.

"She has a lot to say about the FBI files," Klayman enthuses. "Ken Starr led Congress to believe there's nothing there, but he never looked into it."

'Conspiracy' Alive and Kicking

Count Klayman in as a charter member of what Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the "vast right-wing conspiracy," out to unseat her husband. His group is just one of many that have been hounding the president for years. A handful of these anti-Clinton organizations receive hefty funding from Pittsburgh philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife. And there's no sign of them letting up, even with the impeachment trial in full swing.

It doesn't matter to these groups that after spending $45 million that the independent counsel has determined that "Filegate," along with most of his investigations of Clinton , hit a dead end and is now closed.

Nor does it matter that polls show Americans are sick and tired of the swamp of scandals bogging down much of Washington . And forget about the president's soaring approval ratings. Nothing seems to unnerve the pack of snarling pit bulls nipping at Clinton 's heels. Their aim is to bring the president down.

"He's a phony, a con man and the greatest liar in history," charges Klayman.

A Nation of Suckers?

This belief -- that the president has gotten away with hoodwinking an unsuspecting nation -- took control of many in Washington soon after Clinton was sworn into office.

After all, Clinton has repeatedly stared down the barrel of political oblivion, only to survive. He has been accused of draft-dodging, womanizing, carrying out inside real estate deals, wrongfully using FBI files, conducting campaign shenanigans, making deals with the Chinese ....

The hits just keep coming, but the "Comeback Kid" has rolled with every punch, leaving his frustrated opponents shaking their fists in anger.

"And then he is reelected," says Mike Lux of People for the American Way , which has been mobilizing support for Clinton .

Those who want Clinton 's head on a platter, says Lux, "have this rigid moral view that if you don't agree with them, then you must be immoral."

But the president's opponents could hit pay dirt this time, even if the charges related to the Lewinsky affair smack of "scandal lite" when compared to the other allegations they have thrown at Clinton in the past.

Getting Their Man

"It's like getting Al Capone on tax evasion," suggests Eugene Delgaudio, who heads the Clinton Investigative Commission. The group pays private detectives to dig up scandalous material on the White House while distributing impeachment petitions.

"It is sort of strange," adds American Spectator editor Emmett Tyrrell Jr. "But he only has himself to blame for this mess."

Tyrrell’s magazine was the first to report "Troopergate," allegations that Clinton , while governor of Arkansas , relied on state troopers to fetch women for him, including Paula Jones. The story triggered Jones' sexual harassment case and led to the discovery of Clinton 's affair with Lewinsky.

David Brock, the American Spectator writer who penned the report, says he now regrets the course of events. Last April, he publicly apologized to Clinton in Esquire magazine for a story centering on the president's alleged, although legendary, sexual trysts.

"There isn't a true conspiracy to get Clinton , but there is an unprecedented effort to drive him from office by digging up scandal," Brock now observes of the anti-Clinton groups. "And there is a base in the Republican Party that wanted his presidency made illegitimate long before Lewinsky."

Ironically, these scandals have damaged the GOP as well. The Republicans have seen two House speakers resign since the Lewinsky matter took center stage. The combative Newt Gingrich left because he said he had become a liability to his party. His would-be successor, speaker-designate Rep. Bob Livingston of Louisiana , stepped down amid a brewing scandal over his extramarital affairs.

And through it all, Clinton 's approval ratings remain at all-time highs. 



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