DAVID PHINNEY ABCNEWS.com
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
"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."
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
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
"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
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."
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
philanthropist Richard Mellon Scaife. And there's no sign of
them letting up, even with the impeachment trial in full
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
, 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
. And forget about the president's soaring approval ratings.
Nothing seems to unnerve the pack of snarling pit bulls
'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.
Nation of Suckers?
This belief -- that the president has
gotten away with hoodwinking an unsuspecting nation -- took
control of many in
was sworn into office.
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
"And then he is reelected,"
says Mike Lux of People for the
, which has been mobilizing support for
Those who want
's head on a platter, says Lux, "have this rigid moral
view that if you don't agree with them, then you must be
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.
"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
, while governor of
, 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
'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
in Esquire magazine for a story centering on the president's
alleged, although legendary, sexual trysts.
"There isn't a true conspiracy to
, 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
, stepped down amid a brewing scandal over his extramarital
And through it all,
's approval ratings remain at all-time highs.