THE MCLAUGHLIN GROUP
HOST: JOHN MCLAUGHLIN
JOINED BY: PATRICK BUCHANAN, ELEANOR CLIFT,
JAMES CARNEY, AND MICHAEL BARONE
TAPED FRIDAY, DECEMBER 11, 1998
AIRED THE WEEKEND OF DECEMBER 12-13, 1998
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MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue one: End game.
PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: (From videotape.) Like anyone who honestly faces the shame of wrongful conduct, I would give anything to go back and undo what I did. But one of the painful truths I have to live with is the reality that that is simply not possible.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: "Resolved: that William Jefferson Clinton, president of the United States, be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors." So reads the draft document of impeachment drawn by the Hyde committee this week.
The core of the impeachment accusation is perjury, lying under oath. The document concludes, quote, "In all of this, William Jefferson Clinton has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the presidency, has betrayed his trust as president, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States; wherefore William Jefferson Clinton, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust, or profit under the United States."
Question: Did the president say anything on Friday afternoon suggesting that the impeachment punishment so described does not fit the crime? Or was it too little, too late, Pat Buchanan?
MR. BUCHANAN: John, I thought the president gave a very moving, affecting statement. And quite frankly, if the tone and attitude had been there right after the election, instead of that one month of War Room attacks, I think he might be in a better position than he's in.
But I'm afraid -- this came just minutes, as you know, before the first article of impeachment was voted -- and I am afraid this train is rolling down the track. It has tremendous momentum. The Republicans are determined to move it, and I think they're going to succeed.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Well, he didn't say, "I lied," which is what the Republicans want. But his audience really isn't the Judiciary Committee or the hard-liners; it is the 20 or so Republican moderates, if there is such a thing, who -- and they're not going to come out and say what they're going to do until the last minute, because they would open themselves up to being repudiated by the leadership and the by the talk show hosts.
But frankly, if the Republicans want to go ahead and do this, I think they disgrace themselves --
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm.
MS. CLIFT: -- in a more profound way than President Clinton has, by abusing the machinery of impeachment, knowing full well that the Senate will hold a sham trial, and they will be, in effect, delivered of this ridiculous conclusion they've come to.
MR. BUCHANAN: Mmm-hmm. Mmm-hmm.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay Carney?
MR. CARNEY: Well, I think Eleanor is right, at least for those handful of members who will turn this tide one way or the other. If he is impeached next week, it will be because enough Republicans who are wavering were convinced that impeachment is an inconsequential act. And they will be convinced of that by Tom DeLay and other Republican leaders, who want impeachment as a political bone to give the social conservatives in the party, the base voters who matter so much.
However, I think that the vast majority of Republicans, even those who are voting for impeachment, are doing so because they actually believe that these are impeachable offenses.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Michael Barone?
MR. BARONE: Well -- you know, Mr. Clinton talked about honestly facing the shame of wrongful conduct, but he still isn't entirely honestly facing the shame of his conduct. In fact, he wouldn't be facing it at all if Monica Lewinsky had taken her dress to the cleaners.
And it's still -- he said that he misled the American people, but he is still clinging to the legalism that he did not lie. He is doing it for understandable reasons; he may be fearful of prosecution. The fact is that that is probably not going to satisfy a lot of the moderate Republicans.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Did we learn anything this week, proving that the punishment does fit the crime; for example, the gifts?
(Begin videotape segment.)
Q Have you ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't recall. Do you know what they were?
Q A hat pin?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't remember. But I certainly -- I could have.
(End of videotape segment.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Schippers noted that the president gave Monica 24 gifts, and Monica gave the president 40 gifts.
Also, during his grand jury appearance, Mr. Clinton's memory failed him 121 times.
Question: Did we just witness presidential perjury? Jay Carney.
MR. CARNEY: John, we certainly witnessed the president not tell the truth. Whether or not you can prove it's perjury in court --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You sound like Clinton. (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: No. I think he -- John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I mean, is that a lie? (Laughter.)
MR. CARNEY: John, let me clarify. I think he lied, I think he knew he lied, and I think he deliberately lied. I think most people believe that.
The question of perjury, however, is whether or not you can prove the offense in court. And a lot of prosecutors, former prosecutors and current prosecutors, aren't sure they can.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: All right. What we witnessed was presidential prevarication. And in fact, he went on later to describe gifts. And he gave Monica Lewinsky more gifts, even after the law intervened.
Secondly, people are always evasive in depositions.
MR. BUCHANAN: John?
MS. CLIFT: Have you watched Bill Gates?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, come on. John?
MS. CLIFT: Did you watch Ken Starr being questioned?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm. (In agreement.)
MR. BUCHANAN: We have had -- John --
MS. CLIFT: He had lots of lapses, as well.
MR. BUCHANAN: -- we have had eight months of systematic lying to the people. Every single occasion he could, he lied; under oath in a civil suit, before the grand jury. And Republicans are being very courageous --
MR. BARONE: Yeah. This is premeditated --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- in doing the right thing.
MR. BARONE: This is clearly --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you see perjury there in that bite?
MR. BARONE: Of course, and I think it's obvious to everybody that it's there. And remember, this is the United States District Court. He is subverting the operation of the courts of the United States.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Another sampling from a long list that Mr. David Schippers supplies. He is the majority counsel.
How about clear and convincing perjury? In his grand jury testimony, Mr. Clinton was asked whether his lawyers' definition of sexual relations applied to Mr. Clinton and Monica. A prosecutor puts the question. The "he" is Bob Bennett, counsel to Clinton.
PROSECUTOR: (From videotape.) He said that ??? that it meant ?? no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) Well, let me say this. I didn't have any discussion, obviously, at this moment, with Mr. Bennett. I'm not even sure I paid much attention to what he was saying.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Schippers then plays the tape of Clinton showing his so-called inattention.
PROSECUTOR: (From videotape.) Counsel is fully aware that Miss Lewinsky had an affidavit which they are in possession of, saying that there was absolutely no sex of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with President Clinton. Paragraph eight of her affidavit she says this, "I have never had a sexual relationship with the president. H e did not propose that we have a sexual relationship. He did not offer me employment or other benefits in exchange for a sexual relationship. He did not deny me employment or other benefits for rejecting a sexual relationship." Is that a true and accurate statement as far as you know?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) That is absolutely true.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: did we witness presidential perjury here? Michael Barone?
MR. BARONE: Well, it seems to me it's obviously very likely. I mean, on the one hand we concede? Bill Clinton seems overwhelmingly likely to be paying attention, nodding his head --
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. BARONE: And his admirers also stress that when you watch him a meeting, in a room, on a wide variety of subjects, his attention span is good, he pays attention, he keeps in touch with things.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, no. ON this one, I don't think you get him, for this reason: They ask a series of three or four questions. The last two or three were absolutely true; he didn't offer a job for sex, and the president, when he said "That's absolutely true," if he says "I answered those questions ??, not the first question," I don't see how you can convict him.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you agree with that, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: I agree with that, plus there are other excerpts of the testimony that you are carefully not playing and the minority counsel played the part where the judge and the lawyers spent 15 minutes arguing about the definition of sex and the judge herself said, "This is so confusing, how can Mr. Clinton understand it?" You know, so there -- you can view this in a number of ways, but it comes down to do you want to impeach a president for covering up a private sexual affair?
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. CARNEY:?? Because it's all about -- Clinton understood what was being asked, I mean, you could his -- the gears whirring in his brain about how he could deny sex when actually he knew that he had sex.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Now, let's try this out on Eleanor. The unequivocal denial.
PROSECUTOR: (From videotape.) -- have an extramarital sexual affair with Monica Lewinsky?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: (From videotape.) No.
x x x No.
PROSECUTOR: If she told someone that she had a sexual affair with you beginning in November of 1995, would that be a lie?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: It's certainly not the truth. It would not be the truth. I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I've never had an affair with her.
(End of videotape sequence.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Question: Did we witness presidential perjury here? Note that the president said, "Affair." Eleanor Clift?
MS. CLIFT: Well, note the escape hatch with the date. He maintains that the relationship -- or whatever we call it -- started in early '96. There was a date of November in here. So he can hang his denial on that.
The point is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Meaning that his memory failed?
MS. CLIFT: The point is that he answered in very narrow, legalistic ways, in order not to help out the Jones lawyers, which is exactly what he said he did.
MR. BUCHANAN: John, he -- (laughs) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You mean that his memory failed with regard to the date? November?
MS. CLIFT: No, he -- no, I don't know who's right.
MR. BARONE: Well, except the fact, John -- it was a fact --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, he was trying to avoid saying, "November," because she was then an intern, right?
MS. CLIFT: I don't think so.
MR. BARONE: The evidence for the November --
MR. CARNEY: It would be so satisfying if the president did what all of his critics are asking him to do now, which is admit that he lied and that he did so --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, he won't use that term.
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. CARNEY: Of course he won't, because --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: It's always "mislead."
MR. CARNEY: -- because he did -- because, fundamentally, what Eleanor says is true; the question is the threshold question. Is this impeachable, even if true?
MR. BUCHANAN: John --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: All right. So much for Mr. Schippers' videotape presentation of what he described as perjurious testimony.
Okay, the prosecution rests. The defense rests.
DAVID SCHIPPERS: (From videotape.) The president, then, has lied under oath in a civil deposition, lied under oath in a criminal grand jury. He lied to the people. He lied to his Cabinet. He lied to his top aides. And now he's lied under oath to the Congress of the United States. There's no one left to lie to.
CHARLES RUFF (counsel to President Clinton): (From videotape.) Let each member that assume that Ms. Lewinsky's version of the events is correct, and then ask, "Am I prepared to impeach the president because, after having admitted having engaged in egregiously wrongful conduct" --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you want to make a point?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yeah. This is it, John: It is the cumulative impact of constant lie after lie after lie. Now in some of these cases in the civil suit, you can say, "Look, he skipped around that one, and maybe he's got this explanation." But it is this constant cumulative impact that --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Did you watch Schippers? Did you watch Schippers?
MR. BUCHANAN: Let me make another point, John. The Republicans are standing up against a huge tide of public opinion. They're being hurt in the polls --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Pat, you made that point about five minutes ago --
MR. BUCHANAN: Yep --
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, let the prosecution rest. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, Pat, I want to know whether you watched Schippers. And what did you think of his narration?
MR. BUCHANAN: I thought Schippers was better on radio than he is on television.
MR. CARNEY: Right.
MR. BUCHANAN: He was a little too hot for TV.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah.
MR. BUCHANAN: His radio presentation was enormously powerful.
MS. CLIFT: Yeah, let's let the --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it has --
MS. CLIFT: -- prosecutor rest for a minute. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Do you think it has done Clinton in?
MR. BUCHANAN: I think the final summary of Schippers damaged the entire case Clinton was making for the last two days, which was pretty effective.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay, we have got to get out, Eleanor.
MS. CLIFT: Oh, boy. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: If you want to, you can give us an addendum in your response --
MS. CLIFT: Yes, sir.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- to the exit question.
Between these two closing arguments, which is the stronger case? I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: I think Schippers' because he went last.
MS. CLIFT: Schippers performed disgracefully. He had a chance to be a wise counsel, and he came across like wiseacre. He was sarcastic and supercilious and superpartisan. (Laughter.) And I don't think --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor, don't hold back. (Laughter.) Don't hold back.
MS. CLIFT: I can go on if you'd let me. (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Jay?
MR. CARNEY: I think Schippers was disappointing, especially when he brought up the red herring of campaign-finance --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Hey, that was about --
MR. CARNEY: -- scandal again in the beginning. That was shameful.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that took about 10 seconds --
MR. CARNEY: But on Schippers, you are right. He was very effective, and he went last.
Overall, in the course of the two days, the president's team finally did reasonably well, but I am not sure it will make a difference.
MR. BARONE: I think that David Schippers presented a really compelling narrative of this, which I think a story is always very important. And I think that that served his cause well.
I think that Charles Ruff and the other lawyers for the president did in many ways, a good job. But note that Mr. Ruff in effect had to concede, as he did, that -- he said, "Well, I understand that a reasonable person would conclude the president lied." Well yes, obviously, since it is obvious that he did lie. But he has had to make concessions like that. And I think, in a sense, even by presenting the president's case ably, he undercut it unnecessarily because that's who he picked.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: I think that both were excellent arguments, and both were excellent arguers. I think that Schippers' will appeal more to law-makers, and I think Lowell's will appeal more to more politicians. I think one is rooted in the juridical, and the other is rooted in the political.
MS. CLIFT: They were both -- (inaudible). (Laughs.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, a House divided.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Issue two: A House divided.
Next week the impeachment process moves to the full House to be voted on by all 435 members. Currently, there are 228 Republicans, 206 Democrats and one Independent, who usually votes Democratic.
Needed for House passage, 218, a simple majority. Republicans alone could impeach if they hold ranks.
But they won't. Some Republicans will vote against impeachment. Correspondingly, some Democrats will vote for impeachment.
Three Democrats -- Taylor, Goode, Hall -- have all said that they will vote to impeach the president. Five Republicans -- Houghton, King, Quinn, Shays and Souder -- have said they will oppose impeaching the president. The arithmetic is on the screen -- 226 net for impeachment, eight more than needed. But the rub: Over 20 moderate Republicans, most of whom live in districts where Bill Clinton got a higher vote percentage than they did, remain undecided -- publicly, at least. Question: So what's going to happen next week in the full House, I ask you, Michael Barone?
MR. BARONE: Well, I think, you know, one of the things that I sort of think, heretically, is that most members of Congress, of both parties, are really trying to do something that they think is the right thing, so as they pad their way through this and deal with these -- the fact that the president lied under oath, what should the consequences of it be -- I think what's going to happen is that the White House is going to try and make this a sort of foreign policy issue, like the Cambodian invasion, like the Gulf War. They're going to say, "Great things are at stake in the world. If we go through the chaos and agony of an impeachment trial this will undermine America's position in the world. It's terrible, and you --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Mmm-hmm (in agreement.) Yeah.
MR. BARONE: -- who are, you know, a dentist from Sheboygan or whatever have the capacity to mess with something -- " (Inaudible due to cross talk.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right. Well, and Pat made that argument in connection with the Nixon impeachment, right, Pat?
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: But Pat, I want to ask you this question. Abbe Lowell's argument and the defense team's argument is that Clinton has already been tried and exonerated in the court of public opinion.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well, that is --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: And that tells the whole story.
MR. BUCHANAN: They should not do that. That's spin doctor stuff. There was nothing in the election that had this on the ballot. That's their interpretation of it. But John, when it gets down to it, it's going to get down to these moderate votes and some of these Democrats, and the president is going to be working the phones on this. And frankly, it's moving slightly in the president's direction, but he's not there yet.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, it is. In fact --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, are you hearing that too?
MR. CARNEY: Slightly, ever so slightly, because I think they hit rock bottom about early, early this week or late last week.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Who? The president?
MR. CARNEY: The president did, after, you know, the sort of extended arrogance coming out of the election and the assumption that he was home free. I think the president only needs a handful of votes. It's certainly within his capacity to be persuasive enough to pull it off. But Tom DeLay and other Republicans are making a convincing argument, I think, that this will not have a lasting effect and that they can vote for impeachment and not pay such a price.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, they have to -- they have to reflect on Schipper's argument, and Schippers' argument is that we are a nation of laws and Clinton flouted the laws and it is not the vox populi, it is the laws. The laws are supreme. So which way are they going to go, Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: All this talk about rule of law -- the law has been abused when when it's reduced to technicalities to try to "get" a president. And the public hasn't exonerated President Clinton; they would like to see censure, as would a majority of Republicans and Democrats. And the Republican leadership is refusing to allow --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Well, that may come up --
MR. BUCHANAN: But John, most -- (off mike) --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- that one may come up with the full House and it may come up --
MR. BUCHANAN: -- I've been trying to make -- the most important point is the Republicans already have started down the road against the vox populi, which suggests they're going to go the distance.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, does that mean they have the numbers? They have 218 --
MR. CARNEY: Right over the cliff, John.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Over the cliff --
MS. CLIFT: (Inaudible due to cross talk) -- that's right.
MR. BUCHANAN: They got the courage to do it, and that's exactly -- they're willing to go over the cliff.
MS. CLIFT: And they'll pay a price in 2000. (Laughter.)
MR. BUCHANAN: No, they won't. That's two years away.
MR. BARONE: The fact is, the president's little talk on Friday afternoon I don't think is enough for shifting, and they're going to have to --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't -- it was --
MR. BARONE: I don't think that was enough for the moderate Republican --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Okay. Exit question: Now who has the more to fear from, quote, unquote, "defecting," the Republicans or the Democrats?
MR. BUCHANAN: Oh, the Republican -- well, the Republican --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: In other words, that is the Republicans voting against impeachment and the Democrats voting for it.
MR. BUCHANAN: The Republicans who vote against impeachment will -- if they win, they will ignite a civil war inside the Republican Party.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: Republican moderates don't want to vote against two-thirds of the American public to satisfy Pat Buchanan's supporters.
MR. BUCHANAN: Well --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly!
MR. CARNEY: Simply put, there will be more Republican defectors than Democrats, but there are more Republicans than Democrats, so it may not help the president.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I didn't ask you numbers. I said who has more to fear. In other words, what I'm saying is, the ideology on this issue is so strong on the Republican side that it's far more powerful a club in the corner than is the ideology of the Democrats on this particular issue --
MR. BUCHANAN: Right.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- because Clinton hasn't helped the Democrats that much.
MR. CARNEY: Right. I'd say the Republican Party is more divided right now, and so any division on this vote will go to the heart of the problem of the party.
MR. BARONE: Yeah, the Democrats are mostly not -- there's not going to be very many defections there.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Right.
MR. BARONE: So the animosity that they would bring up if they existed won't exist. So there's more worry on the Republican side.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The Republicans have far more to fear by defecting from a pro-impeachment vote than the Democrats do for an anti-impeachment vote. Do I have that straight?
MR. CARNEY: Yes --
MS. CLIFT: (Off mike.)
MR. BUCHANAN: No, you --
MS. CLIFT: No, no --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: No, I have it the other way around? Well, you understand what I mean. (Laughter.)
Issue three: Abuse of power. The power to smear.
When the Lewinsky matter broke in January, the president developed a first line of defense. Here's how majority counsel Schippers outlined it this week, noting that it was serviceable as a strategy only before the discovery of Monica's blue dress bearing Clinton's DNA:
DAVID SCHIPPERS: (From videotape.) One, he now portrays Monica Lewinsky as the aggressor. Two, he launches an attack on her reputation by portraying her as a stalker. And three, he presents himself as an innocent victim being attacked by the forces of evil.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Here Schippers reads the sworn testimony of Sidney Blumenthal, a key White House assistant and confidant of the president and the first lady, who describes what the president told Blumenthal about Monica when the story hit the press.
DAVID SCHIPPERS: (From videotape.) "And he said that Monica -- and it came very fast -- he said, 'Monica Lewinsky came at me and made a sexual demand on me.' He rebuffed her, he said. 'I've gone down that road before. I've caused pain for a lot of people, and I'm not going to do that again.' She threatened him. She said that she would tell people they'd had an affair, that she was known as 'the Stalker' among her peers, and that she hated it, and if she had an affair or said she had an affair, then she wouldn't be 'the Stalker' anymore." This is the president speaking.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Majority counsel Schippers then describes how Mr. Clinton mobilized the vast resources and power of the White House to discredit Monica Lewinsky.
Question: One editorialist speculates that this treatment by Clinton of Monica reminds him of a defense attorney for a rapist questioning the sexual past of the rapist's victim. Do you think that's a valid analogy? I ask you, Pat Buchanan. This is an exit question.
MR. BUCHANAN: No, I don't. Look, this gal was crazy about the president, infatuated, and that those guys went out there and attempt to hammer her and destroy her and smear her simply because she was going to tell the truth is thuggish.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Eleanor?
MS. CLIFT: You know, listen, she did stalk him. She did threaten him. She complained to Linda Tripp that people would think she was a stalker. He just didn't tell the whole truth to Sidney Blumenthal. But this "abuse of power" was just one man lying to his aide.
MR. CARNEY: But they didn't -- Schippers did not make the case; he went over the top.
MS. CLIFT: Right.
MR. CARNEY: If the president and his men had wanted to really trash Monica Lewinsky, we would have seen a lot more of it.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Don't you understand --
MS. CLIFT: It didn't happen.
MR. CARNEY: Look, John, we know it didn't happen.
MS. CLIFT: It didn't happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- there was an intrusion of evidence, irrefutable evidence, the DNA, and then the strategy had to shift, right?
MR. BARONE: Well, obviously -- I mean, the fact is, this is really unpleasant sort of stuff; I mean, it has the air of King Henry VIII executing his discarded lovers and so forth. (Laughter.)
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Does it substantiate --
MR. BARONE: You know, I think it's pretty disgraceful --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- in part the case for abuse of power?
MR. CARNEY: No.
MS. CLIFT: No. (Laughs.)
MR. BARONE: I don't think it goes that --
MS. CLIFT: No!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You don't think that's an abuse of power?
MS. CLIFT: No.
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes.
MS. CLIFT: No!
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: You do?
MR. BARONE: I think it's an abuse of power --
MR. BUCHANAN: I do, yeah.
MR. BARONE: -- but I am not sure that it rises to the level of an impeachable --
MS. CLIFT: It's the weakest part of the Republican case.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Yeah, but it's actually --
MR. CARNEY: There are many cases --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: -- as you know, it's really quite disgusting.
MR. BARONE: It is.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: When we come back, we'll give you predictions.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Forced prediction: What will be the final vote tally on impeachment in the full House of Representatives, probably next week? I ask you, Pat.
MR. BUCHANAN: If it holds, I think it will be about 223 votes to impeach the president of the United States as a result of perjury --
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Well, Pat, you need 218, so you have got a five-cushion there?
MR. BUCHANAN: Yes, we do.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quite optimistic, aren't you?
MR. BUCHANAN: Why do you say "optimistic"? (Laughs.)
MS. CLIFT: I still think enough Republicans are going to realize that impeaching a president is more serious. It is going to fall short by two votes.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Quickly.
MR. CARNEY: I think it passes by three, 221.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: Really?
MR. BARONE: My number is 223, the same as Pat. I think if it gets down to 221, that foreign-policy argument will prevail, and Eleanor's scenario will happen.
MR. MCLAUGHLIN: The answer is 222 votes.
Next week, judgment day on the House floor.