Lying is a moral wrong. Perjury is a lie told under oath that is legally wrong. To be illegal, the lie must be willfully told, must be believed to be untrue, and must relate to a material matter. Title 18, Section 1621 and 1623, U.S. Code.
If President Washington, as a child, had cut down a cherry tree and lied about it, he would be guilty of `lying,’ but would not be guilty of `perjury.’ If, on the other hand, President
Washington, as an adult, had been warned not to cut down a cherry tree, but he cut it down anyway, with the tree falling on a man and severely injuring or killing him, with President Washington stating later under oath that it was not he who cut down the tree, that would be `perjury.’ Because it was a material fact in determining the circumstances of the man’s injury or death.
Some would argue that the President in the second example should not be impeached because the whole thing is about a cherry tree, and lies about cherry trees, even under oath, though despicable, do not rise to the level of impeachable offenses under the Constitution. I disagree.
The perjury committed in the second example was an attempt to impede, frustrate, and obstruct the judicial system in determining how the man was injured or killed, when, and by whose hand, in order to escape personal responsibility under the law, either civil or criminal. Such would be an impeachable offense. To say otherwise would be to severely lower the moral and legal standards of accountability that are imposed on ordinary citizens every day. The same standard should be imposed on our leaders.
Nearly every child in America believes that President Washington, as a child himself, did in fact cut down the cherry tree and admitted to his father that he did it, saying simply: `I cannot tell a lie.’
I will not compromise this simple but high moral principle in order to avoid serious consequences to a successor President who may choose to ignore it… That was Kay Bailey Hutchinson during the impeachment trial of Bill Clinton
Now bear with me dear reader …pretty please. This is what the gentle lady from Texas has to say on meet the press today reacting to the possible indictment of some senior white house aides on charges of perjury and obstruction of justice:
I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation were not a waste of time and dollars…
Come again Mademoiselle…Isn’t she lucky that Americans have the attention span of hummingbirds? How about some one calling monsieur Clinton to comment on this one? I bet he would love to be accorded such a courtesy. While we are on a mission of mercy for perjurers, I suggest we should call Kay’s office and ask whether she supports and will work towards exonerating and releasing Lil’ Kim, since all she’s in jail for is lying to a grand jury.