Twenty years ago this Wednesday, the U.S. House voted to impeach President Bill Clinton. The generally party-line votes split New England's congressional delegation.
New Hampshire Congressman Charlie Bass was one of four Republicans representing a New England state when the House voted on December 19, 1998. Bass voted "yea" on three of the four articles of impeachment.
"Let us pray that 1998 not be the year that we create a sovereign ruler," Bass said. "Rather, let it be the moment when we reaffirm the principle of equal justice for all."
The New England delegation then (as now) was dominated by Democrats, and they voted "nay" across the board on impeachment.
Ed Markey of Massachusetts, who's in the Senate these days, railed against independent counsel Ken Starr — and Republican leadership.
"GOP used to stand for Grand Old Party. Now it just stands for Get Our President," Markey said.
Markey acknowledged the president made a "grievous personal error" and urged his colleagues to instead censure Clinton.
Connecticut's congressional delegation found itself divided on the questions, and not exclusively by party.
Congresswoman Nancy Johnson, a Republican, voted for two of the four articles of impeachment
"My colleagues, there can be no justice without the truth. That is just profoundly so, and this is why perjury matters," she said.
Johnson said the nation could survive a transition at the White House better than it could an "erosion" of its "fundamental values."
But Connecticut's other Republican in the House, Christopher Shays, voted no.
"I believe that the impeachable offenses have not been proven, and the proven offenses are not impeachable," Shays said. "But they are close."
Shays said in considering the evidence, all members of Congress tried to do their best, and all would have to live with their votes for the rest of their lives.