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The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton

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This New York Times bestseller examines the Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton White House and its aftermath, and presents a fascinating look into the breach that continues to fracture the American body politic. A new afterword includes information on President Clinton's last days in office. Photos. This New York Times bestseller examines the Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton White House and its aftermath, and presents a fascinating look into the breach that continues to fracture the American body politic. A new afterword includes information on President Clinton's last days in office. Photos.


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This New York Times bestseller examines the Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton White House and its aftermath, and presents a fascinating look into the breach that continues to fracture the American body politic. A new afterword includes information on President Clinton's last days in office. Photos. This New York Times bestseller examines the Lewinsky scandal of the Clinton White House and its aftermath, and presents a fascinating look into the breach that continues to fracture the American body politic. A new afterword includes information on President Clinton's last days in office. Photos.

53 review for The Breach: Inside the Impeachment and Trial of William Jefferson Clinton

  1. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Written only a year following Bill Clinton's acquittal in his impeachment trial, "The Breach" is a timely book for today as the issue of a possible presidential impeachment is again in the news. Peter Baker's in-depth and meticulously detailed account highlights the difficulties involved in removing a president from office, even when the opposite party controls the Congress. Still, Clinton has hardly been exonerated in the court of public opinion, even though he remained in office. And, in a str Written only a year following Bill Clinton's acquittal in his impeachment trial, "The Breach" is a timely book for today as the issue of a possible presidential impeachment is again in the news. Peter Baker's in-depth and meticulously detailed account highlights the difficulties involved in removing a president from office, even when the opposite party controls the Congress. Still, Clinton has hardly been exonerated in the court of public opinion, even though he remained in office. And, in a strange coincidence, just as I was finished reading, Senator Gillibrand of New York was quoted as saying that the country would have been better off had Clinton resigned at the time. With the insight I gained from reading this book, I would tend to agree.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    A solid effort from journalist Baker, although I definitely could have done without Susan Collins' insipid diary entries ("Ironically, having been through this crisis may make it easier, not harder, for us to work together. This experience has changed each of us individually, and as a Senate, forever.") and the standard hackneyed Beltwayese adjectives. Politicians are fresh-faced (Evan Bayh), crusty (Ted Stevens, three times crusty), maverick (Peter King, Lowell Weicker, Russell Feingold, and of A solid effort from journalist Baker, although I definitely could have done without Susan Collins' insipid diary entries ("Ironically, having been through this crisis may make it easier, not harder, for us to work together. This experience has changed each of us individually, and as a Senate, forever.") and the standard hackneyed Beltwayese adjectives. Politicians are fresh-faced (Evan Bayh), crusty (Ted Stevens, three times crusty), maverick (Peter King, Lowell Weicker, Russell Feingold, and of course John McCain), feisty (Phil Gramm), iconoclastic (Arlen Specter), righteous (Joe Lieberman), boyish (Bill Paxon, Dick Gephardt). The book is short on salacious details and long, very long, on legislative procedure. It worked well for the first 11 chapters, covering impeachment, but became exceedingly dry for the last seven, when the outcome was no longer in doubt (the Democrats always had enough votes for acquittal).

  3. 5 out of 5

    Vincent Solomeno

    Two decades since publication, Peter Baker's "The Breach" remains the finest comprehensive account of the impeachment and trial of former President Bill Clinton. This well sourced history, written shortly after the stunning events of 1997-1998, provides a well rounded account from interviews with Clinton Administration officials, Members of Congress, political partisans, and the journalists who covered the crisis. Reading the book, one is struck by the old axiom that sometimes the truth is strang Two decades since publication, Peter Baker's "The Breach" remains the finest comprehensive account of the impeachment and trial of former President Bill Clinton. This well sourced history, written shortly after the stunning events of 1997-1998, provides a well rounded account from interviews with Clinton Administration officials, Members of Congress, political partisans, and the journalists who covered the crisis. Reading the book, one is struck by the old axiom that sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction. Publishers of fiction might have turned down Mr. Baker's manuscript if the events he recounts had not actually happened. I loved this book and highly recommend it to those seeking a better understanding of the Clinton impeachment and subsequent trial.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Josh

    Excellent read. Baker is a great storyteller who is ridiculously well sourced. This isn't quite the masterpiece that 'Days of Fire' is, but it's an impressively thorough look at a vital moment in American history. By going into depth about one of two Presidential impeachment trials in U.S. history, Baker gives us lessons that might just come in handy one of these years...My main takeaway? Politicians (on every side of the aisle) are immoral, often amoral, egoists. Oof. Excellent read. Baker is a great storyteller who is ridiculously well sourced. This isn't quite the masterpiece that 'Days of Fire' is, but it's an impressively thorough look at a vital moment in American history. By going into depth about one of two Presidential impeachment trials in U.S. history, Baker gives us lessons that might just come in handy one of these years...My main takeaway? Politicians (on every side of the aisle) are immoral, often amoral, egoists. Oof.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Kolenda

    It is totally Brutal what this man did and tried to get away with . . . and as a president . . . the lying fully knowing what was "on the record" .. .this is not my opinion, as this is a record of the trial transcripts documentation if you read this book . . you probably would not be able to look this man in the eye even when he is on TV . . . it shows how close he was to impeachment . . but that the system is set up for it to be virtually impossible after Nixon It is totally Brutal what this man did and tried to get away with . . . and as a president . . . the lying fully knowing what was "on the record" .. .this is not my opinion, as this is a record of the trial transcripts documentation if you read this book . . you probably would not be able to look this man in the eye even when he is on TV . . . it shows how close he was to impeachment . . but that the system is set up for it to be virtually impossible after Nixon

  6. 5 out of 5

    Grindy Stone

    This gets into the nuts and bolts of an arcane legal process without losing track of the fact that impeachment is a political process more than a legal one. Baker tells the concurrent tales of the Clinton impeachment and the fight for the Speaker’s gavel as the story of the fight for America’s soul.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This is an incredibly detailed and thorough account of the Clinton impeachment trial. It’s dense - but very well written. Some parts did drag a bit, but some parts were incredibly compelling. It’s a lot to get through, but it’s an excellent way to get informed on the impeachment process.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Eric

    This is a nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes look at Congress and the White House during the House impeachment and Senate trial. It's a fascinating display of the way the major parties practice politics. Contrary to most appearances, Republicans and Democrats don't hate each other, at an institutional level. And rarely do their public words and utterances match their private beliefs and actions. Peter Baker covered the White House for the Washington Post from 1996 to 1999, so he witnessed many of th This is a nitty-gritty, behind-the-scenes look at Congress and the White House during the House impeachment and Senate trial. It's a fascinating display of the way the major parties practice politics. Contrary to most appearances, Republicans and Democrats don't hate each other, at an institutional level. And rarely do their public words and utterances match their private beliefs and actions. Peter Baker covered the White House for the Washington Post from 1996 to 1999, so he witnessed many of the events he describes. He's talked to the players, obtained private memos and other documents, and analyzed government transcripts of the major proceedings. This book is reporting at its finest - rarely does Baker write what he thinks or how he feels about his subject matter. The book opens on the eve of the impeachment vote in the House of Representatives. Bob Livingston is the designated Speaker, following the disappointing (for Republicans) 1998 elections that forced Newt Gingrich to resign. Livingston is having second thoughts about impeachment, and considers allowing a censure vote. But an aide talks him out of it. This isn't an easy vote for Livingston, because he reveres the institutional traditions of government, and cannot imagine any president being impeached. It horrifies him, though he is convinced it is the right thing to do. And, if he pushed for censure, he could lose the support of conservative Republicans in his Speaker bid. Can't risk that. The problem is, his Speakership may already be doomed because he heard from a White House lobbyist ally that Larry Flynt found a woman who claimed she and Livingston had an affair, but if Livingston dropped impeachment and backed censure, Flynt wouldn't publish the story in his porn rag Hustler. So what to do? Henry Hyde faced similar tough decisions a month before, when the impeachment inquiry was conducted by the committee he chaired. The Democrats, which talked of cooperation while practicing none of it, pushed for their own impeachment inquiry plan, which was too limited for Republicans. But if Hyde rejected the Dems' plan and pushed his own, he'd look like a rabid partisan, and he didn't want that. For impeachment to be legitimate, it had to be bipartisan. So what to do? Dick Gephardt faced a tough choice. He hated what Clinton did and at one point wondered if he and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle would have to go to the White House and tell Clinton to resign. But too many Democrats in his caucus were supportive of Clinton, not because they necessarily loved him, they just didn't want Republicans to impeach a Democratic president. Other Democrats, more moderate and conservative ones, were actually leaning toward voting for impeachment. Somehow, Gephardt had to keep both sides happy and hold his caucus together. So what to do? Once impeachment passed and hit the Senate, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and Daschle faced more problems. They wanted to work together to avoid partisanship, yet had to keep their people happy. If the rank-and-file in both parties though their leaders were caving to the other, they'd revolt and fracture the Senate. But they had to hold a trial and come up with some process that everyone could live with. And they had other worries. Daschle had to keep the White House happy and Lott had to keep the House managers happy. Inevitably, what senators liked the Clinton team or managers didn't. So what to do? Read the book to find out. I won't give it away here, but it may surprise you. What you've heard about the Clinton impeachment may not be true. I'll give you one example. You may recall that Democrats constantly criticized Republicans for acting partisan and ramming Republican proposals down Democratic throats. Dems consistently implored Republicans to be more bipartisan. You shouldn't have believed them. They didn't mean it. The truth was, Republicans in both the House and Senate bent over backwards to accommodate the Dems, and the Dems repaid them by drudging up proposals they knew Republicans couldn't accept and then complaining about Republican partisanship. The Dems did this repeatedly. Gephardt called it winning by losing. Sure, the Dems didn't have the votes to stop anything, but by concocting phony partisanship issues, they could label the whole process partisan and therefore illegitimate. It was smart politics, and they won the public relations battle, but it was also fundamentally dishonest. So, if you like down and dirty political battles, and want a glimpse of the inner workings of the politicians that you vote for and support, read the book. You'll learn a lot. I can't promise that you'll like what you learn.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

    The Breach was not what I was expecting. Going into it, I was pretty sure it would be a political hack job against the Republicans without revealing much of the actual process that led to President Clinton's impeachment. Thankfully, Baker surprised me. The Breach reveals the absurdity of it all, without the daily, opinion-shifting political winds of the newspapers and talk shows of the time or the pro or con books showing up every Tuesday on the "new books" rack at your libraries and Borders. Th The Breach was not what I was expecting. Going into it, I was pretty sure it would be a political hack job against the Republicans without revealing much of the actual process that led to President Clinton's impeachment. Thankfully, Baker surprised me. The Breach reveals the absurdity of it all, without the daily, opinion-shifting political winds of the newspapers and talk shows of the time or the pro or con books showing up every Tuesday on the "new books" rack at your libraries and Borders. This is a real investigative, after-the-fact look at what happened and all the players involved. (The parts about Tom DeLay would be frightening if they weren't so pathetic.) All in all this book is excellent reporting and a solid documentation of a very weird time in American politics. The writing itself isn't as gripping as I'd hope for in good nonfiction, but it more than makes up for that with a story too ridiculous for fiction. NC

  10. 4 out of 5

    Alanmartinson

    An in-depth account of the Clinton Impeachment, this book caused me to vascillate between disgust with our current political situation, including the failures of our constitutional system, and renewed hope for our leaders and constitutional system. I like Bill Clinton less, his advisors more, the House less, the Senate more, Tom Delay less (if that were possible), Henry Hyde more, and so on. In all, a thoughtful and engaging account of one of the more unfortunate chapters in our history.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Rob

    As someone who believes the country went crazy during this impeachment crisis, and that the whole tawdry episode was the result of jealous Republicans, this was a refreshing inside look at the whole affair. I can't count how many times I cursed Tom DeLay and his posse while I read this book. I can't decide if he looked more rediculous foaming at the mouth during the impeachment crisis, or on Dancing with the Stars. As someone who believes the country went crazy during this impeachment crisis, and that the whole tawdry episode was the result of jealous Republicans, this was a refreshing inside look at the whole affair. I can't count how many times I cursed Tom DeLay and his posse while I read this book. I can't decide if he looked more rediculous foaming at the mouth during the impeachment crisis, or on Dancing with the Stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Damian Brew

    Excellent inside baseball look at the politics surrounding the Clinton impeachment episode. While this is almost ancient history at this point, the story is insightful regardless of your political leanings. Probably more of a case than I had expected.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Peg Holsapple

    Boring.....Didn't finish. His next book I read about Bush was excellent but this one not so much. Disappointed. Boring.....Didn't finish. His next book I read about Bush was excellent but this one not so much. Disappointed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    Captivating read!! I will definitely read this book again in the future. So well written!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ian Headon

    Excellent Remarkably detailed summary of the impeachment Non partisan - many new details and perspectives, including how intelligent Ms Lewinsky was viewed Thoroughly recommend

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    A solid tick-tock telling of how the Clinton impeachment played out between Congress and the White House. A good book to read after reading Michael Isikoff's Uncovering Clinton. A solid tick-tock telling of how the Clinton impeachment played out between Congress and the White House. A good book to read after reading Michael Isikoff's Uncovering Clinton.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

  19. 4 out of 5

    Billy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Judith Costello

  21. 5 out of 5

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  22. 4 out of 5

    Greg Holden

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cee

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Abramowitz

  25. 5 out of 5

    Craig Cunningham

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sam Garrison

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Whitney

  28. 5 out of 5

    Austin

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bryce

  31. 5 out of 5

    Michael

  32. 5 out of 5

    Will

  33. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    bland but probably the most comprehensive early nuts-and-bolts account of what happened

  34. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey

  36. 5 out of 5

    Cornelio

  37. 4 out of 5

    Erin

  38. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  39. 5 out of 5

    Ann

  40. 4 out of 5

    Mike

  41. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  42. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  43. 5 out of 5

    Stina

  44. 4 out of 5

    Chris Bennett

  45. 5 out of 5

    Michael Taylor

  46. 5 out of 5

    Ag_esq

  47. 5 out of 5

    Alec

  48. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  49. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  50. 5 out of 5

    Chellane

  51. 4 out of 5

    Reed

  52. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  53. 4 out of 5

    Julie

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