Thursday, January 21, 1999 Published at 12:01 GMT
Clinton charges 'flawed'
Dale Bumpers quotes historical precedent in Mr Clinton's defence
Lawyers for President Clinton have concluded their opening defence arguments in his impeachment trial saying the case against him does not stand up and is a threat to the political system.
He said the obstruction charge was "based on circumstantial evidence, and that is at best profoundly ambiguous".
In an emotional and personal speech, he urged senators to recognise the personal anguish suffered by Mr Clinton as a result of his "terrible moral lapse". He said the punishment of removing him from office would pale in comparison with this.
"You have taken a solemn oath to be fair and impartial," he told his former colleagues in the chamber. "I know you all; I know you as friends, and I know you as honorable men, and I am perfectly satisfied to put that in your hands, under your oath," Mr Bumpers said.
Next stage looms
The question of whether witnesses will be called remains a contentious issue in the Senate. On Wednesday, senators held separate party meetings and Republicans emerged sounding more sure they will seek to call at least some witnesses during the trial to resolve conflicts in testimony.
In their second day of defence arguments, White House Special Counsel Gregory Craig and Deputy Counsel Cheryl Mills attacked the impeachment charges passed by the House of Representatives against Mr Clinton over his conduct in the Lewinsky affair as vague and unfounded.
"If you convict and remove President Clinton, on the basis of these allegations no president of the United States will ever be safe from impeachment again," he warned the hushed Senate chamber.
Cheryl Mills - a 33-year-old African American - was the first woman to address the trial.
The president's job approval ratings in polls released on Wednesday ranged from 66% in an ABC News survey, to 76% in a NBC News poll.