Bill Clinton was impeached 20 years ago. What was going on in Washington, D.C., that day?

  • President Bill Clinton was impeached 20 years ago, on December 19, 1998.
  • Clinton was the second president in US history to be impeached. Despite the House’s vote, Clinton promised to stay in the presidency until the “last hour.”
  • Here’s what that winter day looked like in Washington, D.C.:


December 19, 1998, was a cold winter day. Bill and Hillary Clinton prepared for the outcome of the House impeachment vote.

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP/Getty ImagesUS First Lady Hillary Clinton (C) arrives on Capitol Hill to deliver a speech to Democratic members of the House of Representatives before the house votes on articles of impeachment against US President Bill Clinton.

Pro and anti-Clinton protesters gathered around Capitol Hill.

MARIO TAMA/AFP/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON: A man shoulders a portable radio with the words ‘Impeach Clinton’ pasted on its side as the US House of Representatives votes on the articles of impeachment against US president Bill Clinton 19 December at the Capitol (background) in Washington, DC. A defiant Clinton rejected calls for his resignation 19 December following his impeachment by the House.

People demonstrated outside the Capitol all day.

MARIO TAMA/AFP/Getty ImagesWASHINGTON, : People argue impeachment outside the US capitol building as the US House of Representatives votes on the articles of impeachment against US president Bill Clinton 19 December in Washington, DC. A defiant Clinton rejected calls for his resignation 19 December following his impeachment by the House.

Newt Gingrich, then-speaker of the House, had named Rep. Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican, to preside over the impeachment proceedings.

Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty ImagesHere’s Gingrich walking to his office on the morning before the impeachment vote.

That same day, Rep. Bob Livingston, a Louisiana Republican who had been the Speaker of the House-elect, resigned over his own case of adultery. He encouraged Clinton to do the same.

WILLIAM PHILPOTT/AFP/Getty ImagesSpeaker of the US House of Representatives elect, Bob Livingston (R-LA), walks from his office shortly after announcing his intent to resign 19 December on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. In his speech before the House, Livingston also called on US President Bill Clinton to resign as the full house prepares to vote to submit articles of impeachment against Clinton to the US Senate.

The House of Representatives voted on President Clinton’s articles of impeachment. Two articles passed by close margins.

PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty ImagesChairman of the US House Judiciary Committee Henry Hyde (R-IL) (R) presents the formal Articles of Impeachment of US President Bill Clinton to the Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco 19 December on Capitol Hill. This took place moments after the full House of Representatives passed the votes to impeach Clinton. From left are: Sisco, Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA), Rep George Gekas (R-PA) (partially obscured), Rep. Bill McCollum (R-FL), Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI) and Hyde.

That morning, the Washington Post reported that pizza deliveries in the Capitol were booming that week due to staffers working late nights to prepare for the impeachment vote.

(Washington Post screenshot)December 19, 1998 article on the Washington Post.

On the same day the House voted on his impeachment, President Clinton was calling off operation Desert Fox, a brief bombing campaign against Iraq.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)President Bill Clinton leaves a news conference in which he announced the end of Operation Desert Fox, a four-day bombing campaign against Iraq for failure to comply with United Nations Security Counsel Resolutions, on December 19, 1998. He is surrounded by, from left, Chief of Staff John Podesta, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of Defence Bill Cohen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Hugh Shelton, and National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. The announcement of the end of the operation came the same day that the House of Representatives approved two proposed articles of impeachment against him.

Once passed, the two articles of impeachment were delivered to Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco.

Photo by Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty ImagesThe Articles of Impeachment on the desk of Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill.., delivered them from the House floor after the impeachment votes.

President Clinton spoke outside the White House after the House voted to impeach him.


Hillary Clinton stood by Bill’s side as he delivered a speech following the vote of impeachment.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)First Lady Hillary Clinton listens to her husband President Bill Clinton react to being impeached by the House of Representatives outside of the oval office in the White House Rose Garden, Washington, DC, December 19, 1998.

Despite the outcome of the vote, the Clintons smiled as they met members of the press outside the White House.

(Photo by David Hume Kennerly/Getty Images)The Clintons at the Rose Garden with Vice President Al Gore, House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt, and Chief of Staff John Podesta after the House voted to impeach the president.

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