Today's Papers

President Company Not Excluded

USA Today

, the Los Angeles Times and New York Times lead with today’s anticipated Senate not guilty votes. The Washington Post, for the second day in a row, gives the top of the paper to something else–today to the horrors of North Korea’s famine–and tucks impeachment just underneath, but festooned by the front’s boldest headline type.

The papers spend most of their impeachment ink counting votes and recounting bits of closed-door speeches press-released to them. They note that Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe’s announcement that she will vote to acquit President Clinton on both impeachment articles means there’s a very good chance the perjury charge won’t even get a simple majority, and some chance that the obstruction charge won’t either. It’s also reported that Republican Susan Collins might vote no on one or both articles. The LAT is most definite about this, citing sources close to her saying Collins will vote no twice.

On the other hand, say the papers, two other Republicans also widely thought to be not guilty voters, Sen. Gordon Smith and Sen. Robert Bennett, announced their intention to convict on both articles. The LAT quotes Bennett as predicting that “Clinton” will become “a synonym for an elegant, well-crafted lie.” But this isn’t much worse than the remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein quoted by the NYT: “The president acted immorally. He acted recklessly. He acted disgracefully. He willfully misled the American people, the members of his Cabinet, his staff and his judicial system. In doing so, he brought shame and dishonor upon the office of the President and especially upon himself.” And she’s a Clinton supporter.

The papers say that after the midday impeachment vote a formal censure of Clinton will fail. Then there will be an attempt at an informal censure, which, the LAT explains, would be read into the record but not acted on.

The NYT says that the day’s solemn mood was “somewhat tarnished” by reports that Clinton planned an all-out drive to help Democrats win back the House. Wonder why the Times doesn’t mention that it was where those reports first appeared. The papers mention that Clinton plans to address the nation tomorrow after the trial’s conclusion and that he will be mindful not to repeat the celebratory mood of that post-impeachment South Lawn pep rally. The WP quotes Sen. Bob Kerrey’s response to the question, What did he want to hear from Clinton today? “As little as possible.”

A story reefered on the WP front quotes “several knowledgeable Democrats” as saying that Hillary Clinton will seriously consider whether to run for the Senate from New York in 2000 once the impeachment trial is over.

The NYT top front features an interview with Linda Tripp, complete with a large color photo of the heavily made up and made over stay-at-home federal bureaucrat. According to the story, Tripp says she betrayed Monica Lewinsky to save her from being abused by President Clinton. “I would hope some other mom would do for my daughter what I did for Monica, despite the fact that it looks horrible…,” the paper quotes Tripp saying as she broke down in tears. Tripp also says that it was Lucianne Goldberg’s idea for her to talk to Ken Starr, and for her to reveal Lewinsky’s affair to Paula Jones’ lawyers. Tripp also tells the Times that she had her first discussion with the Jones lawyers in October, 1997. She also admits telling Lewinsky the lie that she was turning over on Monica because Tripp had also been the target of a Ken Starr sting operation.

Everybody fronts the precedent-setting verdict of a Brooklyn federal jury finding that several gun manufacturers were legally responsible for the criminal use of firearms, awarding $500,000 in damages to a New York teenager wounded in a 1995 shooting. The decision is likely, say the papers, to lead more cities and more shooting victims to mount such liability lawsuits. It’s a bit curious that the WP, a paper read in a city with its share of shootings, chooses to put the story on the very bottom of the front page, below a story about the scandal-driven rise in sex talk and one about the possibility of more flights being added at National Airport. Similarly, why is the Post waiting until page 32 to tell us that the U.S. has decided to send more than 2,000 Marines into Kosovo as part of a multi-national peace-keeping force? And why is everybody else likewise paying little attention to this?

A LAT front-pager claims that despite a stock price and profits that continue to climb, Microsoft’s power in the computing world is beginning to wane. The story points out that in contrast to a year ago, a few computer companies are now offering PCs not just with Netscape instead of Internet Explorer but even with non-Windows operating systems. Also, the story notes even though Internet company consolidation continues to proceed at a furious pace, Microsoft hasn’t made a major acquisition since the DOJ brought its case last year.

Uh, like, wasn’t that the problem in the first place? The Wall Street Journal “Washington Wire” reports that the New Hampshire state Democratic Party chairman says Clinton shouldn’t gloat when he attends a fund-raiser in his state next week, but adds, “I’m not sure anyone [there] can control their passion.”