LOVELAND, Colo. — It’s been 21 years since the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton, but Dr. Wayne Allard remembers it like it was yesterday.
Allard, a former Republican senator from northern Colorado, was tasked with deciding the fate of the country’s 42nd president.
“There was a sense of excitement because this is a very significant vote that you’re casting,” he said. “You’re talking about people’s careers. You’re talking about the president.”
Allard was in his first term as a U.S. senator and says the trial was a fascinating experience. Similar to President Donald Trump’s impeachment trial, senators were not allowed to talk, read or stand during the events.
“I don’t think it wore on me,” he recalled. “You spend a lot of your time thinking and studying about what was said. It was an exciting experience to go into the old Senate chamber with historic significance and then hear the debate, both pro and con.”
Allard famously wrote a journal detailing each day’s proceedings. Portions of that journal were shared in a Colorado newspaper.
“I don’t remember what I wrote,” he joked. “It’s been 21 years.”
But Allard does note some similarities between the two trials.
“The charges were very similar to what Clinton was looking at,” he said. “But this is a lot more partisan than what was happening when I had a chance to sit in on the Clinton impeachment trial.”
Following the trial in 1999, Allard spoke with reporters in D.C., saying “I don’t take any joy in having the president of the United States stand before the Senate in an impeachment trial. Personally, I like the president, I’ve dealt with him personally from time to time, and this is not a pleasant process.”
Allard ultimately voted guilty on both charges.
Clinton was acquitted on both articles.