During the second presidential debate, Republican nominee Donald Trump said that Bill Clinton was impeached, disbarred, and fined as a result of the Lewinsky scandal.
Bill Clinton was indeed impeached for lying under oath to a grand jury and obstructing justice, although he was not removed from office.
After impeachment, Bill Clinton was held in contempt of court by federal Judge Susan Webber Wright, in what the New York Times described as a “scathing” ruling. Wright said Clinton testified falsely in his deposition about not having sex with Monica Lewinsky, and that his actions “subverted the rule of law and violated Ms. Jones’s right to information relevant to her case.”
“The court takes no pleasure whatsoever in holding this nation’s President in contempt of court,” Wright wrote. However, she added, “the record demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence that the President responded to plaintiffs’ questions by giving false, misleading and evasive answers that were designed to obstruct the judicial process.”
Clinton’s law license in Arkansas was suspended for five years, and he paid a $25,000 fine. The Supreme Court also barred Clinton from practicing law before the nation’s highest court.
Trump made a reference to an $850,000 fine Bill Clinton paid to Paula Jones. This was, in fact, an out-of-court settlement Clinton reached with Jones, not a fine leveled by the court.
The purpose of reaching an out-of-court settlement is to avoid an unpleasant trial that could very well end with even worse consequences, so Trump is basically correct that Clinton’s conduct cost him $850,000, and he didn’t want to pay it – it most certainly was not a charitable contribution! – but it technically wasn’t a “fine.”