Linda Tripp — who in 1997 pitched literary agent Lucianne Goldberg on a White House sex scandal book — handed over her secretly-taped conversations with intern Monica Lewinsky to Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr. Starr broadened the investigation to include President Clinton's relationship with Lewinsky, which Clinton emphatically denied. As Starr was armed with evidence that Clinton lied about the affair during a deposition in the Paula Jones harassment case, the president admitted the misconduct during grand jury testimony and confessed in a TV address. Starr posted explicit testimony about the Lewinsky affair on the internet and accused Clinton of 11 impeachable offenses. His report to congress cost taxpapers over $40,000,000. At the end of the year, the Republican House voted three articles of impeachment and sent the matter on to the Senate.
As the White House scandal raged on, President Clinton's approval rating with the public soared to an all-time high.
The U.S. budget posted its biggest surplus since 1969 — $70,000,000,000.
After losing the support of his fellow Republicans, House Speaker Newt Gingrich resigned. Republicans endorsed Bob Livingston — a vocal critic of President Clinton's sexual misconduct — as Gingrich's successor. But Livingston withdrew when it was disclosed that he had an extramarital affair, too.
President Clinton settled Paula Jones' sexual harrassment suit with $850,000 and no apology nor admission of guilt. To the chagrin of the conservative Christian Republicans who had paid her expenses during her long fight against Clinton, Jones used the money to start a psychic hotline.
At age 77, former astronaut John Glenn returned to space aboard the shuttle Discovery.
12 Americans were among nearly 500 killed at U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Microsoft chairman Bill Gates donated $100,000,000 to help children in developing countries get basic immunization.
The U.S. Army charged Major General David Hale with improper relationships with the wives of four officers.
The U.S. found itself in yet another standoff with dictator Saddam Hussein after Iraq banned American members of the United Nations weapons inspection teams.
The Chrysler Corporation was purchased by the owner of Mercedes-Benz for $37,000,000,000.
After killing over 200 in the Caribbean, Hurricane Georges caused $400,000,000 damage in Florida. January ice storms claimed 16 lives and knocked out power to millions in the northeast states. 127 died in ten southern states during heavy spring thunderstorms and tornadoes. Summer heat and drought in 11 states resulted in the appropriation of over $100,000,000 in federal disaster aid.
Unabomber Theordore Kaczynski received life in prison without parole in exchange for pleading guilty to five federal bombing counts.
Three white Texans were charged with the vehicular dragging death of African-American James Byrd, Jr.
An American military jet severed a ski tram cable in Italy, killing 20.
Astronomers determined a one-mile-diameter astroid — which some had thought was on a collision course with Earth — would miss the planet by 600,000 miles. Meanwhile, NASA announced there was enough frozen water on the moon to support a colony.
Terry Nichols received a life sentence for his part in the Oklahoma City bombing.
Tawana Brawley — an African-American who mustered the support of Bill Cosby and Jesse Jackson when she claimed she was raped by whites — was fined $185,000 for fabricating her story.
15-year-old Kip Kinkel killed his parents, then opened fire on a Springfield, Oregon school cafeteria, killing 1 and wounding 23.
The FDA approved the use of Viagra for the treatment of impotence.
Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' 37-year-old single-season home run record.
The Yankees defeated the Padres in the World Series.
Tara Lipinski became the youngest Winter Olympics figure skater to take the gold medal.
Bob Barker hosted his 5,000th episode of the TV game show The Price Is Right.
Legendary singer Frank Sinatra died.
Photographer, animal rights activist and vegetarian foods mogul Linda McCartney died of breast cancer.
Track legend and 1988 triple gold medalist Florence Griffith Joyner died at age 38.
U.S. Representative Sonny Bono was killed in a skiing accident. Ex-wife Cher eulogized him and his widow, Mary, took over his House seat.
An audit found improprieties in the books of Livent, the company which produced the Broadway hit musical Ragtime.
Saturday Night Live veteran and Newsradio star Phil Hartman was shot to death by his mentally unstable wife while he slept in bed. Brynn Hartman killed herself after describing her crime to a friend. Hartman co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in the box office holiday hit, Jingle All The Way.
James Cameron's Titanic, starring Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio, tied an Academy Awards record by garnering 11 Oscars.
Frasier won its fifth consecutive Best Comedy Series Emmy.
CBS-TV was flooded with complaints after airing footage of assisted-suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian administering lethal drugs to a terminally ill patient.
The Cable News Network retracted a report that U.S. forces may have used nerve gas on American defectors in the Viet Nam War.
Hit songs included 1997 holdover My Heart Will Go On (Love Theme From "Titanic") by Celine Dion, You're Still The One by Shania Twain, I'll Be by Edwin McCain and My Father's Eyes by Eric Clapton.