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Kenneth Starr’s Testimony Before The House Judiciary Committee – 3/7

This is the third of seven pages with the full text of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Kenneth Starr testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

House Members’ Examination of Kenneth Starr Before the House Judiciary Committee.

HYDE: Thank you. We will now move to the members’ questioning, and the chair recognizes, under the five-minute rule, we’ll try to adhere to it. But again, I will be liberal, but I would like you to make your questions concise. Mr. Sensenbrenner.

SENSENBRENNER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Let me say that the clock does not run slower on this side of the table as apparently it does over on the other side.I was struck, Mr. Chairman, that for the first hour plus, Mr. Lowell’s questions completely avoided and evaded the principal charges that have been in your referral, Judge Starr. And only after his second extension in the last five or six minutes did he get to the charges that specifically allege misconduct by the president of the United States.

I would hope that during these proceedings, the rule of law is not on trial. That is something that has served our country well for over 200 years. The rule of law I think is paramount. And with the rule of law goes the notion that everybody stands before the law equally, whether they be president or pauper, whether they be powerful or poor.

SENSENBRENNER: So having said that, let me ask you, Judge Starr, whether you believe that there is any difference in the law of perjury and the law of making false statements to a grand jury just because they happen to relate to sexual matters?

STARR: They do not, Mr. Sensenbrenner. As I have tried to indicate in the opening statement, as we’ve indicated in the referral, perjury is extraordinarily serious business. It is insidious.

The courthouse cannot operate if perjury is allowed to either be excused or to be minimized. And why should we in fact go through the process of saying there is an oath, we want you to tell your — we want your honesty? That’s what we ask in court. We want your honesty.

And it does not matter whether the issue has to do with sexual harassment or bankruptcy or the criminal law. It is all dreadfully serious.

And in my reading — I know that there is scholarly commentary to the opposite effect — perjury would in fact have been viewed as an impeachable offense at the time of the founding of the republic. And courts from that time on have taken perjury as extraordinarily serious, regardless of the kind of case.

SENSENBRENNER: Judge Starr, folks back home have come up to me and said why don’t you drop this whole impeachment thing because everybody lies about sex, and the president ought to have the opportunity to lie about sex just like everybody else. I’m concerned about the impact of that attitude if it ends up being adopted around the country.

On a lot of essential protections that the law provides, particularly for women, for example, every sexual harassment suit is about sex. That’s of its very nature. And much of our litigation, both civil and criminal, of domestic violence has at least some element of sex involved in it.

If people can perjure themselves in court about sex, don’t you think that that makes our sexual harassment laws and our domestic violence laws less meaningful, and in many cases, unenforceable?

STARR: Yes. Well, it certainly makes them — I agree fully that it would make them less meaningful. And it would certainly make it much more difficult to enforce if we did not take acts of perjury or obstruction seriously in this particular category of case.

SENSENBRENNER: I have one further question, which has been referred to before. There are some that have said that the testimony about Monica Lewinsky in the president’s civil deposition in the Paula Jones case was not material as a result of an order which you obtained from Judge Wright, right after the expansion of your jurisdiction into the Lewinsky matter.

Could you please describe what that order did and why you sought it and what its effect was on those allegations of perjury and false statements that you’ve made in your referral relative to the Jones civil deposition?

STARR: Yes. No. 1, we tried to put a stop quickly, immediately to the Jones lawyers efforts to notice depositions of witnesses in our grand jury matter.

STARR: We — Mr. Chairman, may I just — I’ll make this very brief.

HYDE: Surely. There’s more restriction on the questioner than…

STARR: OH, I see.

HYDE: … than the questionee.

STARR: You may regret that because I…


HYDE: Please.

STARR: Yes. Thank you, thank you, Mr. Chairman. But we went to the judge, and the judge — and we asked for a stay of discovery. And the judge in response to our request for a stay then went on to determine under an analysis of — that I was trying to describe to Mr. Lowell’s apparent irritation, rule 403, but it was the issue that Judge Wright was wrestling with, which is a weighing or balancing process.

And she determined that this evidence, although possibly admissible, should be excluded because the dangers to the criminal justice process — I mean, her order should speak for itself and I shouldn’t be paraphrasing the judge’s order.

The point is she responded to our concern when we were trying to vindicate the integrity of our criminal justice investigation.

HYDE: (OFF-MIKE) gentleman (OFF-MIKE)

STARR: But that has no — I’m so sorry. That was point one. Point two, that has no effect whatsoever on materiality, which was the second part of your question, because that is a legal concept that fortunately is very consistent with common sense. Materiality is measured at the time that the statement is made. It doesn’t matter what eventually happens in the lawsuit.

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired. The gentleman from Michigan, Mr. Conyers.

CONYERS: Thank you very much. Mr. Starr, it’s very clear under this process, which many of us do not agree to, but trying to question you for five minutes is an ambitious and hopeful undertaking that doesn’t quite achieve our objectives.

Would you be willing to respond to additional questions should the time run out on us, to these other questions that might be put to you in a written form?

STARR: We’re trying to be as helpful if we can, sir. If they’re written questions, depending on the chair’s ruling, whatever the chair determines is appropriate, because I don’t know.

SENSENBRENNER: Without objection, members may submit written questions for the record. I’d like to establish a deadline for the questions and for the responses by Judge Starr so that the questions and answers may be included in the record before our authority runs out.

CONYERS: Thank you very much.

SENSENBRENNER: What deadline would the gentleman from Michigan suggest?

CONYERS: I don’t have one right now. But could we agree on one very shortly? A week?

SENSENBRENNER: OK, without objection, questions shall be submitted in a week, which happens to be Thanksgiving, and the responses within a week. Is there an objection by members of the committee? Hearing none, so ordered.

ROGAN: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman? Reserving the right to object. My only concern, if I may address the reservation, my only concern at this point is that the request as phrased by my friend from Michigan theoretically could be an invitation to an open-ended encyclopedic presentation of questions to Judge Starr that neither he nor his office will have the appropriate amount of time to respond. I’m assuming that if questions are propounded to Judge Starr’s office…

CONYERS: Could I allay my friend from California’s problems and his reservation by saying that all I seek is a full record so that no member has been cut off from a question that they should try to ask within the five-minute rule on the inquiry, on the impeachment of a president of the United States.

ROGAN: I thank my colleague’s clarification. My assumption, Mr. Chairman, is that with unanimous consent that also comes a degree of reasonableness. And if there is a problem…

CONYERS: Of course.

ROGAN: … with Judge Starr’s being able to propound answers in a timely fashion, he would be able to notify the committee and we would be able to review this issue. SENSENBRENNER: Absolutely. And the chair — the acting chair would request that members funnel their questions either through Chairman Hyde or Ranking Minority Member Conyers rather than firing them off directly to Judge Starr.

CONYERS: Exactly.

BARR: Mr. Chairman.

CONYERS: I thank you for the order. I thank you for the…

SENSENBRENNER: The gentleman from Georgia.

BARR: Before we ask for unanimous consent, what, exactly, would be asked for the unanimous consent of? I am not sure I understand.

SENSENBRENNER: To allow written questions.

BARR: To the independent counsel, and he has to answer them within a week?

CONYERS: A week. Yes.

BARR: I object.

SENSENBRENNER: I have told your five minutes, so the gentleman is recognized for the five minutes now.

CONYERS: Well, we just went through a process, which we had, I thought, agreement. What we’re doing here, then, ladies and gentlemen, is saying that within a five-minute period, 16 members, including Mr. Starr’s response, have five minutes to ask him anything that they want. I think that this is patently unworkable, and all I suggested was an additional method of communicating with you in writing, so…

SENSENBRENNER: Well, if the chair can respond to that, the rules of the House of Representatives, in these instances, provide for recognition of members for five minutes apiece. And the chair, at the beginning of this hearing today, said that members would be recognized under the five-minute rule. So far, there have been only two people who have spoken: Mr. Lowell, who received two extensions, and yours truly, who got his questions in within five minutes.

Now, I don’t think we want to be staying here until midnight. I would hope that the five-minute rule, which seems to have worked well for decades, can be adhered to, and members can be concise. So, again, I will move the clock back to zero, and the gentleman from Michigan is recognized for five mites.

CONYERS: All right, it’s clear to me that some members do not want a full and open discussion with the witness. The only witness here today. So let me just propose — yes, ma’am.


CONYERS: No. I was going to my questions. But I will yield to you, if you would like.

WATERS: Well, no. It’s just that the chairman is back, and I am not sure that he was privy to your request.

HYDE: Have you yielded to her, because this is your time? OK. That’s all right. You want to submit written questions to the witness?


CONYERS: That’s the only point, sir.

HYDE: Well, I have no objection if he has no objection. But I would like them — they would be returned when we hear from the president. How is that? A simultaneous return of questions. Is that a good idea?


CONYERS: Well, I don’t know if we should condition our questions for Mr. Starr on whether the president and his counsel have chosen to raise whatever questions you have with him.

NADLER: Mr. Chairman, would the gentleman yield?

CONYERS: Of course, I would.

NADLER: I would simply point out that the request for the ability to submit written questions is made on behalf of members of the House on this side, and presumably, the other side of the aisle. We have no control over whether the president testifies. It’s up to him, and the two subjects are separate.

HYDE: You do see the — the fairness, though. That is a big word around here.

NADLER: No, I don’t.

HYDE: You don’t?

NADLER: I don’t see the fairness, frankly.

HYDE: You don’t?

NADLER: The president will testify or not as he determines; it’s his determination in this proceeding. And, frankly, the ranking minority members suggested that it would be helpful to the members of this committee in ascertaining the facts and having a full and fair proceeding, that we have the opportunity to submit written questions in addition to five minutes. I think that’s reasonable, but it’s either reasonable or not reasonable regardless of what the president chooses to do in his own capacity.

CONYERS: Well, Mr. Nadler, I thank you very much. The chairman has made it clear that, conditionally, we can send Mr. Starr questions. The other — another member, on the other side, has made it clear that he doesn’t want any questions and answers, whatever, in writing, and so I think the point has been made. I’d like to just go ahead and try to utilize my questions and answers within the period of time that I have.

Mr. Starr, I’m concerned about the potential conflicts of interest between your public position, seeking to impeach the president, and your private positions, representing numerous clients whose agendas are aligned directly against the president. Can you assure this committee that you will provide us, for our information, a complete list of the clients in your distinguished law firm — or that — the law firm that you were a member of — that you have represented since accepting the position of independent counsel?


CONYERS: Thank you very much. I’m particularly interested, of course, in the matters with the Brown & Williamson tobacco company, General Motors, Hughes Aircraft, United Airlines, Bell Atlantic and a number of others. But thank you so much.

I can go to a second question. Now the grand jury leaks; in reviewing your statements concerning this subject, we have two reports. I ask you about them now; you didn’t mention them in your reference to us. Namely, once, in “The Washington Times,” you were quoted as having said, “The release of any investigative information by a member of this office, or any other law enforcement agency, would constitute a serious breach of confidentiality.” This summer it became clear that your office had spoken to reporters on background, developed a different standard, telling Steven Brill, quote, “nothing improper about leaking, if you are talking about what witnesses tell FBI agents,” end of quotation. This, to me, is quite important. Is there a distinction or a compatibility with both those statements, sir?

STARR: Yes, in this sense. I’ll be very, very brief. We have responded in detail to the article that you mention, and I would be happy to provide that to you; I think it’s all laid out there. My position is this: we do not issue or release that kind of information. That is our position. Now, what does the law reach? The rule of 6(e) is an issue that, I’m sure, we’ll be discussing later today.

CONYERS: Yes. Well, under the five-minute rule, we may or may not discuss it. I mean that’s the problem. Don’t — doesn’t your sense of fairness in the courts extend to congressional hearings, where you have 16 members with five minutes to ask and be answered questions? Isn’t that — doesn’t that strike you as somewhat constricting, somewhat limiting, somewhat hard for us to take the advantage of your appearance before us as the witness of the day?

STARR: Mr. Conyers, I do not want to speak to the rules of the House. Let me answer — may I answer 6(c)? Because I gather that my answers, which do not count against your time quite in the same way. But I will be guided by you.

CONYERS: Well, let me ask you about the Travelgate and FBI files, which you did not mention the exoneration of the president in your reference. Why — did you include any exculpatory information in your reference? And why didn’t you put it in there instead of putting it in your statement here?

STARR: We put the statement here. You’re right. We did not include that in the referral because of my views of what the referral was supposed to do. What I viewed this invitation as being was to try to — because I was invited — and pursuant to that invitation, we reflected on what is the information that you might need. Because we have been told, Mr. Conyers, by the Congress, you know, don’t be holding things back. If you have information that could be relevant, provide it. And that’s what we have in fact been trying to do.

Now, if there’s a sense that we’re providing too much information, we’ll be guided by that, because we’re trying to be helpful.

CONYERS: Well, I thank you very much for that response.

STARR: Thank you.

CONYERS: And finally, sir, the failure to rule out pardon of Susan McDougal. Is this a very strong or personally held sentiment on your part? We had President Bush pardon six defendants in Iran Contra, and I was a little bit dismayed that you would deem fit to blow out of proportion the fact that the president refused to comment on the possibility of pardoning Miss McDougal. Was — did I read more into that about your attitude about her than I ought to have?

STARR: No, Mr. Conyers, I think you read it fairly and accurately. And you might very well have a different view that my view is quite wrong. But our view at the time was that the president did not help the situation of our trying to get to the truth as quickly as possible by his comments. But that’s your judgment. We have brought that to your attention for you to assess. And if it’s your judgment that that is not an appropriate matter to consider or your judgment is different, obviously it’s your judgment that controls and governs here.

CONYERS: Well, I’m glad to know that that’s the case, that I still have my judgment intact. Thank you very much.

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired. I might say on the five-minute rule, that’s pursuant to the rules of the House, and the Republicans get five minutes just like the Democrats. So there is an equal burden. We have been extremely generous in questioning, and I don’t intend to shut anybody down. But I hope the seating arrangement suits you. That’s about all that hasn’t been complained of today. And I just hope it’s OK. We’ll change it if you want it.


HYDE: Hassocks. Hassocks. Very good. Very good. I like that.

The gentleman from Florida, Mr. McCollum.

MCCOLLUM: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. And Judge Starr, I’m sure in light of that, you should be fully aware that Chairman Hyde keeps the time.

MCCOLLUM: You answer the questions as fully as you want, when we ask them. We’ll get our bell rung, but don’t worry about your bell.

STARR: Thank you.

MCCOLLUM: Now, let me come on and ask you a couple of things, just to follow up quickly. At any time, did you ever represent anybody in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case?

STARR: No. Well, I shouldn’t be so quick. I did not represent ever Ms. Jones or even seriously contemplate anything other than a role with respect to the constitutional immunity issue. But I believe — and I can check this, so — but I’ll just give you my belief that my firm did in fact represent the Independent Women’s Forum.

MCCOLLUM: Right. But you never personally represented anybody in the Paula Jones sexual harassment litigation, per se?

STARR: Not per se. No, I did not.

MCCOLLUM: Just the immunity question, that’s all I wanted to clarify.


MCCOLLUM: You engaged us very fully on the immunity issue during your complete testimony. I have another question that’s related.

I heard you describe this morning a compelling picture of President Clinton, a compelling picture of him acting in a cold, calculated, methodical, well-thought-out method — scheme, if you will — to lie under oath, to commit perjury, if you will, with regard to his involvement with Ms. Lewinsky before the Jones case, in the Jones case, of the deposition and before the grand jury; to convince Monica Lewinsky and Betty Currie to also commit perjury, lie under oath in that Jones case; to work to get others perhaps, but certainly in concert with him, to conceal and not produce the gifts that you mentioned, in a subpoena situation in the Jones case where they were subpoenaed of Monica Lewinsky; and to try to get Monica Lewinsky a job in at least, it appears from circumstantial evidence you describe in a compelling way, in large measure because the president wanted to keep her from turning on him, and to keep her from going ahead and telling the truth at some point. Now that is a picture you painted. It was very compelling.

Now Section — the latter part interests me — Section 201 of Title 18 of the United States Code is the bribery section of the code. And it reads in part, “Whoever directly or indirectly gives, offers or promises anything of value to any person for or because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing or other proceeding,” et cetera.

Couldn’t a reasonable person, Judge Starr, listening to what you described, particularly with regard to the job offer, the circumstantial evidence the president has of obstructing justice in that instance, as you described it, couldn’t a reasonable person, a reasonable member like me conclude that there may, as well as being obstruction of justice here, may be an act of bribery the president committed in this case? Could I not conclude that as well?

STARR: Well, Mr. McCollum, I would not want to join in a particular judgment beyond that which we have set forth in the referral. But you will obviously go through your analysis.

I think on the other side of the equation are the circumstances, when the job search began and so forth.

But I have, frankly, not taken the specific issue you have identified — and it’s a fair issue — through the kind of elements analysis that a lawyer and a prosecutor would need to do.

So I think in fairness, I would say, I would just want to examine that question more closely before opining on it.

MCCOLLUM: Well, when you actually testified this morning, all of that went through my mind. I pulled out the statute book. I’ve walked through it. And while you didn’t allege it and you aren’t here today, it seems pretty darn clear.

And I think that’s important because in the context of this picture you’re painting of the president, you’re painting perjury and bribery, as you said, as of the same whole cloth.

MCCOLLUM: We’re dealing with a similar pattern. We’re dealing with an involvement that overall is very grave. And I’d like to conclude with a question that amplifies and gets you to clarify one other thing that Mr. Sensenbrenner asked you about, regarding the issue of perjury itself.

In this particular case, a number of our colleagues on this panel have suggested that because the Paula Jones case was dismissed and ultimately settled, because there was indeed a throwing out by the judge — albeit appealed — of the underlying question of whether or not there was any relevance to the testimony about other people being sexually harassed as being relevant to that case, that somehow, therefore, if the president lied in that case, it’s immaterial.

Now, you started to say something about that. I don’t think you really fully put the nail into this. And I’d like for you to tell us, in your judgment, first of all, what you presented us today, were the elements of perjury present when the president lied under oath, as you’ve described it in that Paula Jones case? And particularly, was materiality present?

STARR: Materiality is not effected. It is a totally bogus argument to suggest that because the lawsuit is eventually settled or dismissed that an act — let’s call it perjury; we’ve said, you know, a false statement under oath. That’s the way we presented it to you. That is simply and utterly, demonstrably wrong as a matter of law.

MCCOLLUM: But that is…

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired.

MCCOLLUM: But may I just clarify one thing, Mr. Chairman?

HYDE: Yes.

MCCOLLUM: The false statement under oath you presented and the way you described it with all the elements there, you’ve described all the elements of perjury, have you not, Judge Starr? Am I — you may have distinguished it in the way you presented it. But aren’t all the elements there you just described?

STARR: I’m not quarreling with what you’ve just said.

MCCOLLUM: Thank you.

HYDE: The gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. Frank. FRANK: Mr. Starr, Judge Johnson has found 24 instances of prima facie violations by your office of Rule 16. Now, that’s not determinative of whether or not they happened. But I — so I’d like to ask you — are you aware of any member of your staff who in fact committed a violation, as defined by Judge Johnson?

STARR: OH, as defined by…

FRANK: Are you aware in any of those 24 instances whether or not a member of your staff in fact was guilty of what Judge Johnson has found to be a prima facie violation?

STARR: We do not think that we have violated 6(e) at all.

FRANK: No, specifically on the 24 instances, are you — because you may differ with her in part about how you define 6(e). But as she defines 6(e), are you aware of any member of your staff who committed a violation as she defined it?

STARR: Well, I — with all respect, I think that is an unfair question. And the reason I do…

FRANK: All right. I’ll withdraw it.

Mr. Starr, you’re the expert on unfair questions. If you tell me it’s an unfair question, I’ll withdraw it.

So let me ask you again. Did anybody on your staff, to your knowledge, do the things which Judge Johnson has included in her list of the 24, understanding that you may think that if they did them, they weren’t violations? But did anybody in your staff give out that information on any of those 24 instances?

STARR: There are a couple of issues or instances in which we issued a press release where we do have — we clearly issued a press release with respect to certain matters. But may I say this? I am operating under a sealed litigation proceeding. And what I’m trying to suggest is I’m happy to answer as fully as I can except with respect…

FRANK: Mr. Starr, if you’re suggesting that you can’t answer under this particular proceeding — it’s sealed at your request to the extent that it’s sealed at all. So you could waive it. That is, Judge Johnson granted a motion for an open procedure. You appealed this to the Circuit Court and they closed it up. So if you do not object, nobody else will.

But if you didn’t do any of the leaking, why not just tell us — if it’s wrong factually? And if, on the other hand, you’re going to say, well, you successfully got the Circuit Court to seal it, I suppose I can’t do much, but I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just tell us.

FRANK: I suppose I can’t do much, but I don’t understand why you wouldn’t just tell us.

STARR: Let me make very briefly these points. We believe that we have completely complied with our obligations under…

FRANK: That wasn’t my question.

STARR: … under 6(e).

FRANK: That wasn’t my question, Mr. Chairman. I only have five minutes. My question was whether, as Judge Johnson sent it forward, they did this. They can differ with her as to the law. I’m not debating the law here. I was trying to elicit a factual response.

STARR: The second point that I was trying to make is that I am operating under a sealed proceeding.

FRANK: Sealed at your request, correct?

STARR: No, Mr. Frank. It is sealed by the chief judge, based upon her determination of…

FRANK: (OFF-MIKE) the case that she asked for a — she granted a much more open proceeding, and you appealed that and got the Circuit Court to severely restrict the procedure on the grounds that hers was too open. Isn’t that true?

STARR: Congressman Frank, what she did was to provide for a procedure that didn’t provide — quote — “openness.” It provided for an adversarial process, and this is all in the public domain. But from this point forward, no, she is the custodian and the guide with respect…

FRANK: Would you ask her to release that? I think there’s a severe — important public interest in dealing with this unique question. It goes to the credibility of a lot of what you’ve done. Would you then join — maybe everybody would join; maybe the White House would join and others — in asking Judge Johnson to relax that so we could get the answers publicly, because I think there’s a lot of public interest — legitimate interest in this?

STARR: I am happy to consider that, but I’m not going to make, if — with all respect, a legal judgment right on the spot with respect to a proceeding… FRANK: Well, then let me — you have a right not to. Now I just have a couple of other questions. You say in page nine of the referral that — 595 (ph) says — suggests that you send us information based on a referral as soon as it becomes clear to you.

That’s what bothers me about the FBI file and Travel Office issues.

You say on page 47 of the testimony: “Our investigation, which has been thorough, found no evidence that anyone higher than Mr. Livingstone or Mr. Marceca were involved.” When did your investigation determine that?

STARR: Well, under 595(c), we …

FRANK: Excuse me. That’s a simple factual question, Mr. Starr. When did you determine that?

STARR: Determine that…

FRANK: That nobody higher than Mr. Livingstone and Mr. Marceca was involved?

STARR: We determined that some months ago.

FRANK: OK. Well before the election.

You also have with regard to the Travel Office a statement that the president’s not involved. When did you determine with regard to the Travel Office that the president was not involved?

STARR: We had…

FRANK: Be factual, Mr. Starr. When?

STARR: We — it is not a date certain. We have no information with respect to…

FRANK: I’ll take a date ambiguous.


Give me an approximate.

STARR: We had — first of all, there is an investigation that is continuing, and as of this date of reporting, we do not have any information that the president is involved.

FRANK: Let me just say this, and here’s what disturb me greatly.

You say on page nine that yes, you should send us this information. Before the election, you sent us a lot of information about the president that was to his discredit in some cases, and you found it very derogatory in other cases.

You also had been studying for far longer than the Lewinsky case the FBI and the Travel Office. You tell us that months ago you concluded that no — that the president was not involved in the FBI files and you’ve never had the evidence he was involved in the Travel Office. Yet now, several weeks after the election, is the first time you’re saying that.

Why did you withhold that before the election when you were sending us a referral with a lot of negative stuff about the president, and only now, despite your saying that the statute suggests you tell us as soon as possible, you give us this exoneration of the president several weeks after the election?

STARR: Mr. Frank, what we have tried to do is be responsive to Congress, which has said provide us with information. Is there any other additional information that would be useful?

FRANK: But why didn’t you tell us before the election about this according to your reading of the statute?

STARR: Congressman Frank, the reason is because what we provided you in the referral is substantial and credible information of possible potential offenses. The silence with respect to anything else means necessarily that we had not concluded…

FRANK: In other words, don’t have anything to say unless you have something bad to say. You’ve concluded in the FBI files…

(UNKNOWN): Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman…

FRANK: You’ve said you concluded in the FBI files that there was nothing involving the president. Why didn’t you tell us?

(UNKNOWN): … Mr. Chairman, point of order.

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired, however, I would yield to the witness such time as you need to answer the many questions Mr. Frank has put to you.

STARR: Well, again, there is a process question. The purpose of this referral was to provide you with what we had found substantial and credible information. That’s point one. And the FBI files and the Travel Office matter were not relevant to the 595(c) substantial and credible information, in terms of providing this to you. For you, then, to determine do you want any additional information?

The final point I would say is, we still have an investigation, as I indicated, under way. And with respect to both FBI files, we have indicated that, and the Travel Office, I’ve drawn a distinction between the two matters, but I’m reporting to you so you know that, as of this time, we do not believe that there is any information in either of those matters, Congressman Frank, that would be relevant to you.

HYDE: The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Gekas.

GEKAS: I thank the chair. Isn’t it true, Judge Starr, that you did release before the election — months before the election what amounts to an exoneration of the president with respect to the Vince Foster matter; is that correct?


GEKAS: Months before the election. And may I ask you this: in what form did you exonerate the president? What formal step did you take in the Vince Foster matter to end that case? Do you report back to the attorney general?

STARR: In that particular instance, we issued a report, we filed it with the special division, and then made the report public, so that it could address what we saw as these lingering questions with respect to the cause of death. It was a suicide by Mr. Foster. And we…

GEKAS: And you felt comfortable in exonerating the president.

STARR: OH, yes.

GEKAS: Mr. Conyers in his — my friend John from Michigan went through a litany of tremendous clients that your law firm represents. In fact, when I finish my tour in Congress, I’d like to talk with you.


But may I ask you this: Was your law firm — were you a part of that law firm that represented these clients when you exonerated the president in the Vince Foster matter?


GEKAS: Were these clients still on the books of your firm when you came to the conclusion that there was no connection in the Filegate matter to the president?


GEKAS: Was your law firm and you involved in these tremendous clients that were mentioned at the time that you made a decision that there’s probably no connection in Travelgate directly to the president?


GEKAS: I thought you’d answer that.


I am disturbed about something, though, that I found right from the first moment that I reviewed the — your referral, and that was the emphasis you put on, with respect to the — what you would characterize as the misuse of executive privilege…


GEKAS: … by the president. On page 204 of your — of this version of the referral, you make a — a separate allegation that the president’s actions were inconsistent with his constitutional duty to faithfully execute the laws, and you put in there that he did so — did fail in that regard, because he continuously used executive privilege.GEKAS: The first thing that I thought was — and I have not been disabused of it since then — is that the mere assertion by the president of a right like that, even if he objectively could be said knew what the result would be ultimately by the Supreme Court or appellate courts, I do not find that automatically or prime facie or even now at this latter stage of the proceedings to be something that the president should be debited on this case.

But then my mind was settled a little bit when you said in your testimony that even apart from the matters concerning executive privilege and the like, you did feel very strongly about the questions of perjury. And just like many of us, it is going to be very difficult for us to set aside that deep emotional feeling that we have about the construct of law enforcement and the judicial system in our country.

I can set aside any abuses of power, if they are called that, with respect to the assertion of executive privilege, and I ask you now: Didn’t you sort of prioritize in that regard when you said, setting apart the questions of executive privilege, you too feel strongly about perjury as an element in your referral?

STARR: Yes. Congressman, I would say these things.

One, we believe the issues with respect to false statements under oath and alike are very serious and the facts are there for you to evaluate. And you are evaluating those.

With respect to the abuse of power, it is a judgment call, and you have come to at least your tentative judgment. And obviously, as I said to Congressman Conyers, it is now your prerogative to come to your own considered judgment as to what is right.

May I say very briefly on executive privilege, I do think that it is an abuse of a very important constitutional principle for such a special principle, executive privilege, which I strongly believe in — and I defend the concept of executive privilege — to be invoked with respect to the nonofficial activities of the president of the United States. I think it’s improper. But it is your judgment that controls and not mine.

GEKAS: With one — I ask unanimous consent for 30 seconds.

HYDE: Without objection — much.

GEKAS: Without much objection.


But can we not come to the conclusion in evaluating executive privilege asserted by the president that he might have felt on any one of them where he exerted it that — that to give him the extreme benefit of the doubt, that he felt that the — that the office of the presidency had to be protected even in mundane or other matters which you find could be a misuse of power?

STARR: I’m sure that is the view of the president, and we came to a different view. But as I say, it’s now your judgment.

GEKAS: I yield back the balance of my non-time.

HYDE: Yes, I thank the gentleman. The chair will declare a very short recess until five minutes after 4:00 to give everyone a little stretch. And if you will please wait and let Mr. Starr — let Judge Starr leave the room first. And then we’ll be back at five after 4:00.


HYDE: Will the committee come to order?

A couple of little commentaries, if I may. When you watch a football game on Saturday or Sunday, you notice they have a two-minute warning and these scheduled interruptions.

Well, now, congressional committees have the same situation. We have to give a two minute warning to the network television, and so, that’s why we seem to be suspended up here doing nothing. We’re waiting for the appropriate time.

The chair would like to announce we’re going to finish this evening. Some of you may be wondering how long we’re going to go. I have no idea. But rather than come back tomorrow, we’re going to do the job today.

So I plead with my fellow members, if you have to ask a question, I hope it’s a burning issue with you and not something just of idle curiosity. And I’m looking at you, Mr. Delahunt.


DELAHUNT: I’m not idly curious — are we going to take a supper break?

HYDE: No, we won’t take a supper break. We’ll go straight through. We’ll keep the jury locked up without food and water, right?

(UNKNOWN): We’re sequestered, I take it.

HYDE: That’s right. You may send out for pizza.


There will be a meeting — there will be a meeting after Judge Starr has completed his testimony. We will then have another — we will have a full meeting of the committee to do so business on subpoenas. So just be advised.

FRANK: (OFF-MIKE) on the Mall, will a police officer accompany us?


HYDE: If you’re walking around the mall, I would want two police officers.


It is now, well, a mixed pleasure to ask the senator-elect from the great state of New York and one of our very valuable members whom we will miss, Charles Schumer, to interrogate, question our witness — for five minutes.

SCHUMER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I will miss you and this committee, not so much today, but for many of the other things that we have done together.

Today, Mr. Starr, today after nearly five years of investigation, we conduct today’s impeachment hearing having just received boxes of new documents from your office concerning Webster Hubbell and have just learned from the chairman that we will be voting on deposing new witnesses involving the Kathleen Willey matter. And Mr. Chairman, I would say this to all of us on this committee. Maybe we should hang a sign outside the Judiciary Committee that says, out to lunch, gone fishing.

We were out to lunch because we’re so far afield of what the American people want us to do. We’ve gone fishing because despite a five-year fishing expedition which has yielded nothing more than allegations revolving around a tawdry sex scandal this committee is still trying to bait the hook.

What has disturbed me about the twists and turns of this investigation and these proceedings is that instead of seeking justice, too many are intent on winning the war. So when there’s not enough evidence for impeachment, you bring in John Huang’s name or Kathleen Willey to prop up the case. And I say to my Republican colleagues that the irony is that the harder you try to win the war, the more you lose the hearts and minds of the American people.

Now, for Mr. Starr, the OIC has basically made three allegations against the president, three types of allegations — perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power, all stemming from the president’s admitted improper relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

To me, as I have said, and you have stated in your report, it’s clear that the president lied when he testified before the grand jury, not to cover a crime, but to cover embarrassing personal behavior. And as I have said before, the president’s actions deserve to be punished, not as a political denouement, but because what the president has done is a serious matter that cannot go unanswered.

SCHUMER: However, it is clear to me that if this case, as it seems to be and as it seems clear to me, is only about sex and lying about sex, that it will never be found impeachable by Congress, nor should it be.

As I interpret the Constitution and the Federalist Papers — an interpretation that is diametrically opposed to yours, Mr. Starr — it’s obvious that this does not reach the standard of high crimes and misdemeanors as set forth in the Constitution.

The innate and sound wisdom of the American people that lying about an extramarital affair should not lead to the removal of a duly elected president from office is far more in keeping with the founding fathers’ visions of impeachment than your legalistic arguments, Mr. Starr.

So thus, if it — it seems to me that if the charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice lack compelling evidence, then the vast majority of Americans and a strong majority in this House will not vote for impeachment.

So I’d like to ask you a few questions on the obstruction charge — charges. I am not asking you about abuse of power because that has already been rejected as out of hand by even the president’s harshest critics in the Republican Party. And I’m going to ask you three sets of short questions for you to answer together, and that will be the end of my questioning, so you’ll have the rest of the time to answer.

First, on August 20th, 1998, Ms. Lewinsky testified that — quote — “no one ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence” — unquote. That was in response to a question by a grand juror.

Let me ask you again, because I know Mr. Lowell asked this, but I didn’t find the answer adequate.

Why wasn’t this statement directly included in your 455-page referral to Congress — not in a footnote and not paraphrased? Isn’t that relevant — trenchantly relevant information about what we’re doing?

And if you are so dispassionate about simply producing the facts, why wouldn’t you have included the statement verbatim and in quotes, particularly on a matter as important as impeachment?

Second, regarding the Lewinsky job search, if the president and his staff began to find Monica Lewinsky a job some time after December 5th, 1997, the date she first appeared on the witness list, that might lead one to your conclusion that there was an attempt to influence her testimony. But since the job search began more than 18 months prior, doesn’t that cast into serious doubt an obstruction argument?

You are assuming that once the White House knew of the deposition of Lewinsky, their reason for getting her a job totally changed when it seems at least as logical that the reasons remained the same — mainly that they wanted to get her away from the White House for the obvious — same reason that they did before they knew of any deposition. And again, shouldn’t we set an impeachment bar high enough so that a 50/50 proposition like this does not set off a constitutional crisis?

And third, and finally, on January the 18th, the president had the conversation with Betty Currie. Isn’t it true that on that date, she was not listed as a deposition or a trial witness in the Jones case or any other case? For obstruction or subornation, the president would have to know that she was to be called as a witness. There’s another logical reason that he didn’t want Betty Currie to talk about this. He may not have wanted the press to know. He may not have wanted his family to know.

HYDE: Can you wind up, Mr. Schumer?

SCHUMER: Yes, this is my last — and again, given the weighty matter of impeachment, shouldn’t there be more evidence than just your surmise that the president knew that Currie would be called as a witness?

Your answers, Mr. Starr.

STARR: Senator-elect and Congressman Schumer, question one — we did supply the information.

STARR: The reason that you’re having, of course, these questions, with respect to the referral, is because we produced everything that was relevant to your assessment of Ms. Lewinsky, and I stand by what we said in page-174 of the referral. I think it’s fair, in light of our assessment, but your assessment, of course, may very well be different with respect to that one item.

SCHUMER: I asked why you didn’t put it in the report, in full, fully quoted?

STARR: Because we do not think it is consistent with the truth, and it would be misleading to say, in our judgment, and I understand you may disagree with this, but we specifically said at page-174, not in a footnote: “Ms. Lewinsky has stated that the president never explicitly told her to lie.” If one finds that inadequate, then one find its inadequate. It is your judgment. But we were holding nothing back, the referral contains the information, you have, also, the grand jury transcripts.

I’ll be very brief. With respect to the December 5, 1997, matter — and again, this is an assessment of facts — our professional assessment of the facts included such significant things as a great stepping up of the efforts to get her a job, especially once the witness list issued, and the referral speaks to that in fairly elaborate detail, in how Mr. Jordan became very active in that effort. Again, it’s our assessment of the facts.

SCHUMER: It could reasonable — assessment the other way, I presume?

STARR: Well, I’ve come to my assessment, based upon my colleagues who are professional prosecutors’ assessment of the facts.

SCHUMER: Beyond a reasonable doubt?

STARR: That’s, by no means, is that our standard.

SCHUMER: I understand. Thank you.

STARR: Because, as you quite rightly note, the question is substantial and credible. And with respect to Betty Currie, I would simply guide the Congress again, the House, again, to the substance of the president’s testimony and how she was injected into the matter by the president in his testimony, and we think that does have significant… SCHUMER: With all due respect, sir, that doesn’t answer my question, which was not how she was injected or what the substance was? Please, Mr. Chairman, just — you didn’t answer my question directly. But how did you come to realize that the president knew that she would be called as a witness, when there was no mention of it at that time? Is this just surmise, or do you have any factual evidence that the president knew that she would be called as a witness? We understand he wanted her not to tell the truth, but we don’t know to whom. Where’s your evidence?

STARR: The evidence is not that she was on a witness list. You are quite right. She was not on a witness list and we never said she was. What we did say is that the transcripts of the president’s January 17, deposition, shows that he was injecting Betty Currie into the matter and saying — may I finish? — and saying, specifically, you will have to ask Betty. That raises…

SCHUMER: Nothing to do with the legal proceeding, sir, and that’s the heart of subornation.

HYDE: All right. The gentleman’s time has finally expired. The gentleman from North Carolina, Mr. Coble.

COBLE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Judge Starr, you have become the bull’s-eye of the target upon which several aspiring political gunslingers have fired. A recent AP story quoted a Democrat member of this Congress, saying “the House Judiciary Committee Republicans are looking for a way to wiggle out of this mess.” Now let me get this straight. President Clinton was involved in an illicit sexual affair — strike that. Illicit sexual affairs in the White House with a young White House intern of tender years.

COBLE: President Clinton subsequently assured all America that he did not have an improper relationship with that woman. President Clinton, continuing his denial, spoke untruthfully in a deposition, or interrogatory, and before a federal grand jury causing perjury to rear its ugly head. And for all of this, you are the bullseye of the target and the House Republicans are trying to wiggle a way out of the mess.

I obviously missed class that day, because as I review my material and notes, common sense and reality are consciously absent.

Judge Starr, if one-half of the unfavorable comments leveled at you are proved, you probably should be keelhauled.

I’m inclined to dismiss most of them, and as evidenced by your demeanor today, I think most of that trashing was probably just that, trashing.

Now I’ll admit, I’m not happy with the cost of this investigation. But some of that must be attributed to the president’s delaying and deceptive and evasive tactics.

Let me go to page 21, Judge Starr. That’s (OFF-MIKE) what you were referring to earlier. Whereas it says as the facts suggest the president was attempting to improperly coach Ms. Currie at a time when she was not a potential witness — shouldn’t the word “not” be deleted there?

STARR: Yes, thank you, Congressman. And in fact, I think the corrected version, which should have come up this morning, should make it clear that she was a potential witness.

COBLE: We’re now (OFF-MIKE) that she was a potential witness.

STARR: Yes, and I must say because you’ve been kind enough to raise that, I would just say in response to issues about potential witnesses that federal law is clear that these prohibitions against importuning and coaching a witness do indeed go to a potential witness.

COBLE: And I think the word “not” does appear in many of these, of our scripts.

STARR: I apologize for that.

COBLE: Judge Starr, what evidence did you find to support your conclusion that President Clinton’s action involved public misconduct as opposed to private misconduct (a)? And (b) what evidence, if any, is there that President Clinton breached the public trust?

STARR: Well, Congressman, I’ll be as brief as I can. In terms of the public nature of the conduct, it seemed to me, as I sought to set out both in the referral and this morning, that the key is this is no longer — and I respectfully disagree, but it’s not my judgment that governs here — I respectfully disagree with the suggestion that this is — quote — “lying about a private sexual relationship.” Rather this is the integrity of the judicial process.

These are courts we’re now talking about. These are judges, and a district judge is sitting and presiding. And that is, it seems to me, what made that dimension of it very public.

But the other aspect, which we do enumerate in counts or grounds 10 and 11, which are before you, is that in a variety of ways, the president used the powers and influence of the presidency to carry out this continued effort to deny and to delay, including, I believe — and this goes back to an earlier comment — when one looks at the pattern of activity that we summarize in grounds 10 and 11, one will see a course of conduct that I believe does in fact go to your point, both of your points.

COBLE: Chairman Hyde, it can be done in five minutes, but the red light has not yet illuminated, and I yield back the balance of my time.

HYDE: I thank the gentleman. The distinguished gentleman from Los Angeles, Mr. Berman.

BERMAN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I’ve read the referral, and I’ve listened to the testimony. With one possible exception, Judge Starr has answered the 595(c) and other matters, issues that I had concerns about, and I’d like to reserve the balance of my time at this point.

HYDE: I’m sorry.

BERMAN: I would like to reserve the balance of my time.

HYDE: You certainly may. Well, you say he can’t, but I’m going to let him do it.


Mr. — he’s a good man. We’ll let him do it.


But I have a short memory. The gentleman from Texas, Lamar Smith.

SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Judge Starr, your friends know you to be a dedicated husband and father, and an individual of impeccable integrity. On the professional level, you have served with distinction as a U.S. Circuit Court judge, as solicitor general of the United States, and as an adviser to the Senate Ethics Committee.

Those qualities of personal integrity and professional respectability haven’t changed, but the rules of engagement have. As a practicing attorney, you were accustomed to legal procedures that put you on an equal footing with the other side. But as independent counsel, you were prohibited from commenting publicly on the details of the case even as you were unfairly savaged on a daily basis.

So I understand why you welcome the opportunity today to testify and to respond to your — our questions as you have done so well. Judge Starr, during your investigation, the president claimed executive privilege to withhold information from you and prevent witnesses from testifying. While those claims were ultimately overruled by the courts, they did cause long-term delays, and in fact, as you’ve said, obstructed your investigation.

Executive privilege only allows the president to protect national security secrets. It cannot be used to interfere with a criminal investigation. Since President Clinton and his lawyers knew the law, they also knew that their claims of executive privilege were not legal.

President Clinton’s claims were thrown out by the courts, but not before they delayed your investigation by many months, and perhaps over a year.

Meanwhile, the White House complained that your investigation was taking too long. In short, the president took executive privilege, which is supposed to safeguard our country’s national security, and misused it to obstruct the investigation. As you said in your opening statement, this is arguably an abuse of power.

Judge Starr, my first question is this: In your referral, you said that the president had a pattern of invoking and then withdrawing executive privilege to delay your investigation. Could you give us examples of this?

STARR: Yes. The president would, in fact, through his attorneys, invoke executive privilege with respect to one or more witnesses, and when we would take the issue to litigation, I will be very specific.

The president invoked, or the witness, I should say, but had to do it at the direction of the president, namely Nancy Hernreich.

STARR: Nancy Hernreich does not carry on, and by her own admission, a policy role at the White House.

She does have an important function at the White House. She manages the Oval Office operations. It’s a very important function. But that is not the kind of function that the principle of executive privilege was meant to protect. When we then, shall I say, called the lawyers on that, then it was withdrawn. That has happened to us before. It happened to us in the Arkansas phase of the litigation as well.

Moreover, as we point out, the president told the grand jury on August 17 that he had no interest in this save — and I’m roughly paraphrasing here — having the matter litigated. So, it was as if it was to preserve the presidency and presidential prerogative.

The history, when one then analyses the facts, does not support that conclusion.

SMITH: OK. Thank you, Judge Starr. And another question, President Clinton told the American people several times that he supported the public release of the court documents he used to claim executive privilege. Is that accurate?

STARR: The answer is partially — I would want to review the facts, because I want to be fair. But there was in fact not, shall I say, a ready willingness to allow, for example, public access to the executive privilege hearings and so forth. So, I don’t want to be condemnatory, but I would say that the president did not show a strong interest in having this released quickly.

SMITH: Judge Starr, a few minutes ago, counsel for the committee read an excerpt from a book written by Leon Jaworski. Let me read some other words that Leon Jaworski wrote in a book called “The Right and the Power,” which was about his experience as a special prosecutor during the Nixon impeachment proceedings.

Quote, “No government office, not even the highest office in the land, carries with it the right to ignore the law’s command any more than the orders of a superior can be used by government officers to justify illegal behavior.

“There was evidence that the president conspired with others to violate 18 United States Code, page 1623, perjury, which included the president’s direct and personal efforts to encourage and facilitate the giving of misleading and false testimony by aides. For the number one law enforcement officer of the country, it was in my opinion as demeaning an act as could be imagined.” End quote.

Do you think that passage from Leon Jaworski’s book has application to the case at hand?

STARR: I do. My own view is Colonel Jaworski, were he here, would say, it is your judgment. But these matters are serious and clearly deserve to be analyzed in terms of the importance to our system of truthfulness and taking the oath of office seriously and the oath of a witness seriously.

And yes, I do think that Mr. Jaworski, were he alive today, would say, if lying to the American people is grounds for impeachment — as he thought it was, I believe — he would say lying under oath is as well.

But again, it’s your judgment.

SMITH: Thank you, Judge Starr. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired. The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Boucher.

BOUCHER: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Starr, while you were not a witness to the facts which are at the base of your investigation and also your September referral to the House, I note that for a number of years, you served as the solicitor general of the United States, and in that capacity represented the United States government in a variety of cases before the U.S. Supreme Court.

BOUCHER: I know a number of those cases during that period involved constitutional issues. So in my opinion, that experience well qualifies you to answer questions on some of the broad matters of constitutional dimension that it will now be the responsibility of this committee to consider.

Since your referral was received by the House in September, there’s been a great deal of discussion about the importance of the rule of law, and about the importance of the principle that no individual, including the president of the United States, should be above the law. It’s also been suggested by some that the rule of law is only observed and that principle only honored. If it is found that the president has committed a criminal offense while in office, he must then be impeached and removed from office.

But my readings on the Constitution suggest that impeachment was never intended to be a punishment for individual misconduct. Instead it was intended to protect the country. It was designed to advance the public interest and to remove a chief executive whose conduct was so severe that it fundamentally impairs the functioning of his presidential office.

Punishment for the individual can occur in a normal course and through the normal functioning of the criminal justice process.

So I have three questions for you. I’ll pose these and then you’ll have the balance of the time in which to provide your answer. First, Mr. Starr, do you believe the president would be vulnerable to the criminal law process for whatever crimes if any he may have committed while in office after he leaves the office? Would he be subject to the criminal law process after he leaves the office, assuming that the statute of limitations for that particular conduct has not expired at the time that an indictment is brought?

And in answering that question, I would refer you to the provisions of Article 1, Section 3 of the Constitution, which states as follows: “Judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States. But the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment according to law.”

And I would assume from that language there would be no doubt that the president would be subjected to the normal criminal justice process once he leaves office. I would appreciate your concurrence, or if you choose, difference with that conclusion. Secondly, am I correct in assuming that the federal criminal statute of limitations for the perjury and the other offenses that are stated in your September referral is five years, and therefore, that the statute will not have expired by the time this president leaves office in the year 2001?

And third, if you agree that the president could be subjected to the regular process of the criminal law upon his normal departure from office in 2001, just as any other person could be subjected to that process, would you not also agree that in subjecting the president to the criminal law process the rule of law itself would be well served and that would also well serve the principal that no person, including the president, is above the law?

So there are three questions that I have for you. First, is a president subject to criminal prosecution when he leaves office for offenses committed while in the office? Secondly, would there be sufficient time within the statute of limitations for prosecution of the perjury and other offenses suggested in your referral of September after the president leaves office? And third, does not that process well serve as a complete assurance that the rule of law will be fully observed?

Your answers, please.

STARR: As to question, one, I agree with your reading. I think the plain language suggests exactly that — that the framers did intend for their to be separate proceedings.

STARR: And I also agree with your comment, if I could just add this, that it was not intended to be a sanction in the sense of the criminal law serving the deterrent purposes and the life that the criminal law at its best is designed to serve.

I also would answer yes to your second question in terms of our — my reading, I should say, of the statute of limitations.

In terms of rule of law values, I certainly think that there is strength in the proposition that no person should be above the law, but I would also say that there is a fundamental fairness question in my mind, charged as I am as an independent counsel, with opining in any way that could be interpreted as sort of a call as to what the appropriate disposition would be of a particular matter.

I know what my duty is. One may disagree with my reading of my duty, but it was to send you this.

And then I think in terms of fundamental fairness to all the individuals involved, one simply has to assess that after this body has done its duty and reached its judgment, but it would be, I think, wrong to answer that — it would be right to vindicate the rule of law for criminal charges to be returned. I think that before we — let me be very — may I, Mr. Chairman?

HYDE: Please, go ahead.

STARR: Before we ever seek an indictment, we engage not only — and I would hope any prosecutor’s office would do that — a very careful assessment of the facts, the elements of the offense and the like. We go through each of the elements. We look at the witnesses and the documentary evidence and the like. And then we have to satisfy, following Justice Department standards, is it more likely than not that a fair-minded jury would convict, based on these facts, with the witnesses — and we take the witnesses as we find them — beyond a reasonable doubt?

Those are judgment calls that I hope that you will excuse me, in terms of fairness, in not speaking so directly to in terms of your third question.

HYDE: The gentleman’s time has expired. The gentleman from California, Mr. Gallegly.

GALLEGLY: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Judge Starr, this has been a long day and we still have a long way to go before it’s over, so I really appreciate your effort to address all of the concerns of this committee and thank you for being here.

I’d like to speak briefly to the credibility of some of the witnesses that you interviewed during this course of the last several months.

Several key witnesses provided important testimony under oath before the grand jury. In numerous instances, their version of events conflicted with the testimony of the president. I’d like to know your observation of the witnesses, and in evaluating the corroborating evidence, assess the truthfulness, specifically of Monica Lewinsky, Betty Currie and Vernon Jordan. If you could kind of give us a brief assessment of how you feel their credibility is.

STARR: It is with some reluctance that I answer this because of fundamental fairness concerns. But let me say this.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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