|Ken Starr before House Judiciary
Questions from Rep. Bill McCollum (R-Florida) and Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts).
MCCOLLUM: 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.
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?
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 [Norma Holloway Johnson [of the DC district court] has found 24 instances of prima facie violations by your office of Rule 16 [prohibiting the leaking of Grand Jury testimony]. 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) [which prohibits the leaking of Grand Jury testimony] 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.
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 [other investigations of Clinton undertaken by the Independent Counsel].
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 [Nov. 1998] 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.