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Statement by Starr's Spokesman

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, September 9, 1998; 6:03 p.m. EDT

Statement by Charles Bakaly, spokesman for Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, following Wednesday's delivery of the Whitewater report to Congress, as recorded by the Federal Document Clearing House. Bakaly was joined by Deputy Independent Counsel Robert Bittman.

Today, following the Ethics in Government Act, as required by the Ethics in Government Act, and with the authorization of the court supervising independent counsels, the Office of Independent Counsel submitted a referral to the House of Representatives containing substantial and credible information that may constitute grounds for impeachment of the president of the United States.

We have just -- Mr. Bittman has -- delivered transmittal letter to both the speaker and to the Democratic leader of the House.

The independent counsel statute requires that the independent counsel advise the House of Representatives if the independent counsel receives substantial and credible information of potential impeachable offenses.

The office has fulfilled its duty under the law. Responsibility for the information that we have transmitted today and for any further action now lie with the Congress as provided for by the Constitution.

Thank you.

Q: Can you sum up the conclusions?

BAKALY: No, we cannot. The Office of Independent Counsel is not going to make any public statement about the contents of the referral. All that information now is with the House of Representatives and we will not be discussing it publicly.

Q: Mr. Bakaly, this process, which was a very public symbolic process was quite a contrast to the months of secrecy. Can you explain this contrast here?

BAKALY: The criminal investigation under our system is conducted by the grand jury in secrecy and that is for the protection of the people who are involved. So by definition, a grand jury investigation has to be conducted and should be conducted in secret.

And prosecutors are forbidden from talking about the evidence gained in the investigation.

The independent counsel statute itself specifically provides that independent counsel shall advise the House of Representatives -- House of Representatives if we receive substantial and credible information of impeachable offenses.

So we felt that it was -- concurring with that statute that we had an obligation, independent counsel did, to provide that information directly to the speaker as well as to the Democratic leader, and that is what we did today.

Q: Have you provided grand jury material to the Congress?

BAKALY: The -- I'm not going to discuss what information -- what the information has been submitted.

Q: This is an historic day. Can either of you, Mr. Bittman in particular, comment on the historic day that this is? Your particular feelings about the delivery of this report?

BITTMAN: No.

BAKALY: No, as I said before, we have fulfilled our duty consistent with the oath that we took at the office, and we have fulfilled our duty. We have gathered the information, and now, we have submitted it to Congress, which is what's provided for in the act. And now it is with them.

Q: (off microphone) this work, or his office still going to continue?

BAKALY: The Office of Independent Counsel's investigation is still continuing.

Q: (off microphone) scope of the material that was sent here? Is it Monica Lewinsky-related alone, or does it incorporate other aspects of your investigation?

BAKALY: We're not going to discuss the grounds. We are still bound by the restrictions. We're not going to discuss the information that is contained in what we referred to the House. That is...

Q: Why did Mr. Starr not come up here with the documents?

BAKALY: Mr. Starr has things he's doing. We did the transmittal. He sent a letter. We -- no significance one way or the other to draw from that.

Q: When does Congress get its first peek at this?

BAKALY: It is in their custody and control now. It is now no longer in our custody.

Thank you.

Q: Mr. Bakaly, impeachable for what, sir?

BAKALY: Can't talk about the grounds or the substance of the report.

© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press

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