THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. Bob Barr Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. BARR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. As the day draws longer, the charges become more absurd. I think I heard -- maybe I was mistaken -- that we were going in the direction, with the last line of questioning, with Monica entrapping the president. Now, there's a rich one. I suppose that's the same as the president being trapped into perjury.
As a matter of law, is it not well-established, Judge Starr, that there is no such thing as being trapped into perjury?
MR. STARR: Yes, that is true.
REP. BARR: One can never be forced to tell a lie before a grand jury or a federal court. Is that correct legally?
MR. STARR: There is no excuse for telling a lie. You're correct -- I mean, under oath.
REP. BARR: Let me offer up several presumptions and then ask you a question. Let's presume, Judge Starr, that Linda Tripp is a really nasty person. Let's presume further, Judge Starr, for purposes of a hypothetical, that Lucianne Goldberg is a crafty manipulator. Let's presume that Monica is an oversexed blabbermouth. Let's presume that there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy out there somewhere. It may be at work here today. Let's presume that Paula Jones really was interested just in the money. Let's presume that the independent counsel statute is not a perfect statute. And let's presume that, horror of horrors, you use tobacco products.
Let's presume all of those awful things. Would any of that, in your professional judgment, change the conclusions contained in your referral and in your testimony today that there is substantial and credible evidence that President William Jefferson Clinton may have committed impeachable offenses?
MR. STARR: It would not change it. The facts have a real power to them. And it was Justice Brandeis who said, "Facts, facts, facts, give me facts." And that's what we've sought to do, Congressman, in this referral.
REP. BARR: You have. And I commend you for standing up to the nonsense -- and that's putting it mildly -- that you have had to put up with today in questions by the other side and in the last several years. And I really do commend you for your ability to stand up in the face of that and stick to the facts and stick to the law.
Talking briefly about the law, Judge Starr, we are not limited here in this committee just to what you present to us, are we, in considering whether or not, pursuant to the House resolution directing that we look into the possible impeachment of William Jefferson Clinton, to just what you have presented, are we?
MR. STARR: Not at all. I had a statutory duty, but you have a constitutional duty.
REP. BARR: Thank you. I do have one quick question. Then I'd like to -- if we could have my paper distributed, please, to the members and Judge Starr. But before I refer to that, with regard to your reference to the FBI file case on page 47 of your written testimony, Judge Starr, has your office interviewed or deposed Mack McLarty with regard to Filegate?
MR. STARR: I cannot recall off the top of my head whether we conducted that particular interview or not. I will say this, and I can check and again get back to the committee, but my evaluation and assessment, based on the professional prosecutors who carried this out, is that it was thorough. But I would have to check on that.
REP. BARR: Okay, I would appreciate it, because your conclusion there left me a little bit concerned, because I hear a great deal from the American people of concern about abuse by the FBI in Filegate. And it's my understanding that there are a number of people that have not yet been deposed or fully deposed in that case, and I really would appreciate it if you would check on that and so we don't completely close the door on that.
There is a document which I believe has been distributed. This is a document that I will introduce into the record with my written comments by Jerome Ziefman (sp), the former chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee in 1973 and 1974. And it is rather extensive. And I have no -- I'm not going to make you read it today. I would respectfully ask that you do take a look at it, because Mr. Ziefman raises a very interesting question, and that is something also that you touched on in your written testimony, and that is bribery.
Under 18 USC 201, which you're very familiar with, one, I think, could very legitimately make the case that with regard to the Webb Hubbell payments of several hundred thousands of dollars, including from foreign sources, which is part of the pattern of activity that you talked about earlier, which we see also in what appears to be an effort to buy either the silence of Monica Lewinsky, obviously unsuccessful, or offering a job to have her shave her testimony in some way.
Is it not correct that if you do look at 18 USC 201, which is the bribery statute, that it would appear that many of the allegations concerning the payoffs and the evidence relating thereto could fall within 18 USC 201 and could also form the basis for an impeachment article?
MR. STARR: Well, again, we have given you our legal assessment. And I know that prosecutors and obviously members of Congress can look at the law. We have not taken it through an analysis with respect to the bribery statute. And I think I should, if you would permit me to do that, withhold judgment in terms of the legal analysis so that I'm not making an off-the-cuff statement, notwithstanding my familiarity with the statute in light of the various elements of the offense set forth in the bribery statute.
But I do think that at a minimum, very serious questions are raised that are now here for you to evaluate in your own way.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Delahunt.
REP. BARR: And this would also --
REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired. Mr. Delahunt.
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