THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. Charles canady Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Florida, Mr. canady.
REP. CHARLES canady (R-FL): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Starr, I want to thank you for coming today. I appreciate your testimony. And as I have listened to the questions this afternoon, and as I have observed the response to your referral and the response to your investigation over the course of this year and actually prior to this year, I have been reminded of something a lawyer said about 2000 years ago giving advice to other lawyers. He said, and I paraphrase, If you don't have an argument abuse the other side.
Lawyers today I think are all familiar with advice that -- if the facts are against you, argue the law; if the law is against you, argue the facts; and if the law and the facts are against you, just argue like the devil. And I think what we are seeing here --
REP. HYDE: Would the gentleman yield?
REP. canady: I'd be happy to.
REP. HYDE: I think the punchline on that is beat up on the lawyer.
REP. canady: That's a variation on the same theme. And I think what we are seeing here is a desperate attempt to get away from the facts of the case against the president. Now, I understand that, because I find that the facts are particularly compelling. I think your referral sets forth in great detail a pattern of calculated and sustained misconduct by the president of the United States. And I understand why the president's friends would instinctively react to defend him.
But what is going on in attacking your investigation is not right. It is not consistent with respect for the rule of law. And I believe that the attacks that have been launched against you are without substance. They don't have merit. And even if we could accept for the purpose of argument that some of these attacks had some merit, it's obvious that they do not bear in any way on the reliability or the credibility of the facts of the case against the president.
Now, if someone could show me evidence of misconduct that actually went to the credibility of the evidence -- if they could show me that the evidence was not reliable because of misconduct, and they could prove the misconduct, I think that would be appropriate for us to consider.
But we're not hearing that. What we are hearing here is just a grab bag of -- (inaudible) -- to try to undermine your credibility. And of course this committee's process has been attacked in the same way. Any time we come to the point of talking about the facts of the case with respect to the conduct of William Jefferson Clinton some people cry "Unfair." I think it's fair to talk about his conduct. I think that's what we need to focus on. I think that's our responsibility. And it would be a dereliction of our responsibility if we allowed ourselves to be diverted from that fundamental task that has been given to us by the House of Representatives in the resolution that they adopted.
So that I make by way of a general comment about what's going on. And I am struck by the concern that has been expressed about due process. And I think we should all be concerned about due process. I think that's very important. But I must ask: Where is the concern for due process in a person who lies under oath in a deposition? Where is the concern for due process in a person who withholds evidence and attempts to encourage others to withhold evidence? Where is the respect for due process in someone who coaches a potential witness? Where is the concern for due process in the whole course of conduct which you have outlined in your referral with respect to the president of the United States? I see stunning lack of respect for the due process of law in the conduct of the president of the United States as it is set forth in your referral, and for which we seem to have no rebuttal -- no significant rebuttal offered. I want to know if there is going to be a rebuttal offered to these facts. So far we are not hearing that, and so far in the questions that are being directed to you. The focus is not on the facts of the case. Occasionally they'll touch on that. But the focus is on other things diverted to -- designed to divert attention from the facts of this case.
Now, I felt compelled to say that, because this is a process that needs to be on track, and all of us need to focus on the critical questions here: Did the president of the United States lie under oath in his deposition? Did the president of the United States lie to the grand jury? Did the president of the United States obstruct justice? And did the president of the United States engage in an abuse of his office in the way that you have outlined?
Now, there is not time for you to respond to that, and that is not really meant as a question to you; it's meant as an observation on where this proceeding should be going, and on the attempts that are being made to divert this proceeding from its proper goal.
REP. HYDE: I thank the gentleman. His time is up.
The gentleman from Virginia, Mr. Scott.
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