'It Could Be Evidence' Tuesday, September 22, 1998; Page A29
The House Judiciary Committee yesterday released more than 3,100 pages of evidence bearing on President Clinton's sexual encounters with Monica S. Lewinsky and his efforts to conceal them in the face of a relentless pursuit by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
The information, sometimes startling, sometimes sordid, falls into two broad categories, verified, Starr said, "from a wide variety of sources."
First is the direct testimony of witnesses who were called before grand juries, deposed under oath or interviewed by FBI agents. Second is a mass of detail extracted from White House and Secret Service records, tapes and notes made by Lewinsky's confidante Linda R. Tripp, DNA tests of Lewinsky's semen-stained dress, vitriolic correspondence between opposing lawyers, gift receipts, appointment diaries, telephone logs, financial records and more.
Some of the evidence, such as what one Secret Service officer heard another say, might not be admissible in a courtroom, Starr explained in a summary. But he said he believed "the vast majority of the salient facts" would be. All of the evidence, he submitted, is legitimate grist for an impeachment proceeding.
He said hearsay evidence, for instance, is "appropriate" in this context because members of the House may conduct their own investigation and call witnesses directly to assess the validity of what Starr's written report sets out.
Beyond that, Starr said, "Congress need not adhere to the federal Rules of Evidence when deciding whether to impeach Federal officers." Quoting from handbook on impeachment written by Charles L. Black Jr. in 1974 when the House Judiciary Committee voted to impeach President Nixon, Starr elaborated:
"'[The] technical rules of evidence were elaborated primarily to hold juries within narrow limits. They have no place in the impeachment process. Both the House and the Senate ought to consider all evidence which seems relevant, without regard to technical rules.' "
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