THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. Elton Gallegly Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. ELTON GALLEGLY (R-CA): Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Judge Starr, this has been a long day and we still have a long way to go before it's over, so I really appreciate your effort to address all of the concerns of this committee, and thank you for being here.
I would like to speak briefly to the credibility of some of the witnesses that you interviewed during the course of the last several months. Several key witnesses provided important testimony under oath before the grand jury. In numerous instances, their version of events conflicted with the testimony of the president. I would like to know your observation of the witnesses and in evaluating the corroborating evidence, assess the truthfulness specifically of Monica Lewinsky, Betty Currie and Vernon Jordan, if you could kind of give us a brief assessment of how you feel their credibility is.
MR. STARR: It is with some reluctance that I answer this, because of fundamental fairness concerns. But let me say this. With respect to Ms. Lewinsky, I think she desperately does not want to hurt the president.
And at the same time she has a very considerable memory, a recollection, a memory bank of relevant facts that is quite significant.
With respect to Betty Currie, as the --
REP. HYDE: Would the witness withhold for a moment? Those questions are tough questions. I wonder if it isn't awkward for the witness to assess --
REP. GALLEGLY: Well, maybe perhaps if Judge Starr would prefer that I visit another area -- just as we speak, I was handed this pass- out that apparently is being handed out in the hall by -- there's actually no attribution, but I assume it's from our colleagues and friends on the other side of the aisle. And it references contradictory evidence, as it relates to --
MR./REP. : Would the gentleman yield? I don't have a copy of that, so I don't know that we've received it. I'd appreciate a copy of that.
REP. GALLEGLY: Okay. Well, I will see that we get a copy of it. I'm not going to make --
MR./REP. : I've never seen that document before.
REP. GALLEGLY: I'll be happy to do that. But what -- I'm not going to ask specific questions relative this document, other than that there is something being handed out contradicting that the president made an attempt to hide evidence of the gifts that he may have presented to Miss Lewinsky. And I will see this -- ask that this be made a record of the hearing.
But briefly, Judge Starr, if we could revisit the Jones deposition, the president was asked whether he had ever given any gifts to Miss Lewinsky. Does evidence gathered indicate that the president gave false or misleading testimony when he answered, "I don't recall"? And I think that maybe would address this handout that we're receiving.
MR. STARR: Yes. Our assessment -- and this was an assessment shared by the very experienced and career prosecutors -- was that the events of December 28, 1997, must have been so clear and vivid in any reasonable person's recollection that the president would naturally have recalled that on January 17, 1998, less than one month later, given the nature of the events, which are undisputed, of what happened during that Oval Office visit by Ms. Lewinsky to the president over the holiday period. So the recollection was so clear -- or the events were so clear that to suggest that one doesn't recall a Rockettes blanket and the like, the various gifts that were shared between the two, just in our view defied credulity, especially in light of the fact that we did have testimony, which is now before you, that the president is blessed with one of the most powerful memories that many people who have come in contact with a wide variety of people have ever seen.
So we are told the president's memory is extremely strong.
REP. GALLEGLY: But, Judge Starr, would you say that it would be reasonable to say that might selective recall?
MR. STARR: Well, I don't like to get into characterization, but I would simply say I would not resist such a characterization.
REP. GALLEGLY: Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the opportunity to participate, and yield back the balance of my time. And I would like this to be made a record of the hearing.
REP. HYDE: There is some objection to that. Can we discuss that?
REP. GALLEGLY: That's fine.
REP. HYDE: Thank you.
REP. GALLEGLY: I would withdraw that request, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Thank you. The gentleman's time has expired.
The distinguished gentleman from New York, Mr. Nadler.
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