THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. Bob Goodlatte Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. ROBERT GOODLATTE (R-VA): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Judge Starr, thank you for appearing before the committee today. I think it is very helpful for the committee and the American people to have the opportunity to hear you respond to the questions from the other side regarding the conduct of this investigation. I agree very wholeheartedly with the gentleman from Florida that they have not focused on the substance before this committee, which is whether or not the president of the United States committed offenses, including perjury, obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and tampering with witnesses, that may impeachable offenses, if proven to be true. But I do think it's important to let people know how this investigation was conducted.
Nonetheless, I think that it's important that we return back to those issues. And I would, Mr. Chairman, ask that an excerpt from the Congressional Record in 1986, as a part of Judge Claiborne's (sp) impeachment trial in the Senate, be made a part of the record.
REP. HYDE: Without objection, so ordered.
REP. GOODLATTE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
As many may recall, in 1986 Judge Claiborne, a federal judge, was under investigation. This committee voted out articles of impeachment against him, which were adopted by the full House of Representatives, and he stood trial in the Senate.
During that trial, he raised as a defense some very serious charges of prosecutorial misconduct -- far, far more serious than anything that has been raised by folks on the other side of the aisle today, including spearheaded -- that the prosecutor spearheaded an illegal burglary in his home, that exculpatory evidence was withheld, that witnesses were unfairly coached, and other serious charges.
During the trial of that matter, one senator reviewing these serious matters, in fact, stating that "If the claims have merit, steps should be taken to rectify the wrong," also noted, "remedial measures, however, will in no way abrogate the finding that Claiborne has engaged in impeachable conduct."
The senator who made that statement is now the vice president of the United States, Senator Al Gore. And I think it's important to note that in a sense of bipartisanship, and in a sense of seeking justice, and in a sense of upholding the rule of law, that that same type of demeanor and that same type of search for the truth should lead us today.
Judge Starr, do you know what Judge Claiborne was charged with, what his impeachable conduct was?
MR. STARR: Tax offenses, is my recollection.
REP. GOODLATTE: Actually, my understanding is it was perjury and lying under oath. But in any event --
REP. HYDE: Will the gentleman yield?
REP. GOODLATTE: I stand corrected --
REP. HYDE: It was signing a false income tax return.
REP. GOODLATTE: Lying under oath.
REP. HYDE: Yeah.
REP. GOODLATTE: I thank the chairman.
REP. FRANK: (Aside) Is that Richard Nixon we're talking about?
REP. GOODLATTE: I would like to look at the obstruction of justice issue --
REP. HYDE: No, that was Barney Frank.
REP. GOODLATTE: -- if I may, Judge Starr. You have indicated that the evidence that you've gathered shows that the president tried to aid in obtaining a job for Ms. Lewinsky in order to prevent her from telling the truth in a judicial proceeding arising from a civil rights claim of sexual harassment in which he was the named defendant.
There are those who have said, including some here today on the other side of the aisle, that the president's efforts could be interpreted as merely helping an ex-intimate or ex-friend without concern for her testimony. And I don't think you've been given full opportunity to indicate why it is that you come to the first conclusion rather than the second, and I'd like to give you that opportunity now.
MR. STARR: Yes, thank you. The effort to provide a job for her did, as has been noted out, began early on; an effort to assist her in a possible United Nations job. But Ms. Lewinsky made it very clear that she was not interested in that U.N. job, and she, in fact, turned it down even though Ambassador Richardson offered it to her. She then made it quite clear that she wanted a job in the private sector. The early efforts with respect to that project did not go well, they did not go quickly in November of 1997, after she had made her October decision not to seek -- or not to take, I should say, the job that was offered to her by Ambassador Richardson.
After that point, the evidence suggests that there was a significant up-tick in activity, specifically by Mr. Jordan, to find her a job, weighing in, including with Mr. Perelman, the chairman of the board, which was quite unorthodox and unusual, according to Mr. Perelman's testimony -- which is before you -- one of the most wealthy and powerful people in the country.
Mr. Jordan reached out to Mr. Perelman only after it became clear, as of December 5, 1997, that Ms. Lewinsky was on the witness list. Moreover, Mr. Jordan kept the president informed, by his, Mr. Jordan's, testimony -- which could not be clearer -- that he was keeping the president apprised; not keeping Betty Currie apprised. His mission was to keep the president of the United States apprised of activity in two arenas: one, the affidavit, which was perjurious, and secondly, the job. And when he secured the job for her at Revlon -- after her first interview at Revlon had not gone well, Mr. Jordan then interceded, all on behalf of the president's effort to find a place for Ms. Lewinsky. That second round of interviews resulted in, in fact, a job and when it did -- or, a job offer -- when that job offer was then extended, Mr. Jordan, according to his own testimony, indicated he called the president of the United States and said, "Mission accomplished."
Now, to us, that suggests, in light of the December 5 witness list, her being subpoenaed and the like, and the ongoing conversations with Ms. Lewinsky, that there is reason to believe that there was a relationship, a connection, between the job and what she was doing and what it was anticipated that she would do in the litigation itself.
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