THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. Asa Hutchinson Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. ASA HUTCHINSON (R-AR): Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Starr, in following up, am I correct that the appropriate District Court judge reviewed the conduct of the agents at the time they initially interviewed Monica Lewinsky and found that no due process was violated?
MR. STARR: Well, it was put in terms of a right to counsel, and there apparently are issues with respect to the orders. I'm doing my best to recall the judge's order. But the judge in fact determined that there was no violation of a constitutional right. That's my best recollection. But the order will speak for itself.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Well, I want to thank you for your willingness to appear here today. And going back to earlier in the day when we had the dispute over how much time, I do hope and welcome the president's counsel to have an equal time in presentation with what you have done today, and I trust that they will graciously submit to questions by the members of this body as you have done.
I wanted to go back to your testimony, page 34 of your testimony you testified the Constitution provides for two separate proceedings, the impeachment trial and a separate criminal trial. And Mr. Boucher I believe asked some questions in regard to this. But would it be within your jurisdiction to pursue any criminal conduct if there was perjury that occurred in this case, or obstruction of justice?
MR. STARR: Yes, congressman, I believe that under the grant by the attorney general and the special division there would be jurisdiction in our office.
REP. HUTCHINSON: And I assume the fact that you referred this to the Congress of the United States as substantial and credible evidence that obstruction of justice and perjury occurred, that that would have to be a consideration in your office as to whether criminal proceedings should be initiated?
MR. STARR: That is exactly correct.
REP. HUTCHINSON: And you have to make a determination whether that can be done during the president's term of office or after he leaves office?
MR. STARR: That would certainly be an issue.
REP. HUTCHINSON: And do you have an opinion in that regard? If you uncomfortable answering that, feel free to say so.
MR. STARR: I am uncomfortable answering it. I think it is an enormously important issue on which there is a lot of difference of opinion in terms of what is appropriate in our constitutional order.
So I am reluctant without the most careful thought to speak to that, if you would indulge me that.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Well, the point I'm making obviously is that everybody says that the people in the country want to get this behind us, and I think that is established. And how do you get it behind us? We've had a gentleman from the other side of the aisle talk about the president committed perjury and he ought to be punished. Now, I haven't reached that conclusion yet, but if you reach that conclusion he ought to be punished and you don't believe it's an impeachable offense, that means that the independent counsel initiates criminal prosecution against the president of the United States, and I don't see how that gets behind us. And I think that's a heavy issue that I know that you have to weigh, as well as this committee has to weigh.
Now, if we go on through that -- let me just go on to some other questions here. In your referral you referred on pages seven, eight and nine to a pattern of conduct, and that was really the basis on which you asked -- or that the attorney general gave you an expanded jurisdiction in the Monica Lewinsky case. That pattern of conduct you referred to involved Webster Hubbell -- am I correct?
MR. STARR: That is correct.
REP. HUTCHINSON: And then in your testimony today at page 45 you indicate that there was in June of '94 $100,000 paid to Webster Hubbell from James Riady. And James Riady is represented -- the Riady Group in this country -- by John Huang. There have been published reports that John Huang is a cooperating witness. And so my question to you would be is John Huang a relevant witness in the pattern of conduct you referred to in the original report? And then I want to ask you this -- well, go ahead and answer that if you could.
MR. STARR: I would prefer to reflect on that and answer that in a more sober way if I could, as opposed to an impromptu response, because that's, in terms of the relevancy of a witness at this stage, in light of, you know, our coming to judgment which we reached after a lot of deliberation, and we did not include him in the referral. So I would be happy to answer that.
REP. HUTCHINSON: Do we have all the material at the present time that's relevant to this referral and the pattern of conduct that you really based your jurisdiction on?
MR. STARR: I believe that you do. I know there are still some issues, but they're -- but I believe that you do, congressman.
REP. HUTCHINSON: I think it's important, you know, that we have this information now, and not at the conclusion of the hearing process. So I know that you are laboring diligently for that, but I'd certainly urge you to get everything over to us that's possible, and out of respect for the chair I will stop.
REP. HYDE: God love you, Mr. Hutchinson. (Laughter.)
The gentleman from New Jersey, Mr. Rothman.
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