THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. William Jenkins Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. JENKINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Starr, I'd like to thank you for being here, and I'd like to thank you for being very patient over a long, difficult day. And I'd like to say thanks for laboring diligently on behalf of the citizens of this country for many months at a very difficult task.
MR. STARR: Thank you.
REP. JENKINS: And for the most part, I would compliment this committee. Insofar as they have talked about and asked about the Constitution, the law, the facts and the testimony that surround this case, this committee is to be complimented.
But there have been some occasional departures from these subjects. And I do not believe that those departures have necessarily been complimentary of this committee. And so I would like to go back to a line of questioning that Mr. Inglis (?) started.
On page five in paragraph nine of your statement, you said that the president made false statements under oath to a grand jury on August the 17th, 1998. As I understood the gentleman's testimony, Senator-elect Schumer agreed with that statement. And I noticed that you, in most of your characterizations of the evidence, you said that "The evidence suggests," but in this particular instance, you didn't even have that language in. You said that the president made false statements.
Then you voiced an opinion in response to a question by Mr. Inglis, that a reasonable person or a reasonable juror, could find these statements to be material matter under the statute. Now, I'd like to read a statute. It's Title 18, Section 1621. And I'd like to ask you if it's pertinent to this case, and an additional question or two.
It reads, in pertinent part: "Whoever having taken an oath before a competent tribunal, that he will testify truly, willfully and contrary to such oath, states any material fact -- matter -- which he does not believe to be true, is guilty of perjury."
Now, I know it's not your role to determine if a violation of that statute exists, or did exist n this case. But let me ask you the same question Mr. Inglis did: Could a reasonable juror find that all of the elements are present in the evidence in this case, and that there has been a violation of that statute.
MR. STARR: It seems to me that a reasonable juror could. But obviously, that would come at the conclusion of proceedings that would be a full trial. But it seems to me, based on the evidence that is here, if that were the fully body of evidence, that a reasonable jurist could so conclude.
REP. JENKINS; And I understand that we are the reasonable jurors to make that determination in this case.
MR. STARR: It is your judgment.
REP. JENKINS: Or at least eventually in the United States Senate, that decision's to be made. Now there, has been some mention and some characterization of the testimony of the 19 distinguished witnesses who appeared before this committee, 19 professors and historians. Did you happen to see or hear, or have you read the testimony of any of those witnesses?
MR. STARR: Some, but not all.
REP. JENKINS: Did you hear the characterization on the other side that very few felt that perjury is an impeachable offense?
MR. STARR: Yes, I did hear that.
REP. JENKINS: I personally heard differently when I heard those 19 witnesses. My recollection is that an overwhelming majority of 'em, testified that perjury can be or is an impeachable offense. Was that your understanding from the testimony that they gave?
MR. STARR: Well, I'm not sure. The testimony will speak for itself. But I certainly know that certain individuals, such as Professor McDowell with his elaborate common law analysis, did come to the conclusion, based on that history of the common law, and then the history of the founding of the American Republic, that to him and his scholarship, head as he is of the Institute of U.S. Studies at the University of London, that that was in fact clear at common law, which of course was transplanted to this country. But I did not have a chance to evaluate all of the 10 individuals.
REP. JENKINS: Thank you very much, sir.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman from Florida, Mr. Wexler.
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