THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Democratic Counsel Abbe Lowell Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. HYDE: (Sounds gavel.) The committee will come to order. I would appreciate it if we could get the doors closed. I'm usurping it.
The chair now recognizes minority counsel Mr. Lowell to question the witness for 30 minutes.
MR. ABBE LOWELL (Democratic counsel): Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good afternoon, Mr. Starr.
MR. STARR: Good afternoon, Mr. Lowell.
MR. LOWELL: Chairman Hyde has again this morning announced his desire to conclude the inquiry by the end of this year. With that in mind it appears that you may be the principal witness that the committee hears, and that yours will most certainly be the primary evidence considered. Given this, Mr. Starr, isn't it true that on September the 25th, 1998, without any request by this committee to do so, you sent the committee a letter which agreed that once questions about your conduct were raised those questions were not incidental or tangential, but they were, quote, appearing to bear on the substantiality and credibility of the information you provided to the House in our referral?
MR. STARR: Well, Mr. Lowell, the letter -- and I believe I am recalling the one that you are speaking to -- we have had a lot of correspondence back and forth, as you know. But the letter, if my recollection serves me, goes to the circumstances with respect to the events of the evening of January 16th. And there were certain allegations being made about the circumstances by which we approached Ms. Lewinsky, what was said and the like. And that's what we were talking about or what we were addressing in that letter, if it again is the letter you are indicating.
But may I take I must say gentle issue with the idea that this is not the information that is before you. This is the information. And the supplemental materials and the appendices reflect the hard work of the grand jury, who has evaluated the witnesses. I am the independent counsel. My colleagues and I have gathered the information. But, no, witness not in the sense of a fact witness except to the extent obviously that members want to inquire into the activities of our office. And I am obviously going to try to be responsive.
MR. LOWELL: If you looked at tab one, Mr. Starr, of the exhibit book in front of you, just so that we are clear, indeed it is the September 25th letter in which you write to the committee and state that the conduct in this case of how you dealt with Ms. Lewinsky goes to the substantiality and the credibility of the evidence you sent. That's the letter, is it not?
MR. STARR: Yes, it is.
MR. LOWELL: With that in mind, Mr. Starr, the members of the committee and I have a series of questions which as you indicated will elucidate the substantiality and the credibility of the evidence.
To begin with, in your testimony -- and if you look at your testimony it would be on pages 31 and 50 -- you acknowledged that you had a number of choices to make with respect to sending a referral to Congress. To quote from your morning's testimony you stated that one of the questions you needed to decide was, quote, "what to do with the evidence." And then you said we needed to decide, quote, "How do you write a referral?" You recall your statements with those choices, correct?
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: With respect to the choices you made, Mr. Starr, you have to agree, I take it, that there are substantial differences between the referral that you sent to Congress on September 9th, 1998, and the one that was sent by Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworksi, to whom you referred in 1974 -- you would not, would you?
MR. STARR: I'm not sure I understood the --
MR. LOWELL: Would agree that the methodology, the procedures and the decisions that you made differed substantially to the ones that he made 24 years ago?
MR. STARR: Well, I understood the question. The answer is yes in that our referral -- your question had a number of elements, so I want to be precise. Our referral did indeed differ, and if I may explain why. Mr. Cox and then his successor, Mr. Jaworski, were dealing not in an environment controlled by the law. And the assurance I want to give this committee is that we studied the law, namely 595(c), very carefully. Mr. Cox, Mr. Jaworski, never had occasion to look at 595(c) because it did not exist. So we examined that law, we examined the background, and we went through the process that I described this morning. And we determined for example that with respect to some of the matters that in my effort to provide assistance to the committee -- some of the events with respect to the Whitewater investigation -- we were not satisfied in December of '97 that that information that we had at that time standing alone met the threshold. That has been what has governed us.
And indeed if I could just add this: the statute was framed in terms of grounds that may constitute grounds for an impeachment. The very language that Congress used suggests to me a process of judgment. And we came to a judgment as opposed to the situation that obtained absent the statute with respect to Mr. Jaworski in 1974.
MR. LOWELL: On that point, Mr. Starr, as I understand it, and I think you in referring to the differences, this is how Mr. Jaworski's report has been characterized by federal Judge John Sirica, who reviewed it in order to send it to Congress:
Judge Sirica wrote that Mr. Jaworski's report draws no accusatory conclusions. It contains no recommendations, advice or statements that infringe on the prerogatives of the other branches of government. And it renders no moral or social judgments. It is a simple and straightforward compilation of information, and it contains no objectionable features.
This is how your report has been described: "It is a report that marshals and characterizes the information into an aggressive piece of legal advocacy. It is one where there are few of the factual assertions are left to speak for themselves. In short, it is a document with an attitude. It is notable for its failure to acknowledge that there might be more than one way to view at least some of the evidence." And that was from the Supreme Court reporter of the New York Times Linda Greenhouse (sp) on September the 12th, 1998.
It cannot be your testimony, is it, Mr. Starr, that the 595(c) background material that you say to this committee which was involved in reviewing that statute that you reviewed required you to make the accusations, conclusions -- in short, have a referral with an attitude -- is it?
MR. STARR: My opinion of the statute, or my reading and interpretation of the statute, Mr. Lowell, is that I am called upon to establish the reason that in the independent counsel's view the matters that I send before you may constitute a grounds for impeachment. That's a very serious and weighty matter and we approached it in a very serious and weighty matter.
I have the highest regard for the late John Sirica. I served with Judge Sirica. But he was addressing, in all fairness, a totally different set of circumstances because -- and it may be that we have different interpretations of the statute. But with respect to any particular, you know, reporter's evaluation or description, I stand behind this referral, and I am sure there will be questions about it.
What we tried to do in this referral was to assemble in an organized form, rather than sending you simply truckloads of unorganized information, give it coherence. And then it is your judgment. And thus if it is the judgment that this referral has not in fact stood the test of your close examination -- did we get the facts wrong? -- then of course you should come to your own judgment and your own assessment.
But this reflects, just so the committee knows, the views of some of the most experienced prosecutors in the country. I stand behind it because it is mine. I stand behind each word of it. It is my ultimate judgment. But this is a professional product, it is not the product of one single person.
MR. LOWELL: Whether it be your judgment, Mr. Starr, or the judgment of your entire staff, one thing I think you will agree with is that it was your and your staff's decision to include the words "premeditated," "concocted false alibis," "deceived," "pattern of obstruction," "lying under oath," "perjury" -- which words you will never find in the report of Leon Jaworski when he was reporting the same kind of evidence to the Congress 24 years ago. Aren't I right about that?
MR. STARR: I don't think that -- I've not reviewed all the material that Mr. Jaworski delivered, and I am not taking issue with the fact that this document is no doubt in many respects different than the very kind of environment and legal standard under which Mr. Jaworski was operating.
But, Mr. Lowell, I am going to -- speaking through my voice -- but if our office is going to inform the House of Representatives that there may be substantial grounds for an impeachment, that is so weighty, that is so serious, that you need to have the benefit of our judgment and our assessment of the facts informed by our watching the witnesses, listening to the grand jury and the way the grand jury reacted to witnesses, the assessment of the grand jury, and then to give you our judgment. But obviously this body is entirely at liberty to reject this referral as not being substantial or credible. It is entirely your judgment.
And one of the points I did try to make in the opening statement is I believe -- and you may disagree -- that I was called upon to give you my judgment and my assessment, and I have done that. But it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to use this to the extent that it wants, to discard it, to do whatever it thinks is necessary to come to its judgment as to whether there should be any proceeding, some sort of proceeding or not.
This is a tool. This is only a tool for you to use as you see fit. But I don't think that it's fair to criticize my office for not following a pattern that was not governed by a statute. And Colonel Jaworski is not here to tell us what he would think if he went through the same process under the statutory regime that our professional colleagues went through.
MR. LOWELL: Well, let me conclude this area, because you invited it. I know Mr. Jaworski isn't --
MR. STARR: I'm sorry?
MR. LOWELL: You have raised the --
MR. STARR: I'm having a little bit of trouble hearing.
In talking about his decisions, the way you have talked about your decisions, in talking about how to send material to Congress about the grave and serious matter of presidential wrongdoing, Mr.
Jaworski wrote as follows. And I want to know whether or not this was something --
REP. BARR: (Inaudible) -- identify the document?
MR. LOWELL: I'm sorry. You could find this on tab four of the exhibits in front of you. And I apologize, Mr. Barr. Tab four.
MR. STARR: Thank you, Mr. Lowell.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Jaworski, who left us his words, said, "The central key to the entire success was not accusing anyone. What we did is simply carried forward what the facts were, passed them on, not making an effort to interpret them, not making any sort of an effort to construe them or to say what we thought it showed, and let it be completely non-accusative."
So we don't have Mr. Jaworski, but we do have his words, correct?
MR. STARR: Absolutely. And if I could --
MR. LOWELL: Did --
MR. STARR: I'm sorry. May I just comment --
MR. LOWELL: Go ahead.
MR. STARR: -- in light of your quotation? We did go through an evaluative process, as I described. And while we did not have the benefit of Colonel Jaworski, except that which he has left us, I do think it's important for the committee to know that in light of the sober judgment -- you're free to disagree with that judgment -- but it's our professional judgment that the president engaged in abuse of his authority with respect to executive privilege.
We were guided by Sam Dash, who had very strong views on that, who expressed those views, and who felt that we had to use certain kinds of language that I think, Mr. Lowell -- and I respect your views -- you disagree with.
MR. LOWELL: I'd like to move to an area that will, I hope, reflect to the members some of the other choices that you had to make about the evidence. As I understand your testimony this morning, after the four years and however many dollars you've now spent, your testimony confirms apparently that your office has not and is not sending an impeachment referral to the Congress on what's been affectionately or not so affectionately called Travelgate; not what's been called Filegate. And on page 41, I think, of your testimony, you said --
MR. STARR: I'm sorry. Page?
MR. LOWELL: Forty-one of your testimony.
MR. STARR: Thank you.
MR. LOWELL: You're not sending a referral on the original Whitewater land deal, and pointed out that in some of your investigation you've now learned that former Governor Tucker actually exonerated the president on some of the questions that you had.
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: The referral you sent, then, Mr. Starr, refers apparently only to the issues about the Paula Jones case and the questions of the president's conduct in dealing with that case. That's correct, is it not?
MR. STARR: The referral itself does. We do, of course, if I may --
MR. LOWELL: Please.
MR. STARR: The referral does, in other respects, indicate the ties that we saw to earlier phases of our investigation and why we, in fact, were choosing to assess this. But you're quite right; both with respect to the two matters you indicated, as well as the specific testimony by Governor Tucker, that those matters will, in fact, not be coming to you.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, part of the word -- a key word in your title is "independent" counsel, correct? "Independent."
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: Part of being independent, I think you would agree with me, is being free of conflicts of interest that might bias your investigation. Correct?
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: And as I understand it, your testimony this morning indicated that on January the 15th, 1998, the Office of the Independent Counsel met with Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder to discuss your jurisdiction over the matter that has now been presented in the referral. Am I right about that?
MR. STARR: I believe the date is correct. Yes, our contact with the department and those initial meetings was with the deputy attorney general.
MR. LOWELL: In your testimony, Mr. Starr, you stated, and I quote on page 30 of your testimony, that you, quote, "fully informed the deputy attorney general about the matters under investigation." And I take it it was because they had to make a decision about jurisdiction, correct?
MR. STARR: Yes, we were there to discuss jurisdiction.
MR. LOWELL: The independent counsel law, as you explained to the committee on pages 29 and 30 of your testimony, indicated that at the day that you were making your presentation, the attorney general had a choice as to whether to recommend that you conduct the investigation or to give that responsibility to someone else. Isn't that also true?
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: In that case, I suspect that you and your office would have provided the deputy attorney general and the attorney general all the information that she and he would have needed to make that important choice. Am I also correct about that?
MR. STARR: Well, certainly that which, in our judgment, was relevant to the decision, by all means.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, though, isn't it then true that, in fact, neither the deputy attorney general nor the attorney general had the facts that they needed, because not once in any presentation you or your office made to them about the material that you were now asking their jurisdiction over that you did not ever mention the substantial contacts that you had already had in the Paula Jones case, the very subject about which you were seeking authority to investigate?
MR. STARR: Mr. Lowell, let me address two aspects. You're asking about the jurisdiction; then let me come to the Paula Jones contacts that I had. We did not go to the department, Mr. Lowell, to say, "We must have jurisdiction." We took to the department an issue, because we viewed the department as that entity of government to whom we looked -- to the attorney general of the United States, ultimately -- to make jurisdictional decisions.
And I was not in attendance at the meetings, but I can give you my impression or understanding. And I'll make this very brief. We made it very clear that there was -- the information we had was there was inchoate criminality, which is a fancy way of saying, "Something is afoot. It's breaking now. It is fast-moving, and we need to bring this to your attention and then you make the determination. We think there is a jurisdictional justification for what we've done thus far, but we think there are serious jurisdictional issues."
Now, it will be the attorney general's decision. Now, what should the attorney general have been informed?
MR. LOWELL: Can I go over those with you?
MR. STARR: Well --
MR. LOWELL: I mean, if you would turn to tab five of the book, I think you and I and the members of the committee will be able to go through the issues that we might either agree or disagree the attorney general should have been informed about.
Mr. Starr, on that page you'll see that it appears that neither you nor any of the officials in your office told the attorney general that before you became the independent counsel, your law firm, Kirkland & Ellis, was actually contacted to represent Paula Jones and eventually helped her attorneys to find the lawyers she chose. That was not mentioned to the attorney general that day or at any other time that you were seeking jurisdiction or asking her about jurisdiction, was it?
MR. STARR: Well, you're assuming that I had the benefit of all this information.
MR. STARR: Yes, in terms of -- because I certainly had had personal communications with Mr. Davis. I would have to reconstruct what others may have done in other offices. It is a large law firm. So if I could just say, what I, in fact, knew at the time that this activity was underway, the reaching out to the attorney general when these events were first unfolding, was that I had, in fact, been contacted by, among others, Mr. Davis with respect to an amicus brief or some participation on the constitutional immunity issue in 1994. And those have been publicly reported. It was all in the public domain. I indeed debated that very issue against Lloyd Cutler and Susan Bloch.
MR. LOWELL: I'm sorry to interrupt you on that.
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: The question that I asked -- and I'm sorry to do it -- was not whether you had had contacts with Mr. Davis, which had been reported at some earlier point. I asked whether you had, or any of your office members, told the attorney general that your law firm, that you were still a member of and getting a salary from, had indeed been sought out to be Paula Jones's lawyers. I understood you saying you may not have known that.
My question is, you're telling me that Richard Porter, your partner, did not ever inform you that he had been asked to consider representing Paula Jones and had, in fact, assisted her in getting the attorneys she ultimately chose. Is that what you're saying?
MR. STARR: Well, my best recollection is no. I know Richard Porter. I've had communications with him from time to time. But in terms of a specific discussion with respect to what the law firm may be doing or may not be doing, I'm not recalling that specifically, no.
MR. LOWELL: You do recall, though, that it was a matter that you admit that on at least six occasions you personally had had conversations with Paula Jones' attorneys over legal issues in the Paula Jones case.
MR. STARR: I'm not sure -- I had had conversations with them, just as I had conversations with others, including -- and I think the record of these proceedings should reflect that. My position on -- if
I could be permitted, my position on the constitutional immunity that the president enjoyed was very clear and was open.
I was contacted, before I was appointed as independent counsel, by Bob Fiske. Bob Fiske was the independent counsel in Little Rock, Arkansas. And Mr. Fiske asked me whether I would be willing to consider writing an amicus brief on behalf of the Office of Independent Counsel, which, of course, he was appointed by the attorney general.
And we had conversations or no final decision was made. But he engaged me in discussions with respect to that. We talked about the issues, and so forth.
So, Mr. Lowell, I want to make a point. It did not occur to me that issues with respect to constitutional immunity -- it just did not occur to me, and fault me for my inability to issue-spot. That's what we do in the law, we try to spot issues.
But I never spotted the issue that my conversations with Bob Fiske, Gil Davis, my debating Lawrence (ph) Tribe on National Public Radio, had the foggiest connection with issues that were unfolding at the time. And fault my judgment if you will, but it just frankly did not occur to me, as I think happens to a lot of us in life. If you just don't view that as relevant information, and if I may say so, especially since my position had been so well- known, and including the contacts with Ms. Jones' attorneys, who reached out to me with respect to the constitutional immunity issue solely, exclusively.
And finally, I would say in response to your question --
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, I'm going to be cut off. Mr. Chairman, but --
MR. STARR: Well, you said six conversations, and you made a very specific point. And I'm not trying to interrupt you. But you made a specific point, and I think it's only fair to say I don't know whether there were six conversations. I know there were several. But they were only conversations, and it never ripened -- I'm talking about with Mr. Davis -- and it never ripened into an arrangement, an agreement, to the best of my recollection, to do anything because of the circumstances that then occurred.
MR. LOWELL: To use your phrase, it had not occurred to you that you should tell the Attorney-General, who was making a decision about whether you were an independent counsel,that your law firm, Kirkland and Ellis (ph), in addition to asked to be Paul Jones attorney, was providing legal advice -- free legal advice -- to a conservative women's group called the International Women's Forum, who were thinking about participating in the Paula Jones case itself. Did that not occur to you either?
MR. STARR: Well, again, it's not whether it occurs or not. I did have discussions with the -- and I think it's called the Independent Women's Forum -- as to whether they would in fact file an amicus brief, again, strictly on the constitutional issue, not taking a position on the merits.
But the president, through his very able lawyers, had raised a very important question: Does the President of the United States enjoy immunity? Everyone was talking about it, and no one was talking about it particularly quietly. It was a matter of vigorous debate. And the fact that I had these discussions, had all been, to the best of my knowledge, part of the public domain, that is, that they were reported.
And by virtue of that -- I do think it's unfair, I really do, to suggest that someone should, when circumstances were moving so quickly, go do a Nexis search, making sure that everything is in the public domain and the like, especially under circumstances that were not only fast-moving; but it was very clear that what we were investigating, were serious crimes of perjury that had nothing to do with the constitutional immunity of the president.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, are you suggesting that when you told the deputy attorney-general that he had to move with haste, because this investigation was fast-moving, that you had no responsibility to also inform the Attorney-General about these contacts that you and I are talking about, which might make the Attorney-General, as you pointed out, have a choice to make between giving the investigation to you, or giving it to somebody whose independence, bias and involvement in the case was not questioned?
MR. STARR: Well, I utterly disagree, with all respect, with your premise that to be involved on an issue of civil law and constitutional law in any way suggests a predisposition more generally. I would take the position that the President of the United States does not enjoy constitutional immunity from a suit, regardless of who the president is. It has nothing to do with the identity of the occupant of the office. It has everything to do with what the presidency is, and the nature of our relationship to one another as individuals, and whether we are all equal under the law.
So, it did not occur -- and one factual correction. You suggested "in your conversations"; I did not have conversations with the deputy attorney-general. They were by others in my office, who were reporting to the deputy attorney-general, on the information that was coming to us, and then saying "What is your judgment? We're looking to you for guidance and, more than that, we're looking to you for a decision." And these issues did not in fact arise.
MR. LOWELL: Did they, to your knowledge then, Mr. Starr, on that night where you were asking the Attorney-General to make a decision whether you were the independent counsel she was looking for, tell them that while you were the independent counsel and still a member of your firm, your law firm obtained a non-public affidavit in the Paula Jones case, and then sent that affidavit on to the Chicago Tribune? And that, Mr. Starr, happened while you were the independent counsel, and a member of your firm. Wasn't that something the Attorney-General should have known?
MR. STARR: I don't know. I'm not saying that she should not. But these are judgment calls that one makes, and it also assumes, shall I say, a computer-like ability to recall each and everything that has ever occurred, or information that has come to you.
And so, let me say this. The fact of my involvement with the Jones matter, my personal involvement, as opposed to what issues one or more members of my firm may have been involved in, I think was known publicly, and thus did not occur to me as something that was appropriate, or was something that I focussed on. Whether I should have focussed on it, you may come to a different judgment.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Chairman, it appears to me that my questions, as short as I'm going to try to make them, might elicit answer that are a little longer than I expected, and I was hoping I'd get the committee's indulgence.
REP. HYDE: I'll tell the gentlemen that when your time is up, I'll grant you another 30 minutes.
MR. LOWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is about to happen, I thought. Mr. Starr, while we're on the subject of the Jones case, I think it is now, from the material you sent to Congress, pretty clear that your office did absolutely nothing to stop Linda Tripp from meeting with Paula Jones's attorneys to help them set up for the January 17th deposition of the president.
And the fact is, is it not, that you had the power at that moment, and the reason at that moment, to forbid her from having those meetings, but your office chose not to do so. Isn't that right?
MR. STARR: That is I think an unfair characterization. That is to say, it is once again assuming that there was information as to communications that she may or may not have been having. We did not, to the best of my knowledge, we did not have any information that she was in fact communicating with the Jones attorneys. And indeed, the record will show we began working almost instantly at cross-purposes with the Jones attorneys, in order to protect this investigation. And we thereafter told Ms. Tripp, when it became obvious that she was talking to someone in New York, who apparently in turn was talking to someone at Newsweek, that she did have to protect the confidentiality of these matters that were ongoing.
MR. LOWELL: I'd like to get to the date, though, and see if you and I can agree that there was a moment that you had not only the motive, but you also had the ability to stop her from doing what we've now learned that she has done.
You went to see the deputy attorney-general on January 15th. Prior to that, on an occasion or two, officials in your office had met with her. And when you went to see the Deputy Attorney- General, it's true, is it not, that one of the things that you told him, or your office told him, was that this was likely to start getting leaked, that there was a reporter that was on to this investigation, and he needed to move quickly.
Isn't that a fact?
MR. STARR: Yes. It's my understanding that we made the deputy attorney-general aware that there was a reporter from Newsweek. We had not known about that initially, when the information first came to us. But it became very quickly apparent, that there was, in fact, a Newsweek reporter who was on the story, unbeknownst to us. And so yes, we said to the deputy attorney- general, this is another factor. This is another consideration.
An I believe -- I don't know, but I believe -- that that was brought to the Attorney-General's decision.
MR. LOWELL: So you knew that there was press people that are on to the investigation. And at the same time, you also knew that Linda Tripp had illegally obtained information that she needed some form of immunity for, and in fact in your meeting with her, your officials said to her "we will give you immunity for giving us that illegally obtained information."
That happened too before you met the attorney general, right?
MR. STARR: Well, with respect to federal offenses, we were aware that there might be an issue under Maryland law but, obviously, could not confer immunity that she might have with respect to state law. And what we did know is that this was a witness who told us a very important fact. She said, "I was a witness in the Whitewater" -- excuse me -- "the White House Travel Office investigation, and I have additional information that I did not give you." And she was being asked, Mr. Lowell, to commit perjury.
And so we -- yes, we moved very quickly and there was a very important reason for moving very quickly to bring it to the attorney general's attention through the deputy, and that is a witness who was involved in one of our ongoing investigations was being asked to perjure herself and otherwise participate in unlawful activity. That was --
MR. LOWELL: So if I can put these steps --
MR. STARR: Sorry.
MR. LOWELL: I'm sorry. If I could put these steps together, Linda Tripp came to your office with information -- that's a correct fact. You were worried that there was somebody talking to the press that required the attorney general to act quickly -- that's a fact. You knew that Linda Tripp had obtained information, including the very tapes that provided the evidence that you sought to get permission to investigate from attorney general. And you didn't put those three things together to say to her, "And by the way, we're worried about the press?" You were worried enough about it to ask the deputy attorney general to move quick. You're saying you didn't tell Linda Tripp not to be talking about that stuff to anybody?
MR. STARR: We told -- no. I think that's an unfair characterization. We did in fact promptly tell her -- and events were moving very quickly -- within a short time when it became evident to us -- because things are not immediately evident when matters are first developing, and so you have to assess the facts -- and so when it did, we instructed her. It's my understanding that my colleagues who were dealing with her, who are experienced career prosecutors, made it very clear: stop communicating with someone who we felt was in fact, or at least potentially was a source for Newsweek. And indeed, it is my understanding that the witness in question proceeded to change her phone so that she could in fact carry out our desire, our instruction, which was -- and we had no interest -- Mr. Lowell, we had no interest in this matter being made public. We had no interest whatsoever in doing anything other than our duties as honorable prosecutors to bring information to the attorney general, let her assess it and let her make her judgment as to should it be investigated, and if so, by whom?
Now, you can say you should have told her X, Y and Z and I would say that's Monday morning quarterbacking.
MR. LOWELL: Well, it's not exactly Monday morning quarterbacking, Mr. Starr. If you'll turn to tab 16, you'll see the agreement that you actually engaged Miss Lewinsky herself in when you decided to give her immunity, as your officials had already indicated to Linda Tripp on January 12th, that she would be getting immunity for her taping. And you'll notice in tab 16 that it wasn't Monday morning quarterbacking for you and your officials to give Monica Lewinsky not only immunity, but to make a condition of her immunity that she not talk to witnesses, that she not disclose information, and in fact, that she not do the things that you now know Linda Tripp did. Why didn't you put the same restriction on Linda Tripp?
MR. STARR: What you see is the result of a very careful discussion, negotiation, with very able lawyers. This was not done, the immunity agreement that you have before you, was not prepared under exigent circumstances with things moving so quickly. We did have to move quickly, in our judgment, with the information that came to us from Ms. Tripp. And so one handles different situations in a variety of ways, but I relied on my professional prosecutors to come to a judgment about what should, in fact, be done and how it should be done and to -- in fact, when it became, as I say, evident that there was an issue, I think they brought it promptly to the deputy attorney general's attention and also sought to take what they viewed at the time. These are judgment calls.
MR. LOWELL: You're not suggesting to the committee that while it might have taken a lot of time to negotiate the actual clauses of an immunity agreement with Ms. Tripp, that on the day that she said she was in trouble and asked for immunity, your people could have not said to her, well, if these tapes are illegal, don't give them to anybody, don't talk to anybody about them, keep them to yourself? You didn't need an immunity to tell her that.
And when we -- we didn't ask her to come in -- she came in. She comes in; she provides this very serious information that raised very potentially serious offenses. And we wanted in fact to gather information as quickly as we could that would either corroborate or disprove the truth of that.
So the decision that was being made initially was what we call --
MR. LOWELL: But you are not contesting --
MR. STARR: -- (active ?)-production immunity.
MR. LOWELL: I am understanding you. But I am also understanding you to say that you're not contesting that on that day, she came in, she had the conversation, she showed you the tapes or told you about the tapes.
MR. STARR: She did not --
MR. LOWELL: You had both the authority --
MR. STARR: Yes, that's right.
MR. LOWELL: -- to give her immunity and the authority to tell her not to talk. You did the first. You didn't do the second, did you?
MR. STARR: Well, I would have to double-check to see exactly what we did tell her. But, no, what I am trying to make as clear as I possibly can is that what we were saying to Ms. Tripp: "You have given us this remarkable information -- allegations. They are extraordinarily explosive, that perhaps go to the president of the United States. We need backup."
And she was coming to us as a witness. And this information was not, at the time that it was first coming to us, in the public domain. So we took the steps that we thought -- or my colleagues, who were making these decisions on the spot, took the steps that we did.
But if the suggestion is we wanted her to go public, the suggestion is absolutely wrong.
MR. LOWELL: I think you misunderstand my question.
I could well understand why people in Linda Tripp's position and your staff working with her, didn't want the investigation to become public. But I could also understand why Linda Tripp wanted the information she had to go into the Paula Jones camp, and I could understand that you had the authority to stop that but didn't do it.
MR. STARR: But what we did do, Mr. Lowell, in fairness -- and this isn't "the glass is half full vs. half empty"; what we did, once it became clear that there was a following by the Jones lawyers of our investigation and the subpoenaing of witnesses in our investigation, we took prompt remedial action. We went to Judge Susan Webber Wright, and we said: "Stop it. Please have them stop it." And that is extraordinarily important because that's what we took deliberatively, as opposed to under the exigencies of the time.
MR. LOWELL: On the exigencies of the time --
MR. STARR: Yes?
MR. LOWELL: -- one last question.
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: You're not suggesting that you and your staff that were talking to Linda Tripp -- and then going to see the deputy attorney general -- were not aware that on that following Saturday, January the 17th, the president of the United States was already "noticed" for his deposition. You're not telling us that, are you?
MR. STARR: No, we did know that. And indeed, the deputy attorney general and then the attorney general of the United States, Mr. Lowell, knew that there were serious allegations. This was days -- several days before the deposition. The deposition was on Saturday the 17th. The attorney general made her decision knowing the information that we had. And we were transparent. We shared the information, Mr. Lowell, that we had fully with the Justice Department. Our concern --
MR. LOWELL: The information you had about what Linda Tripp gave you, not the information that you had about the Kirkland & Ellis involvement.
MR. STARR: Yes, I'm sorry. The information that had come to us with respect to the investigation, we shared fully with senior career prosecutors at the Justice Department, operating under the direction of the deputy attorney general. And she then, the attorney general, made her decision that the matter should in fact be investigated -- so that was the first judgment; and secondly, that the Department of Justice did not want to do it.
MR. LOWELL: Let me turn our attention to some of the other aspects of gathering evidence, because I know many people will have additional questions.
I know you don't disagree that independent counsels, although not in the Department of Justice, are required under the rules and under the law to follow the law that applies to federal Justice Department officials, prosecutors and investigators. I know you've said as much in your speeches, that you are bound by the same rules, with very few exceptions; correct?
MR. STARR: The statute speaks specifically to the question of the applicability of DOJ policies and practices and says, "to the fullest extent practicable."
MR. LOWELL: This morning you told the committee that -- and this is on 49 and 50 of your own testimony -- "We have made every effort to follow the Department of Justice practice and policies, to utilize time-honored law enforcement techniques" -- and even on occasion that you and your staff, to use your phrase, "would repair to the U.S. Attorney's manual for guidance." You stated that this morning.
MR. STARR: I did.
MR. LOWELL: With these statements in mind, I would like to turn to the issue of your involvement with Monica Lewinsky on the first occasion that you had that ability, because so much of the evidence that the Congress has received comes from that first incident.
It is true, I take it, Mr. Starr, that when press accounts of your interaction with Monica Lewinsky first arose, you made a statement to the press on January 23rd, 1998 responding to those allegations. And you can find that statement to confirm its date, on Tab 20.
MR. STARR: Tab 20?
MR. LOWELL: Do you see that?
MR. STARR: I do.
MR. LOWELL: You made that statement on January 23rd; isn't that a fact?
MR. STARR: Yes, I believe that's correct. This is dated January 24th, but I think it would have been the preceding day.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, in your testimony this morning you talked about the president's ability to provide misinformation, and you also said that one of the concerns of your office was that the president and his lawyers -- on page 52 of your testimony -- did give a, quote, "distorted picture of the facts."
With your own quotes in mind, I'd like to ask, don't you think your statement to the press, to the Congress and to the American people gave a very distorted picture of the facts of the night and the day that you first confronted Monica Lewinsky?
MR. STARR: Well, I think not, and we can obviously discuss it --
MR. LOWELL: Well, let's do that line by line, because it will be short --
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: -- but I think it will be elucidative. If you look at the first line of your press statement, it states, "Monica Lewinsky consented to meet with several FBI agents." Do you see your statement that says that?
MR. STARR: Yes, I do.
MR. LOWELL: In Monica Lewinsky's sworn testimony, which, if you'd like, you could follow in tab 21 to compare it back and forth, we will have it on the stand as well. She testified under oath that she was there to have lunch with Linda Tripp. She was then accosted by agents who flashed their badges at her, she asked to see her attorney, was told that that wasn't such a good idea. She was then asked to go upstairs to discuss how much trouble she was in, and then she reluctantly went upstairs to meet with your staff.
Do you think your statement that Monica Lewinsky consented to meet with several agents doesn't distort the picture of what really happened that day?
MR. STARR: Well, I think it was -- it was consensual, that is, we made it clear that she was not under arrest and that she was, in fact, at liberty to make a decision as to what she wanted to do.
MR. LOWELL: Well, if you look at the second line of your quote, of your press statement, you said --
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: "During the five hours while awaiting her mother's arrival, Miss Lewinksy drank juice and coffee, ate dinner at a restaurant, strolled around the Pentagon City mall and watched television." Do you remember making that statement to the press?
MR. STARR: Yes, I do.
MR. LOWELL: But your statement to the press, Mr. Starr, doesn't include the fact that Miss Lewinsky swore to, that she was scared and was crying a lot of the time; when she asked to see her attorney, quote, "she would not be able to help herself with her attorney there," she was told; that she was threatened with going to jail for, quote, "27 years;" that she was not there for the five hours that your press statement says, but was there for over 10 hours; and that when she asked to call her mother to discuss what you were discussing with her, your deputy, Jackie Bennett, said, "You're 24. You're smart. You're old enough. You don't need to call your mommy." That wasn't in your statement to the press that day, was it?
MR. STARR: No, it wasn't, Mr. Lowell, and let me explain what press statements are designed to do. (Laughter.) This was not designed to provide a verbatim transcript of commentary. They are designed to respond to what we were, in fact, being accused of or charged with. And what we were being accused of and charged with was improper conduct with a witness.
Now, the facts of the matter are these.
We did, in fact, use a traditional technique that law enforcement always uses. We were waiting patiently for her mother to arrive. She chose not to make a decision before her mother arrived. And at the conclusion of her time with us, she had established a legal relationship, which we fully recognized and always honored, and she and her mother indicated -- I was not there, but I am told they indicated their appreciation for the way in which she was being treated. Now, this was in response, this was being in response, Mr. Lowell, to allegations that she was being subjected to the kinds of conditions that would overbear the will. We then -- and the purpose of this was to say, here is, in fact, material that the public should, in fact, know. And all of this is absolutely true.
MR. LOWELL: When you say the public should have known that, and you state in your press statement that she was repeatedly told she was free to leave and that she did so several times, do you not think it would have been a less distorted picture, to use your words, to know that when she left the room, she was followed by agents, and that she swore under an oath that she, quote, "felt threatened that when she left, she would be arrested," end quote? Don't you think that completes the picture a little bit?
MR. STARR: I think her perception was incorrect. We made it clear to the witness that she was, in fact, free to leave. And the Ritz-Carlton, shall I say, is a fairly comfortable and commodious place. We will show you -- I am sure you have them -- telephone records that indicate she reached out to Mr. Carter, her attorney in a totally different matter, she called her mother, she, in fact, went for a walk, she went to a restaurant and the like. And all these were important because, Mr. Lowell, what the office was being accused of was somehow overbearing her will. And she didn't need to make a decision, because -- here's the other side of the picture -- she was encouraging others to join her in committing perjury. She was, as the information came to us, a felon in the middle of committing another felony.
You can't be meaning that.
MR. STARR: Well, of course, we did not know, we had no way of knowing what she was going to do. What we did do is this: The -- we had a consensual recording. We shared the results of that consensual recording with the Justice Department. We informed the Justice Department of what our intention was at the Ritz-Carlton. We then proceeded in a very professional way. And then we were being met, as is not atypically the case, with charges of improper conduct. We then said we should respond to that, especially when -- and this doesn't speak to that either -- we were going to the conditions of confinement, as opposed to whether we had communicated with the Justice Department.
MR. LOWELL: We -- let me --
MR. STARR: There was nothing in here about the Justice Department knowing that we were going to go have exactly this kind of encounter, to ask this individual, "Are you willing to help us?" We viewed her as culpable. But in discussions with the Justice Department, the culpability, we thought, might be outweighed by the culpability of others.
MR. LOWELL: As you are the deliverer to this committee of the principal evidence that the committee's going to get, and as you agreed with me that the choices you've made bear on the substantiality and credibility, my questions were trying to go to whether or not, when you make statements, when you provide information, you provide the complete picture, not whether Miss Lewinsky was about to commit a crime. But I think you and I have established some of the facts that I wanted the committee to understand.
One last point about your statement, Mr. Starr: Your statement to the press, as you alluded, indicated that when she was done with this ordeal -- I'm sorry; when she was done -- she told the agents -- and I think you said they thanked the FBI agents and attorneys for their courtesy. But you didn't put in that and you didn't put in your referral that she thanked them for their courtesy after, quote, "they told me they were planning to prosecute my mother for the things that she had said she did." You didn't include the notion in your report to the press or even in the material in the referral -- that is, later in the transcripts -- that part of her courtesy to her mother was threatening her prosecution. And that wasn't there either.
MR. STARR: Mr. Lowell, the information that we had suggested that her mother may have been involved in serious activity, in serious criminal offenses. That was an issue. And she wanted to reach out to her mother, to discuss the questions with her mother. We honored that.
And no, I don't think that one would expect, if you're talking about the press release, as opposed to the referral, that a press release which is responding to charges by her lawyers that when she was being held -- I don't put words in their mouth -- but the substance of what was being conveyed by the very loquacious Mr. Ginsburg was that she was being held incommunicado. That was wrong.
It was unfair to us, unfair to our agents. It was unfair to the Justice Department. But you don't see anything in the press release about the Justice Department either.
The purpose of this press release, which you've identified as Tab 20, and you've been kind enough to underscore it, was to respond to specific allegations. And I see you do not include the allegations to which we were responding. And I think in order fairly to assess this, you would have to say, "What was it that the Independent Counsel's Office was having to respond to?" What we were responding to were allegations that were utterly unmeritorious, and that's why --
MR. LOWELL: And those allegations, Mr. Starr --
MR. STARR: Sorry.
MR. LOWELL: -- were that you were overbearing, that she wasn't free to make a decision on her own, that she was put in a position where her judgment would be questioned. And you're saying to the committee that the facts, as sworn to by Ms. Lewinsky, don't bear on whether or not those allegations were indeed exactly accurate?
MR. STARR: Oh, Mr. Lowell, surely you don't think that a witness is going to say, "Thank you, law enforcement, for finding out that I'm in the middle of committing a felony." Surely you're not going to say -- (interrupted by laughter). Surely you're not going to take the position that the witness should say, "Oh, I can't imagine why you're asking me any questions. I can't imagine why you're bothering me." The reason that she was being approached, Mr. Lowell, was that she was trying to get Linda Tripp to commit perjury. And since you've inquired about this, her mother had made it clear that she was willing to help finance an operation for Linda Tripp so she could leave the jurisdiction and thereby avoid being confronted in the Jones deposition. That's what this was all about.
MR. LOWELL: Sitting here --
MR. STARR: So you're focusing on a press release as opposed to a court document.
Could I say one other thing in fairness, in fairness? The issues with respect to our conduct that evening have been litigated. You can ask, obviously, all the questions that you want. But usually if the witness believes that he or she has been mistreated, if her rights have been violated, there's a place to go and it's called the courthouse, and that's where these issues have been resolved, and they've been resolved favorably to us. We conducted ourselves professionally.
MR. LOWELL: I take it, sitting here today, you are completely satisfied that the picture of your involvement with Ms. Lewinsky, as you stated to the American people and the effects it had on her evidence, were accurately depicted in the press statement you made, even given the full sworn testimony of Ms. Lewinsky and her mother? You're satisfied about that?
MR. STARR: About this press statement being --
MR. LOWELL: About your --
MR. STARR: No. No, because this was written from -- and perhaps I have been inartful in my response. This was a response to specific allegations being made by her attorney. It was not based on an interview of Ms. Lewinsky. We had no basis for knowing, in terms of our talking with Ms. Lewinsky, what her perception was. We couldn't; her lawyer declined to allow us, and we honored that once she engaged Mr. Ginsburg. So the mission or the purpose of this press statement was simply to be as responsive as we should be at the time --
MR. LOWELL: Just so that the record's clear --
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: -- Mr. Ginsburg is the lawyer you keep referring to. We know from the evidence that she contacted Mr. Ginsburg only after her mother arrived about -- however many hours later, in the middle of the night. And the very first thing she said, when approached by your agents in the lobby, was, "I want to talk to my attorney, Frank Carter."
You don't mean to suggest to the committee that you and the agents and the people in your office was encouraging her to talk to her lawyer between the time that she was first accosted and the time that she got on the phone with Mr. Ginsburg. You're not making that statement, are you?
MR. STARR: That is correct. We would not encourage someone who was involved in felonies, as we thought at the time, to in fact reach out to a lawyer, especially a lawyer who had assisted her in crafting a perjurious affidavit. Why would we possibly do that?
MR. LOWELL: Well, one reason would be because the rules of the Department of Justice, the law of the land, as decided by the Supreme Court and the Code of Federal Regulations require it.
Let me turn your attention to Tab 23. On Tab 23, as I understand it, Mr. Starr, one of the people that were in the room asking questions of Monica Lewinsky was a deputy of yours by the name of Michael Emmick. Is that right?
MR. STARR: That's correct.
MR. LOWELL: Michael Emmick came from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles, California, and had had the opportunity, three or four years before the Monica Lewinsky incident, to give a speech or give a presentation to the Department of Justice about what the law requires.
And this is what Mr. Emmick said about questioning a witness represented by counsel. He said, "It is rarely okay to contact the person, find out about representation and ask if he is willing to talk anyway." And then Mr. Emmick went on to state, "It is never okay to continue to ask questions after the person has said he wants his attorney there."
In light of what the transcripts show happened that night to Ms. Lewinsky, it appears, does it not, Mr. Starr, that the deputy involved violated his own words in his effort to get Ms. Lewinsky that night?
MR. STARR: No, because you're assuming something, and you are, with all respect, incorrect. She was not represented for purposes of this analysis. And the reason that she wasn't -- and you may disagree with this, but here is our analysis, and it has been upheld by the District Court. Let me approach it this way.
If one has a bankruptcy lawyer, one cannot -- one cannot say, if an FBI agent comes up to one, "Well, I am represented by" -- or the FBI agent must assume that I am represented by, or the person is represented by the bankruptcy lawyer. The point is, there is a very clear distinction in the law and in the rules of ethics between civil matters and criminal, and Mr. Carter was representing her in the civil matter.
MR. LOWELL: But when she -- I realize up to that point she had no criminal problems; she only had civil problems, which she had a lawyer for. So you're saying it's the prosecutor who tells a witness whether or not she or he has the right to call a lawyer, based on the prosecutor's decision as to whether or not the matter is civil and criminal in the prosecutor's view of how the proceedings are going to go. Do you think that's what the law states?
MR. STARR: Well, I think the prosecutor has to make a judgment as to whether the nature of the representation is civil or criminal so that the person does have to know whether in fact the party is a represented party. That is a judgment. Now, even if you disagree with that, Mr. Lowell, let me say these two things very briefly. One, she did, in fact, call, or we sought to call, Mr. Carter from the Ritz-Carlton. That's a very important fact. She did in fact reach out to him. Also, we tried to reach out to Legal Aid so that she could have counsel. She later got, of course, Mr. Ginsburg. So the idea that she was not, in fact, permitted the opportunity to try to consult with counsel is incorrect.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Chairman, I'm on my last area of questions, and I would appreciate the committee's indulgence.
MR. HYDE: How much more time do you anticipate?
MR. LOWELL: I know my questions take five or 10 minutes. The answers always take twice as long. I suspect I have --
MR. HYDE: Well, you ask such complicated questions.
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Chairman, I have one more area to get into, and I would appreciate the committee's indulgence to get there.
MR. HYDE: Well, I'll yield you five more minutes, and see what you can do in five. I'll ask Mr. Starr if you can be concise -- although I'm enjoying your answers myself. (Laughter.)
REP. : So are we.
REP. HYDE: Mr. Lowell for five minutes.
MR. LOWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
In the end, Mr. Starr, you have said that these are serious matters that the committee has to consider, and that you've come here today and you've presented again what you deem to be the evidence and the conclusions in your referral. I just want to, if I can, with you and with the committee's now indulgence, go through the principal charges that you made in bringing this matter before the committee.
In the first matter you say that in your referral, in your testimony today, that the president lied under oath on a variety of occasions having to do with the Paula Jones case.
I noticed on pages eight and nine of your testimony you spoke about Judge Webber Wright's rulings in the Paula Jones case. But in your testimony you did not also include, did you, that Judge Wright had ruled as to Monica Lewinsky's significance in the Paula Jones case, that it was, quote, "not essential to the core issues in the case." She ruled indeed later on that the evidence, quote, "simply was not essential to the core issues of whether Paula Jones was the victim of a quid pro quo sexual harassment," and she finally threw out the case on the grounds that Ms. Jones had not proven what the law requires. And I wanted just the record to be complete, that when you talked about what Judge Webber Wright had ruled in your testimony you never mention that on three occasions Judge Wright made ruling indicating that the significance of whatever it was between Monica Lewinsky and the president did not bear on her decision. That's a fact, isn't it?
MR. STARR: Well, I disagree with the characterization of what she ruled. And I'd refer -- and I will simply refer to her two opinions, including her analysis under Rule 403 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. I don't think it's a fair and accurate characterization of what she ruled. We may have a different opinion of how she adjudicated the matter.
MR. LOWELL: And as to the issue of the false affidavit, which you state was something the president was complicit in to the extent that it was a ground for impeachment -- your evidence also includes, does it not, Mr. Starr, that Mr. -- Ms. Lewinsky gave you a statement in which she said, quote, "neither the president nor Mr. Jordan or anyone on their behalf asked or encouraged her to lie," and you can find that in Tab 35.
MR. STARR: Tab?
MR. LOWELL: Thirty-five.
MR. STARR: Thirty-five, thank you.
MR. LOWELL: You are aware that she has made the statement that way by now I assume, right?
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: You must be aware that she also said that she offered to show her affidavit to the president, but he did not even want to see it? You are aware that that's the testimony that she's given as well, correct?
MR. STARR: Yes.
MR. LOWELL: You must also be aware that she explained to you that the president and she had obviously used cover stories from the beginning of their relationship long before she was ever listed as a Paula Jones witness -- you're aware of that as well, aren't you?
MR. STARR: Yes, and our referral makes that point clear.
MR. LOWELL: As the issue of whether or not she was given a job in some way to keep her happy, you know the evidence that you sent Congress includes the fact that the job search for her began long before she was listed as a Paula Jones witness, correct?
MR. STARR: Yes, absolutely, and we make that clear in the referral.
MR. LOWELL: And you are also aware that she told the president in July -- months before the Paula Jones --
MR. STARR: July of?
MR. LOWELL: Nineteen ninety-seven.
MR. STARR: Yes, thank you.
MR. LOWELL: -- months before the Paula Jones case was an issue, that she was going to look for a job in New York?
MR. STARR: Yes, she did.
MR. LOWELL: And you are aware as well that it was Ms. Tripp, not the president, Ms. Tripp, who suggested to Ms. Lewinsky that she bring Vernon Jordan into the process -- you know the evidence says that, don't you?
MR. STARR: I am aware of the evidence with respect to that, but yes, go right ahead. I'm sorry.
MR. LOWELL: You're aware as well that the evidence you sent Congress indicates that on that crucial issue, as others have stated, and no doubt will state again, Ms. Lewinsky unequivocally, even though never asked the question, stated to you that no one ever asked her to lie, no one promised me a job for her silence. You understand she swore to that as well?
MR. STARR: Yes. And, Mr. Chairman, may I respond? I'm trying to be brief, but Mr. Lowell, as you also know, at page 174 of our referral we specifically say Ms. Lewinsky has stated that the president never explicitly told her to lie.
MR. LOWELL: I understand that you say explicitly. I'd say that Ms. Lewinsky's statement that, quote, "no one told me to lie, no one offered me a job for my silence," is not equivocal -- would you?
MR. STARR: I would say that it is utterly incomplete and grossly misleading. We try to capture that, and I am of course staying right now with respect to the -- her representation with respect to "no one told me to lie." Her entire testimony is to the effect -- and I think this is a fair characterization of it -- is that the cover stories were in fact going to continue, that that was the understanding. But, yes, no one explicitly said, you know, "You will lie," using the "l" word. Rather, it was we will continue with cover stories which are not true.
MR. LOWELL: I have one last question, Mr. Starr, given the limits of time under which I have been placed.
REP. HYDE: I'm going to have a surly bunch of Republicans --
MR. LOWELL: It is my last question, Mr. Chairman.
REP. : (Off mike) -- regular order.
REP. HYDE: Go ahead ask your last question. Please go ahead. Didn't you feed them? (Laughter.)
REP. : Not with what they want.
REP. HYDE: Did I hear Charles Schumer here?
MR. LOWELL: Mr. Starr, I don't have the time to get into the areas, and hopefully the members will, but I will ask you the last question -- it's the one I started with. When you suggested to the committee that what you did, the choices you made have to be looked at to determine the substantiality and the credibility of the evidence, I want to ask you whether or not you don't now see based on the things that we discussed that the manner in which you decided the referral as one with attitude, your contacts between you, your law firm and Paula Jones's attorneys, the questions that have been raised about whether or not you got into this case with proper jurisdiction, the way you dealt with Monica Lewinsky and the evidence that came from that, Judge Johnson's orders which some others will talk with you about about whether your office has been responsible for leaks, and the contradictions in the evidence between your referral and the statements you agree are in the evidence -- doesn't that undermine the substantiality and credibility of the evidence on something as weighty as impeaching a president of the United States?
MR. STARR: Mr. Lowell, nothing that you have said, and with all respect what you have done is go into characterizations as opposed to deal with the facts. The facts are as we have found them to be. And not one of your questions suggests that the president was not involved in serious offenses that not is your responsibility to evaluate.
In terms of the letter, I believe with all due respect you have overread the letter. I do think if there were any suggestion that we had compelled a confession from her on the evening of January 16, that would go forcefully and powerfully to whether any such statement by her should be used. But, Mr. Lowell, she was treated in such a way she did not make a statement to the officers.
MR. LOWELL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
REP. HYDE: Thank you. The -- we will now move to the members questioning, and the chair recognizes under the five-minute rule -- we'll try to adhere to it, but again I will be liberal, but I would like you to make your questions -- Mr. Sensenbrenner.
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