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Rep. Bill McCollum Questions Starr

  • More Transcripts From the Hearings

  • By Federal News Service
    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    REP. BILL MCCOLLUM (R-FL): Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and Judge Starr, I'm sure in light of that, you should be fully ware that Chairman Hyde keeps the time. You answer the questions as fully as you want when we ask them. We'll get our bell rung, but don't worry about your bell.

    MR. STARR: Thank you.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: Now, let me come and ask you a couple of things, just to follow up quickly. At any time, did you ever represent anybody in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case?

    MR. STARR: No. Well, I shouldn't be so quick. I did not represent ever Ms. Jones, or even seriously contemplate anything other than a role with respect to the constitutional immunity issue. But I believe -- and I can check this, but I'll just give you my belief -- that my firm did in fact represent the Independent Women's Forum.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: Right. But you never personally represented anybody in the Paula Jones sexual harassment litigation per se.

    MR. STARR: Not per se, no, I did not.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: Just the immunity question, that's all I wanted to clarify.

    MR. STARR: Okay.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: You engaged us very fully on the immunity issue during your complete testimony. I have another question that's related.

    I heard you describe this morning a compelling picture of President Clinton, a compelling picture of him acting in a cold, calculated, methodical, well-thought-out method, a scheme, if you will, to lie under oath, to commit perjury, if you will, with regard to his involvement with Ms. Lewinsky before the Jones case, in the Jones case in the deposition, and before the grand jury, to convince

    Monica Lewinsky and Betty Currie to also commit perjury, lie under oath in that Jones case. To work to get others, perhaps, but certainly in concert with him, to conceal and not produce the gifts that you've mentioned in a subpoena situation in the Jones case, where they were subpoenaed of Monica Lewinsky. And to try to get Monica Lewinsky a job, in at least it appears from circumstantial evidence you described in a compelling way, in large measure because the president wanted to keep her from turning on him, and to keep her from going ahead and telling the truth at some point.

    Now, that is a picture you painted. It was very compelling. Now, the latter part interests me. Section 201 of Title 18 of the United States Code, is the bribery section of the code.

    And it reads, in part, "Whoever directly or indirectly gives, offers, or promises anything of value to any person for, because of the testimony under oath or affirmation given or to be given by such person as a witness upon a trial, hearing, or other proceeding, et cetera" -- couldn't a reasonable person, Judge Starr, listening to what you described, particularly with regard to the job offer, the circumstantial evidence the president has of obstructing justice in that instance, as you described it -- couldn't a reasonable person, a reasonable member like me, conclude that there may -- as well as being obstruction of justice here, may be an act of bribery the president committed in this case? Could I not conclude that as well?

    MR. STARR: Well, Mr. McCollum, I would not want to join in a particular judgment beyond that which we have set forth in the referral. But you will obviously go through your analysis.

    I think on the other side of the equation are the circumstances when the job search began and so forth.

    But I have frankly not taken the specific issue you have identified -- and it's a fair issue -- through the kind of elements analysis that a lawyer and a prosecutor would need to do. So I think, in fairness, I would say I would just want to examine that question more closely before opining on it.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: When you actually testified this morning, all of that went through my mind. I pulled out the statute book. I've walked through it. And while you didn't allege it, and you aren't here today -- it seems pretty darn clear. And I think that's important, because in the context of this picture you're painting of the president, you're painting perjury and bribery, as you've said, as of the same whole cloth. We're dealing with a similar pattern. We're dealing with an involvement that overall is very grave.

    And I'd like to conclude with a question that amplifies and gets you to clarify one other thing that Mr. Sensenbrenner asked you about, regarding the issue of perjury itself. In this particular case, a number of our colleagues on this panel have suggested that because the Paula Jones case was dismissed and ultimately settled, or because there was indeed a throwing out by the judge, albeit appealed, of the underlying question of whether or not there was any relevance to the testimony about other people being sexually harassed as being relevant to that case, that somehow, therefore, if the president lied in that case, it's immaterial.

    Now you started to say something about that. I don't think you really fully put the nail into this, and I'd like for you to tell us, in your judgment, based upon what you presented to us today, were the elements of perjury present when the president lied under oath, as you've described it, in that Paula Jones case, and particularly, was materiality present?

    MR. STARR: Materiality is not affected. It is a totally bogus argument to suggest that because the lawsuit is eventually settled or dismissed, that an act -- let's call it perjury -- we've said, you know, a false statement under oath; that's the way we've presented it to you -- that is simply and utterly demonstrably wrong as a matter of law.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: But that is --

    REP. HYDE: The gentleman's time has expired.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: But may I just clarify one thing, Mr. Chairman?

    REP. HYDE: Yes.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: The false statement under oath you presented, and the way you described it with all the elements there, you've described all the elements of perjury, have you not; Judge Starr? You may have distinguished it in the way you presented it, but aren't all the elements there you just described?

    MR. STARR: I'm not quarrelling with what you just said.

    REP. MCCOLLUM: Thank you.

    Copyright © 1998 by Federal News Service, Inc. No portion of this transcript may be copied, sold or retransmitted without the written authority of Federal News Service, Inc. Copyright is not claimed as to any part of the original work prepared by a United States government officer or employee as a part of that person's original duties. Transcripts of other events may be found at the Federal News Service Web site, located at

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