THE IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
Rep. James Rogan Questions Starr
Thursday, November 19, 1998
REP. JAMES ROGAN (R-CA): Well, my colleague's characterization may be right. I just hate to guess what type of hall of fame you may end up in when this is all over, Judge Starr.
MR. STARR: (Laughs.)
REP. ROGAN: But I do thank you for your staying power today and for joining us.
I was particularly interested in the grave concern that has been repeatedly expressed by my colleagues across the aisle respecting your office's interview, your initial interview with Monica Lewinsky. I've been sitting here listening for several hours to the vigorous cross- examination that you have endured by those who I believe sincerely are professing a desire to ensure that Monica Lewinsky, who was neither incommoded or, in fact, intimidated by your office during your interview with her. I would note that if your office did violate any of her procedural due rights, I'm assuming that there are legal remedies that she would enjoy to protect her from any legal liabilities or criminal liability.
MR. STARR: Yes. And could I add just one thing, Congressman, because this has arisen so frequently, that one of the reasons in terms of reliability, whatever one thinks with respect to our activities on the evening of January 16th, not one piece of evidence in this referral relates to or depends upon what happened, because she chose at that time not to be a cooperating witness. Nothing in this referral is affected by the events at the Ritz-Carlton.
So it is ultimately a very interesting academic question that embodies more a "what can we attack the prosecutor with" than anything else.
But ultimately, even the attacks on the prosecutor and the investigation are utterly without merit.
REP. ROGAN: Judge, I want to take this --
MR. STARR: Sorry. Excuse me.
REP. ROGAN: -- and I hate to interrupt, but my time is limited. I want to take this potential victimization of Monica Lewinsky, which, by the way, is a bipartisan concern, to a much higher level. Looking at the evidence as Miss Lewinsky testified to, that the president suggested she could sign an affidavit and use under oath deceptive cover stories. If, in fact, the president convinced Monica Lewinsky to engage in this pattern of conduct, what are the legal liabilities that Monica Lewinsky would face if this were uncovered and she were convicted?
MR. STARR: She would be facing possible criminal charges at a minimum for perjury, and additionally, possibly subornation of perjury, and the penalty with respect to perjury alone is five years imprisonment, maximum.
REP. ROGAN: This goes beyond mere inconvenience in a interrogation. You're talking about incarceration for up to five years. Is there a potential fine that's involved? Could she lose her voting rights in her home state, I mean, are there other severe penalties that she could face?
MR. STARR: Yes, all those can flow. Fines can be imposed, and the sentencing guidelines guide this, and yes, there would be a loss of voting rights in her home state of California.
REP. ROGAN: And I raise that, Mr. Chairman and Judge Starr because as much as I appreciate my colleagues on the other side rising up in indignation over the bare suggestion that Ms. Lewinsky was incommoded or intimidated during your interview, I'm absolutely dumbfounded by the heretofore silence on the very real permanent threat to her very liberty and her rights as a citizen, and I hope that will be addressed, perhaps by the president's attorney when he joins us in a few minutes.
Another question, Judge Starr. Moving to the president's deposition in Jones v. Clinton, when he said, "I don't recall" if he had ever given any gifts to Monica Lewinsky, when he said, "I have no specific recollection" of ever being alone in any room of the White House. Looking at those two sorts of answers, "I don't recall," "I have no specific recollection," what is the legal significance in a deposition or in a trial for a witness who swears to tell the truth and the whole truth and nothing but the truth to say or give an answer such as, "I don't recall" or "I have no recollection," when in fact they do recall, and they do have a recollection.
MR. STARR: That can be proven to be perjury; that is to say, you have to give under the oath the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And if one does recall but says one does not -- and that may be a difficult issue -- but one then looks to the circumstantial evidence. Is it likely that one would recall being in this room at some time in 1998? It is likely that one would recall that, especially if one is asked that in five weeks.
So what were the circumstances? And yes, the circumstances were such that a reasonable human being, given our common human experience, would recall. And yes, individuals have been prosecuted for the inability to recall that is viewed as so straining credulity as simply to be a lie.
REP. HYDE: The gentleman --
REP. ROGAN: The mark of a freshman congressman is they always stop talking, Mr. Chairman, when their time really is up. I hope to expand upon that during my sophomore year with this committee.
REP. HYDE: Very well.
The gentleman from California, Mr. Berman.
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