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Republican Counsel David Schippers Questions Starr

  • More Transcripts From the Hearings

  • By Federal News Service
    Thursday, November 19, 1998

    MR. DAVID SCHIPPERS: Thank you. I will be try to be as brief as I possibly can, but I do have a little bit of territory to cover, as you well know.

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I'll begin with some of Mr. Kendall's statements, and some of Mr. Kendall's questions to you. First of all, do I understand that there is such a thing as a hair-trigger? You referred to a hair-trigger that would set off an investigation of whether or not there were leaks out of your office?

    MR. STARR: Yes, that's right.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And that hair-trigger can be, and often is triggered by a defense attorney sending something to the judge claim that there's a leak. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: Yes. It is standard practice for criminal defense lawyers to charge leaks of grand jury information. Their allies then pick up the charge, and suddenly it becomes conventional wisdom that there has in fact been some final adjudication, which is wrong as a matter of law, and unfair, just in terms of basic human decency, because these are professional prosecutors, and we're talking about --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Thank you, Judge.

    MR. STARR: Yes, I'm sorry.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, do I understand that Mr. Kendall sent 27 of such requests to the judge here claiming leaks?

    MR. STARR: Well, he sent a number, and I think he had some 24 exhibits, which again I've been reluctant to talk about, because it is in litigation. I mean the specifics are in litigation, as David knows.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well, Judge, if I were expecting someone to testify before a Congressional committee, and I wanted some questions to ask him about leaks, all I'd have to do is send some letters to the judge, and trigger this hair-trigger effect. Isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Well, I guess I don't want to suggest that the hair- trigger is a non-existent trigger. But the burden on the defense lawyer is quite modest. And one of the things that we've learned -- and I know this is your time. But I would just say, one of the things that we've learned in this investigation, is that a lot of people, including Mr. Kendall, talk on background and the like. And the sourcing that is then used by the reporter, becomes very important. Someone as responsible as Tim Russert sourced a story in such a way that it looked like it came from us. He was decent and honorable enough to say "No, it didn't come from Starr's office, it in fact," -- with all due respect, -- "came from the Congress."

    Now, you're not under a 6(e) obligation, so you can talk as freely as you would, and indeed you enjoy speech and debate clause immunity. However, prosecutors are very sensitive, especially in this jurisdiction, in light of the hair-trigger, to a reporter who sort of says "Sources close to...."

    Well, what does that mean? It can mean almost anyone. And I think that one of the things that this litigation will, in fact, show, is that that becomes an issue ever so quickly, as we saw in the Marion Barry case, and as we saw in the Dan Rostenkowski case.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now Judge, Mr. Kendall mentioned massive leaking. I'm going to ask you a specific and direct question. As you sit there, do you have any information, evidence, or anything in your possession to indicate that anyone in your office has leaked anything? Any 6(e) material?

    MR. STARR: Well, again, it depends on what one means by 6(e), because there are issues. I have a press --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Within your definition of 6(e).


    MR. STARR: Within my understanding and I think that my understanding is correct, no. I can say that here now. But I also think it's important for this litigation that I've talked about, to go forward and let's see what happens. And that litigation, again, is under seal. But there's an orderly process, just as the Supreme Court said in the Paula Corbin Jones case. Let's allow that orderly process to go forward.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Fine. And sir, you were asked whether you were present during the taking of the 302s, the FBI interviews, whether you were present at the grand jury appearances of all these witnesses, whether you were present during the course of interviews and depositions, and you answered no. Isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: But you did have experienced, highly experienced professional agents and prosecutors present at each and every one of those occasions, did you not?

    MR. STARR: I did.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And you relied upon the integrity, the honesty and the decency of those agents and investigators, did you not?

    MR. STARR: I did, and very proudly so.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: All right. We've heard an awful lot about fairness here, Judge Starr. But I noticed that when you sat down this morning, you were given about two inches of documents to review. How long did you have to review those, before Mr. Lowell began questioning you?

    MR. STARR: Unless Mr. Lowell shipped it over this morning, I left the office at 9:15 to come to the House of Representatives, and I had not seen it. If it's waiting on my desk, then I suppose he gave me some notice.

    But no, in terms of actual notice, I had no notice whatsoever.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, you were also given a book filled with some 63 tabs when Mr. Kendall began to question you. When's the first time you saw that book?

    MR. STARR: This evening, when I came in after having a sandwich.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And of course they were in possession of those books before you left to have your sandwich. They didn't give it to you to review, did they? Did they?

    MR. STARR: No, unless it's sitting on my desk -- it's not. They did not, and I am confident -- I have to be careful of what I say, because of not having universal facts. But Mr. Schippers, no, I had no advance notice that this was going to be --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And you were questioned about specific one lines, two lines inside this two-and-a-half inch document, and you had to go and hunt for the answers, didn't you, Judge?

    MR. STARR: I did.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, we have heard over two hours of questioning, almost three hours of questioning, if we include the Democratic members of this committee. And I haven't heard anybody ask you one question about the facts of these cases.

    So with your permission, Judge, I'm going to take a few minutes, and get to the facts and the issues that are really before this committee. First of all, Mr. Conyers in his opening statement made a remark about a recent delivery of four boxes of documents. That delivery was made -- what was it? -- yesterday or the day before to the Ford Building. Was it not, Mr. -- or Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: Yes, I believe it was the day before.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now that wasn't your idea to deliver those, was it?

    MR. STARR: No, it was not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: It was in answer to a request by Mr. Conyers that you provide additional information, wasn't it?

    MR. STARR: Yes, that -- well, it was a congressional request. I believe it originated with Congressman Conyers.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And you were just --

    MR. STARR: We've had so many requests -- we've had individual requests from individual members. I don't mean to complain, but we don't have a congressional office. We're prosecutors and lawyers, so we do the best we can. We've had a virtual flurry of requests for information, but I believe Mr. -- excuse me, Congressman Conyers was one of the requesters with respect to that information, and we tried to be responsive, yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now Judge Starr, you have been investigating President Clinton and the Monica Lewinsky matter and other matters involving perjury, obstruction of justice, conspiracy and so on for some seven or eight months. Is that correct?

    MR. STARR: Yes, I guess now 10 months.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Have you been given any exculpatory evidence by the president? Or have you been offered any exculpatory evidence or witnesses by the president in that time?

    MR. STARR: I don't believe that we have. I would want to check, and if I have additional information, I would provide it to the committee. But as I sit here this evening, I'm not aware of any suggestion that there is exculpatory evidence other than the discussion we've had here today with respect to what one individual witness may have said.

    But no, no witness has come forward to say, "Monica Lewinsky made it all up." No one has suggested that. No one has suggested -- so, I'm sorry to be going on, but the point is --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I think you've answered the question.

    MR. STARR: -- we stand ready to receive information, but no one has been --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: That was my next question. If information were available and had been given to you, you would have considered that along with all the other information. Is that correct?

    MR. STARR: Oh, yes, absolutely. And in fact one of my colleagues reminds me that we specifically asked -- in the flurry of this investigation, we asked Mr. Kendall by letter, "Please provide us with any exculpatory information." Mr. Kendall said there was nothing to exculpate. Or that there was nothing to worry about exculpation from.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, there was a great deal of discussion throughout the day about the difference between your investigation and that of Mr. Jaworski. There was no Independent Counsel Act when Mr. Jaworski was performing his duties, was there?

    MR. STARR: That is correct. He had no statute to look to at all.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And your actions, as regards referrals to this committee, are governed by federal statute, are they not, Judge?

    MR. STARR: They are indeed.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And you attempted, to the best of your ability, to comply with those federal statues?

    MR. STARR: That is correct. And if I could just add, there was no experience under this -- happily for the country -- under this provision of the statute. So we were sailing in uncharted waters and trying to come to the best professional judgment we could about what Congress intended and wanted in this provision that required us to report to it.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: One aside. In the 63 -- have you had an opportunity -- I know you haven't had a reasonable opportunity -- but have you had any opportunity to page through Mr. Kendall's 63 Tabs?

    MR. STARR: Only as he was guiding me, Mr. Schippers.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well I have. I have, Judge Starr. And I noted that it contains several newspaper articles, several magazine articles, several self-serving letters from the president's counsel, and not one word, not one word of evidence.

    By the way, the other two-incher is equally devoid of evidence.

    During your term as independent counsel, sir, and with particular reference to your investigation of the Lewinsky matter and the perjury and the obstruction of justice and other related criminal activity, you were under the guidance and control of the attorney general of the United States, were you not?

    MR. STARR: Well, I was certainly under her ultimate supervision in terms of the provisions for removal. But of course the independent counsel is to be independent of her daily supervision.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I mean that in the sense that if you were to be involved in anything untoward, unethical, illegal, the attorney general had the absolute ability to fire you for cause, did she not?

    MR. STARR: Yes. I mean, the statute is clear that an independent counsel can be removed for "good cause".

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, you've been pilloried and vilified in newspapers and magazines and here, unfortunately. Has the attorney general ever indicated that she had any thought of firing you for cause?

    MR. STARR: I'm not aware of any expression of any issue at all with respect to "good cause". There are -- in fairness to the attorney general, because of the flurry of allegations that are just constant, there is a process of evaluation on her part. But no. And I meet with the attorney general episodically, and her senior staff, and there has never been a suggestion that there is "good cause" to remove me as independent counsel. At least I'm not aware of any suggestion nor --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well, you've never been --

    MR. STARR: I'm sorry.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Has the attorney general ever questioned you about conflicts of interest or anything like that?

    MR. STARR: No, the attorney general has not. But the attorney general has a process, through the Office of Professional Responsibility, or otherwise exercising her jurisdiction. But thus far, the issues that have been acted on, we have been cleared on, or else no action has been taken over the years of my stewardship as the independent counsel.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now all of these specific factors that various people have asked you if you reported to the attorney general when you met her on the 16th of -- when was it? -- the 15th of January.

    MR. STARR: Well, we met with the deputy attorney general on the 15th, and then there was -- and again, I did not have these meetings, as it turned out. But obviously --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: No, but there was a litany of --

    MR. STARR: Yes?

    MR. SCHIPPERS: There was a litany of things that you apparently allegedly did not tell the attorney general at that meeting?

    MR. STARR: Oh, yes. Yes, I'm sorry. Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: But of course, shortly thereafter, all of that litany of information became available to the attorney general.


    MR. STARR: If it wasn't available to begin with -- I mean, part of the quarrel that I have had with a number of the suggestions about what I should have told the attorney general is that these were all in the public domain. As I said in response to questions very early -- or earlier in the day, certain things did not occur to me as relevant or germane. It may be that others would say, "Gee, isn't it relevant that you were asked by Bob Fiske to consider preparing an amicus brief in the Paula Corbin Jones case?" I didn't view it as -- well, it just didn't occur to me.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: That's fine. That's fine. But it did become available and no action was taken?

    MR. STARR: No. That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now let's get to this January 16th meeting with Monica Lewinsky that so much has been made of.

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I've been a prosecutor too. And Monica Lewinsky, from my reading, was treated very, very nicely by your agents.

    MR. STARR: Thank you.

    REP. CONYERS: (Chuckles.)

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I hear laughter from the left, but I often hear laughter from the left, even when you're testifying. And I didn't really think it was fair to laugh at you when you were testifying either.

    MR. STARR: Well, I think that the record -- a fair assessment of the record will show that we wanted her cooperation, and we treated her with dignity and with respect. But we were prosecutors and we were investigators investigating crime; that's a serious matter, and we made it very clear to her she is in a serious situation. But we treated her with dignity and we certainly took every step to make sure that she --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I wonder how many of your accusers have read the log that was kept of every minute of that day.

    Now, sir, there was also some question as to why Ms. Lewinsky was not allowed to call Mr. Carter. Mr. Carter had been given to Monica Lewinsky by Vernon Jordan, isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: That's correct. He --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And the evidence available to you at that time, phone evidence, indicated that perhaps Mr. Jordan had been in telephonic contact with the president at the time he was getting her that lawyer, isn't that correct, sir?

    MR. STARR: That is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And in an abundance of caution, you did not want the president to know that Monica Lewinsky was talking to you, isn't that right?

    MR. STARR: That is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And that's a perfectly valid prosecutorial move, isn't it?

    MR. STARR: Yes, very traditional. Nothing out of the ordinary.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: As a matter of fact, later Ms. Lewinsky decided she didn't want to be represented by Mr. Carter on that day, isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Yes. She came to a decision to be represented by Mr. Ginsburg in --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And she called Mr. Ginsburg and she talked to Mr. Ginsburg, didn't she?

    MR. STARR: Yes. I was just going to say, that was in consultation with her family. So I don't know to what extent Ms. Lewinsky was being guided by her parents, and especially Dr. Lewinsky.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: But in any event, she changed lawyers from the one that had been provided to her indirectly by the White House, to an independent lawyer from the West Coast, is that right?

    MR. STARR: Oh, yes. And one who was well known to the family.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And doesn't the evidence demonstrate that from the 16th on, or from that day on, when she was unavailable, there was a three-day frenzy at the White House to try and find Monica Lewinsky by phone, by beeper, and that Mr. Jordan, Mr. Carter and Ms. Currie were in constant efforts to reach Monica Lewinsky. Isn't that a fact?

    MR. STARR: I believe that is true.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Does that indicate to you that they were a little bit afraid of what Monica might say?

    MR. STARR: I think there was concern.

    (Light laughter.)

    MR. SCHIPPERS: By the way, when Monica Lewinsky was -- I'm not going to say "being held" because I don't want to run into trouble.

    MR. STARR: (Laughs.) Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: When Monica Lewinsky was in with your agents --

    MR. STARR: Yes -- and prosecutors.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: -- she was not questioned about criminal activity, was she?

    MR. STARR: No, she was not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: She was not questioned at all about criminal activity until she was represented by counsel, isn't that true?

    MR. STARR: That is absolutely right. And that's why not one word in this referral comes from any information that was gleaned or gathered on the evening of January 16th -- not one word.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well as a matter of fact, the first time Monica Lewinsky testified in a grand jury was some seven months later, is that right?

    MR. STARR: It took a long time and a new set of lawyers, two very distinguished lawyers here in Washington, with whom --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And if she was afraid and if she was disturbed on January 6th, she was sure as heck over it by August 6th, wasn't she?

    MR. STARR: Well, she was at least -- yes, she seemed to be. (Laughter.)

    But I'm very fearful of saying anything about state of mind.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: (Laughs.)

    MR. STARR: Especially in light of a comment I have heard with respect -- but in any event.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Do you have before you, Judge Starr, the first two-incher -- the one that Mr. Lowell gave you? Would you turn to Tab 35, please? There are a whole series of remarks on page 35, and I think there was a -- 356, the page number, that's where Tab 35 begins. The first bullet -- do you have it, Judge.

    MR. STARR: I do.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: The first bullet says Monica Lewinsky testified before that grand jury that, quote, "No one every asked me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence." Is that right?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: She also testified, "But nobody told me to tell the truth, either," did she -- didn't she?

    MR. STARR: Absolutely.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, Monica Lewinsky also testified that she had a conversation with the president in the White House, or on the phone when she found out that she was on the witness list and the president told her, "You can make an affidavit."

    MR. STARR: That is -- words to that effect --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: The affidavit, of course, would be for the purpose of avoiding testimony. Isn't that correct, Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: Yes, that was correct. That was the --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And in order to accomplish that purpose, both the president and Ms. Lewinsky were fully aware that that affidavit would have to be a lie. Isn't that right?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And it was the president's suggestion that she make that affidavit, according to her testimony?

    MR. STARR: According to her testimony, yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: We might as well be complete about these tabs when we're going over them.

    We're going to talk a little bit about fairness, if I may. The president of the United States testified before a grand jury, did he not Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: Yes, he did.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And he was permitted to testify by videotape or by closed-circuit tape from the White House, was he not?

    MR. STARR: Yes, he was.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: How often is a prospective witness before the grand jury permitted to testify from home?

    MR. STARR: Very rarely. Usually --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So that was being overly fair to the president by letting him testify there, isn't that right?

    MR. STARR: We tried to respect the dignity of the presidency and the president, and we readily agreed to provide this alternative mechanism, at Mr. Kendall's request, to his actually appearance before the grand jury.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And also, the president was permitted to have his attorney sitting with him and to consult with that attorney. Isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Yes. Mr. Kendall and Ms. Seligman and --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: How many prospective witnesses before a grand jury are permitted to bring their lawyer into the grand jury room with them?

    MR. STARR: None. It is inconsistent --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Except the president.

    MR. STARR: It's inconsistent with grand jury practice.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So you -- another favor to the president in the interest of fairness, is that correct?

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: The president was permitted to read a statement before he began to testify. How many witnesses in a grand jury are permitted to read a statement of their own?

    MR. STARR: Ordinarily, -- I'm sorry. Ordinarily, it's not done. They're there to answer questions that the prosecutors, as the legal advisers to the grand jury, or the grand jurors themselves have.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, the president was originally subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.

    MR. STARR: Yes, he was. After he declined six invitations to testify.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Six invitations, that's right. And as an accommodation to the president you and your staff withdrew that subpoena and allowed him to the courtesy of appearing, quote, "voluntarily"?

    MR. STARR: Yes, at Mr. Kendall's request, and --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Again being eminently fair to the president?

    MR. STARR: We acceded to his request. We did try and do try to be fair.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, Judge Starr, when an individual testifies before a grand jury, that individual has three choices. He can tell the truth, one; he can lie, two; or he can assert his Fifth Amendment privilege not to testify because his answers might tend to incriminate him -- isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: When an individual is questioned in a grand jury, is he permitted to say, "I stand on my statement in lieu of taking the Fifth"?

    MR. STARR: No.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: But the president was allowed to do that, was he not?

    MR. STARR: He was.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So much for the unfairness of the grand jury.

    You were also asked by some of the members here, and a great, great move was made, that none of these individuals in the grand jury were subjected to cross-examination -- and that's true, none of them were.

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Are you aware of any grand jury proceeding in which the defense is permitted to come in and cross-examine the witnesses before the grand jury?

    MR. STARR: Absolutely not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: It's unbelievable, isn't it?

    MR. STARR: It is completely outside the contemplation of grand jury practice, because that's not the function of the grand jury -- it's to gather information and to determine whether there's probable cause to believe that a criminal offense may have been committed.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: That's right. Now, the cross-examination is for the trial, isn't it?

    MR. STARR: Yes, absolutely.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, we're talking -- if I change horses a little bit and go to the impeachment proceeding, the Constitution provides that the sole power of impeachment resides in the House of Representatives -- isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: That is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And that is in the nature of a grand jury proceeding which results in a charge, isn't that right?

    MR. STARR: That's right.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So there should be no cross-examination at that stage of the proceeding either, should there?

    MR. STARR: That's entirely within your prerogative, but to the extent that you are mirroring the grand jury there is no cross- examination.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well, over and above that, Judge Starr, the Constitution further provides that the sole power to try an impeachment resides in the Senate -- isn't that correct?


    MR. STARR: That is true.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So if this House were to permit cross-examination and to hold a mini trial here, they would be usurping the constitutional duties of the United States Senate -- isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Well, I am not sure I would necessarily agree with that, because I think --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I hear them moaning from the left again. (Laughter.)

    MR. STARR: Because I -- no I think --

    REP. HYDE: Does somebody need an aspirin? (Laughter.)

    MR. STARR: No, I think there are substantial -- I shouldn't be advising the House of Representatives in terms of its prerogatives, but it seems to me that under the Constitution you will have an extraordinary latitude under whatever rules of the House under which you are operating to determine how to proceed. But you are quite right, the Constitution contemplates the trial to be in the Senate, and what you are quite rightly saying is if one is saying, "Let's have a trial," you might have the raw power to do it, but it's almost as if well, that doesn't count because the real issue is: is there substantial, or whatever the standard is that the House of Representatives sees fit to articulate as its operative standard.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, judge, let's do some fairness comparing here. Did anybody in the grand jury while the president was testifying laugh at him?

    MR. STARR: Yes.


    MR. STARR: Members of the grand jury.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And when was that, Judge Starr? While the president was testifying and telling what he told the grand jurors, they were laughing at him? Is that right, sir?

    MR. STARR: I understand that there were some occasions where one or more grand jurors -- at least that is my understanding. But I want to protect the confidentiality of the grand jury process and deliberative process, even though you have all the transcripts and the like. I would just rely on what the transcripts say.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: All right.

    MR. STARR: Well, when the president was asked questions he was asked questions one at a time, was he not?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And they were relatively simple questions that he was permitted to give full and complete answers -- isn't that correct?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: He wasn't asked six or eight questions at a time, running over a four- or five-minute period, and then given 10 seconds to answer, was he?

    MR. STARR: Definitely not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, by the way, did anybody cut off the president when he tried to answer questions?

    MR. STARR: No, I don't think there was any episode of when we cut off the president, although may I say we were operating as well under very strict limitations and we did want to proceed with additional questions, and the grand jury had questions, but Mr. Kendall did enforce the understanding which we had, which was a four- hour session by the president. And we abided by that, and I don't mean to sound quarrelsome in suggesting that Mr. Kendall was not within his rights -- he was.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, judge there has been a lot of talk in the public domain and on the television and things that this is -- that all the president did was deny sex -- deny a sexual relationship with an intern. He went a lot further than that, didn't he, for example with Mr. Blumenthal?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: As a matter of fact, before Mr. Blumenthal came in to testify he was subjected to an elaborate -- an elaborate lie by the president concerning the relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

    MR. STARR: Yes, he was.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: If I may, the president told Mr. Blumenthal that Monica made sexual demands upon him which he rebuffed. Right? And that was not true, was it?

    MR. STARR: That was not true.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: He also said that Monica Lewinsky threatened to claim an affair and he wouldn't go along with it, that he had been threatened by Monica Lewinsky. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, this is at a time when the president thought that it was a one-on-one with Monica Lewinsky, didn't he?

    MR. STARR: I believe that that is what he thought at that time.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And this would have been a perfect answer -- she threatened to say I had sex with her if I didn't do something for her. I didn't do something -- therefore everything she's saying is a lie.

    MR. STARR: It would be a very good answer.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now, you're -- you've been -- it's been suggested that your people used the young lady and betrayed the young lady. Wouldn't that more properly belong to the president of the United States?

    MR. STARR: Well, I am not sure I should be the one to pass judgment, but we certainly did not betray Ms. Lewinsky. We were doing our job, and we certainly never took any steps other than to try to vindicate the interest of the criminal law.

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Schippers, your time is expired. Do you need additional time?

    MR. SCHIPPERS: If I may, and if Judge Starr can stand it.

    REP. HYDE: Well --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I will not need a great deal more, Mr. Chairman.

    REP. HYDE: All right, I'll allow an additional 15 minutes, and maybe you won't use that.

    MR. : I'm sorry, that was off the record. Mr. Kendall tells me I should not do that.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: There's been some suggestion, judge, that this was merely a private crime. The United States Constitution provides for three branches of government, does it not?

    MR. STARR: That's right.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Co-equal branches?

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And the judiciary is co-equal with the executive?

    MR. STARR: Absolutely.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Did I understand you earlier to say that lying under oath, perjury and obstruction of justice strikes at the very heart of the judicial system of the United States?

    MR. STARR: Absolutely. And I think every judge would agree with that, that this absolutely inimical to the judicial functioning. It is inimical to our court system.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And under that, the Constitution of the United States, if the judicial system is destroyed, that is destroying one of the constitutional portions of our government, isn't it?

    MR. STARR: No question that from the founding of the Republic the importance of our judiciary as an enforcer of rights and the vindicators of rule of law is absolutely critical?

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So when the president of the United States lies under oath, civil or criminal case, grand jury or other, and obstructs justice, civil or criminal, grand jury or other, he is effectively attacking the judicial branch of the United States constitutional government, isn't he?

    MR. STARR: That is the way I would view it.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And that president takes the oath that he will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States, and will to the best of his ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States -- right?

    MR. STARR: Right.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: That's not defending, is it?

    MR. STARR: No, it's not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: There is a term that has stuck in my brain from these transcripts that I've read, and that is "mission accomplished."

    When Webb Hubbell needed help, Vernon Jordan got somebody at Revlon or the parent company of Revlon to put him on retainer for no work, right?

    MR. STARR: Essentially no work.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So Vernon Jordan, mission accomplished.

    When Monica was looking for a job, and it became very urgent for her to get a job, Mr. Jordan again accomplished his mission.

    MR. STARR: Yes, he did.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: When Ms. Currie -- when they wanted to get rid of the gifts, Ms. Currie went and picked them up, put them under her bed to keep them from anybody else; another mission accomplished.

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: By the way, there's been some talk here that Monica said that she recalled that Betty Currie called her and said, "Either the president wants me to pick something up or I understand you have something for me to pick up." Later Ms. Currie backed off of that and said, "Well, I'm not sure. Maybe Monica called me."

    In the material that you made available, you and your staff made available to us, there were 302s in which Monica said, "I think, when Betty called me, she was using her cell phone." Do you recall that, Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: I do.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And in that same material that's in your office, that both parties were able to review and that we did, in fact, review, there are phone records of Ms. Currie, are there not?

    MR. STARR: There are.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And there is a telephone call on her cell phone to Monica Lewinsky's home on the afternoon of December 28th, 1997, isn't there?

    MR. STARR: That is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Once again, Monica is right and she has been corroborated, right?

    MR. STARR: That certainly tends to corroborate Ms. Lewinsky's recollection.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: By the way, they did find some of the billing records from the Rose firm in the attic of Vince Foster's home.

    MR. STARR: Yes, that is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: They weren't under the bed, were they?

    MR. STARR: No, they were in the attic.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Now --

    REP. WATERS (?): Is it okay to laugh? Ha ha ha.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: I'm sorry?

    REP. HYDE: She wanted to know if it was okay to laugh.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Oh, sure.

    REP. HYDE: He says yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Lewinsky -- now, when Ms. Lewinsky was subpoenaed, Mr. Jordan contacted the president and then got Ms. Lewinsky an attorney, Mr. Carter. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Another mission accomplished. When Monica did her job search and she signed a false affidavit, the next day she was up in New York trying to get a job. Isn't that right?

    MR. STARR: I believe it was the next day, yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And she couldn't get a job because she kind of didn't do a very good job on the interview.

    MR. STARR: She did not feel that the interview had not gone well and she was not given a job offer, and that concerned her. And she expressed that concern.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: This is when Mr. Jordan called the chairman of the board and got her the job.

    MR. STARR: He certainly -- yes. He called Mr. Perlman (sp), and Mr. Perlman then made a call, and she was reinterviewed and she was hired.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: So Mr. Jordan at that time knew that the false affidavit had been signed and that he had a job for Monica. And he went to see the president of the United States and said, "Mission accomplished," didn't he?

    MR. STARR: Well, in fairness to Mr. Jordan, he knew the affidavit had been signed. The rest, I'm sure, would be in some dispute. But, yes, that is --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: But he knew the affidavit had been signed --

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: -- and he knew that the job had been gotten, and he went in to the president and said, "Mission accomplished."

    MR. STARR: Yes, that is correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: We don't know which he was referring to, whether it was the job or "We got the affidavit signed," do we?

    MR. STARR: No, I don't think that we do know that. We just know he said, you know, "Mission accomplished." And I know he felt that he had, you know, engaged in a certain level of effort to secure that job for Ms. Lewinsky at Revlon.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Judge Starr, I only have a few more questions. You are a senior partner in a major law firm, or you were before you took your leave of absence.

    MR. STARR: Yeah, past tense.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You are a recognized scholar in constitutional law and in law in general. You have been the solicitor general of the United States. Is that correct?

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.

    MR. STARR: That's correct.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You have received honorary doctors of law degrees from six universities.

    MR. STARR: I think that's right.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You've written numberless articles in various scholarly journals.

    MR. STARR: Yes, I've written a number.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You have a completely unblemished career for your entire life as a lawyer and you're looked upon in the profession as a man of honor, integrity and decency. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: Well, I would like to think that at least once upon a time that was the reputation. (Laughter.)

    MR. SCHIPPERS: For the past year, you have been trashed in the newspapers, on television and with snide backward remarks, to which you could not reply. Isn't that right, Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: Well, I've chosen until now not to reply. But I think the code of silence sometimes, in terms of basic fairness, gets to come to an end.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And you have been pilloried and excoriated, charged with unbelievable things of which you are incapable of being guilty.

    MR. STARR: I cannot imagine me and my colleagues engaging in some of the suggested activities that have been described here seriously. We simply cannot, in conscience, live with one another as professionals. And I laid out, in my opening statement, the backgrounds of my colleagues.

    And I've been privileged to serve with two John Marshall Award winners, and that's special at the Justice Department. That means there's no better trial lawyer in the Department of Justice recognized in a particular year. And I've been privileged to serve with two of them, with public corruption chiefs. These are career civil servants, and it's not right and it's not fair to attack and calumny career civil servants. But for my part, I've learned that it goes with the independent counsel territory.


    MR. SCHIPPERS: And the independent counsel job, you didn't seek that, did you?

    MR. STARR: Absolutely not.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You were asked to take it. And you tried to leave, and your staff begged you to stay and you did stay. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: All of that is true. I never sought this job. I'm reminded of the old song about taking a job -- (laughter) -- and what you then do with it. But it would be indecorous of me to say. But, no, I was asked by the special division to take on this responsibility. The three-judge panel saw fit to ask me to serve.

    I had been asked by Phil Heymann, who was deputy attorney general of the United States, in January of 1994 whether I would be willing to be considered for appointment as the Whitewater counsel under Ms. Reno, to be appointed by Janet Reno. Happily for me, she wisely chose Bob Fiske. Unhappily for me, the special division chose me.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: You have been given a duty that you did not seek and you've performed that duty to the best of your ability. Is that correct, sir?

    MR. STARR: I've certainly tried, and I did not -- to do it to the best of my ability, and I'm proud of what we have been able to accomplish. As I indicated earlier, the records of convictions obtained but also the decisions not to seek an indictment, the decision to issue thorough reports, all that is part of what we have co-labored together, with Mr. Kendall pointing to the number of persons involved in the investigation. I'm proud of those persons. They're my colleagues and they have become my friends, and they've worked very long and very hard under very difficult circumstances, and recognizing -- and we're big, big boys, and I mean that in a gender- neutral way.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And that has --

    MR. STARR: So when we were accused in Arkansas of a political witch hunt, we took it and we did our arguing in court and we proved to the satisfaction of a fair-minded jury with a very distinguished judge that the sitting governor and the president of the first lady's business partners were guilty of serious felonies. And we had been listening month after month to "It's a political witch hunt." And that was unfair, but we learned that goes with this territory.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: And Judge, for all that, doing your duty, you've been pilloried and attacked from all sides. Is that right?

    MR. STARR: I would hope not all sides, but I guess that's --

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Sometimes it seems like all sides.

    MR. STARR: (Laughs.)

    MR. SCHIPPERS: How long have you been an attorney, Judge Starr?

    MR. STARR: Twenty-five years.

    MR. SCHIPPERS: Well, I've been an attorney for almost 40 years. I want to say I'm proud to be in the same room with you and your staff.

    MR. STARR: Thank you, Mr. Schippers.

    REP. HYDE: Thank you. (Extended applause.)

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?

    REP. HYDE: The gentlelady from Houston.

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I indicated I had a point of order. This might be more preferable as a point of clarification. And that is I know it's extremely long into the evening, Mr. Starr. But Mr. Chairman, did I understand Mr. Starr to state that we would not expect any referrals on Filegate, Travelgate and Watergate -- excuse me, Whitewater.

    REP. HYDE: Whitewater. (Laughter.)

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: It's been many years, as relates to the provision in the Constitution on impeachment. Did I hear that? You made a statement, Mr. Chairman. I don't know if you want to make a statement, or Mr. Starr wanted to make a statement. But you did make a statement, and I would appreciate it on the charge of our committee, since we do have that responsibility, if I heard correctly.

    And Mr. Chairman, I had in addition to add to the record, and a question as to whether or not, because of the shortness of the time of questioning, whether or not Mr. Starr would be able to answer, or he indicated, I believe, to many members that he would be willing to answer some of our questions by way of written answers, for example, the question I had of his firsthand knowledge of any details in that referral.

    But Mr. Chairman, excuse me. Excuse my voice, it's late into the evening. And I do wanted to add a United States versus Burdman (ph), 602 Fed. 2nd 547 Third Circuit 1979. I'd like to ask to have that submitted into the record, which deals with the statement of course of -- (off mike) -- the legal profession's disapproval of the role of advocate --

    REP. HYDE: The gentlelady has had her time now. Do you have a --

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I would like the question of referral.

    REP. HYDE: Do you have a specific request?

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: Yes, Mr. Chairman. I would like the specific question answered as to the referrals on Whitewater, Travelgate and Filegate.

    REP. HYDE: Okay, Mr. Starr -- I know. Mr. Starr, can you answer that?

    MR. STARR: I'm sorry. The opening statement spoke to the FBI files and Travel Office matter. I did not comment beyond those two matters.

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: What did you say on those matters, Mr. Starr? That's what I asked.

    REP. HYDE: Well, if the gentlelady would read the report.

    MR. STARR: When I say I didn't comment with respect to the conclusion of such matters, the opening statement speaks for itself, and I think we can in fact have that as part of the record.

    REP. HYDE: Well, it is part of the official record.

    MR. STARR: Yes.

    REP. HYDE: Very well.

    REP. JACKSON-LEE: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

    REP. HYDE: Well, thank you, Judge Starr, for a wonderful day. Thank you. (Applause.)

    MR. STARR: Thank you.

    REP. HYDE: Everybody stay, please. The committee will stay. Maxine, don't go. We're going to have a meeting. (Applause.)

    Ladies and gentlemen, the committee hearing stands adjourned, but the committee will remain here for a very short meeting. Pursuant to notice and subject to the authority granted in H. Res. 581, I now move that the committee authorize the issuance of subpoenas for the following individuals: Daniel Gecker, Nathan Landau, and Bob Bennett.

    REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman, the room is in disorder, and I cannot hear you.

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Nadler.

    REP. NADLER: I said somebody is not in order, and I cannot hear you.

    REP. HYDE: Okay, I'll try it again. Pursuant to notice subject to the authority granted in H. Res. 581, I now move that the committee authorize the issuance of subpoenas for the following individuals: Daniel Gecker (ph), Nathan Landau, Bob Bennett (ph).

    REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman?

    REP. HYDE: Is there any objection?

    REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman.

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Nadler.

    REP. NADLER: Mr. Chairman, I would like to know why this proposal -- in particular, Mr. Gecker (ph), I believe -- I'm asking this as a question.

    REP. HYDE: Well, if the gentleman will permit me, if we have to go into executive session to do that.

    REP. NADLER: Let me ask one question, which we may not have to go into executive session.

    REP. HYDE: Okay, what is it?

    REP. NADLER: Mr. Gecker, I believe, is Ms. Willey's lawyer. If you want information about -- I presume he may avail himself o attorney-client privilege claim. He may have to. If you need information about that, why call the lawyer? Why not call the witness directly?

    REP. HYDE: Well, I can't answer that, but I will say the attorney-client privilege does not overwhelm an impeachment committee. Is there any objection to the approval of the three subpoenas?

    REP. SCOTT: Reserving the right --

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Scott.

    REP. SCOTT: Reserving the right to object.

    REP. HYDE: You want to put your mike on?

    REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, am I to assume by the issuance of these subpoenas, that we are not confining the inquiry to the Starr allegations?

    REP. HYDE: What we're doing is pursuant to the House Resolution 581. It's pursuant to that resolution.

    REP. SCOTT: Well, Mr. Chairman, reserving the right to object.

    REP. HYDE: The gentleman reserves the right to object.

    REP. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, I would just say that at some point, I would appreciate it if we would focus the inquiry into specific allegations, so we know what we're investigating. We are now not focused on the Starr allegations. I have no idea what the allegations are going to be. And if we're going to conduct an inquiry that we can conclude at some point in the foreseeable future, we have to focus on certain allegations that might be impeachable offenses.

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Scott, this is focusing on material the committee has received in executive session. We have this material.

    MR. SCOTT: Mr. Chairman, I withdraw my reservation.

    REP. HYDE: I thank the gentleman, and Mr. Watt.

    REP. WATT: Reserving the right to object.

    REP. HYDE: The gentleman reserves the right to object.

    REP. WATT: The unanimous consent request that I'm reserving the right to object to, is to authorize the subpoenas. Is that correct?

    REP. HYDE: Yes. These are subpoenas for depositions.

    REP. WATT: Mr. Chairman, I don't feel like I can pass on that without having some background information, and I understand --

    REP. HYDE: We have to go into executive session.

    REP. WATT: Well, I hate to put us to that burden, but I don't know how I can pass on it without having some more information.

    REP. HYDE: We'll go into executive session. We'll have to clear the room.

    REP. WATT: Wait, Mr. Chairman.

    REP. HYDE: What?

    REP. WATT: Why do we have to be in executive session to debate this?

    REP. HYDE: Because the material for explaining the rationale for wanting these depositions, is material that is executive material.

    REP. WATT: Well, with respect, Mr. Chairman --

    REP. HYDE: Now, just one at a time.

    REP. WATT: -- I don't feel like I can vote -- I can sit here and not object, without understanding the rationale myself.

    REP. HYDE: I understand, and we're perfectly willing to go into executive session.

    REP. SCOTT: I'm not trying to violate executive rule.

    REP. SCHUMER: Will chairman yield?

    REP. HYDE: Yeah, I will yield.

    REP. SCHUMER: I am befuddled by why we are doing this. I understand --

    REP. HYDE: We wish to take depositions of these three people.

    REP. SCHUMER: Yeah, I understand that.

    REP. HYDE: But we'll explain that in executive session.

    REP. SCHUMER: If I might make my point, sir.

    REP. HYDE: Sure.

    REP. SCHUMER: I think the public, most of which is wondering why this is dragging on and on, also has a right to know why we are doing this. So what I would suggest -- what I would suggest is that we discuss as much of the rationale for this as we can out of executive session so the public can hear. And then, if there are any specific references about materials that are gathered in executive session, we can go in for that portion.

    REP. HYDE: Mr. Schumer, we can't discuss, really, anything around the edges even, without transgressing on executive session material. So, let's just go into executive session.

    REP. SCHUMER: Well then, what I would move, Mr. Chairman, I have no problem with us going into executive session. But then, I would like for us to be able to discuss the rationale for this without using executive session material in public session. And that's what I would propose.

    REP. HYDE: Well, we can't do it. We're going to have to go into executive session.

    REP SCHUMER: Well, wait.

    REP. HYDE: Well now, come on.

    REP. FRANK: I'd like to be heard on the motion.

    REP. HYDE: Yes, you may.

    REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, I know it's late. And you've been accommodating to us in some regards. But we didn't decide to do this all in one day. And I do not think it is legitimate to constrain members by running too much in one day, and then saying "Oh, it's getting late in the day." Then do it tomorrow. We've been spending, many of us felt that we could have started this a while ago.

    You wait until November 18th or 19th, then you put it all in one day. It's not simply legitimate then to argue the time constraint. I think this committee has erred grievously in going into executive session, and discussing things in executive session, that ought to be discussed publicly.

    It is very, very strange to have these arguments about the need for the public to know, et cetera, et cetera, and we do it all in secret. This is the committee that released grand jury information on to television. We made history in denying something what has traditionally something that would be kept somewhat private. And we debated doing that, in a private session. There is simply a great abuse of this.

    And again, I have to say: then adjourn, come back tomorrow, come back next week.

    You know, as far as these depositions are concerned that were so important, I don't know why they weren't taken in September or October or earlier in November! I don't know how they became an emergency overnight.

    The fact is that you have, I think, over-used the executive session. There are very important questions, and it is simply inconsistent to say this is a terribly important issue to the American people, people need to know about it, and we'll go into secret and make all the decisions. Virtually every decision this committee has made, it has made in secret. And it is simply an inconsistent position to talk about the important public issues that are involved here by going into it in secret.

    REP. HYDE: All right, the gentleman has made his point.

    REP. FRANK: No, I won't yield --

    REP. HYDE: The gentleman has --

    REP. FRANK: No, excuse me, Mr. Chairman, I think I have five minutes! I'm sorry! Look, I didn't decide that we would try to do it all in one day. But having decided to do it all in one day, you can't use that against us and you can't use that to constrain things!

    You know, isn't it somewhat paradoxical, we talk about how important this issue is, we talk about this is such a fundamental constitutional question, but we've got to worry cause it's getting late? Then don't schedule us so that you constrain the most important thing we could possibly be talking about by the clock! Then let it go over into tomorrow, let it go over into next week. We should have been doing it a month ago.

    REP. BERMAN: Mr. Chairman?

    REP. FRANK: But I will not be constrained by a self-imposed handicap of the clock!

    And I still do not think we should go into executive session without some justification as to why we have to go into executive session. We're not discussing national security, we're not discussing anything that's going to give anything away to anybody, we're not tipping off anybody. So I do not understand, and I think we have a right to be told why we have to go into executive session.

    REP. HYDE: I thank the gentlemen.

    REP. BERMAN: Mr. Chairman?

    REP. : Mr. Chairman?

    REP. HYDE: There is a motion before the committee --

    REP. : Mr. Chairman?

    REP. : Mr. Chairman? Mr. Chairman?

    REP. HYDE: -- to authorize the issuance of these subpoenas, and the clerk will call the roll.

    REP. : Mr. Chairman?

    REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman! There were members -- point of order, Mr. Chairman!

    CLERK: Mr. Sensenbrenner?

    REP. : Mr. Chairman?

    REP. FRANK: -- seeking recognition!


    CLERK: Mr. Sensenbrenner votes aye.

    REP. : Mr. Chairman?

    REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, don't ruin your reputation for fairness by cutting off members seeking recognition!

    CLERK: Mr. McCollum?


    CLERK: Mr. McCollum votes aye.

    Mr. Gekas?

    REP. FRANK: Mr. Chairman, this is unworthy of you!

    REP. : I move to strike the last word.

    REP. FRANK: This is unworthy of you, Mr. Chairman!

    REP. HYDE: All right, hold it.

    REP. BERMAN: Mr. Chairman?

    REP. FRANK: There were members seeking recognition!

    REP. HYDE: Just calm down.

    Mr. Berman?

    REP. BERMAN: Mr. Chairman, earlier today you made a ruling, which I agreed with, on a point of order raised by the gentlelady from Texas, that with respect to the jurisdiction to inquire, the House had spoken. The House did not mandate this committee to investigate everything under the sun, it allowed this committee to conduct an inquiry on anything under the sun. We have the authority to decide what we are going to inquire on and to limit within the House action what we're going to decide on.

    Mr. Schumer makes a point; there are two different distinctions. When you issue subpoenas for people involved in the Kathleen Willey case, the implication of that is that there is a decision that that becomes part of the impeachment inquiry. Everyone on this side of the aisle felt at the time and voted to limit the inquiry to the Monica Lewinsky referral. The independent counsel has not made a referral on the Kathleen Willey case. He has not found that there has been substantial and credible information that conduct by the president that may justify impeachment -- that finding has not been made and that referral has not been made.

    So that there is a bifurcation. First, the issue of whether we go into this line of inquiry is something that should be discussed in open session. Then, if our position is lost, then in executive session the justification for the subpoenas can be raised. That's the only -- that's the only question that I have. And that's why I think we should be able to get the justification for the subpoenas, if we decide we're launching into that inquiry, and I sure hope we don't.

    REP. SCHUMER: Yeah, could the -- just would the gentleman yield --

    REP. BERMAN: Be happy to.

    REP. SCHUMER: -- because I didn't get to finish my point before.

    Could the chair give us some, without treading on executive session or anyone's confidentiality being disclosed, could the chairman give us some idea why these three people were chosen and not others, and where the chair intends to take this -- these depositions? What is the point?

    We already have heard from Mr. Starr that he doesn't think the Willey episode rises to a level of impeachment. In my judgment, he has a pretty low threshold for impeachment, and if he doesn't think that the Willey affair does, then that's pretty dispositive to me. And here we are with three complete -- you know, yesterday we heard talk of John Huang. It was very hard to figure out what that was all about.

    Now we're hearing these three. One can only draw the conclusion, Mr. Chairman -- Mr. Chairman, one can only draw the conclusion without -- without hearing an explanation, that the majority doesn't quite know what to do here and is sort of prolonging this with whichever they -- with whatever thing the can grab onto, because there's no logic to this, at least to me. I'd like to hear it, and I think the public is entitled to hear it. And I think in this case, it could well be argued that executive session is being used as a shield because there is no good explanation as to why these three people are going to be deposed, why other people are not, and where the chair and where the committee intends to take the depositions of these three people, as again, at least particularly in an area where the -- where the Office of Independent Counsel has said there is no impeachable offenses as are it can see.

    REP. HYDE: All right, the chair --

    REP. : Mr. Chairman.

    REP. : Mr. Chairman.

    REP. HYDE: -- the chair will declare a five-minute recess. (Gavel.)

    REP. CONYERS: All right, fine.

    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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