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Investigating the President

 Bowles Testifies Before Grand Jury (04-02-98)

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 Starr Investigation Costs Just Shy of $30 Million (04-01-98)

 Landow Not A Clinton Confidant (03-27-98)

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 Ken Starr Discusses His Investigation (04-02-98)

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 Legal Documents Released In The Jones v. Clinton Case

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 Starr vb. Clinton (03-24-98)

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 A Chronology: Key Moments In The Clinton-Lewinsky Scandal

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Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr -- Feb. 5, 1998

(Joined in progress)

STARR: ... a hearing on pretrial motions. The judge disposed of all motions at the hearing today.

I don't think I need to summarize that for you. If you have questions about it, to the extent we can, we will answer those. Let me introduce Tom Dawson (ph), who will be representing the United States as first chair in the trial. Mr. Dawson (ph) is a career prosecutor. He's an assistant United States attorney from Oxford, Mississippi, for the District of Mississippi, has tried many cases -- a variety of trials over many years.

He has also served in the Justice Department in the criminal division, is one of the Department of Justice's most experienced senior career prosecutors.

Also, is Mark Bared (ph). Mark is, likewise, a career assistant United States attorney from the District of Colorado in Denver. Prior to that, he was in the Western District of Texas. Many of you here know Ray Yon (ph), who was first chair at trial, and Leroy Yon (ph), the husband-wife team in the first Tucker case and the Jim and Susan McDougal case.

Mr. Bared (ph) served with Ray and Leroy Yon (ph) in the Western District of Texas before moving on to a very responsible position as a senior trial lawyer in that very distinguished office in Denver, Colorado.

Also with me is Roger Heedon (ph). Roger is a career assistant United States attorney. He is serving in the Southern District of Illinois, in Springfield, Illinois, and has a very distinguished background, including in public corruption cases and successfully tried two jury verdicts -- a recent case involving a very serious corruption matter in the state of Illinois involving state government in Illinois, a very experienced public corruption prosecutor.

Also Julie Meyers (ph) -- Julie is joining us not from a United States attorney's office but from a very distinguished law firm in Chicago, Illinois, not my own firm, and is a very skilled lawyer, a former law clerk on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and is handling a number of our, shall I say, legal issues. You heard a number of legal issues addressed in court today, those of you who were there. And Julie has been assisting on that as well as just the preparation of the government's case.

The United States is ready for trial. Do you have any questions?

QUESTION: Judge, does Monica Lewinsky have a deadline of tomorrow to cooperate or else?

STARR: I'm not going to comment. I know there's a lot of public commentary. I was made aware earlier this morning of a press report with respect to that. But I have adopted a policy, which I think is sound. It is prudent that I should not discuss negotiations and discussions when they're under way. I don't think that's useful.

I will simply say this: We are going by the book. We want the truth. We want all the truth. We want it completely, accurately. And we will satisfy ourselves that we're getting the truth.

And that is the absolute, bedrock point. We want the truth.

The attorney general of the United States gave this office jurisdiction over very serious allegations.

Those allegations are a possible obstruction of justice, intimidation of witnesses and subordination of perjury. That is an extraordinary set of circumstances. We're investigating those as promptly, as quickly as we can. But I'm not going to comment...

QUESTION: Is it still open?

STARR: I just said -- and I'm trying to make it clear, the reason -- I don't think it's helpful to discuss the state of specific communications, discussions, negotiations.

QUESTION: Well, are you prepared to fight another executive privilege claim by the White House to the Supreme Court?

STARR: Well, Mr. Jefferson, we have to do what we have to do to get out the facts. I have the utmost respect for the presidency and separation of powers. We will therefore of course assess any such issue as it might arise. But I don't anticipate it. We will see.

I have high regard for Mr. Roth. I think he's an extraordinarily able lawyer, and beyond that, I'm not going to comment at this time.

QUESTION: Is the White House stonewalling on giving you information?

STARR: Mr. Jefferson, I think I will not characterize any course of action or conduct.

QUESTION: Are you still talking to Ms. Lewinsky's lawyers?

STARR: Well, again, I'm not going to comment on the status of our negotiations. That again, if you ask specific facts, Linda, which you're entitled to do, I just hope you understand, especially when you ask a kind of question about the status of someone who might be a witness, that goes to the heart of the grand jury process.

And I think it's important for me to say this at this time: I know there is every public interest in knowing as many facts as you possibly can. As I've said before, outside this courthouse, unless we are talking in court, we as officers of the United States have to be very careful, because we're under obligations. Those are obligations of law; they're obligations of ethics.

The obligation of laws, I cannot answer some of the questions that you understandably have. I'm sympathetic with that. But I am under a legal obligation not to talk about facts going before the grand jury. I think it is apparent to each of you that there is a very active grand jury investigation under way. I believe in that system.

I believe in having testimony and evidence put before 23 men and women drawn at random. That's our system. That is government by the people. It's not government by prosecutors. It's putting evidence before a grand jury. That is our system. It's a sound system. It's centuries old. It was ordained at the founding of the American republic. Part of that is, guard the confidentiality of that.

So, I'm sorry that I can't answer specific questions about facts.

QUESTION: Do you not think the assertion of executive privilege is applicable in this case?

STARR: I beg your pardon?

QUESTION: Do you not think the White House has a position to exert, or assert executive privilege?

STARR: Well, I think everyone recognizes that it is a serious matter indeed for their to be an invocation of executive privilege. And so, we will simply see whether that privilege is invoked. And then again, we will have to assess that. But I have to again comment that when you say the invocation of the privilege, that would be an invocation of the privilege that is a recognized constitutional privilege.

But it would be what? -- it would be to prevent the grand jury from getting specific information.

Now, there are privileges that are important. And that's why the law recognizes the ability to keep a fact-finder, the grand jury, from having access to it. But if I go beyond the comments I made, I would be trenching on the grand jury's function.

QUESTION: Does your history with Mr. Rader (ph) in the Jones case add to the speculation that there is...

I think that question has been asked and answered.

Yes.

QUESTION: Are you frustrated that Monica Lewinsky has failed to explain the Linda Tripp talking points?

STARR: Well, again, James, I really cannot comment on specific aspects of the investigation. And that's a very specific, legitimate question -- because I'm aware of published reports as to the particular item that you've mentioned.

My interest and that of the career prosecutors in my office is very simple: It is to talk facts. It's to talk merits. It's not to talk about side issues. It is, what are the facts?l of the facts, and we want people to be accurate and truthful with us.

That is the bottom line. There must be truthfulness. There must be accuracy. There must be completeness. We call it transparency.

Is that witness being transparent? Or is the witness not being transparent? And professionals make that evaluation. We do in human life. Is a person being completely honest and transparent? Or does the person not have those qualities of transparency?

Those are the issues that we have to face, and I am fortunate in saying I'm advised by some of the most able and experienced career prosecutors in the United States.

Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) talked about how he's going to cooperate with your counsel. Has the White House been cooperating? Can you tell us that?

STARR: Well, I'm not going to characterize the state of issues. I will just say this: From time to time, I have discussions with the White House counsel. And those discussions have always been cordial and professional.

QUESTION: But are they giving you all the documents that you need?

STARR: On that, I'm not going to characterize about the state of the evidence. What we are looking for is all the information.

It is helpful to us. It's helpful to the country for as much information as possible. If it exists, we would like it. We would like to present it to the grand jury. We will be transparent. We will say, here it is. Give it to us. We would be delighted to have it. We will assess it. It goes before the grand jury for the grand jury to evaluate.

QUESTION: Have you considered that Ms. Lewinsky has lied to Ms. Tripp and you're sitting here holding the bag?

STARR: Well, I'm definitely not going to characterize a particular witness and motivations.

QUESTION: Where would you -- how would you characterize where your investigation stands right now, Judge? STARR: Moving very quickly, and we have made very significant progress.

QUESTION: Do you share Judge Wright's concerns about the leaks? And if you do, what have you done to make sure they're not coming from your office?

STARR: Well, I...

QUESTION: Or are they coming from your office?

STARR: No. But I share the concern with any assault on the rule of law. It is something that we learn as school children in this country that we are governed not by human will -- we say a government of laws, and not of men and women. It has to be that we abide by the rules. And the judge imposes rules. And we should, as officers of the court, scrupulously abide by that.

I regret that there have been instances, so it would appear, when that rule has not been abided by. I also understand full well the media's interest in issues in litigation, and they would like to know as much as possible. But the judge has reached her judgment that for the protection of the integrity of that litigation, there should be an order of confidentiality imposed.

I respect that. I respect it scrupulously and so does my staff.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the grand jury now in Little Rock is due to expire I think fairly soon. Does the OIC believe another grand jury will be warranted indicating...

STARR: I don't want to comment on that, Steve, other than to say we have every interest in bringing our work to a conclusion as rapidly as possible.

QUESTION: Are criminal contempt charges against Susan McDougal in the offing?

STARR: I'm not going to comment on that, Joan.

QUESTION: Even though the 8th Circuit is still sitting on Mr. Tucker's appeal from the first trial, are you nervous about trying him a second time?

STARR: No. Our state is not -- as you perhaps ascertained in our hearing today, the United States is ready. We're ready for trial. Obviously, I hope that we don't have to have retrials. There are people here on this at this point right now who sat through many weeks of trial.

I think we had an honest and honorable jury that listened to all the evidence and came to its determination. In contrast here, the evidence hasn't been put before the jury.

And I do want to reiterate, there is a presumption of innocence that anyone charged with an offense in our system. That's a very vital protection that we all have.

QUESTION: Why do you think the 8th Circuit hasn't made the decision? They've been sitting on it almost a year.

STARR: Well, there were a number of issues with real tribute. And let me pay tribute to the lawyers for Governor Tucker and Mrs. McDougal. They are exceptionally able and skilled lawyers. And the 8th Circuit was presented with a whole host of issues. It was a very lengthy trial.

So I don't -- having been privileged to serve for a time on the Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., I never speculate unduly, let's say, about why a particular case might take more time than obviously any of us would like. We would like to have as much certainty as possible.

But it's in the court's hands. It was argued on April 17 of last year. Many of us were here two days before that for the sentencing of Mr. McDougal. I got on an airplane. I flew to St. Louis. I was privileged to stand at the podium to argue for the United States at that time. The matter is under submission, and I look forward to the result, whatever it may be.

Yes.

QUESTION: You've had a lot on your plate the last couple of weeks. Has it had any negative impact as you prepare for this trial, this month?

STARR: No, because as you can tell from today -- those of you who were in there today. In fact, let me just say about our office that we have been charged by the attorney general of the United States with a variety of responsibilities. It is a misconception to believe that we're only looking at one specific matter called Whitewater. That has not been the case from the outset. It was not the case when Mr. Fiske was here. It was not the case that I inherited.

And today, we are looking ahead to trial in a matter that Mr. Fiske began the investigation of. These are allegations. There is a presumption of innocence.

But those of you in court, who were there in court today, saw that the United States is ready for trial. And we -- if we are called upon -- are prepared to put on our case, again, consistent with the presumption of innocence.

QUESTION: Judge, your investigation has been characterized as sort of being at war with the White House. I wonder what your reaction to that characterization is?

STARR: Our job is to really be professionals, and I don't use any characterization of that at all. You know, our -- as you can tell by the people who are with me, we try to be professionals. We are professional, and we always try to do that -- to try our cases in court, to present evidence to grand juries, and then for grand juries to come to determinations.

And we've had a very conscientious grand jury sitting in this district. Before that...

If I may. Before that, another very conscientious grand jury, and a grand jury that returned serious indictments. And then we've had trials in this district. And we've enjoyed some success and we've had setbacks. That happens in professional life.

But throughout, our job is to do our job. It is not to engage in politics.

I think there are those who view law as simply politics by another means. We do not. The law is the law. The law is sacred. The facts have integrity, and we're going to go about our job.

Thanks very much.

END

In Other News

Thursday Feb. 5, 1998

Sources: Lewinsky Won't Say Clinton Told Her To Lie
Trie Pleads Not Guilty
Rep. Conyers To File Misconduct Complaint Against Starr
David Duke May Run For Congress
Dems Rally As Task Force Finds In Favor Of Sanchez
Koop Refuses Arlington Burial Waiver
White House Scandal At A Glance

Documents:
Text Of Justice Department Indictment Of Charlie Trie

Transcript:
Whitewater Independent Counsel Ken Starr Speaks To The Press