White House asks Supreme Court to hear dispute with StarrBy John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (October 5) -- The White House urged the Supreme Court Monday to hear its dispute with Independent Counsel Ken Starr over attorney-client privilege for Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey. Clinton's legal team also accused the independent counsel of misleading the appeals court on the status and goals of his investigation.
At issue is a Starr filing with the U.S. Court of Appeals in which he took issue with the White House's claim that the president's conversations with his government lawyers should be protected by attorney-client privilege.
The appeals court subsequently ruled that Starr could question Clinton's government lawyers because the Lewinsky matter and the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit were private legal issues and did not involve government activities.
The White House said that when the threat of impeachment exists, conversations with government lawyers inherently involve official duties and responsibilities and therefore should be protected by the privilege.
Starr filed papers with the U.S. Court of Appeals June 19 saying impeachment was "too remote a possibility to be considered by the court" when reviewing the White House arguments.
But just three days later, Starr asked the special court that oversees independent counsels for permission to send secret grand jury testimony to Congress along with any report about his investigation of the president.
Given that filing, included in Starr's initial report to Congress, the White House asserts that Starr was well aware his investigation was proceeding toward a report to Congress when he filed court papers playing down the prospect of impeachment.
The White House brief said, "To our knowledge, the OIC (Office of the Independent Counsel) never sought to correct the record in the court of appeals. Nor, in its brief in this Court, has the OIC explained why it made such a representation."
Starr fought for months to question Lindsey and other government lawyers about their conversations with the president during the Monica Lewinsky investigation.
In a statement released with the filing, White House counsel Charles Ruff said, "To perform his official duties to the best of his ability, the president much have legal advice that is full and candid."
Monday, October 5, 1998
Quotations from the Judiciary Committee meeting
White House asks Supreme Court to hear dispute with Starr
Key aides leaving White House
No access to Lewinsky papers, court says
Lott wonders about prospects for another government shutdown
High court to tackle census, gangs
Schippers, Lowell briefings before Judiciary panel, part 1 | 2
House Judiciary Committee meeting opening statements, part 1 | 2 | 3
Poll: Race for South Carolina governor tightening
Elderly vote swings Florida elections