Transcript provived by FDCH
Transcript: David Schippers' questioning of Ken Starr
House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, November 19, 1998
DAVID SCHIPPERS, REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE COUNSEL : Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Judge Starr, my name is David Schippers and I'm the chief investigative counsel for the committee. Can you hear me?
KEN STARR: Now I can, thank you.
SCHIPPERS: I will try to be brief as I possibly can. I do have a little bit of territory to cover as you well know.
SCHIPPERS: I will begin with some of Mr. Kendall's statements and some of his questions to you.
First of all, do I understand that there is such a thing as a hair trigger -- you refer to a hair trigger that would set off an investigation of whether or not there were leaks out of your office?
SCHIPPERS: That hair trigger can be and often is triggered by a defense attorney sending it something to the judge claiming that there is a leak, is that right?
STARR: It is, 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 final adjudication, which is wrong as a matter of law and unfair, just in terms of basic human decency.
These are professional prosecutors. We're talking about --
SCHIPPERS: Thank you, judge.
STARR: Yes, I'm sorry.
SCHIPPERS: Now, do I understand that Mr. Kendall sent 27 of such requests to the judge here claiming leaks?
STARR: Well, he sent a number, and I think he had some 24 exhibits, which, again, I have been reluctant to talk about, because it is in litigation.
I mean the specifics are in litigation as is -- as David knows.
SCHIPPERS: Judge, if I were expecting someone to testify before a Congressional committee and I wanted questions to ask him about leaks, all I would have to do is send some letters to the judge and trigger this hair trigger effect, isn't that correct?
STARR: Well with -- I don't want to suggest the hair trigger is a nonexistent trigger, but the burden on the defense lawyer is quite modest, and one of the things that we have learned, and I don't -- I know this is your time -- but I would just say, one of the things that we have 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 like 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 becomes an issue ever so quickly, as we saw in the Marion Barry case and as we saw in the Dan Rostenkowski case.
SHIPPER: Now judge, Mr. Kendall mentioned massive leaking. I am 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?
STARR: Again, it depends on what one means by 6(e) because there are issues...
SHIPPER: Within your definition of 6(e)?
STARR: No. Within my understanding -- and I think that my understanding is correct -- no, I can say here that -- that now. But I also think that it's important for this litigation that I talk about, to go forward and let's see what happens. And that litigation is under seal, but there is an orderly process just as the Supreme Court said in the Paula Corbin Jones case. Let's allow that orderly process to go forward.
SHIPPER: Fine. Sir you were asked whether you were present during the taping of the 302, 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?
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: But you did have experienced -- highly experienced professional agents and prosecutors present at each and every one of those occasions did, you not?
STARR: I did.
SCHIPPERS: And you relied upon the integrity, the honesty and the decency of those agents and investigators, did you not?
STARR: I did and very proudly so.
SCHIPPERS: All right, now, I notice that Mr. -- we've heard an awful lot about fairness here, Judge Starr -- but I notice 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?
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.
SCHIPPERS: 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?
STARR: This evening when I came in after having a sandwich.
SCHIPPERS: And the -- they, of course, they had -- 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?
STARR: No, unless it's sitting on my desk -- it's not. They did not, and I'm 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 inquired into.
SCHIPPERS: And you were questioned about specific one line -- two lines inside of this two-and-a-half inch document, and you had to go and hunt for the answers, didn't you, judge?
STARR: I did.
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 Mister -- or Judge Starr?
STARR: Yes, I believe it was the day before.
SCHIPPERS: Now, that wasn't your idea to deliver those, was it?
STARR: No, it was not.
SCHIPPERS: It was in answer to a request by Mr. Conyers that you provide additional information, wasn't it?
STARR: Yes, that -- well, it was a congressional request. I believe it originated with Congressman Conyers.
SCHIPPERS: And you were just...
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. Con -- excuse me -- Congressman Conyers was one of the requesters with respect to that information, and we tried to be responsive, yes.
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?
STARR: Yes, I guess now 10 months.
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?
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...
SCHIPPERS: I think you've answered the question.
STARR: ... we stand ready to receive information. But no one has been...
SCHIPPERS: That was my next question: if information were available and were -- had been given to you, you would have considered that along with all the other information, is that correct?
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.
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?
STARR: That is correct. He had no statute to look to at all.
SCHIPPERS: And your actions as regards referrals to this committee are governed by federal statute, are they not, Judge?
STARR: They are indeed.
SCHIPPERS: And you attempted to the best of your ability to comply with those federal statutes?
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 unchartered 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.
SCHIPPERS: One aside, in the 63 -- 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?
STARR: Only as he was guiding me, Mr. Schippers.
SCHIPPERS: Well, I have, I have, Judge Starr. And I noted that it is -- 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?
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.
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?
STARR: Yes. I mean, the statute is clear that an independent counsel can be removed for good cause.
SCHIPPERS: Now you have 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?
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 are just constant, there's a process of evaluation on her part.
STARR: 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 am not aware of any suggestion.
SCHIPPERS: Well, you have never been...
STARR: I'm sorry.
SCHIPPERS: Has the attorney general ever questioned you about conflicts of interest or anything like that?
STARR: No. The attorney general has not. But the attorney general has a process through the Office of Professional Responsibility otherwise exercising her jurisdiction. But thus far, the issues that have gone to the -- 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.
SCHIPPERS: I know 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?
STARR: Well, we met with the deputy attorney general -- pardon me -- on the 15th, and then there was -- and again, I did not have these meetings, as it turned out.
SCHIPPERS: No, but there was a litany...
SCHIPPERS: ... there was a litany of things that you apparently allegedly did not tell the attorney general about?
STARR: Oh, yes. Yes, I'm sorry, yes.
SCHIPPERS: But of course, shortly thereafter all of that litany of information became available to the attorney general?
STARR: If it wasn't available to begin with. I mean, part of the quarrel 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 a amicus brief in the Paula Corbin Jones case.
I didn't view it as -- well, it just didn't occur to me.
SCHIPPERS: That's fine. That's fine. But it did become available and no action was taken?
STARR: No. That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: Now, let's get to this January 16th meeting with Monica Lewinsky that so much has been made of.
SCHIPPERS: I have been a prosecutor too. And Monica Lewinsky, from my reading, was treated very, very nicely by your agents.
STARR: Thank you.
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.
STARR: Well, I think that the record of -- 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. We certainly took every step to make sure...
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?
STARR: That's correct. He...
STARR: 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?
STARR: That is correct.
SCHIPPERS: And in an abundance of caution, you didn't want the president to know that Monica Lewinsky was talking to you. Isn't that right?
STARR: That is correct.
SCHIPPERS: And that's a perfectly valid prosecutorial move, isn't it?
STARR: Yes, very traditional, nothing out of the...
SCHIPPERS: As a matter of fact, when later, Ms. Lewinsky decided she didn't want to be represented by Mr. Carter, on that day, isn't that correct?
STARR: Yes, she came to a decision to be represented by Mr. Ginsburg.
SCHIPPERS: And she called Mr. Ginsburg and she talked to Mr. Ginsburg, didn't she?
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.
SCHIPPERS: In any event, she changed lawyers by the one that had been provided to her indirectly by the White House to an independent lawyer from the West Coast. Is that right?
STARR: Oh, yes and one who was well known to the family.
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 to find Monica Lewinsky -- by phone, by beeper, and that Mr. Jordan, Mr. Carter, and Miss Currie were in constant efforts to reach Monica Lewinsky? Isn't that a fact?
STARR: I believe that is true.
SCHIPPERS: Does that indicate to you that they were a little bit afraid of what Monica might say?
STARR: I think there was concern.
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...
SCHIPPERS: When Monica Lewinsky was in with your agents...
STARR: Yes. And prosecutors. There were...
SCHIPPERS: She was not questioned about criminal activity, was she?
STARR: No, she was not.
SCHIPPERS: She was not questioned at all about criminal activity until she was represented by counsel?
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 strength of January 16th, not one word.
SCHIPPERS: As a matter of fact, the first time Monica Lewinsky testified to the grand jury was some seven months later, right?
STARR: It took a long time and a new set of lawyers, two very distinguished lawyers here in Washington with...
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?
STARR: Well, she was at least -- yes, she seemed to be.
But I am very fearful of saying anything about state of mind, especially in light of a comment I have heard with respect -- but in any event...
SCHIPPERS: 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 356 -- the page number. That's where table 35 begins.
The first bullet -- do you have it, Judge?
STARR: I do.
SCHIPPERS: The first bullet says Monica Lewinsky testified before the grand jury that, quote, "no one ever asked me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence."
Is that right?
SCHIPPERS: She also testified, "But nobody told me to tell the truth either." Didn't she?
SCHIPPERS: Now, Monica Lewinksy also testified that she had a conversation with the president in the White House or when he -- on the phone when she found out that she was on the witness list and the president told her, "You can make an affidavit."
STARR: That is -- words to that effect (OFF-MIKE).
SCHIPPERS: The affidavit, of course, would be for the purpose of avoiding testimony. Isn't that correct, Judge Starr?
STARR: Yes. That was correct. That was the...
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?
SCHIPPERS: And it was the president's suggestion that she make that affidavit? According to her testimony?
STARR: According to her testimony, yes.
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?
STARR: Yes, he did.
SCHIPPERS: And he was permitted to testify by videotape or by close-circuit television from the White House, was he not?
STARR: Yes, he was.
SCHIPPERS: How often is a prospective witness before the grand jury permitted to testify from home?
STARR: Very rarely. Usually...
SCHIPPERS: So that was be ex -- overly fair to the president by letting him testify there, isn't that right?
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 actual appearance before the grand jury.
SCHIPPERS: And also, the president was permitted to have his attorney sitting with him and to consult with that attorney, isn't that correct?
STARR: Yes, Mr. Kendall, and Ms. Seligman, and the...
SCHIPPERS: How many prospective witnesses before a grand jury are permitted to bring their lawyer into the grand jury room with them?
STARR: None. It is inconsistent...
SCHIPPERS: Except the president.
STARR: It's inconsistent with grand jury practice.
SCHIPPERS: So you -- another favor to the president in the interest of fairness, is that correct?
STARR: That's correct.
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?
SCHIPPERS: I'm sorry.
STARR: 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.
SCHIPPERS: Now the president was originally subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury.
STARR: Yes, he was, after he had declined six invitations to testify.
SCHIPPERS: Six invitations, 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"?
STARR: Yes, at Mr. Kendall's request and...
SCHIPPERS: Once again being eminently fair to the president.
STARR: We acceded to his request. We did try and do try to be fair.
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?
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"?
SCHIPPERS: But the president was allowed to do that, was he not?
STARR: He was.
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.
STARR: That's correct.
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?
STARR: Absolutely not.
SCHIPPERS: It's unbelievable, isn't it?
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.
SCHIPPERS: That's right. Now the cross-examination is for the trial, isn't it?
STARR: Yes, absolutely.
SCHIPPERS: Now, we're tugged -- if I may change horses a little bit and go to the impeachment proceeding.
SCHIPPERS: The Constitution provides that the sole power of impeachment resides in the House of Representatives, isn't that correct?
STARR: That is correct.
SCHIPPERS: And that is in the nature of a grand jury proceeding, which results in a charge, isn't that right?
STARR: That's right.
SCHIPPERS: So there should be no cross-examination at that stage of the proceeding either, should there?
STARR: That's entirely within your prerogative, but to the extent that you're mirroring the grand jury, there is no cross- examination.
SCHIPPERS: 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?
STARR: That is true.
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?
STARR: Well, I'm not sure I would necessarily agree with that because I think...
SCHIPPERS: I hear the moaning from the left again.
STARR: Because I...
CHAIRMAN HENRY HYDE: Does somebody need an aspirin?
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 extraordinary latitude under whatever rules of the House under which you're operating to determine how to proceed.
But you're quite right. The Constitution contemplates the trial to be in the Senate, and what you're 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.
SCHIPPERS: Now, judge, let's do some fairness comparing here. Did anybody in the grand jury, while the president was testifying, laugh at him?
STARR: Members of the grand jury.
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?
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.
SCHIPPERS: All right, well when the president was asked questions, he was asked questions one at a time, was he not?
SCHIPPERS: And they were relatively simple questions and he was permitted to give full and complete answers, isn't that correct?
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?
STARR: Definitely not.
SCHIPPERS: Now, by the way, did anyone cut off the president when he tried to answer questions?
STARR: No, I don't think there was any episode of when 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 that 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.
SCHIPPERS: Now, judge, there's 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.
SCHIPPERS: As a matter of fact, before Mr. Blumenthal came in to testify, he was subjected to an elaborate, elaborate lie by the president concerning the relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
STARR: Yes, he was.
SCHIPPERS: If I may: the president told Mr. Blumenthal that Monica made sexual demands upon him, which he rebuffed; that right? And that was not true, was it?
STARR: That was not true.
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?
SCHIPPERS: Now, this is at a time when the president thought that it was a one-on-one with Monica Lewinsky, didn't he?
STARR: I believe that is what he thought at that time.
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 is saying is a lie.
STARR: It would be a very good answer.
SCHIPPERS: Now your -- it's been suggested that your people used the young lady and betrayed a young lady. Wouldn't that more properly belong to the president of the United States?
SCHIPPERS: Well, I'm 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.
HYDE: Mr. Schippers, your time has expired. Do you need additional time?
SCHIPPERS: If I may, and if Judge Starr can stand it?
SCHIPPERS: I will not need a great deal more, Mr. Chairman.
HYDE: All right, I will allow an additional 15 minutes, and maybe you won't use that.
HYDE: Said he, hopefully. Preferably.
STARR: That was off the record. Mr. Kendall tells me I should not do that.
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? Co-equal branches?
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: And the judiciary is co-equal with the executive?
SCHIPPERS: Did I understand you earlier say that lying under oath, perjury, and obstruction of justice strikes at the very heart of the judicial system of the United States?
STARR: Absolutely, and I think every judge would agree with that, that this is absolutely inimical to the judicial functioning. It is inimical to our court system.
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?
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.
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?
STARR: That is the way I would view it.
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?
SCHIPPERS: That's not defending, is it?
STARR: No, it's not.
SCHIPPERS: There is a term that has stuck in my brain from these transcripts that I have 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?
STARR: Essentially, no work.
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.
STARR: Yes, he did.
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.
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: By the way, there has 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 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?
STARR: I do.
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?
STARR: There are.
SCHIPPERS: And there is a phone call from her cell phone to Monica Lewinsky's home on the afternoon of December 28, 1997, isn't there?
STARR: That is correct.
SCHIPPERS: Once again, Monica is right and she has been corroborated.
STARR: That certainly tends to corroborate Ms. Lewinsky's recollection.
SCHIPPERS: By the way, they did find some of the billing records from the Rose Firm in the attic of Vince Foster's home.
STARR: Yes, that is correct.
SCHIPPERS: They weren't under the bed, were they?
STARR: No, they were in the attic.
SCHIPPERS: I'm sorry.
HYDE: She wanted to know if it was OK to laugh.
HYDE: He says, yes.
SCHIPPERS: Now, when Ms. Lewinsky was subpoenaed, Mr. Jordan contacted the president and then got Mrs. Lewinsky an attorney, Mr. Carter, is that right?
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: Another mission accomplished. When Monica did her job search and she signed a false affidavit, the next day she was down in -- up in New York trying to get a job, isn't that right?
STARR: I believe it was the next day, yes.
SCHIPPERS: She couldn't get a job because she kind of didn't do a very good job on the interview.
STARR: She did not feel that the interview had gone well and she was not given a job offer and that concerned her and she expressed that concern.
SCHIPPERS: This is when Mr. Jordan called the chairman of the board and got her the job.
STARR: He certainly -- yes. He called Mr. Perelman and Mr. Perelman then made a call and she was reinterviewed and she was hired.
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?
STARR: 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...
SCHIPPERS: He knew the affidavit had been signed.
SCHIPPERS: And he knew that the job had been gotten. He went to the president and said mission accomplished.
STARR: Yes, that is correct.
SCHIPPERS: We don't which he was referring to, whether it was the job or we got the affidavit signed, do we?
STARR: No, I don't think we do know that. We just know he said mission accomplished. I know he felt that he had, you know, engaged in a certain amount -- a certain level of effort to secure that job for Ms. Lewinsky at Revlon.
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.
STARR: Yes -- past-tense.
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?
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: Argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court of the United States.
STARR: That's correct.
SCHIPPERS: You have received honorary doctors of law degrees from six universities.
STARR: I think that's right.
SCHIPPERS: You have written numberless articles in various scholarly journals.
STARR: Yes, I've written a number.
SCHIPPERS: You have a completely unblemished career for your entire life as a lawyer, and you are looked upon in the profession as a man of honor, integrity and decency, is that right?
STARR: Well, I would like to think at least once upon a time that was the reputation.
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?
STARR: Well, I have 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.
SCHIPPERS: And you have been pilloried and excoriated, charged with unbelievable things of which you are incapable of being guilty.
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 have 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 have been privileged to serve with two of them -- with public corruption chiefs. These are career civil servants and it's not right and not fair to attack and calumny career civil servants. But for my part, I have learned that it goes with the independent counsel territory.
SCHIPPERS: And the independent counsel job, you didn't seek that, did you?
STARR: Absolutely not.
SCHIPPERS: You were asked to take it, and you tried to leave and your staff begged you to stay a you did stay, is that right?
STARR: All of that is true. I never sought this job. I am reminded about the old song about taking a job...
STARR: ... and what you then do with it. It would be indecorous of me to say it. I was asked to -- 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 Hyman (ph) who is department attorney general of the United States in January 1994, whether I would be willing to be considered appointed 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.
SCHIPPERS: You have been given a duty that you did not seek, and you have performed that duty to the best of your ability, is that correct, sir?
STARR: I have certainly tried, and I did not -- to do it to the best of my ability, and I am 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 of that is part of what we have co-labored together with Mr. Kendall pointing to the number of persons involved in the investigation.
I am proud of those persons. They are 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.
So, when we are 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.
SCHIPPERS: Judge for all that, doing your duty, you have been pilloried and attacked from all sides is that right?
STARR: I would hope not all sides but I guess that's...
SCHIPPERS: Sometimes it seems like all sides.
SCHIPPERS: How long have you been an attorney, Judge Starr?
STARR: Twenty-five years.
SCHIPPERS: Well, I have been an attorney for a almost 40 years. I want to say I am proud to be in the same room with you and your staff.
STARR: Thank you, Mr. Schippers.
HYDE: Thank you. Thank you.
Thursday, November 19, 1998
Starr says Clinton 'chose deception'
White House lashes out at Starr's testimony
Quick takes from the Impeachment hearing
McDougal jury recesses until Friday morning
Utah congressman's erratic behavior troubles staff members, GOP
As Congress focuses on Lewinsky, GOP governors focus on schools
Bono's widow says prescription drugs contributed to his death
Hearing brings those seeking history, drama and famous people
Officials back rotating regional primaries for president
For now, Clinton won't recommend a Social Security solution
David Schippers' questioning of Ken Starr
David Kendall's questioning of Ken Starr
Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing 23 pages
Chairman Hyde's opening statement
Rep. Conyers' opening statement