Rep. Barr: 'I have never, would never perjure myself'
January 13, 1999
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, January 13) -- Rep. Bob Barr on Tuesday rejected claims by Hustler publisher Larry Flynt that he lied under oath about an abortion by his former wife, saying, "I have never, would never perjure myself."
Barr, one of the 13 House prosecutors presenting the impeachment case to the Senate and a staunch critic of President Bill Clinton, made his comments in a taped interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer for "Late Edition Primetime."
"It's not going to affect my work or the committee's work," said Barr. "I think it is very inappropriate to get into somebody's personal life and obviously that's what (Flynt) wants to do."
His comments came less than 24 hours after Flynt released an affidavit from Barr's second wife, Gail, in which she said Barr paid for an abortion she had in 1983 and never objected to it. Barr said under oath in his 1986 divorce testimony that he did object to the abortion.
"If my ex-wife has chosen to make certain statements in response for money, I think that's very unfortunate. But again, my statement stands for itself: I have never, would never perjure myself," Barr told CNN.
Barr, a Georgia Republican, added that his case was vastly different than the perjury and obstruction of justice charges leveled at the president.
"This didn't influence the members of the House. They understand what perjury and obstruction are when it comes to the allegations against the president. The public, I believe, does (too)," he said.
Flynt is offering up to $1 million for information about sexual indiscretions by members of Congress. At Monday's news conference, he did not say how much he paid Gail Barr for her affidavit, but said he found her "destitute" and made a "generous" financial offer. Gail Barr declined comment when contacted by CNN.
Asked if he believed the White House was behind Flynt's drive to dig up dirt on lawmakers, Barr said, "If you look at the whole environment in which this White House has been practicing the politics of personal destruction, I think it's obvious that there's a common plan here."
Under repeated questioning, Barr acknowledged he has no hard evidence to back up his suspicion that the White House is behind Flynt's investigations.
White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart said earlier Tuesday Republicans should "stop practicing the politics of innuendo" by accusing the White House and Flynt of conspiring.
"If they have evidence, they ought to bring it forward. If they don't, they ought to knock it off," Lockhart said.
In December, then Speaker-elect Bob Livingston (R-Louisiana) resigned after Flynt uncovered past sexual affairs. Livingston will retain his seat in Congress for six months before special elections will be held in his district.
Barr told CNN he has "absolutely" no intention of resigning and is much too busy preparing for the Senate impeachment trial to worry about Flynt's charges. The House prosecutors begin their opening arguments Thursday.
Wednesday January 13, 1999
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