The Starr report
Clinton's nemesis holds forth on the President, his own controversies and why his referral had salacious details
By Eric Pooley and Michael Weisskopf/Washington
December 21, 1998
--On Clinton's most recent apology to the nation: I viewed it as a moral statement of his sense of remorse, his recommitment to the family, which I thought was very admirable--in the wake of all of this to say, First and foremost to me is my relationship with the family. [And] his commitment to carry on the heavy responsibilities of the presidency. And then, at the most narrow level, the open acceptance of some formal expression of congressional disapprobation.
--On charges he views himself as more virtuous than others: I do not want to be viewed as somehow setting myself apart from anyone else.
--On why he called so many witnesses before the grand jury--forcing them to incur big legal bills--rather than simply interviewing or deposing them: I viewed the grand jury as an important day-to-day check: How does a witness do in front of a grand jury?
--On whether he should have given up his private practice immediately: Issues could have been avoided by my stepping out of law practice, which I was simply unable at a moral level to do [because of client commitments].
--On the decision to include salacious details in the referral: There was every sense that this was sensitive. And I [was] persuaded at the end of the day that the referral that we sent to the Congress must, in light of our unhappy conclusion that there were serious issues of the President's truthfulness, that it would not do to do anything other than to say, Here are the details, within reason. Certain things [were] put in footnotes, and those were a series of judgment calls that we tried to make as professionally as we could, but finally erring on the side of what I would call complete sharing of information. We were not anticipating that this information would just be quickly made available to the public. But some of the matters that might find their way onto Jay Leno, or what have you, did go to [Lewinsky's] credibility.
--On whether White House stonewalling made him more aggressive: It's not that we would in any way be more aggressive. We'd say, If we're not getting this information from this particular source, is there another way to get [it]?
--On why people should believe Lewinsky regarding her contacts with the President but disbelieve her when she says Starr's men mistreated her and asked her to wear a wire against the President: I'm not asking, at this stage, anyone to believe anything.
--On whether he second-guesses himself: I have no patience whatsoever for what-if. No crying in one's beer.
--On whether he ever came close to quitting this year: No. Never. Well, I said, You can take this job and...
MORE TIME STORIES:
Cover Date: December 28, 1998
The story of the year
The Clinton in us all
The better half
How Starr sees it
The Starr report
The outrage that wasn't
Where the Right went wrong
On to the Senate
The rest of Monica
The friend from Hell
The indiscreet charm of Lucianne
The Speaker who never was