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IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS

Viewpoints

November 20, 1998

Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr

"Any suggestion that the men and women of our Office enjoyed or relished this investigation is wrong. It is nonsense. . . . The Lewinsky investigation caused all of us considerable dismay--and continues to do so. . . . This investigation has proved difficult for us because it centered on legal wrongdoing by the president of the United States. The presidency is an office that we, like all Americans, revere and respect. No prosecutor is comfortable when he or she reports wrongdoing by the president. All of us want to believe that our president has at all times acted with integrity, and certainly that he has not violated the law. . . . Mr. chairman, my office and I revere the law. I am proud of what we have accomplished. We were assigned a difficult job. We have done it to the very best of our abilities. We have tried to be both fair and thorough."

Rep. Henry J. Hyde (R-Ill.), Judiciary Committee chairman

"Do we have one set of laws for the officers and another for the enlisted? Should we? These are but a few questions these hearings are intended to explore. And just perhaps, when the debate is over, the rationalizations and the distinctions and the semantic gymnastics are put to rest, we may be closer to answering for our generation the haunting question, asked 139 years ago in a small military cemetery in Pennsylvania, "whether a nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal can long endure."

Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.)

"Today's witness, Kenneth W. Starr, wrote the tawdry, salacious and unnecessarily graphic referral that he delivered to us in September with so much drama and fanfare. And now the majority members of this committee have called that same prosecutor forward to testify in an unprecedented desperation effort to breathe new life into a dying inquiry. It is fundamental to the integrity of this inquiry to examine whether the independent counsel's evidence is tainted, whether conclusions are colored by improper motive; in short, it is relevant to examine the conduct of the independent counsel and his staff where their behavior impacts directly on the credibility of the evidence in the referral."

Rep. Ed Bryant (R-Tenn.)

"Judge Starr . . . I want to commend you for setting forth a clear, documented, compelling case against the president. You have provided a road map for us to see how and when the president chose deception rather than truth at many important crossroads in our judicial system's search for the truth."

Rep. Stephen E. Buyer (R-Ind.)

"It boggles my mind to hear some people who claim that they are true advocates of civil rights, now somehow claim that it's OK to lie in a civil rights case. That just boggles my mind. What message do we want to send unto our society? So what do we have? We have the president; he took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of the land. The president has a constitutional duty to do just that. It is alleged that the president, as a defendant in a sexual harassment civil rights case in federal court committed perjury in his deposition before a federal judge."

Rep. Charles T. Canaday (R-Fla.):

" . . . I think what we are seeing here is a desperate attempt to get away from the facts of the case against the president. Now, I understand that because I find that the facts are particularly compelling. I think your referral sets forth in great detail a pattern of calculated and sustained misconduct by the president of the United States. And I understand why the president's friends would instinctively react to defend him. But what is going on in attacking your investigation is not right. It is not consistent with respect for the rule of law. And I believe that the attacks that have been launched against you are without substance."

Rep. William D. Delahunt (D-Mass.)

"The committee has given the independent counsel a full two hours to present his version of the facts . . . At the same time, the majority has seen fit to give the president's counsel all of 30 minutes to question Mr. Starr . . . I submit this is a grave disservice . . . "

Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.)

"I would point that with respect to Monica Lewinsky, her attorney was Frank Carter, who is a criminal, as well as a civil, attorney; . . . regulations are intended to ensure that a person's right to counsel is respected. Under this policy, your office never should have contacted Monica Lewinsky directly on Jan. 16 without the consent of her attorney Frank Carter."

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose)

"Mr. chairman, there is no doubt that this is one of the most embarrassing chapters in American history. . . . But also embarrassing has been the reaction of Congress to the referral made by Mr. Starr in September. What we should have done was this: Ask how these allegations, if true, could destroy our American constitutional system of government."

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