Progressive Politics Research and Commentary by Janette Rainwater
 
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   Minus Button which collapses the expandable menu The Starr Chamber and the Future of Democracy (September 16, 1998)
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The Starr Chamber and the Future of American Democracy The Starr Report

1 3 4 5                                                                          p.2

In the Rebuttal David Kendall makes a case that the very specific requirements to make a perjury charge stick will NOT prevail thanks to Clinton's clever lawyerly answers to questions while under oath. What makes sense to me is that perjury (if it could be proved) about a consensual sexual relationship (especially in a civil suit that was subsequently dismissed) does not fall into the category of TREASON, BRIBERY, AND OTHER HIGH CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS that is prescribed in the Constitution.

The most ridiculous and also the most infuriating charge that Starr makes is that of ABUSE OF POWER. I urge you to read the White House Rebuttals on this one! We've had REAL abuses of power by presidents in this century that have gone unpunished. The one that sticks most in my craw is the Iran-Contra Conspiracy. Its investigation by a much more fair-minded Independent Counsel, Lawrence E. Walsh, was completely sabotaged. Remember how the felony convictions of Oliver North and John Poindexter were overturned on appeal because of the "tainted" testimony given to the competing congressional committee? And who can forget that lame-duck George Bush pardoned indicted Caspar Weinberger and the already convicted four: Elliott Abrams, Alan Fiers, Clair George, and Robert McFarlane. For an earlier administration read Stanley I. Kutler's aptly named Abuse of Power which contains the latest release of Nixon tapes and reveals him as even more corrupt than we knew at the time.

Sex, Lies and Now VIDEOTAPES

As I write this (Wednesday evening, September 16, 1998), it seems likely that Congress will vote to release selective excerpts of President Clinton's videotaped testimony before the Grand Jury. (I'm betting on another Friday afternoon release to give the public something to chew on over the weekend.)

This is beginning to sound more and more like the actions of a police state. First of all, the "evidence" given to a Grand Jury is supposed to be secret. (But secret in this case means only what Kenneth Starr doesn't want revealed. Such as the exculpatory evidence for the Clintons given by William Watt and others about Whitewater. Or Starr's attempts to prevent the prosecution of his prize witness, David Hale, for allegedly looting funds from a burial insurance company.)

Secondly, we can expect that the excerpts will be only ones unfavorable to the President and, like all the salacious bits in the Report, designed to embarrass him. I imagine we will see angry outbursts as well as some infuriating weasel-out answers.

I think most of us would be angry at this Inquisitor who has been mounting a four-year witch hunt (more about this below). Any weasel answers would be self-preservation against a modern-day Inspector Javert who, if Clinton should admit to perjury, would be delighted to invoke the still active Grand Jury to indict him. Then in a worst case scenario---- jail time and disbarment? You'd better believe Clinton had to answer very specifically and very carefully.

If the pundits are correct, these excerpts will be available for Republicans to run in their campaign ads. If so, we will probably see certain cuts as frequently as we have had to endure those damn shots of Clinton hugging Monica--- both the one with the beret and the one with the loose hair. Does this sound like fair play to you?

History of the Starr Chamber Proceedings
(or What He Has to Show for Four+ Years and $45 Million-and-Still-Counting)

This is a long, sad and sordid story. Too many details to give it all here, so I'm going to refer you from time to time to the excellent reporting by the on-line Salon Magazine.

The witch hunt started back in 1992 before the election as a last minute attempt by the Bush White House to instigate a bogus criminal referral about the Clintons and their failed investment in Whitewater, according to the Salon article, "Starr Chamber", by Mollie Dickenson. Part of Starr's first actions after his appointment as Independent Counsel in 1994 was to cover up these improper and probably illegal shenanigans of the White House officials and Bush's attorney general.

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This site was last changed November 28, 2001. It was created on March 20, 1997.

© Janette Rainwater 1997-2001

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