Re: Last Post, I Swear Under Oath
Mon, 14 Sep 1998 00:29:55 EDT

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In a message dated 98-09-14 00:02:23 EDT, you write:

<< >AND based on what Clinton told them happened. No way would his attorneys
>construe Clinton's actions with Monica as not sex, even in the narrow Jones'
>case legal definition. That's what the Starr report/referral proves as well.

I hate to bring a bit of realism to this discussion, but since when
did you become privy to Clinton's discussion with his attorneys?

Never said I was. I deduced, I posited, I never swore on a Bible that my
assertion was anything else. That's what forums are for - for discourse.
Sometimes it's educated, and sometimes . . .

Yes, Clinton misled the audience in his deposition. I'd call that a lie.
Some people might call that perjury,

That might be me, but I'm waiting for a judgement. Some people rule out
possibilities before hand.

but that is a legal term which means more than just lying. From Encylopaedia
Brittanica on-line:

<<Generally, however, punishment is directed less against the effect of the
perjury than against the disregard of the oath itself. Thus, a man who
perjures himself numerous times during the adjudication of one case may be
convicted of only a single perjury, though his punishment may be increased. >>

<< The fact that the Judge allowed the question does not automatically
make it material to the issue of inquiry.>>

I never said that. I said if the judge allowed it then the choice of whether
to answer it truthfully or not is not yours to make.

<< The same Judge, or any superior Judge, could override that decision and
the testimony would no longer be perjury. >>

The decision as to whether to allow the question or not? I don't believe that
has happened in the Jones case, unless throwing the case out automatically
creates that condition. You tell me; I really don't know.

<< The notion that all perjury is the same, or that one perjury will
automatically lead to other perjuries, is just nonsense. >>

I agree. Check the quote I chose above the nature of Perjury vs the effect.

<< If you ask a politician a question, the politician is expected to answer.
A public
person does not have many of the same "rights to privacy" that people who
have not pursued the public eye are given by both the press and the courts.
In return, politicians are *usually* given more leniency in terms of what they
are asked and how they answer, particularly when they answer according to
their view of political realism rather than the whole truth and nothing but
the truth.>>

Do you see this as the situation with Clinton in this circumstance?

<< If Clinton had lied about something that had any relevance to his
running of the executive branch, then I'd want to see him resign.>>

You mean directly relevant, right?

<< He has often been accused of "a pattern of lies", but on the other
hand no other President has been subjected to anything like this
pattern of questions. For a guy with a "habit" of lying, how is it
that he has never been caught lying about anything but extramarital sex? >>

Roy, I suggest you wait until the impeachment progresses. Clinton is not going
to be impeached for having sex, or even for perjury re sex. The Lewinsky
matter is just the beginning.

<<The reason is because he doesn't apply the same set of ethics to his
behavior as President and his behavior in private.>>

Other people more way articulate than I have answered the privacy issue; I'm
sure you've heard it so I'm not going to address it here. I am too tired.

<< Both Bush and Reagan lied, under oath, and neither was asked
to resign, let alone brought up on impeachment proceedings. The fact
is that the only reason impeachment is even being considered is because
we are a couple months from a congressional election and just two
years from the next Presidential election, and the opposing party has
control over just how long and how public such proceedings will be.
Other than that, the coverage is just titillation and embarrassment,
on both a personal and national scale.>>

Looks like you're convinced before the fact(s)! Nothing I can say!

<< If placed in the same position, I would have refused to answer the
question and forced the Judge to either throw it out or bring a charge
of contempt that, btw, would have been put on hold until the end of
the term. I wouldn't give any testimony regarding a woman who, at the
time of my testimony, was denying that any such affair existed. I wouldn't
care what the opinion of the Judge might be, though I'm sure my ethical
reasons for that stand are quite alien to those of Bill Clinton.
Of course, for similar reasons, I'd never put myself in that position.

Thus it is hard for me to analyze what was going through the President's
mind or that of his attorneys when he decided to answer "No". The only
thing I am sure about is that anyone defending Starr's reputation or
responsibility for doing an upright and independent job as a special
investigator is decidedly full of shit.>>



PS I attached something for your edification.



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pntxtb (}{\pntxta )}}\pard\plain \widctlpar \f4\fs20 {\f5\fs24 Ken Starr =
Would Not Be Denied
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 With another special prosecutor, it woul=
d have turned out differently. Kenneth Winston Starr's character has fore=
ver changed the President's destiny.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 When Kenneth Starr was chosen to inve=
stigate Whi
tewater in 1994, the White House counsel, Abner Mikva, assured the Clinto=
ns that this was a fine selection. Mikva and Starr had known each other f=
or years. During the 1980's, the two men served together on the Federal A=
ppeals Court in Washington, and thou
gh they were on opposite ends of the political spectrum, the liberal Mikv=
a and the conservative Starr were friends. Mikva and Starr socialized at =
each other's homes, dined out together with their wives. When Mikva thoug=
ht of Starr, words like "ethical," "
ir," "decent" came to mind. If Mikva saw a fault in the younger judge, it=
was that Starr was a little too much of an egghead, too pedantic, just n=
ot street-smart. This was brought home to Mikva one day during a near fis=
tfight at the Federal courthouse. St
arr, Mikva and Laurence Silberman were on a three-judge panel and, when t=
hey retired to the conference room, it turned out that Silberman was furi=
ous with Mikva over the case they had just heard. "Silberman said to me, =
'If you were 10 years younger, I'd p
unch you out!' " Mikva recalls. "I look over, and there was Ken, looking =
at the ceiling, wishing he was not there. He never said a word. I attribu=
ted it to the gentle son of a minister who didn't like controversy."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 And so, in August 1994, Mikva assured=
the Clintons: "Ken and I had good relations on the court and I'm sure it=
will continue."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Twice during 1995, Starr wanted to qu=
estion both the President and the First Lady in connection with the Arkan=
sas inquiries, and each time arranged it with Mikva.
"The milieu could not have been more pleasant or cooperative," Mikva say=
s. "Upstairs in the White House residence, both times on a Saturday. He a=
rrived discreetly through the back entrance. He later issued a short stat=
ement. There was no commenting or le
aking to the press." Mikva walked Starr out after one session and thanked=
him. "I said: 'I realize it was not done for this President. I appreciat=
e your concern for the Presidency.' He said: 'I would not have it any oth=
er way. The Republicans will elect a
President again and I want the Presidency to be there.' "
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr was considered too bland in those days to have political enemies=
, and if he did, they would probably have been conservative Republicans. =
In 1981, as an aide to Attorney General William French Smith, Starr sheph=
erded Sandra Day O'Connor's Supreme
Court nomination through the Senate and was attacked by conservatives for=
having covered up O'Connor's pro-choice views. After President Bush appo=
inted him Solicitor General in 1989, Starr showed hi
s independence on his first controversial case, defying the President by =
siding with a group of whistle-blowers against defense contractors.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Even after Starr took a million-dollar-a-year corporate law job at Kir=
kland & Ellis in 1993, he was viewed by the Washington establishment as t=
he perfect man for handling delicate public matters. When the Congression=
al committee investigating sexual-ha
rassment charges against Senator Bob Packwood needed someone to review th=
e most intimate secrets in Packwood's dia
ries, Starr was hired. His law partners watched him rushing about, instal=
ling a lock on his door, setting aside a special table as the only place =
the diaries could be reviewed and declaring that only the office administ=
rator could carry the diaries in and
out of a special vault.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
In October 1995, Mikva left the White House, still on good terms with =
Starr. But what happened a few months later radically changed Mikva's fee=
lings and embarrassed him in front of the Clintons, who were by then refe=
rring to th
e independent counsel as "your friend Ken Starr."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
"I was shocked when Mrs. Clinton was called before the grand jury and =
he made her go to the courthouse," Mikva says. "He could have taken her t=
estimony under oath at the White House. He knew there was no back stairwa=
y at that courthouse, that she'd hav
e to walk right in front of the barrage of cameras. Ken knew that courtho=
use better than anyone. When he and I were on the bench there in the 1980=
's, there was a U.S. Attorney, Jay Stephens, who constantly
used the press -- he'd call press conferences in front of the courthouse=
to announce an indictment and then haul in the defendant in front of the=
cameras. Ken and I used to stand together at an upstairs window looking =
down. We agreed that using the press
as a prosecutorial tool was not something an ethical prosecutor did.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 "The Judge Starr I knew was cautious,=
deliberate, careful, not zealous and reckless. The Ken Starr I see now i=
s not the Ken Starr I knew."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Is it true? Is there really a new Ken=

Starr? Rusty Hardin thinks so too, although he draws a very different con=
clusion. Hardin, a lawyer in the independent counsel's office at the star=
t of the Whitewater investigation, says that Starr needed to learn to thi=
nk like a prosecutor. He had never b
een one, had never even been a trial lawyer, had spent his career in the =
high-altitude world of appellate law. "Appellate lawyers don't stand up b=
efore the Court of Appeals and call each other [expletive] -- they don't =
question each other's motives," Hard
says. "Prosecutors live with that." The reserved Starr drove his assista=
nt prosecutors mad, endlessly weighing and deliberating every matter. "St=
arr was more concerned with what people thought of him," Hardin says. "Bu=
t the more the White House stonewall
ed, the more he hunkered down."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Over time, his assistants began to gl=
impse a new fire in Prosecutor Starr. Frustrated by Gov. Jim Guy Tucker o=
f Arkansas's legal challenges to the independent counsel's jurisdiction, =
Starr argued the appeal himself. The
moment that decision came down from the Eighth Circuit, Eric Jaso, an ass=
istant in Little Rock, informed Starr that they had won on every point.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 "Ken let out a yell," Jaso recalls. "=
He yelled, 'Total and complete victory!' I wrote it on my screen saver --=
'Total and Complete Victory!' Ken said, 'This is fantastic!' He was exci=
ted, breathless with exhilaration."

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 hat drives Ken Starr onward? Who is t=
his minister's son in such relentless pursuit that he forced the Presiden=
t to admit his sins on national television?
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Very soon, this man the public knows so little about will command the =
nation's undivided attention. After spending more than four years and an =
estimated $40 million investigating Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, Vin=
cent Foster's death and the Lewinsky
matter, Starr is expected to deliver his final report to Congress in the=
coming weeks. For the first time, the public will get Starr's full view =
of the President's wrongdoing; the report will also tell us a good deal a=
bout its author and
about the quality and scope of the investigation. Then we will all have t=
o decide: Should the matter have been dropped long ago? Did Starr lose al=
l sense of proportion? Or does he make the case for a criminal cover-up w=
orthy of impeachment?
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
For his part, Starr is not talking, and has never talked much publicly=
about himself. He has granted few on-the-record interviews in the last f=
our years to reporters writing profiles of him and has refused repeated r=
equests over a four-month period to
be interviewed
for this article. The only on-the-record interview he has done on any su=
bject recently -- conducted in April by Steven Brill for his media magazi=
ne, Brill's Content -- landed Starr in trouble with a Federal judge over =
leaking information to the press abo
ut the investigation. And so, morning after morning, TV crews camp out in=
front of his McLean, Va., home at dawn, shooting fresh video of the man =
walking to his car with his Starbucks coffee, trying to prod him into a s=
ound bite.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Nor was Starr willing
to permit an interview with his wife, Alice, although she made the single=
-most-telling comment about what their lives are like these days, during =
an hourlong profile of Starr shown by the A&E network in June. "Sometimes=
," Alice Starr said, "it seems like
a nightmare that won't ever go away, and I always think to myself, It can=
't get worse than this. And it does. Every day it seems to get worse and =
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Of course, it didn't have to go on th=
is long. A different independent counsel might have ended thi
ngs a lot sooner. In 1987, James McKay, a Democrat, began investigating A=
ttorney General Edwin Meese 3d, a Republican. After a year, McKay conclud=
ed that Meese had broken the law by accepting favors from a defense contr=
actor and could be convicted by a ju
ry. Meese's behavior was so troubling that two of his top aides at the Ju=
stice Department, William Weld and Arnold Burns, fellow Republicans, resi=
gned in protest. But that independent counsel decided against taking the =
case to trial; McKay thought the sco
of Meese's wrongdoing was not worth the political trauma that would be c=
aused by putting the nation's top law-enforcement officer on trial. McKay=
says he feels the same way about the Lewinsky matter, that Starr has gon=
e "so far afield": "We could have go
ne off on things with Meese, but I said no. It makes your blood run cold,=
the idea of looking into a case about sexual affairs."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Who is Ken Starr that he saw his miss=
ion so differently? In hopes of any insight, I followed him to Toronto in=
early August
for the speech he delivers every year at the American Bar Association co=
nvention reviewing recent Supreme Court decisions.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
He spoke on "the new textualism." Reporters' pens barely moved. Still,=
hungry people will take what crumbs they can, and afterward a dean of a =
major law school told me that it was a blatantly political speech, an eff=
ort to butter up the Supreme Court,
particularly the Democrat-appointed Justices, so they would be happy to s=
ee Starr the next time he argued before them. "Did you see all the nice t=
hings he said about Breyer and Ginsburg?" the dean asked.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Had I missed it? Was Starr sending coded messages to Supreme Court Jus=
tices via C-Span 2? Who knew? In time, I learned that tracking Starr was =
like following Chauncey Gardiner around in "Being There" -- you could rea=
d into him almost whatever you wante
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 I pored over Starr's past speeches bu=
t found they offered little insight into the human being behind the ideas=
. At Duke University's 1995 commencement, he talked about "accou
ntability"; at a 1996 meeting of the Economics Club of Detroit, he spoke =
of "civic virtue." (He was in favor of both.)
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
In May at a Charlotte, N.C., bar association meeting, he urged lawyers=
to take "the moral high ground of Atticus Finch," the brave country lawy=
er in "To Kill a Mockingbird," Harper Lee's novel, "who strove to find th=
e truth while defending a black man
wrongly accused." In terms of content, the speech was one of Starr's best=
, discussing the balance a lawyer must maintain between defendi
ng a client and serving the truth. But in tone, it was a disaster and wid=
ely ridiculed. Ken Starr, the million-dollar corporate lawyer who represe=
nts tobacco companies, was urging his fellow lawyers to be more like Atti=
cus Finch? Didn't he know what this
would sound like? How much perspective on Ken Starr did Ken Starr have?
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Mostly what Starr talks about these d=
ays in his rare public moments is his search for truth. In the Atticus Fi=
nch speech, he used the word "truth" 25 times. In his TV sound bites,
he comes across as some Old World prophet, but instead of wandering the d=
esert he is rushing in and out of courthouses, hurrying up and down his d=
riveway. "Our job is to get at the truth, and the truth will speak for it=
self," he says. Or, "My commitment i
s to the people and to the pursuit of the truth." Or, in his most famous =
variation, analyzed and reanalyzed for its religious overtones: "There's =
no room for white lies. There's no room for shading. You cannot defile th=
e temple of justice." He has also co
mpared himself to Sgt. Joe Friday. Just the facts, ma'am. Frequently, his=
spokesman, Charles Bakaly 3d, warns reporters, "We're the only ones who =
have all the facts."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
veryone has a theory on Starr. After the Lewinsky affair broke, Hillar=
y Clinton called Starr "a politically motivated prosecutor who is allied =
with the right-wing opponents of my husband." Harold Ickes, the former Cl=
inton aide, says he sees Starr as a
dangerous moralist who views the Clintons "like Sodom and Gomorrah and is=
hellbent on running them out of Washington."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Even Starr's best friends don't fully know what to make of it all. The=
y were caught off guard when he took the independent counsel's job in 199=
4 and are not sure why he wanted it. "I have no idea," says Theodore Olso=
n, a prominent Washington lawyer. "H
e never asked me. I was shocked when I heard the news."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 As Starr advanced in his career, he m=
ade a habit of consulting his close friends for political advice. Those f=
riends -- Olson, Tex Lezar, Bob McConnell, John Roberts
, Henry Habicht -- had all worked with Starr in the Reagan Justice Depart=
ment in the early 1980's. They were bright, ambitious young conservatives=
who had regular morning and lunch meetings with Attorney General Smith a=
nd competed to see which one could g
et into work first each day. But Starr did not call them after a three-ju=
dge appellate panel offered him the independent counsel's job in the summ=
er of 1994. "It's the only time with one of these difficult decisions he =
didn't," Lezar says. Several felt he
ad made a mistake, that it was a political no-win situation -- depending =
on what he did or didn't turn up, he was going to alienate half the count=
ry. Under Smith, these young men had been united in their disdain for the=
independent counsel's law, and Star
r himself had helped prepare a legal brief arguing that it was unconstitu=
tional, placing too much unchecked power in one person.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 "When I heard Ken had taken the job,"=
McConnell says, "I sent him a note: 'I guess if someone has to do an unc=
onstitutional deed, it has to be you.' "
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr's friends had different theories on why he accepted. Olson saw i=
t as a personality thing: "Ken has a hard time saying no to people." Habi=
cht thought religion was a factor: "Reading between the lines, I think Ke=
n believed that since God had put hi
m in all these lofty posts, he had a duty to use his experience when a pu=
blic-service challenge arose."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Still others saw Starr's choice as a =
career decision by a man who had lost some of his taste for corporate law=
. "He mi
ssed the public sector," says Thomas Yannucci, a senior partner who is cl=
ose to Starr at Kirkland & Ellis, a 500-lawyer firm. "He told me one day =
in the office -- we were working on a case together -- that corporate law=
was such a change, he liked it, but
it was not the same as being off with the American mission in Russia hel=
ping draw up that country's first Constitution."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Friends also say that he wanted to be=
back in the public spotlight. Anyone who has seen Starr work a room woul=
d swear he's running
for something. At the A.B.A. convention in Toronto, he attended a prayer=
breakfast in addition to delivering his speech, and at each event he rov=
ed the banquet hall, shaking hundreds of hands, hugging women, signing au=
tographs, posing for photos. "He's r
eally eating this up, isn't he?" one A.B.A staff member said. After Eliza=
beth Dole's speech at the prayer breakfast, several people came up to Sta=
rr and said, "God bless you -- keep up the good work."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 There is probably some truth in all the=
se motivation
s -- that Starr had no love for Clinton, felt a civic and religious duty,=
was bored in his law job, missed the attention, had trouble saying no. Y=
et no single explanation seems sufficient. If he was part of a vast right=
-wing conspiracy devoted to nailing
the President, why did he try to leave the independent counsel's job in 1=
997 for the life of a dean at Pepperdine University? And if he was so rab=
id, why did he work at the prosecutor's job only part time, continuing hi=
s private practice at Kirkland?

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 H
ardin, the former prosecutor in the independent counsel's office, says th=
at in 1994, Starr did not have a clue what he was taking on. "He thought =
he could parachute in, do it in a year or two, not consume his whole life=
and get out. He misjudged. He'd nev
er been in the national spotlight. He still thought like an appellate law=
yer -- that cases would be decided on their merits."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Kenneth Winston Starr was born July 2=
1, 1946, in Vernon, Tex., the youngest of three children. His father, Wil=
lie Douglas Star
r, a fundamentalist minister and a barber, put in long, hard hours to sup=
port the family. From the beginning, religion was central to the boy's li=
fe. "He's gone to church ever since he was 2 weeks old and never known an=
y different," says his mother, Vanni
e, who is 91. "We just started him from babyhood to know right from wrong=
." When Kenneth was in fifth grade, the Starrs moved to a white frame hou=
se shaded by ash and pecan trees in a working-class section of San Antoni=
o, where Vannie Starr still lives.

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr's friends from his teen-age days remember him as bright, bookish,=
religious, a little nerdy, totally unathletic but popular, mature and fo=
cused beyond his years. Sam Millsap, who went to junior high with Starr, =
lived nearby and, like Starr, was ra
ised in the Church of Christ. There was no drinking, smoking, dancing, no=
musical instruments in church, but a lot of Bible verse. "If it was fun,=
you couldn't do it," Millsap says. "We were told -- Sunday morning, Sund=
ay night, Wednesday night -- almost
erything fun was wrong and we were going to hell because we were sinners.=
" Millsap, who went on to become the District Attorney of San Antonio, sa=
ys, "When I got older I switched to the Methodist Church so I'd have a sh=
ot at heaven." Starr attends an evan
gelical Bible church.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
"In retrospect," Millsap says, "as I piece together Starr, the thing a=
t the core of everything is his church faith. Ken was always independent =
and sure of himself, his ability and his beliefs of what's right and what=
's wrong. He w
as following his own light -- he didn't give a hoot about the group. When=
we were in church as kids, we knew we were out of step with the mainstre=
am, because we believed what others didn't and we understood we could be =
subject to persecution -- it was par
t of the yoke that made us special."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 The other thing that school friends l=
ike Gary O. Smith remember was Starr's passion for politics. At Sam Houst=
on High, besides being a member of the drama club and the yearbook and ne=
wspaper staffs, Starr was presid
ent of the junior and senior classes. As a ninth grader in 1960, he passe=
d out campaign literature for Richard Nixon; as a senior, for Barry Goldw=
ater. After graduating, he spent two years at Harding College, a Church o=
f Christ school in Arkansas, selling
Bibles door to door to help pay his tuition.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 But if there is one thing that has st=
ruck people who have known Starr well, both in Texas and Washington, it i=
s his ability to grow. He wanted an Eastern education. He wanted to see h=
ow he stacked up agains
t different people. He wanted to see how far he could go. For his junior =
year, he transferred to George Washington University. He did stick out a =
little there; while classmates were protesting the Vietnam War in tie-dye=
d shirts, Starr wore a tie to lectur
es. But like most of his classmates, he did not go to Vietnam, classified=
4-F thanks to a case of psoriasis. The summer he graduated, he met Alice=
Mendell, a Jewish girl from Mamaroneck, N.Y., and Skidmore College. They=
were wed by a Church of Christ mini
ster and have been married 28 years. It was Alice, friends say, who taugh=
t the minister's son to dance.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
After getting a law degree at Duke, Starr was selected in the mid-1970=
's for a clerkship with Chief Justice Warren Burger. It was the first of =
many times he would advance his career by ably serving an older, conserva=
tive Republican. In 1982, when Starr
was Attorney General Smith's chief of staff, a profile in American Lawye=
r magazine described the 35-year-old Starr as the perfect assistant, "def=
l without being obsequious, intelligent without being intimidating . . . =
anything but one of those arrogant aides who strut the corridors of Washi=
ngton." Indeed, Jacob Stein, one of Monica Lewinsky's lawyers, noticed so=
me of those same traits during his n
egotiations with Starr over which sexual acts his client might testify to=
. "Ken Starr has the manners of a Southern gentleman," says the 73-year-o=
ld Stein, "beautiful manners."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 He is also a workaholic of mythic pro=
portions, even by Washington standards
. "Ken's smart, but he's not a genius," his friend Tex Lezar says. "He's =
not this person with a 195 I.Q. He got where he is by working very, very =
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Henry Habicht remembers that at the Justice Department in the early 80=
's he would be in Starr's office at 8:30 P.M. discussing an issue as Star=
r changed into a tuxedo for a black-tie event. "He'd come back to the off=
ice after the affair," Habicht says,
"pick up work to take home, then be in at 7 the next day."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Often Starr had to learn as he went.
He became an Appeals Court judge in 1983, though he had never been a lowe=
r court judge; the Solicitor General -- the Government's lawyer to the Su=
preme Court -- in 1989, though he had never argued before the Supreme Cou=
rt; the independent counsel in 1994,
though he had never been a prosecutor.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 An interviewer once asked Alice Starr=
what she and her husband did for fun and she said that on Sundays they t=
ook car rides in the country: she drove while he read.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 He has put in the same endless hours =
ing the independent counsel's job with private practice. Starr was so bus=
y flying around the country for those two jobs, plus making speeches and =
teaching a course at New York University, that when John Bates, a deputy =
prosecutor from 1995 to 1997, wanted
to discuss the Clinton investigation, he sometimes had to ride with Star=
r in a taxi to the airport. Most profiles have portrayed Starr as a caree=
r man who still manages to coach his daughter's softball team and teach S=
unday school, although friends say i
t has been years since he has been able to do those things. "He's a good =
father for a workaholic," one friend says.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
It is Alice who is "so brilliant about organizing their lives so he ha=
s family time," Bates says. During Starr's breakfast appearance at the A.=
B.A in August, as he shook every hand in sight, Alice slipped off, filled=
a plate with food, quietly set it o
n the table in front of his chair, then went back to get him juice. She i=
s also an executive in a real-estate firm.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 While McLean is an
upscale suburb, the Starrs live in the same four-bedroom brick-and-frame =
house they bought 21 years ago when he was a young lawyer, a comfortable =
home but not lavish. They are known as gracious hosts. Virtually everyone=
I spoke to for this article -- seve
n former prosecutors, Starr's law partners, his friends from the Solictor=
General and Attorney General years -- has been a guest in their home mor=
e than once.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 In his most recent financial-disclosu=
re statement, filed for 1996, Starr lists a salary of $1
.14 million and assets of $3.8 million to $7.9 million. (Federal forms ar=
e vague, requiring that assets be listed as a range, and it is possible t=
hat his worth is higher, since one trust is in the top category of "over =
$1 million.")
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
His three children are used to having his work life mixed into their f=
amily time. When Eric Jaso applied for a job as a prosecutor in Starr's o=
ffice three years ago, Starr suggested that they meet for an interview in=
Princeton, where Jaso was working o
n a case. "I'm waiting
in a hotel lobby," Jaso remembers, "and all of a sudden this man rushes =
up and says: 'Eric? Ken Starr. Sorry I'm late, but we're in the middle of=
a tour of the campus. Come join us.' And we go out front and there's thi=
s wood-paneled minivan and inside ar
e his two daughters, his son" -- the prospective freshman -- "his wife, p=
lus two Princeton undergrads conducting the tour, and he says, 'Hop in,' =
and I sit in the back near his littlest daughter." Jaso took the walking =
tour of the Princeton campus with th
e entire Starr family. "He and I hung back so he could interview me," Jas=
o says. "And then all of us went to lunch."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Two years ago, Starr's wife gave him a 50th-birthday party, and one of=
the speakers roasting him was their son, Randall, the oldest child, who =
recalled how his father tortured them on family trips by playing tapes of=
famous historical speeches. Habicht
remembers Starr testing Carolyn, the middle child, when she was 5 or 6 t=
o see if she could name the Presidents in order. Today, Randall is an und=
ergraduate at Duke and Carolyn is beginning her freshman year at Stanford=
, a year behind Chelsea Clinton.

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
n Washington if you say "tin ear," people instantly understand that yo=
u're talking "Ken Starr" and his lapses of political common sense. Starr'=
s friends have known this about him since he first entered public life 20=
years ago, though it has pained the
m to watch it so nakedly played out before the world. After the Pepperdin=
e mess in February 1997 -- when he announced that he was leaving the i
nvestigation for academia, then changed his mind a few days later because=
of an uproar from the press and his prosecutors -- several friends wrote=
notes of support. Bob McConnell, who is known as a kidder, was warned th=
at this one was too sensitive for jo
kes: "My wife said, 'Now you didn't make some wise-guy remark to Ken, did=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 McConnell and Lezar recall Starr's la=
ck of political savvy during the Sandra Day O'Connor confirmation hearing=
s in 1981. Starr had written a confidential report for the At
torney General on O'Connor's abortion views, which the most conservative =
Senators on the Judiciary Committee would have loved to see. He had also =
helped coach her on how to avoid being pinned down on the issue during th=
e hearings. At a staff meeting with
the Attorney General, Starr mentioned that he had been so involved preppi=
ng O'Connor that he wanted to attend the hearings. Several people explain=
ed that he couldn't, that if the Senators spotted him, they would go afte=
r the "Starr Report," the reporters
uld swarm and the next day's headlines would be about abortion, not O'Con=
nor. McConnell recalls: "Ken said: 'Well I want to go. I spent all this t=
ime on it, I don't want to watch it on TV. They don't care about me.' " A=
nd then, McConnell says, Starr looke
d around the room, saw the expressions on the faces of Attorney General S=
mith and Deputy Attorney General Edward Schmults and that ended it. He wa=
tched the hearings on TV.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Starr's tin ear is partly a matter of=
being more book smart than streetwise. In 1989, after his confirmation h=
earing, for the Solicitor General's job, Starr called McConnell to ask ho=
w he had come across.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 "I said, 'Everything's going to be fi=
ne,"' remembers McConnell, who was impressed. "Ken said: 'Really? I watch=
ed myself on CNN and I must tell you, I thought I sounded pedantic.' "
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par "Ken, you are pedantic," McConnell said.
\par "I am?"
\par "Of course you are," McConnell said.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 While Solicitor General, Starr organi=
zed a half-day seminar in the Justice Department's Great H
all commemorating the 100th anniversary of William Howard Taft's appointm=
ent as Solicitor General. Starr was quite excited, had programs printed, =
arranged for several speeches in praise of Taft, contacted Taft family me=
mbers. "Among the lawyers on the sta
ff, this was a subject of immense lunchroom talk," says Thomas Merrill, o=
ne of Starr's former deputies. To some it seemed a too-obvious sign of hi=
s ambition: Ken Starr paying homage to the former Solicitor General who w=
ent on to be President and then Chie
f Justice of the Supreme Court. To others it just seemed goofy: William H=
oward Taft Day?
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
In short, Starr has never had a great sense of how he appears to other=
s. It has been one of the harshest criticisms of him as independent couns=
el. Rather than acting as an independent counsel, he has repeatedly entan=
gled himself with anti-Clinton force
s, making himself appear highly partisan. One example among many: Starr's=
public appearance a month before the 1996 Presidential election with Pat=
Robertson, the Christ
ian-right leader and vicious Clinton critic, at a celebration of the 10th=
anniversary of the founding of Robertson's law school.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Why didn't Starr see his own potential conflicts of interest? His assi=
stant prosecutors did. Several told me they wish that when he became inde=
pendent counsel he had taken a leave from his law firm and from represent=
ing clients like tobacco companies,
which had a stake in seeing the President weakened politically. But Starr=
's aides didn't tell him this. "He doesn't take criticism of his motives =
well," one colleague says.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Friends say Starr is so sure he's a fair person, and works such backbr=
eaking hours to come to the right answers, that he can't conceive of peop=
le questioning his ethics. "He expects everyone to apply a legal standard=
to things," says Yannucci of Kirkla
nd & Ellis. For Starr, the fact that his speech at Pat Robertson's law sc=
hool had nothing to do with the investigation was the crucial point, not =
the appearance of his honoring Robertson the Clinton-hater. (I
ndeed, Starr's speech, on the future of the judiciary, was so dull and ac=
ademic that reporters had trouble finding a usable quote.) "He thinks, Wh=
y should he be deprived of the right to speak at Pat Robertson's universi=
ty?" Yannucci says. "He sees it like
a First Amendment issue. He thinks, 'I speak at all kinds of places.' An=
d intellectually what he thinks is correct, but politically it does not a=
lways wash."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par He has more of a judge's mind-set than a politician's, Yannucci s=
\par "You know what my wife says about Ken?" Lezar says. "He's very ju=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr didn't want to be just a Supreme Court Justice, friends say, he =
wanted to be Chief Justice. Even as a young man "he carried himself very =
much in a judicial manner," McConnell says. "I kidded him. He was always =
trying to be thoughtful, deliberate.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 In 1983, Attorney General Smith arran=
ged Starr's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of C=
olumbia. Starr was 36, and because Administration officials worried he mi=
ght seem too
young, they delayed submitting his name to the Senate for several weeks,=
until his 37th birthday.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
During his six years on that Appeals Court, Starr was as happy as frie=
nds have seen him. He loved being away from politics, immersed in law and=
constitutional issues. His clerks would provide summary memos on briefs =
in a case, then discover he had read
the entire set of briefs anyway. Though he was conservative, voting a la=
rge percentage of the time with his fellow judge Robert Bork (against aff=
irmative a
ction, against Federal intervention to guarantee minimal prison standards=
), he had an independent streak that pleased civil libertarians. He ruled=
for The Washington Post in a major libel case, for an artist whose subwa=
y mural had lampooned President Reag
an, for a Jewish military chaplain who wanted to wear a skullcap with his=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 In January 1989, President Bush asked=
Starr to be Solicitor General. It was an honor and, for someone whose go=
al was to be a Supreme Court Justice, a political minefield
. For days, he spent long stretches in his office, door closed, on the ph=
one to friends. "He was very conflicted," Lezar recalls.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr had watched President Reagan's first Solicitor General, Rex Lee,=
attacked from the right for not being aggressive enough in challenging R=
oe v. Wade and from the left for being too aggressive. "Ken recognized if=
he took it, there was a good chance
he'd never get back to the appellate bench, never make it to the Supreme=
Court, because he'd make too many political enemies," Lezar says. "But h=
e understood that reaching the Supreme Court is kind of like lightning st=
riking, it's out of your control."

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr was trapped. If he said no, he risked alienating the very Presid=
ent who would select the next Justice. But in taking the job, Lezar says,=
Starr still hoped the call would come someday. "I don't think he ever co=
mpletely gave it up. It's like a Sen
ator who wants to be President. At some point, time passes you by and you=
know intellectually that it won't happen, but in your heart you don't gi=
ve up."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
A good Solicitor General strikes a delicate balance, primarily arguing=
the agenda of the President who nominated him but, when the law demands,=
saying no to the President. Starr's predecessor as Solicitor General, Ch=
arles Fried, is widely regarded as h
aving been too much a political lackey of the Reagan Administration; Star=
r is credited with restoring a proper balance.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 On his first tough case, a request fr=
om the White House to write an amicus brief for military contract
ors in a dispute with whistle-blowers, Starr sided with the whistle-blowe=
rs and against President Bush. "He held endless meetings with all the par=
ties involved," Merrill, his former deputy, says. "Starr sat there like a=
judge, hearing everyone out, very c
ourtly -- if anything, excessively judicious. I kept wishing he'd throw e=
veryone out of his office and decide. He took so long making up his mind =
to do the right thing -- but he did."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Members of the staff were impressed b=
y Starr's preparation rituals f
or cases he was to argue before the Court. Fried used to go around the ro=
om bouncing ideas off aides; Starr would get all his deputies and assista=
nts together and do two moot court rehearsals, plus videotape himself and=
then study the tapes.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
For the Nancy Cruzan case, which involved the question of whether a feedi=
ng tube should be removed from a comatose woman, Starr visited Walter Ree=
d Hospital to talk to doctors and observe similar patients. "He agonized,=
" Merrill says. "He said, 'Tom, let'
s go for a wa
lk,' and we walked along the Mall trying to come to peace on our position=
." Part of the Solicitor General's job is providing guidance for the Cour=
t. And the legal standard Starr argued in Cruzan -- that a person has a r=
ight to die by refusing life support
as long as there is "clear and convincing evidence" that this was the pe=
rson's wish -- was the reasoning the Court adopted.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 While he argued several cases involvi=
ng moral issues -- including a Bush Administration challenge to Roe v. Wa=
de -- his deputie
s say he did not discuss his religious or moral views. Prosecutors in the=
independent counsel's office say the same. Although he sings hymns on hi=
s morning jog and keeps a calendar with daily Scripture verses at his pri=
vate residence, he did not bring his
religion into the workplace, they say.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 The main criticism of Starr as Solici=
tor General was also expressed later at the independent counsel's office:=
that he was involved in too many outside activities, spread too thin, co=
nstantly touring the country,
advancing his name in legal circles. Merrill says that Starr could be go=
ne a couple of days a week, "off delivering some ridiculous speech to a b=
ar association in Tucson." He would send back legal briefs for his deputi=
es, full of little yellow stickers t
hey called Ken-grams. "I questioned these road shows," Merrill says. "He'=
d make some dry legal speech and then go around the room meeting and gree=
ting as many lawyers as he could. I don't know why he bothered -- maybe h=
e felt like he was building a base f
or the Supreme Court." Starr's assistants could tell that possibility was=
never too far out of his mind. If they were working a controversial case=
, he'd joke, "This will do me in for the Supreme Court for sure."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
In July 1990, Justice William Brennan announced his retirement. Press =
reports said that Starr was on the short list of nominees. But by then, a=
s he feared, he had alienated too many constituencies. The Bush White Hou=
se was upset about the whistle-blowe
r case. Senate liberals felt he had been too aggressive arguing a challen=
ge to Roe v. Wade.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Robert Shapiro, a Deputy Solicitor General, was with Starr in his offi=
ce when they heard the news. "The announcement that it was Souter came on=
TV over CNN," Shapiro says. "I looked at his face for signs of disappoin=
tment. We all knew how he felt. Ther
e was nothing. Nothing. Not a single indication of any emotion. Not one."=

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Starr's greatest legal strength as in=
dependent counsel would be his appellate skill. By the time he departed a=
s Solicitor General
, after Bush's defeat in 1992, his experience arguing before the Supreme =
Court made him the most-sought-after appellate lawyer in Washington.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Since taking the independent counsel post, he has personally argued se=
veral key appeals, writing and editing his own briefs. To prepare for an =
appeal in the James and Susan McDougal case, Starr took a conference room=
at the Adam's Mark Hotel in St. Lou
is. From 9 in the morning until 10 at night, the staff briefed Starr on a=
n issue and he went up to his room, stud
ied and came back to do the next issue. "He could absorb so much so quick=
ly," says Jaso, an assistant from 1995 to 1997. When he argued the appeal=
s case on whether the Secret Service should testify in the Lewinsky matte=
r, he deftly led the judges away fro
m peripheral issues with comments like, "I don't think this needs to deta=
in the court," and they followed his prods.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 On the other hand, Starr's biggest we=
akness is never having been a prosecutor or trial lawyer. His predecessor=
, Robert Fiske, the forme
r U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, had served in both capacities and impressed=
the staff with his quickness and self-confidence in making decisions. Fi=
ske consulted his deputies, then made the call himself; Starr held length=
y meetings day after day with every
assistant in the office, trying to forge a consensus. His former assistan=
ts say he rarely took the lead in trial or investigative matters. Harold =
Ickes, the former Clinton aide who was called before the Lewinsky grand j=
ury five times, says, "Starr was nev
er in there -- in fact, I've never seen him in person."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr's role in the case against Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and the McDougals=
for misusing $3 million in Government loans was typical of his limited i=
nvolvement in front-line prosecutions. His staff was divided over whether=
to include Tucker in the indictment
. Starr's meetings in Little Rock went on for days, often lasting until l=
ate at night. Assistants in Washington were crowded in a conference room,=
listening by speakerphone. Every prosecutor, from youn
gest to most experienced, weighed in, usually several times. Starr "asked=
questions occasionally, but didn't say much," Jaso says. "At some point =
there was a vote. Starr did not vote. He was the judge. In my time, I can=
't think of an instance when Starr o
verruled the consensus. He relied heavily on the career prosecutors' reco=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 As the trial approached in the spring=
of 1996, Starr's staff discussed whether he should attend. They decided =
against it, since they didn't want it to appear that th
e Government was ganging up against the Arkansas defendants. But there we=
re other reasons for Starr to stay away. "Ken had no substantive contribu=
tion to make in court," Jaso says. "He would have had to sit in at the tr=
ial and do nothing for two to three
months. Ray Jahn was the lead prosecutor in the case. Ken deferred to Ray=
in any decision regarding litigation of the case."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 During the three-month trial, when St=
arr was in Little Rock, he stayed in the prosecutors' office on the outsk=
irts of the city.
At lunch breaks and day's end, someone from the staff drove out from the=
courthouse and briefed him. "We used to joke about Ken having to stay in=
his cage," Jaso says. Amy St. Eve, another prosecutor, sometimes brought=
him a banana.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
On the afternoon that the Little Rock jury returned with a verdict, St=
arr was in Washington. He and his staff hurried into the conference room.=
As the verdicts were reported -- guilty on virtually every count -- the =
Washington staff let out a cheer. "T
here were whoops on J
im McDougal, whoops on Susan McDougal," Jaso says. "The biggest whoop was=
for Governor Tucker, the hardest conviction to get." Starr embraced seve=
ral of them. Then they discussed what to say to the press. "We talked abo=
ut how we couldn't seem like we were
celebrating," Jaso says. "Ken wasn't going to gloat." They decided to go=
to the news conference in shirt sleeves, so they would look like working=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 A week later, the staff gathered at a=
North Little Rock restaurant to celebrate. Debbie Gers
hman, an aide, took a photo of several prosecutors with their victory cig=
ars -- Jaso, Jackie Bennett, St. Eve, Rod Rosenstein and Starr.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par Starr's cigar was not lit.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Another prosecutor -- say a streetwise one who lit his cigar and had s=
pent a career fighting serious crime -- might have formed a different per=
spective on a President who lied about sex in a dismissed civil suit. Ano=
ther prosecutor could have ended the
Lewinsky inquiry long ago. James McKay, the independent counsel who deci=
ded not to pursue a trial for Attorney General Meese, says that not prose=
cuting is one of the hardest decisions a prosecutor makes.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Even within Starr's own office, there was dissent among seasoned prose=
cutors over how hard to pursue the Lewinsky investigation. Two of Starr's=
assistants, Michael Emmick and Bruce Udolf, argued for accepting Lewinsk=
y's first proffer in January, then r
unning a swift investigation and turning a report over to Congress in 60 =
days. In typical Starr fashion, these issues were debated endle
ssly. Over time, Starr sided with other assistants -- two of his deputies=
, Robert Bittman, whom Starr affectionately calls Bulldog, and Jackie Ben=
nett, known among fellow prosecutors as the office expert on the Presiden=
t's sex life long before anyone had
heard of Monica Lewinsky. Ultimately, Starr opted for an investigation th=
at would turn up every last fact. He fought up to the Supreme Court to ge=
t the Secret Servicemen to testify, up to the Supreme Court trying to get=
hold of the notes of the lawyer for
the late Vince Foster; Starr pushed normal prosecutorial practices to th=
e limit by calling Lewinsky's mother before the grand jury.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Starr had changed. At some point, the reserved appellate lawyer decide=
d he would do whatever it took within the limits of the law to squeeze pe=
ople for his investigations. He had come to realize that the White House =
was going to do what defense lawyers
almost always do during criminal investigations: delay, stall, buy time.=
What was the turning point for Starr? When Hillary
Clinton's billing records suddenly reappeared? When, for the first time =
in his life, Starr saw close up the stakes in a criminal trial like McDou=
gal-Tucker? When he realized he couldn't escape to Pepperdine? His assist=
ant prosecutors cannot pinpoint it,
and who knows if even Starr can. This much is clear: By the time Monica L=
ewinsky appeared on the scene, he was poised for an all-out assault. As t=
o whether he was overzealous and irresponsible, as Abner Mikva charges, o=
r was simply becoming a prosecutor,
as Rusty Hardin believes -- that will depend on what is in his final repo=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 What we do know is that Starr was wil=
ling to drive on when so many other prosecutors would have stopped.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Part of the reason is Starr's legal temperament. All his professional =
life, before reaching a decision he has doggedly pursued every last fact.=
His friends say it over and over: "Ken is determined that no one will de=
feat him by outworking him." As Soli
citor General, the first case he argued before the Supreme Court was a
n old-fashioned civil rights matter left over from the Carter era that fo=
rced the City of Yonkers to remedy past discrimination by racially balanc=
ing its public housing and schools. That couldn't have been a case Starr =
had much political sympathy for, and
yet his aides remember his exhaustive preparation. When he lost, says Ro=
bert Shapiro, the former deputy, "Ken took it very hard." He hates to los=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Starr also has a scholarly, at times =
pedantic, love for the law and is genuinely offended that anyone,
let alone the President of the United States, would denigrate it. In his =
Atticus Finch speech, Starr warned that the single biggest problem facing=
lawyers today is "loss of respect for the truth."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
While Starr wants to be liked, wants to shake every last hand at that =
"ridiculous" Tucson bar association meeting, he was also raised to have c=
onfidence in his beliefs even if most people don't agree. As Millsap, his=
fellow churchgoer from junior-high
days, said, it was part of "the yoke that made us special." A 19 percent =
approval rating in the polls wasn't going to deter Starr.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
As for his career, he had little at stake anymore. When he tried to es=
cape to Pepperdine, he couldn't. His great dream, the Supreme Court, had =
long passed. His next most likely steps -- academia and corporate law -- =
are assured no matter how this inves
tigation turns out. Indeed, Yannucci says that Starr, who took an unpaid =
leave of absence from Kirkland & Ellis in July, plans to return when this=
is all over. In what may be the und
erstatement of the year, Yannucci says, "Now that he's taken on his publi=
c duty, I don't think he has the same view of public service."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Did Starr come to hate the President -- did that drive him, too? The a=
nswer is probably yes, although not at first, and not until he felt that =
the White House was stonewalling. I asked John Bates, the former deputy i=
ndependent counsel, whether Starr ha
tes Clinton. Bates was quiet a long time and then gave an answer so convo=
luted that I stopped taking notes. I asked aga
in, Did Starr hate Clinton? "I think Ken is very upset at how personal an=
d political the attacks on him, the office and others in the office have =
become," he said.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Did moral outrage at Clinton's sexual escapades also fuel Starr's inve=
stigation? Lawyers who have sat with him at meetings when these details w=
ere discussed say they could tell that Starr was offended. But when asked=
for a single example, a single comm
ent or outburst, they could not provide one. They answered that it was su=
btle, in the wrink
le of an eyebrow or a quiet grimace. They had heard his deputies make lew=
d remarks, but not Starr; he was too professionial for that. We do know t=
hat Kenneth Winston Starr was raised to take a hard line against such beh=
avior. When his mother was asked for
this article what she wanted Americans to think of her son, she answered=
, "I want them to think of a man who believes in doing right and a man wh=
o does not cheat on his wife, like Clinton has on his wife."
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 All this said, in the end Starr's mot=
ives no
longer matter. That is his victory, his measure of vindication. It no lon=
ger matters if malicious right-wingers consorted with his office to lay a=
trap for the President, if prudishness or ambition or even radio waves f=
rom outer space drove Ken Starr. The
President has admitted misleading the American public. He lied. Through =
Starr's doggedness, his relentless effort to amass every last fact, he ha=
s succeeded in making his investigation about Bill Clinton, not about Ken=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 All Clinton's life, the m
an from Hope has relied on his brains, his charm, his boyishness, his unc=
anny political instincts, his superhuman energy to squeeze through tight =
spots. Not this time. This time Starr built such a wall of facts that Cli=
nton had no place to go. On Aug. 17,
1998, at 10 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Bill Clinton hit that wall. It w=
as not a pretty sight.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Which is not to say that Starr has sc=
ored his total and complete victory. This may or may not turn out to be a=
bout obstructing justice, but regardless, it i
s lots and lots about sex, and no one wins when such private matters are =
made public. All who became embroiled in the Lewinsky case -- the White H=
ouse, the press and the prosecutors, too -- dirtied themselves. When Star=
r needed someone to show the America
n public that he was acting fairly, he hired the Watergate hero Sam Dash =
as his ethics adviser. Within Starr's office, Dash is referred to as "our=
secret weapon." A generation from now, if there is another President who=
needs investigating, will the speci
al prosecutor of that era hire Ken Starr as his secret weapon? Not likely=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
Once Starr drops his report at Congress's door, the nation's attention=
will be riveted on Clinton. It'll be just the facts. People laughed at S=
tarr when he said it, but it turns out he was right, he did have somethin=
g in common with Sgt. Joe Friday.

\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 In making the decision on what should=
be done with Bill Clinton -- drop the matter? censure? impeachment? -- s=
ome in Congress will choose along partisan lines, a few will look int
o their own personal lives, but most will stick their fingers into the wi=
nd and check the public opinion polls. The citizenry will decide. Ken Sta=
rr has forced Americans to confront every last prurient fact, right down =
to the Presidential DNA.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
There are those who will say that half the marriages in America end in=
divorce, that if every spouse who lied about sex had to confess on TV, t=
he testimony would fill 500 cable channels for 500 years, that this is a =
matter between the Clintons and that
what Bill Clinton has already publicly admitted to is more than we would=
ask of any other human being.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
And there are those who will say it is shameful for a President with C=
linton's history to be arrogant enough to carry on a sexual affair with a=
21-year-old right in the White House, lie about it and then take advanta=
ge of his good friends and aides by
using them to clean up his mess and cover his tracks.
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24 Both conclusions are right, of course=
, and thanks to Starr, during this era of relative peace and prosp
erity some very painful divisions will fracture the body politic before t=
he matter is put to rest. This touches feelings that people don't normall=
y discuss in polite company, for fear they will get too angry, and lose f=
\par }\pard \widctlpar {\f5\fs24
\par }}