President Bill Clinton "repeatedly used the machinery of government and the powers of his office to conceal his relationship with Monica Lewinsky from the American people, from the judicial process in the Jones case, and from the grand jury," Independent Prosecutor Kenneth Starr alleges in his 58-page opening remarks, delivered in a two-hour monologue Thursday morning.
|CLICK HERE for the complete transcript of Kenneth Starr's testimony.|
"The evidence further suggests that the president, in the course of these efforts misused his authority and power as president and contravened his duty to faithfully execute the laws. That too is not a private matter," the independent counsel said in challenging the argument that he had no right to investigate the president's consensual sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
Starr's testimony reiterated many of the same allegations -- in the same harsh language -- that he included in his referral to Congress in September accusing Mr. Clinton of 11 impeachable offenses. His testimony laid out a litany of examples that he said show a "misuse of presidential authority occurred."
Starr said Mr. Clinton "made a series of premeditated false statements under oath" in his Jan. 17 deposition in the Jones lawsuit, and "participated in a scheme" at the deposition to deceive the trial judge in the lawsuit by not correcting his lawyer's false assertion that the president did not have sexual relations with Lewinsky.
|CLICK HERE for video excerpts of Kenneth Starr's testimony.|
Starr also said President Clinton used his cabinet as "unwitting surrogates" to support his false story denying the affair for months. He charged that the president "concocted false alibis" to aides who then repeated the inaccurate information to the grand jury.
Starr eventually subpoenaed Mr. Clinton, who testified Aug. 17 before the grand jury. Starr said President Clinton lied during that testimony, too, and again when he told the American public in a speech that night that he had given "legally accurate" testimony in the Jones case.
Other misuses of power, according to Starr, came when President Clinton and his administration assertegovernmental privileges to conceal information from the grand jury.
Starr said that, in addition to misusing his authority, President Clinton "used government resources and prerogatives to pursue his relationship with Monica Lewinsky" and used Oval Office secretary Betty Currie to "facilitate and conceal the relationship."
Mr. Clinton also used White House aides and former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson in an effort to find Lewinsky a job "at a time when it was foreseeable, even likely, that she would be a witness in the Jones case," Starr argued. And he used a government attorney Lindsey to assist his personal legal defense during the Jones case, Starr said.
Starr also presented an overview of his four-year criminal investigation in an effort to give context to the allegations that gave rise to the Lewinsky investigation. "We go to court and not on the talk-show circuit," said Starr. "We have presented our cases in court, and with very rare exception, we have won."
He focused on payments that presidential friends made to former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell at a time when Hubbell was under investigation by Starr's office. Starr said those payments "raise very troubling questions" about whether President Clinton, through his aides, sought to encourage Hubbell's silence. Hubbell was indicted for a third time by Starr's office last Friday.