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The Case Against Clinton

Kenneth Starr's report to Congress accuses President Clinton of impeachable offenses that include perjury and obstruction of justice. The report also contains a graphic account of repeated sexual encounters between the president and Monica Lewinsky.

CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer Reports.

CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley Reports.

CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante Reports.

CBS News Correspondent Rita Braver Reports.

Starr claims the evidence "may constitute grounds for an impeachment" and that Mr. Clinton "pursued a strategy of deceiving the American people and Congress."

The President's lawyer fired back, saying "a private mistake does not amount to an impeachable action" and that sexually explicit details in Starr's report are only there to "humiliate, embarrass and politically damage" the president.

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In his weekly radio address Saturday morning, the president alluded to Starr's report when he said, "It's been an exhausting and difficult week in the capital, not only for me, but for others. . . . The most important thing to do now is to stay focused on the issues the American people sent us here to deal with, from health care to the economy to terrorism."

The Starr Report

Saturday's White House Rebuttal

Friday's White Huse Response

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The Starr Report

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  • The House sergeant at arms officially unsealed the document at mid-afternoon on Friday. It had been advertised as steamy, and you could almost see the steam rising as the boxes came open.
    for more on the 11 accusations, and the response.
    Once public, Ken Starr's report proved to be a tawdry tale of a young woman who became emotionally involved with an older married man. She said it began during the government shutdown of 1995 with "intense flirting." All told, Mr. Clinton and the former White House intern are said to have had 10 sexual encounters, and 10 to 15 sexually explicit phone conversations.

    Despite the lurid nature of the the encounters, reports CBS News Correspondent Rita Braver, Lewinsky told the grand jury "I just knew he was in love with me."

    The sex is only the foundation for the serious legal allegations that follow, reports CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley. Starr alleges Mr. Clinton's actions constitute an abuse of power inconsistent with his duty to faithfully uphold the law.

    Starr's report, which the House of Representatives voted to make public early Friday, cites 11 grounds for impeachment.

    The report also confirms for the first time that a blood sample given by Mr. Clinton matches DNA found on a blue dress owned by Monica Lewinsky and turned over to prosecutors.

    The first of the 11 counts accuses the president of lying in a civil case about his relationship with Lewinsky. Other counts allege that:

    • He perjured himself in recent testimony at the White House.
    • He lied about being alone with Lewinsky and giving her gifts.
    • He lied in his deposition in the Paula Jones case about conversations with Lewinsky.
    • He committed obstruction of justice concerning gifts he exchanged with Lewinsky and with regard to finding a job for Lewinsky.
    • He tampered with a witness by trying to influence the grand jury testimony of his secretary, Betty Currie.
    • He abused his power as president by trying to prevent Secret Service agents from testifying in the Lewinsky matter.

    Concerning one charge of obstruction of justice, the report states that presidential friend Vernon Jordan told Mr. Clinton on Jan. 7, 1998 that Lewinsky had signed the affidavit denying a relationship. Jordan also promised to find a job for Lewinsky, according to the report. He then told the grand jury that on Jan. 9 he called the president's secretary to tell her, "mission accomplished."/b>

    Starr's report also states that Lewinsky had given President Clinton 38 gifts. One such gift, a book on the Titanic, included a sexually explicit note that Lewinsky gave to the president.

    Currie and Lewinsky conflicted in their testimony on gifts the president gave to Lewinsky. Lewinsky had testified that Currie had contacted her to collect several gifts from the president. Currie, meanwhile, testified that it was Lewinsky who made the initial call and raised the subject of transferring gifts.

    The report is also shedding light on the president's testimony in the Paula Jones case and before a grand jury in August. Questioned in the Jones case before the term "sexual relations" was defined, the president testified that since 1986 he had no sexual relations with state or federal employees.

    In his grand jury testimony in August the president had refused to answer some questions concerning his conduct with Lewinsky, saying "I think [they] frankly go too far in trying to criminalize my private life."

    The report spells out in graphic detail 10 sexual encounters, including oral sex, between Mr. Clinton and Lewinsky in the Oval Office.

    The report, however, contains no allegations of impropriety stemming from Whitewater, or investigations into travel office firings and alleged tampering with FBI files. It was those matters that prompted the appointment of a special prosecutor.
    Three separate occasions are outlined during which the president and Lewinsky engaged in sexual encounters while Mr. Clinton was on the telephone with Congressmen. The Congressmen include Jim Chapman, former D-Tex., John Tanner, D-Tenn., and Sonny Callahan, R-Ala. It also included details of an alleged Easter Sunday encounter.

    Ten to 15 instances of telephone sex are also referenced in the report.

    The president has argued that he gave legally accurate testimony when he testified in the Jones case that he did not have sexual relations with Lewinsky. Mr. Clinton's argument was based on the fact that the two never engaged in intercourse and that the legal definition being used in that case did not include oral sex.

    for more on Lewinsky's dress.
    Prosecutors argue that the graphic detail in the report is necessary to prove that Mr. Clinton lied when he told the grand jury that his testimony in the Jones case was "legally accurate."

    The House vote to release the report came after some Democrats complained that it was unfair to release it without letting President Clinton have a chance to see it first. The vote in the House was 363-63 in favor of releasing 445 pages of the report.

    As many as 30 lawyers worked on the report, and it was being edited until the moment it was sent to Capitol Hill. CBS News has learned thsubmission was edited by Sam Dash, a respected scholar in legal ethics who was the lead counsel to the Senate Watergate committee during the hearings on Richard Nixon.

    for more on defining an impeachable offense.
    In anticipation of the report's release, the White House made a dramatic effort to preempt Starr's allegations. Before even seeing the report, White House officials sent its own report to Congress declaring that the president did not commit perjury, obstruct justice, tamper with witnesses, or abuse the power of his office.

    "Impeachment is a matter of incomparable gravity. Even to discuss it is to discuss overturning the electoral will of the people," President Clinton's lawyers wrote.

    The president's lawyers make the argument that high crimes and misdemeanors - the standard for impeachment set forth in the Constitution - has a fixed meaning: It means "wrongs committed against our system of government," White House lawyers wrote.

    They say it was never designed to allow a political body, meaning the Congress, to force a president from office for a very personal mistake.

    for the complete transcript of the president's morning speech.

    Earlier Friday, President Clinton made his most contrite apology yet concerning the Lewinsky matter. He told religious leaders that he had "sinned" and expressed regret to Monica Lewinsky, his cabinet, and the American people.

    The president also admitted that he could have been more "contrite" in his televised remarks to the country after his grand jury testimony, Pelley reports.

    In an expression of repentance, Mr. Clinton said, "It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow that I feel is genuine."

    It is still unclear, however, what effect the president's remarks will have on Congress and the nation.

    ©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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