Watch CBS News

Bay Area Democrats' Approach To Mueller Report Vs. Starr Report Of '98

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- Asked about the Mueller report at a recent press conference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi D-CA said wearily, "How can I just say this more clearly? Show us the report."

East Bay Congressman Eric Swalwell (D-CA) was even more specific. "We're gonna see every word, every period, every comma. It's just a matter of whether we see it now when we wanna see it. Or if we have to go through the courts," he said.

But not all Democrats were so enthusiastic about making Kenneth Starr's report public. Starr was the Independent Counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton and uncovered his affair with Monica Lewinsky. At the time, the law on independent counsel investigations was different than it is now and Republicans controlled he House of Representatives.

When the House considered a resolution to make the Starr report public, 63 Democrats voted no, even though information about the report had been leaked to the press.

"The good news about the leaks is that this four year investigation apparently vindicates President Clinton in the conduct of his public life because we're only left with this personal stuff," said Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, along with other Democrats, did not argue that the report should remain private; only that House Speaker Newt Gingrich should let the President see it first, and maybe include a rebuttal with the report.

Referencing Gingrich's 1997 ethics troubles, Pelosi said, "Why would you not afford the President of the United States the same opportunity that you were given by the Ethics Committee of having almost a week's notice - advance notice - to review the charges against you that you could have your response be part of the report?"

Later, she characterized the report as "a list of allegations...not a statement of fact" because the claims "will be unanalyzed, no witnesses cross examined."

East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee and South Bay Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren joined Pelosi in voting against publication of the report. Lofgren invoked the Nixon scandal.

"Twenty-four years ago this House went through a gripping, grueling experience where a Democratic House investigated a Republican President," said Lofgren. She said the process for Clinton was less fair than the one for Nixon.

"At that time, my predecessor in office and my then-boss, Congressman Don Edwards, insisted that the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, have complete due process; that he have the ability to see all of the evidence; that his lawyers have the ability to cross-examine and to see everything way before it was revealed," Lofgren said.

"In this case, we have a rush to put allegations that have been compiled over four years onto the internet without giving the President 24 hours to review it. I fear for our country if we cannot do better than this."

Despite these objections, the resolution to make the report public passed and it was made available the same day.

On Friday, William Barr wrote a letter to the Chairmen of the Judiciary Committees that promised to make the redacted report public by mid-April. "Mr. Barr has made it clear that's he's going to release it to congress before he shows it to us, that's his decision," Mick Mulvaney said Sunday.

The president has said he's fine with releasing the Mueller report directly to the public, claiming, "I have nothing to hide." But not all Democrats believe that.

"I cannot imagine that 400 pages plus whatever exhibits they have are gonna make the president look good," said Rep. Swalwell.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.