Starr says he should have been more informative during probe
December 19, 1999
Web posted at: 8:56 p.m. EST (0156 GMT)
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- On the anniversary of President Clinton's
impeachment, former Special Counsel Kenneth Starr said that during his investigation he should have shared more information -- with the House of Representatives and with the public.
Starr also said that Linda Tripp's federal immunity deal will
protect her from Maryland wire-tapping charges.
"Our understanding of the law, and this is going to remain in
dispute, is that there was immunity in place," Starr said
Sunday on CNN's "Late Edition" with Wolf Blitzer.
Tripp has been charged with violating Maryland privacy laws
by secretly recording phone conversations with former White
House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Starr said he should have helped the public better understand the charges against Clinton
Time gap has become focus of Tripp case
There is a gap of about one month between the time Starr's
office granted Tripp immunity and when it actually filed an
order reflecting that. It is that gap that has become the
focus of the case.
On Sunday, Starr said the date on which the agreement was
actually filed was simply "administerial."
But last week, a Maryland judge disagreed and ruled that
Tripp was not protected by immunity, and set a trial date.
Starr said he expects the final decision to be made by an
Starr says he should have cautioned House members
The former special counsel, who often rushed past cameras
with a curt "no comment," expressed regrets Sunday about how
he dealt with the media during the investigation.
"I think it was a mistake not to be informing the American
public of certain basic facts and to reiterate those facts,"
"Namely, that our investigation was authorized by the
attorney general of the United States, and that the Justice
Department had the information that we had with respect to
serious possible federal offenses," Starr said.
And Starr also admitted errors in communication with the
House of Representatives, saying he should have cautioned
House members about the release of his report because of the
salacious material it contained.
"I could have done more to say this is privacy-sensitive
material that we felt was important for the elected
representatives to have." Starr said.
"At the same time, this was a judgment made based on a very
broad bipartisan sense that the American public needed to
have this information and they needed to have it immediately," said Starr.
House prosecutor also admits errors
Also appearing on "Late Edition," was Rep. Asa Hutchinson, R-
Arkansas, a House prosecutor for the Clinton impeachment
trial in the Senate.
He joined Starr in admitting some errors in judgment. "We
made some mistakes, probably publicly releasing the
videotaped deposition (of Clinton) before it was used as
evidence. That came across as heavy handed," Hutchinson
He also said releasing the Starr report, which in some
instances included graphic descriptions of Lewinsky's sexual
encounters with Clinton, was a mistake.
"We should have been more careful as far as releasing that,"