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Starr Asks ‘Were Crimes Committed?’

April 2, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ It doesn’t matter who won and who lost in the Paula Jones case, Whitewater prosecutor Kenneth Starr said today. ``Our job is to determine were crimes committed.″

As evidence that Starr was not letting up on President Clinton despite a judge’s dismissal of Mrs. Jones’ charges against him, White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles _ Clinton’s highest-ranking adviser _ went before Starr’s grand jury this morning.

``We’re moving very quickly,″ Starr said. ``We do recognize there is very keen and powerful interest in bringing all these matters to resolution as quickly as possible. We’re very sympathetic to that.″

Holding court with reporters for at least 20 minutes outside his McLean, Va., home, Starr shot down speculation that he had no criminal case against Clinton now that a federal judge has thrown out the Jones lawsuit.

Starr’s driveway commentary was broadcast live in its entirety some TV news programs. ``That strange press conference revealed that, after four years and $40 million, this investigation is only about a partisan pursuit of the president,″ senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel said.

Starr is investigating whether Clinton lied in a deposition in that civil case, or asked other witnesses to lie.

``We must all play by the rules. If you don’t play by those rules _ if you lie under oath, if you intimidate a witness, if you seek otherwise to obstruct the process of justice _ it doesn’t matter who wins and who loses in the civil case. What matters from the criminal law’s perspective is were crimes committed,″ Starr said.

``For the sake of the nation, we hope for the best. But our job is to determine were crimes committed.″

White House officials nonetheless hoped that the Jones decision would increase pressure on Starr to conclude his investigation.

``There is going to be some questions by the American people why you would have an ongoing investigation of a matter when the judge has decided that this case has been dismissed,″ Emanuel said.

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