Brett Kavanaugh memo detailed explicit questions for Clinton

Lawrence Kim
August 21, 2018

Back when Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh was an associate for independent counsel Ken Starr, he called for tough treatment of then-President Bill Clinton, including proposing a list of sexually explicit questions for him about his relationship with intern Monica Lewinsky, according to a 1998 memo released Monday.

He had a bunch of other explicit questions for Bill Clinton noting, "I am strongly opposed to giving the President any "break" in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship unless he ... either (i) resigns or (ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to you".

"If Monica Lewinsky says that you had phone sex with her on approximately 15 occasions, would she be lying?" Arguing fiercely for the power of the independent counsel's office, Kavanaugh wrote that "it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear - piece by painful piece". The Archives has said it won't complete a records search until the following month.

In another memo to Starr in late August 1998, Kavanaugh signals an uneasiness about including sexually explicit details and language in the report.

"The idea of going easy on him at the questioning is thus abhorrent to me", he wrote. "He has tried to disgrace you and the Office with a sustained propaganda campaign that would make Nixon blush".

"The President has disgraced his Office, the legal system, and the American people by having sex with a 22-year-old intern and turning her life into a shambles -callous and disgusting behavior that has somehow gotten lost in the shuffle", he wrote in a memo to Starr and the other lawyers involved.

Some senators are scheduling meetings with Kavanaugh with more of an open mind, as red-state Democrats make up their mind about the nominee - and potentially break with their party to give Kavanaugh the deciding Senate votes he needs to be confirmed.

Kavanaugh is also expected to meet with the committee's ranking Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., when the memo was made public.

Current Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, center, walks alongside independent counsel Ken Starr in 1997 during their investigation of President Bill Clinton. "Criminal investigations targeted at or revolving around a President are inevitably politicized by both their supporters and critics". It reveals a hardball tactician who argued forcefully that Starr had the right to press the president for answers, a view he later shifted, saying presidents are too busy to be subject to such investigations while in office. He said Congress should consider doing the same with "respect to criminal investigations and prosecutions of the President".

For The National Law Journal (subscription or registration required), Tony Mauro identifies "several factors that could make it hard for Brett Kavanaugh-if he is confirmed by the Senate-to hit the ground running" when the new Supreme Court term begins on October 1.

"Tthe interests of the Office of the President would be best served by our gathering the full facts regarding the actions of this President so that Congress can decide whether the interests of the Presidency would be best served by having a new president". Kavanaugh wrote at the time that while he was "mindful of the need for respect for the Office of the President", it was the counsel's duty to gather the facts or face being charged with conspiring "to hide the true nature" of what happened.

In the weeks before Kavanaugh's memo, Clinton attempted to avoid or limit Starr's questioning - just as Trump is trying to do in Mueller's Russian Federation investigation.

A Senate vote to try to impeach Clinton fell short of the supermajority needed to convict him, and he remained in office through the end of his second term.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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