Brett Kavanaugh and the Starr Report

28 August 2018

Brett Kavanaugh has been nominated to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy as a member of the United States Supreme Court. Twenty years ago he served as an attorney working for Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel who investigated a series of scandals during Mr. Clinton’s presidency, and he worked on the report that led the House of Representatives to impeach Mr. Clinton.

On August 15, 1998, while working on that investigation, Kavanaugh wrote a memo to Mr. Starr in which he asserted that he was “strongly opposed to giving the President any ‘break’ in the questioning regarding the details of the Lewinsky relationship – unless before his questioning he either (i) resigns or (ii) confesses perjury and issues a public apology to [Mr. Starr.]” In the memo, Kavanaugh also included sexually explicit questions that he thought should be put to the President.

In support of his thinking, Kavanaugh wrote “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;” and continued “It may not be our job to impose sanctions on him, but it is our job to make his pattern of revolting behavior clear — piece by painful piece. . . . Aren’t we failing to fulfill our duty to the American people if we willingly ‘conspire’ with the president in an effort to conceal the true nature of his acts?”

Since then, reports suggest that “Mr. Kavanaugh’s views on the wisdom of criminal investigations of sitting presidents have evolved considerably.” Liptak, A., “Brett Kavanaugh Urged Graphic Questions in Clinton Inquiry,” NY Times, August 20, 2018.

In light of the controversies surrounding President Trump, the memo, and the apparent evolution in Kavanaugh’s thinking are of great interest as both parties prepare for hearing on his nomination to the Supreme Court.

The American Museum of Tort Law is please to offer the complete set of the Starr Report on President Clinton and Lewinsky Affair, with The Starr Evidence, for sale online at This report may be more timely than ever, in shedding some light on the role that Brett Kavanaugh played in that tumultuous era in our history.

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