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Note: The comments and questions on this page came from people who visited this website. Please feel free to send your comments and questions to Professor Brenner (brenner@udayton.edu). She will respond privately, and may ask permission to post your message on this page. No one's e-mail will be used without first obtaining their permission, and names and e-mail addresses are removed before a comment is posted. Starting in 2002, the responses posted to the site indicate which of us replied: The initials SWB mean Professor Brenner wrote the response; the initials LES mean Professor Shaw wrote the response. We are also putting the year down, to indicate when the response was posted. If no initials appear, Professor Brenner wrote the response.

 

Why didn’t the President answer some of the questions?

Does a person have to answer all the questions they are asked? Why didn't Clinton answer some of the question?

Response: President Clinton's appearance was VERY unusual: Starr withdrew the subpoena when the President agreed to testify, so President Clinton wasn't under the force of a subpoena. Therefore, he had much more control over what he would and would not do than a normal witness. A normal witness will be held in contempt if they refuse to answer questions (without invoking a valid privilege as their reason for doing so) because a normal witness is appearing under the force of a subpoena. When one has been subpoenaed, that person must comply with the subpoena or be held in civil contempt and (usually) incarcerated, as Susan McDougal discovered a couple of years ago.

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