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Washington Whitewater Grand Jury Dismissed

Panel heard testimony from first lady

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, May 15) -- After a two-year term, the federal grand jury investigating Whitewater in Washington, D.C., has been dismissed. But the development doesn't necessarily say much about independent counsel Kenneth Starr's investigation.

One of two federal grand juries investigating Bill and Hillary Clinton's failed 1980s land venture, the 23-member Washington jury was forced to disband since, under court rules, Starr was barred from an extension. But he can convene another, if need be.

"Mr. Starr has lots of investigatory tools at his disposal including new grand juries or other grand juries," said former Deputy Attorney General George Terwilliger.

The second jury, based in Little Rock, Ark., is still very much intact. It was recently extended through Nov. 7 after Starr told judicial authorities he needed more time to consider "extensive evidence" of obstruction of justice.

History was made when Starr hauled Mrs. Clinton before the Washington panel on Jan. 26, 1996; it was the first time a first lady had testified before a federal grand jury. The jury was thought to be looking into the sudden appearance of Mrs. Clinton's long-sought Rose Law Firm billing records, as well as the handling of former White House counsel Vincent Foster's office following his suicide in July 1993.

Now, it appears to be adjourning without making recommendations or indictments, though it's possible some exist under seal.

All this comes as the president's political pal, James Carville, continues his public assault against Starr. Writing in The Washington Times, Carville blasts what he calls Starr's "misconduct and blatant partisanship."

"When will Mr. Starr admit that his over 1,000 day-old investigation ... is just a bunch of hot air about some ancient Arkansas nonsense?" Carville wrote.

Meanwhile, the White House is trying to avert a showdown with the House committee investigating the Democratic Party's improper fund-raising activities. Late Wednesday evening, the White House sent Republican Chairman Dan Burton a confidential summary of 40 documents he has requested -- documents the White House is withholding claiming executive privilege. But that's unlikely to satisfy Burton who wants the originals.

CNN's Bob Franken and Wolf Blitzer contributed to this report.

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