Lott Urges Clinton To Tell All
White House steward Bayani Nelvis is due back before the grand jury Tuesday
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 9) -- Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott said Monday "spin doctors" wrongly interpreted his weekend remarks about Independent Counsel Ken Starr as criticism, and President Bill Clinton must tell the whole truth to end Starr's investigation.
"I today call on the president to come forward and tell the American
people what is the truth, what is the whole truth. Tell that to the counsel and get this behind us," Lott told reporters. "Do it now, Mr. President. Don't let this drag out any longer."
The Mississippi Republican said his remarks over the weekend that the
independent counsel should wind up his investigation of the president were taken out of context.
Starr's grand jury is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has emphatically denied the sex-and-perjury allegations.
Lott again said he hoped Starr's investigation "can be completed sooner rather than later." But he said in his weekend remarks, he was only responding to a speculative question when he mentioned a congressional censure of Clinton might be an alternative to Starr's investigation. That remark was widely criticized by a number of Republicans.
Lott again praised Starr but he also again said of the investigation, "At some point you do bring it to a close ... It is a distraction."
The majority leader said the investigations of Clinton are affecting the president's conduct and the White House is "taking either small steps on big issues or there is silence on big issues."
Lott said he was trying to "nudge" both Starr and Clinton to move
forward. Lott said his working relationship with Clinton has been affected by the investigations, and the fact "that the White House used my words [about Starr] to advance their case certainly doesn't enhance our relationship."
Meanwhile, Bayani Nelvis, a steward in the White House, will be called by Starr to appear again before the grand jury on Tuesday.
The president's personal secretary, Betty Currie, will most likely appear on Wednesday, not Tuesday, although legal sources close to the investigation say that is not definite. Sources say Nelvis will be questioned "to tie up loose ends" regarding his vantage point during any meetings between the president and Lewinsky in the Oval Office. Currie will also be questioned again on that subject, among others.
It was Currie who called presidential friend Vernon Jordan and asked him to help Lewinsky get a job in the private sector. Jordan has told associates he assumed Clinton asked Currie to place the call, and both Jordan and the president say that Jordan kept Clinton informed on his job search efforts.
The president said he may have met alone with Lewinsky a few times, but there were always people like Currie nearby.
One of the sources said White House deputy counsel and presidential confidant Bruce Lindsey was also told to be on standby this week, but he
has not received a firm notice of when he will be called to testify.
CNN's Eileen O'Connor, Bob Franken and John King contributed to this report.