Lewinsky Judge Meets With Lawyers
Session may have been on executive privilege dispute
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, March 24) -- The judge overseeing the Monica Lewinsky grand jury met Tuesday with representatives of the White House and Independent Counsel Ken Starr for what was believed to have been a discussion on executive privilege.
Judge Norma Holloway Johnson met with Neil Eggleston, who was retained by the White House to handle matters related to executive privilege, lawyers representing top White House aide Bruce Lindsey and representatives from Starr's office.
It is believed the meeting was an extension of the discussion that began Friday involving executive privilege. It is not likely the judge will make a decision on the matter Tuesday because Starr is in Little Rock, Ark., and it is unlikely she would make a ruling in his absence.
Clinton refuses to discuss executive privilege claim
Meanwhile, President Bill Clinton, traveling in Africa, refused Tuesday to discuss his request to cite executive privilege to prevent his aides from answering some questions before the Lewinsky grand jury.
"Look, that's a question that's being asked and answered back home by the people who are responsible to do that," Clinton said. "I don't believe I should be discussing that here."
Clinton was asked about the decision during a photo opportunity with
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni. It was the first time Starr's investigation came up during the president's six-nation African journey, which began Sunday.
Starr's grand jury is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual
relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and
encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.
Asked about the White House request to include first lady Hillary Rodham
Clinton's conversations with aides under executive privilege protection, the
president replied, "All I know is, I saw an article about it in the paper
today. I haven't discussed it with the lawyers. I don't know. You should ask
someone who does."
Asked whether he was glad to be out of Washington, given the controversy surrounding the allegations of sex and coverup in the White House, Clinton replied, "I'm glad to be doing the business of the United States and the people. I've looked forward to this for years. And I think most Americans want me to do the job I was elected to do. And so I'm going to try to do what most people want me to do."
Clinton returns to Washington April 2. He has several other previously
planned trips abroad coming up, including later in April to Chile, in May to
Britain and Germany and in late June and early July to China.
Ginsburg not surprised with White House invoking executive privilege
Lewinsky lawyer Bill Ginsburg tells CNN he was not surprised to hear the White House plans to invoke executive privilege.
In remarks at the Burbank Airport Monday, Ginsburg said he is concerned such a move will delay the case.
"There is no question that a fight over executive privilege will delay this
proceeding considerably," Ginsburg said. "I think they made the broadest executive
privilege claim that could be made, and I think the White House has conceded
that, even trying to include the first lady."
Ginsburg added the issue could go all the way to the
Supreme Court and "slow the portion of this matter that Ken Starr has going against the president."
Ginsburg called the White House strategy "fairly simple."
"I would say that the strategy of invoking executive privilege is to force Ken Starr to turn this matter over to Congress rather than to pursue it any further," he said. "And that way, I think the president is fairly comfortable that it would be whitewashed and probably not lead to impeachment hearings."
Meanwhile, Ginsburg says he is waiting for the results of many motions
that have been made in the case involving Clinton. "We are watching
with interest the presidential executive privilege application. We are looking
to see what Ken Starr's comments are, but really we are sort of in a holding
pattern at this point because there is not much else we can do," he said.
When asked how Lewinksy is dealing with the controversy,
Ginsburg said, "She is up and down. My client has wonderful evenings with us,
but she is not living the life of a normal 24-year-old. What 24-year-old would
want to go out with me on a regular basis? Under those circumstances I think
you can see that when people peg her as living the 'Cinderella' life, they are
a little bit off base. This week I don't think she is going to any basketball
games because I am here tending to other business. On balance, she is doing
well, I think, under the circumstances."
On another matter, Ginsburg expressed concern Starr will again
call his client's mother for further testimony, saying: "I certainly hope that
Mr. Starr has a little shame and a little dignity and does not go after the
mother again. If he requires the mother to appear again, Marcia Lewis, I
think that will make for some headlines and once again we'll properly invoke
the anger of the American public. I don't think that is right."
Ginsburg called Starr and his prosecutors "overly aggressive cowboys" and
believes that they have "lost perspective on this thing."
Ginsburg said he believes the investigation will come to a head sometime in May, possibly June. "How far it goes after that with congressional hearings
or if there is indeed an indictment, a trial of the matter, I can not predict
because I don't know what the charges would be or what the circumstances would
be. But I think that Mr. Starr is under considerable pressure to fish or cut
bait and I think that he is going to have to decide to do something in May or
June at the latest."