Bowles Testifies Before Grand Jury
Starr's inquiry continues despite Jones lawsuit ruling
WASHINGTON (April 2) -- White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles
spent three hours Thursday before the grand jury investigating the sex-and-perjury allegations against President Bill Clinton, and said afterward he answered the panel's questions "wholly and completely."
Bowles was summoned by Independent Counsel Ken Starr in an apparent sign he is not letting up in his criminal investigation of the president, despite Wednesday's dismissal of Paula Jones' civil suit against the president.
"It was easy for me," Bowles told reporters as he left the courthouse. "They asked me a lot of questions about what went on in the White House. I answered all of the questions wholly and completely."
Asked if he was finished with his testimony, Bowles said, "That's
what they told me."
The grand jury is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.
Bowles was before the grand jury for more than three hours, even though Bowles was not running the White House staff when Lewinsky worked there.
Immediately after Wednesday's Jones ruling, Starr made it clear he would continue to pursue the Lewinsky angle. Both Clinton and Lewinsky have denied a sexual affair.
"In January the attorney general and the special division
assigned us to investigate a variety of matters. Judge
Wright's ruling today [Wednesday] has no effect on our authority, and we
will continue working to complete the investigation as
expeditiously as possible," Starr told reporters.
(103K/10 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)
Ultimately, Starr is expected to send a report to Congress
that will be used to determine whether impeachment proceedings
The Jones case and Lewinsky investigation
have been intertwined: the casts of characters overlap, and
it was the sworn testimony of Lewinsky and Clinton in the
Jones case that spawned the allegations of perjury, suborning
perjury and obstruction of justice.
Many legal experts say Starr's criminal investigation
is not affected by the dismissal of Jones' civil
case, since the alleged conduct of Clinton and his associates
would be illegal even though the underlying case has gone
Some who have worked for the president, though, contend that
while Starr can proceed, his job now has become much more
"If Ken Starr is going to send a report to the House of
Representatives, they now have to take up that report with
the full understanding that it's all been wrapped up and
lashed to the Jones litigation, which a federal district
court judge, a Republican appointee by the way, has now said
it was factually unfounded," said former White House counsel
Ginsburg and Lewinsky
Former Clinton adviser David Gergen agreed. "It is going to
be incumbent on him [Starr] to reveal evidence that shows a pattern
of effort by people close to the president of by the
president himself to try to stop individuals from testifying
in legal forums, in other words, to show a pattern of
obstruction," he said.
CNN's Carl Rochelle, Bob Franken and Michael McMannus contributed to this report.