Negotiations Underway For Clinton's Testimony
Starr's deputies target alleged presidential perjury
WASHINGTON (July 24) -- In a potential breakthrough in the six-month Monica Lewinsky investigation, President Bill Clinton's lawyer is in negotiations with Independent Counsel Ken Starr to strike an arrangement for the president to provide grand jury testimony.
After rebuffing repeated previous requests from the independent counsel's office to testify, sources tell CNN that Clinton's attorney, David Kendall, has been talking with Starr's staff in the past day.
One source said Kendall is trying to work out a way that the "grand jury gets the testimony that it needs."
In his afternoon briefing with reporters, White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry repeated the party line. "I can tell you only what I've been told by the counsel's office -- that we anticipate that, as has been true on every previous occasion, Mr. Kendall will work with Mr. Starr's office to try to ensure that the grand jury gets the information it needs," McCurry said.
The agreement would avoid a constitutional crisis that could develop if Starr attempted to subpoena the president to the grand jury.
The White House refused to say whether the president has yet received a subpoena. "I don't have any information one way or another on whether the president has received a subpoena," McCurry said.
It is expected Clinton's testimony would be videotaped or taken down by a court reporter at the White House as soon as next week. The tape or transcript would then be presented to the grand jury.
Kendall has been the leading voice arguing that Clinton should not make the historical first of a president appearing before a grand jury.
Starr is investigating charges Clinton had a sexual relationship with former White Hosue intern Lewinsky and asked her to lie about it. The president has denied both allegations.
Clinton is leaving behind the question of his testimony, leaving Washington Friday for a weekend at Camp David.
Source: Starr's deputies target alleged perjury
Meanwhile, a source familiar with Secret Service agent Larry Cockell's testimony earlier this week says prosecutors' questions were tightly focused on Lewinsky and on possible presidential perjury.
Starr deputies are seeking corroborating accounts that contradict Clinton's testimony about his relationship with Lewinsky.
Also giving testimony this week were several uninformed Secret Service officers who guard the White House grounds and corridors around the Oval Office.
Several sources say several of the uniformed officers have testified to days when Lewinsky visited the Oval Office and the suite of offices around the Oval Office, sometime during her official duties as an intern or legislative aide. They said the visits occurred sometimes after hours, in the evening or on weekends.
Some of that could contradict Clinton's sworn testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment case that he did not recall being alone with Lewinsky except on brief occasions when she stopped by to drop off papers.
One account is particularly drawing controversy. A government official familiar with grand jury testimony says one uniformed officer says that on a weekend day in early 1996, a phone call came through to the president, but the president did not pick up the call.
White House staffer Harold Ickes, seen walking in a hallway, was asked by the officer to go into the Oval Office to locate the president. That officer said Lewinsky was in the study off the Oval Office with the president.
Ickes adamantly denies the event took place. In a telephone interview with CNN, he said it was categorically untrue and never happened.
More agents and officers are scheduled to testify in the days ahead.
Gephardt says Clinton should testify
In a related development, House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt said in an interview on CNN's "Evans, Novak, Hunt & Shields" program that Clinton should testify before the grand jury if subpoenaed.
"I would hope that he would," Gephardt said. "I would think that he would. He has supplied more information than any president at any time in our history. He's been more investigated than any president in the -- probably all the presidents put together -- in the history of the country."
The full interview with Gephardt will appear at 5:30 p.m. EDT Saturday.
CNN's John King contributed to this report.