Clinton 'Looking Forward' To Testimony
Grand jury will watch live, submit questions
President Clinton spoke in the Rose|
WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 31) -- President Bill Clinton
said Friday he will testify "completely and truthfully" when he is questioned by Independent Counsel Ken Starr about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.
CNN has learned new details about the procedures under which Clinton will give testimony on August 17.
In addition to being videotaped, the questioning of Clinton at the White House also will be broadcast live via closed-circuit television to Starr's grand jury, which will be assembled at a separate location.
Though grand jurors won't be able to ask questions of the president directly -- as they would if he were appearing before them in person -- they will be able to put questions to Clinton through prosecutors.
Meanwhile, a source familiar with the Starr investigation tells CNN that a definable stain is visible on the blue cocktail dress given to investigators by Lewinsky.
The source also says there is enough stain available for enough for further testing, but it remains unclear what the substance is. Starr's prosecutors are having the FBI test the dress, a key piece of evidence in the final weeks of an investigation into alleged presidential perjury
and obstruction of justice.
Speaking to reporters shouting questions after a Rose Garden announcement on the economy, Clinton offered a single comment.
"No one wants to get this matter behind us more than I do, except maybe all the rest of the American people," Clinton said in his first public comments about his upcoming testimony.
"I am looking forward to the opportunity in the next few days of testifying. I will do so completely and truthfully and I am anxious to do it," Clinton said. "But I hope you can understand why, in the interim, I can and should have no further comment on these matters."
Sources close to the president have suggested that Clinton does not intend to back down on his earlier statements about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky.
But depending on what Starr is able to find on the dress Lewinsky handed over to investigators, the president may find himself at odds with the physical evidence.
Sources familiar with the case say the dress will be tested
to see whether it contains any evidence that would corroborate
Lewinsky's account of a sexual relationship with the
president. Clinton denies that such a relationship occurred.
According to a source knowledgeable about the process, here is
what may happen next:
- Within 24 hours of initial testing, the FBI test should be able
to determine if the stain contains genetic material.
- It would take another 48 hours to determine if there is
enough genetic material to conduct a more complex DNA test
that could link the stain to a specific person.
- If the answer is yes, it still could take an additional one
to two weeks to determine whose DNA it might be. That would
require getting Clinton to provide a hair, saliva or blood
sample, either voluntarily or with a court order.
First dress test, then testimony
Sources who know the details of Starr's immunity agreement with Lewinsky say the former White House intern and employee turned over the dress to Starr's staff on Wednesday when she visited her lawyers' office.
But Lewinsky's lawyers and Starr issued a joint statement
Thursday denying they told reporters Lewinsky had provided
prosecutors with the stained dress.
Lewinsky and her lawyers spent additional time Thursday with
members of Starr's staff preparing for her upcoming grand
The dress, along with the pending testimony of Lewinsky, the
president and others, are likely the last matters in the
evidence phase of the Starr's Lewinsky investigation.
Then, Starr must decide what he should report to the House of Representatives about potentially impeachable offenses.
Grand jury continues to hear from other witnesses
On Thursday Starr's team continued to forge ahead at the federal courthouse in Washington. Using two grand juries, prosecutors questioned as many as seven Secret Service employees.
Lewinsky is expected to begin giving her testimony next week,
sources say. Her appearances are expected to last for
several days, while Clinton's videotaped testimony will be
completed in one day, Aug. 17.
The White House has until Monday to ask the Supreme Court to overturn an appeals court ruling, forcing Clinton confidant Bruce Lindsey to answer all of Starr's questions.
Last Monday a three-judge panel decided that since Lindsey was a government lawyer and not one of Clinton's private attorneys, attorney-client privilege did not shield him from answering questions before the grand jury about his conversations with the president.
If the Clinton team decides not to appeal, Lindsey could also find himself back before the grand jury in the near future.
Starr is investigating whether Lewinsky, 25, and Clinton lied in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against the president when they denied an affair and whether Clinton
asked Lewinsky to lie about it.
Also under investigation is whether the president and others
tried to obstruct the investigation.
Starr denies he was forced out of law firm
In another development, a spokesman for Starr tells CNN that the Whitewater special prosecutor has left the law firm of Kirkland and Ellis, at least temporarily.
"Being independent counsel has always been his top priority," the spokesman said. "He has taken an unpaid leave of absence until he finishes."
Asked about reports that Starr was forced out, the spokesman said "He was
not forced out. He requested it. He plans to rejoin the firm."
As Starr reaches the fourth anniversary of his appointment as independent
counsel, Starr has come under continued criticism from allies of the president for continuing his ties to Kirkland and Ellis.
Among the most prominent clients are tobacco companies involved in both
state and national lawsuits.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer and John King contributed to this report.