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 TIME on politics Congressional Quarterly CNN/AllPolitics CNN/AllPolitics - Storypage, with TIME and Congressional Quarterly
Investigating The President

Congressional reaction muted

Sen. Hatch says report 'not good' for Clinton

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- In the wake of the release of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's report to Congress, members of both Houses have remained remarkably quiet as they pour over hundreds of pages of meticulously collected accounts of President Bill Clinton's efforts to hide his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

Sen. Orrin Hatch  

But members of Congress who have reacted publicly are very concerned by what they are reading in the 445-page report.

"What I have read so far is not good," said Sen. Orrin Hatch, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee Friday evening.

"As you read this ... some will try to make this just purely a sexual matter and they'll try to say this is purely a private matter," the Utah Republican commented. "But I don't see anything that I've read so far that indicates that Judge Starr is saying that he (Clinton) should be impeached because of a sexual relationship."

Two other Republicans, Rep. Charles Canady (R-Fla.) and Rep. Thomas Davis (R-Va.) described their reaction to the Starr report as "shock."

Rep. Charles Canady  

"It was disgusting, reading the graphic descriptions," said Davis. "It's not the way normal people act."

"This is very shocking," said Canady. "I think that the American people are going to have a hard time coming to grips with these matters."

Davis said all the facts were not in, but "if the facts set forth here are ultimately successful, this is devastating." He said the public will react more strongly to accounts of sex than to "the impeachable items here."

Canady said the reports indicate "a defilement of the office of the president and I think that is what most of the American people will conclude."

Rep. Tom Davis  

Davis said the report was "worse than we thought."

One congressional staffer told CNN that staffers were not prepared for material as graphic as Starr's report. Many members and staffers seem taken aback by the report, and few were commenting Friday afternoon to the news media on the subject.

The legal documentation by the independent counsel, which on first examination seems very thorough, seemed to be the main worry among Democrats in Congress who spoke to CNN.

CNN's Bob Franken contributed to this report


Friday September 11, 1998

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