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Investigating The President

White House lawyers prepare second rebuttal

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Sept. 12) -- White House lawyers and staff members overnight were preparing a second rebuttal to Independent Counsel Ken Starr's report of possible impeachable activities by President Bill Clinton.

Clinton's attorneys, David Kendall and Charles Ruff, Friday had released a 78-page "preliminary rebuttal" to Starr's report.

Kendall
Clinton attorney David Kendall  

Kendall's report, released less than a hour after the seals on the Starr's report were broken but before the potentially explosive document was distributed to the public, accuses the independent counsel of using his investigation to "embarrass the president and titillate the public."

The White House statement provides a point-by-point rebuttal to what sourced media reports have said would be contained in the Starr report. The second rebuttal will address the evidence and the case that was laid out in Starr's report to Congress. The White House plans to release the rebuttal at approximately noon EDT on Saturday.

"The president has acknowledged misleading his family, staff and the country about the nature of his relationship with Miss Lewinsky and he has apologized and asked for forgiveness," Clinton's rebuttal says.

"However, this personal failing does not constitute a criminal abuse of power," the president's attorneys wrote. "The OIC (Office of the Independent Counsel) report is left with nothing but the details of a private sexual relationship told in graphic details with the intent to embarrass."

The White House rebuttal also attempts to refutes several of Starr's expected allegations. The statement argues:

  • Oval Office conversations with Betty Currie, the president's secretary, about Monica Lewinsky do not constitute obstruction of justice because Clinton had no reason to believe Currie would be called as a witness.

  • The president did not abuse his power by letting the White House staff comment; if letting aides repeat a misleading statement is a crime, then any number of public figures would be guilty.

  • Clinton did not commit perjury.

Friday morning, during an emotional White House breakfast with religious leaders, Clinton said he planned to instruct his "lawyers to mount a vigorous defense using all available, appropriate arguments."

Clinton's legal team had been working around the clock to prepare the rebuttal, dubbed by some analysts a "prebuttal" because it hit the public before Starr's report.



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Friday September 11, 1998

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