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Clinton's abuse of power, according to Starr

By Charles Bierbauer/CNN

WASHINGTON (September 22) -- Most of President Bill Clinton's testimony that aired Monday focused on his relationship with Monica Lewinsky, but one of Independent Counsel Ken Starr's allegations against the president is that he committed an abuse of power by misleading key White House officials who would be testifying before the grand jury.

President Clinton denied an affair
with Monica Lewinsky to members of
his staff

The full grand jury testimony of Clinton's top aides has not been made public. This key to Starr's charge that the president tried to obstruct the investigation rests somewhere in the 17 boxes of documents still in the custody of the House Judiciary Committee.

But the committee could make all the remaining material public by September 28.

The president's aides may not have been eager to testify, but they trooped to the courthouse convinced he was telling them the truth.

Starr contends that was the president's purposeful deception.

"Do you recall denying any sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky to the following people: Harry Thomason, Erskine Bowles, Harold Ickes, Mr. (John) Podesta, Mr. (Sidney) Blumenthal, Mr. (Vernon) Jordan, Ms. Betty Currie?" Clinton was asked.

"I recall telling a number of those people that I didn't have an affair with Monica Lewinsky or didn't have sex with her," Clinton answered.

According to Ken Starr's report, the
president told Deputy Chief of Staff
John Podesta that he had not had sex
with Monica Lewinsky "in any way

Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta recalls an even more specific denial. According to Starr's report to Congress, Podesta testified the president told him "he had never had sex with her in any way whatsoever -- that they had not had oral sex."

In his taped grand jury testimony, the president did not recall saying that to Podesta.

"In the aftermath of this story breaking, and what was told about it, the next two days, next three days are just a blur to me," Clinton testified. "I don't remember to whom I talked, when I talked to them or what I said."

At one point, though, Clinton allowed he may have misled.

"I said things that were true. They may have been misleading, and if they were, I have to take responsibility for it, and I'm sorry," Clinton said.

To the independent counsel all this adds up to evidence the president used his loyal staff to slow down the grand jury process, knowing full well he had not told them the whole truth about Lewinsky.

Investigating the President


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