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Hyde threatens subpoena over questions to Clinton

President's responses expected Friday; Dems pose follow-up questions to Starr

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, November 25) -- House Judiciary Chairman Henry Hyde threatened Wednesday to subpoena President Bill Clinton to answer 81 questions the committee sent to the White House more than two weeks ago.

In a letter to Clinton, Hyde set a deadline of Monday, November 30, for the president to voluntarily submit his answers.

Impeachment

The White House has said previously the answers would be provided by Friday, November 27.

Impeachment hearings have reached "the critical stage," Hyde wrote. "Despite repeated requests for more than a month, the White House has yet to provide the Committee with any materials that tend to exonerate you.

"The failure to provide any exculpatory information, together with Mr. Kendall's failure to contest a single fact in the (Starr report) when questioning the Independent Counsel, lead to the conclusion that the White House does not dispute any of the factual evidence presented in the (Starr report) and supporting materials," Hyde wrote. David Kendall, Clinton's personal attorney, questioned Independent Counsel Ken Starr during a House hearing last week.

Hyde also set another deadline for the White House. If the president wants to make a presentation to the committee or suggest witnesses to call, the White House must tell Hyde by Tuesday, December 2.

"Assuming there are no further developments, I am prepared to schedule your presentation for as early as Tuesday, December 8," Hyde wrote.

The House Judiciary Committee is pondering Clinton's possible impeachment or censure in the Monica Lewinsky affair.

When Hyde sent the questions to Clinton, the Illinois Republican said it would help the committee complete its work if lawmakers knew what facts Clinton would stipulate were true. That would let lawmakers focus on what actually remains in dispute in the 11-month-old sex-and-perjury controversy.

But it remains unclear whether Clinton will provide detailed, responsive answers or merely refer the Judiciary Committee to his previous testimony in the Paula Jones case or his August 17 grand jury appearance. The answers could also refer to Clinton's rebuttal to Starr's report to Congress on the president's alleged misconduct. | Clinton rebuttal

Clinton has admitted to an improper relationship with Lewinsky, but denied he committed perjury or obstruction of justice trying to cover it up. Starr sent Congress a referral in September outlining 11 possible grounds for Clinton's impeachment.

On Tuesday, White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart declined to describe Clinton's responses. But Lockhart did say, "We are close to the end of this process."

The questions ask Clinton to admit or deny that he gave false and misleading statements under oath. Hyde also asked him about efforts to find Lewinsky a job in New York and about Clinton's discussions with presidential secretary Betty Currie about what she remembered about the events.

Hyde wants to finish the committee's work by year's end and his tentative schedule calls for the Judiciary Committee to debate articles of impeachment the week of December 7. If, as expected, the committee sends the matter forward on a party-line vote, the full House would vote during the week of December 14.

More questions for Starr

In a related development, Judiciary Committee Democrats wrote to Starr Wednesday asking 19 questions they said were follow-ups to his testimony before the committee last week.

The Democrats asked Starr when he first became aware that his ethics adviser, Sam Dash, planned to resign because of Starr's decision to testify in the impeachment inquiry.

The letter also asked Starr to provide a list of clients he has represented in his capacity as a private lawyer since taking the independent counsel post.

It also asks for details about the questioning of Lewinsky, including whether prosecutors discouraged her from getting legal counsel, and asks Starr whether his investigators had looked into the adoption of a child by a key witness in the case, Julie Hiatt Steele.

CNN's Jonathan Karl and John King contributed to this report.

Investigating the President

MORE STORIES:

Wednesday, November 25, 1998

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