White House Supports News Media's Request
Clinton's lawyers want open access to executive privilege hearings
By John King/CNN
WASHINGTON (April 1) -- Lawyers for President Bill Clinton are planning to support news media efforts to open federal court hearings into the administration's invocation of executive privilege in the Monica Lewinsky investigation, CNN has learned.
Two sources familiar with the White House legal strategy tell CNN Clinton's lawyers would file a motion on Wednesday.
The White House has still not publicly confirmed that it has invoked
executive privilege. But sources tell CNN that White House lawyers are
asserting Independent Counsel Ken Starr cannot force top White House aides to testify about their strategy discussions with the president and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.
A brief filed by the White House makes the case a president must have
the ability to have candid, confidential conversations with top advisers. It also makes the case that even discussions of a highly personal nature like those involving the president's relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, are "privileged" and considered official business because of the likelihood anything being investigation by the independent counsel would ultimately be the subject of congressional hearings.
The sources say it is unclear whether Judge Norma Holloway Johnson will open the hearings. But one said that by supporting media efforts to open the proceedings, it would be harder for journalists and critics to make the case that the White House has something to hide.
Starr's grand jury is looking into reports that Clinton had a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, a former White House intern, and encouraged her to lie about it under oath. Clinton has denied both accusations.