President Clinton yesterday averted a Supreme Court showdown with independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr over the president's claims of executive privilege in the Monica Lewinsky sex-and-lies grand jury probe by withdrawing the claim in a motion filed with the high court.
Mr. Clinton, through his lawyers, also asked the court - in a motion laced with comparisons to the Watergate scandal that forced President Nixon from office in 1974 - to reject a bid by Mr. Starr for an expedited hearing in the case, saying the independent counsel's office had offered "no reason, other than its own opinion" for a quick decision.
The move could further stall the Lewinsky investigation, making the challenge over executive privilege moot.
While the administration laid out its case in two complicated documents totaling 24 pages, White House Counsel Charles F.C. Ruff said it came down to allowing senior aide Sidney Blumenthal to …