Clinton Won't Take Direct Route on 81 Questions: Answers to Be `Long,' `Legalistic'
Price, Joyce Howard, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
President Clinton's answers to 81 questions posed by the House Judiciary Committee will contain no simple admissions or denials, according to White House aides involved in preparing the response.
Instead, Mr. Clinton's answers to the questions - all of which begin "Do you admit or deny . . ." - will be long and legalistic, one source said.
The White House said yesterday it plans to provide the responses to the committee today.
"We do expect to respond to all the questions," said James Kennedy, spokesman for the White House special counsel's office. "My own hope is that they will be turned over by some time in the midafternoon."
The White House promise comes amid reports that senior staffers for Rep. Henry J. Hyde, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, have begun to draw up three articles of impeachment against Mr. Clinton. The articles being considered would accuse Mr. Clinton of perjury, obstruction of justice, witness tampering and abuse of power, the New York Times said yesterday.
The newspaper did not say how the charges would be grouped in the articles of impeachment.
The committee hopes to convene the week of Dec. 7 to debate articles of impeachment. In a letter sent Wednesday, Mr. Hyde told Mr. Clinton he would set aside a day, as early as Dec. 8, for Mr. Clinton or his attorney to present their side of the case.
In the same letter, Mr. Hyde said he would subpoena Mr. Clinton to get the answers to the 81 questions, which cover a wide variety of topics, most related to incidents reported in a 453-page referral by independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr.
Several questions ask Mr. Clinton if he gave "false and misleading testimony under oath" and publicly, as in his often-replayed proclamation on national television Jan. 26 that he "never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Other questions require answers that would contradict sworn testimony or the president's insistence that he did not recall certain information or events.
When Mr. Hyde sent the questions to the president Nov. 5, he warned that anything short of true answers could lead to a new impeachment charge. But the Illinois Republican also unexpectedly offered Mr. Clinton limited immunity from future use of the answers before federal grand juries and courts.
The committee has been working toward completing the impeachment inquiry by the end of the year. On Monday, the panel took sworn testimony from Daniel Gecker, the attorney for Kathleen E. Willey, a former White House volunteer who says Mr. Clinton made crude sexual advances toward her in his office.
Next week, likely on Monday, the panel will depose Democratic donor Nathan Landow, a friend of Mrs. Willey's. Later in the week, depositions will be taken from attorney Robert S. Bennett, who represented Mr. Clinton in the Paula Jones sexual misconduct case; and White House aide Bruce Lindsey, a longtime Clinton friend and confidant. …