President Buoyed by Opinion Polls; Clinton May Seek Deal to Avoid Impeachment
President Bill Clinton, buoyed by a favourable opinion poll, may now seek a deal with Congress to avoid impeachment proceedings.
In an effort to slow the impeachment train on Capitol Hill, White House aides are contacting congressional Democrats, hoping to persuade them to speak out in favour of a presidential punishment which falls short of impeachment.
Senate Majority Leader Mr Trent Lott said yesterday that President Clinton should go to Capitol Hill and answer questions, but queried whether it would change anything.
"Any time the president comes forward and comes clean in a formal setting it would probably be a positive development," said Mr Lott.
The problem, he said, is what happens after that.
"The whole thing is demeaning for the country," Mr Lott said, blaming President Clinton for allowing the controversy to drag on so long.
"It's just sad. I don't know of any other way to describe it."
Struggling to digest a historic but wrenching avalanche of testimony, the people who now hold President Clinton's future in their hands say he may have gained some sympathy with the television airing of his grand jury testimony.
But while no one says the nationally televised spectacle severely damaged President Clinton, neither do lawmakers suggest his troubles will go away.
One Democratic senator says he is absorbing details under the assumption he will sit as juror in an impeachment trial.
"As a member of the US Senate, I'm a potential juror in this case," said Senator Mr Robert Torricelli, for years one of Clinton's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill. "Whatever affections I've held for Bill Clinton are entirely eclipsed by my sense of responsibility."
President Clinton's standing rose slightly in one public opinion poll taken after the videotape of his testimony was released, and fewer people thought he should be impeached. …