Can the independent counsel do without the most crucial witness of all? Starr certainly seems to think he can do without Paula Jones: He asked a judge Thursday to stop evidence-gathering in her lawsuit, evidently because it was treading on his toes. Jones' attorneys were furious, and said they would appeal.
It's not like Starr couldn't use the help. His Whitewater prosecutors are still scrambling around for solid evidence. They've traveled as far as Portland, Ore., to serve teacher Andy Bleiler with a subpoena and grab those mysterious documents from his safety deposit box. Negotiations are under way with the Secret Service over how their agents can testify without breaking too much of their customary code of silence — a Gordian knot if ever there was one.
Which just goes to show the difference in this case between the reporting and the legal reality. After all, if newspaper exclusives were indictments, President Clinton would have resigned by now.