Such lukewarm support for Starr represents the reaction from the Hill to the blow the Supreme Court dealt the independent counsel last week. Not to mention a more recent defeat on his Kramerbooks subpoena, where a federal judge ruled that Starr had no business demanding records of book purchases by Monica Lewinsky. With not even an interim report from Starr likely to surface before Election Day, and Clinton's poll numbers staying solid, the GOP is starting to tone down its rhetoric. "Stonewalling" is the current verb of choice when talking about the White House. But the I-word? Shhh!
WASHINGTON: Impeachment? That's a pretty strong word. And though Sen. Orrin Hatch bandied it around back when l'affaire Lewinsky broke, the Senate Judiciary chairman is now drawing back from the brink. "In all honesty," Hatch said Sunday on "Meet the Press," "I think it would be better for the country if it did work out well for the President." While Hatch said he'd be interested to see some of Ken Starr's literature, "he's going to have to have awfully strong facts in order for an impeachment trial to be justified."