Clinton Testimony: Truth, Consequences and Lewinsky

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WASHINGTON: For the first time since she exploded onto the political stage in January, Monica Lewinsky met face-to-face with Ken Starr's prosecutors Monday. Although no details leaked out, the timing was important -- just when the President's lawyers were hammering out the details of how and when their boss would appear before the grand jury, along comes Monica. "That's good scare tactics," says TIME Washington correspondent Jef McAllister. "Starr will want to put Monica on the stand first, to have as many specifics as possible to catch the President."

Special Report He won't need to hurry. In theory, Clinton could be sitting in front of a grand jury at the federal courthouse Tuesday morning with no attorney and only a Secret Service retinue for company. But in practice, the President's lawyer and stonewalling supremo, David Kendall, looks set to keep Starr's subpoena at bay a little while longer. As one Kendall friend told TIME: "He knows how to fight trench warfare, and he's good at it."

While refusing to testify is hardly an option if Clinton wants to keep House Democrats in his corner, the President can reasonably expect to hold out for a while -- taking advantage of a momentary lapse of consensus in the GOP. Sunday saw Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate Judiciary chair, fresh from battle with Bill Gates, warning darkly that Congress could be entertaining the Clinton matter soon if the commander in chief turns down the chance to testify. But as Hatch's fellow committee member and GOP luminary Arlen Specter told CNN, "I rechecked the Constitution. I do not believe ignoring a subpoena would be grounds for impeachment." We'll know soon enough.