WASHINGTON: Whatever its ultimate destination, the impeachment train showed no signs of slowing down Tuesday. The day after President Clinton's testimony
hit TV screens across the globe, hearings on the Hill still seem the most likely outcome. The grand jury tape made no decisive impact in the nation's living rooms -- an overnight poll from CNN, USA Today and Gallup suggests it may have even given Clinton's approval rating a small boost. But what matters more for impeachment purposes is how the tape played in Congress, where the reaction was predictably partisan."There's a picture here of evasion, and that's very troubling," said Rep. Charles Canady, a Republican on the House Judiciary Committee. Although he didn't think impeachment was warranted on the strength of the tape alone, Canady believed "there is a lot that points in the direction of such an inquiry."
Can Clinton slip out this one? There's some suggestion that the President's campaign of contrition may not be over; that one more mea culpa, before Congress, might do the trick. But White House aides say this could only occur as part of an agreement to censure the President, end Starr's investigation and derail impeachment proceedings -- the kind of deal, in other words, that Tom DeLay and other GOP leaders have already ruled out. The release of the tape, Lewinsky's testimony and other documents has had one effect, however. Not one Congressman is talking about obstruction of justice or witness tampering any more. It's all about perjury now -- and for that, at least, the President can be grateful.