Clinton: Nowhere to Hyde

  • Share
  • Read Later
WASHINGTON: There's no response yet from the White House to Henry Hyde's exhaustive list of 81 Lewinsky questions. "At the appropriate time, in the appropriate way, we will say whatever we intend to say" was all President Clinton offered reporters in reaction to the letter Hyde sent Thursday. However, it's not as if he didn't know in advance that the Judiciary chair would be requiring a whole bunch of answers as the price for a speedy impeachment inquiry. And the longer some of the queries go unanswered, the worse it looks for the White House -- a fact which was, no doubt, at the back of the minds of the GOP legal team that framed them. For example, question one: "Do you admit or deny that you are the chief law enforcement officer of the United States of America?"

Special Report On the other hand, Hyde's list could easily be spun as a highly partisan attempt to embarrass the President, if not a verbal witch hunt. As aides may point out, Clinton has already answered many of the questions in his last two depositions. Some of them go beyond the scope of Starr’s report -- to ask about White House gumshoe Terry Lezner, for example. The list is highly repetitious -- some might say petty -- and contains mistakes that would shame a county lawyer. "Do you admit or deny that on or about Dec. 28, 1998 …" begins one query. Nevertheless, it would be hard to snub it altogether -- since Clinton has promised to cooperate fully with the House inquiry, the White House needs to show at least some goodwill. Looks like another busy weekend for the President’s attorneys.