This Time, Clinton Plays Along

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WASHINGTON: Justice officials investigating the Clinton/Gore '96 reelection drive -- and the possible misuse of soft money for issue advocacy ads -- are finding Bill Clinton a voluble target. TIME Justice Department correspondent Elaine Shannon says that Clinton's guilt or innocence still depends largely on intent, and that means Clinton's best tack is cooperation early and often -- starting with a nonconfrontational interview Monday with Reno's investigators.

"Clinton obviously wants to avoid another independent counsel -- if he were to evade interviews, he'd just be increasing the likelihood that Reno would appoint one." And how great is that likelihood? With a month still left on the 90-day clock Reno started on September 8, Shannon says even the attorney general doesn't know yet. "She has a history of going down to the wire." But with Republican appetites for scandal considerably curbed of late, Clinton knows that this time around, with these investigators, ignorance of the law could well be all the excuse he needs.