Ken Starr's New Song: California, Here I Come

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Pepperdine must have called back. Two years and one impeachment after he quit the first time, Ken Starrís aides say the big guy is thinking about hanging up his deerstalker and washing his hands of the Whitewater/Lewinsky/Filegate/Travelgate/Fostergate quagmire once and for all. What nobody seems to know is whether heíll finish his business first. "He's never said to us, ĎIím leaving,í" a Justice Department official told the Associated Press, but the official did say that Starrís aides were asking about whether Justice, after all this time on the sidelines, would be interested in taking over an unfinished case (it isnít). And ABC News reported Tuesday that Starr would simply anoint a new leader ó and in fact has three successors in mind already.

That would require the acquiescence of the three-judge panel that appointed Starr five years ago, when the nation was young and innocent; luckily for him, they seem to be amenable. The panel filed a 2-to-1 majority decision to keep the investigation going, in light of Starr's assurances that his office's work continues, and that it had been "unusually productive," yielding 24 indictments, 16 convictions and the impeachment of Clinton. If Starr gets his successor, the job may not last long anyway ó a Starr spokesman confirmed that the team has already begun writing their ominous (but indictment-free) final report, which Starr says will be out "as soon as is practicable," hopefully by November 2000 (watch out, Hillary). One judge (unsurprisingly, the Carter appointee, not the Nixon or Reagan ones) didnít want to wait. "An endless investigation, which the passivity of the majority invites," wrote Appellate Judge Richard D. Cudahy, "can serve no possible goal of justice and imposes needless burdens on the taxpayers." Now he tells us.