THE MEANING OF WORDS:

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Three top White House figures testified before the Senate Whitewater committee today. Under intense questioning by committee chairman Alfonse D'Amato, former White House attorney William Kennedy asserted that his notes of a 1993 Whitewater meeting, while cryptic, were innocuous. The phrase "Vacuum, Rose Law files" was not "an integrated phrase," Kennedy told the committee. Instead, the words referred not to a plan to remove (i.e. vacuum) files from the firm, but to a lack of Whitewater information at the Rose firm where Hillary Clinton formerly was a partner. Another phrase of particular interest to investigators, "Documents -- never know go out," according to Kennedy described the confusion among Clinton aides over just how Whitewater files were transported from the Rose firm to a nearby Clinton campaign office. Hillary Clinton had requested the files be moved, Kennedy recalled, but "no one knew how the documents had gone out from Rose to the campaign." The lead Democrat on the panel, Maryland Sen. Paul Sarbanes quickly pointed out it was within Mrs. Clinton's right to ask for the documents. An agitated D'Amato was visibly unsatisfied with Kennedy's interpretations, but despite repeated prodding was unable to elicit any discrepancies. The former White House attorney's notes became highly controversial last month when the Clintons initially refused to turn them over to Senate Whitewater Committee, then did so after the committee voted to enforce its subpoena in court.