President Clinton Subpoenaed In Whitewater trial

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LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS: A federal district judge has ordered President Clinton subpoenaed to testify in the Whitewater trial of his former business partners James and Susan McDougal that starts March 4 in Little Rock. A White House source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press "we expect that ... discussions with Mrs. McDougal's lawyers will result in the President providing videotaped testimony." Senate Whitewater Committee Chairman Alfonse D'Amato called the subpoena order "An extraordinary turn of events, which underscores again the need to get all the facts." Requested by Jennifer Horan, an attorney for the McDougals, the subpoena is expected to be served at the White House on Tuesday. Horan maintains that only Clinton's testimony can clear Mrs. McDougal on the charges related to her receipt of a $300,000 loan from David Hale, a former Little Rock banker. TIME White House Correspondent James Carney reports: "Susan McDougal's lawyer wants Clinton to come in and testify to exonerate her, to say that he never pressured David Hale into giving her that $300,000 loan. But what they want to avoid at all costs is to have Clinton take the stand and be cross-examined by Kenneth Starr. If that would happen, Starr could ask him under oath anything related to the investigation. The wording of the order from U.S. District Judge George Howard, Jr. gives the President an opening to avoid live testimony. In any case, it's highly unlikely that you'd see the President flying down to Little Rock to testify in person." Having pursued a strategy during the past year of delaying disclosures about Whitewater as long as possible, Carney notes, Clinton is now in a squeeze play: "Here's this guy whose election chances keep looking better, and this Whitewater problem continues to nip at his heels." Clinton now needs to put the whole issue behind him as quickly as possible as the election season heats up, and time is running out.