WASHINGTON, D. C.: Senate Whitewater committe members were smelling strongarm tactics when they asked White House lawyer Jane Sherburne Thursday about newly discovered notes concerning the Whitewater investigation. Just what did deputy White House Chief of Staff Harold Ickes mean when he wondered whether White House aides should approach Arkansas state bank regulator Beverly Schafer to "make sure her story is OK?" Was the Clinton White House trying to influence the statements of a Whitewater witness, wondered Senator Orrin Hatch? Nothing of the sort, countered White House spokesman Mark Fabiani, commenting on the hearing later in the day. Fabiani said presidential aides were simply looking to have Schafer repeat comments she had made that were supportive of Mrs. Clinton's role in Whitewater. Ickes' comments came from the long subpoenaed and newly discovered files of former Clinton communications director Mark Gearan that turned up late Wednesday. And why had the notes been so hard to locate? Because Gearan had inadvertently taken them when he left to run the Peace Corps last September, explained Sherburne.