Monitor: US comment on the possibility of Clinton being indicted while still in office

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The Independent Culture
WASHINGTON'S POLITICAL class has become entirely overheated about a news story that independent counsel Ken Starr has concluded that a president may be indicted while still in office. Such a conclusion by Starr would seem to help the President's supporters - it helps them make the argument that, "If you think the President should be punished, here's how to do it without removing him from office: let the grand jury indict him and proceed from there." (It's not that simple. A District of Columbia jury is not likely to convict Clinton of anything less than cannibalism caught on tape.) The request to a federal judge by President Clinton's chief lawyer, David Kendall, to hold Starr in contempt of court for violating grand jury secrecy is a quite laughable PR stunt.

Boston Herald

AT THE moment, the authority for deciding Clinton's fate lies with the Senate. If it removes him, Starr will have an open field to prosecute. If the Senate chooses to leave the President in office, the legality of his conduct in the Monica Lewinsky scandal should be put aside until he has completed his term. If Starr has any sense of proportion, he will drop this idea.

Chicago Tribune

IT HAS always been understood that Clinton could face criminal charges once no longer President. But that is a different matter from raising the threat of indictment before he leaves office, with all that could mean to the functioning of government and foreign relations. The leak was no doubt meant to remind everyone of the formidable power Starr possesses. It is proof of how unwisely that power can be used. LA Times

APART FROM the fact that many constitutional scholars say a sitting president can't be indicted, the answer should be obvious: pursuing a criminal case against an implausibly popular president who has survived an impeachment trial would be an intolerable arrogation of power - a gesture of contempt not just for Clinton but for the people's will and for the designated jurors in the Senate.

Newsday

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