Clinton considers his fate as Congress votes for inquiry

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BILL CLINTON conceded last night that the fate of his presidency was out of his hands after a House of Representatives vote ordered an impeachment inquiry. Approved by a majority of 82, it is the third in US history and the second this century. It will open when Congress reconvenes after next month's mid-term elections.

Mr Clinton said he hoped it would be just and not too protracted. "I hope we can move forward in ... a way that is fair, that is constitutional and that is timely." But he recognised that "It's not in my hands; it's in the hands of Congress and the people of this country, ultimately in the hands of God. There is nothing I can do."

Meanwhile, Monica Lewinsky, the source of much of the Presidents troubles, may be about to sell her story to Rupert Murdoch for $3m (pounds 1.8m).

Sources at his Fox television network in the US confirmed that talks were under way for a multi-media kiss-and-tell deal to include a live television interview and a book for HarperCollins.

Such a deal would also give Mr Murdoch foreign rights to Ms Lewinsky's story. He could show the interview on outlets including BSkyB in Britain, and run excerpts from the book in his publications, presumably including The Sun and The Times.

The one consolation for the White House was the relatively few Democrats who voted for the inquiry. Forecasts that many Democrats would defect to the Republican side proved unfounded, as only 31 of the 206 House Democrats crossed the floor.

The vote endorsed Monday's decision by the House Judiciary Committee that evidence of wrongdoing - lying and obstruction - presented by the independent prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, warranted further investigation.

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