Clinton repeats denials to House

PRESIDENT CLINTON yesterday answered the 81 questions put to him by the House of Representatives judiciary committee four weeks ago, acknowledging that his relationship with the White House trainee, Monica Lewinsky, was wrong, but insisting - again - that he committed nothing that was either criminal or impeachable. The immediate response of legal specialists, however, was that the committee, which has a Republican majority, would find the answers inadequate.

Mr Clinton denied that he had committed perjury, obstructed the course of justice or abused his power. Occasionally, however, he adopted a slightly more apologetic tone than in earlier legal communications.He said: "For me, this long ago ceased to be primarily a legal or political issue and became instead a painful personal one."

He admitted that he "misled"' his advisers and the public about Ms Lewinsky, but said he had "repeatedly apologised" since.

He also clarified that he believed a "sexual relationship" meant sexual intercourse. Mr Clinton and Ms Lewinsky denied a sexual relationship, but subsequently admitted that Ms Lewinsky had performed oral sex on the President.

Mr Clinton's written answers were sent to the judiciary committee on Capitol Hill as he returned from Camp David, where he had spent the Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends.

The dispatch had been delayed from Wednesday, and the committee chairman, Henry Hyde, had threatened Mr Clinton with a subpoena if the answers were not received by Monday. If the committee deems Mr Clinton's replies unsatisfactory, it is possible that he could be called to testify in person.