Starr report `may be sent to Congress next month'

THE INDEPENDENT prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, could send his report to Congress as early as next month and limit its focus to President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the Washington Post reported yesterday. Such an accelerated timetable could embarrass Mr Clinton and throw into disarray the politics of the November congressional elections.

The Post report, quoting sources "familiar with the investigation" - which usually means lawyers from one camp or other - contributed to the rising political temperature in Washington in the countdown to 17 August, the day scheduled for President Clinton's testimony to the grand jury.

Other reports, citing unnamed officials, affirmed that Mr Clinton had finally rejected the widely canvassed "confession strategy" and would persist in his denials of a sexual relationship with Ms Lewinsky. His personal lawyer, David Kendall, spent time at the Washington courthouse on Tuesday, where he is believed to have viewed the videotape of Mr Clinton's testimony in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit.

The judge in the current case had agreed that he could view the seven- month-old tape, which includes questions and answers about Mr Clinton's relations with Ms Lewinsky. In the partial transcript of that testimony, made available by Ms Jones's lawyers in the hearing earlier this year, Mr Clinton expressly denied a sexual relationship with Ms Lewinsky.

Most of the other specific questions, however, about such matters as whether he was ever alone with Ms Lewinsky in the Oval Office, whether she gave him presents, whether he gave her presents, etc, he parried with a series of equivocal answers such as: "I don't recall."

While many have commented adversely on these lapses of Mr Clinton's otherwise "prodigious" memory, such open answers make it more difficult for the President to be caught in outright lies.

According to the Wall Street Journal this week, there was even some discussion during the questioning about the very precise definition of "sexual relations" set out by the judge in the Paula Jones case. If this is so, the Journal report hypothesised, Mr Clinton might be able to claim that he was confused about the definition and thought the question, "Did you have a sexual affair with Ms Lewinsky", embraced a more limited definition of "sexual relations", allowing his unequivocal "No" to stand.

Another report hazarded that Mr Clinton could decide to draw a distinction between his private life - which he would refuse to discuss with the grand jury - and strictly judicial matters, including the claims that he had perjured himself in his Paula Jones testimony and induced Ms Lewinsky to perjure herself as well.

The evidence given by Ms Lewinsky to the grand jury last week is not thought to support allegations that Mr Clinton forced or encouraged her to lie.

The proliferation of such reports in advance of Mr Clinton's testimony on Monday reflects the speculation in Washington about what he will say. It also reflects the concern of both sides to "spin" the facts to their advantage.

The Washington Post's prediction that Mr Starr's report will concentrate on the Lewinsky case, to the exclusion of the Whitewater land deal and possible illegalities at the White House, for instance, conflicts with recent reports that Mr Starr's investigation will present a devastating catalogue of presidential misdeeds.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'