Tempers flare as Clinton's tormentor turns up heat in sex case

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The Independent Online
THE investigation into Monica Lewinsky's relationship with President Bill Clinton moved up a gear yesterday as she gave evidence to the FBI, and key White House advisers were summoned to testify.

As the investigation draws slowly towards its climax, tempers are getting heated. The White House paints the investigation as a witch-hunt and complains about repeated leaks from investigators. Ms Lewinsky, 24, went to the FBI field office in Los Angeles to give samples of her handwriting and fingerprints. This is likely to be a step towards calling her to appear in front of the grand jury in Washington which will decide whether there is a case against the President for persuading her to lie about an alleged sexual relationship.

Her father said she was a pawn in a scheme to "get" the President and attacked Kenneth Starr, the Independent Counsel pursuing the investigation. "I would like the American people to know my daughter is a pawn ... This is unfair. It is totally unAmerican."

Ms Lewinsky was also accompanied by her lawyer, William Ginsburg, who has also savagely attacked Mr Starr in a magazine article. He implied there had been a sexual relationship between the two. "Congratulations, Mr Starr! As a result of your callous disregard for cherished constitutional rights, you may have succeeded in unmasking a sexual relationship between two consenting adults," he wrote. But he denied any such implication was intended.

Vernon Jordan, a lawyer and friend of the President, gave evidence for the third time to the grand jury yesterday. He helped Ms Lewinsky find a job after she left government service. Two other close White House advisers, Bruce Lindsey and Sidney Blumenthal, are also to give evidence after a court decided they were not covered by executive privilege.

The case against the President has been under preparation for months now, with little sign of any forward movement. But Mr Starr has scored a series of small-scale legal victories that have allowed him to move the case on inch by inch, in what is essentially an investigation that would precede any charges. Mr Clinton has not given evidence, despite being asked several times, reports said yesterday.

What is really at stake in this case is not the existence of a sexual relationship, but whether or not the President and his closest advisers connived at perjury - to get Ms Lewinsky to lie about her relations with Mr Clinton. Proving that will be a long and complicated business. Mr Starr's investigation has caused increasing unhappiness among some congressmen, because it is costing huge amounts of money. But at the same time it may be helpful for the Republicans to drag things out for as long and possible and leave the President under a cloud.

He wants things to be decided as soon as possible; but he is clearly unwilling to testify himself.

This means that what has already been a long and winding road that led from an alleged scandal over property - Whitewater - to Ms Lewinsky may have much further to go before there is any resolution. The evidence so far is that it is making little difference to the way the public sees the President: his opinion-poll ratings continue to top 60 per cent.