The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App

Another Independent Counsel?

For the first time, FBI Director Louis Freeh publicly included President Clinton and Vice President Gore Tuesday in the list of those who may have violated "criminal law" In 1996 fund raising.

CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones reports that in sworn testimony before a house investigating committee, Freeh said there is "a core group" that in his view is "indisputably covered" under the independent counsel law. Under questioning, Freeh became more specific.

Republican Congressman Dan Burton asked "I don't know if you're going to want to answer this, but does that include the president and vice president?" Freeh answered "yes sir."

Freeh and Charles Labella, who is leaving as head of the Justice Department fundraising investigation, have both written memos to Attorney General Janet Reno urging her to turn the investigation over to an independent counsel.

Republicans want copies of Freeh and Labella's reports, but Labella urged chairman Dan Burton to drop his demands for the internal memo.

"I can't see a set of circumstances under which this report should see the light of day," said Labella.

Janet Reno held her own news conference today and attacked Chairman Burton. Burton told her Friday he would not fight for the memos if she would just appoint an independent counsel.

"If I give in to that suggestion, then I risk Congress turning all decisions to prosecute into a political football," said Reno. "That is simply wrong."

Reno is promising a decision on the independent counsel question in three weeks. While Burton is threatening her with contempt of congress, the Republican chairmen of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees have agreed to give Reno the extra time.

Reported by Phil Jones
©1998, CBS Worldwide Inc., All Rights Reserved