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Calm Before The Storm?

Following President Clinton's appearance before a criminal grand jury and televised admission of a previously denied affair with Monica Lewinsky, the president, his wife, Hillary, and daughter Chelsea, left Washington Tuesday on a planned vacation.

Meanwhile, Monica Lewinsky has reportedly been called back to provide more testimony for Ken Starr's grand jury Thursday.

The first family departed the White House at 3:30 p.m. EDT for Martha's Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts. The nation meanwhile continued to catch its breath, after Mr. Clinton's told Americans Monday night: "I did have a relationship with Lewinsky that was not appropriate."

Click here for the full text of President Clinton's speech.
After more than four hours of testimony before independent counsel Starr's grand jury, Mr. Clinton said late Monday that he misled his wife and others about his relationship with Lewinsky out of a desire to protect himself from embarrassment and to shield his family.

A spokeswoman for Mrs. Clinton said Tuesday that the first lady is "committed to her marriage" and learned of the nature of her husband's testimony in the Lewinsky case over the weekend.

In Monday's speech, the president countered the investigation's claim that he may have obstructed justice and attacked Starr's investigation as out of control and politically inspired.

"The independent counsel investigation moved on to my staff and friends, then into my private life," the president said. "And now the investigation itself is under investigation. This has gone on too long, has cost too much, and hurt too many innocent people."

To Tell The Truth
JAN. 26
"I did not have sexual relations with that woman."
AUG. 17
"Indeed, I did have a relaionship with Ms. Lewinsky."

Except for an expression of regret, Mr. Clinton made no real apology for defending the lie over the past six months. He gave no indication that he would ever have talked if the independent counsel had not put him in jeopardy of impeachment by Congress. The question now is how forgiving the nation and the Congress will be.

For the most part, lawmakers had little to say about Mr. Clinton's admission. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., urged a cautious approach. "I think that everyone would be best served if they waited for Judge Starr's report and found out what all the facts were," he said.

Many Democrats who had stood by the president as this case has unfolded expressed their disappointment over the admission, but continued to call for an end to Starr's investigation. "There is a country to run," said Sen. Tom Daschle, D-S.D.

One Democratic representative did, however, call for the president's impeachment. Rep. Paul McHale of Pennsylvania said either a resignation or impeachment was in order, and that the evidence shows Mr. Clinton engaged in "a morally repugnant relationship," lied under oath, and probably used government resources to encourage Lewinsky's silence.

CBS News Correspondent Bill Plante reports.

But a CBS News/New York Times poll taken after Monday's speech tells a different story. Fifty-eight percent of those who had heard the speech said they were satisfied with the president's statement. And the majority of those polled—63 percent—said that the Lewinsky investigation should now be dropped. [Click here for the latest CBS News/New York Times poll.]

What did YOU think of the speech? Take our poll.

Besides Lewinsky's anticipated return to the grand jury, other witnesses are scheduled to testify. Former Clinton adviser Dick Morris testified before the grand jury on Tuesday, and presidential adviser Bruce Lindsey is expected to testify sometime before the panel finishes its work.

At some point, Starr has to file a report with the three-judge panel that appointed him. Starr is also expected to file a report with Congress.

The House Judiciary Committee already has made plans for that report. The House may change its rules and narrow access to the document because of the sensitve nature of the evidence.

After reviewing the report, lawmakers will decide whether to begin impeachment proceedings.

However, Monday's presidential testimony is believed to have covered much more than Lewinsky's relationship with Mr. Clinton. Other questioning was expected to include:

  • Did the president lie when he denied Paula Jones claim that he pressured her for sex in a Little Rock hotel?
  • Did he conspire to cover up an incident in which Kathleen Willie claims Mr. Clinton forced himself on her in the Oval Office suite?
  • Did the president agree with Lewinsky to deny their affair under oath?
  • Did he ask her to get rid of evidence that was under subpoena?
The last time Mr. Clinton swore an oath was in the Jones deposition in which he said, "I have never had sexual relations with Monica Lewinsky. I have never had an affair with her."

His lawyers argue that wasn't perjury because Mr. Clinton does not believe his Oval Office liaisons with Lewinsky fit a technical definition of "affair". However, Mr. Clinton's political advisers fear they have no way to explain his repeated public denials.

©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report

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