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Impeach Hearing Has One Starr

The House Judiciary Committee's impeachment inquiry is being speeded up and scaled way back. Independent Counsel Ken Starr is the only major witness.

CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer reports that Committee chairman Henry Hyde hopes to wrap up the impeachment matter by the end of the year.

But the turmoil among Republicans over the election has caused many Democrats and Republicans to say the chances of impeachment now appear more remote.

Hyde made his announcement at a Chicago news conference.
"The committee will invite Judge Starr to appear in public session on Nov. 19. Judge Starr led the investigation, and we believe his testimony will be helpful to the committee," Hyde said.

Welcome news for the White House: Monica Lewinsky, Linda Tripp, Vernon Jordan, and all the others we came to know during this saga will not be called before the committee.

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"I don't think we need to parade a lot of witnesses to repeat what they've already said under oath, that is contained in a transcript of a grand jury or a deposition," Hyde said.

But he added one catch: to resolve the case quickly will require White House cooperation.

"I am sending a letter to the president, asking him to admit or deny certain facts that appear to be established by the record before us now," he said.

CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley reports that the president is confronted by 81 questions in the Judiciary Committee letter, and the committee is asking Mr. Clinton to answer under penalty of perjury.

Each question asks Mr. Clinton to affirm or deny specific facts in the investigation. On Thursday, the White House said it wanted to cooperate, but in a meeting of Democratic leaders Thursday morning, Mr. Clinton was noncommittal about the strategy he will pursue.

"I want these hearings to be constitutional, fair, and expeditious. And at the appropriate time in the appropriate way, we will say whatever we intend to say," Mr. Clinton said.

The letter arrived at the White House Thursday afternoon. The questions go to the heart of allegations of perjury and obstruction of justice.

One asks: "Do you admit or deny you gave false and misleading testimony under oath in your deposition in the case of Jones v. Clinton?"

Another asks: "Do you admit or deny that you discussed with Monica Lewinsky that if either of you were questioned about your relationship, you would deny its existence?"

For his part, Mr. Clinton focused on the strategy that served Democrats well on Election Night.

"I think the important thing is that we'v got to go back to doing the people's business," Mr. Clinton said. "The American people sent us a message that would break the eardrums of anyone who was listening."

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