New Documents, New Threats

Republicans may be getting ready to expand the case against President Clinton.

According to Associated Press sources, the top G-O-P lawyer on the House Judiciary panel wants to add to the list of impeachment charges suggested by special counsel Kenneth Starr.

Starr listed eleven possible grounds for impeachment when he sent his report to Congress. The sources say the lawyer will suggest dropping one Starr count related to Clinton's claim of executive privilege. All this could happen when the House Judiciary Committee meets Monday.

Meanwhile, newly released volumes of Ken Starr's grand jury evidence were released midday Friday at the government printing office, reports CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer.

The 4,600 pages of material add new detail to the report that Starr sent to Congress in September.

Download the full report
or read excerpts online.
Much of the new detail was in the edited transcripts of Monica Lewinsky's telephone calls -- which were secretly recorded by her former friend Linda Tripp.

In the beginning, Lewinsky seemed determined not to reveal her affair with the President and she told Tripp, "if someone else did, I would deny, deny, deny."

But when prosecutors equipped Tripp to secretly record a conversation with the young woman at a Washington hotel, Lewinsky -- at Tripp's urging -- said she had told the President's people she wouldn't cover up the affair unless she got something in return.

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"I said 'look, you guys want me to sign something, I'm not signing it until I have something'," said Lewinsky.

Tripp had also urged Lewinsky to save the infamous dress stained with the President's DNA and seemed concerned she hadn't.

"You got rid of the one thing?" Asked Tripp.

"I gave it to my mom and I said to her 'you can throw it away, you can burn it'," answered Lewinsky.

At one point, Lewinsky said she was deathly afraid of the President's people, saying "for fear of my life, I would not cross these people for fear of my life."

Lewinsky and Tripp spent a lot of time talking about sex and it turns out Lewinsky shares the president's narrow definition of what it is, saying "having sex is having intercourse."

"Oh, you've been around him too long," replied Tripp.

The transcripts paint a picture of a yung woman under enormous pressure and torn about what to do.

When Lewinsky realizes Tripp may reveal the affair, she tells her at one point that if she'll keep it secret "I would be indebted to you for life. I would do anything. I would write you a check."

At another point the conversations turn downright wacky.

Lewinsky was worried that her telephone was tapped and asked Tripp if she heard "clicks on the line."

But Tripp reassured her, saying "oh, that's just my gum."

The White House was braced for the latest document release, and had already prepared a reaction Friday.

With the House Judiciary Committee preparing for a Monday vote on opening an impeachment inquiry, the president's defenders delivered an aggressive counterattack, accusing the independent counsel of deliberately holding back evidence favoring the president.

"We intend to submit a complete accounting of the pattern of evidentiary manipulation and misdirection employed by the independent counsel to the judiciary committee," said White House counsel Greg Craig.

CBS News White House Correspondent Bill Plante reports that the president's lawyers sent the House Judiciary Committee a 30-page brief arguing that:

  • The committee must define what an impeachable offense is before it votes to authorize an inquiry.
  • The conduct described in the Starr report does not constitute an impeachable offense.
  • That impeachment is not justified only for offenses against the state and not private wrongs.
The brief is an attempt by Mr. Clinton's attorneys to minimize -- as personal missteps -- the offenses Starr presents as impeachable: lying under oath - as well as to his staff and the American public about his affair with Lewinsky, and obstructing justice by helping her get a job to assure her silence.

The Starr report contends that once the president realized he was in trouble, he tried to manipulate those around him.

Among Friday's documents was more testimony from Mr. Clinton's personal secretary, Betty Currie, who tells investigators the president called late the night before the story broke and awakened her.

He asked Currie if she had heard the latest news about Lewinsky, and said "it was not good." Mr. Clinton told Currie her name would be mentioned, and asked "do you think you can reach Monica, and see what is happening?"

It is clear from the documents that Ms. Currie will be a central witness if the House goes forward with impeachment hearings.

The president is also likely to be asked to testify at those hearings. A senior administration official tells CBS News that Mr. Clinton may agree to do so, saying that the White House would seriously consider anything that would help bring this process to a conclusion.

Reported by Bob Schieffer and Bill Plante
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