A day ahead of Linda Tripp's grand jury appearance, the independent prosecutor argued he also must have full testimony from presidential lawyer Bruce Lindsey. The White House said President Clinton was entitled to confidential advice in "a run-up to possible impeachment."
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But Neil Eggleston, representing the White House, retorted that Starr's grand jury demands stretch to "the boundaries of imagination."
Eggleston argued that Lindsey was entitled to refuse to testify about his conversations with the president a claim rejected earlier by a lower court.
Starr is investigating whether President Clinton lied about his relationship with Lewinsky and urged her to do so. Starr could turn over his findings to the House of Representatives, the body with the power to impeach a president, which is what led to Eggleston's comment on possible impeachment. Click here for an explanation of the impeachment process by CBS News Legal Correspondent Kristin Jeannette-Meyers.
The exchange occurred Monday in the courthouse where Tripp is scheduled to make a long-awaited appearance on Tuesday before the grand jury.
A former White House and Pentagon worker, she made 20 hours of tape recordings that are at the heart of the Starr investigation.
"Linda Tripp...believes the public will have a better understanding of the events that led to this investigation when all of the facts are revealed," said her lawyers, Anthony Zaccagnini and Joe Murtha.
New York book agent Lucianne Goldberg, a friend of Tripp, said she expected her to be in the witness chair for two or three days this week, answering questions about what led to her taping of Lewinsky discussing her relations with the president.
Goldberg said she had received a message from her friend that "she was in great shape and ready to go and was finally telling her story after listening to everybody else who has told her story."
In the past, Goldberg has said she urged Tripp to tape Lewinsky after the president's lawyer cast doubt on Tripp's credibility on another matter.
In court on Monday, questioning by one of the judges suggested that Starr wants to question Lindsey about a wide array of conversations with the president, including discussions that predate the Lewinsky investigation.
"What a grand jur regards as 'relevant' extends to the boundaries of imagination," replied Eggleston, who is representing the White House in the court battle.
The White House is appealing U.S. District Judge Norma Holloway Johnson's order that Lindsey answer 14 categories of questions.
Justice Department attorney Douglas Letter urged the appeals court to return the case to the judge for further consideration, saying evidence should be surrendered to the grand jury if deemed "essential to...justice."
"This is the first time ever that a president has asserted attorney-client privilege in response to a grand jury subpoena," said U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Raymond Randolph, who was appointed to the court by President Bush. The other two members of the panel are Clinton appointees, Judith Rogers and David Tatel. Click here for an explanation of attorney-client privilege by CBS News Legal Correspondent Kristin Jeannette-Meyers.
"What you are asking for is something far beyond" the confidentiality that clients of government lawyers enjoy in many states and in civil cases, Rogers told Eggleston.
Randolph cautioned Eggleston not to assume Starr's interest in Lindsey is on matters after mid-January, when the Lewinsky criminal inquiry began. Starr has detailed in a secret court filing what he wants to question Lindsey about.
Is it proper for White House lawyers to provide advice to the president on the Paula Jones case and the Lewinsky investigation? Randolph asked Starr.
"We do not take a position" whether that is a misuse of government funds, replied Starr.
But the prosecutor said his investigation is entitled to know of relevant information when the White House counsel's office tries to learn details about Starr's grand jury investigation, debriefs witnesses and speaks to private lawyers.
Eggleston said that Lindsey was asked in meetings with the president and private attorneys about asserting privileges. The president should not be deprived of confidential advice, Eggleston said.
The confidentiality of Mr. Clinton's one-on-one discussions with his private Whitewater lawyers are protected by attorney-client privilege and "we ask for nothing more or less" than that, said Eggleston.
"To say that a government attorney is in the same position is not quite right," said Randolph.
Tatel focused on the difficult situation the president is in when he cannot seek advice from his own White House lawyers out of concern discussions might be disclosed to a grand jury. Tatel pointed out that Iran-Contra prosecutors did not press a request for an interview when attorney-client privilege was invoked toward the end of that investigation.
Written by Pete Yost
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