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White House Aide Slams Starr

A White House advisor said Sunday that Kenneth Starr's investigation of President Clinton was "not about seeking the truth."

"This is a partisan political pursuit of the president, and it's time for Ken Starr to start wrapping up pieces of his investigation and get to the bottom of it," said Senior White House advisor Rahm Emanuel on CBS' Face the Nation.

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Asked whether Starr should resign, Emanuel said: "Politically, that's ridiculous for us to say so."

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., who has been critical of Starr before, admitted on the same show that the prosecutor "went too far" in subpoenaing presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal.

Emanuel also denied reports of a White House strategy to go public with a story that Clinton had only a kissing relationship with former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, saying the reports were "inaccurate." But Emanuel would not address what the relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky actually was.

CBS News Correspondent Scott Pelley had reported that the White House was to have said that Lewinsky exaggerated her relationship with Clinton when talking to friends. The White House would say that the president did have a physical relationship with Lewinsky, but that it involved only kissing.

Meanwhile, Sunday's attacks on Starr grew more severe when Sen. Patrick Leahy declared that the prosecutor was trying to oust the president.

"... Starr has gotten totally out of control. He has this fixation of trying to topple the president of the United States," Leahy, D-Vt., said on NBC's Meet the Press.

But Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch came to Starr's defense, contending the prosecutor's reputation had been "sterling" before the latest bashings.

"There's no question that he has to sit there like a punching bag and take really unfair punches thrown at him," Hatch, R-Utah, said on Meet the Press.

In other developments:

  • Newsweek reports in its edition on newsstands Monday that Kathleen Willey, who has testified under oath of an alleged sexual encounter with Clinton, amended her deposition in the Paula Jones case Feb. 10.

    Newsweek said Willey initially testified she had talked only to her lawyers about her testimony. But her revised deposition reported that she talked to Democratic contributor Nathan Landow about it. Landow told the magazine he had seen or spoken to Willey a "half-dozen times," as recently as a few weeks ago.

  • Vernon Jordan, a prominent Washington lawyer and close friend of the president, is to go before Strr's grand jury Tuesday to testify on his role in the Lewinsky affair.
  • Newsweek has also reported that Starr will soon subpoena Vernon Jordan's chauffeur, Aaron Green, who drove Jordan and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky to meet her first lawyer.

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