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Report: Lott Doubts Clinton

February 13, 1999

NEW YORK (AP) _ Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott says he’s not sure he can trust President Clinton and expressed doubt the president wants to reconcile with congressional Republicans, according to a published report.

Citing news reports that Clinton vowed to punish House prosecutors by working against them in the upcoming elections, Lott said, ``That doesn’t sound like reconciliation. That sounds like revenge and politics.″

Lott, R-Miss., who voted to remove Clinton from office, made his remarks to a small group of reporters shortly after Clinton was acquitted of perjury and obstruction charges by the Senate on Friday.

The remarks were reported Saturday in The New York Times. Lott’s spokesman, John Czwartacki, said the senator was not available Saturday.

According to the Times, Lott had stinging criticism of Clinton and said he no longer was sure he could trust the president.

``Here’s a guy who had all these things in his background and he did it again, in the neighborhood of the Oval Office,″ Lott said, referring past allegations of infidelity and Clinton’s sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky.

When asked if he predicted further misconduct, Lott was quoted as saying, ``It’s not a prediction. It’s a fear.″

At another point, he said, ``I fear that this sordid saga is not over.″

The sharp remarks raised questions about whether Republicans and Democrats can overcome the partisan bitterness produced by the impeachment, and whether Lott will be able to work with Clinton on a variety of issues over the next two years.

Lott said he has not had much contact with the president, anyway. ``We legislate, he executes,″ Lott was quoted as saying.

As for cooperating with Democrats in Congress, Lott said: ``The Democrats’ intent for the next two years will be basically to try to delay, draw out and stop all legislation, and then say, `See, Congress is not doing its job.’.″

He said he pities Senate Democrats. ``I’d hate to have to defend the conduct of this president before my constituents if I was a Democrat,″ he said.

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