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Donaldson Speaks Out on Clinton

October 15, 1998

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) _ TV journalist Sam Donaldson told the nation’s editors on Thursday he expects President Clinton to resign from office if a House of Representatives probe finds that he committed crimes.

Although admitting he was ``just dumb″ to predict a Clinton resignation within days when the Monica Lewinsky scandal first broke last January, Donaldson said he’s renewing the prediction on different terms.

``Certainly the president will continue to fight hard,″ Donaldson said. ``But at some point, if the evidence is there, I say he’s going to resign.″

Donaldson made his remarks in an address to the Associated Press Managing Editors national conference.

``At some point, the American public will have to decide which is more important _ if the president they like remains in office or if the rule of law is upheld. I believe it will be the rule of law.″

Donaldson said his TV commentator colleague George Stephanopolous, a former Clinton spokesman, believes the president will not resign even if he is impeached, but will fight all the way to the Senate vote on whether to remove him from office.

Donaldson disagrees.

``If the evidence is there that the accusations are correct, he will resign,″ Donaldson said.

Donaldson returned to covering the White House for ABC -TV just before the Clinton- Lewinsky scandal broke. He had taken a hiatus from the job after decades on the beat during the Nixon, Carter and Reagan presidencies.

ABC’s chief White House correspondent, who also doubles as a commentator on the Sunday ``This Week″ program, said he believes the public can differentiate his opinions from his reporting.

He also is aware the public wants no more of the Clinton scandal.

``Look, I’m sick of it, too,″ he told the editors. ``You’re tired of putting it in your papers ... But we’re not going to stop reporting on this story as long as it’s unresolved.″

It’s not reporter’s job to censor sexually explicit details, Donaldson said.

``We cover the story that exists with the details. It’s not my job to say, ’Cigar? How can I say this?‴

``We are not the judge. We are not the jury. What we do is continue to report on the process,″ Donaldson said.

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