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Clinton Allies Want Probe To End

March 2, 1998

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Independent counsel Kenneth Starr is under renewed attack from President Clinton’s aides and political allies, with some wanting him to quickly wrap up his wide-ranging Whitewater investigation and others calling for his removal.

``This is 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,″ senior White House adviser Rahm Emanuel said Sunday on CBS’ ``Face the Nation.″

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., saw Starr pursuing a vendetta against Clinton and seeking to drive him from office .

``... Starr has gotten totally out of control. He has this fixation of trying to topple the president of the United States. He’s doing everything possible to do it,″ Leahy said on NBC’s ``Meet the Press.″ Asked whether Starr should step aside, he replied, ``Sure, he should.″

But a fellow panelist, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, contended the prosecutor has ``done a very good job.″

``There’s no question that he has to sit there like a punching bag and take really unfair punches thrown at him,″ Hatch said. he said Starr’s ``reputation has always been sterling until he’s been bashed this badly.″

Starr’s subpoena of presidential adviser Sidney Blumenthal to tell a grand jury about the spreading of negative information on Starr and his assistants to reporters ``constitutes blatant prosecutorial misconduct″ that warrants his removal, said Lanny Davis, a former special counsel to Clinton who dealt with the news media on various controversies.

Davis said on ``Fox News Sunday″ that Attorney General ``Janet Reno should consider a for-cause dismissal″ of Starr. Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., on CBS’ ``Face the Nation:″ ``I would predict in the next couple of weeks you’re going to see Janet Reno rein him in.″

Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., a sometime Starr critic, said on CBS that the prosecutor ``went too far″ in subpoenaing Blumenthal. But, he said, ``I do not think it’s a disqualifier, and obviously ... Reno doesn’t either because she hasn’t acted here.″

But Emanuel, asked whether Starr should resign, replied: ``Politically, that’s ridiculous for us to say so.″

On a related matter, Newsweek magazine reports in this week’s issue that Kathleen Willey, who has testified under oath of an alleged sexual encounter with Clinton, amended her deposition in Paula Jones’ sexual harassment lawsuit against the president on Feb. 10. That was 30 days after she testified, the last day under the law she could have changed it without fear of a perjury charge.

Willey said initially that she had spoken only to her lawyers about her testimony, Newsweek said. In her revised deposition, however, she reported that she talked to Democratic contributor Nathan Landow about it but gave no details. Landow told the magazine he had seen or spoken to Willey a ``half-dozen times,″ as recently as a few weeks ago.

Newsweek 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.

A prominent Washington attorney and close friend of the president, Jordan is scheduled to go before Starr’s grand jury Tuesday to testify concerning allegations that Clinton had a sexual relationship with Ms. Lewinsky and tried to cover it up. Clinton has denied the allegations.

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