WASHINGTON DESK - William Jefferson Clinton pledged to uphold the Constitution and the laws of the United States. Tragically, he has become the first American president to be ordered by a federal court to testify in person under oath in a criminal inquiry.
Congressional Republicans yesterday called on president Clinton to comply with the federal grand jury subpoena for his testimony in the Monica S. Lewinsky investigation. In the face of yet more Clinton foot shuffling, Senator Arlen Specter (R) called for independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr to promptly advise Congress of his plans for an impeachment report.
It was a hot muggy Sunday here when Specter told reporters that there had been a federal subpoena served on the president for his appearance in front of a federal grand jury on serious matters.
However, senior advisers to president Clinton were hedging the point, refusing to admit whether or not the subpoena had actually been served at the White House.
With a deadline fast upon the besieged president there is apparently no anticipated compliance indicated by president Clinton.
Senator Orrin Hatch (R) chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, openly warned Clinton Sunday evening that refusal by Clinton to testify could be grounds to begin an impeachment proceeding, immediately.
Representative Richard Gephardt (D) House minority leader, told reporters on CBS that he expected Clinton to testify. "I have always believed that Bill Clinton will do as he has said he would do. He would get all the necessary information to the independent counsel...and I believe that's what he's going to do."
Clinton has no clear-cut alternative. He will either testify or face all the political downside and legal risks of being out maneuvered. If Starr may be able to prove that Clinton lied in the Jones deposition, this might be one of the reasons for Clinton's attempt to avoid pending testimony.
When he was initially confronted with questions at a nationally televised news conference from the White House, last year, Clinton said he would cooperate '...sooner rather than later...' with the investigation. However, the American people have not yet heard from Clinton who has been uncooperative with the investigation into whether or not Clinton may have been involved in obstruction of justice, perjury, and witness tampering in connection with a purported Monica Lewinsky cover-up.
White House spokesman Michael D. McCurry told reporters Friday that Clinton's lawyers were trying to find a way for the president'...to cooperate.'
McCurry has since resigned as Clinton's spokesperson.