Thrusday, December 31, 1998

Senators warming to a deal

Leadership, Starr said to be open

Enquirer Washington Bureau

and The Associated Press

President on trial
Latest updates from Associated Press
        WASHINGTON — The Senate's Republican and Democratic leaders on Wednesday discussed presenting to their colleagues a plan to start a trial of President Clinton and permit a censure vote if conviction appeared unlikely.

        Friends of Kenneth Starr also signaled the prosecutor might consider a deal.

        A Senate leadership source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there was no firm agreement between Majority Leader Trent Lott and Democratic leader Tom Daschle, but both appeared amenable to presenting the idea when the new Congress is sworn in on Jan. 6.

        The two leaders previously discussed a tentative trial schedule that would begin evidence presentations Jan. 11 and wrap up by month's end. Chief Justice William Rehnquist would preside and House prosecutors would present the charges that the president committed perjury before a grand jury and obstructed justice.

        Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, has repeatedly said he would favor a censure if it was clear that conviction by the necessary two-thirds vote was not attainable in the Senate.

        But two other Republican senators, Phil Gramm of Texas and Mike DeWine of Ohio, made clear Wednesday they wouldn't support censure under any circumstances.

        Mr. Gramm said the Senate “has a clear, constitutional obligation to vote on whether the president is guilty or not guilty of the two articles of impeachment.”

        Sen. Mike DeWine said Wednesday the Senate will handle an impeachment trial of Mr. Clinton with the “grave decorum” it requires and that the result will command public respect.

        Mr. DeWine reiterated his belief that a trial should be held and that a censure motion would be the wrong way to resolve the president's case.

        “It's not our job to punish the president, nor is it our job to require the president to say some magical words, nor is it our job to ask the president to make a public act of contrition,” Mr. DeWine said at a Capitol Hill press conference.

        He added that “censure will not end the civic ugliness in which we are currently mired.”

        Mr. Starr's office has not been contacted about a possible deal in the Senate.

        But two friends who spoke on condition of anonymity said the prosecutor hasn't ruled out entering into a three-way resolution of the case that might include an agreement not to prosecute Mr. Clinton after he leaves office.

        Some Clinton supporters have said the president was unlikely to sign on to a censure deal that concluded he had committed wrongdoing and then could be used against him by Mr. Starr in a criminal prosecution after he leaves office.

        Some have suggested a three-way deal in which Mr. Starr would agree not to prosecute Mr. Clinton if he admitted making false statements in his testimony, or at least agree not to use any admission by Mr. Clinton in a censure deal during a future prosecution.

        The friends said Mr. Starr wasn't soliciting such a proposal but hadn't ruled out signing on to one if it is brought to him.

        If Mr. DeWine and Mr. Gramm have their way, there would be no deal.

"Clinton Under Fire" page

Ice, snow in holiday forecast
Another chapter in their lives
City may ban laser pointers to under-18s
- Senators warming to a deal
Death dimmed shining lights of the Tristate
Frank to FloJo, they did it their way
Looking to stop smoking? Don't try New Year's Day
Merry season for casinos
Psychics' record as good as Bengals'
Kick it, Sister! Nuns lead line dancing
$8 million solution for sewer overflow
Calif. driver charged in death of Madeira friend
Comair near end of crash lawsuits
Donation scam pretends to be for Red Cross
Don't stalk, guard is ordered
Fernald prepares to resume shipping
Florence mayor's job family tradition
Hollister sworn in as Ohio governor today
Kentuckians just trust folks more
Lawyer: Reporters broke promise
Local GOP sad Duncan won't run for governor
Mason sports group needs volunteers - fast
Moser wraps up 20 years on bench
Museum planners push for decision
Planners turn down housing, office project
Residents balk at Lebanon bypass
Verdict: Quite a judge
Resolutions that politicians ought to make