Utahns want Starr to wrap up probe of Clinton

Published: Friday, April 17 1998 12:00 a.m. MDT

Special prosecutor Kenneth Starr should wrap up his investigation of President Clinton soon, bringing what indictments he can, and the federal judge was right in dismissing Paula Jones' lawsuit against the president, most Utahns believe.

The latest Deseret News poll, and those like it across the nation, will have no effect on some of the major players in the ongoing saga of the president. Starr said Thursday he sees no clear end to his investigation and turned down a university appointment, and Jones said she's appealing federal Judge Susan Wright Webber's dismissal of her lawsuit. Clinton will likely be out of office before the appeals courts and Supreme Court decide the Jones issue.But in rock-hard conservative and Republican Utah, the Dan Jones & Associates poll findings are revealing, for they show that even here many are sick of the ongoing complaints against Clinton.

Dan Jones found that 59 percent believe Starr should wrap up his investigation; 37 percent said he should continue until he's satisfied he's got all the truth. Half support Webber's decision to dismiss Paula Jones' sexual harassment suit before trial; 34 percent disagree with the judge.

Clinton has never been popular in Utah. He finished third here in 1992, the only state in the nation where he had such a poor showing. In 1996, Clinton finished well behind Republican Bob Dole here.

But enough is enough, the poll results seem to say.

Even many Utah Republicans told that to Dan Jones. Forty-five percent of Republicans said Starr should wrap up his investigation, which has lasted over four years and cost more than $30 million. Thirty-five percent of Republicans agreed with the dismissal of Jones' suit.

One's political beliefs clearly are at play in responses to the poll's questions. Democrats overwhelmingly say Starr should end his investigation (88 percent) and agree with the judge's decision (82 percent).

Starr said several weeks ago that he should soon finish his work on the Arkansas Whitewater part of his investigation, the original work he was assigned.

For several weeks, national news outlets have been reporting that Starr would, by summer, likely indict Monica Lewinsky for perjury in connection with the latest White House sex scandal. Those same sources said it is likely Starr wouldn't indict Clinton but list him as an unindictable co-conspirator at the same time. Similarly, former President Richard Nixon, because he was a sitting president, was listed as an unindictable co-conspirator in the Watergate investigation of the mid-1970s.

It would then be up to the U.S. House of Representatives whether to move to impeach Clinton.

While the president's problems may seem miles away to many Utahns, the world of politics is sometimes smaller than it looks.

Friday, Gov. Mike Leavitt and his top staff were scheduled to meet with national GOP consultant Eddie Mahe. Several times a year, said Leavitt spokeswoman Vicki Varela, Mahe comes to Utah to conduct an issue/leadership workshop for Leavitt and his senior staff. Those workshops have nothing to do with Clinton or his problems.

Earlier this month, Mahe told the New York Times that he was paid by Chicago investment banker Peter W. Smith, a leading Clinton critic, to do "opposition research" on the president's personal life back in Arkansas, before Clinton ran for the presidency.

U.S. News and World Report says Mahe's work, for which Smith paid him $40,000, led to Smith being hooked up with free-lance writer David Brock. The latter used Arkansas executive protection officers' statements about Clinton's alleged womanizing to break open the Paula Jones case in a long article in the conservative American Spectator magazine.

Earlier this month Mahe defended that research to the Times as a necessary part of revealing the president's true character.

"We decided to do this," Mahe told the Times, "because there is a genuine belief on the part of many people, and I would include myself in that group, that you cannot divide a human being into two parts when it comes to someone's moral behavior. If you don't have morals in your private life, you don't have it in your public life."

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Additional Information

Deseret News Poll

Do you agree or disagree with federal Judge Susan Wright Webber's decision to dismiss the Paula Jones case against President Clinton?

Definitely agree 32%

Probably agree 18%

Probably disagree 7%

Definitely disagree 27%

Don't know 16%

Do you think special prosecutor Kenneth Starr should wrap up his investigation of the Clinton administration soon bringing what indictments he can, or should the investigation continue into the future as Starr sees fit until he is satisfied he's gotten the whole truth?

Definitely wrap up 48%

Probably wrap up 11%

Probably continue 9%

Definitely continue 28%

Don't know 4%

This poll of 926 Utah residents was conducted by Dan Jones & Associates April 6-11, 1998. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percent.

Copyright Deseret News, 1998

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