Seeking responses from their star witness to President Clinton's testimony, prosecutors have recalled Monica Lewinsky for a second grand jury appearance that could help shape any impeachment report to Congress.
Lewinsky was asked to appear on Thursday, three days after President Clinton's dramatic televised admission that the two had an inappropriate relationship.With the president and his family on vacation in Massachusetts, the political repercussions continued over Clinton's confession. Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a statement that she "believes in this marriage," and a torrent of statements poured out from Capitol Hill.
Several Democrats expressed disappointment that Clinton misled the nation, a few Republicans - Majority Whip Tom DeLay among them - demanded the president's resignation, and some members of both parties adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
The president; the first lady; their daughter, Chelsea; and their dog, Buddy, got away from the tension in Washington, flying to Martha's Vineyard for a 12-day vacation and private family time.
Clinton on Monday became the first president to testify before a grand jury carrying out a criminal investigation of his conduct.
Prosecutors want Lewinsky to return to respond to elements of Clinton's testimony, said sources familiar with the request. Lewinsky, a former White House intern, testified Aug. 6 and, according to sources familiar with her testimony, provided an account of a sexual relationship with the president - even describing a particular form of sexual activity.
While Clinton admitted an inappropriate relationship, sources familiar with his grand jury testimony said he declined to provide detailed answers to questions about the explicit nature of the contacts.
On the day Lewinsky testified, Clinton, presiding over a televised ceremony in the White House Rose Garden, wore a gold-and-navy tie she had given him, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The Times said prosecutors have investigated whether the president was trying to send her a signal.
The subject was raised during Clinton's testimony, the Times said. "The president was said to have smiled at the question and expressed some bafflement. Clinton was said to have indicated that it was possible she had given it to him but that he certainly was not trying to communicate anything by wearing it," the Times story said.
Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr is investigating whether Clinton committed perjury when he denied a relationship with Lewinsky in the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. The president did not admit to lying under oath, either in his speech or - the sources familiar with the testimony said - before the grand jury. The independent counsel also is investigating whether Clinton asked Lewinsky, 25, to lie and tried to obstruct justice - allegations denied by the president.
In the congressional reaction, DeLay and House Speaker Newt Gingrich went in different directions.
"The president should resign for the good of the country," DeLay, R-Texas, said. The president "has lied to his family, his friends, his Cabinet, the Congress and the American people."
But with Starr moving close to sending Congress a report on possible impeachable offenses, Gingrich cautioned fellow Republicans to wait for the evidence.
"I think that everyone would be best served if they waited for Judge Starr's report and found out what all the facts were," he told reporters in Georgia.
Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, which would handle an initial impeachment inquiry, said many questions remain unanswered and until Starr has submitted a report, "we simply should not speculate about how the House would proceed."
Starr's grand jury heard Tuesday from former presidential adviser Dick Morris, who said later that he testified about five conversations with Clinton after the Lewinsky matter broke seven months ago. Morris told the Fox News cable channel details of a conversation on Jan. 21, the day the story became public, in which he quoted Clinton as saying: "I just slipped up with that girl. The charges were untrue. I didn't do what they said I did. But I did do something."
The first lady's spokeswoman, Marsha Berry, said Hillary Clinton had been misled by the president and learned the nature of his testimony only the weekend prior to his grand jury appearance. But she has forgiven him, Berry added, and "she believes in this marriage."
"Her love for him is compassionate and steadfast," Berry said. "She clearly is uncomfortable with her personal life being made so public."
Some Democratic lawmakers said relations with the president had been damaged.
"My faith in the president's credibility has been shattered," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.
Democratic Rep. Paul McHale of Pennsylvania said Clinton "should resign or face impeachment." House Democratic leader Dick Gephardt said he was "very disappointed in his personal conduct."