Ken Starr isn't finished. Not nearly. Within weeks if not days he can, if he chooses, roll out a lot of additional material. This can include criminal indictments.
This information comes from a number of sources with close connections to Starr. "Starr is ready to unload again. It's only a matter of timing," says a person in a position to know what is going on in Starr's big operation.White House people, speaking to this reporter, say the president is convinced Starr will strike again soon.
The indictments can be of people who lied, Starr is convinced, to his grand juries. These are expected to include one or more present White House employees.
Besides the possibility of indictments, there will be a second report to Congress about the Whitewater land deal, problems in the White House Travel Office, and the controversy over FBI files sent to the White House. All the material Starr sent to Congress in his first report concentrates on the president's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. Starr is said to be convinced that additional information in these other cases warrants congressional consideration because it may also point to impeachable offenses.
At the same time, and connected to all of this, Starr's investigation targeting first lady Hillary Clinton continues "hard and fast," according to a person who claims to know what Starr is doing.
Expecting more hits from Starr in the near future, the Clintons are reported to be considering a number of possible "bold new moves."
An appearance before Congress is one of them. Several Democratic senators are believed to have proposed in recent days that the president make such a move. New legal help has just been added to the president's defense teams.
One immediate goal is to rebuild support among key Democrats in the House and Senate. Such support was eroding before the president's grand jury testimony was televised. Dangerously so, for Clinton's survival in office. Since then, with the president's poll standings actually getting a boost from the release of his testimony, support of congressional Democrats has steadied somewhat.
The White House is eager to build on that. The president's operatives emphasize that House Speaker Newt Gingrich is running what they call "the Republican Impeachment Show."
"Gingrich and his Republicans are just trying to overturn the results of the last two presidential elections," is their theme. Congressional Democrats are being encouraged to present their fight against impeachment as a defense of the Constitution, due process and "traditional American fair play."
The argument is that Democrats can avoid defending the president's ACTIONS by defending his rights as a citizen, and thus the rights of all citizens against overzealous prosecution. They'll insist on the sanctity of ballot-box decisions as well.
Democrats also are preparing to press comparisons of the present process to the Watergate hearings. Their objective is to cast the Watergate hearings as having proceeded diligently, soberly, carefully, legally and in at least a somewhat nonpartisan or, at worst, bipartisan atmosphere of fairness. Then Democrats would cast what's going on now as slipshod, and a blatantly partisan attempt to humiliate this president, if not actually remove him from office.
Republicans do not agree with these characterizations, to put it mildly, and furthermore don't think such arguments will get very far.
Whether Democrats are prepared, at some point, to boycott committee hearings is unclear at this juncture.
The point is, political Washington is now a morass of partisan gamesmanship, with huge stakes for the country as a whole. Whether it can become anything other than that between now and November's elections is an open question.