Broadening its counterattack, the White House has coordinated a strategy with congressional Democrats to turn the tables and investigate the investigators by examining how Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel, came to look into the Lewinsky matter, Clinton advisers said Sunday.

With help from Democrats in the House and Senate, the White House is trying to obtain from Starr an accounting of how he persuaded the Department of Justice in January to authorize him to broaden his inquiry to include President Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky.A Democratic effort to do just that failed in a strict party-line vote in the House Judiciary Committee on Friday. "That was defeated, but it's going to come back in many different ways," one senior Clinton strategist said Sunday.

The president's allies plan to argue that Starr was so eager to embarrass or drive Clinton from office that he relied on weak and perhaps faulty evidence widen his inquiry.

Starr's allies have argued that he pursued the matter because it conformed to a pattern of obstruction of justice that he had seen in his other investigations.