Independent Counsel Ken Starr gave historic testimony to the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Starr laid out his case for President Clinton's impeachment and then fielded a raft of friendly and hostile questions from Republicans and Democrats on the panel.
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Here's how CBS News correspondents and consultants viewed the day's developments:
- CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer said Starr's presentation to the highly partisan panel changed no minds, but that it was not the prosecutor's intention. Like the Democrats, Schieffer said, Starr was playing to the American public.
- CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley said the strategy pursued by the White House and committee Democrats was to put Starr on trial and avoid discussion of the allegations against the president. To that end, they accused Starr of conflicts of interest, leaking grand jury material to the media and violating the rights of Monica Lewinsky.
- CBS News Consultant Gloria Borger noted that for the first time, Starr explicitly stated that it would be constitutional for him to indict the president on criminal charges. Borger now believes that there is a real possibility that Mr. Clinton may face criminal charges when he leaves office.
- CBS News Correspondent Phil Jones said there was no mystery about the fact that Republicans on the GOP-controlled panel will vote for impeachment while Democrats will oppose it. But when the matter reaches the full House, Jones said, a compromise could be reached that will fall far short of impeachment.
- CBS News Correspondent Bob McNamara traveled to Texas to take the public pulse on impeachment.
He found that ordinary working people have grown weary and wary of Washington's ways. He found few people who believed that Mr. Clinton was an innocent, but some saw Starr's testimony as piling on. "If you already pulled the guy's teeth out, stop cutting his arms Â… Enough is enough," one man told McNamara.
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