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Saturday, February 13, 1999 Published at 11:30 GMT

Clinton: It's back to work

Back to the Oval Office: Clinton looks for reconciliation with America

Bill Clinton is getting back to work with the threat of impeachment lifted from the rest of his second and final term in office as the 42nd President of the United States.

The trial of the president
In an historic vote on Friday prosecutors failed to secure either of the two counts of perjury and obstruction of justice against him in the Senate impeachment trial.

After the verdict, Mr Clinton said he was "profoundly sorry" for his conduct in the 13-month saga, triggered by his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

The BBC's Clive Myrie in Washington: "Bill Clinton must now reassert his moral authority"
In a short speech on the White House lawn, the president signalled his desire to move on, saying that it must now be a time for reconciliation and renewal for the country.

He said he hoped all Americans "will rededicate ourselves to the work of serving our nation and building our future together".

[ image:  ]
With the trial behind him, one of the president's first tasks could be a decision on whether to approve US troops' participation in a Kosovo peacekeeping force. White House aides said that President Clinton planned to devote his Saturday radio address to the situation in the province.

He will later pay a brief visit to Mexico where he is expected to discuss the drug trade and immigration with Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo during talks on Sunday and Monday.

As the president himself was hoping to get back to work, others involved in the long-running trial also urged a return to normality.

Chief prosecutor Henry Hyde called on independent counsel Kenneth Starr not to indict President Clinton - saying it was time to move beyond the scandal.

[ image: Rep Henry Hyde: Time to leave scandal behind]
Rep Henry Hyde: Time to leave scandal behind
"I don't think indicting and criminally trying him after what we have all been through is going to be helpful to the country," Representative Hyde told a news conference.

"I think we should try to find areas we can agree," said the chief prosecutor, who spearheaded the drive for the president's removal from office.

Even though President Clinton was acquitted in the Senate, Mr Starr could still attempt to bring criminal charges against him, either before or after he leaves the White House in January 2001.

Republican Representative Henry Hyde: "Starr should put issue to bed"
Lately, however, the guns have been turned on Mr Starr, who is reportedly under investigation by the US Justice Department.

Press reports said that Mr Starr, originally drafted in to investigate the president's financial dealings, allegedly misled Attorney General Janet Reno when he applied for permission to switch to investigating the Lewinsky affair.

Free of official rebuke

In the Senate on Friday, prosecutors failed to win the two-thirds majority needed to convict the president on either of the two charges.

[ image: Monica Lewinsky: Her affair with Clinton sparked the scandal]
Monica Lewinsky: Her affair with Clinton sparked the scandal
On the article of perjury, senators voted 45 guilty, 55 not guilty, with 10 Republicans voting for acquittal.

On obstruction of justice, members were split down the middle, voting 50 guilty, 50 not guilty. Five Republicans crossed the aisle to join their Democrat colleagues.

Mr Clinton has now escaped any official rebuke. Immediately following the two votes, senators blocked attempts for a censure motion.

The US public stayed resolutely on the president's side throughout the impeachment proceedings.

Polls taken during the year showed steady disdain for the partisan bickering over Mr Clinton's sexual misdeeds, while his enemies were increasingly marginalised in the dying days of the Senate trial.

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In this section

Clinton in the clear

Eyewitness: Of all my trials...

World's press takes stock

Relief greets end of trial

A 'pyrrhic victory' for Clinton

Everybody wins

Key moments: In their own words

Timeline: The Clinton investigation