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Friday, September 11, 1998 Published at 07:56 GMT 08:56 UK

World: Americas

Clinton prepares for worst

It is all up to Congress now

President Clinton is bracing himself for the highly critical report on his relationship with the former White House worker Monica Lewinsky to be made public on the Internet.

Rageh Omaar in Washington: "The evidence is mounting"
Leaks from sources close to the investigation say the report by Special Prosecutor Kenneth Starr contains evidence of alleged obstruction of justice, perjury and abuse of power by President Clinton in his effort to conceal his affair with Miss Lewinsky.

The House of Representatives Rules Committee on Thursday approved the release of the report on the Internet.

The resolution to release the report goes to the full House for a final vote on Friday morning.

The Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich said it would probably not be practical to put up the main 445-page report before about 2pm local time on Friday (1900 BST).

[ image:  ]
President Clinton's lawyers attempted to gain time by seeking advance knowledge of what is in the report.

Several leading Democrats protested that the document should not be made public until Mr Clinton has been given a chance to read it. No member of Congress has been allowed to see the report.

Possible impeachment

Stephen Sackur reports from Washington: The president is a "political fighter"
Mr Starr's report says there are 11 possible grounds for impeaching the president, according to US media reports.

These include allegations that lied under oath both in the Paula Jones case and in his testimony on August 17, tampered with witnesses, and obstructed justice by trying to retrieve presents he gave to Miss Lewinsky.

An offiicial spokesman for Mr Starr said the information in the report may constitute grounds for impeachment, but he gave no details.

The president's lawyer, David Kendall, reacted immediately by saying there was no basis for impeachment.

Supporting documents, extending over 2,500 pages, will be released after the main report. Only personal information about people who are not central to the case will remain secret.

HIllary 'proud'

[ image: Hillary Clinton:
Hillary Clinton: "I have seen how hard he has worked"
Hillary Clinton gave her husband a strong boost when she said she was "very proud" of him, speaking as she introduced him at a speech he made to Democrats on Thursday.

"I'm proud of what he gives our country and all of us every day by his commitment," she said.

Mr Clinton met earlier with advisers to discuss his strategy for dealing with a report that many commentators say could end his presidency. He was upbeat when he appeared at an awards ceremony at the White House.

Apologising for being late, he explained he had been meeting Democrat senators to ask for their forgiveness and understanding.

'No surprises'

Ben Brown reports on Democrat fears of a fall-out from the scandal
The Senate Democrat Leader, Tom Daschle said that at that meeting Mr Clinton had been asked if there were any new, damaging revelations yet to surface.

"His answer was that, no, there were no surprises," Mr Daschle said.

At a news conference White House spokesman Mike McCurry said that there had been no talk of President Clinton resigning.

Mr Gingrich, traditionally a severe critic of Mr Clinton, has warned members of Congress against personal attacks on Mr Clinton.

"Information that may constitute grounds for impeachment": Kenneth Starr's spokesman, Charles Bakaly
"Members engaging in debate must abstain from language that is personally offensive toward the president, including references to various types of unethical behaviour," he said.

BBC correspondents say the warning underlines the determination of Congressional leaders, from both parties, to deal with the possible impeachment of the president in a solemn and constitutional manner.

[ image: Henry Hyde: There will be no
Henry Hyde: There will be no "political witch-hunt"
The Republican Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Henry Hyde, said there would only be an impeachment investigation if the evidence justified it. He said he would not allow a political witch-hunt.

A vote on conducting a full impeachment inquiry could be held next year.

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