Wednesday, September 23, 1998 Published at 22:37 GMT 23:37 UK
No time limit for Clinton probe
All smiles: President "determined" to get on with running the country
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee in the United States Congress has rejected a request to set a deadline on the impeachment inquiry that looms over President Bill Clinton.
Democrats had appealed for the matter to be put to rest within a month, saying that the alternative could be two years of on-going Monica Lewinsky hearings against the president.
But Democrats are still advocating a deal where the president would be censured instead of impeached - a suggestion which Mr Hyde said was "premature".
"It makes an interesting story, but I don't know of any substance to it," Mr Hyde commented.
New polls show the president's approval rating rose following the broadcast of Mr Clinton's four hours of videotaped Grand Jury testimony on the affair, and Democrats are counting on the apparent growing public opposition to impeachment.
He said: "The choice is clear. We can resolve to do what needs to be done in the next 30 days or we might face two years of on-going hearings."
Mr Gephardt added that he thought many Republicans wanted to keep the scandal in the spotlight to further their own political ambitions.
Any deal however would have to be made with the Senate, which conducts a trial of the president, if the House approves "articles of impeachment".
Democrat New Jersey Senator Robert Torricelli predicted that voters would "resist with vigour" partisan politics and called for "reasonable people" to strike a deal.
Carter blow for Clinton
In a separate development, the White House campaign to keep Mr Clinton's own party on side received a major blow when the former Democrat president Jimmy Carter attacked Mr Clinton's behaviour and predicted that Congress would go ahead with impeachment proceedings.
"My own belief is that the House Judiciary Committee will recommend that impeachment proceedings be held," he said.
"Because of the highly partisan alignment within the House of Representatives and because Republicans have a majority, I think it is likely that the House will vote for impeachment."
But he predicted that the Senate would not get the two-thirds majority needed to throw the president from office.
"I would say a lot of damage has been done, but not in any case fatal or permanent damage," Mr Carter said. "Our nation will survive."
Nixon prosecutor attacks Starr
The president's team accused the special prosecutor of omitting evidence favourable to Mr Clinton, including Ms Lewinsky's assertion that she had not been asked to lie under oath.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: "The (independent counsel) law was designed to establish a process where serious crimes involving the president could be investigated and provide confidence that this would be an impartial investigation.
"We have trivialised the process and the individual leading the investigation has been widely criticised.
"The example of the last four years probably means that this law will be dead on arrival when it comes up for re-authorisation next year."