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Former associate attorney general Webster Hubbell says he gave Hillary Rodham Clinton's long-sought law firm billing records to future White House lawyer Vincent Foster during the 1992 campaign and never saw them again.

His testimony came Wednesday as the Senate Whitewater Committee focused on what role Hubbell and Foster, two of Hillary Clinton's law partners before coming to Washington, may have played with the records that were missing for two years.Republicans have questioned whether the billing records could have been in Foster's White House office the night of his July 1993 suicide. The documents then were missing until they mysteriously reappeared in the White House living quarters nearly two years after they were subpoenaed by investigators.

White House officials have said they do not know how the billing records ended up in the residence.

Hubbell testified Wednesday that when he gathered up Whitewater-related documents after the campaign in January 1993, Foster turned over many records to him but not the first lady's billing records.

Hubbell said he didn't ask Foster what had happened to the billing records.

The failure to ask Foster that question looms large as White-water prosecutors try to determine who put them in the book room of the White House family residence six months ago. Tossed in a box, they were discovered Jan. 5 after a longtime Clinton aide examined them.

The records address a question Whitewater prosecutors have been trying to answer for more than two years: Precisely what work did Hillary Clinton do for the Arkansas savings and loan owned by the Clintons' Whitewater partner, James McDougal.

But the records also raise new questions that Republican senators are zeroing in on - primarily, why didn't Hillary Clinton reveal to federal regulators her work outlined in the billing records on an Arkansas land deal named Castle Grande.

Hillary Clinton says she knew the development by another name, and that's why she didn't mention it in written answers to federal regulators, who say the acquisition of Castle Grande was a sham deal and that it ultimately cost taxpayers nearly $4 million.

In his third appearance before the panel, Hubbell revealed that because of the Whitewater controversy, he removed a large number of Hillary Clinton's files from their Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Ark., after the 1992 presidential election.

Under Republican questioning, he revealed that another file that he removed and kept in an office drawer related to the Bank of Kingston, also owned by Mc-Dougal. Rose had done legal work for the bank in the early 1980s.

Did Hubbell "vacuum" the files he took out of the Rose Law Firm? inquired Michael Chertoff, the committee's Republican staff lawyer.

"I don't appreciate that, Mike," Hubbell replied. At another point, Hubbell said, "Vacuum to me means disappear, and they're all still here."

Hubbell has pleaded guilty to two felonies in Whitewater and is serving a prison term.

Hubbell said he oversaw the production of Hillary Clinton's billing records from a computer at the Rose Law Firm in February 1992, after the New York Times began asking questions about the Clintons' Whitewater real estate venture with McDougal.

When the billing records emerged from the White House on Jan. 5, they bore Foster's handwriting. Foster's notations weren't on the records when Foster got them, Hubbell said.