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The FBI's top lawyer denied he has a cozy relationship with the White House that hindered a GOP investigation into the Clinton administration's improper gathering of FBI background files. Republicans called for his resignation.

FBI General Counsel Howard M. Shapiro said Thursday his decision to give the White House a "heads up" about a confidential report dealing with Hillary Rodham Clinton's role in the files controversy was an attempt at fairness, not an indication that he's in cahoots with the administration."What was a good faith attempt at being nonpartisan has been interpreted as exactly the contrary," Shapiro told the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee.

Shapiro criticized old FBI policies of passing on confidential information to the White House with-out question and said new procedures are in place that put the agency and the White House at arm's length.

Nonetheless, Rep. William Clinger, R-Pa., called for Shapiro to resign. He said he has evidence that after Shapiro passed on the information, White House lawyers alerted Mrs. Clinton, senior officials and several outside lawyers involved in the case.

"He has lost his credibility to represent the FBI before this Congress," said Clinger, committee chairman.

Rep. Bob Livingston, R-La., said he would ask the Justice Department to investigate whether Sha-piro's actions constituted an obstruction of justice in the FBI files investigation. "It's unforgivable and inexcusable."

The report in question, publicized by Clinger last week, says former presidential counsel Bernard Nussbaum told FBI agent Dennis Sculimbrene that the first lady recommended hiring Craig Livingstone at the White House.

Livingstone, who was head of White House personnel security, resigned after it was learned that he oversaw the collection of hundreds of FBI files on current and former White House staffers, including some high-ranking Republicans in the Reagan and Bush administrations.

Nussbaum and White House officials had previously said Hillary Clinton had nothing to do with Livingstone's hiring.