Prosecutors are having the FBI test one of Monica Lewinsky's dresses, a key piece of evidence in the last weeks of an investigation into alleged presidential sex and cover-up that soon may go to Congress.
The dress will be tested to see whether it contains evidence that would corroborate Lewinsky's account of a sexual relationship with President Clinton - one that he denies.The dress, along with the pending testimony of Lewinsky, the president and a few others, are likely the last matters in the evidence phase of independent counsel Kenneth Starr's Lewinsky investigation. Then, Starr must decide what he should report to the House about potentially impeachable offenses.
"I can envision nothing, I can envision anything" from Starr, said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde, R-Ill. He declared committee members "as prepared as we ever will be" to handle any impeachment referral from Starr.
While Republicans have bolstered their majority staff, Democrats are not sitting on their hands. A group of senior committee Democrats has been interviewing candidates for an impeachment counsel for their side.
Despite the preparations, Hyde said, "I don't want to hurry or press or push the independent counsel. I don't want it to appear that we're driving his inquiry."
Lewinsky and her lawyers spent additional time Thursday with members of Starr's staff preparing for her upcoming grand jury testimony.
Starr is investigating whether Lewinsky, 25, and Clinton lied in the Paula Jones sexual harassment suit against the president when they denied an affair, and whether Clinton asked her to lie about it. Also under investigation is whether the president and others tried to obstruct the probe.
Starr sent Lewinsky's dress to the FBI lab to be tested to see if it contained any genetic evidence that could be tested, according to sources familiar with the move, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The initial test would take about 48 hours. If the test found such evidence, a more complex test to see if it matched the president's genetic makeup would be conducted and would take several weeks.
White House officials said Thursday they were unaware of any discussions about whether Clinton should turn over a blood sample for such testing.
Starr's prosecutors continued to run through grand jury witnesses at a rapid pace Thursday, using two grand juries and receiving testimony from as many as seven Secret Service officers. While Clinton's videotaped testimony will be completed in one day, Aug. 17, Lewinsky would be expected to testify on multiple days.