A Republican member of the Senate Whitewater Committee demanded Tuesday that the panel confirm whether the fingerprints of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were found on long-subpoenaed billing records, saying that, if true, she may be guilty of perjury or obstruction of justice.
The remarks of Sen. Connie Mack, R-Fla., drew an immediate rebuke from Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, D-Md., who said they represented “a gross unfairness” to the first lady because she may have handled the records during the 1992 election campaign to answer media inquiries about her law firm’s billing practices.
The exchange came on a day when a special panel of federal appeals court judges rejected a request from two Democratic senators to remove Kenneth W. Starr as Whitewater independent counsel because of controversy over his outside legal work.
The judicial panel, which appointed Starr nearly two years ago, said it has “no power of removal over independent counsels.” Federal law permits only the attorney general to do so, the panel said, and the action must be for “good cause.”
In raising questions about the billing records, Mack referred to a Newsweek report, quoting unnamed sources, that Starr’s office had found Hillary Clinton’s prints on long-missing records that the White House relinquished last January, two years after they had been subpoenaed by federal investigators.
The committee has heard testimony that copies of the documents from her former Little Rock, Ark., law firm were discovered in the White House living quarters by an aide to Hillary Clinton.