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Whitewater Counsel Says He'll Continue Until He Learns Truth

November 12, 1996| From Associated Press

DETROIT — Although his Whitewater probe has produced only three convictions, independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr said Monday that information is still being withheld--and he won't give up until he learns the truth.

"I think the difficulty with this investigation has been getting at the truth as promptly as I would like," Starr said before a speech at the Economic Club of Detroit. "That's been the heart and soul of the challenge."

Starr didn't say who he thinks is withholding information, and he added that his comments should not be interpreted as a failure by the White House to cooperate.

Susan McDougal, convicted of bank fraud along with her ex-husband, James, and then-Gov. Jim Guy Tucker of Arkansas, remains jailed for contempt for refusing to cooperate with Starr. She contends prosecutors only want damaging testimony against President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Clinton made a similar suggestion in a September interview with PBS' Jim Lehrer, saying he agreed with Susan McDougal's lawyer who said there were prosecutors "out to get the Clintons."

Starr declined to comment on more specific questions about the Whitewater probe, but he denied that he and other prosecutors have a personal agenda against the president. "I am out to do my job," Starr said. "The charge is utterly wrong."

Among the topics Starr did comment on was the cost of his investigation, which he said has topped $9 million while expanding to include the White House travel office firings and the controversy over improper access to FBI files as well as the failed investment the Clintons and McDougals shared in Whitewater.

"It is time-consuming and therefore expensive to investigate," he said.

Republican congressional leaders have said since Clinton's reelection last week that they do not plan further inquiries on Whitewater.

Starr said the investigation has been justified because of the results it has produced, namely the convictions against the McDougals and Tucker.

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