GOP proposes broad impeachment hearings; Democrats seek limits

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans unveiled broad, Watergate-style plans for impeachment proceedings against President Clinton on Wednesday, pushing aside Democratic demands to limit the scope of the investigation.
The proposed GOP outline for the House Judiciary Committee would give the panel’s investigators broad authority to subpoena witnesses and evidence without a committee vote if Republican chairman Henry Hyde and the panel’s top Democrat agreed.
It also would afford Clinton’s lawyers the right to cross-examine witnesses, attend all meetings and object to evidence.
The proposed resolution makes no effort to limit the scope of the inquiry to the Monica Lewinsky affair — a demand Democrats renewed on Wednesday. The committee’s top Democrat, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, decried any open-ended inquiry as “preposterous.”
Republicans were pressing forward to hold a vote in the Judiciary Committee on the resolution as early as Monday. The panel also prepared to release more evidence to the public, possibly on Friday, that included the Linda Tripp tapes that spurred the Lewinsky investigation.
Democrats met in private seeking to develop an alternative approach that would appeal to a public that polls show is already weary of the entire Clinton controversy. Among the ideas being discussed, according to Democratic officials, was limiting the scope to Ms. Lewinsky, setting an expedited timetable for any investigation or recommending a lesser penalty for Clinton, such as a censure and fine.
They also discussed delaying a vote on impeachment until Starr completed the rest of his investigation and made those materials available, Democrats said.