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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Republicans Intensify Pressure on Clinton

WASHINGTON -- Republican congressional leaders have demanded that an independent counsel investigate President Bill Clinton's dealings in an Arkansas real estate venture and failed savings and loan.


Republicans took advantage of the quiet New Year's Day weekend to create a loud drumbeat of criticism Sunday, calling on Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent counsel to look into Clinton's role as Arkansas governor in the Whitewater Development Corp.


But at the same time the Republicans opposed renewing a law that codifies the appointment of independent prosecutors.


"I think it's up to Janet Reno now to step back and appoint a counsel, and for the president's own good, get it behind us," Senate Minority Leader Robert Dole of Kansas said on NBC's "Meet the Press" program.


George Stephanopoulos, senior adviser to the president, replied flatly on ABC's "This Week with David Brinkley" program: "There is no need at this time for an independent counsel." He said the matter was being investigated by the Justice Department.


And Stephanopoulos sarcastically hailed the "conversion" of Republicans who in the past have opposed the special prosecutor law.


But Dole said there was no need to renew the special prosecutor law, which provided an independent prosecutor be chosen by a three-judge panel instead of the attorney general. The law expired in 1992.


"She (Reno) doesn't need the special prosecutor law," said Dole, who voted against renewing it. "She has the authority now to appoint independent counsel."


Whitewater Development Corp was at the heart of a failed real estate venture that cost the Clintons $69,000. The Clintons were partners in the venture with James McDougal, a businessman who headed the Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan.


The Republicans said they want an independent prosecutor to find out if Clinton had any role in Whitewater as governor, and if he had used his influence to try to keep the troubled Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan from failing. Ultimately Madison collapsed, costing taxpayers $60 million.


On Saturday Iowa Representative James Leach, the top Republican on the House Banking Committee, said he believed Clinton eventually could face civil, or even criminal, charges for his involvement in Whitewater and Madison.


Dole said he expected Clinton would be cleared, but that the issue would not go away without an independent investigation and that he suspected Democrats would have no interest in pursuing an investigation.


In his appearance on "This Week with David Brinkley," Stephanopoulos also said that the government should help people who were unwilling subjects of Cold War-era radiation tests but said the administration has not decided on compensating radiation test victims.


"If these people were tested against their will, if they were injected with plutonium against their will, certainly something must be done to right that," Stephanopoulos said.


The administration has scheduled meetings this week on how to deal with disclosures that the government conducted nuclear medical experiments, mainly during the 1940s and 1950s, on up to 800 human subjects, some of whom may not have understood the dangers.