Prosecutorial Misfire

Independent counsel Kenneth Starr hurt his own cause when he turned his subpoena weapon on White House a communications aide last week. He wanted to stop the spinmeisters' attacks on his prosecutors. Instead, he raised new, thorny First Amendment questions.

This episode weakens the Starr investigation. It hastens its degeneration into political theater - a transformation that those very White House aides welcome. The ultimate outcome in the House of Representatives will, after all, hinge on political calculations and public sentiment.

Yet the charges of perjury and obstruction in the Monica Lewinsky matter demand clear resolution. Mr. Starr's misfire doesn't help.

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