Hubbell Plea Could Hurt Clinton, D'Amato Says

THE decision by former Justice Department official Webster Hubbell to cooperate with Whitewater prosecutors ``doesn't bode well'' for President Clinton and the White House, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R) of New York said Saturday. But Mr. D'Amato said he has no present plans to subpoena Mr. Hubbell when the Senate Banking Committee resumes hearings into the Whitewater land deal, perhaps as early as late January or early February. D'Amato will become chairman of the committee when the GOP takes control of Congress next year.

Hubbell has agreed to plead guilty to mail-fraud and tax-evasion charges, a source close to the investigation told The Associated Press last week. The charges appear to stem from allegations he overbilled clients and his former firm as a private lawyer.

Meanwhile, the office of special counsel Kenneth W. Starr, who is investigating Whitewater, planned an announcement on an undisclosed subject in Little Rock, Ark., yesterday, with a possible follow-up announcement tomorrow.

One of the announcements would presumably give details of Hubbell's plea bargain; the other could be indictments stemming from the Whitewater investigation.

Hubbell resigned as associate attorney general in March. D'Amato said he would ask Sen. Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, who will be the Banking Committee's senior Democrat in the next Congress, to meet with Starr to determine if the committee can proceed with public hearings without disrupting Starr's efforts.

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