Independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr said yesterday he has no choice but to keep investigating the Clintons, a course that could collide with the 2000 presidential election campaign and a possible Senate run by the first lady.
Starr said he considers the upcoming criminal trial of Clinton friend Webster L. Hubbell -- based on an indictment that refers 36 times to Hillary Rodham Clinton -- an important step in the Whitewater investigation.
Starr, appearing on "Fox News Sunday," said his investigation has been prolonged because he has run into incomplete cooperation in many instances.
Asked whether the first lady's possible Senate bid from New York was affecting his office's decision-making, Starr said, "We strive mightily while providing public information, public education, to divorce our decisions from politics whatsoever."
Starr said he will file a final report on his investigation but has "made no decisions with respect to the specific contents of the report."
Hubbell is scheduled to go on trial Aug. 9 on charges of concealing his and Hillary Clinton's legal work on the fraudulent Castle Grande land deal that contributed to the financial collapse of the savings and loan owned by the Clintons' Whitewater partners.
The work that Hubbell and Clinton did on the project was not revealed until her billing records turned up in the White House family residence in 1996, two years after prosecutors subpoenaed them.