WASHINGTON -- President Clinton and Vice President Al Gore were each interviewed for four hours last week in the government's long-running investigation into alleged fund-raising abuses in the Democrats' 1996 re-election campaign.
Gore's spokesman said the vice president is not a target of the Justice Department Campaign Finance Task Force. A White House official said Clinton also is not a target of the investigation. The president was interviewed Friday, Gore on Tuesday.
''The president and the vice president cooperated fully with the task force and voluntarily agreed to be interviewed this week,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said in a statement.
The White House refused comment on the subject of the interview.
Lockhart was asked whether the president sticks by his earlier assertions that he has done nothing wrong. ''All of his statements still stand,'' the spokesman replied.
Gore told reporters on his campaign plane returning to Washington from Michigan that he couldn't discuss the substance of the task force interview.
''It's a legal proceeding that customarily is protected from open discussion, lest it somehow interfere with the success and fairness of the undertaking. That's just pretty traditional,'' he said.
Asked if he would encourage the Justice Department to end its investigation before Election Day in November, Gore said: ''I don't think it's for me to encourage or discourage the conduct of this investigation in any particular way. I don't think that's my role. That's for them to decide.''
Attorney General Janet Reno established the task force to investigate allegations that illegal foreign and corporate donations were made in the 1996 presidential campaign.
Reno has taken heavy criticism from Republicans for opting for the task force instead of recommending an independent counsel. The federal prosecutor she put in charge of the probe in 1997 and FBI Director Louis Freeh both recommended an independent counsel.
Gore has been questioned five times under oath involving various investigations during the Clinton administration. ''I volunteered to cooperate fully, as I have from the beginning of their investigation,'' he said of the task force.
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