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Prosecutor reached understanding with Bush

Independent Counsel Lawrence Walsh reached an understanding with the White House last summer that any additional questioning of President Bush on Iran-Contra matters, if needed, would not take place until after the election, according to administration sources.

"The question of any further interview (of Bush), oral or in writing, was left to after the election," according to one Bush aide familiar with the situation.

On Sept. 17, Walsh announced he had concluded his investigation unless the remaining three Iran-Contra trials turned up new information. Walsh's office would not comment Friday on the understanding with Bush.

Bush's knowledge and role in the Iran-Contra scandal has been an issue in the presidential campaign. As Bush has pressed Democratic candidate Bill Clinton to come clean on his Vietnam-era draft record and, more recently, on his involvement in anti-war protest activities more than two decades ago, Clinton has responded by questioning Bush's actions during the Iran-Contra affair, which took place six years ago.

Bush has testified twice before official bodies.

A lawyer familiar with the case said that Bush was considered only a witness to the events Walsh was investigating at the end of the independent counsel's inquiry.