Throwing himself on the mercy of the nation, President Bill Clinton said yesterday he had repented and was filled with sorrow over the scandal that has thrown his presidency into crisis. Earlier, in an extraordinary and poignant speech at a national prayer breakfast of religious leaders, Mr Clinton apologised for the first time to Monica Lewinsky and her family. 'I don't think there is a fancy way to say that I have sinned,' he said. 'It is important to me that everybody who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine. 'First and most importantly my family, also my friends, my staff, my cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family and the American people, I have asked all for their forgiveness.' His comments came as leaks of prosecutor Kenneth Starr's report to Congress painted a lurid picture of sex acts in the White House, and a President content to abuse his power in a long campaign to keep them secret. On two occasions, the former intern engaged with sex acts with the President while he talked to members of Congress on the telephone, Ms Lewinsky told prosecutors. The report details the alleged use of a cigar as a sex toy during one of the sessions - intimate details Mr Starr included in his final document to rebut Mr Clinton's claims that he had not engaged in the legal definition of sexual relations. According to the Washington Post and New York Times, the report - expected to be released on the Internet this morning (Hong Kong time) - Mr Starr lists 11 potential grounds for impeachment, including perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of presidential power in trying to hinder investigations into his sexual activities. The House of Representatives last night voted to release the 445-page Starr report to the public, after a bitter debate which failed to live up to leaders' calls for bipartisanship. In the 363-63 vote, all the 'no' votes came from Democrats, including John Conyers, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee which will now examine the report's findings. Congressman Conyers reversed his initial decision to support the measure, objecting to moves to make 2,600 pages of supporting evidence public at a later date. His colleagues also accused Republicans of unfairly manipulating the process. Ominously for the president, however, the majority of House Democrats joined Republicans, all of whom supported the resolution. 'This is a day which, in our careers of public service, we hoped would never come,' Rules Committee chairman Gerald Solomon said. 'There is no joy in bringing forward this kind of resolution - only a sense of the gravity of the task ahead.' An angry House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt denounced its publication without a prior presidential review. 'The President deserves 24 or 48 hours to read these allegations before they are made public and sent around the country and across the world,' said Mr Gephardt, a presidential hopeful himself and frequent Clinton critic. 'We give members [of Congress] that courtesy . . . the President deserves that basic fairness,' he said. 'This is a sacred process,' Mr Gephardt said. 'This is not a second election, this is not spinning, this is not polling, this is not a lynch mob, this is not a witch hunt, this is not trying to find facts to support our conclusions,' he said. 'This is a constitutional test.'