One year on and President Bill Clinton's staff are still grappling with the fallout from his historic impeachment over the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Last night, his spokesmen were furiously trying to play down the lead story in Saturday's Washington Post that claimed the President was poised to ask the Government to pay him back for the millions in legal bills incurred fighting both Monicagate and Whitewater. 'It's entirely premature to discuss the issue,' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart said. 'The President has a legal trust to raise money to pay his legal bills.' Despite the White House questioning the report, the Office of the Independent Counsel - the Clintons' arch enemy - were insisting that they were ready to challenge any such push. Mr Clinton at one point owed more than US$10 million (HK$78 million) in legal bills but the figure has since moved back to about US$5 million, the paper reported. After a lifetime in elected office, the Clintons are among the poorest couple to have ever graced the White House and, until they recently bought a mansion in rural New York to help Hillary's Senate bid, did not even own a private home. Supporters - rallied by frequent mail appeals - have donated some US$6.7 million to a trust fund for legal defence, but government reimbursement would allow the pair to claim an important moral victory from an otherwise shabby affair. First, they must impress a panel of federal judges that they would not have been pursued by a regular prosecution - a special presidential factor that allowed presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush to be reimbursed following the Iran-Contra scandal of the 1980s. The financing of Mr Clinton's defence has long been a thorny issue, with some hardened Democrats refusing to participate, most notably Monica's father, Dr Bernard Lewinsky. 'You must be morons to send me this letter,' he wrote on one of several computer-generated appeals he marked 'Return to Sender'. But aside from the latest storm, the wider issues thrown up by Mr Clinton becoming only the second president to be impeached have fast faded, commentators and analysts believe. Several have noted how swiftly it has fallen off the agenda for the White House and the public. They say 'Clinton fatigue' - rather than the impeachment - is an issue for his deputy, Al Gore, as he seeks election next November. The equally vague notion of 'character' - read anything but Mr Clinton - is now looming as a pivotal election issue. Mr Clinton was the first president in four generations to be impeached by the full House of Representatives. He was acquitted by the Senate. Independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who drew the slur of zealotry with his pursuit of Mr Clinton's DNA on Monica's infamous blue dress, is now back in private practice as a lawyer. And former intern Ms Lewinsky is, according to one columnist, 'yesterday's celebrity icon' and her surname now a national euphemism for oral sex. Boston Globe columnist David Shribman said future scholars would discover that the most important political event of the age was not the fact that the House concluded Mr Clinton undermined the integrity of his office, betrayed his trust as chief executive and delivered 'manifest injury' to the people of the United States. 'It was, instead, that all that happened and that in the end nothing happened.' Marshall Wittmann, an analyst at the right-wing Heritage Foundation, told journalists that the impeachment never actually engaged Americans. 'The page was turned very quickly,' he said. 'If you ask people where they were that day, they won't say they were glued to their TV sets watching the debate . . . they'll say 'I was getting a tie for Uncle Harry'.' Undoubtedly, it resonates more with the President himself. Mr Clinton is being increasingly seen as wistful and introspective as he ponders his legacy. In the eyes of many, he has accepted his moral failures but has never forgiven his enemies for their campaign against him.