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Expletive-laden notes suggest panicked White House

[Hillary Clinton]

WASHINGTON (CNN, Feb. 8) -- Newly discovered, expletive-laden White House notes shocked the Senate Whitewater committee today and fueled new debate over the role of the White House in Whitewater.

The notes, written by former White House communications director Mark Gearan, reveal that White House aides were so concerned about what former Arkansas securities commissioner Beverly Bassett Schaffer might tell the Senate committee that they considered sending people to Arkansas to check up on her.

"Item by item, make sure her story is okay," Gearan wrote. "If the effort is botched, we're done." This particular note also contained references to three non-White House staffers whom Gearan thought could handle the job. That note referred to the committee and suggested: "Try to poke holes in their story." The notes included the F word.

[David Kendall]

Republicans seized on the notes, wondering whether there was an improper attempt to influence Schaffer's testimony. Schaffer has been a central focus of the Senate inquiry ever since it was first disclosed in 1992 that Hillary Rodham Clinton , as a private lawyer, talked once to Schaffer in pursuit of a state ruling in favor of her Whitewater business partner's failing savings and loan.

Gearan's notes were turned over to the Senate committee Wednesday night. The White House said Gearan had inadvertently taken them when he left the White House, and that they were retrieved recently.

[Jane Sherburne]

During today's session, White House counsel Jane Sherburne (182K AIFF sound or 182K WAV sound) and the Clintons' personal attorney, David Kendall, also described the demeanor of White House aide Carolyn Huber after she found Mrs. Clinton's missing legal billing records as "flustered" and "nervous." (198K AIFF sound or 198K WAV sound) The First Lady has said she does not know how the missing records appeared when they did. (66K AIFF sound or 66K WAV sound)

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