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Mrs. Clinton Answers Whitewater Questions

[Hillary Clinton]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, June 17) -- Hillary Rodham Clinton told the Senate Whitewater Committee today she doesn't know how her law firm billing records showed up in the White House two years after they were subpoenaed.

In a two-page affidavit, Mrs. Clinton responded to three questions from the committee, but she shed little new light on the tangled Whitewater affair. Her written responses came just one day before the committee's final 700-page report is due to be released.

Mrs. Clinton's lawyer, David Kendall, called the Senate committee's work "a last-minute hit-and-run smear unworthy of a congressional committee engaged in a serious search for the truth."

The committee had requested Mrs. Clinton to:

  • "Seek to refresh her memory" and inform the committee what she knows about transactions in connection with the Castle Grande real estate venture in which a man named Seth Ward allegedly acted as a "straw man," holding a parcel of land to avoid regulatory restrictions on Madison Guaranty's investments in that property.
  • State any knowledge she has concerning the whereabouts of certain Rose law firm billing records.
  • Furnish any information she has concerning the removal of files from the Rose Law Firm by either Webster Hubbell or Vincent Foster during 1992 and 1993.

[Alphonse D'Amato]

It could be a bad week for the Clintons. In addition to the committee's report, a second Whitewater trial begins today in Little Rock.

Jury selection is due to begin in the trial of Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert Hill, who are accused of stealing from their own bank to make political contributions to then-Gov. Clinton and other state and federal candidates.

The two men are charged with conspiracy, misapplication of bank funds and making false statements to regulators. Investigators say they submitted false expense vouchers to the bank to cover more than $13,000 in political contributions between 1990 and 1993.

President Clinton, as in the first Whitewater trial, is due to testify via videotape. He has denied any wrongdoing.

In Washington, the White House continued to react angrily to a flood of weekend leaks from the 700-page Whitewater report.

The Republican-written majority report concludes that Clinton Administration officials tried to impede criminal investigations of Whitewater to protect the president and Hillary Clinton.

Says the draft report: "Raising the possibility of obstruction of justice, they repeatedly attempted to hinder, impede and control investigations of Whitewater and related matters..."

[Quote from Whitewater report]

"...the impropriety of these contacts can no longer be seriously debated. The contacts were improper, wrong and never should have occurred," the report goes on to say.

White House laywer Mark Fabiani, point man for the White House's counterattack, ridiculed the committee's findings and its chairman, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato (R-N.Y.)

[Quote by Fabiani]

"The fact is, this is a kangaroo court," Fabiani told CNN. "They tell you what their conclusions are going to be before the hearings start. They come up with those conclusions at the end, yet the person they accuse (Hillary Rodham Clinton), they never ask a single question of (until now). Americans aren't going to accept that." (256K WAV sound)


Fabiani called D'Amato "one of the most ethically challenged U.S. senators in history."

Other sections of the report target the first lady as spearheading an effort to keep the papers of late Deputy White House Counsel Vince Foster out of the hands of law enforcement after Foster's suicide.

The report says Mrs. Clinton "dispatched her trusted lieutenants to contain any potential embarrassment or political damage" and concludes White House actions after Foster's death were "highly improper" and adversely affected the investigation.

The Republican report will also recommend that independent counsel Kenneth Starr consider federal perjury charges against several senior Clinton aides.

Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) offered no argument with those recommendations.

"There's no question that there are legitimate questions about the credibility of some of the witnesses," Lott said. "There seems to be a pattern of concealment or obstruction."

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