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Memo Links First Lady To Handling Of Suicide Note

Hillary Rodham Clinton

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Aug. 27) -- The same day Hillary Clinton was scheduled to speak at the Democratic National Convention, newly released documents suggest she was behind the 30-hour delay in releasing late White House counsel Vincent Foster's suicide note to authorities.

How the White House handled Foster's 1993 death, and the possibility that administration officials improperly removed documents from his office or impeded an official search of it, has been the subject of intense scrutiny by congressional Republicans and the media.

The newly released memo, written by White House lawyer Miriam Nemetz, quotes then-White House chief of staff Mack McLarty as saying Mrs. Clinton "was very upset and believed the matter required further thought and the president should not yet be told" about Foster's note.

According to the document, Mrs. Clinton "said they should have a coherent position and should have decided what to do before they told the president."

That contradicts sworn testimony to the Senate Whitewater Committee from Clinton staffers that the first lady had no role whatsoever in the handling of Foster's note.

An attorney for McLarty said today his client had only conferred with former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum on the matter, and that at no time had he dealt with Mrs. Clinton.

Nussbaum also promptly released a statement saying, "No one suggested to me that the first lady had any view with respect to how the Foster note should be handled. It was my decision to delay, for one day, producing the note, so that the president...could have an opportunity to view it first."

Administration Whitewater counsel Mark Fabiani said in a statement the newly disclosed information was unreliable, since it "passed through five different people before it was ever taken down in a lawyer's notes."

Republicans have been baffled over why the president wasn't told about Foster's note for 30 hours when the first lady knew about it immediately.

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