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Clinton Replies To Thompson

'He knows better than that,' the president says


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 8) -- President Bill Clinton, en route to a day's worth of political fund-raisers, today brushed off Sen. Fred Thompson's charge that he's trying to delay the Senate probe into campaign finance abuses.

"He knows better than that," Clinton told reporters. "I think he may be disappointed in the results of the hearings." (352K wav sound)

Clinton, who came under withering attack at Tuesday's hearings because of the delayed release of videotapes of the infamous White House coffees, said he was surprised and frustrated that they weren't turned over earlier.

But in response to Thompson's plea that he assume responsibility for aiding the investigation, Clinton said he already has. "We set up a system that has given Sen. Thompson 100,000 pages of documents," said Clinton, who argued that's ample evidence of the administration's good faith. (352K wav sound)

"He [Thompson] now has more evidence if he wants to have more hearings," Clinton said, referring to the videotapes. Clinton said the tapes "reinforce the fact that no one has done anything wrong here."

Clinton said he doesn't worry about his administration's credibility or that the campaign mess may have damaged Vice President Al Gore, who hopes to succeed Clinton in 2000.

"The only thing I ever hope in this, is that we get through the smoke to the facts," Clinton said. The real story, he said, is that opponents once again are trying to kill an overhaul of the campaign finance laws in the Senate.


Two votes to end debate failed on Tuesday, leaving the McCain-Feingold legislation in limbo, although McCain has said he will try to move it again on Thursday.

In a related development, White House lawyer Lanny Breuer appeared before a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C., today to explain the delayed release of the coffee videotapes.

Afterward, Breuer told reporters, "I was very pleased to have the opportunity today to speak to the grand jury and to fully explain the circumstances surrounding the discovery and production of the videotapes of the coffees. This White House from the start has consistently said we will produce materials in good faith. We did so here. I'm proud of what we did. From the time that we discovered the existence of the videotapes we expeditiously did everything we could to produce them." (384K wav sound)

A million-dollar day

Clinton made his comments as he was leaving for a day of political fund-raising in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Clinton's trip included five events scheduled to raise a combined $1.4 million to $1.5 million for the national and New Jersey state Democratic parties, as well as the Democratic candidate for governor in New Jersey.

Unlike most recent trips, where Clinton has split the costs between political and official budgets, the White House said this trip was considered 100 percent political and was being paid for by the Democratic National Committee and New Jersey Democratic Party.

Here's the breakdown of the estimated take of the fund-raisers, according to White House officials:

  • McGreevy for governor luncheon: $600,000 for the McGreevy campaign and N.J. Democratic Party.
DNC-N.J. Democrats joint event: DNC, $130,000; N.J. Dems, $120,000. Young Democrats reception, Philadelphia: $50,000. DNC reception: $150,000. Democratic Business Council dinner, Philadelphia: $400,000. CNN's John King contributed to this report.

In Other News:

Wednesday Oct. 8, 1997

Senators Grill Ickes On Democratic Fund-Raising
Democratic Fund-Raisers Will Testify If Immunized
Bennett: No 'Distinguishing Characteristics'
Clinton Replies To Thompson

E-Mail From Washington:
Clinton To Propose IRS Citizens' Panel On Friday
White House Works To Shore Up Democratic Fast Track Support
Lott: Fund-Raising Investigation May Be Extended

News Briefs:
Clinton Touts 'Unprecedented' Welfare-Roll Decline ...

Special Online Companion:
The Money Trail: Democracy For Sale

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