DOWNSIDE LEGACY AT TWO DEGREES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON
SECTION: BEHIND THE OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE ALLEGATIONS
SUBSECTION: PRIVILEGE CLAIMS
1993 - to block an inspection of Vince Foster's files after his suicide
Calgary Sun 7/10/98 David Frum ".Starr must now decide: will he subpoena the president -- in effect, order him to testify? And if Starr does, will the president comply with the subpoena or defy it? Seven months ago, I doubt any U.S. lawyer would have imagined the president could refuse a subpoena. Richard Nixon tried it when the Watergate special counsel demanded his secret tapes and was slapped down by the Supreme Court in U.S. vs. Nixon. Since then, presidents under any sort of cloud have instantly and immediately co-operated with the courts and their officials. uring Iran-Contra, for example, Ronald Reagan waived all claims of executive privilege and ordered his entire staff to answer any and all questions from both the independent counsel and Congress. Jimmy Carter and George Bush responded to inquiries from the courts with equal alacrity. ut then, they had the advantage of being innocent of the accusations brought against them. Which may explain why strange and unsourced news reports have begun to appear in the press suggesting it's possible the president might do a Nixon.."
Drudge 9/8/98 "Starr is planning to include President Clinton's repeated assertion of executive privilege as an "abuse of power" in a report set to hit The Hill, it has been learned. Starr will offer detailed evidence that Clinton obstructed justice, according to case intelligence, claiming Clinton personally engaged in a course of conduct designed to obstruct, delay and impede a grand jury investigation. Starr will also outline the actions taken by close subordinates and agents of the president, according to sources. Several broadcast reports suggest the Starr report could hit The Hill within the next few days. "Prosecutors are now convinced they can make a strong argument that Mr. Clinton used his lawyers to defraud the courts and the government out of resources," ace reporter David Shuster told watchers of FOX NEWS Tuesday afternoon.."
Wall St Journal 10-19-98 Peter Wallison ".In his opening statement to the House Judiciary Committee on Oct. 5, Republican counsel David Schippers omitted a reference to Count 11 of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr's impeachment report -- the much-maligned charge that, among other things, President Clinton abused his office by invoking executive and attorney-client privileges to fend off Mr. Starr's inquiries. Mr. Schippers's omission, as well as Chairman Henry Hyde's recent statement that he intends to "streamline" the charges considered by the committee, suggest that Count 11 will not be considered by the committee. This would be a serious mistake. Count 11, despite the abuse it has taken from many of the president's defenders, is neither frivolous nor -- as Democratic counsel Abbe Lowell has asserted -- evidence of Mr. Starr's bias. Insofar as it deals with the president's assertions of privilege, Count 11 is essential to a full consideration of the impeachment issue. Count 11 makes out a case for the misuse of the president's office.It is true, of course, that Mr. Clinton -- in common with any defendant -- is entitled to use all defenses and privileges at his disposal to protect himself against potential criminal liability. This would certainly be true of a claim of a Fifth Amendment privilege, or protection against unreasonable search and seizure. But are the president's executive or attorney-client privileges in the same category? They are not. Attorney-client privilege does not cover discussions between government lawyers and the president concerning his private affairs. In such cases the privilege, like executive privilege, belongs to the office of the president -- and not to the president personally. Mr. Clinton is entitled to use these privileges only to protect the confidentiality of his communications as president. As the courts have repeatedly found, the president is not entitled to claim either privilege in a matter in which he personally is a target of a criminal charge. Nor is it appropriate to claim that Mr. Clinton was compelled to assert these privileges in order to protect the historic institutional prerogatives of the presidency itself.."
AP 11/9/98 ".The Supreme Court today let stand a ruling that says presidential confidant Bruce Lindsey and other White House lawyers cannot refuse to answer a federal grand jury's questions about possible criminal conduct by government officials.. In a separate case, the court refused to shield Secret Service officers from having to testify to federal grand juries about information they learn while protecting the president.. Starr urged the justices to reject the appeal. "The historical and legal foundations for the White House's privilege claim are nonexistent,'' he argued. "To our knowledge, no case, statute, rule or agency opinion - ever - has concluded that a department or agency of the United States (or any state government entity) can maintain a governmental attorney-client privilege in federal criminal or grand jury proceedings,'' he said. .."
Fox News 6/9/99 Reuters "...The White House Wednesday rejected Republican calls for National Security Adviser Sandy Berger to testify to Congress on the investigation into allegations China stole U.S. nuclear weapons secrets. "As far as I know, there are no plans now for any formal testimony,'' White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told reporters. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, a Republican of Alabama, has said he intends to ask Berger to testify on his awareness of the investigation and what he told Clinton about it. Tuesday, Shelby said, "I believe it's important for Mr. Berger to come before the intelligence committee. I hope he will not assert executive privilege because these questions are too important...I would be really disappointed if he refused.''...But he cited issues of executive privilege in saying cabinet-agency executives should testify rather than members of Clinton's executive staff such as Berger. "There is a traditional and constitutional argument that many administrations have taken about White House staff testifying versus other members of the administration that are confirmable (by the Senate),'' Lockhart said. ...."
fcw.com 6/3/99 Daniel Verton "...According to an amendment to the fiscal 2000 Intelligence Authorization Act proposed last month by Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.), the director of Central Intelligence, the director of NSA and the attorney general must submit a report within 60 days of the bill becoming law that outlines the legal standards being employed to safeguard the privacy of American citizens against Project Echelon. .... However, NSA, the supersecret spy agency known best for its worldwide eavesdropping capabilities, for the first time in the history of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence refused to hand over documents on the Echelon program, claiming attorney/client privilege. ...Calling NSA's argument of attorney/client privilege "unpersuasive and dubious," committee chairman Rep. Peter J. Goss (R-Fla.) said the ability of the intelligence community to deny access to documents on intelligence programs could "seriously hobble the legislative oversight process" provided for by the Constitution and would "result in the envelopment of the executive branch in a cloak of secrecy." ...."
6/16/99 Judicial Watch "…Judicial Watch, the public interest legal group, has learned President Clinton personally intervened in Judicial Watch's Filegate lawsuit on behalf of those staffers from the Reagan and Bush Administrations and others whose FBI files were illegally obtained, accessed and misused by the Clinton White House. Clinton is refusing to allow answers to, among other things, whether his private investigator was approached or retained to investigate Linda Tripp, a key Filegate witness. Defendants in the $90 million class-action Fileagate lawsuit, which is in the midst of pre-trial discovery, include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Craig Livingstone, Anthony Marceca, Bernard Nussbaum, the Clinton White House, and the FBI. In a brief signed by his personal lawyers David Kendall and Robert Bennett, Clinton asserts attorney work product and attorney-client privileges to try to shield Lenzner from questioning about Tripp. Judicial Watch contends that these privileges, besides being waived, do not apply - as Lenzner was likely hired by the Clintons' to access and disseminate Tripp's FBI and other Privacy Act-protected material and to threaten and intimidate her, activities not protected by any privilege. Judicial Watch uncovered the illegal release of personal information from Tripp's Pentagon file by Pentagon spokesman Kenneth Bacon, a high-level political appointee, a blatant violation of the Privacy Act. Judicial Watch has also uncovered Pentagon documents showing that Tripp's file was illegally accessed so that its information could be used for a meeting with Clinton's Defense Secretary William Cohen. On March 13, 1998, Judicial Watch questioned the Clintons' Terry Lenzner, whose firm Investigative Group International, Inc. (IGI) was retained on behalf of Bill and Hillary Clinton by their law firms Williams & Connolly and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom, LLP. Lenzner refused to divulge who and what exactly he was investigating on the Clintons' behalf. Incredibly, Lenzner even refused to answer if anyone ever requested him to use FBI files against adversaries of the Clinton administration..."
WorldNetDaily 7/9/99 Larry Klayman "…The Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce, a 331-page manifesto and brainchild of Associate White House Counsel Jane Sherburne and the DNC, was circulated to select reporters in a tortured effort to describe how the "right wing" conveyed "fringe" stories into mainstream American media. In essence, this document was an effort to "alert" friendly journalists that such a "conspiracy" was being promulgated by certain groups dissatisfied with the moral lapses of the Clinton White House. In short, it was an enemies list. …In December 1994, Associate White House Counsel Sherburne prepared a memorandum that outlined strategies to use against individuals and organizations perceived to be adversaries of the Clinton Administration. The memo also assigned staff members to carry out these strategies -- and specifically identified the Western Journalism Center for having investigated Foster's death. WJC was the only news organization targeted for action. ….Over the course of the investigation of WJC, nearly 20 conservative organizations -- including the Heritage Foundation, NRA and Citizens Against Government Waste -- felt the close, touch of the Clinton audit machine. Even more oddly, the media who knew of the Communication Stream of Conspiracy Commerce never saw any pattern developing that would signify an orchestrated White House effort -- much less actually troubled themselves to report it. Meanwhile, the WJC's offices were being broken into, with, mysteriously, nothing stolen. Their phone messages were apparently being monitored, and some of these developments happened to coincide with WJC breakthroughs in Clinton investigations. The scrutiny of the WJC by the IRS lasted nine months. WJC employees lost their jobs and livelihoods. Finally, in October 1996, Farah exposed these corrupt practices in a piece in The Wall Street Journal, and the tide began to turn. Margaret Milner-Richardson, IRS commissioner and close friend of first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, abruptly resigned. The New York Post attributed her departure to political audits of conservative organizations. Some began to probe these rampant abuses, and the audit of the Western Journalism Center was "concluded" -- a verdict of "no wrongdoing" rendered in May 1997. Under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights enacted by Congress, Farah requested his case file from the IRS so he could review its contents. In keeping with the Clinton Administration standard practice, these rights were trampled in a terse refusal to turn over the documents -- the IRS frivolously citing "government privilege" as a means of keeping Mr. Farah from seeing justification for what had nearly bankrupted his organization…."
CNN 9/14/99 "....The Justice Department on Tuesday prevented the FBI from testifying at a Senate hearing on President Clinton's decision to grant clemency to members of the Puerto Rican independence group FALN. In what appeared to represent continued tension between the Justice Department and the FBI, a senior Justice official sent a letter to Foreign Relations subcommittee chairman Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Georgia) late Monday saying, "We cannot authorize their appearance at tomorrow's hearing." The letter was signed by Acting Assistant Attorney General Jon Jennings, who heads the Justice Department's Office of Legislative Affairs. "In light of ... the fact that the hearing may, in significant part, address the exercise of an exclusive presidential prerogative, we are carefully reviewing this matter and consulting with the White House regarding how most appropriately to proceed," the letter said. ....An FBI official told CNN Monday that Assistant Director Neil Gallagher intended to testify before congressional panels about the FALN issue on Tuesday and Thursday of this week and would express the FBI's opposition to the president's clemency offer. An FBI official told CNN on Tuesday, "They pulled the plug on us," referring to the Justice decision to prevent the FBI testimony. ...."
New York Post 9/15/99 Brian Blomquist Robert Hardt Jr. "....The Senate yesterday voted 95-2 to condemn President Clinton's clemency to 16 Puerto Rican militants - as the White House stonewalled questions on how the decision was made. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) said the White House stonewalling was a key reason for voting to condemn Clinton's clemency grant. "I have repeatedly requested information on these cases. I have been given no such information and therefore have voted to support the resolution," Schumer said. Sen. Paul Coverdell (R-Ga.) charged that the White House, in a last-minute move, "pulled the plug" on a witness from the FBI who was set to testify to a Senate hearing on Clinton's controversial clemency decision. The stonewalling appears only to have fanned the flames against Clinton's clemency, which led to the freeing last week of 11 jailed members of the FALN, a Puerto Rican terrorist group responsible for 130 bombings and six deaths. In a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, Coverdell wrote, "It is completely unacceptable for the administration to refuse to discuss the president's decision to offer clemency to 16 convicted terrorists."....."
UPI 9/16/99 "... Attorney General Janet Reno says President Clinton has invoked executive privilege barring testimony by White House aides or access to documents directly relating to his decision to grant clemency to 16 Puerto Rican prisoners. Clinton's decision was transmitted in a letter to Rep. Dan Burton, R- Ind., Chairman of the House Committee on Government Reform. Clinton offered clemency to 16 Puerto Rican prisoners, members of the FALN liberation army, none of whom had been involved directly in terrorist acts in the United States...."
ABCNEWS.com 9/16/99 Ann Compton "...Here in Washington, executive priviledge is a political red flag - a refusal of a president to part with his secrets. Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House of Representatives' Government Reform Committee, had sought materials about Clinton's decision to offer clemency to members of the group seeking Puerto Rican independence, the Armed Forces of National Liberation, known by its Spanish initials FALN. Many people consider them terrorists. But human rights advocates called the Puerto Rican nationalists "political prisoners." The White House says it will turn over thousands of pages, including impassioned appeals for the nationalists' release from people like former President Carter and South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Provoking a Showdown But White House lawyers, in a stiff formal letter to Congress, insisted the president's decision memos are protected because the Constitution, Article II, gives the power of clemency solely to the president, with no congressional oversight intended......Everyone in this town knows that the claim of exec privilege carries strong echoes of Watergate. Now, those echoes are back....."
United Press International 6/19/99 "...White House spokesman Joe Lockhart (Thursday) defended President Clinton's refusal to give Congress internal documents relating to his decision to pardon 16 members of a Puerto Rican nationalist group. Lockhart said Congress has no right to interfere in a presidential pardon and questioned the motives of House Government Reform Committee Chairman Dan Burton, R-Ind., who has subpoenaed the documents: "We've gotten something like 700 subpoenas from him....He has publicly stated that he is out to get the president." ..."
New York Post 9/17/99 Steve Dunleavy "...."It's a disgrace." "I'm just sick of it," said Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the Senate Judiciary Chairman, who has been inordinately fair to a man who has given the word "president" a bad name. Frankly, Richard Nixon looks like a political philanthropist next to Slick Willie's latest little caper. And that, of course, is the canard over invoking executive privilege in handing over documents relating to his clemency release of 16 FALN terrorists......Now, let's say this: It was perfectly within the presidential powers to grant clemency. But the outcry from kids with no fathers, and cops without a leg or eyes, got people angry. The FALN held this city hostage to 135 vicious bombings for an independent Puerto Rico, which Puerto Ricans had rejected at the polling booth for decades. There have been 3,042 clemency petitions filed in Clinton's presidency, and none was granted. Suddenly, Clinton offers clemency to a football team, 16 in all, in one fell swoop. ...."
New York Post 9/17/99 Steve Dunleavy "....When Sen. Robert Torricelli (D-N.J.), one of Clinton's biggest boosters says: "I regret greatly, the actions of President Clinton," then you know Clinton is up to his armpits in you know what. Clinton asserted executive privilege when he wrecked the life of Billy Ray Dale of the White House Travel Office. They put him through a frame-up that a jury dismissed in 2 hours. It cost him $400,000 in legal fees, and it shouldn't have happened to a rabid dog. Clinton did the same when an FBI memo questioned the link between drug traffic and foreign policy toward Haiti. And, of course, Monica Lewinsky. Well, we have heard enough about that. What was interesting is that Clinton went to Attorney General Janet Reno for a clarification of his right to assert executive privilege. ......
Washington Post 9/17/99 Charles Babington and Juliet Eilperin "....The White House's invoking of "executive privilege" infuriated GOP leaders, who have accused the administration of withholding information on a variety of issues since Clinton took office. Yesterday's sharp exchanges, and the new round of investigations by several congressional committees, show that the climate of accusations surrounding Clinton did not evaporate with his impeachment acquittal, but instead will dog him through the final days of his presidency. Targets of the new congressional probes are the administration's role in Russian banking improprieties, the 1993 siege at Waco and last month's decision to free a dozen members or sympathizers of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN....."
U.S. News & World Report 9/27/99 Angie Cannon "….President Clinton may have played the executive privilege card one time too often. He invoked legal privileges so many times during l'affaire Lewinsky that the public and lawmakers don't buy it anymore–even when he may have a valid legal reason. That's just what happened last week when he claimed executive privilege to avoid turning over documents to one of his most ardent congressional critics, Rep. Dan Burton, an Indiana Republican…….. The problem is that Clinton routinely claimed legal privileges last year in trying to shield secrets about his affair with Monica Lewinsky from Kenneth Starr's grand jury. Consequently, he appears suspect now. "Another president making this claim would be given it because technically it is right," says Cal Jillson, political science chairman at Southern Methodist University. "But the immediate public reaction to this is, 'There he goes again, trying to use executive privilege to cover personal wrongdoing or something politically embarrassing.'…."
New York Times 9/22/99 Peter Wallison "...President Clinton's former counsel, Charles Ruff, says that he did not consider New York politics when he made his recommendation to the President concerning clemency for members of the F.A.L.N. I believe him. It is not for the President's counsel to consider politics when he makes such a recommendation. But it would have been the counsel's job to tell the President that clemency was opposed by virtually the entire law enforcement establishment, including Louis Freeh, the F.B.I. Director. And the counsel should have told the President that Puerto Rican groups were strongly in favor. We should expect that Mr. Ruff, careful lawyer that he is, made the President aware of these facts. It was then for the President to consider the politics of his decision. But at this point in his Presidency, we assume that Bill Clinton realizes that there are no free passes; everything a President does has political consequences. Decisions reach his desk in many cases because they are so heavily political that they must be decided by him alone..... What is plain, however, is that this decision had to be carefully weighed; it was not routine. Something caused him to change sharply a direction that he had followed diligently, and with much political credit, for the preceding six years....... Executive privilege is not the same as refusing to testify before a court. In this case, the jury -- the American people -- cannot and should not be advised against drawing adverse inferences from the President's assertion of executive privilege. In the Iran-contra matter, President Ronald Reagan waived executive privilege when White House files were sought by Congress. Asserting the privilege in that case clearly would have given his political opponents an opportunity to charge that he was engaged in a cover-up. In effect, the President always has the privilege not to assert the privilege. The suspicions that President Clinton's actions have aroused should be pressed by Congress and the public, and the President should be made to recognize that if he stands on the principle of executive privilege he will leave the public with the impression that he is withholding information because it would be politically harmful....."
The New York Times 10/21/99 Neil Lewis ".....The Justice Department took extraordinary steps to enhance the chances of clemency for a group of imprisoned Puerto Rican nationalists after receiving regular expressions of interest from the White House, according to documents released Wednesday. In one instance, the department's top officials repeatedly urged the prisoners' supporters in Congress to persuade them to fashion a statement of repentance to help their chances of release. The documents released at a hearing by the Senate Judiciary Committee also show that the Puerto Rican nationalists did not apply for clemency personally, as is usually required, but department officials processed an application anyway. Under department regulations, a personal application is usually required to start the process, because such a move is taken as a sign of remorse for the criminal acts........ The details and sequence of events leading up to Clinton's clemency offer have remained murky because the White House and Justice Department have declined to release much information, citing executive privilege. Because the Constitution explicitly gives the president the sole authority to issue pardons, administration lawyers have argued that the president's discussions with subordinates over the issue of clemency for the Puerto Rican prisoners is privileged and need not be disclosed..."
Judicial Watch 11/11/99 "….Responding to a lawsuit brought by shareholders of his mortgage banks against him, his wife, PNC Bank Corp., and others over their mortgage dealings, Bill Clinton asserted that the Supreme Court was wrong in its famous Jones opinion which stated unanimously that, like every other American, a sitting President is subject to civil lawsuits. Judicial Watch, the non-partisan public interest law firm, is representing the shareholders in this lawsuit. Bill Clinton's brief was delivered by hand to Judicial Watch yesterday evening. Bill Clinton said that the lawsuit over his personal mortgage deal "pose(s) a serious threat to the President's ability to perform his constitutional duties." Clinton also complained in his brief, filed on his behalf by David Kendall, of the "burden" imposed on him by the Jones litigation and that, therefore, the Supreme Court should reconsider its ruling……"
Washington Weekly 11/8/99 "….The White House has withheld one document from a federal court and may decide to withhold other documents that it claims are subject to "executive privilege." Federal Judge Walter Smith of Waco, Texas, presiding over the wrongful-death lawsuit by the Branch Davidians, had demanded that the government turn over all documents to his court after he found out that he had been repeatedly lied to and misled by attorneys representing the federal government……At a press conference following a Washington screening of the soon-to-be-released documentary "Waco: A New Revelation," T. March Bell, who was a member of the 1995 House Waco investigation staff, suggested that First Lady Hillary Clinton was trying to put pressure on Attorney General Janet Reno to end the Branch Davidian standoff -- a standoff that ended in violence. It could be the role of Hillary Clinton that the White House is trying to hide……"
Washington Weekly 1/31/2000 Marvin Lee "…. Federal Judge Royce Lamberth has ordered former Director of the Criminal Division of the FBI Larry Potts to submit to a deposition by Larry Klayman of Judicial Watch for his Filegate lawsuit against the White House and the FBI. Judge Lamberth ordered the deposition, which was opposed by President Clinton, after considering that Potts is now working for Investigative Group International (IGI), a private firm retained by President Clinton to investigate judges, reporters, and other potential enemies of his administration (according to a deposition of IGI director Terry Lenzner). Because of the relationship between IGI and the President, the President filed a motion to prevent the deposition of Larry Potts in order to protect attorney-client and work-product privileges. Judge Lamberth denied these privilege claims after careful analysis of their basis, pointing out that "Communications otherwise protected by privilege are not protected if they 'are made in furtherance of a crime, fraud, or other misconduct.'" ….."
Drudge 1/27/2000 "….U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth is now 'inclined' to approve a request for the deposition of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton in the ongoing Filegate lawsuit, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. "I'm inclined to let the fella ask her a few questions," Lamberth recently told one of his clerks, according to case intelligence. The move would set-up an explosive legal showdown between lawyers for the first lady and Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman, who filed the civil action on behalf of former Reagan and Bush officials and others whose FBI files were obtained by the Clinton White House. President Clinton has discussed invoking executive privilege to block his wife's testimony, the DRUDGE REPORT has learned. The White House would argue the first lady has had privileged communications with the president's lawyers. It is not known when the judge will issue a ruling on Klayman's request, and a well-placed court source cautions that Lamberth had not completely made up his mind on the motion as of mid-week……"
Judicial Watch 1/25/2000 "….Judicial Watch, who is representing those individuals whose FBI files were misused in Filegate, yesterday received permission in court orders to question both Bill and Hillary Clinton's private investigator and an eyewitness who saw a White House official using FBI files at home - and loading them onto his laptop computer……President Clinton had personally intervened in the Filegate lawsuit to try to prevent his private investigator Larry Potts, who once was a top official at the FBI, from answering questions about Potts and his investigative firm IGI's contacts with Bill and Hillary Clinton, James Carville, Sidney Blumenthal, and the FBI. Bill Clinton also didn't want Potts to answer if he or his firm had received documents from White House files or from Linda Tripp's personnel file. Clinton had tried to assert privileges to prevent answers to these and other questions, but these assertions were largely overruled in yesterday's court ruling. The Clinton White House and Mrs. Clinton had also tried to prevent the deposition of Leslie Gail Kennedy, the ex-wife of William Kennedy, a former lawyer with the Clinton White House. Kennedy had told Judicial Watch that she witnessed William Kennedy loading FBI files information onto a laptop computer on the kitchen table at their home….."
Washington Post 1/25/2000 AP "….U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth said Judicial Watch, the conservative group that filed the suit, should be permitted to question former FBI official Larry Potts about his work for a private investigative firm that also had been retained by Clinton's legal team in the Monica S. Lewinsky scandal. Clinton objected to questions about contacts Potts had with the FBI since he began working for the firm, Investigative Group International, because it would force Potts to reveal privileged communications he had with the president's lawyers. "Clinton's and Potts's argument misses the point," Lamberth wrote. "Not all discussions among a group of people . . . may be entitled to claim the privilege."…."
10/2/98 OIC Supplemental Documents Freeper Dukeman "….Clintonite Supreme Sidney Blumenthal first appeared before the Clinton/Lewinsky grand jury on February 26, 1998. Sid claimed executive privilege and refused to discuss the substance of his conversations with King Billy and Evita about the Monica scandal. Significant questioning was devoted to exploring Sid's effort to spread disparaging information about OIC attorneys to the hungry media. Beginning at page 168, we learn a little more about Sid's sense of civic duty:
"Q: And what was your purpose in disseminating this information to members of the news media?
A: I believe that the public has the right to know about the character and records of public officials."
Noble, you say? Let's turn to the grand jury's follow up question at page 170:
"Q: Mr. Blumenthal, after consulting with the grand jury, one of the questions that we were requested to ask basically concerned your earlier testimony to the effect that the public has a right to know about the character of public officials. Do you recall that?
A: Is that a fair characterization of what you said?
Q: I take it that your belief in that would also include the President, that the public has a right to know about the character of the President as well.
Q: All right. Can you tell us again-- again, I'll ask you, can you tell us about your conversations with the President concerning the topic of Monica Lewinsky?
A: I've said everything [zero] I have to say on that. The substance is covered by executive privilege." …"
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA - Civil Action Nos. 96-2123/97-1288 (RCL) ……. This matter comes before the court on Plaintiffs' Motion to Compel Further Testimony of Larry Potts and for Further Relief as the Court Deems Just and Proper. …….. The instant dispute revolves around the deposition of Larry Potts, the former Director of the Criminal Division of the FBI during the time period pertinent to the aforementioned allegations. Potts, who is not a party in this matter, is now a corporate officer of Investigative Group International (IGI), a private investigation firm retained by the President and First Lady in connection with the Office of the Independent Counsel's investigation and the Jones v. Clinton matter. The issues raised by the pending motions and considered in this opinion arise from the intersection of Potts' roles as investigator and former FBI employee…….. Plaintiffs previously filed before this court a Motion to Compel Further Testimony of Larry Potts and to Impose Sanctions. In response to that motion, President Clinton filed a motion for leave to intervene in his personal capacity. In his motion, President Clinton sought to protect his attorney-client and work-product privileges to the extent that any information sought might reveal privileged information relating to IGI's retention by the President's counsel. On March 31, 1999, this court entered an order denying the plaintiffs' motion to compel without prejudice due to their failure to comply with Local Rule 108(h) and their violation of a previous court order. See Alexander v. FBI, Civ. No. 96-2123, Memorandum and Order, at 4 (D.D.C. March 31, 1999). This order also granted President Clinton's Motion to Intervene. See id. at 6. Now, after discussions with opposing counsel, plaintiffs renew their motion to compel further testimony from Larry Potts, to which President Clinton again filed a partial opposition. ......"
NewsMax 4/6/00 Carl Limbacher "…… Justice Dept. to be Sued Over Clinton's Terrorist Pardons The Landmark Legal Foundation plans to sue the Clinton Justice Department for the release of documents related to the President's pardon of 16 members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group, the FALN. The White House claimed executive privilege last fall to keep the documents from becoming public. Landmark had sought their release under the Freedom of Information Act; a request denied by the Justice Department. Landmark President Mark Levin said this week that Clinton's executive privilege claim was an abuse of power. "This President has shown himself to be a serial abuser of the privileges of his office. Mr. Clinton is trying to avoid public accountability" for the pardons. ….."
AP via ETHERZONE 3/4/00 "…….In an emergency appeal, the Clinton administration asked a federal appeals court Monday to set aside a judge's finding that President Clinton committed a crime when he released letters from presidential accuser Kathleen Willey. Last Wednesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan-appointed judge, is "a clear error of law that is properly corrected at this time" by a writ from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the nation's capital, the Justice Department said in court papers. Lamberth "imposed significant restrictions on the president and his closest advisers" by saying that the Privacy Act applied to the Executive Office of the President, and "the need for immediate appellate review is particularly plain," the Justice Department stated. ….."
Judicial Watch 4/3/00 "…..In a desperate legal stunt, four years after Judge Royce C. Lamberth first ruled the Privacy Act applied to the White House, the Clinton-Gore Justice Department filed a writ of mandamus today with the U.S. Court of Appeals (D.C. Circuit) in an attempt overturn a ruling last week in federal court that President Clinton and his top lawyers committed a criminal act when they released Kathleen Willey's letters to Bill Clinton from government files in contravention of the Privacy Act. Writs of mandamus are rarely, if ever, granted - and this filing is four years late in any event………. "This frivolous legal stunt will almost certainly fail and Judge Lamberth's finding that Bill Clinton committed a criminal act will stand in law and history," stated Judicial Watch Chairman Larry Klayman…….. The Clinton-Gore White House purpose behind this stunt is to try to stall the court-ordered production of full answers from White House lawyer Bruce Lindsey about the illegal decision to release the Willey letters. "We will seek sanctions against the Clinton-Gore Administration for this frivolous legal stunt and delay tactic," promised Klayman. ….."
UPI 4/3/00 Michael Kirkland "……Lawyers acting for the White House asked a federal appeals court Monday to dismiss a civil suit against the Executive Office of the President, saying the office is not subject to the Privacy Act. The filing came in response to an opinion from a federal judge that the president and others criminally violated the act in 1998 by releasing a series of letters from Kathleen Willey. The White House said it released the letters, which seemed to show Willey seeking a continued and cordial relationship with President Clinton, as the only way to counteract her allegation that Clinton had made an unwanted sexual advance to her in 1993. In last week's opinion, the judge's conclusion was not a "ruling" in the sense that it came after a trial or has any legal weight beyond the civil suit, and the judge acknowledged that for the purposes of the civil suit, the allegation did not have to be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt." ….."
Associated Press 4/3/00 Pete Yost "…..In an emergency appeal, the Clinton administration asked a federal appeals court Monday to set aside a judge's finding that President Clinton committed a crime when he released letters from presidential accuser Kathleen Willey. Last Wednesday's ruling by U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Reagan-appointed judge, is ``a clear error of law that is properly corrected at this time'' by a writ from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the nation's capital, the Justice Department said in court papers. Lamberth ``imposed significant restrictions on the president and his closest advisers'' by saying that the Privacy Act applied to the Executive Office of the President, and ``the need for immediate appellate review is particularly plain,'' the Justice Department stated. ……"
Washington Weekly 4/3/00 Marvin Lee "……. Communications between an attorney (the White House Counsel's Office) and his client (The President) cannot be protected under the privilege if they have been in furtherance of a crime. The crime, said Judicial Watch in its Filegate lawsuit against the White House and the FBI, was the release of Kathleen Willey's letter by the President to discredit her after she appeared on "60 minutes." Judge Royce Lamberth agreed: "Thus, the plaintiffs have established that the President had the requisite intent for committing a criminal violation of the Privacy Act." And so Judge Lamberth ordered the White House to release within 20 days the information it has until now claimed privileged:
1. Any and all knowledge these [White House] officials have, including any meetings held or other communications made, about the obtaining of the FBI files of former White House Travel Office employees Billy Ray Dale, John Dreylinger, Barney Brasseux, Ralph Maughan, Robert Van Eimerren, and John McSweeney.
2. Any and all knowledge these officials have, including any meetings held or other communications made, about the release or use of any documents between Kathleen Willey and President Clinton or his aides, or documents relating to telephone calls or visits between Willey and the President or his aides.
3. All meetings held or other communications made, including all communications made to the media, related to the use or obtaining of FBI background investigation files, summary reports, or raw data on persons included on the FBI files list.
4. Any and all communications these officials have had relating to release or use of information from Linda Tripp's Department of Defense files.
5. Any and all communications and/or meetings these officials have had with Cody Shearer.
The White House response was to say that it was above the law. It claimed that "the White House Office is not subject to the Privacy Act," and announced its intention to appeal Judge Lamberth's decision……"
The Associated Press 4/19/00 ".......Arguments are scheduled May 18 in the appeal of a federal judge's finding that President Clinton violated privacy law by releasing Kathleen Willey's letters. In the meantime, White House officials won't have to answer questions in a civil lawsuit about their use of the letters to undermine Willey's story of an unwanted sexual advance by the president. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia on Tuesday put on hold District Judge Royce Lamberth's order that White House lawyers answer the disputed questions.. ...On the other side, conservative lawyer Larry Klayman said the routine stay didn't reflect on the merits of the case. Klayman also wrote the appeals court Wednesday requesting that one of three judges assigned to the case, David S. Tatel, recuse himself because he is a Clinton appointee...... Lamberth's March 29 ruling rejected the White House argument that top lawyers' discussions about releasing the letters were protected by attorney-client privilege. He also wrote that releasing the Willey letters was a violation of the Privacy Act because they had been placed in federal government files and so must remain confidential. The Justice Department filed an emergency appeal, saying Lamberth's ruling that the Privacy Act applied to the office of the president was "a clear error of law." ......"
New York Times 5/3/00 Don Van Natta Jr. "…….The Clinton administration dropped its intention to invoke executive privilege on Tuesday in a dispute over a congressional request for some documents related to missing White House e-mail messages…….. Jim Kennedy, a White House spokesman, said on Tuesday that the documents that had been turned over to Burton's committee were handwritten notes of White House lawyers on discussions they had had with computer experts about the e-mail messages that were not produced when they were subpoenaed in 1998. ……."
Drudge/ Wash Post 5/2/00 John Solomon AP "……The White House on Tuesday dropped a potential executive privilege claim and turned over to Congress several handwritten notes from lawyers that were being sought by investigators in the controversy over missing e-mails. Presidential counsel Beth Nolan made the concession in a letter to Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, on the eve of a new round of hearings by the panel into the controversy. "We are making these seven documents available today to your committee," Nolan wrote. "We are not waiving the right to assert executive privilege or attorney-client privilege with respect to future requests." At issue were handwritten notes by White House lawyers involving discussions they had with computer experts about the missing e-mail problem since the controversy first erupted earlier this year. ……"
WP via Drudge 5/1/00 "…..The White House is raising the possibility it may invoke executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing some documents in the controversy over missing e-mails that are under subpoena, documents disclosed Monday. Meanwhile, investigators are poring over memos suggesting presidential aides could have begun retrieving the missing messages more than a year ago to see if they should have been turned over to investigations ranging from Whitewater to impeachment. The White House sent the House Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the controversy, a one-page list of documents it is not turning over under subpoena because they are considered covered by executive privilege and attorney-client confidentiality. …….Among the documents on the list, which was obtained by The Associated Press, are handwritten notes by White House lawyers involving discussions they had with computer experts about the e-mails. ......"
FROM TODAYS WHITEHOUSE BRIEFING 5/1/00 Freeper Gumption "…..
Q A memo from February of last year, from an official of the White House Office of Administration, says that it might be better to let sleeping dogs lie than to inform Congress about the e-mails problem. Was the concern there taking up time, expense, and staff with searching it out, or was the concern what the e-mails might have showed? …..
MR. LOCKHART: My understanding of that particular memo, despite the way it was reported, was that memo did not refer to the e-mails. But if you have further questions, Mr. Kennedy can help you. ......"
AP 5/1/00 Jim Solomons "......The White House is raising the possibility it may invoke executive privilege to keep Congress from seeing some documents in the controversy over missing e-mails that are under subpoena, documents disclosed Monday. ....... The White House sent the House Government Reform Committee, which is investigating the controversy, a one-page list of documents it is not turning over under subpoena because they are considered covered by executive privilege and attorney-client confidentiality. Among the documents on the list, which was obtained by The Associated Press, are handwritten notes by White House lawyers involving discussions they had with computer experts about the e-mails. ....... "The White House is obstructing the investigation," Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., said in a letter to the White House counsel's office. "This meaningless legal mumbo-jumbo is obviously a transparent ploy to provoke wasteful and time-consuming squabbles over documents." ....... "
AP 5/1/00 Jim Solomons "......Meanwhile, the AP obtained an internal memo showing that presidential aides prepared to notify Congress as early as February 1999 about a glitch in their e-mail system and to begin retrieving thousands of unarchived messages that might be relevant to investigators. But they never followed through. The February 1999 memo, which included talking points for possible testimony before congressional appropriators, laid out the history of the e-mail problem that has now become the focus of criminal investigators. The memo disclosed that presidential aides had solicited a proposal on Oct. 20, 1998, from contractor Northrup Grumman to "recover the missing records" that weren't properly archived because of the glitch. "The approximate cost for the system design is $602,000," Karl H. Heissner of the White House Office of Administration wrote. Officials, however, didn't divulge the existence of the glitch to Congress or prosecutors...... Heissner's memo also suggests he was reluctant to tell Congress about the status of official document requests to the White House - both from lawmakers and "litigants against the government" - because statistics showed such requests were declining. ...... "
AP 5/1/00 Jim Solomons "......Kennedy, the White House spokesman, said Heissner's memo showed that aides to President Clinton never intended to hide the problem and were prepared to answer questions about it. "We have seen no documents that in any way suggest that the e-mail problem was hidden from Congress," Kennedy said. ...... Still, lawmakers, Independent Counsel Robert Ray and Justice Department officials are trying to determine whether the delays in retrieving e-mails and informing investigators about thousands of possibly relevant documents was part of an effort to obstruct various investigations of the president. The White House denies wrongdoing. ....."
newsmax.com 5/26/00 "…..A federal appeals court let stand today a decision in the Filegate civil lawsuit that Bill Clinton and his aides criminally violated the Privacy Act when they authorized the release of documents from Kathleen Willey's government files in an effort to destroy her after she accused Clinton of sexually assaulting her near the Oval Office. The Clinton-Gore White House improperly and prematurely appealed the historic ruling - an appeal that was rejected by the bipartisan three-judge panel. The panel also let stand an earlier court ruling that the Privacy Act applies to the White House. The Privacy Act was passed specifically to put an end to the abuses of government files by President Richard Nixon and other White House occupants such as Lyndon Johnson. ......"
New York Times 5/27/00 David Stout "…..The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit said there was no need to issue an emergency order sought by the White House to block pretrial information gathering, or discovery, in the suit brought by Judicial Watch, a conservative group that has been a persistent opponent of Mr. Clinton. …… The appellate panel sharply criticized a lower court judge who asserted in a March 29 ruling that the president committed "a criminal violation of the Privacy Act" in releasing personal letters sent to him by Kathleen Willey, a former White House volunteer. …… Today, the appellate judges -- Harry T. Edwards, Douglas H. Ginsburg and David S. Tatel -- said Judge Lamberth's "sweeping pronouncements" about supposed criminal activity were inappropriate and "entirely superfluous." …… The White House has contended that much of its business is exempt from the Privacy Act, and that many lawyers from both political parties have long said so. The appellate panel said today that, in matters unrelated to the Judicial Watch case, the White House could continue to operate under that assumption unless a court declared otherwise. ......"
Judicial Watch 5/17/00 "….. In an unprecedented display of non-meritorious appellate practice, the Clinton-Gore Administration is attempting an appeal on a discovery order which made a required finding that the crime-fraud exception applied to communications between the President and his advisors over the illegal release of documents from Kathleen Willey's government file. The ruling was issued in the context of the Filegate civil litigation that Judicial Watch is prosecuting on behalf of those Republicans and others whose FBI files were illegally obtained and misused by the Clinton-Gore White House……..The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has set an oral argument for tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. in the Federal Court House at Third and Constitution Avenue, N.W. …."
Washington Times 5/11/00 Jerry Seper "…….. The White House yesterday said first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke with President Clinton before the release of confidential letters from former White House aide Kathleen Willey, but claimed spousal privilege and refused to divulge the content of those conversations. Associate White House Counsel Karl Racine, in written responses to questions in a $90 million lawsuit by Judicial Watch, a conservative public interest law firm, acknowledged that Mrs. Clinton "discussed the matter" with her husband prior to the March 1998 release of the letters. Mr. Racine said other White House staff members were advised after the decision was made to make the letters public - a day after Mrs. Willey said on "60 Minutes" that Mr. Clinton kissed her, cupped her breast and put her hand on his groin during a November 1993 meeting……. But, he said, attorneys for the Clintons said "the substance of the discussions between the president and the first lady would be protected by the spousal privilege."….."
CNSNews.com 5/11/00 Susan Jones "……. We may never know what Bill and Hillary Clinton said to each other when they talked about releasing personal letters that Kathleen Willey wrote to the president. The Clintons are refusing to answer questions about their discussion, using "spousal privilege" as a shield, but a conservative group that's seeking answers called their spousal privilege claim "bogus."……. Larry Klayman, the group's chairman and general counsel, said, "Judicial Watch believes this claim of spousal privilege in this context is bogus and will be challenging it in Court. In any event, it shows that the Clintons do not want to tell the truth about their obvious role in criminally violating Kathleen Willey's and others' privacy rights."……"
NewsMax.com 8/22/00 Carl Limbacher "….. The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege late Tuesday rather than let a top administration official be questioned about his roll in hiding thousands of subpoenaed e-mails from Congress and the Office of Independent Counsel. Under the privilege claim, which was asserted by the Clinton Justice Department, former White House Office of Administration General Counsel and Chief of Staff Mark Lindsay was ordered not to testify about whether he discussed a cover-up of the missing e-mails with President Clinton. …….."
CNN 8/23/00 Ted Barrett "…..The Clinton administration official who oversees the troubled White House e-mail system testified Wednesday he never told President Clinton about the computer problem that prevented thousands of White House e-mails from being properly stored and archived. Mark Lindsay, the assistant to the president for Management and Administration, also told a court he did not threaten White House workers with jail if they went public with the problem that arose at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. ……Lindsay -- who invoked executive privilege Tuesday when asked if he discussed the problem with President Clinton -- said Wednesday he had discussed the problem as high as then-Deputy Chief of Staff John Podesta and White House Counsel Charles Ruff, but never brought it directly to the attention of the president. Lindsay also said he did not tell Hillary Rodham Clinton about the computer failure. ….."
AP 10/3/00 Pete Yost "......Separately Tuesday, a prominent Washington attorney hired in 1998 by White House computer contractor Northrop Grumman, apparently in some capacity relating to the e-mail problem, refused to answer virtually all questions posed to him on the witness stand by Judicial Watch attorney Larry Klayman. Earl Silbert invoked attorney-client privilege and said he didn't recall the names of the White House officials with whom he spoke during two brief conversations. ..... Silbert represented the contractor briefly after employees reported the alleged threats to keep silent about the e-mail problem. ......"
Judicial Watch 11/6/00 "…..Lost in the news of the 2000 Presidential election is Judicial Watch's "trial" concerning the e-mail scandal, now taking place in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. Last week, White House counsel Beth Nolan refused to testify about discussions with the President over the e-mail scandal, invoking executive privilege. Judicial Watch will be moving the Court to pierce this privilege. Ms. Nolan's testimony also confirmed that the missing e-mails are much more vast than originally thought. Once produced, they will likely tell the entire story of the Clinton-Gore scandals over the last 8 years…….In addition, a Northrop Grumman official, Joseph Vasta, testified on Friday that the Clinton-Gore White House intimidated the e-mail contractor, Northrop Grumman, into participating in the e-mail cover-up. Vasta testified that it was made apparent that Northrop Grumman could lose its $50-million contract if it didn't play ball with the Clinton-Gore White House…….Toward the end of the evidentiary hearings last week, The Honorable Royce C. Lamberth admonished the Clinton-Gore White House not to destroy e-mail, implying that this could be attempted after the November 7 election. The Judge reiterated his previous statement that he would "hang" anyone responsible for such destruction……."