What, me lie?
“We will be the most ethical administration in American history.”
--William Clinton upon entering office
America began its William Clinton nightmare in June of 1995. The name Monica Lewinsky was known only to the closest of Clinton people. Her fling with the president would forever change the sexual culture of America as we knew it. Thanks to his dalliance with the twenty-one year old intern, oral sex became the modern equivalence of kissing among our nation’s young. And still is.
She had been hired to work as a intern in the office of Leon Panetta, Clinton’s chief of staff. Her relationship with the president began later that year.
In an effort to gain access to the White House more frequently she landed a job in the Office of Legislative Affairs and delivered mail to the Oval Office.
By the Spring of 1996, Monica Lewinsky was transferred to a position in the Pentagon. The woman in charge of Monica in the White House cited inappropriate and immature behavior as her reason for transferring her.
At the Pentagon, Monica met a woman who would have a tremendous impact on her and the president’s lives. By summer, Lewinsky began to tell Linda Tripp of her affair with the president. Trip had become something of a cross between friend and big sister.
The relationship continued for nearly a year with Lewinsky filling Trip in on even some of the more lurid details of her adventure.
At the same time Bill and Monica were exploring one another‘s libidos, the Whitewater investigation of Kenneth Starr was in full bloom.
Hillary Clinton’s billing records from the Rose Law Firm in Little Rock were requested by the special prosecutor in the Whitewater matter. They had been under subpoena for two years, when on January 4, 1996 they mysteriously showed up in the first lady’s quarters in the White House. Mrs. Clinton’s long time aid turned them in. Oh, yes, Hillary’s fingerprints were found everywhere on the document.
I don’t think we were ever made privy to Mrs. Clinton’s more than four hours of testimony before a federal grand jury regarding the miraculous appearance of her billing records. We can only imagine how faulty her memory became. I bet she suffered from a chronic case of OA S, Occasional Alzheimer’s Syndrome?
Another curious item was Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster, a month before his suicide, filed three years of delinquent Whitewater corporate tax returns.
Early in February President Clinton had been subpoenaed to testify in the trial of his Whitewater partners Jim and Susan McDougal of Little Rock. He was also ordered to testify about then Arkansas Governor Jim Guy Tucker. Attempts were made to quash the subpoenas because the president of the United States had better things to do with his time. Later, he testified for a few hours on video tape.
What brought on the whole Whitewater investigation (Whitewater was a land development scheme which went bad) was a fraudulently obtained SBA loan. The McDougals and Tucker were on trial on charges of conspiring with David Hale to get $3 million in illegal, federally backed small-business loans to finance a variety of real estate deals. The Clintons had an investment in the Whitewater deal.
David Hale had been a municipal court judge who operated a Little Rock small-business investment company in the mid-1980s. He testified as a government witness under a plea agreement with Whitewater Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. He pled guilty to two felony fraud charges.
Hale was the government’s main witness in the fraud and conspiracy trial of Governor Tucker and the McDougals. He surprised defense attorneys, and the prosecution, when he strayed from testimony he had given a week before on an alleged financial scheme to benefit the state’s Democrat “political family”. Regarding Clinton, Hale testified then Governor Clinton had pressured him for a $300,000 loan for Susan McDougal. Clinton later called the allegation “a bunch of bull.” The President also denied the loan accusations in his own taped testimony.
Further, according to Hale, Tucker and James McDougal hatched a plan over Tucker’s kitchen table in October 1985 to “clean up some members of a political family.” But during cross-examination by a Tucker attorney, Hale testified that he was not certain when defendant James McDougal made the remarks. He suddenly had a vague memory, a trait of the Clintons and their friends. (OAS is contagious.)
“It could have been [at that meeting],” Hale said, “but it could have been at the next one. We had a lot of meetings during that time.” He was all over the ballpark. Under questioning by a defense attorney, Hale also said he didn’t remember if Tucker was present at the meeting where he says the topic of the “political family” was mentioned.
Hale’s brushes with Occasional Alzheimer’s Syndrome continued as he was also unclear on details of a trip he says he took earlier that October day to see some land south of Little Rock that Tucker was going to buy from Madison (Whitewater?).
Hale’s was the only direct testimony of wrongdoing against the president. The defense had argued that Hale had fabricated the story to make a deal with federal prosecutors. He was later sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to reimburse the government more than $2,000,000 for defrauding the Small Business Administration.
When the senate investigated Whitewater they reviewed expletive-laden notes turned over by the White House which reveal a concern over what former Arkansas securities commissioner Beverly Bassett Schaffer might tell the Senate Committee about the Clintons’ involvement in Whitewater. “Item by item, make sure her story is okay,” the memo reads. “If the effort is botched, we’re done.”
The following day, February 9, 1996, Schafer says she was pressured by White House aides to make a public statement favoring the Clintons in their role in Whitewater. According to notes of a January 1994 White House meeting, aides suggested sending someone to Arkansas to make sure securities commissioner’s story was “okay.”
Things were happening at a dizzying pace. The McDougals and Governor Tucker on trial for fraud and conspiracy were under way. And Bill having his fling with Monica. Top that off with his reelection campaign, and Bill Clinton had a lot on his mind.
By the end of May 1996 the jury found Tucker and the McDougals guilty of twenty-four of the thirty counts against them.
Others who were prosecuted later included two who were instrumental in Clinton’s 1990 reelection as governor. Herby Branscum Jr. and Robert Hill, charged with 11 felony counts in their handling of Madison funds in connection with Clinton’s 1990 gubernatorial re-election bid. They ultimately walked because of a hung jury.
That was not the end of it.
There were the FBI files flap, the firing of the entire white house travel office by the first lady, Elian Gonzalez, Ruby Ridge and The Branch Davidians massacre in Waco.
And it gave us lots of fodder for talk radio.
Liberals shrugged off everything with the attitude character doesn’t count. Conservatives felt otherwise. Draft, pot smoking (remember he didn’t inhale), Monica and Whitewater (according to some callers he was a victim in the Whitewater deal), none of it mattered. Slick Willie was a successful president in their minds.
After Bill Clinton was reelected he seemed more cavalier than ever. The whole question of “Bill and Bimbos” was not a new one. There was a fulltime aide who handled nothing but “bimbo eruptions” during his first campaign for president.
There was a constant stream of women, the likes of which made the John F. Kenney White House look like The Little House on the Prairie.
A couple of his security officers with the Arkansas Highway Patrol wrote of regularly picking up women for the then Governor Clinton. In the old Combat Zone in Boston, we called those men pimps. The practice did not stop when Clinton got to Washington.
Besides his affair with Monica Lewinsky, there was the case of Kathleen Willey, another former White House staffer. Willey testified about alleged unsolicited sexual advances made by the president in 1993. She had solicited the president’s help when she and her husband had gone through hard financial times. They had been big Clinton supporters and Willey had worked at the White House as a volunteer. On the day in 1993 when she had approached the president and he invited her into the Oval Office supposedly to hear her plea for help, her husband had taken a walk in the woods near their home and blew his brains out with a gun.
When she asked the president for help his response was to grope her.
An interesting twist in all the events leading up to what became known as “Monicagate” is the role Linda Tripp played.
It was revealed a few years ago by a caller that Tripp had originally worked in the White House for George Bush in the early 1990s. She had been hired after a series of jobs at the department of defense.
She was recommended to the Clinton White house by Bush transition people and she was hired by the Clinton White House as an administrative assistant.
For three months she worked for presidential aide Bruce Lindsey, then Tripp was assigned to the Office of Legal Counsel, working for Bernard Nussbaum and sometimes for Vincent Foster [see chapter 18].
During 1994 Tripp was transferred from the White House to a position in the Pentagon. What led to the transfer was White House political types ever aware of internal security. They feared Tripp was a mole passing inside information to the press.
While working for the White House she was introduced to Lucianne Goldberg, a literary agent who now hosts a popular conservative current events forum (Lucianne.com). Goldberg would later become Tripp’s adviser regarding Monica and her infamous blue dress.
However, before she was transferred Tripp said she witnessed something which would corroborate information Clinton was a serial groper of women. Tripp said she saw Kathleen Willey when she exited the Oval Office at the time she later accused President Clinton of sexual advances. Tripp said Willey’s clothes were “disheveled. Her face red and her lipstick was off.” After she had gone public with her comments about the Clinton/Willey encounter, presidential lawyer Robert Bennett called Tripp a liar.
Talk about politics making strange bedfellows, Bennett’s brother Bill had been education secretary to President Bush and a harsh critic of Clinton’s sexual dalliances.
By all accounts Linda Tripp played a large role in President Clinton’s woes, legal and political.
One person who resented the president’s advances was Paula Jones. At about the time Tripp was transferred Jones publicly announced she had been accosted by then Governor Clinton. Her lawsuit would set off a chain of events which would be the focus of the president’s attention for probably the rest of his life.
The Jones press conference of February 11, 1994 set off a series of events beyond anything anyone could ever fathom. Her comments were merely the first domino to fall.
In the summer of 1994, Kenneth Starr prepared a pro bono legal brief for women’s groups supporting Paula Jones. He simultaneously did work for the Landmark Legal Foundation, one of the groups bankrolled by Richard Mellon Scaife whom Clinton’s people claim was behind what Hillary Clinton would later describe as the “vast right wing conspiracy” she said was out to get her husband.
I commented on the air more than once perfidy is in the basic nature of Washington politicians.
After preparing all the information and names of the players in this grand scheme I became convinced I was right. Some day I will make a family tree showing the connection between the various Democrats and Republicans. Maybe we can issue uniforms to the players and give them numbers so we can follow the action.
A friend, an old hand in Democrat circles in Washington said at the time, the problem would go away. Friends would take care of friends.
Later he would observe, however, the White House FBI files on Republicans in Washington angered many of the old insiders. The files upped the ante in power politics.
The White House, through a low level security operative, Craig Livingston had requested and received personal dossiers on hundreds of Republicans who had White House passes during the Bush and Reagan Administrations. That was way out of bounds, off limits.
Clinton was indeed an outsider in Washington, employing county style political strong arm tactics. His entire administration was confrontational in style.
Whenever Clinton stumbled the reaction from Republicans was harsh and unyielding.
Paula Jones became the perfect weapon to slam Clinton. Then Monica Lewinsky, blue dress and all, elevated the stakes in the game. Once the stains were confirmed to belong to Clinton, his extracurricular activities in the Oval Office were undeniable. The impeachment bandwagon now had wheels.
The impeachment of Clinton became the first ever of an elected president.
Meanwhile in Massachusetts, William Weld became bored with being governor and thought he’d like the job of ambassador to Mexico. Weld resigned his governorship to accept President Clinton’s ambassadorial appointment.
All Weld needed was confirmation by the U.S. Senate. One little problem cropped up. He was opposed by North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms.
Helms was chairman of the senate foreign relations committee. The chairman of a senate committee wields great power, and this chairman chose not to have hearings on Weld’s appointment.
Helms publicly stated he felt Weld would be a poor choice because of his “softness” on the drug issue at a time when Mexico was [and still is] a big supplier of illegal drugs here in the U.S. He cited Weld’s position on legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes as the reason for killing the Weld nomination.
My thinking at the time was Helms had another agenda. He was angered when Weld left the Reagan administration and had made very nasty remarks about Edwin Meese, Reagan’s attorney general. Helms viewed Meese as a good attorney General.
Grass may have been Jesse Helms’ excuse to stop Weld but Meese was the reason. I thought that then I think that today. To coin an old Jesse Helms campaign slogan, Jesse gave ’em Helms.
When William Weld left the office of governor of The Commonwealth Lieutenant Governor Paul Cellucci became the acting governor for the balance of the term.
After serving as “acting” governor, Cellucci was elected in his own right in 1998. The big issue in his campaign was $750,000 of personal debt most of it on credit cards, while at the same time calling for fiscal austerity in state government.
Cellucci became another governor with other ambitions. In 2001 he resigned the office to accept the assignment as ambassador to Canada.
Lieutenant Governor Jane Swift succeeded Cellucci and had plenty of difficulties of her own.
Jane Swift had no visions of grandeur. No, she simply wanted to become governor in her own right. There was just the little problem of not having a constituency of her own.
Many thought Paul Cellucci selected Swift to have someone who would simply stay out of his way.
By and large she was invisible during the race and later as the number two executive in Massachusetts she was invisible. However once she became acting governor her profile changed.
While serving as acting governor she gave birth to twins [May 15, 2001]. No sooner had the debate aver whether she could maintain the crushing schedule as governor and be a mother to her infants she, as they say in politics, “she stepped in it.”
She was caught abusing her gubernatorial privileges. One was the use of a state police helicopter to take her to her home in North Adams, in the western part of the state. Next was her demands that aides pick up her children at day care. They would then watch them while on work time.
Next we learned she used a specially constructed van converted to an office for her to commute to he State House office in Boston. The commute was about six hours per day.
Due to 9/11 security she was driven to and from North Adams by a State Police trooper.
In what would be possibly his most important appointment, Governor Paul Cellucci appointed Massachusetts business man Christy Mihos to the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority.
Authorities were established to allow for government agencies to rise above politics and operate independently from outside pressure. The board members serve five years and governors cannot pack the five man board during a four year term.
Soon after his appointment Mihos began to clash with authority chairman Matt Amarillo, a longtime Republican hack who once served in the state senate and unsuccessfully ran for congress.
Jane Swift fired Mihos because he took his role as an independent member of the Authority seriously.
Mihos was fired because he and (board vice chairman) Jordan Levy voted against a toll hike favored by Amarillo. Levy was fired too. However, Mihos sued in the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts claiming the Governor did not have the authority to fire him.
Mihos won. He was reinstated to the Commission, along with Vice Chairman Levy.
Mihos later sued the governor for violating his first amendment rights. The case was settled for $197,000 to cover his legal costs in suing to keep his job.
Christy Mihos became one of the people lobbying Mitt Romney to return to Massachusetts after his stint as chairman of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2000.
His experiences in “behind closed doors’ politics in Massachusetts persuaded him to run for governor in 2006 as an independent.
After she took office she had had a few little run-ins with the media over her use of s State Police helicopter for rides to her home in the western part of Massachusetts and the use of office people to run errands and baby sit her newborn twins (first governor in history to give birth while in office) on work time, she was somewhat invisible.
Finally, when Cellucci skipped off to Ottawa as U.S., Ambassador, she immediately put into place her version of a political machine.
We discussed the many controversies concerning the Big Dig going back to chapter nine. Swift managed to place her fingerprints all over the fiasco as well.
She apparently saw the Bid Dig contractors as a solid area for fund raising.
Massachusetts was a microcosm of Washington.
As Clinton’s difficulties in Whitewater began to disappear, his problems with Paula Jones and later his affair with Monica Lewinsky began to grow. There is nothing like sex to get America’s attention. The more salacious the more interesting. Jones was quoted as saying Clinton unzipped his trousers and exposed himself to Jones with the statement, “Kiss it”. He later said, “Oral sex isn’t sex.”
After his reelection President Clinton began down the slippery slope of concocting explanations and excuses regarding his “bimbo problem”.
Among the most memorable moments was the president staring into the TV cameras and responding to a question concerning the Lewinsky affair. While pointing his finger at his questioner he asserted “I never had sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.”
He not only lied to the media, he had lied under oath regarding to Lewinsky. That was perjury and later caused him to have to surrender his law license in Arkansas for five years. If he did not accept the suspension, he would have been disbarred.
By 1998, Clinton was fully immersed in sex scandals for the remainder of his administration, concluding with his impeachment.
Many Republicans wanted to thoroughly scar his reputation as many felt he had attempted to do with the old FBI files. There was little pity for Clinton in the House of Representatives.
For years, talk shows were abuzz with talk about Clinton’s sexual proclivities. Liberals defended his action. Conservatives attacked his character on the matter. There were very few people neutral on Clinton.
It was not my intention to relive all the sex stories concerning the exploits of William Jefferson Clinton. I’ll leave that to others because it would take many volumes to completely relive those experiences. It was exciting but, personally, I would rather not relive it here.
After the impeachment and his acquittal in the senate, Clinton managed to continue to stir the pot.
Rather than go through all of William Clinton’s foibles, I think listing the names of unsavory types involved with the Clinton White House should suffice. They will ring bells in your head as they do mine:
The Clinton friends list:
Webster Hubbell James Riady
Mochtar Riady Liu Chaoying
Johnny Chung Marc Rich
Bernard Nussbaum Jorge Cabrera
Jim McDougal Susan McDougal
Jim Guy Tucker John Huang
Yah Lin "Charlie" Trie Ted Sioeng
Maria Hsia Wang Jun
Those are names of people who wound up in one legal entanglement or another directly connected to President Clinton.
The His Lai Buddhist Temple in California was merely the tip of the overly aggressive fund raising by the Clinton/Gore campaign. The Korean Temple was a foreign church. The $30,000 given to Al Gore was foreign money, illegal in federal campaigns. Of course, nothing came of that wrong doing.
Then there was the case of Loral Space & Communications, where Bill Clinton granted an export license to the company whose president gave millions of dollars over the past few years in contribution to Democrats, including Clinton himself. The president overruled his State Department, Defense Department, and Justice Department in doing so.
Doral technology was and is very important to the Chinese for missile guidance and ground positioning.
Of course there was nothing to question since both Loral’s president Bernard Schwartz and our president Bill Clinton said there was no connection between the millions in contributions and the export license. Of course there wasn’t.
Chinagate may some day be a bigger stain on Clinton’s legacy than Monica’s dress or even Watergate for former President Richard Nixon. We are only now learning about how much missile technology escaped to China and nuclear materials from the USA to North Korea. How much of our technology obtained by China during Clinton’s watch is now in the hands of North Korea and Iran, both Chinese clients. What will the ultimate price be for us to pay?
William Clinton’s failure to properly support our troops in Somalia in 1993 led to an emboldened Osama Bin Laden. Our failure to properly respond to terrorist attacks on the World Trade Towers, our embassies in Africa, or the USS Cole in 2000, and his failure to take Bin Laden captive when he was offered to us by Sudan which was evicting him and el Qaeda in the late 1990s have left us with the prospect conducting a world wide hunt for the now well organized outlaws.
The final indignity President Clinton left us with is the complete change in our sexual culture. Sex ceased being a very personal matter and became a recreational item. After all, it was Clinton who said oral sex is not sex.
Night after night, the name Lewinsky became synonymous with oral sex and the President of the United States. Monica Lewinsky last name is now a noun which defines her Oval Office activity.
Watching the nightly news back then was akin to reading adult magazines. We needed to keep it out of the reach of children.
So much for, “We will be the most ethical administration in American history.”