"Definitive" Book on Clinton, Monica and Whitewater
Does anyone still care about Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, Ken Starr and Whitewater?
Both Bill Clinton and Ken Starr agreed to tell their stories to the author. Apparently, neither one gets a clean bill of health. [More...]
Through 769 pages, Gormley, a Duquesne University law professor, offers a detailed, even scholarly retelling of an epic saga of grand jury depositions, fevered partisans and a single stained blue dress that once transfixed a nation — but which many Americans are surely eager to leave in the past.
Even so, the book represents an attempt by a law professor and prominent legal pundit to write what he is billing as the most complete and evenhanded account of the tumultuous criminal investigation that explored Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky, nearly ended his presidency and ultimately boomeranged on Starr, staining the professional reputation of one of America’s foremost constitutional scholars.
The highlights seem to be:
- the author believes, but won't say why, Clinton had an affair with Susan Macdougal (which, he also says, didn't impact her refusal to testify against him.)
- Monica wrote the author that she believes Clinton lied in his grand jury testimony
- Prosecutors seriously violated Monica's rights by questioning her without a lawyer:
“I wouldn’t have touched her with a 10-foot pole,” said the lawyer hired to examine the episode, Jo Ann Harris, breaking her silence about her findings on the effort to lure in Lewinsky for questioning. “The minute she says, ‘Can I call my lawyer?’ you stop…. And when she says it for the sixth or seventh time, you really stop….There are limits.”
- Bill Clinton is still mad. (Who wouldn't be?) He told the author:
“They were disgraced, and he [Hyde] knows it. They ran a partisan hit job run by a bitter right winger, Henry Hyde, who turned out to be a hypocrite on the personal issues….Yeah, I will always have a asterisk after my name, but I hope I’ll have two asterisks: one is ‘They impeached him,” and the other is ‘He stood up to them and beat them, and he beat them like a yard dog.’”
One person Gormley did not get to interview: Hillary.
Update: Also in the book, an accusation by a Secret Service agent that the FBI tried to get him to lie about Clinton.
The allegation dovetails with a comment by another former prosecutor that Bill Clinton never knew how close he came to being indicted. From the Politico article:
The official, Lewis C. Merletti, who headed the former president’s protective detail and later became the agency’s director, said in an interview that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had grilled him just days before Mr. Clinton left office in a last-ditch effort to prove that his agents had covered up and even facilitated extramarital flings.
Mr. Merletti said that the F.B.I. alleged that he and Mr. Clinton had concocted this deal: in exchange for Mr. Merletti’s stonewalling questions about Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Clinton would not only appoint him director of the Secret Service but would also provide him women for sexual encounters.
“They said to me, ‘You’re the last person who can give us the president, and you’re going to give him to us,’ ” Mr. Merletti recalled. He called it “disgraceful” and said of the F.B.I., “They became involved in a political game, and in the end they tarnished themselves beyond belief.”
Starr’s successor Robert Ray was prepared to indict Clinton soon after he left office if he did not agree to admit that he made false statements about Lewinsky under oath and accept disbarment. Ray “was ready to ‘pull the trigger’ if the conditions he imposed were not satisfied,” Gormley writes, and had to be “cajoled” by a colleague into signing off on the final deal.
“President Clinton would never fully grasp how close he came to being indicted,” Gormley writes.
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