Senate whitewater report 104–280, June 13, 1996, Mrs. Clinton closely involved in handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s office directed that investigators be denied access, White House interference in law enforcement investigations

VinceFosterStrangeDeath

Senate whitewater report 104–280, June 13, 1996, Mrs. Clinton closely involved in handling of documents in
Mr. Foster’s office directed that investigators be denied access, White House interference in law enforcement investigations

 

From the Senate Whitewater investigation report June 13, 1996.

“FINAL REPORT
together with
ADDITIONAL AND MINORITY VIEWS
PREFACE
On May 17, 1995, the United States Senate, by a vote of 96–3,
adopted Senate Resolution 120, which established the Special Committee
to Investigate Whitewater Development Corporation and Related
Matters (hereinafter the ‘‘Special Committee’’), to be administered
by the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
(the ‘‘Banking Committee’’). Resolution 120 charged the Special
Committee with the responsibility to conduct an extensive investigation
into and to hold public hearings on specified matters relating
to the President’s and Mrs. Clinton’s investment in Whitewater
Development Corporation (‘‘Whitewater’’) along with James and
Susan McDougal, Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association
(‘‘Madison Guaranty’’), and related matters.
In discharging its responsibilities under Resolution 120, the Special
Committee deposed 274 witnesses and held 60 days of public
hearings, during which 136 witnesses testified. The Committee also
reviewed approximately 1 million pages of documents produced by
the President and Mrs. Clinton, the White House, various federal
agencies, and a number of individual witnesses.
Resolution 120 authorized the Committee to investigate and to
hold public hearings into three general subject areas. Section
1(b)(1) authorized investigation into whether White House officials
engaged in improper conduct in handling papers in Deputy White
House Counsel Vincent Foster’s office following his death on July
20, 1993—the so-called Foster Phase of the Special Committee’s inquiry.
With respect to the Washington Phase of the inquiry, Section
1(b)(2) authorized investigation into whether the White House improperly
interfered with any investigations or prosecutions by various
federal agencies relating to, among other things, Whitewater,
Madison Guaranty related entities, and Capital Management Services,
Inc. (‘‘CMS’’).
Finally, in the Arkansas Phase, §1(b)(3) of Resolution 120 authorized
the Special Committee to investigate, among other things,
the activities of Whitewater, Madison Guaranty, CMS, Lasater &
Co., and the work and billing practices of the Rose Law Firm relating
to Madison Guaranty.
1. THE FOSTER PHASE
During the 103d Congress, the Banking Committee, pursuant to
Senate Resolution 229, conducted an inquiry into the cause of Mr.
Foster’s death and the conduct of the subsequent investigation of
his death by the United States Park Police. On July 15, 1994, Special
Counsel Robert B. Fiske, Jr. advised the Banking Committee
that ‘‘public hearings on the subject of the handling of documents
in Mr. Foster’s office while this investigation is continuing could
prejudice our investigation.’’ 1 Accordingly, the Banking Committee’s
public hearings on July 29, 1994 into the cause of Mr. Foster’s
death excluded inquiry into the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s
office.
At the conclusion of the Banking Committee’s hearings in the
summer of 1994, the following matters, among others, were identified
for future inquiry relating to Mr. Foster’s death:
the White House interference into the Park Police search of
Mr. Foster’s office;
the presence of White House counsel staff during standard
Park Police investigatory interviews;
the White House insistence that the Park Police investigation
proceed with Department of Justice involvement to the extent
that DOJ was ‘‘calling the shots’’ and ‘‘setting up protocol’’ and
the Park Police were ‘‘stand[ing] and waiting for permission to
do our job’’; and
the late delivery of the note in Mr. Foster’s office to Park Police,
discovered by White House counsel. 2
On April 22, 1995, Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr advised
the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Banking Committee
that his investigation would not be hindered or impeded by a
Senate inquiry into the way in which White House officials handled
documents in Mr. Foster’s office following his death.
Accordingly, the Special Committee commenced its investigation
and public hearings into whether White House officials engaged in
improper conduct in handling documents in Mr. Foster’s office at
the time of his death. The Special Committee recognizes that Mr.
Foster’s death remains a source of much grief to his family and
friends. In conducting its inquiry under section 1(b)(1) of Resolution
120, the Committee sought to balance carefully the need to
protect the privacy of the Foster family and its duty to carry out
fully the mandate of the Senate.
2. THE WASHINGTON PHASE
Resolution 120 directed the Special Committee to review the
handling of several federal investigations relating to the
Whitewater real estate venture; Madison Guaranty McDougal’s
S&L, the failure of which cost American taxpayers more than $60
million; and CMS, a small business investment company owned by
David Hale, who made illegal loans to James and Susan McDougal
in part to finance the Whitewater investment. Specifically, section
1(b)(2) of the Resolution authorized the Special Committee to conduct
an investigation and public hearings into the following matters:
(A) whether any person has improperly handled confidential
Resolution Trust Corporation (‘‘RTC’’) information relating to
Madison Guaranty or Whitewater, including whether any person
has improperly communicated such information to individuals
referenced therein;
(B) whether the White House has engaged in improper contacts
with any other agency or department in the Government
with regard to confidential RTC information relating to Madison
Guaranty or Whitewater;
(C) whether the Department of Justice has improperly handled
RTC criminal referrals relating to Madison Guaranty or
Whitewater;
(D) whether RTC employees have been improperly importuned,
prevented, restrained, or deterred in conducting investigations
or making enforcement recommendations relating to
Madison Guaranty or Whitewater; and
(E) whether the report issued by the Office of Government
Ethics on July 31, 1994, or related transcripts of deposition
testimony—
(i) were improperly released to White House officials or
others prior to their testimony before the Committee on
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs pursuant to Senate
Resolution 229 (103d Congress); or
(ii) were used to communicate to White House officials
or to others confidential RTC information relating to Madison
Guaranty or Whitewater.3
In conducting the inquiry mandated during this so-called ‘‘Washington
Phase’’ of the investigation, the Special Committee examined
whether the President and Mrs. Clinton—or their agents—
misused the power of the presidency in responding to a series of
investigations of the Whitewater matter. As in the past, the Senate
sought to serve as the public’s watchdog, to expose abuses of the
public trust.
Of necessity, the Special Committee inquired into the investigative
and prosecutorial processes of Executive Branch agencies to
determine whether the laws were properly and faithfully executed.
Congress has a duty to investigate allegations that the normal investigative
and prosecutorial processes of the Executive Branch
have been compromised.4 More important, Congress has the con-
stitutional obligation to ensure that the President’s private interests
have not been elevated above the public good.
3. THE ARKANSAS PHASE
This is the beginning of the Whitewater matter. In this phase of
its inquiry, the Senate charged the Special Committee with investigating
the complex web of intermingled funds, fraudulent transactions,
political favors, and conflicted relationships which comprise
the ‘‘20 years of public life in Arkansas’’ that Mrs. Clinton did
not want an independent counsel, among others, to look into.5
Specifically, Section 1(b)(3) of Resolution 120 authorized an investigation
and public hearings into the following matters:
(A) the operations, solvency, and regulation of Madison
Guaranty Savings & Loan Association, and any subsidiary, affiliate,
or other entity owned or controlled by Madison Guaranty
Savings and Loan Association;
(B) the activities, investments, and tax liability of
Whitewater Development Corporation and, as related to
Whitewater Development Corporation, of its officers, directors,
and shareholders;
(C) the policies and practices of the RTC and the Federal
banking agencies (as that term is defined in section 3 of the
Federal Deposit Insurance Act) regarding the legal representation
of such agencies with respect to Madison Guaranty Savings
and Loan Association;
(D) the handling by the RTC, the Office of Thrift Supervision,
the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and the
Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation of civil or administrative
actions against parties regarding Madison Guaranty
Savings & Loan Association.
(E) the sources of funding and the lending practices of Capital
Management Services, Inc., and its supervision and regulation
by the Small Business Administration, including any alleged
diversion of funds to Whitewater Development Corporation;
(F) the bond underwriting contracts between Arkansas Development
Finance Authority and Lasater & Company; and
(G) the lending activities of Perry County Bank, Perryville,
Arkansas, in connection with the 1990 Arkansas gubernatorial
election.
These various subjects, seemingly disparate, are nevertheless
woven together by common and recurring themes of abuse of
power, fraud on federal institutions and theft of public funds, and
frequent neglect, if not deliberate disregard, of professional, ethical,
and, at times, legal standards.
The Special Committee completed its task under Resolution 120
in a bipartisan manner. With few notable exceptions, the Special
Committee conducted its investigation and public hearings by mutual
consent between the Chairman and Ranking Member, thus obviating
the need for votes by the Special Committee.
Because the testimony of witnesses before the Special Committee
was often contradictory, incomplete, or inaccurate as to important
events and actions, the Committee placed particular emphasis on
available documentary evidence. Unfortunately, throughout its in
quiry, the Committee was hindered by parties unduly delaying the
production of, or withholding outright, documents critical to its investigation.
Although the White House was most often and most
notably engaged in this course of action, the pattern of noncooperation
extended to other parties, as this Report lays out more fully
in the Washington Phase of the Special Committee’s inquiry.
This Report of the Special Committee is divided into three separate
but interrelated parts. Part 1 focuses on the Foster Phase of
the inquiry, into whether White House officials engaged in improper
conduct in the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s office
at the time of his death. Part 2 summarizes the Special Committee’s
investigation into the Washington Phase and discusses the
handling of federal investigations into Whitewater and related matters,
the Administration’s attempts to interfere with these investigations,
and the White House’s attempts to interfere with Congressional
inquiries into the Administration’s alleged improprieties.
Part 3 centers on the Arkansas Phase and details the transactions
and activities that comprise Governor Clinton’s web of political,
personal, and business relationships—a web that includes, among
others, Whitewater, Madison, CMS, James McDougal, David Hale,
and Danny Ray Lasater. Each Part begins with a separate, detailed
outline and concludes with respective endnotes.
These three parts are interrelated because the entire story of
Whitewater is not simply the sum of its parts. Rather, seeping
through the pages that follow are clearly identifiable patterns of
motivation, conduct, and, at times, concealment. Beyond discrete
judgments of impropriety in particular instances, therefore, the
Special Committee has examined the evidence and reached conclusions
that transcend any individual persons, actions, or events but
rather illuminate patterns of conduct behind the Whitewater affair.
The Conclusions of the Special Committee are summarized at the
beginning of each Part. They do not answer all questions and allegations
that have surfaced, but, taken together, they provide a
comprehensive survey of the facts uncovered by the Special Committee
in its 13 months of investigation. And they offer a full, fair,
and often troubling picture of the inner workings of government
that the Senate, by an overwhelming mandate, charged the Special
Committee to present to the American people.”
“PART I—THE FOSTER PHASE”

“CONCLUSIONS OF THE SPECIAL COMMITTEE

‘‘Bernie, are you hiding something?’’—Philip Heymann, former
Deputy Attorney General.6
Whitewater is a ‘‘can of worms you shouldn’t open.’’—Vincent
Foster’s handwritten notes.7
‘‘HRC ‘doesn’t want [an independent counsel] poking into 20
years of public life in Arkansas.’ ’’—Diary of Roger Altman, former
Deputy Secretary of Treasury, quoting Margaret Williams, Chief of
Staff to the First Lady.8
‘‘Ms. Thomases and the First Lady may have been concerned
about anyone having unfettered access to Mr. Foster’s office.’’—Associate
White House Counsel Stephen Neuwirth.9
The death of White House Deputy Counsel Vincent W. Foster, Jr.
on July 20, 1993 marked the first time since the death of Secretary
of Defense James Forrestal in 1949 that a high-ranking U.S. official
took his own life.10 Now, almost three years later, the circumstances
surrounding Mr. Foster’s tragic death remain the subject
of much speculation and even suspicion. Against the backdrop
of the death of a high-ranking U.S. official, this controversy has
been fueled by a series of misguided actions taken by senior White
House officials to shield the documents in Mr. Foster’s office from
independent career law enforcement investigators and to spirit the
documents to the White House Residence.
As Deputy Counsel to the President, Mr. Foster was the number
two lawyer in the White House. He worked on the most important
public issues faced by the new Clinton Administration. At the time
of his death, Mr. Foster also was one of the Clintons’ key advisors
on Whitewater and Travelgate. These matters are now the subject
of criminal investigations by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr.
In fact, by July 20, 1993, federal investigators already were examining
Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan Association, the S&L at
the center of the Whitewater affair, as well as the controversial firing
in May 1993 of seven career White House Travel Office employees.
Mr. Foster’s office contained important evidence of actions that
the Clintons and senior White House officials took with respect to
Whitewater and Travelgate.
The Special Committee’s investigation into the handling of Mr.
Foster’s documents was among the most important matters of inquiry
under Resolution 120. It raised the question, once again in
our nation’s history, whether the power of the White House was
misused to serve the purely private ends of the President and his
associates: specifically, whether senior officials took improper steps,
in their handling of Mr. Foster’s documents, to cover up embarrass-
ing revelations or even crimes relating to Whitewater and
Travelgate.
Often, the successful prosecution of financial crimes and public
corruption depends on the documentary trail left by the perpetrators
of such wrongdoing. For example, Independent Counsel Starr
recently obtained the convictions of Arkansas Governor Jim Guy
Tucker and James and Susan McDougal, the owners of Madison
Guaranty and the Clintons’ partners in the Whitewater real estate
development, in part on the basis of more than 600 documents introduced
into evidence. By the same token, the concealment or removal
of documents can seriously delay or derail investigation of
financial malfeasance.
The White House undeniably mishandled the review of documents
in Mr. Foster’s office following his death. Department of Justice
and Park Police investigators told the Special Committee that
their investigations were hindered and impeded by the refusal of
senior White House officials to allow them to review Mr. Foster’s
documents. The question before the Committee, then, is whether
senior White House officials simply committed an inexplicable series
of blunders and misjudgments or whether these officials deliberately
interfered with the investigations into Mr. Foster’s death
and, perhaps, into the Whitewater and Travelgate affairs.
After careful review of all the evidence, the Special Committee
concludes that senior White House officials, particularly members
of the Office of the White House Counsel, engaged in a pattern of
highly improper conduct in their handling of the documents in Mr.
Foster’s office following his death. These senior White House officials
deliberately prevented career law enforcement officers from
the Department of Justice and Park Police from fully investigating
the circumstances surrounding Mr. Foster’s death, including
whether he took his own life because of troubling matters involving
the President and Mrs. Clinton. At every turn, senior White House
officials prevented Justice Department and Park Police investigators
from examining the documents in Mr. Foster’s office, particularly
those relating to the Whitewater and Travelgate affairs then
under investigation.
This pattern of concealment and obstruction continues even to
the present day. The Special Committee concludes that senior
White House officials and other close Clinton associates were not
candid in their testimony before the Committee. Specifically, the
Committee concludes that Margaret Williams, Chief of Staff to the
First Lady, Susan Thomases, a New York attorney and close advisor
to Mrs. Clinton, Bernard Nussbaum, then-White House Counsel,
and Webster Hubbell, former Associate Attorney General and
now-convicted felon, all provided inaccurate and incomplete testimony
to the Committee in order to conceal Mrs. Clinton’s pivotal
role in the decisions surrounding the handling of Mr. Foster’s documents
following his death.
Finally, the Special Committee concludes that the misconduct
surrounding the handling of Mr. Foster’s documents is part of a
larger and more troubling pattern, that began in Arkansas in the
1980s and has continued in Washington during the Clinton Administration,
in which the Clintons and their associates have sought to
hinder, impede and control investigations into Madison Guaranty
S&L and the Whitewater real estate investment. Parts of this larger
pattern include (i) Mrs. Clinton’s decision in 1988—when federal
investigators were examining possible misconduct leading to Madison
Guaranty’s failure just two years before—to order the destruction
of records relating to her representation of this S&L; (ii) Mr.
Foster’s and Mr. Hubbell’s improper and unauthorized 1992 removal
of Rose Law Firm records and files relating to Mrs. Clinton’s
representation of this corrupt S&L; and (iii) and the improper communication
to White House officials during the fall of 1993 of confidential
information relating to ongoing criminal investigations of
Madison Guaranty and of Capital Management Services, Inc., a
small business investment company also central to the Whitewater
affair.
By the time of Vincent Foster’s death in July 1993, the Clintons had
established a pattern of concealing their involvement with
Whitewater and the McDougals’ Madison Guaranty S&L
The actions of senior White House officials and other close Clinton
associates in the days and weeks following Mr. Foster’s death
cannot be viewed in a vacuum. Their actions were but part of a
pattern that began in 1988 of concealing, controlling and even destroying
damaging information concerning the Whitewater real estate
investment and the Clintons’ ties to James and Susan
McDougal and the Madison S&L. Indeed, at the time of Mr. Foster’s
death, the Clintons and their associates were aware that the
Clintons’ involvement with Whitewater land deal, the McDougals,
and the Madison S&L might subject them to civil liability and even
criminal investigation.
In 1988, Mrs. Clinton ordered the destruction of records relating
to her representation of Mr. McDougal’s Madison S&L.11 This was
not a routine destruction of records. At the time, federal regulators
were investigating the operation and solvency of Madison in anticipation
of taking it over. These Rose Law Firm records, which after
Madison’s failure would have belonged to the Resolution Trust Corporation
(‘‘RTC’’),12 were directly relevant to that investigation.
By ordering their destruction, Mrs. Clinton eliminated pertinent
records and also exposed her firm to potential liability with respect
to her representation. Indeed, if such representation was proper, as
Mrs. Clinton has claimed, her document destruction deprived the
law firm of the records necessary to defend itself in a suit by federal
investigators. Moreover, in 1988, Seth Ward, a former associate
of Mr. McDougal and Webster Hubbell’s father-in-law, was actually
suing Madison Guaranty over a land deal that federal regulators
have described as a fraud.13 Mrs. Clinton had performed
work on the project, including having numerous telephones calls
and meetings with Mr. Ward, and the law firm record of her work
and the transactions surrounding this land deal certainly would
have been highly relevant to the conduct of that suit.
Accordingly, Mrs. Clinton’s destruction of documents could constitute
a breach of legal ethics and, possibly, a violation of law if
done with the knowledge that the documents are material to investigations
or ongoing litigation.14 Professor Stephen Gillers of New
York University, a noted ethics expert, has recently stated: ‘‘I don’t
know how it could be that these files were destroyed. . . . It makes
it stranger that they were destroyed, not only so soon after they
were created but also at a time when this lawsuit was about to go
to trial. . . . It certainly could lead to suspicion that she has something
to hide because one possible inference from the destruction
is that there was something in those files that she did not want
to have made public.’’ 15
The pattern further continued during the 1992 presidential campaign,
after questions arose about the Clintons’ investment with
the McDougals in Whitewater and Mrs. Clinton’s representation of
Madison Guaranty before a state agency. In an effort to respond to
inquiries from the press and charges from other candidates, Mrs.
Clinton’s then-law partner, Vincent Foster, collected all the information
he could on the Madison representation. At the conclusion
of the campaign, the Madison files, which were by now the property
of the RTC as conservator of Madison, as well as the files of
other Rose clients for whom Mrs. Clinton had performed legal services,
were secretly removed from the firm by another then-Rose
Law Firm partner, Webster Hubbell. Mr. Hubbell removed these
files, at times taking the firm’s only copies,16 without obtaining the
consent of the firm or client.17 Given that Mr. Hubbell was about
to assume a position of great public trust as Associate Attorney
General, his unauthorized decision to remove these files is especially
troubling.
Also during the 1992 presidential campaign, Mr. Foster or Mr.
Hubbell ordered the printing of billing records relating to the Rose
Law Firm’s representation of Madison Guaranty. These important
records revealed the extent of Mrs. Clinton’s legal work for
McDougal’s S&L, including her telephone call to Beverly Bassett
Schaffer, the Arkansas Securities Commissioner appointed by Governor
Clinton, about the troubled thrift’s controversial proposal to
raise capital by issuing preferred stock. The records also reflected
Mrs. Clinton’s work on the IDC or Castle Grande transaction,
which federal regulators described as a series of fraudulent land
flips.18 The records contain the handwritten questions of Mr. Foster
to Mrs. Clinton and notations by Mr. Hubbell.19 Mrs. Clinton has
recently stated through her lawyer that she may have reviewed
them during the 1992 presidential campaign.
After federal investigators began to look into matters relating to
Madison Guaranty and Whitewater, a number of subpoenas were
issued for these Rose Law Firm billing records. By then, however,
the records were nowhere to be found. Despite extensive searches
conducted by the law firm, neither the originals nor copies were
discovered.20 They were not in the firm computers, its client files,
or the firm’s storage facility.21
Apparently, at some point, someone removed these billing
records from the Rose Law Firm. In August 1995, Carolyn Huber,
an assistant to Mrs. Clinton, discovered them in the book room of
the White House Residence, next to Mrs. Clinton’s office.22 At the
time, Mrs. Huber did not realize the records were under subpoena,
and she placed them in a box in her office. In January 1996,23 Mrs.
Huber identified these records, and personal counsel for the President
and Mrs. Clinton turned them over investigators. Mr. Hubbell
testified that he last saw the records during the 1992 presidential
campaign in the possession of Mr. Foster.24
By July 1993, the Clintons and their associates had established
a pattern of concealment with respect to the Clintons’ involvement
with Whitewater and the Madison S&L. Because of the complexity
of the allegations of misdeeds involving these institutions, documents
and files are critical to any inquiries into the matter. Yet,
at every important turn, crucial files and documents ‘‘disappeared’’
or were withheld from scrutiny whenever questions were raised.
The Clintons and their associates were aware, at the time of Mr.
Foster’s death, that the Clintons’ involvement with Whitewater
and the Madison Guaranty S&L might subject them to liability
In late fall 1992, Betsey Wright, the coordinator of ‘‘damage control’’
efforts during the presidential campaign and a former chief of
staff to Governor Clinton, learned of a ‘‘criminal referral regarding
a savings and loan official in Arkansas and . . . involv[ing] the
Clintons.’’ 25 Ms. Wright testified that she learned this information
from a Clinton supporter from California who had a friend who
heard it at a cocktail party in Kansas City.26 At the cocktail party,
an RTC official informed someone, whose friend reported it to Ms.
Wright, that the RTC had just sent a ‘‘criminal referral up to the
prosecutor in Little Rock.’’ 27 Upon hearing the news, Ms. Wright
tried to gather more information about the referral.28 She then told
Mrs. Clinton about the referral directly. Ms. Wright testified: ‘‘I remember
I asked Hillary if she was aware of any friend of theirs
who was in a savings and loan business who might be under criminal
investigation, and we couldn’t think of anybody.’’ 29
It is with this knowledge that the Clintons and their advisers
came to Washington, taking with them the important documents
relating to Whitewater and Madison. The documents (including
documents improperly taken from the law firm) were entrusted
only to close associates of the Clintons, chiefly Messrs. Foster and
Hubbell.
By March 1993, senior Clinton Administration officials confirmed
that the RTC had sent a criminal referral mentioning the Clintons
to the Justice Department.30 Specifically, RTC Senior Vice President
William H. Roelle testified that, after taking office, Roger Altman,
then Deputy Treasury Secretary, directed the staff to inform
him of all important or potentially high-visibility issues.31 According
to Mr. Roelle, on or about March 23, 1993, he told Mr. Altman
of an RTC referral involving the Clintons.32
Powerful documentary evidence strongly indicates that Mr. Altman
immediately passed this important information on to White
House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum. On March 23, Mr. Altman sent
Mr. Nussbaum a facsimile with a handwritten cover sheet, forwarding
an ‘‘RTC Clip Sheet’’ of a March 9, 1992 New York Times
article with the headline, ‘‘Clinton Defends Real-Estate Deal.’’ 33
This article reported the responses of presidential candidate, Bill
Clinton, to an earlier Times report on the Clintons’ Whitewater investment.
The next day, Mr. Altman faxed to Mr. Nussbaum the
same article that he sent the day before and portions of the earlier
Times report on Whitewater, dated March 8, 1992, entitled ‘‘Clintons
Joined S&L Operator in an Ozark Real-Estate Venture.’’ 34
In addition, SBA Associate Administrator Wayne Foren testified
that, in early May 1993, he briefed Erskine Bowles, the new SBA
Administrator about the agency’s ongoing investigation of David
Hale’s Capital Management Services because the case involved
President Clinton.35 Shortly thereafter, Mr. Bowles told Mr. Foren
that he had briefed White House Chief of Staff Mack McLarty
about the case.36 Although Mr. Bowles did not recall being briefed
by Mr. Foren about Capital Management 37 or talking to Mr.
McLarty about the case,38 Mr. Foren’s account was corroborated by
his deputy, Charles Shepperson.39 Mr. McLarty’s calendar indicated
that Mr. Bowles had two meetings with Mr. McLarty at the
White House in early May 1993.40
As of July 1993, therefore, Mrs. Clinton and others in the Administration
were on notice that there was an ongoing federal investigation
to which Madison-related documents could be relevant.
At the time of his death, Mr. Foster’s office contained damaging evidence
about the Whitewater and Travelgate affairs
After he became Deputy White House Counsel, Mr. Foster continued
to play a key role in controlling potential damage to the
Clintons from Whitewater. He was given the responsibility for
overseeing the preparation of Clintons’ tax returns for 1992 to reflect
properly the sale of their shares in Whitewater.41 Mr. Foster
worked with other White House officials in the Spring of 1993 in
preparing a response to expected Whitewater questions.42 And,
most interestingly, Mr. McDougal had left a message for Mr. Foster
on June 16, 1993, ‘‘re tax returns of HRC, VWF and McDougal.’’ 43
The documents in Mr. Foster’s office at the time of death included
a file on Whitewater and his notes of conversations with the Clintons’
accountant, Yoly Redden, concerning the tax treatment of the
sale of Whitewater.44 The notes identified the tax problem as a
‘‘can of worms you shouldn’t open’’ 45 and further warned: ‘‘Don’t
want to go back into that box Was McD trying to circumvent bank
loss—why HRC getting loan from other.’’ 46
Mr. Foster also played a central role in both the firing of seven
career employees of the Travel Office on May 19, 1993 and subsequent
attempts to conceal Mrs. Clinton’s true role in the controversial
firings. Harry Thomason, a close Clinton confidant, reportedly
instigated the firings after the career employees rejected his plan
to obtain the White House’s charter business for a company he
partly owned.47 With public criticism growing, the White House circumvented
normal procedures and directly asked the FBI (not the
Department of Justice) to investigate allegation so possible criminal
misconduct by the career employees of the Travel Office.48 Although
Mr. Foster was not formally reprimanded for his role in the
firings, he felt personally responsible.49
Other senior White House officials implicated in Travelgate include
David Watkins and Patsy Thomasson. The Special Committee
belatedly obtained a memorandum of Mr. Watkins outlining
Mr. Foster’s extensive involvement as Mrs. Clinton’s conduit to the
firings.50 Indeed, Mr. Watkins fingered Mr. Foster as the person
who directly communicated to him Mrs. Clinton’s order that the
Travel Office staff be fired: ‘‘Foster regularly informed me that the
First Lady was concerned and desired action—the action desired
was the firing of the Travel Office staff.’’ 51 Notwithstanding Mrs.
Clinton’s clear involvement in the firing of the staff, Mr. Foster and
other White House officials did nod disclose her true role to investigators
probing the affair.
Significantly, at the time of his death, Mr. Foster’s briefcase contained
files, a personal notebook and a torn-up note, all concerning
the controversial Travel Office matter.
Thus, when Mr. Foster committed suicide in July 1993, White
House officials were aware that a danger existed that the law enforcement
officials might discover documents concerning Whitewater
or Travelgate in his office. In fact, David Margolis, one of the
Justice Department officials who attended the search of Mr. Foster’s
office two days after his death, was aware of an RTC criminal
referral concerning Madison that mentioned the Clintons.52 This
risk of discovery provides the backdrop against which the story of
Mr. Foster’s death and the White House’s subsequent scramble
must be viewed.
White House officials engaged in highly improper conduct in handling
documents in Vincent Foster’s office following his death
The evidence before the Special Committee established that
White House officials engaged in a pattern of deliberate obstruction,
and interference with, efforts by law enforcement authorities
to conduct their several investigations into Mr. Foster’s death.
This White House interference began immediately following Mr.
Foster’s death on the night of July 20. Senior White House officials
ignored specific requests by the Park Police to seal Mr. Foster’s office
on the night of his death.53 Instead, White House Counsel Bernard
Nussbaum, Chief of Staff to the First Lady Margaret Williams
and Deputy Assistant to the President Patsy Thomasson entered
Mr. Foster’s office purportedly to search for a suicide note.
According to career Secret Service Office Henry O’Neill, and corroborated
by Secret Service records, Ms. Williams removed file folders
from Mr. Foster’s office that night. Even assuming, contrary to
the testimony of Officer O’Neill, that no files were removed from
the office that night, the multiple entries into Mr. Foster’s office
plainly compromised the integrity of evidence the Park Police considered
to be valuable.54 Beyond this, Mr. Nussbaum not only ignored
instructions to seal Mr. Foster’s office, but also allowed Ms.
Thomasson, a staffer without a security clearance who was involved
in the Travel Office matter, to conduct an improper search
of Mr. Foster’s office. For reasons unknown—but to a large extent
illuminated by Officer O’Neill’s testimony—Margaret Williams also
participated in the late night foray through Mr. Foster’s office.
The next morning, on July 21, Mr. Nussbaum’s personal secretary,
Betsy Pond, also rummaged through Mr. Foster’s office—ostensibly
to straighten it up—thereby disturbing important evidence.
55 Stephen Neuwirth, Mr. Nussbaum’s associate, immediately
recognized the impropriety: ‘‘I didn’t think it was appropriate for
an assistant to Mr. Nussbaum to be in the office at that time.’’ 56
Thomas Castleton, a staff assistant, also entered Mr. Foster’s office
in the morning of July 21.57 Only the Park Police investigators
were impeded in their attempt to enter Mr. Foster’s office to search
for evidence. They waited in vain all day ‘‘for approval from Mr.
Nussbaum’’ to conduct their investigation.58
In addition, members of the White House Counsel’s office participated
in the Park Police interviews of White House staffers, not to
protect the legal interests of the staffers but, in the words of Park
Police Detective Peter Markland, to ‘‘report back to Mr. Nussbaum
what was being said in the interviews.’’ 59 The White House Counsel’s
office coached the staffers about their testimony during a
meeting on ‘‘comportment and interrogation.’’ 60 The Park Police
left with the impression that their interviews had been rehearsed.61
The pattern of obstruction continued with the White House dealings
with the Justice Department. Mr. Nussbaum agreed with Deputy
Attorney General Heymann on the procedures for reviewing
documents in Mr. Foster’s office.62 The next day, when Susan
Thomases, a close advisor to Mrs. Clinton and a member of the
Whitewater defense team during the 1992 presidential campaign,63
complained about the review procedures after a conversation with
Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Nussbaum broke the agreement and changed the
procedures.64 In explaining this about-face, Mr. Nussbaum told his
associate, Stephen Neuwirth, that Ms. Thomases and Mrs. Clinton
were ‘‘concerned about anyone having unfettered access to Mr. Foster’s
office.’’ 65 Contrary to his promise to the Deputy Attorney General,
Mr. Nussbaum proceeded to review the documents by himself
and did not afford Mr. Heymann an opportunity to decide whether
Justice Department officials should be present for the review.66
The Special Committee concludes that Mr. Nussbaum engaged in
highly improper conduct in braking the White House agreement
with the Justice Department. Mr. Nussbaum, in effect, interposed
himself between the investigators and the matters under investigation.
Prompted by Mrs. Clinton, Susan Thomases, and senior White
House officials, he made a conscious decision to interfere with a
federal investigation.
Beyond this, the Special Committee concludes that the ‘‘review’’
of documents in Mr. Foster’s office on July 22 was a sham. Law enforcement
authorities did not review any documents; Mr. Nussbaum
relied on their presence simply to ‘‘dress up’’ the review.67
Mr. Nussbaum ignored repeated complaints by Justice Department
officials that they had no meaningful role in the review, and that
Mr. Nussbaum was providing only a ‘‘generic description’’ 68 of the
files in the office.69 He carefully glossed over sensitive documents
that he knew could embarrass the President and the Administration,
including those related to Whitewater and Travelgate.
Almost immediately after law enforcement offices left Mr. Foster’s
office, Mr. Nussbaum went to work to conduct the real search
in secret. Michael Spafford, an attorney for the Foster family, testified
that he overhead Mr. Nussbaum tell Mr. Sloan at the end of
the meeting that they would look through the materials again
later.70 Associate White House Counsel Clifford Sloan’s notes of the
meeting ended with the following: ‘‘get Maggie—go through office—
get HRC, WJC stuff.’’ 71
Ms. Williams and Mr. Nussbaum collected the files, including at
least one marked Whitewater. Ms. Williams then consulted with
Mrs. Clinton, and transferred one or two boxes of documents to the
White House Residence for further review by the President and
Mrs. Clinton. In the case of Mr. Foster’s highly sensitive Travelgate
files, Mr. Nussbaum took the records to his office.72 There is also
evidence that indices of files in Mr. Foster’s officer were altered or
destroyed after his death.73 These indices were the only means of
securing a chain of custody for Mr. Foster’s documents.
In short, senior White House officials deliberately disrupted the
critical chain of custody of Mr. Foster’s documents and may have
lost or destroyed evidence now highly relevant to ongoing criminal
investigations of Whitewater and Travelgate.
During the July 22 search, Mr. Nussbaum also failed to inform
law enforcement officials that scraps of paper were at the bottom
of Mr. Foster’s briefcase. He was told by both Clifford Sloan 74 and
Deborah Gorham 75 that papers remained in Mr. Foster’s briefcase
after his search, but did not inform law enforcement. When Mr.
Neuwirth finally ‘‘discovered’’ Mr. Foster’s torn-up note on July 26,
the White House waited a further 26 hours before notifying the authorities.
Although the ostensible reason for the delay was to permit
the President and Mrs. Foster to review the note, White House
officials conducted a series of meetings during this period to discuss
the consequences of turning the note over to the authorities.
Even without the benefit of all the facts uncovered by the Special
committee within the last year, Deputy Attorney General Philip
Heymann aptly summed up the pattern of troubling behavior by
the White House as it appeared to him on July 27, when he finally
saw the note:

I’m trying to describe a collection of little things, each of
which I’m prepared to believe is just a difference of opinion,
and in my view, a clumsy and foolish way to handle
the matter on the part of the White House staff and Mr.
Nussbaum.
But they’re starting to collect, and as they’re collecting
too much, and the last one’s quite dramatic.
I mean, first of all, we had a sensible system for reviewing
the documents, and that’s changed to a system that
doesn’t have any law enforcement input into it at all. It’s
changed without notifying me.
I’m vaguely worried about the Park Police feeling that
they’re not wholly able to investigate those messages are
not too clear.
And then along comes a note that should have been
found on the 22nd, if they really went through all the documents.
I never looked at the briefcase but it at least worries
me that perhaps it should have been found, and we
learn about it 27 hours later.76

Mr. Heymann then ordered the Justice Department to investigate
the discovery of the note and Mr. Foster’s assertions made
therein.
Amazingly, the White House did not cooperate fully even with
the new investigations ordered by Mr. Heymann. During official
FBI interviews, where they were under an obligation to tell the
truth, senior White House officials did not tell the FBI that Mrs.
Clinton saw the note, and that Susan Thomases was told about it
by Mr. Nussbaum, before it was disclosed to the authorities. At Mr.
Heymann’s request, the Justice Department’s Office of Professional
Responsibility investigated Mr. Foster’s assertion that the FBI lied
in their report to the Attorney General on the Travelgate controversy.
Mr. Foster’s notebook on that matter, which Mr. Nussbaum
found in Mr. Foster’s briefcase, was critical evidence to that
investigation. Nevertheless, instead of disclosing its existence to
Justice Department officials, Mr. Nussbaum tucked away in his office
Mr. Foster’s notebook and other Travelgate materials.77
In July 1995, when he found out about Mr. Nussbaum’s concealment
of Mr. Foster’s Travelgate notebook, the Director of the Office
of Professional Responsibility at the Justice Department, Michael
Shaheen, wrote an angry memorandum to Associate Attorney General
David Margolis. After outlining specific instances of noncooperation
by the White House, Mr. Shaheen concluded: ‘‘The fact
that we have just now learned of the existence of obviously relevant
notes written by Mr. Foster on the subject of the FBI report
is yet another example of the lack of cooperation and candor we received
from the White House throughout our inquiry.78
Viewed in the aggregate, then, these numerous instances of
White House interference with several ongoing law enforcement investigations
amounted to far more than just aggressive lawyering
or political naivete. Rather, the Special Committee concludes that
the actions of these senior White House officials constitute a highly
improper pattern of deliberate misconduct.
Mrs. Clinton was closely involved in the handling of documents in
Mr. Foster’s office following his death and directed that investigators
be denied ‘‘unfettered access’’ to his office
From the moment that she was notified of Mr. Foster’s death,
Mrs. Clinton and her key agents—Margaret Williams and Susan
Thomases—were engaged in the subsequent handling of documents
in Mr. Foster’s office. Telephone records indicate that upon learning
the news, Mrs. Clinton first called her Chief of Staff, Margaret
Williams.79 After talking with Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Williams and her
assistant, Evelyn Lieberman, drove to the White House and
searched Mr. Foster’s office. The second call Mrs. Clinton made on
the night of Mr. Foster’s death was to the residence of Harry
Thomason,80 a key player in the Travelgate scandal. Mrs. Clinton
then called Susan Thomases, who handled Whitewater damage
control during the 1992 presidential campaign, and talked for 20
minutes.81
This series of telephone calls in the hours immediately following
Mr. Foster’s death established a communications triangle among
Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Thomases, and Ms. Williams that would surface
frequently in the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s office. The
evidence strongly suggests that Mrs. Clinton, upon learning of Mr.
Foster’s death, at least realized its connection to Mr. Thomason’s
Travelgate scandal, and perhaps to the Whitewater matter, and
dispatched her trusted lieutenants to contain any potential embarrassment
or political damage.
After speaking with Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Thomases paged Ms. Williams,
while Ms. Williams was searching Mr. Foster’s office at the
White House,82 presumably to monitor the progress of the search.
After the completion of her search, Ms. Williams returned home
and called Mrs. Clinton at 12:56 a.m. on the morning of July 21.83
Upon the conclusion of her eleven minute conversation with Mrs.
Clinton, Ms. Williams called Ms. Thomases at 1:10 a.m. and spoke
for fourteen minutes.84
These telephone calls illustrated a pattern that would be repeated
at each critical event in the handling of papers in Mr. Foster’s
office: discussions among Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Thomases, and
Ms. Williams; subsequent implementation by Ms. Williams, monitored
by Ms. Thomases; and, finally, reporting by Ms. Williams to
Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Thomases.
The operation of the Clinton-Thomases-Williams triangle was
best illustrated on July 22, when White House officials and Justice
Department officials were scheduled to review documents in Mr.
Foster’s office. Ms. Williams called Mrs. Clinton at 6:44 a.m.
Central Daylight Time.85 Mrs. Clinton then called Ms. Thomases in
Washington,86 who immediately paged Bernard Nussbaum at the
White House.87 When Mr. Nussbaum called back, Ms. Thomases
asked him about the upcoming review of Mr. Foster’s office and, by
Mr. Nussbaum’s own account, said that ‘‘people are concerned’’
about the procedures to be employed for conducting the review.88
Later that morning, Mr. Nussbaum told Mr. Neuwirth that the
First Lady and Ms. Thomases were concerned about law enforcement
officials having ‘‘unfettered access’’ to documents in Mr. Foster’s
office.89
At 10:00 a.m., when the document review was scheduled to
begin, Mr. Nussbaum told Justice Department officials that he
alone would review the documents, breaking a prior agreement
with the law enforcement officials. Throughout the day, while
White House officials were meeting with Mr. Nussbaum to discuss
procedures for reviewing documents in Mr. Foster’s office, Ms.
Thomases made repeated phone calls to the White House, in an apparent
effort to monitor, and perhaps to affect, the progress of
those discussions. Telephone records indicated that, between 10:48
a.m. and 11:54 a.m., Ms. Thomases called the office of the Chief of
Staff, Mack McLarty, three times and the office of the Chief of
Staff to the first Lady, Margaret Williams, three times.90 At 12:55
p.m., Ms. Williams called the Rodham residence in Little Rock, apparently
in response to a page from Mrs. Clinton’s personal assistant.
91 And records indicated that, at 1:25 p.m., approximately the
time when Mr. Nussbaum told law enforcement officials that he
alone would review documents in Mr. Foster’s office, a telephone
call was placed from the White House to the Rodham residence.92
After Mr. Nussbaum finished his review of documents in Mr.
Foster’s office, he and Ms. Williams conducted a second review to
segregate and remove the Clintons’ personal files.93 Ms. Williams
called Mrs. Clinton from Mr. Foster’s office to seek instructions
concerning where to place the files, and Carolyn Huber recalled
that Ms. Williams said that ‘‘Mrs. Clinton had asked her to call
me’’ 94 about transferring the files to the residence. Ms. Williams
told Thomas Castleton that she was taking the files to the residence
so that the Clintons could review them before they were
handed over to Williams & Connolly.95 After the documents were
transferred, Ms. Williams and Ms. Thomases again talked on the
telephone at 5:13 p.m.96 At 7:12 p.m., Ms. Thomases called Mrs.
Clinton in Little Rock.97
The evidence leads to the inescapable conclusion that, early in
the morning of July 22, Mrs. Clinton, Susan Thomases and Margaret
Williams discussed the procedures for conducting the review
of documents in Mr. Foster’s office. Ms. Thomases then communicated
their ‘‘concern[s]’’ 98 to Mr. Nussbaum about his prior
agreement with senior Justice Department officials. In place of that
agreement, which would have permitted those officials to review
jointly Mr. Foster’s documents with Mr. Nussbaum,99 the White
House adopted a new procedure under which he alone would review
the documents. Thus, as Mrs. Clinton wished, law enforcement
would not have ‘‘unfettered access’, to Mr. Foster’s documents.
Ms. Williams called Mrs. Clinton from Mr. Foster’s office to
ask where to take the Clintons’ personal documents that she had
segregated with Mr. Nussbaum. After getting instructions from
Mrs. Clinton, Ms. Williams transferred the files to the White House
Residence for the Clintons to review. After the new plan was fully
executed, Ms. Thomases again talked to Ms. Williams and, according
to telephone records, called Mrs. Clinton.
On July 27, the day after a note in Mr. Foster’s hand was discovered
and the day that documents from Mr. Foster’s office was
transferred from the White House Residence to Williams and
Connolly, Mrs. Clinton summoned Susan Thomases and Webster
Hubbell to the White House.100 The three were in the White House
Residence alone together, and Mr. Hubbell and Ms. Thomases left
at the same time.101 Ms. Thomases and Mr. Hubbell studiously
avoided testifying about this meeting in early appearances before
the Special Committee. However, when eventually confronted with
clear documentary evidence, in the form of Secret Service logs,102
Ms. Thomases finally admitted that she recalled the three being together
at the White House in the week following Mr. Foster’s
death.103 Ms Thomases maintained that they did no more than exchange
condolences with Mrs. Clinton, 104 and that there was no
discussion of the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s office. Mr.
Hubbell stated that he went to the White House to give Mrs. Clinton
an account of Mr. Foster’s funeral after Mrs. Clinton left.105 He
claimed that he did not see Ms. Thomases or discuss the Mr. Foster’s
note, which had been discovered but not disclosed to the authorities,
with Mrs. Clinton.106
The Special Committee concludes that this testimony of Ms.
Thomases and Mr. Hubbell about their simultaneous visits to the
second floor of the White House residence is highly implausible.
White House officials, investigators, and the media 107 were all
speculating about and searching for a note following Mr. Foster’s
death. Yet both Ms. Thomases and Mr. Hubbell persist with their
unbelievable story that the note was not discussed less than one
day after it was discovered in Mr. Foster’s briefcase.
In sum, the Special Committee concludes senior Administration
officials and Ms. Thomases have sought to conceal the true involvement
of Mrs. Clinton in the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s
office, an involvement that is unmistakably established by Mr.
Neuwirth’s admission, and by documentary records, all of which
shatter the wall of denial erected by close Clinton associates.
Senior White House Officials and other Clinton Associates provided
incomplete and inaccurate testimony to the Special Committee
The Special Committee concludes that its effort to find the truth
about the events of July 20–27, 1993 was impeded by what appeared
to be a disturbing pattern of incomplete and inaccurate testimony
by senior White House officials and close Clinton associates.
Time and again, the testimony of career law enforcement officials
and others without a motive to lie, as well as documentary evidence,
told one consistent story, while senior White House officials
and close Clinton associates offered a contradictory version of the
facts.
Three Park Police officers testified that on the night of Mr. Foster’s
death, July 20, they told White House officials to take steps
to seal his office—requests the White House officials denied. A Secret
Service Officer testified that later that night he observed the
First Lady’s Chief of Staff, Margaret Williams, remove files from
Mr. Foster’s office;108 Ms. Williams denied that she removed anything
from the office.
This pattern continued on the next day, July 21. Justice Department
officials testified that they had reached an agreement with
the White House concerning the procedures for searching Mr. Foster’s
office.109 Even though the contemporaneous documentary evidence
supported the testimony of the Deputy Attorney General and
career Justice Department officials,110 White House Counsel Bernard
Nussbaum and his associates denied the existence of any such
agreement allowing law enforcement to examine the documents in
Mr. Foster’s office.111
The Special Committee heard more of the same concerning the
events of July 22. Ignoring a peculiar pattern of early morning telephone
calls involving the First Lady, Ms. Williams and Susan
Thomases denied that Mrs. Clinton played any role whatsoever in
the decision to bar law enforcement from looking at the documents
in Mr. Foster’s office. Breaking ranks somewhat, Mr. Nussbaum
admitted that he was told by Ms. Thomases that unspecified ‘‘people’’
were concerned about the upcoming search—presumably, the
First Lady, since Ms. Thomases was widely known for speaking
with Mrs. Clinton’s authority. Finally, Stephen Neuwirth, a lower
level counsel, admitted that Mr. Nussbaum told him that Mrs.
Clinton and Ms. Thomases were concerned about giving law enforcement
‘‘unfettered access’’ to Mr. Foster’s office.112
This pattern continued later in the day on July 22, when Ms.
Williams denied that she was bringing documents from Mr. Foster’s
office to the White House Residence for the Clintons to review.
Instead, she offered an implausible story to explain her decision to
bring the documents to the Residence.113 Ms. Williams’ account
was contradicted by a young White House staffer, Thomas
Castleton, who testified that Ms. Williams told him that ‘‘the President
or the First Lady had to review the contents of the boxes to
determine what was in them.’’114
Beyond this, there is the curious discovery of Mr. Foster’s note
on July 26. Thomas Spafford, a lawyer for the Foster family, testified
that, on July 22, he overheard Clifford Sloan tell Mr. Nussbaum
on July 22 that there were scraps at the bottom of the briefcase.
Messrs. Sloan and Nussbaum denied this.115
As set forth below in the Findings of this Report, the Committee
concludes that four persons—Margaret Williams, Susan Thomases,
Bernard Nussbaum and Webster Hubbell—provided incomplete
and inaccurate testimony to the Committee in an apparent effort
to conceal the intimate involvement of Mrs. Clinton in the events
following Mr. Foster’s death.
The Office of the White House Counsel was misused to impede ongoing
investigations and to serve the purely personal legal interests
of the President, Mrs. Clinton and their associates
Every citizen is entitled to mount a defense to civil and criminal
charges. The President is no different. He is not entitled, however,
to use the power of his office to gain a defense of his private legal
affairs not available to other Americans. The White House Counsel’s
Office is supposed to serve the President in his official executive
capacity. These lawyer are paid by the taxpayers to serve the
public interest.
In the matter of Mr. Foster’s death, the Office of the White
House counsel served, in effect, as the Clintons’ personal defense
law firm. This service extended beyond Mr. Foster’s employment as
the Clinton’s personal attorney to the use of the White House
Counsel’s Office in the days following his death to interfere with
and hinder several ongoing federal investigations into Mr. Foster’s
death and the handling of documents in Mr. Foster’s office at the
time of his death. Instead of cooperating with law enforcement officials,
the Office of the White House Counsel impeded the investigations
of the Park Police and the Department of Justice. The White
House lawyers ignored and, in some cases, intentionally violated
established procedures that would have ensured the proper handling
of documents in Mr. Foster’s office.
The impropriety of these and other actions—actions that prompted
the Deputy Attorney General to ask Mr. Nussbaum, ‘‘Bernie, are
you hiding something?’’—is compounded when one recognizes that
these actions were taken by members of the Office of the White
House Counsel. These were government lawyers who were supposed
to protect the public interest in proper investigations and
faithful execution of the laws, not to do the private bidding of the
President and First Lady.
The Special Committee concludes that the White House Counsel’s
Office was misused in the aftermath of Mr. Foster’s death to
interfere with and to obstruct various federal investigations. This
pattern of abuse by the White House Counsel’s Office is not limited
in time or scope, but rather has recurred throughout the Special
Committee’s investigation into other matters authorized by Senate
Resolution 120. These include efforts to obtain improperly confidential
law enforcement information from the RTC and from the Small
Business Administration, all while coordinating with private attorneys
representing the Clintons as subjects of investigation.
The Special Committee recommends that steps be taken to insure
that such misuse of the White House Counsel’s Office does not
recur in this, or any future, Administration.
Taken as a whole, the events described in this Report and summarized
in this conclusion, reveal a concerted effort by senior
White House officials to block career law enforcement investigators
from conducting a thorough investigation of a unique and disturbing
event—the first suicide of a very senior U.S. official in almost
fifty years. Unquestionably, the Department of Justice and Park
Police were authorized to conduct this investigation, and White
House officials owed them a duty to cooperate. Instead, law enforcement
officials were confronted at every turn with concerted efforts
to deny them access to evidence in Mr. Foster’s office. Strikingly,
the Counsel to the President carried out the wishes of the
First Lady by breaking his earlier agreement with the Deputy Attorney
General of the United States. And law enforcement officials
were forced to sit still as White House lawyers conducted a charade
of a search. Only after the duly appointed investigators had departed,
did the White House Counsel and the First Lady’s Chief of
Staff begin the real search, which resulted in the transfer of documents
to the White House Residence; the removal of Mr. Foster’s
Travel Office notebook; and the disappearance of important document
indices that would have reflected the full contents of his files.
The actions of the White House are especially serious because
the Special Committee has discovered that the files shielded from
the Department of Justice contained evidence relevant to two investigations
that touched on the Clintons’ personal interests: the
criminal referral into Madison S&L, and the anticipated investigation,
by Congress and others, into the Travel Office firings. As demonstrated
in this Report, the White House, including Mrs. Clinton,
were on notice that these investigations were either ongoing or imminent.
As it happens, both of these investigations were of sufficient
weight to be now under the jurisdiction of an Independent
Counsel.
Against this background, the actions of the White House during
the week after Mr. Foster’s death must be judged. These White
House actions were highly improper; they were deliberate; and they
adversely affected ongoing investigations by career law enforcement
officials. The American people will never be sure of the contents
of Vincent Foster’s office at the time of his death. Their uncertainty
and doubts, however, clearly are the direct result of the
wrongful action by the White House.”






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