Bill Clinton was protected by White House staffers during controversies and scandals, according to newly released documents. These include perhaps the two biggest during his years as the commander-in-chief: the incidents involving Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky. There were numerous other scandals during Clinton’s years in the White House, including the mysterious circumstances surrounding the death of Vince Foster. There are also documents that shed further light on President Clinton’s pardoning of financier Marc Rich late in his presidency.
There are also documents that explore Hillary Clinton’s role while she was the First Lady. As speculation grows about whether or not Hillary will run for president in 2016, the released documents explore in greater detail her role as activist to try to get her husband’s ultimately doomed healthcare plan passed. Other documents explore her senate campaign in 2000, as she and her husband were laying the groundwork to prepare for a future after leaving the White House.
The documents show the extent to which President Clinton received significant protection from the White House, which has at times been accused of having carried on a campaign of attack against those who they thought threatened the president’s credibility. In April, 1999, presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal sent an email to journalist Jonathan Freedland essentially trying to discredit Lewinsky, saying that she had threatened to blackmail the president. Blumenthal wrote that Lewinsky had said she would go public with allegations that she and the president had sexual relations, even if they had not done so. Some of the documents also attempted to protect Clinton against allegations that he had gotten Lewinsky a job once she left the White House in order to influence her testimony in the Paula Jones case, which was yet another scandal in which the President found himself embroiled. Members of the then-president’s administration have consistently denied any attempts to discredit Monica Lewinsky.
Assistant White House Communications Director David Dreyer compared what he considered smear tactics by opponents of Clinton to the McCarthy anti-Communist campaigns of the 1950s, which many people view in retrospect as sinister and against the spirit of the Bill of Rights. Dreyer suggested that his opponents simply could not accept that Clinton had actually won in 1992, and that they were using these scandals, the death of Foster and Whitewater unfairly in an attempt to discredit the president and to try to reverse the election results.
While these documents did not reveal much of anything new, they still show the extent to which the White House protected the president during Clinton’s various entanglements in controversies and scandals. Plus, they come at a particularly sensitive time right at the moment for the Clintons, with much speculation already begun about the former First Lady, who many expect to launch a major presidential campaign for the White House in 2016. She was a candidate in 2008, but eventually lost to President Barack Obama, who went on to be elected that November. Indeed, the questions of just how much the release of the documents might affect Hillary Clinton’s expected presidential run in 2016 have yet to be answered, although the impact might not be that strong, since these documents mostly only expand on information that was already generally known.
By Charles Bordeau
Official U.S. Navy Photo – Flickr