Showing posts with label Clinton. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clinton. Show all posts

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

The Obama Doctrine : "Don't Do Stupid Shit".

"Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus? 
Who is pro–stupid shit?"

"The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank. Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks...

He’s constantly interested in being seen as our peer and as working with us, because he’s not completely stupid. He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished."
Obama’s theory here is simple :
Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.

Over the past year, John Kerry has visited the White House regularly to ask Obama to violate Syria’s sovereignty. On several occasions, Kerry has asked Obama to launch missiles at specific regime targets, under cover of night, to “send a message” to the regime. The goal, Kerry has said, is not to overthrow Assad but to encourage him, and Iran and Russia, to negotiate peace….Obama has steadfastly resisted Kerry’s requests, and seems to have grown impatient with his lobbying. In recent National Security Council meetings, Obama’s strategy was occasionally referred to as the “Tom Sawyer approach.” Obama’s view was that if Putin wanted to expend his regime’s resources by painting the fence in Syria, the U.S. should let him. By late winter, though, when it appeared that Russia was making advances in its campaign to solidify Assad’s rule, the White House began discussing ways to deepen support for the rebels, though the president’s ambivalence about more-extensive engagement remained.
Obama would say privately that the first task of an American president in the post-Bush international arena was “Don’t do stupid shit.” Obama’s reticence frustrated [Samantha] Power and others on his national-security team who had a preference for action. Hillary Clinton, when she was Obama’s secretary of state, argued for an early and assertive response to Assad’s violence. In 2014, after she left office, Clinton told me that “the failure to help build up a credible fighting force of the people who were the originators of the protests against Assad … left a big vacuum, which the jihadists have now filled.” When The Atlantic published this statement, and also published Clinton’s assessment that “great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Obama became “rip-shit angry,” according to one of his senior advisers. The president did not understand how “Don’t do stupid shit” could be considered a controversial slogan. Ben Rhodes recalls that “the questions we were asking in the White House were ‘Who exactly is in the stupid-shit caucus? Who is pro–stupid shit?’?” The Iraq invasion, Obama believed, should have taught Democratic interventionists like Clinton, who had voted for its authorization, the dangers of doing stupid shit. (Clinton quickly apologized to Obama for her comments, and a Clinton spokesman announced that the two would “hug it out” on Martha’s Vineyard when they crossed paths there later.).
‘Friday, August 30, 2013[:] ….While the Pentagon and the White House’s national-security apparatuses were still moving toward war (John Kerry told me he was expecting a strike the day after his speech), the president had come to believe that he was walking into a trap—one laid both by allies and by adversaries, and by conventional expectations of what an American president is supposed to do. In Situation Room meetings that followed the attack on Ghouta, only the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, cautioned explicitly about the perils of intervention. John Kerry argued vociferously for action.”
[Samantha] Power sometimes argued with Obama in front of other National Security Council officials, to the point where he could no longer conceal his frustration. “Samantha, enough, I’ve already read your book,” he once snapped. …Biden, who ordinarily shared Obama’s worries about American overreach, argued passionately that “big nations don’t bluff.”
[Cameron of the UK and Saudi Ambassador Jubeir demanded an attack. But Germany’s Merkel was opposed and refused to take part. When the British House of Commons also refused to go along, Obama paused.]
Obama also shared with McDonough a long-standing resentment: He was tired of watching Washington unthinkingly drift toward war in Muslim countries. Four years earlier, the president believed, the Pentagon had “jammed” him on a troop surge for Afghanistan. Now, on Syria, he was beginning to feel jammed again.
The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, told me that his government was already worried about the consequences of earlier inaction in Syria when word came of the stand-down. “By not intervening early, we have created a monster,” Valls told me. “We were absolutely certain that the U.S. administration would say yes. Working with the Americans, we had already seen the targets. It was a great surprise. If we had bombed as was planned, I think things would be different today.” The crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who was already upset with Obama for “abandoning” Hosni Mubarak, the former president of Egypt, fumed to American visitors that the U.S. was led by an “untrustworthy” president. The king of Jordan, Abdullah II—already dismayed by what he saw as Obama’s illogical desire to distance the U.S. from its traditional Sunni Arab allies and create a new alliance with Iran, Assad’s Shia sponsor—complained privately, “I think I believe in American power more than Obama does.” The Saudis, too, were infuriated. They had never trusted Obama—he had, long before he became president, referred to them as a “so-called ally” of the U.S. “Iran is the new great power of the Middle East, and the U.S. is the old,” Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador in Washington, told his superiors in Riyadh.
Amid the confusion, a deus ex machina appeared in the form of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. At the G20 summit in St. Petersburg, which was held the week after the Syria reversal, Obama pulled Putin aside, he recalled to me, and told the Russian president “that if he forced Assad to get rid of the chemical weapons, that that would eliminate the need for us taking a military strike.” Within weeks, Kerry, working with his Russian counterpart, Sergey Lavrov, would engineer the removal of most of Syria’s chemical-weapons arsenal—a program whose existence Assad until then had refused to even acknowledge.
This was the moment the president believes he finally broke with what he calls, derisively, the “Washington playbook.” I have come to believe that, in Obama’s mind, August 30, 2013, was his liberation day, the day he defied not only the foreign-policy establishment and its cruise-missile playbook, but also the demands of America’s frustrating, high-maintenance allies in the Middle East—countries, he complains privately to friends and advisers, that seek to exploit American “muscle” for their own narrow and sectarian ends. By 2013, Obama’s resentments were well developed. He resented military leaders who believed they could fix any problem if the commander in chief would simply give them what they wanted, and he resented the foreign-policy think-tank complex. A widely held sentiment inside the White House is that many of the most prominent foreign-policy think tanks in Washington are doing the bidding of their Arab and pro-Israel funders. I’ve heard one administration official refer to Massachusetts Avenue, the home of many of these think tanks, as “Arab-occupied territory.” [Leon Panetta was another hawk.]
He described a relationship with Putin that doesn’t quite conform to common perceptions. I had been under the impression that Obama viewed Putin as nasty, brutish, and short. But, Obama told me, Putin is not particularly nasty. “The truth is, actually, Putin, in all of our meetings, is scrupulously polite, very frank. Our meetings are very businesslike. He never keeps me waiting two hours like he does a bunch of these other folks.” Obama said that Putin believes his relationship with the U.S. is more important than Americans tend to think. “He’s constantly interested in being seen as our peer and as working with us, because he’s not completely stupid. He understands that Russia’s overall position in the world is significantly diminished. 
Obama’s theory here is simple: Ukraine is a core Russian interest but not an American one, so Russia will always be able to maintain escalatory dominance there.
Right after Obama’s reversal, Hillary Clinton said privately, “If you say you’re going to strike, you have to strike. There’s no choice.”
Here is Prince Turki’s attempted defense of the Kingdom:
‘A top Saudi Arabian intelligence chief said on Monday that President Barack Obama failed to appreciate all that the kingdom has done to stabilize the Middle East, fight terrorism and support American priorities, hitting back after the president called Middle Eastern governments “free riders” on US initiatives. “You accuse us of fomenting sectarian strife in Syria, Yemen and Iraq,” Turki al-Faisal, a Saudi prince and former ambassador to the United States and Britain, wrote in an open letter published Monday in the English-language Arab News. “You add insult to injury by telling us to share our world with Iran, a country that you describe as a supporter of terrorism.” Al-Faisal’s letter was a response to comments Obama made in a much-discussed interview with The Atlantic magazine in which Obama referred to the Saudis and other allies as “free riders” who push the United States to act but contribute little themselves. Obama has long been cooler toward the Saudis and other Arab allies than his predecessor, but his willingness to forcefully criticize them stunned many in Washington’s foreign policy establishment.’

Friday, 17 April 2015

Hilary & October Surprise 2012 : Purported Leaked Benghazi E-mail

"Now, that story about David Cameron is not true.

But I feel what tells us about David Cameron is true."

- Stewart Lee


November 12, 2012

For: Hillary

From: Sid

Re: Petraeus/October Surprise

My operative theory on Petraeus scandal is that it became an October Surprise that failed. Forcing the scandal public and his resignation would have been the trifecta--leaks, Benghazi, then Petraeus--allowing Romney to argue that Obama had created a national security collapse. It would have overtaken the end of the campaign. 

My thought is that Leahy should be in this now and that Feinstein should be made aware, if she is not already, of the October Surprise scenario. 

Some questions:

Are there agents and other employees at FBI in regular contact with Republican members of the House outside the regular channel of the House Intelligence Committee? 

Exactly how soon was Cantor contacted by FBI sources after Petraeus was exonerated by the investigation?

What was the decision making process of those involved in contacting congressmen Reichert and Cantor? Who exactly in the FBI was involved in that discussion? How many people? 

What was their connection to the investigation? Or was it a single rogue individual? 

Did Cantor ever notify Speaker Boehner that he had been contacted and that he had contacted Mueller? Why not? What does Boehner have to say about what Cantor did? 

Did Cantor or any House staff member speak about the matter with any member of the Romney-Ryan campaign?

Claims that Cantor was simply alerting the FBI of the investigation by contacting Mueller are absurd on its face. The FBI knew it was conducting the investigation. What is Cantor covering up? Was he attempting to create pressure to force Petraeus' scandal into the public and his resignation before the election?

What was the connection between those involved in contacting Cantor and those involved in contacting Bob Woodward about a "Benghazi" story? 

If there were irregularities in the investigation, the disgruntled FBI agents or employees should have contacted the FBI Inspector General. They did not. Was it because there were no irregularities? No one has suggested any. Did they know it is a felony to disclose an espionage investigation?

Will the FBI agent(s) and employee(s) who leaked the espionage investigation to congressmen Reichert and Cantor be the targets of a Justice Department criminal investigation? Will a grand jury be empaneled?


The first thing to notice about this is that it is an obvious post-facto fabrication, created to a political script - the Hillary camp's attempt to rewrite their version of history and put it out in a completely deniable and unattributable form, thus avoiding any of the pitfalls associated with the Obama long-form birth certifificate debacle when it is shown to be a crude fake.

We see this all the time with the executive agencies of the Deep State and know it as "The File Trick".

Recognising and giving credit to the document as a Liar's Dialogue, and regarding it as such, there much that can be learned here, still.

What we have here needs to be thought of in terms of Wikileaks 2.0 and Cognitive Infiltration : 


"If The Establishment Hates You, and Wants to Suppress You, They Don't Put You on the Cover of Time Magazine..."
A Brave New Wikiworld
By Cass R. Sunstein

Saturday, February 24, 2007

In the past year, Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that "anyone can edit," has been cited four times as often as the Encyclopedia Britannica in judicial opinions, and the number is rapidly growing. In just two years, YouTube has become a household word and one of the world's most successful Web sites. Such astounding growth and success demonstrate society's unstoppable movement toward shared production of information, as diverse groups of people in multiple fields pool their knowledge and draw from each other's resources.

Developing one of the most important ideas of the 20th century, Nobel Prize-winning economist Friedrich Hayek attacked socialist planning on the grounds that no planner could possibly obtain the "dispersed bits" of information held by individual members of society. Hayek insisted that the knowledge of individuals, taken as a whole, is far greater than that of any commission or board, however diligent and expert. he magic of the system of prices and of economic markets is that they incorporate a great deal of diffuse knowledge.

Wikipedia's entries are not exactly prices, but they do aggregate the widely dispersed information of countless volunteer writers and editors. In this respect, Wikipedia is merely one of many experiments in aggregating knowledge and creativity, that have been made possible by new technologies.

The Central Intelligence Agency disclosed the existence of its top-secret Intellipedia project, based on Wikipedia software (and now containing more than 28,000 pages), in late October. The agency hopes to use dispersed information to reduce the risk of intelligence failures. NASA officials have adopted a wiki site to program NASA software, allowing many participants to make improvements.

In the private domain, businesses are adopting wikis to compile information about products, profits and new developments. The Autism Wiki, produced mostly by adults with autism and Asperger's syndrome, contains material on autism and related conditions., founded by dissidents in China [ THIS IS NOT TRUE ] and other nations, plans to post secret government documents [ BUT NOT SECRET RUSSIAN OR CHINESE GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS - yet. ] and to protect them from censorship with coded software. [ OR POSSIBLY STAGE A BOGUS, YEARS

I’ll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again - by Christopher Hitchens [of MI6]

Illustration by Philip Burke.

When the author filed an affidavit testifying that his old friend White House aide Sidney Blumenthal had repeated the president’s smears about Monica Lewinsky—thereby giving the lie to Clinton’s denial of such tactics—the author was denounced by those around him. He tells why he could not have done otherwise.

If you care to consult the Congressional Record of the Senate trial of Bill Clinton—the only impeachment trial ever held of a sitting and elected American president—you will find that the last item of business is the entering of three affidavits into the official account. One of these was sworn by me, one by my wife, Carol Blue, and one (witnessing only to the fact that we had not made up our story on the spot) by Scott Armstrong, the Senate Watergate investigator who discovered the Nixon tapes and later collaborated with Woodward and Bernstein. As the trial ended and CNN went straight to worldwide, the first features blazoned on the screen were my own—obscured (the features, I mean, not the screen) by an ill-advised new beard, which made me look like Rasputin or the Unabomber. A Clinton witness—Mr. Clinton chose not to appear at his own trial— had said that the White House staff had never done anything to spread the president’s famous and desperate smear of Monica Lewinsky as a stalker and blackmailer. I had a strongly contrasting impression and had decided, whether asked by a voter or a reader or indeed by the House Judiciary Committee, not to keep it to myself.
If there was a lack of proportion here, it certainly didn’t escape me. It astonishes me more in retrospect than it did even then. All I had done, in essence, was repeat a true story to which I had put my name, in print and in person, many times. But in the deranged atmosphere of Clinton’s Washington (a culture of lies that I believe will one day be remembered with whistles and groans of shame) the most anecdotal truth, told by a most seemingly negligible individual, was enough by itself to precipitate a minor crisis. The Clinton trial was intended to move gravely toward a predetermined and reassuring conclusion. In Hilaire Belloc’s words, “The stocks were sold; the press was squared; the middle class was quite prepared.”
I’d like to say that my derailment of a dishonest consensus was a proud moment in my life, and reminded me why I had become a journalist in the first place. But I’ll never quite be able to do that. The person whose dirty job it was to give Clintonian answers was an old friend of mine. I could give the lie to Clinton only by publicly disagreeing with this same friend, whose name is Sidney Blumenthal. As a result, the small matter of my testimony was engulfed by a subplot about treason, loyalty, journalistic etiquette, and the placement for Georgetown dinner parties. Christopher Buckley, the best novelist of Washington life, appeared to strain for effect when he described in The Washington Post the ensuing froth as the equivalent for our crowd of the Alger Hiss-Whittaker Chambers moment. Concerning the actual stakes, this seemed (and seems) a heroic exaggeration. But concerning mentalities and attitudes, it didn’t. As it happened, Sidney Blumenthal and I had written long and contrasting reviews of Sam Tanenhaus’s tremendous biography of Whittaker Chambers. I liked it a bit more than he did. As it happened, I had once received extensive and absurd over-praise from Alger Hiss. As it happened, Christopher Buckley’s father, the forbidding William F. (whose biography is now being written by Sam Tanenhaus), had ignored the advice of Whittaker Chambers, who had implored him never to get involved with the hysterical wickedness of Senator Joseph McCarthy. As it happened, the confusion about that bit of history had put an enduring question mark over anyone who can be described as a “snitch,” or a traitor, or a “friendly witness” before a hostile Congress.
White House aide Sidney Blumenthal testifies for the defense during the Senate impeachment trial, February 3, 1999.
Believe me when I say that I knew all that going in. During the next few days, I was to see that the word “snitch” can be made to rhyme with Hitch. I think Geraldo Rivera was the first to make anything of it; anyway, the joke got a good workout. Indeed, only a couple of weeks after Rivera first got his laugh, Maureen Dowd recycled the gag in her waning New York Times column. (This is the same Ms. Dowd, by the way, who gave away the whereabouts of Salman Rushdie while he was staying in my apartment in the fall of 1993—a time when, if I was a really keen rat, I could have made myself some serious reward money.) A snitch, if you think about it, is supposed to be motivated by malice, cynical selfpreservation, or hope of gain. You become a snitch by dropping an anonymous dime, by striking a plea bargain, by “naming names” to get yourself immunity, or by dumping a former associate to save your own skin. Nobody has made any such allegation against me. However, I here repeat my charge that the associates of Bill Clinton were actively, and with taxpayers’ money, spreading false information against truthful female witnesses. They sought to destroy the characters of these women by off-the-record briefings, and by underhanded denunciations. They snitched, in fact. In doing what I did, I testified against the authorities and not to them.
I had the alternative—as who does not?—of keeping quiet. Here’s how it goes in Washington, where I have now lived for nearly two decades. The government, in the person of X or Y, takes you into its confidence. Now, here is a lie, or a halftruth, which we the administration wish to have widely circulated or believed. You are being briefed, let us add, in confidence. We know we can count on you. Thus, you are sworn. You’re in. You hardly notice the oath being administered. If you breach the confidence—well, as they used to say in the trade, then comes ethics. You will know if you have committed an ethical breach, because you will lose your “access.” Capisce?
I have long thought that this is slightly too easy, and that the state should have to work a bit harder than that to get the press on its team. Do you remember when Ronald Reagan complained so self-pityingly about the eruption of the Iran-contra matter? If it had not been for “that rag in Beirut”— as he said of the Lebanese magazine Al-Shiraa, which first broke the story of Oliver North’s secret cake-and-Bible run with the mullahs—the whole story of hostage trading and illegal arms dealing would have remained a secret. And it was absolutely true that, until the Levantine sheet published the story, knowledge of North’s name and potency was the private property of a few Washington-bureau chiefs who knew the score. How reluctant they were to share, and how well I remember them all. It was in those years, when an overstaffed and overpaid Washington press corps was leading too fat and happy a life, that I first got to know Sidney.
Not only have we often eaten and drunk in each other’s homes, and watched each other’s children grow (it was at the 1991 Bar Mitzvah of Sidney’s firstborn, Max, that I made up with Christopher Buckley, who hadn’t spoken to me for years after something I wrote about his father-in-law during Iran-contra), but we have also done some journalistic and political soldiering together. We jointly inaugurated the Osric Dining Society (Osric is the fawning courtier in Hamlet), an annual anti-awards dinner at which the prize went to the most butt-kissing piece of journalism published that year. When Rushdie came to Washington that time, we helped him meet some useful people. And when the Bosnian prime minister, Haris Silajdzic, came, to appeal for his murdered country and countrymen, we did the same. When Sidney was briefly detained by Secret Service agents for making a joke about Dole’s impending terminal experience at the gruesome Republican National Convention in San Diego in 1996, I stayed by Sidney’s side, leaving it only to bring him what may have been his first vodka and tonic. Not only was it a pleasure to be in his company—he is much more humorous than his TV appearances suggest—but in our limited way, on all of these occasions, we were at least trying to speak truth to power.
Now, I always knew, and all his friends knew, that Sidney was also interested in power and “access.” I didn’t think, as some did, that he strayed off the reservation by being too close to Gary Hart. Even in the past seven years, when he sometimes seemed to be ventriloquized by Clinton—in the pages of The New Republic and The New Yorker—I defended him. (He was often beaten up in print by people who didn’t have the guts to attack Clinton himself.) I did notice that, without saying anything, he dropped the subject of the Osric Dining Society. In retrospect, it astonishes me that we avoided a major quarrel for so long. I had become utterly convinced, as early as the 1992 campaign, that there was something in the Clinton makeup that was quite seriously nasty. The automatic lying, the glacial ruthlessness, the self-pity, the indifference to repeated exposure, the absence of any tincture of conscience or remorse, the awful piety—these were symptoms of a psychopath. And it kept on getting worse and worse—but not for Clinton himself, who could usually find a way of sacrificing a subordinate and then biting his lip in the only gesture of contrition he had learned to master. (After reading the testimony of Juanita Broaddrick, I’ll never be able to think of his lip biting in the same way again. But no doubt Arthur Schlesinger will be on hand to assure us that all men lie about rape.)
So here’s what happened between Sidney and me, and here’s how the “compartmentalization” broke down. In March of last year, I came back to Washington for the first time since the Lewinsky scandal had broken. (I had been teaching at the University of California.) The first thing that Carol and I did was to have a catch-up lunch with Sidney. And I have to say, it was a shock. He was rather grim and businesslike, and in a very defensive mode. He could think of his boss only as the victim of a frame-up. The preceding Sunday on 60 Minutes, Kathleen Willey had gone public with her accusation of a crude lunge made by Clinton, and what impressed me most at the time, and depressed me, too, was the tone of voice Sidney used in discussing this. “Yeah, her poll numbers are high now, but they’ll be down by the end of the week. You’ll see.” There was a sort of “We’ll take care of her” tone that I didn’t like, and Carol and I couldn’t look at each other. We felt the same constraint when he told us that “what people need to understand” was that Monica Lewinsky was a stalker, an unstable minx who had been threatening Clinton and telling him that if he didn’t have sex with her she would say he had anyway. This was no informal chat; we weren’t asked to keep that interpretation to ourselves; the presence was that of Sidney but the spin was His Master’s Voice. Sidney’s account as given to Starr is the same as I remember except that to me he left out Clinton’s breathtaking claim to be the victim and prisoner in Arthur Koestler’s Darkness at Noon. I feel flattered in retrospect that my old friend didn’t try to sell me this line. I remember saying, rather feebly, “Are you sure you want to get involved in this kind of thing—in going after the reputation of these women?” He left me two folders of pro-Clinton clips and documents, which I wish I’d kept, and went off back to the White House. The Washington Post, if you are interested, has since published not just the menu of that lunch but also the recipe for the salad, should you desire to prepare one in the comfort of your own home. This is, in some ways, a very silly town.
And, at the time, this seemed like no more than a disappointing lunch. Our old pal had said one rather disagreeable thing and had asked us to believe in one self-evidently preposterous theory. (A president, if you think about it for a second, just can’t be stalked in his own Oval Office.) However, as time went by, the significance of the conversation metamorphosed. I became convinced that, a few weeks before the lunch, Kathleen Willey had been threatened in person, had received threats against her children by name, and earlier had had her car brutally vandalized. I discovered that, within days of the lunch, she received a telephone call from a private detective named Jared Stern. Hired to invigilate her, he had sickened of his work and decided to give her an anonymous call warning her that she had influential enemies. It also appeared that Ms. Willey had been subjected to pressure by a politically connected tycoon named Nathan Landow, whom I knew by reputation as one of the less decorative members of Clinton’s soft-money world. (Asked by the grand jury whether he spoke to Ms. Willey about her testimony in the Paula Jones lawsuit on his own behalf or on the president’s, Mr. Landow has taken the Fifth Amendment.) I refuse to believe for a second that Sidney knew anything about this, but in the week that we talked, the White House “found” and released Ms. Willey’s correspondence with Clinton. I say “found” because when these same letters had been subpoenaed in the Jones case in January 1998, they couldn’t be located anywhere. Just another day in Clinton’s Washington.
Then came Clinton’s Senate trial. Suddenly, it was important to the White House to deny that Monica Lewinsky had ever been slandered. Why was it important, and why would they run the risk of telling such a transparent lie? It was important because it bore on the matter of obstruction of justice. She had been, before she unavoidably lost touch with “the big creep,” rewarded with a job search in return for a perjured affidavit. The rapid appearance in print of the “stalker” allegation could be viewed as a warning to keep silent—a hint of what might be said of her if she didn’t stay perjured. It hit me very abruptly, when I was having a drink with Erik Tarloff, Chris Buckley’s only rival as D.C.’s first satirical fictionist. As well as having contributed to speeches for Clinton and Gore, Erik is married to Laura D’Andrea Tyson, formerly Clinton’s chief economic adviser. He’s a shrewd guy, and he’s seen a lot of the Clinton M.O. “Notice how they always trash the accusers,” he said. “They destroy their reputations. If Monica hadn’t had that blue dress, they were getting ready to portray her as a fantasist and erotomaniac. Imagine what we’d all be thinking about her now.” At that moment, I became a hostage to what I’d been told at lunch. That day, it had been one thing, but with the passage of time it had become another. I told Erik what I’d been told. He told me he’d heard the same thing.
How, then, did the White House expect to get away with the lie? They expected to get away with it because they had made everyone complicit. In a city where the main “source” is the government, the etiquette about sources masks the plain fact that the government has a lock on the press. (One survey, which took 2,850 news stories from The Washington Post and The New York Times, found that 78 percent of the stories were attributed to government sources either on or off the record. Talk about ventriloquism. The state uses the media as a megaphone.)
Here’s what I mean. On January 23, Charles Ruff, the counsel to the president, told the Senate trial the following whopper: “The White House, the president, the president’s agents, the president’s spokes-persons—no one has ever trashed, threatened, maligned, or done anything else to Monica Lewinsky. No one.” (I know who the president’s spokespersons are, I recall thinking at the time. But who are these “agents”?) The following day, James Warren, the excellent Washington-bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, was asked to comment on CNN:
That comment by Ruff was so palpably untrue. If I had a buck for every person at the White House who bad-mouthed her to me last January I could leave the set now and head off to Antigua.
I barely know a single reporter who could not have sworn to the same. And indeed, I do know at least one reporter who was approached by the House Judiciary Committee and asked to testify. He said no. He has to live here, and he can’t commit his newspaper. I don’t have to live here. Still and all, I wish it had been Ruff rather than Sidney I heard putting the story about. As it is, the state now has a new weapon against the press. Don’t be calling the president a liar. You’ll be accused of snitching on his juniors.
When Susan Bogart, senior investigative counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, contacted me in the closing days of the trial, she asked a question to which she already knew the answer. I had put a version of the lunch with Sidney in print, in the London Independent of September 13, 1998. I had told many people. I was in the process of writing a column for a small, pro-Clinton weekly magazine, in which I was proposing to tell it again. Furthermore, the story had the merit of being true, and of being revealing of the squalid underside of Clintonism. Every time I told it, I now realize, I was placing a friend in potential jeopardy, but only because he had elected to join the president’s bodyguard. In order to disown the story, I would have had to join the general agreement about “putting this behind us and moving on.” Well, I didn’t want to join any bloody agreement about putting things behind us and moving on. I thought it was a disgrace to have a mock trial, invisibly sponsored by the stock market and the opinion polls, at which the defendant didn’t appear and at which all efforts to mention Kathleen Willey and Juanita Broaddrick were quashed. The stocks are sold, the press is squared—include me out. To disown the story, also, I would have had to risk committing perjury, in order to accuse myself of having lied in the first place, in order to safeguard a dirty tactic used by Clinton’s proxies. Well, thanks, but then again, no thanks. That would’ve been Clintonism squared or cubed. And why didn’t I run out the clock, people ask me, and get clever with lawyers and delaying tactics? That’s easy. The trial of Clinton was in its closing stages. If I strung the prosecution along, anything they later established from me could be used only against someone other than the Godfather.
So I said that, if need be, I would confirm the Lewinsky stalker stuff under oath. I also put in the material about Kathleen Willey, without being asked, so as to help establish the White House state of mind. By the time you read this, the name Willey may be much better known than it is now, and people will be ashamed that they ever spoke so fatuously about “consensual sex.” No one has bothered to notice that I went out of my way to include Willey in the affidavit, because Sidney hasn’t been asked about it under oath and doesn’t know much about it anyway, and therefore it doesn’t help the only story that people seem to care about, which is fratricide between Sidney and me. A silly town, as I said, and sometimes a spiteful one, too. A town where, as the Chinese say, when the finger points at the moon, the idiots look at the finger.
The rest of the conversation with the House Judiciary Committee—actually the bulk of the conversation—consisted of my making a moral stipulation. This affidavit was being given in the trial of one person only: the president. It was being given as a rebuttal to a White House strategy of deception. Since grand-jury testimony had elicited the fact that Clinton was the sole author of the “stalker” slander, that he had passed it to Sidney and probably others, and had seen it get into the press, I wasn’t doing more than filling in one blank. In Senate evidence, Sidney had said that he now felt he’d been lied to by his president. He wasn’t the only one who had that feeling. So it would obviously be grotesque to proceed against him for the mere offense of giving an evasive answer. Any use of my affidavit for this purpose, I said, would cause me to repudiate it and risk being held in contempt. I would testify again only about Kathleen Willey. There are no absolute guarantees in this world, but I do know that what I said was understood. Anyway, the offense of perjury has been so downwardly defined by the Clintonoids that it can’t seriously be charged against a perjurer’s apprentice. Morally, also, it has been defined by the Democratic leadership as an offense only slightly worse than telling the truth.
And for doing that, I have already been held in contempt. But in Clinton’s Washington, it is a positive honor to be despised. Special Report: Clinton Accused

Hitchens Affidavit on Blumenthal
Saturday, February 6, 1999
Following is the text of a Feb. 5 affidavit by Christopher Hitchens, a freelance British journalist based in Washington. Copies of the Feb. 5 affidavit were circulated in the Capitol late today.
I, Christopher Hitchens, do hereby state on oath as follows:
1. I am 49 years of age and reside in the District of Columbia and am competent to execute this affidavit.
2. I am a resident alien, and am a citizen of the European Union and the United Kingdom.
3. I have been a journalist for 26 years.
4. I am self employed and contribute articles to Vanity Fair and The Nation.
5. Sidney Blumenthal and I are social friends and journalistic acquaintances.
6. On March 19, 1998, Sidney Blumenthal, Carol Blue, and I met for lunch at the Occidental restaurant in Washington, D.C.
7. If called to testify, I would testify on personal knowledge to the following facts.
8. During lunch on March 19, 1998, in the presence of myself and Carol Blue, Mr. Blumenthal stated that, Monica Lewinsky had been a "stalker" and that the President was "the victim" of a predatory and unstable sexually demanding young woman. Referring to Ms. Lewinsky, Mr. Blumenthal used the word "stalker" several times. Mr. Blumenthal advised us that this version of the facts was not generally understood.
9. Also during that lunch, Mr. Blumenthal stated that Kathleen Willey's poll numbers were high but would fall and would not look so good in a few days.
10. I have knowledge that Mr. Blumenthal recounted to other people in the journalistic community the same story about Monica Lewinsky that he told me and Carol Blue.
I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on this fifth day of February, 1999.
Christopher Hitchens
Trial Excerpts of Blumenthal Deposition
From the Congressional Record
Friday, February 5, 1999
Following are exceprts of White House aide Sidney Blumenthal's Feb. 3 Senate trial deposition, which were released by Congress today.
SENATOR SPECTER: If none, I will swear the witness.
Mr. Blumenthal, will you please stand up and raise your right hand?
You, Sidney Blumenthal, do swear that the evidence you shall give in this case now pending between the United States and William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, shall be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you, God?
Whereupon, SIDNEY BLUMENTHAL was called as a witness and, after having been first duly sworn by Senator Specter, was examined and testified as follows:
THE WITNESS: Thank you.
SENATOR SPECTER: The House Managers may begin their questioning.
MR. ROGAN: Thank you, Senator.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, first, good morning.
A. Good morning to you.
Q. My name is Jim Rogan. As you know, I am one of the House Managers and will be conducting this deposition pursuant to authority from the United States Senate.
First, as a preliminary matter, we have never had the pleasure of meeting or speaking until this morning, correct?
A. That's correct.
Q. If any question I ask is unclear or is in any way ambiguous, if you would please call that to my attention, I will be happy to try to restate it or rephrase the question.
A. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, where are you currently employed?
A. At the White House.
Q. Is that in the Executive Office of the President?
A. It is.
Q. What is your current title?
A. My title is Assistant to the President.
Q. Was that your title on January 21st, 1998?
A. It was.
Q. For the record, that is the date that The Washington Post story appeared that essentially broke the Monica Lewinsky story?
A. Yes.
Q. On that date, were you the Assistant to the President as to any specific subject matter?
A. I dealt with a variety of areas.
Q. Did your duties entail any specific matter, or were you essentially a jack-of-all-trades at the White House for the President?
A. Well, I was hired to help the President develop his ideas and themes about the new consensus for the country, and I was hired to deal with problems like the impact of globalization, democracy internationally and domestically, the future of civil society, and the Anglo-American Project; and I also was hired to work on major speeches.
Q. You testified previously that your duties are such as the President and Chief of Staff shall decide. Would that be a fair characterization?
A. Oh, yes.
Q. How long have you been employed in this capacity?
A. Since August 11th, 1997.
Q. And in the course of your duties, do you personally advise the President as to the matters that you just shared with us?
A. Yes.
Q. How often do you meet with the President personally to advise him?
A. It varies. Sometimes several times a week; sometimes I go without seeing him for a number of weeks at a time.
Q. Is dealing with the media part of your--your job?
A. Yes. It's part of my job and part of the job of most people in the White House.
Q. Was that also one of your responsibilities on January 21st, 1998, when the Monica Lewinsky story broke?
A. Yes.
Q. You previously testified that you had a role in the Monica Lewinsky matter after the story broke in The Washington Post on that date, at least in reference to your White House duties; is that correct?
A. I'm unclear on what you mean by `a role.'
Q. Specifically, you testified that you attended meetings in the White House in the Office of Legal Counsel in the morning and in the evening almost every day once the story broke?
A. Yes.
Q. And what times did those meetings occur after the story broke, these regular meetings?
A. The morning meetings occurred around 8:30, after the morning message meeting, and the evening meetings occurred around 6:45.
Q. Are those meetings still ongoing?
A. No.
Q. Can you tell me when those meetings ended?
A. Oh, I'd say about the time that the impeachment trial started.
Q. That would be about a month or--about a month ago?
A. Yeah, something like that.
Q. Thank you.
A. I don't recall exactly.
Q. Sure. But up until that point, were these essentially regularly scheduled meetings, twice a day, 8:30 in the morning and 6:45 in the evening?
A. Right.
Q. Did you generally attend those meetings?
A. Generally.
Q. Now, initially, when you testified before the grand jury on February 26th, 1998, your first grand jury appearance, you stated that these twice-daily meetings dealt exclusively with the Monica Lewinsky matter, correct?
A. They dealt with our press reaction, how we would respond to press reports dealing with it. This was a huge story, and we were being inundated with hundreds of calls.
Q. Right.
A. So--
Q. What I'm--what I'm trying to decipher is that at least initially, at the time of your first grand jury appearance, which was about a month after the story broke--
A. Right.
Q. --the meetings were exclusively related to Monica Lewinsky. Is that correct?
A. Pretty much.
Q. And then, 4 months later, when you testified before the grand jury in June, you said these meetings were still ongoing, and you referenced them at that time as discussing the policy, political, legal and media impact of scandals and how to deal with them. Do you remember that testimony?
A. If I could see it.
Q. Certainly. I'm happy to invite your attention to your grand jury testimony of June 4th, 1998, page 25, lines 1 through 5.
MR. ROGAN: And that would be, for the Senators' and counsel's benefit--I believe that's in Tab 4 of the materials provided.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: Right. I see it.
Q. You've had a chance to review that, Mr. Blumenthal?
A. I have.
Q. And that--that's correct testimony?
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you.
At the time you spoke of--you used the word `scandals' in the plural, and you were asked on June 4th what other scandals were discussed and you said they range from the Paula Jones trial to our China policy. Is that a fair statement?
A. Oh, yes, yes. I do.
Q. Who typically attended those meetings?
A. As I recall, there were about a dozen or so people, sometimes more, sometimes less.
Q. Do you remember the names of the people?
A. I'll try to.
Q. Would it be helpful if I directed your attention to a couple of passages in the grand jury testimony?
A. Sure, if you'd like.
MR. ROGAN: Inviting the Senate and counsel's attention to the February 26th grand jury testimony, page 11, lines 2 through 16.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: Sure. Yeah.
Q. That would be Tab Number 1.
A. Right, I see that.
What it says here is that the names listed are Charles Ruff, Lanny Breuer, who is right over here, Cheryl Mills, Bruce Lindsey, John Podesta, Rahm Emanuel, Paul Begala, Jim Kennedy, Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart, Ann Lewis, Adam Goldberg, Don Goldberg, and that's--those are the names that I--that I recall.
Q. Thank you.
And just for my benefit, Mr. Ruff, Mr. Breuer, Ms. Mills, and Mr. Lindsey, those are all White House counsel?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you just briefly identify for the record the other individuals that are--that are listed in your testimony?
A. Sure. John Podesta was Deputy Chief of Staff. Rahm Emanuel was a Senior Advisor. Paul Begala had the title of Counselor. Jim Kennedy was in the Legal Counsel Office. Mike McCurry was Press Secretary. Joe Lockhart at that time was Deputy Press Secretary. Ann Lewis was Director of Communications, still is. Adam Goldberg worked as a--as an Assistant in the Legal Counsel Office, and Don Goldberg worked in Legislative Affairs.
Q. Thank you.
Mr. Blumenthal, specifically inviting your attention to January 21st, 1998, you testified before the grand jury that on that date, you personally spoke to the President regarding the Monica Lewinsky matter, correct?
A. Yes.
Q. When you spoke to the President, did you discuss The Washington Post story about Ms. Lewinsky that appeared that morning?
A. I don't recall if we talked about that article specifically.
Q. Do you recall on June 25th testifying before the grand jury, and I'm quoting, `We were speaking about the story that appeared that morning'?
A. Right. We were--we were speaking about that story, but I don't know if we referred to The Post.
Q. Thank you.
You are familiar with The Washington Post story that broke that day?
A. I am.
Q. That story essentially stated that the Office of Independent Counsel was investigating whether the President made false statements about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky in the Jones case, correct, to the best of your recollection?
A. If you could repeat that?
Q. Sure. The story stated that the Office of Independent Counsel was investigating whether the President made false statements about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky in the Jones case.
A. Right.
Q. And also that the Office of Independent Counsel was investigating whether the President obstructed justice in the Jones case. Is that your best recollection of what that story was about?
A. Yes.
Q. How did you end up speaking to the President on that specific date?
A. I don't remember exactly whether he had summoned me or whether I had asked to speak him--to him.
Q. And I realize, by the way, I--just so you know, I'm not trying to trick you or anything. I realize this is a year later--
A. Right.
Q. --and your testimony was many months ago, and so if I invite your attention to previous grand jury testimony to refresh your recollection, I don't want you to feel that in any way I'm trying to imply that you're not being candid in your testimony.
With that, if I may invite your--your attention to the June 4th grand jury testimony on page 47, lines 5 through 6.
[Witness perusing document.]
Q. Let me see if this helps to refresh your recollection. You said, `It was about a week before the State of the Union speech.'
A. I see.
Q. `I was in my office, and the President asked me to come to his office.'
Does that help to refresh your recollection?
A. Yes.
Q. And so you now remember that the President asked to speak with you?
A. Yes.
Q. Did you go to the Oval Office?
A. Yes.
Q. During that conversation, were you alone with the President?
A. I was.
Q. Do you remember if the door was closed?
A. It was.
Q. When you met with the President, did you relate to him a conversation you had with the First Lady earlier that day?
A. I did.
Q. What did you tell the President the First Lady told you earlier that day?
A. I believe that I told him that the First Lady had called me earlier in the day, and in the light of the story in The Post had told me that the President had helped troubled people in the past and that he had done it many times and that he was a compassionate person and that he helped people also out of his religious conviction and that this was part of--part of his nature.
Q. And did she also tell you that one of the other reasons he helped people was out of his personal temperament?
A. Yes. That's what I mean by that.
Q. And the First Lady also at least shared with you her opinion that he was being attacked for political motives?
MR. McDANIEL: Can I get a clarification, Senator--Senator Specter? The earlier question, I thought, had been what Mr. Blumenthal had relayed to the President had been said by the First Lady.
MR. ROGAN: That's correct.
MR. McDANIEL: And now the questions are back--it seems to me have moved to another topic--
MR. ROGAN: No. That's--
MR. McDANIEL: --which is what--
MR. ROGAN: I'm--
MR. McDANIEL: --did the First Lady say.
MR. ROGAN: And I thank--I thank the gentleman for that clarification. I'm specifically asking what the witness relayed to the President respecting his conversation with--his earlier conversation with the First Lady.
MR. McDANIEL: Thank you.
Do you understand that, what he said?
THE WITNESS: I understand the distinction, and I don't--
Q. I'll restate the question, if that would help.
A. Please.
Q. Do you remember telling the President that the First Lady said to you that she felt that with--in reference to this story that he was being attacked for political motives?
A. I remember her saying that to me, yes.
Q. And you relayed that to the President?
A. I'm not sure I relayed that to the President. I may have just relayed the gist of the conversation to him. I don't--I'm not sure whether I relayed the entire conversation.
MR. ROGAN: Inviting the Senators' and counsel's attention to the June 4th, 1998, testimony of Mr. Blumenthal, page 47, beginning at line 5.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, let me just read a passage to you and tell me if this helps to refresh your memory.
A. Mm-hmm.
MR. ROGAN: Do you have that, Lanny?
MR. BREUER: Yes, I do. Thank you.
Q. Reading at line--at line 5, `I was in my office, and the President asked me to come to the Oval Office. I was seeing him frequently in this period about the State of the Union and Blair's visit'--and I--that was Prime Minister Tony Blair, as an aside, correct?
A. That's right.
Q. Thank you.
And then again, reading at line 7, `So I went up to the Oval Office and I began the discussion, and I said that I had received--that I had spoken to the First Lady that day in the afternoon about the story that had broke in the morning, and I related to the President my conversation with the First Lady and the conversation went as follows. The First Lady said that she was distressed that the President was being attacked, in her view, for political motives for his ministry of a troubled person. She said that the President ministers to troubled people all the time,' and then it goes on to--
A. Right.
Q. --relate the substance of the answer you just gave.
Does that help to refresh your recollection with respect to what you told the President, the First Lady had said earlier?
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you.
And do you now remember that the First Lady had indicated to you that she felt the President was being attacked for political motives?
A. Well, I remember she said that to me.
Q. And just getting us back on track, a few moments ago, I think you--you shared with us that the First Lady said that the President helped troubled people and he had done it many times in the past.
A. Yes.
Q. Do you remember testifying before the grand jury on that subject, saying that the First Lady said he has done this dozens, if not hundreds, of times with people--
A. Yes.
Q. --with troubled people?
A. I recall that.
Q. After you related the conversation that you had with the First Lady to the President, what do you remember saying to the President next about the subject of Monica Lewinsky?
A. Well, I recall telling him that I understood he felt that way, and that he did help people, but that he should stop trying to help troubled people personally; that troubled people are troubled and that they can get you in a lot of messes and that you had to cut yourself off from it and you just had to do it. That's what I recall saying to him.
Q. Do you also remember in that conversation saying to him, `You really need to not do that at this point, that you can't get near anybody who is even remotely crazy. You're President'?
A. Yes. I think that was a little later in the conversation, but I do recall saying that.
Q. When you told the President that he should avoid contact with troubled people, what did the President say to you in response?
A. I'm trying to remember the sequence of it. He--he said that was very difficult for him. He said he--he felt a need to help troubled people, and it was hard for him to--to cut himself off from doing that.
Q. Do you remember him saying specifically, `It's very difficult for me to do that, given how I am. I want to help people'?
A. I recall--I recall that.
Q. And when the President referred to trying to help people, did you understand him in that conversation to be referring to Monica Lewinsky?
A. I think it included Monica Lewinsky, but also many others.
Q. Right, but it was your understanding that he was all--he was specifically referring to Monica Lewinsky in that list of people that he tried to help?
A. I believe that--that was implied.
Q. Do you remember being asked that question before the grand jury and giving the answer, `I understood that'?
A. If you could point it out to me, I'd be happy to see it.
Q. Certainly.
MR. ROGAN: Inviting the Senators' and counsel's attention to the June 25th, 1998, grand jury, page 5, I believe it's at lines 6 through 8.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: Yes, I see that. Thank you.
Q. You recall that now?
A. Yes.
Q. Thank you.
Mr. Blumenthal, did the President then relate a conversation he had with Dick Morris to you?
A. He did.
Q. What was the substance of that conversation, as the President related it to you?
A. He said that he had spoken to Dick Morris earlier that day, and that Dick Morris had told him that if Nixon, Richard Nixon, had given a nationally televised speech at the beginning of the Watergate affair, acknowledging everything he had done wrong, he may well have survived it, and that was the conversation that Dick Morris--that's what Dick Morris said to the President.
Q. Did it sound to you like the President was suggesting perhaps he would go on television and give a national speech?
A. Well, I don't know. I didn't know.
Q. And when the President related the substance of his conversation with Dick Morris to you, how did you respond to that?
A. I said to the President, `Well, what have you done wrong?'
Q. Did he reply?
A. He did.
Q. What did he say?
A. He said, `I haven't done anything wrong.'
Q. And what did you say to that response?
A. Well, I said, as I recall, `That's one of the stupidest ideas I ever heard. If you haven't done anything wrong, why would you do that?'
Q. Did the President then give you his account of what happened between him and Monica Lewinsky?
A. As I recall, he did.
Q. What did the President tell you?
A. He, uh--he spoke, uh, fairly rapidly, as I recall, at that point and said that she had come on to him and made a demand for sex, that he had rebuffed her, turned her down, and that she, uh, threatened him. And, uh, he said that she said to him, uh, that she was called `the stalker' by her peers and that she hated the term, and that she would claim that they had had an affair whether they had or they hadn't, and that she would tell people.
Q. Do you remember him also saying that the reason Monica Lewinsky would tell people that is because then she wouldn't be known by her peers as `the stalker' anymore?
A. Yes, that's right.
Q. Do you remember the President also saying that--and I'm quoting--`I've gone down that road before. I've caused pain for a lot of people. I'm not going to do that again'?
A. Yes. He told me that.
Q. And that was in the same conversation that you had with the President?
A. Right, in--in that sequence.
Q. Can you describe for us the President's demeanor when he shared this information with you?
A. Yes. He was, uh, very upset. I thought he was, a man in anguish.
Q. And at that point, did you repeat your earlier admonition to him as far as not trying to help troubled people?
A. I did. I--I think that's when I told him that you can't get near crazy people, uh, or troubled people. Uh, you're President; you just have to separate yourself from this.
Q. And I'm not sure, based on your testimony, if you gave that admonition to him once or twice. Let me--let me clarify for you why my questioning suggested it was twice. In your grand jury testimony on June the 4th, at page 49, beginning at line 25, you began the sentence by saying, and I quote, `And I repeated to the President'--
A. Right.
Q. --`that he really needed never to be near people who were'--
A. Right.
Q. --`troubled like this,' and so forth. Do you remember now if you--if that was correct? Did you find yourself in that conversation having to repeat the admonition to him that you'd given earlier?
A. I'm sure I did. Uh, I felt--I felt that pretty strongly. He shouldn't be involved with troubled people.
Q. Do you remember the President also saying something about being like a character in a novel?
A. I do.
Q. What did he say?
A. Uh, he said to me, uh, that, uh, he felt like a character in a novel. Uh, he felt like somebody, uh, surrounded by, uh, an oppressive environment that was creating a lie about him. He said he felt like, uh, the character in the novel Darkness at Noon.
Q. Did he also say he felt like he can't get the truth out?
A. Yes, I--I believe he said that.
Q. Politicians are always loathe to confess their ignorance, particularly on videotape. I will do so. I'm unfamiliar with the novel Darkness at Noon. Did you--do you have any familiarity with that, or did you understand what the President meant by that?
A. I--I understood what he meant. I--I was familiar with the book.
Q. What--what did he mean by that, per your understanding?
A. Uh, the book is by Arthur Koestler, who was somebody who had been a communist and had become disillusioned with communism. And it's an anti-communist novel. It's about, uh, uh, the Stalinist purge trials and somebody who was a loyal communist who then is put in one of Stalin's prisons and held on trial and executed, uh, and it's about his trial.
Q. Did you understand what the President was trying to communicate when he related his situation to the character in that novel?
A. I think he felt that the world was against him.
Q. I thought only Members of Congress felt that way.
Mr. Blumenthal, did you ever ask the President if he was ever alone with Monica Lewinsky?
A. I did.
Q. What was his response?
A. I asked him a number of questions that appeared in the press that day. I asked him, uh, if he were alone, and he said that, uh, he was within eyesight or earshot of someone when he was with her.
Q. What other questions do you remember asking him?
A. Uh, there was a story in the paper that, uh, there were recorded messages, uh, left by him on her voice-mail and I asked him if that were true.
Q. What did he say?
A. He said, uh, that it was, that, uh, he had called her.
Q. You had asked him about a press account that said there were potentially a number of telephone messages left by the President for Monica Lewinsky. And he relayed to you that he called her. Did he tell you how many times he called her?
A. He--he did. He said he called once. He said he called when, uh, Betty Currie's brother had died, to tell her that.
Q. And other than that one time that he shared that information with you, he shared no other information respecting additional calls?
A. No.
Q. He never indicated to you that there were over 50 telephone conversations between himself and Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. Based on your conversation with the President at that time, would it have surprised you to know that there were over 50--there were records of over 50 telephone conversations with Monica Lewinsky and the President?
A. Would I have been surprised at that time?
Q. Yes.
A. Uh, I--to see those records and if he--I don't fully grasp the question here. Could you--would I have been surprised?
Q. Based on the President's response to your question at that time, would it have surprised you to have been told or to have later learned that there were over 50 recorded--50 conversations between the President and Ms. Lewinsky?
A. I did later learn that, uh, as the whole country did, uh, and I was surprised.
Q. When the President told you that Monica Lewinsky threatened him, did you ever feel compelled to report that information to the Secret Service?
A. No.
Q. The FBI or any other law enforcement organization?
A. No.
Q. I'm assuming that a threat to the President from somebody in the White House would normally send off alarm bells among staff.
A. It wouldn't--
MR. McDANIEL: Well, I'd like to object to the question, Senator. There's no testimony that Mr. Blumenthal learned of a threat contemporaneously with it being made by someone in the White House. This is a threat that was relayed to him sometime afterwards by someone who was no longer employed in the White House. So I think the question doesn't relate to the testimony of this witness.
MR. ROGAN: Respectfully, I'm not sure what the legal basis of the objection is. The evidence before us is that the President told the witness that Monica Lewinsky threatened him.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
SENATOR SPECTER: We've conferred and overrule the objection on the ground that it calls for an answer; that, however the witness chooses to answer it, was not a contemporaneous threat, or he thought it was stale, or whatever he thinks. But the objection is overruled.
MR. ROGAN: Thank you.
Q. Let me--let me restate the question, if I may. Mr. Blumenthal, would a threat--
SENATOR SPECTER: We withdraw the ruling.
MR. McDANIEL: I withdraw my objection, then.
MR. ROGAN: Senator Specter, the ruling is just fine by my light. I'm just going to try to simplify the question for the witness' benefit.
SENATOR SPECTER: We'll hold in abeyance a decision on whether to reinstate the ruling.
MR. ROGAN: Thank you. Maybe I should just quit while I'm ahead and have the question read back.
Q. Basically, Mr. Blumenthal, what I'm asking is, I mean, normally, would a threat from somebody against the President in the White House typically require some sort of report being made to a law enforcement agency?
A. Uh, in the abstract, yes.
Q. This conversation that you had with the President on January the 21st, 1998, how did that conversation conclude?
A. Uh, I believe we, uh--well, I believe after that, I said to the President that, uh--who was--seemed to me to be upset, that you needed to find some sure footing and to be confident. And, uh, we went on, I believe, to discuss the State of the Union.
Q. You went on to other business?
A. Yes, we went on to talk about public policy.
Q. When this conversation with the President concluded as it related to Monica Lewinsky, what were your feelings toward the President's statement?
A. Uh, well, they were complex. Uh, I believed him, uh, but I was also, uh--I thought he was very upset. That troubled me. And I also was troubled by his association with troubled people and thought this was not a good story and thought he shouldn't be doing this.
Q. Do you remember also testifying before the grand jury that you felt that the President's story was a very heartfelt story and that `he was pouring out his heart, and I believed him'?
A. Yes, that's what I told the grand jury, I believe; right.
Q. That was--that was how you interpreted the President's story?
A. Yes, I did. He was, uh--he seemed--he seemed emotional.
Q. When the President told you he was helping Monica Lewinsky, did he ever describe to you how he might be helping or ministering to her?
A. No.
Q. Did he ever describe how many times he may have tried to help or minister to her?
A. No.
Q. Did he tell you how many times he visited with Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. Did he tell you how many times Monica Lewinsky visited him in the Oval Office complex?
A. No.
Q. Did he tell you how many times he was alone with Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. He never described to you any intimate physical activity he may have had with Monica Lewinsky?
A. Oh, no.
Q. Did the President ever tell you that he gave any gifts to Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. Did he tell you that Monica Lewinsky gave him any gifts?
A. No.
Q. Based on the President's story as he related on January 21st, would it have surprised you to know at that time that there was a repeated gift exchange between Monica Lewinsky and the President?
A. Well, I learned later about that, and I was surprised.
Q. The President never told you that he engaged in occasional sexual banter with her on the telephone?
A. No.
Q. He never told you about any cover stories that he and Monica Lewinsky may have developed to disguise a relationship?
A. No.
Q. He never suggested to you that there might be some physical evidence pointing to a physical relationship between he--between himself and Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. Did the President ever discuss his grand jury--or strike that.
Did the President ever discuss his deposition testimony with you in the Paula Jones case on that date?
A. Oh, no.
Q. Did he ever tell you that he denied under oath in his Paula Jones deposition that he had an affair with Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. Did the President ever tell you that he ministered to anyone else who then made a sexual advance toward him?
A. No.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, after you testified before the grand jury, did you ever communicate to the President the questions that you were asked?
A. No.
Q. After you testified before the grand jury, did you ever communicate to the President the answers which you gave to those questions?
A. No.
Q. After you were subpoenaed to testify but before you testified before the Federal grand jury, did the President ever recant his earlier statements to you about Monica Lewinsky?
A. No.
Q. After you were subpoenaed but before you testified before the federal grand jury, did the President ever say that he did not want you to mislead the grand jury with a false statement?
A. No. We didn't have any subsequent conversation about this matter.
Q. So it would be fair also to say that after you were subpoenaed but before you testified before the Federal grand jury, the President never told you that he was not being truthful with you in that January 21st conversation about Monica Lewinsky?
A. Uh, he never spoke to me about that at all.
Q. The President never instructed you before your testimony before the grand jury not to relay his false account of his relationship with Monica Lewinsky?
A. We--we didn't speak about anything.
Q. And as to your testimony on all three appearances before the grand jury on February 26th, June 4th and June 25th, 1998--as an aside, by the way, let me just say I think this question has been asked of all the witnesses, so this is not peculiar to you--but as to those three grand jury appearances, do you adopt as truth your testimony on all three of those occasions?
A. Oh, yes.
MR. ROGAN: If I may have a moment?
SENATOR SPECTER: Of course. Would you like a short break?
MR. ROGAN: That might be convenient, Senator.
SENATOR SPECTER: All right. It's a little past 10. We'll take a 5-minute recess.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going off the record at 10 o'clock a.m.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going back on the record at 10:12 a.m.
SENATOR SPECTER: We shall proceed; Mr. Graham questioning for the House Managers.
MR. GRAHAM: Thank you, Senator.
Q. Again, Mr. Blumenthal, if I ask you something that's confusing, just slow me down and straighten me out here.
A. Thank you.
Q. Okay. I'm going to ask as direct, to-the-point questions as I can so we all can go home.
June 4th, 1998, when you testified to the grand jury, on page 49--I guess it's page 185 on tab 4.
MR. McDANIEL: Page 49?
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
MR. McDANIEL: Thank you.
Q. That's where you start talking about the story that the President told you. Knowing what you know now, do you believe the President lied to you about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky?
A. I do.
Q. I appreciate your honesty. You had raised executive privilege at some time in the past, I believe.
MR. McDANIEL: I object, Senator. Mr. Blumenthal was a passive vessel for the raising of executive privilege by the President. It's not his privilege to assert, so the question, I think, is misleading.
Q. At any time--I'm sorry.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I have conferred and believe that he can answer the question if he did not raise the privilege, so we will overrule the objection.
SENATOR EDWARDS: Either he asserted it or it was asserted on his behalf.
THE WITNESS: If you could repeat it, please.
Q. I believe early on in your testimony and throughout your testimony to the grand jury, the idea of executive privilege covering your testimony or conversations with the President was raised. Is that correct?
A. It was.
Q. Do you believe the White House knew that this privilege would be asserted in your testimony? That was no surprise to them?
A. Uh--
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object. It's the White House's privilege to assert it could not have been surprised. It's a mischaracterization of the facts.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I believe the objection is well-founded on the ground that he cannot testify as to what someone else knew. So would you rephrase the question? The objection will be sustained.
Q. When executive privilege was asserted, do you know how it came about? Do you have any knowledge of how it came about?
A. What I recall is that I--in my first appearance before the grand jury, I was asked questions about my conversations with the President. And I went out into the hall, asked if I could go out in the hall, and I spoke with the White House legal counsel who was there, Cheryl Mills, and said, `What do I say?'
Q. And she said?
A. And I was advised to assert privilege.
Q. So the executive privilege assertion came about from advice to you by White House counsel?
A. Yes.
Q. Now, you've stated, I think, very honestly, and I appreciate, that you were lied to by the President. Is it a fair statement, given your previous testimony concerning your 30-minute conversation, that the President was trying to portray himself as a victim of a relationship with Monica Lewinsky?
A. I think that's the import of his whole story.
Q. During this period of time, the Paula Jones lawsuit, other allegations about relationships with the President and other women were being made and found their way in the press. Is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Now, when you have these morning meetings and evening meetings about press strategy, I believe your previous testimony goes along the lines that any time a press report came out about a story between the President and a woman, that you would sit down and strategize about what to do. Is that correct?
A. Well, we would, uh, talk about what the White House spokesman would say about it.
Q. Does the name `Kathleen Willey' mean anything to you in that regard?
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object. It's beyond the scope of this deposition. In the proffer from the Managers, they explicitly state the areas that they want to go into, and they explicitly state that they want to speak to Mr. Blumenthal about his January 21, 1998, conversation with the President about Monica Lewinsky. And any aspects as to Kathleen Willey are--have nothing to do with the Articles of Impeachment, nor do they have anything to do with the proffer made by the Managers, and it's beyond the scope of this deposition.
SENATOR SPECTER: Just wait one second.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
SENATOR SPECTER: Mr. Graham, as you know, the scope of the examination of Mr. Blumenthal is limited by the subject matters reflected in the Senate record. Are you able to substantiate the Senate record as a basis for asking the question?
MR. GRAHAM: I'm assuming, yes, Senator, that the grand jury testimony of Mr. Blumenthal is part of the Senate record. And on June 25th, 1998, on page 21, there's a discussion between Mr. Blumenthal and the Independent Counsel's Office about strategy meetings and other women, and in that testimony, he mentions that `we discussed Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, in our strategy meeting.'
And I think the question will not be as ominous as some may think it sounds. I think I can get right to the point pretty quickly about what I'm trying to do with--
SENATOR SPECTER: Well, would you make an offer of proof so that we can see what the scope is that you have in mind?
MR. GRAHAM: Basically, his testimony is that when a press report came about concerning Ms. Jones or Kathleen Willey or a relationship between the President and another woman, they sat down and strategized about how to respond to those press accounts, what to do and what to say--at least that's what his testimony indicates. And I just want to ask him, once the January 21st story about Ms. Lewinsky came out, how they discussed her in relationship to other strategy meetings.
SENATOR SPECTER: Mr. Breuer, how would you respond to Congressman Graham's statement that as he refers to a reference to Ms. Willey in the record?
MR. BREUER: Senator, I haven't seen the one reference, but I may--I would acknowledge that there may be one passing reference to Ms. Willey in the voluminous materials that are before us here in the grand jury, Senator. But it's clearly not germane to this deposition. It's clearly not germane to the proffer made by the Managers about why Mr. Sidney Blumenthal was a witness. It is clearly not germane to the Articles of Impeachment.
And, indeed, in Mr. Lindsey Graham's proffer just now, he said that he wants to go back and ask about the January 21 conversation. It's my view that Kathleen Willey is tangential, at best, and is not germane to this deposition and ought not to be inquired into.
SENATOR EDWARDS: And, Senator Specter, I would ask that we go off the record for this discussion, given the question of whether this is within the scope of the Senate record.
SENATOR SPECTER: We shall go off the record.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going off the record at 10:20 a.m.
[Discussion off the record.]
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going back on the record at 10:48 a.m.
SENATOR SPECTER: Congressman Lindsey, you may proceed.
MR. GRAHAM: Thank you, sir.
Q. Thank you for your patience, Mr. Blumenthal. I appreciate it.
A. Thank you.
Q. Let's get back to the--we'll approach this topic another way and we'll try to tie it up at the end here.
The January 21st article breaks, and I think it's in The Washington Post, is that correct, the January 21st article about Ms. Lewinsky being on tape, talking about her relationship with the President? Are you familiar with that article?
A. I'm familiar with an article on January 21st in The Washington Post.
Q. And what--what was the essence of that article, as you remember it?
A. If you have it there, I'd be happy to look at it.
Q. Yeah. Let's see if we can find it, what tab that is. Tab 7.
[Witness perusing document.]
Q. If you'd like a chance to read it over, just take your time.
A. Yes. Thank you.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: It's a long article.
Q. Yes, sir, it is, and just--
A. Yeah.
Q. --just take your time. I'm not going to give you a test on the article. I just wanted--
A. No. I just wanted to read it.
Q. --to refresh your memory. Absolutely, you take your time.
A. I hope you don't mind if I took the time here.
Q. No, sir. Are you--you're okay now?
A. I am.
Q. Okay. In essence, what this article is--is alleging is what we now know, the allegations that Ms. Lewinsky had a relationship with the President, that Mr. Jordan was trying to help her secure counsel, to file an affidavit saying they had no relationship, and the relationship on January 21st was being exposed through some tape recordings, supposedly, the Independent Counsel had access to between Ms. Lewinsky and Ms. Tripp. Is that correct?
A. Well, there are a lot of questions in there.
Q. Okay, yeah, and I'm sorry.
This article seems to suggest that Ms. Lewinsky is telling a friend--
A. Mm-hmm.
Q. --that she has a relationship with the President, a sexual relationship with the President.
A. Mm-hmm.
Q. You understand that from the article?
A. Yes.
Q. This article also alleges that an affidavit was filed by Ms. Lewinsky denying that relationship, and Mr. Jordan sought an attorney for her, a friend of the President. Is that correct?
A. It says she filed an affidavit, and I'm just looking for where it says that Jordan had secured the attorney.
Q. The very first paragraph, let me read it. `The Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr has expanded his investigation of President Clinton to examine whether Clinton and his close friend, Vernon Jordan, encouraged a 24-year-old'--
A. Right.
Q. --'former White House intern to lie to lawyers for Paula Jones about whether the intern had an affair with the President, sources close to the investigation said yesterday.'
A. Right.
Q. So I guess that first paragraph kind of sums up the accusation.
A. I think--
Q. What type reaction did the White House have when this--as you recall--when this article came to light?
A. I--I think the White House was overwhelmed with press inquiries.
Q. Was there a sense of alarm that this was a bad story?
A. Yes.
Q. And wasn't there a sense of reassurance by the President himself that this was an untrue story?
A. The President did make a public statement that afternoon.
Q. And I believe White House officials on his behalf denied the essence of this story; is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. And basically, you were passing along what somebody you trust and admire told you to be the case, and from the White House point of view, that was the response to this story, that we deny these allegations.
MR. McDANIEL: Senator, I really object to the question where we mix `you' and `we' and the `White House.' I'd like, if possible, for the question--if they want to know what Mr. Blumenthal did, to ask him what he did, and questions about what the White House did and what we and you did.
MR. GRAHAM: That's fair enough.
MR. McDANIEL: Okay, we thank you.
SENATOR SPECTER: We think that's well-founded.
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, and I agree. I agree that is well-founded.
Q. Did you have any discussions with White House press people about the nature of this relationship after this article broke?
A. No.
Q. Did you have any discussions with White House lawyers after this article broke about the nature of the relationship?
A. No.
Q. After you had the conversation with the President, sometime the week of the 21st--I believe that's your testimony--shortly after the news story broke, this 30-minute conversation where he tells you about--
A. There's not a question.
Q. Okay. Is that correct? When did you have this conversation with the President? Do you recall?
A. Yes. It was in the early evening of January 21st.
Q. Early evening of January 21st?
A. Yes.
Q. The same day the story was reported?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. So, from your point of view, this was something that needed to be addressed?
MR. McDANIEL: Your Honor, I--Senator, I object to the question about `this' is something that needs to be addressed. I don't understand what the `this' is, exactly, that the question refers to. Does it refer to the story? Does it refer to the President's statement to Mr. Blumenthal?
SENATOR SPECTER: Well, we think--Senator Edwards and I concur that the witness can answer the question. If he does not understand it, he can say so and then can have the question rephrased.
Q. You have a conversation with the President on the same day the article comes out, and the conversation includes a discussion about the relationship between him and Ms. Lewinsky. Is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay. So it was certainly on people's minds, including the President, is that correct, the essence of this story?
MR. McDANIEL: I object to the question about whether it's on people's minds. I think he can answer about what he knew or about what he learned from people who spoke to him, but the question goes far beyond that.
Q. Well, let me ask you this. We know it was on the President's mind.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I think that, technically, that's correct, and perhaps you can avoid it by just pinpointing it just a little more.
MR. GRAHAM: Yes. We'll try to be laser-like in these questions.
Q. You had a conversation with the President of the United States about his relationship with Ms. Lewinsky on the same day The Washington Post article came out. That's correct? Yes or no?
A. That--I--I--that's right.
Q. Okay. During that period of time, that day or any day thereafter, were you involved in any meeting with White House lawyers or press people where the conversation--or where the topic of Ms. Lewinsky's allegations or the--Ken Starr's allegations about Ms. Lewinsky came up?
A. I'm confused about which allegations you're talking about.
Q. That she had a relationship with the President, and they were trying to get her to file a false affidavit. Did that topic ever come up in your presence with the Press Secretary, White House press people or lawyers for the White House?
A. I think the whole story was discussed by senior staff in the White House.
Q. When did that begin to occur?
A. I'm sure we were discussing it on January 21st.
Q. Do you recall that every--
A. Every--everyone in the country was talking about it.
Q. Well, do you recall the tenor of that conversation? Do you recall the flavor of it? Can you describe it the best you can, about--was there a sense of alarm, shock? How would you describe it?
A. I think we felt overwhelmed by the crisis atmosphere.
Q. Did anybody ever suggest who is Monica Lewinsky, go find out about who she is and what she does?
A. No.
Q. So is it your testimony that this accusation comes out on January 21st, and the accusation being that a White House intern has an inappropriate relationship with the President, filed a false affidavit on his behalf, and nobody at this meeting suggested let's find out who Monica Lewinsky is and what's going on here?
A. Well, I wasn't referring to any meeting, but in any of my discussions with members of the White House staff, nobody discussed Monica Lewinsky's personal life or decided that we had to find out who she was.
Q. Could I turn you now to Tab 15, please? Okay.
MR. McDANIEL: Would you like him to read this?
MR. GRAHAM: Yes. Yes, please. Just take your time. And I am now referring to an AP story by Karen G-u-l-l-o. I don't want to mispronounce her name.
[Witness perusing document.]
THE WITNESS: I'm ready, Congressman.
Q. Thank you.
And this article--do you know this reporter, by any chance?
A. I do know this reporter, but I did not know this reporter on January 30th.
Q. All right. Do you subsequently know--
A. Some months later, I met this reporter.
Q. And the basic essence of my question, Mr. Blumenthal, will be this report indicates some derogatory information about Ms. Lewinsky, and it also has some statements by White House Press Secretary and Ms. Lewis. And I want to ask how those two statements go together.
This report indicates that a White House aide called this reporter to suggest that Ms. Lewinsky's past included weight problems, and she was called `The Stalker.' And it says that `Junior staff members, speaking on condition that they not be identified, said she was known as a flirt, wore her skirts too short, was `a little bit weird'.' And the next paragraph says: `Little by little, ever since the allegations of an affair between President Clinton and Ms. Lewinsky surfaced 10 days ago, White House sources have waged a behind-the-scenes campaign to portray her as an untrustworthy climber obsessed with the President.'
Do you have any direct knowledge or indirect knowledge that such a campaign by White House aides or junior staff members ever existed?
A. No.
Q. Okay. Do you ever remember hearing Ms. Lewis or Mr. McCurry admonishing anyone in the White House about `watch what you say about Ms. Lewinsky'?
A. No. I don't recall those incidents described in this article, but I do note that among senior advisors at one of the meetings that we held--it could have been in the morning or late afternoon--we felt very firmly that nobody should ever be a source to a reporter about a story about Monica Lewinsky's personal life, and I strongly agreed with that and that's what we decided.
Q. When did that meeting occur?
A. I'd say within a week of the story breaking.
Q. Who was at that meeting?
A. I don't recall exactly, but I would say that the list of names that I mentioned before.
Q. And that would be?
A. I may not get them all, but I would say Chuck Ruff, Cheryl Mills, Bruce Lindsey, Lanny Breuer, Jim Kennedy, Mike McCurry, Joe Lockhart, Adam Goldberg, Don Goldberg, Ann Lewis, Paul Begala, Rahm Emanuel, myself.
Q. And this occurred about a week after the January 21st article?
A. I don't recall the exact date.
Q. At least 7 days?
A. Within a week--
Q. Okay.
A. --I believe.
Q. Would it be fair to say that you were sitting there during this conversation and that you had previously been told by the President that he was in essence a victim of Ms. Lewinsky's sexual demands, and you said nothing to anyone?
MR. McDANIEL: Is the question, `You said'--
THE WITNESS: I don't--
MR. McDANIEL: Is the question, `You said nothing to anyone about what the President told you?'?
MR. GRAHAM: Right.
THE WITNESS: I never told any of my colleagues about what the President told me.
Q. And this is after the President recants his story--recounts his story--to you, where he's visibly upset, feels like he's a victim, that he associates himself with a character who's being lied about, and you at no time suggested to your colleagues that there is something going on here with the President and Ms. Lewinsky you need to know about. Is that your testimony?
A. I never mentioned my conversation. I regarded that conversation as a private conversation in confidence, and I didn't mention it to my colleagues, I didn't mention it to my friends, I didn't mention it to my family, besides my wife.
Q. Did you mention it to any White House lawyers?
A. I mentioned it many months later to Lanny Breuer in preparation for one of my grand jury appearances, when I knew I would be questioned about it. And I certainly never mentioned it to any reporter.
Q. Do you know how, over a period of weeks, stories about Ms. Lewinsky being called a stalker, a fantasizer, obsessed with the President, called the name `Elvira'--do you know how that got into the press?
A. Which--which--which question are you asking me? Which part of that?
Q. Okay. Do you have any idea how White House sources are associated with statements such as `She's known as `Elvira',' `She's obsessed with the President,' `She's known as a flirt,' `She's the product of a troubled home, divorced parents,' `She's known as `The Stalker'? Do you have any idea how that got in the press?
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object. The document speaks for itself, but it's not clear that the terms that Mr. Lindsey has used are necessarily--any or all of them--are from a White House source. I object to the form and the characterization of the question.
MR. GRAHAM: The ones that I have indicated are associated with the White House as being the source of those statements and--
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I think that question is appropriate, and the objection is overruled.
THE WITNESS: I have no idea how anything came to be attributed to a White House source.
Q. Do you know a Mr. Terry Lenzner?
A. I--I met him once.
Q. When did you meet him?
A. I met him outside the grand jury room.
Q. And who is he?
A. He's a private investigator.
Q. And who does he work for?
A. He works for many clients, including the President.
Q. Okay. Mr. Blumenthal, I appreciate your candor here.
Do you know Mr. Harry Evans?
A. Harold Evans?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Who is Mr. Harold Evans?
A. Harold Evans is--I don't know his exact title right now. He works for Mort Zuckerman, involving his publications, and he's the husband of my former editor, Tina Brown.
Q. Has he ever worked for the New York Daily News?
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object to this line of questioning. It seems well beyond the scope of this deposition. I have never heard of Mr. Harold Evans, and it's not clear to me that's anywhere in this voluminous record or any of these issues.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I think it would be appropriate to have an offer of proof on this, Congressman Graham.
MR. GRAHAM: I'm going to ask Mr. Blumenthal if he has ever at any time passed on to Mr. Evans or anyone else raw notes, notes, work products from a Mr. Terry Lenzner about subjects of White House investigations to members of the press, to include Ms. Lewinsky.
SENATOR SPECTER: Relating to Monica Lewinsky?
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, and anyone else.
MR. McDANIEL: That's a good question. I think we don't have any objection to that question.
SENATOR SPECTER: Well, we still have to rule on it. Overruled. The objection is overruled.
MR. GRAHAM: All right. Now I think I know the answer.
Q. So let's phrase it very clearly for the record here. You know Mr. Evans; correct?
A. I do.
Q. Have you at any time received any notes, work product from a Mr. Terry Lenzner about anybody?
A. No.
Q. Okay. So, therefore, you had nothing to pass on?
A. Right.
Q. Fair enough. Do you know a Mr. Gene Lyons?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Who is Mr. Gene Lyons?
A. He is a columnist for the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
Q. Are you familiar with his appearance on `Meet the Press' where he suggests in an article he wrote later that maybe the President is a victim similar to David Letterman in terms of somebody following him around, obsessed with him?
A. Is this one of the exhibits?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. I wonder if you could refer me to it.
Q. Sure. I can't read my writing.
Q. Well, while we are looking for the exhibit, let me ask you this. Do you have any independent knowledge of him making such a statement?
A. Well, I'd like to see the exhibit so--
Q. Okay.
A. --so I could know exactly what he said.
Q. Okay.
MR. McDANIEL: If I might--Congressman, I don't know whether the one you're thinking of is--I note in Exhibit 20, there are--well, it's not a story by Mr. Lyons--
MR. GRAHAM: And that's it.
MR. McDANIEL: There are references to him in--in that story.
MR. GRAHAM: That's it. Thank you very much.
MR. McDANIEL: You're welcome.
MR. GRAHAM: I appreciate it.
THE WITNESS: This is 20?
Q. Yes, sir.
A. Thank you.
Do you mind if I just read through it?
Q. Yes, sir. Take your time.
A. Thank you. [Witness perusing document.] I've read this.
Q. My question is that this article is a Boston Globe article, Saturday, February the 21st, and it references an appearance on `Meet the Press' by Mr. Gene Lyons. And I believe you know who Mr. Gene Lyons is; is that correct?
A. I do.
Q. Did you know who he was in January of 1998?
A. I did.
Q. And in this press appearance, it refers to it being the Sunday before the Saturday, February 21st, sometime in the middle of February.
He indicates on the show, at least this article recounts that he indicates, that the President could be in fact in `'a totally innocent relationship in which the President was, in a sense, the victim of someone, rather like the woman who followed David Letterman around.'
Do you know how Mr. Lyons would come to that conclusion? I know word travels fast, but how would he know that? Do you have any independent knowledge of how he would know that?
A. What exactly is the question?
Q. Well, the question is Mr. Lyons is indicating in the middle of February that the truth of the matter may very well be that the President is in an `innocent relationship in which the President was, in a sense, the victim of someone, rather like the woman who followed David Letterman around,' and the question is that scenario of the President being a victim of someone obsessed seems rather like the conversation you had with the President on January the 21st. Do you know how Mr. Lyons would have had that take on things?
MR. McDANIEL: Well, I object to a question that sort of loads up premises, Senators. That question sort of, you know, says, well, this conversation is a lot like the one you had with the President, and then asks the question. And the danger to the witness is that he'll--by answering the question accepts the premise.
And I ask that if you want to ask him whether it's like the conversation with the President, that's a fair question, he'll answer it, but it ought to be broken out of there.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I disagree on the ruling, so we're going to take Senator Edwards and ask you to rephrase the question since it--
MR. GRAHAM: Fair enough.
Q. The characterization embodied here indicates this could be a totally innocent relationship in which the President was in a sense the victim of someone. Is it fair to say, Mr. Blumenthal, that is very much like the scenario the President painted to you when you talked with him on January the 21st?
A. It could be like that.
Q. Okay. And it goes on further: `rather like the woman who followed David Letterman around.' Is that very much like the characterization the President indicated to you between him and Ms. Lewinsky?
A. Could be.
Q. Did you ever at any time talk with Mr. Gene Lyons about Ms. Lewinsky or any other person that was the subject of a relationship with the President?
A. I did talk to Gene Lyons about Monica Lewinsky.
Q. Could you tell us what you told him?
A. He asked me my views, and I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I wouldn't talk about her personally. I talked about Monica Lewinsky with all sorts of people, my mother, my friends, about what was in the news stories every day, just like everyone else, but when it came to talking about her personally, I drew a line.
Q. So, when you talk to your mother and your friends and Mr. Lyons about Ms. Lewinsky, are you telling us that you have these conversations, and you know what the President has told you and you're not tempted to tell somebody the President is a victim of this lady, out of his own mouth?
A. Not only am I not tempted, I did not.
Q. You don't know how all this information came out? You have no knowledge of it at all?
MR. McDANIEL: I don't understand the question about--
MR. GRAHAM: About her being a stalker, her being obsessed with the President, the President being like David Letterman in relationship to her.
Q. You had no knowledge of how that all happened in the press?
A. I have an idea how it started in the press.
Q. Well, please share that with us.
A. I believe it started on January 21st with the publication of an article in Newsweek by Michael Isikoff that was posted on the World Wide Web and faxed around to everyone in the news media, in Washington, New York, everywhere, and in the White House. And in that article, Michael Isikoff reported the contents of what became known as the talking points.
And there was a mystery at the time about who wrote the talking points. We know subsequently that Monica Lewinsky wrote the talking points. And in that document, the author of the talking points advises Linda Tripp that she might refer to someone who was stalking the `P', meaning the President, and after that story appeared, I believe there were a flood of stories and discussions about this, starting on `Nightline' that very night and `Nightline' the next night and so on. And that's my understanding from observing the media of how this started.
Q. How long have you been involved in the media yourself?
A. Before I joined the White House staff, I was a journalist for 27 years.
Q. Is it your testimony that the Isikoff article on the 21st explains how White House sources contact reporters in late January and mid-February trying to explain that the President is a victim of a stalker, an obsessed young lady, who is the product of a broken home? Is that your testimony?
A. No.
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object to the form of the question. There is no evidence that White House officials, both in January and in February, if at any time, contacted sources, press sources.
MR. GRAHAM: I will introduce these articles. The articles are dated with White House sources, unsolicited, calling about this event, saying these things in January and February.
MR. BREUER: Well--
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I agree that the question may be asked and answered. Overruled.
THE WITNESS: If you could restate it, please?
Q. Is it your testimony that the White House sources that are being referred to by the press are a result of the 21st of January Isikoff article? That's not what you're saying, is it?
A. No.
MR. McDANIEL: Well--
MR. GRAHAM: Thank you.
MR. McDANIEL: --I don't think that there ought to be argument with Mr. Blumenthal. I think he ought to be asked a question and given an opportunity to answer it, and that's an argumentative question and followed up by, `That's not what you're saying, is it?'
I also think the questions are remarkably imprecise, in that they do not specify what information it is this questioner is seeking to get Mr. Blumenthal to talk about, and in that regard, I think the questions are both irrelevant and unfair.
SENATOR EDWARDS: Are you objecting to a question that's already been asked and answered?
MR. McDANIEL: I might be, Senator, and I had that feeling when I heard Mr. Blumenthal say something, that I might be doing that.
MR. GRAHAM: That would be my reply. He understood what I asked, and he answered, and I'll accept his answer and we'll move on.
SENATOR SPECTER: Well, I think the objection is mooted at this point.
SENATOR SPECTER: I do--I do think that to the extent you can be more precise, because these articles do contain--
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
SENATOR SPECTER: --a lot of information. We're still looking for that laser.
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
Q. And these--and the reason this comes up, Mr. Isikoff--excuse me--Mr. Blumenthal, is you've referenced the Isikoff article on the 21st, and my question goes to White House sources indicating that Ms. Lewinsky is a stalker, the January 30th article, that she's obsessed with the President, that she wears tight skirts.
What I'm trying to say is that you--you are not saying--it is not your testimony--that those White House sources are picking up on the 21st article, are you?
A. I don't know about any White House sources on these stories.
Q. When you talked to Mr. Lyons, you never mentioned what time at all that Ms. Lewinsky was making demands on the President and he had to rebuff her?
A. Absolutely not.
Q. You never at one time told Mr. Lyons or anyone else that the President felt like that he was a victim much like the person in the novel, Darkness at Noon?
MR. McDANIEL: Well, I object to that question. This witness has testified that he told his wife and that he told White House counsel at a later date, and the question included anyone else. So I think it--
MR. GRAHAM: Yes. Strike that.
Q. Excluding those two people?
A. Well, I believe I've asked--I've been asked, and answered that, and I haven't told anyone else.
Q. Was there--
A. I didn't tell anyone else.
Q. Was there ever an investigation at the White House about how these stories came out, supposedly?
A. No.
Q. Was anybody ever fired?
A. No.
MR. GRAHAM: Thank you, Mr. Blumenthal.
THE WITNESS: I thank you.
MR. ROGAN: No further questions.
MR. BREUER: Could we take a 5-minute break, Senator?
SENATOR SPECTER: We can. We will recess for 5 minutes.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are going off the record at 11:24 a.m.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going on the record at 11:40 a.m.
SENATOR SPECTER: Turn to White House counsel, Mr. Lanny Breuer.
MR. BREUER: Senators, the White House has no questions for Mr. Blumenthal.
SENATOR SPECTER: We had deferred one line of questions which had been subject objection and considerable conference, and we put it at the end of the transcript so it could be excised. Do you wish to--
SENATOR SPECTER: --proceed further?
MR. BREUER: May we approach off the record, Senators?
SENATOR SPECTER: Off the record.
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We're going off the record at 11:41 a.m.
[Discussion off the record.]
THE VIDEOGRAPHER: We are going back on the record at 12:10 p.m.
SENATOR SPECTER: The Senators have considered the matter, and in light of the references, albeit abbreviated, in the record and the generalization that answers--questions and answers would be permitted, reserving the final judgment to the full Senate, we will permit Congressman Graham to question on pattern and practice with respect to Ms. Willey.
MR. GRAHAM: Okay. Thank you.
Q. Mr. Blumenthal, we're really close to the end here. If you could turn to Tab 5, page 193.
A. We have it.
Q. Okay, thank you.
And page 20, the last question, it's in the right-hand corner. I'll read the question, and we'll kind of follow the testimony. `Have you ever had a discussion with people in the White House or been present during any meeting where the allegation has come up that other women are fabricating an affair with the President?'
Now, could you read the answer for me, please?
A. Sure. My--my answer in the grand jury is this: `We've discussed news stories that arose out of the Jones case, which was dismissed by the judge as having no basis, in which there were allegations made against the President, and these were stories that were in the press.'
Q. `And you'--'And did you discuss those with the President?'
You said, `No.'
And the next question is: `So what form did you discuss those news stories in?'
And your answer was?
A. `In strategy meetings.'
Q. Okay. `And that would include the daily meetings, the morning and the evening meetings?'
A. Yes.
Q. And your answer was `Yes.'
Now, within that context, I want to walk through a bit how those strategy meetings came about and the purpose of the strategy meetings.
The next question goes as follows: `And there were names of the women that you discussed in that context that there had been news stories about and public allegations of an affair with the President?'
And your answer was?
A. `As I recall, we discussed Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, we've discussed'--and the rest is redacted.
Q. Redacted--and that's fine, that's fine.
And the question later on, on line 24: `When you say that that was a complete and utter fraudulent allegation--', the answer is: `In my view, yes.' Right?
A. Well--
Q. About a woman?
MR. McDANIEL: Senator, I must object to this, because I believe that question, clearly from the context, refers to redacted material--
MR. GRAHAM: Right.
MR. McDANIEL: --which has been preserved as secret by the grand jury, and I think it's somewhat misleading to talk about a fraudulent allegation that the grand jury heard that Mr. Blumenthal testified about, which is clearly not in the record before the Senate.
SENATOR SPECTER: Well, it is unclear on the face of the record. So, Congressman Graham, if you could--
MR. GRAHAM: The point I'm trying--
SENATOR SPECTER: --excuse me, let me just finish--
SENATOR SPECTER: --if you could specify on what is on the record that you've put in up to now.
MR. GRAHAM: Okay. What I'm reading from, Senator, is--is a question and answer and a redacted name, and the point I'm trying to make is ever who that person was, the allegation was considered to be fraudulent based on your prior testimony.
THE WITNESS: That was--that was my testimony, that it was my view.
Q. And that leads to this question. Was there ever a discussion in these strategy meetings where there was an admission that the allegation was believed to be true against the President in terms of relationship with other women?
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object to the form of the question in that it's referring to other women. Even based on the discussion that went off the record, I think that what Mr. Graham is doing now is certainly beyond any record in this case.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards would like to hear the question repeated.
MR. GRAHAM: The strategy meetings--
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
Q. The strategy meetings involved press accounts of allegations between the President and other women. The question is very simple. At any of those meetings, was it ever conceded that the President did have in fact a relationship?
MR. BREUER: Object. I object to the question for the reasons I just previously stated.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards raises the concern that I think he's correct on, that we have limited it to Willey, Ms. Willey. So, if you would--if you would focus--
MR. GRAHAM: Absolutely.
MR. GRAHAM: Absolutely.
SENATOR SPECTER: --it would be within your proffer and what we have permitted.
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir. Very well.
Q. In regards to Ms. Willey, is it fair to say that the consensus of the group was that these allegations were not true?
A. I don't know.
Q. Do you recall Ms. Willey giving a `60 Minutes' interview?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you recall any discussions after the interview at a strategy meeting about Ms. Willey?
MR. BREUER: I want the record to be clear that the White House has a continuing objection as to this line of inquiry.
SENATOR SPECTER: The record will so note.
THE WITNESS: If you could repeat the question, please.
Q. After the `60 Minutes' interview, was there ever a strategy meeting about what she said?
A. At one of the morning or evening meetings, we discussed the `60 Minutes' interview.
Q. And can you--I--I know it's hard because these meetings go on a lot. How--do you know who was there on that occasion, who would be the players that would be there?
A. They would be the same as before. I'd be happy to enumerate them for you, if you want me to.
Q. But the same as you previously testified to?
A. Yes.
Q. Okay, that's fine.
Do you recall what the discussions were about in terms of how to respond to the `60 Minutes' story?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you tell us?
A. They were what our official spokes-people would say.
Q. Did they include anything else?
A. Yes.
Q. Could you please tell us?
A. There was a considerable complaining about how, in the `60 Minutes' broadcast, Bob Bennett was not given adequate time to speak and present his case, and how he was, as I recall, poorly lighted.
Q. Was there any discussion about what Ms. Willey said herself and how that should be responded to?
A. I don't recall exactly. We just spoke about what our official spokespeople should respond to.
Q. Did anybody ever discuss the fact that Ms. Willey may have had a checkered past?
A. No, absolutely not. We never discussed the personal lives of any woman in those meetings.
Q. Did it ever come up as to, well, here's what we know about Kathleen Willey and the President, or let's go see what we can find out about Kathleen Willey and the President?
A. No.
Q. Who had the letters that Kathleen Willey wrote to the President?
A. I don't know exactly. The White House had them.
Q. Isn't it fair to say that somebody found those letters, kept those letters, and was ready to respond with those letters, if needed to be?
MR. BREUER: I'm going to object to the form of the question that it's outside the proffer of the Manager.
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
MR. McDANIEL: Yes. I object to the compound nature of the question, and--
SENATOR SPECTER: Could you rephrase the question, Congressman Lindsey--
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
SENATOR SPECTER: --or, Graham?
MR. GRAHAM: Yes, sir.
SENATOR SPECTER: I think that would solve your problem.
Q. There were letters written to Ms. Willey to the President that were released to the media. Is that correct?
A. Yes.
Q. Do you know who gathered those letters up and how they were gathered up?
MR. BREUER: Objection.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards and I agree that the Congressman may ask the question. Overruled.
Q. Would it be fair to say, using common sense, that somebody was planning to answer Ms. Willey by having those letters to offer to the press?
MR. BREUER: Objection.
MR. McDANIEL: It's argumentative.
MR. BREUER: It certainly is.
SENATOR SPECTER: Would you repeat that question?
Q. The question is: Mr. Blumenthal, do you believe it's a fair assumption to make that somebody in the White House made a conscious effort to go seek out the letters between the President and Ms. Willey and use in response to her allegations?
[Senators Specter and Edwards conferring.]
THE WITNESS: Well, that's an opin--
MS. MARSH: Wait, wait, wait.
MR. McDANIEL: Please, Mr. Blumenthal.
SENATOR SPECTER: Senator Edwards says, and I agree with him, that you ought to direct it to somebody with specific knowledge so you don't--
Q. Do you have any knowledge--
SENATOR SPECTER: --deal totally with speculation.
Q. Do you have any specific knowledge of that event occurring, somebody gathering the letters up, having them ready to be able to respond to Ms. Willey if she ever said anything?
A. No.
Q. You have no knowledge whatsoever of how those letters came into the possession of the White House to be released to the press?
A. No, I don't. I don't know--
MR. GRAHAM: Thank you. I--
THE WITNESS: --who had them--
MR. GRAHAM: --don't have any--
THE WITNESS: --in the White House.
MR. GRAHAM: --further questions.
© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company
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Stalking Sidney Blumenthal

It started with a friend’s betrayal — Linda Tripp’s of Monica Lewinsky — and it may end with one. In what seem to be the waning days of the Clinton scandal, as senators look for a way to end the trial, Washington has been riveted by journalist (and sometime Salon contributor) Christopher Hitchens’ decision to submit an affidavit to Republican trial managers swearing that his old friend, presidential aide Sidney Blumenthal, described Lewinsky as a “stalker” over lunch last March, contrary to Blumenthal’s own sworn deposition in the trial last week.
Hitchens’ accusations have elicited bipartisan calls for a Justice Department investigation of Blumenthal. But the legal ramifications of his act may, in the end, be minor. What’s certain is that the topic has stunned liberal Washington, providing what writer Christopher Buckley has called “a Chambers vs. Hiss moment,” referring to the controversy that divided liberals in the 1950s. Buckley is certainly exaggerating — it’s unlikely anyone will be writing books about this decades from now — but the Hitchens-Blumenthal split has surprised people who know both men well. Their 15-year friendship was well known in Washington, despite Hitchens’ increasingly bitter antipathy toward Blumenthal’s boss. Their families regularly socialized, and Hitchens attended Blumenthal’s last birthday party and toasted his friend warmly.

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One journalist who is friends with both men told Salon that Hitchens’ decision to attack Blumenthal publicly is due to his “extreme bitterness” over Clinton’s ability to slip the noose in the Lewinsky mess. Mutual friends within the liberal and left journalistic community have persistently resisted Hitchens’ often diabolical estimation of the president, this friend said, and Hitchens has grown increasingly strident, and vocal, in questioning their sanity and their integrity.
Hitchens himself has said that in the course of researching a Nation column on Blumenthal’s overzealous defense of Clinton, he mentioned their March lunch to some Republicans. Then he got a phone call from House Judiciary Committee counsel Susan Bogart, who — surprise, surprise — had heard of his claims. She asked him to make a sworn statement, which he did, though he has said repeatedly he will never testify against Blumenthal should he be charged with perjury.
And perjury is what Republicans have been trying to pin on Blumenthal. It is true that for many months the buzz within journalistic circles was that Blumenthal had peddled various disparaging stories about Lewinsky to the media. And Hitchens repeated that charge Sunday on “Meet the Press.” “I would say most of the people I know in the profession who heard that story,” Hitchens told host Tim Russert, “they knew it either directly or indirectly from Mr. Blumenthal.” But, to date, none but Hitchens have come forward. On Monday a friend of Hitchens’ submitted an affidavit swearing that Hitchens told him of his lunch with Blumenthal where the presidential aide smeared Lewinsky, but no journalists have joined Hitchens in revealing that Blumenthal was the source of such stories.
Blumenthal has not specifically denied that he discussed the Lewinsky-as-stalker theory in his March 17 lunch with Hitchens and his wife, Carol Blue. His statement over the weekend denied that he was a “source for any story about Monica Lewinsky’s personal life.” (Hitchens did not return phone calls.) The core of Blumenthal’s defense seems to be that literally hundreds of stories describing Lewinsky as a “stalker” had already run in the media before his lunch with Hitchens. Though Blumenthal has said he has no specific recollection of the lunch meeting, he says he would have considered such a lunch with his “then-friend” Hitchens a social event, not a professional meeting. This would mean that he was telling the truth when he said in his trial deposition that he had only talked about the Lewinsky mess “with friends and family.”
Several Blumenthal defenders have observed that if the presidential aide had wanted to plant the stalker story with a journalist, Hitchens would have been his last choice. The British journalist is open in his utter contempt for the president, and it would stand to reason that if Blumenthal were going to leak the story into the press he would leak it to reporters who have been more supportive of Clinton
Three such reporters contacted by Salon on Monday categorically deny that Blumenthal ever relayed any such story to them. Lars-Erik Nelson, the New York Daily News columnist who has been sympathetic to the White House through most of the last year, says Blumenthal never smeared Lewinsky. “I am baffled by it,” he told Salon late Monday afternoon when asked for his thoughts about Hitchens’ accusation. Though he had been talking with him “continually throughout the past year,” Nelson said, Blumenthal had never mentioned Clinton’s stalker story.
Veteran New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis said the same thing. Though he had spoken with Blumenthal on only a few occasions, he said, Blumenthal had “never” relayed the stalker story Clinton had told Blumenthal in January.
New York Observer and Salon columnist Joe Conason told Salon Monday afternoon that Blumenthal “never mentioned” the stalker story. Conason, who said that Blumenthal had last week “specifically released him” from any confidences related to their conversations, said that he had spoken to Blumenthal on numerous occasions regarding the Lewinsky scandal, and specifically asked him for any information that might lead him to believe that the president and not Lewinsky was telling the truth. But Blumenthal would say only that he “believed the president.” In his Salon column this week, Conason revealed that Republicans had contacted other journalists, including Arkansas writer Gene Lyons, to see if they had received any “stalker” stories from Blumenthal. Those efforts came up dry.
So what’s going on here? Are we apt to see a Kathleen Willey vs. Julie Hiatt Steele battle of wills over who’s telling the truth? Probably not. A close look at just what each man has said leads to the conclusion that the facts actually in dispute may be minimal or even non-existent. In fact, even Hitchens told Russert on “Meet the Press” that from what he saw on the deposition videotape, Blumenthal “has not lied to Congress.”
Blumenthal told the House managers at his deposition that he had never revealed to anyone — save his wife — his conversation with the president in which Clinton said that Monica was known as a stalker. He also said that he was not the source for any story that depicted Monica as a stalker. He did say, however, that he had spoken with “friends about what was in the news stories every day, just like everyone else, but when it came to talking about her personally, I drew a line.”
By March 17, when Hitchens says he discussed the matter with Blumenthal over lunch, more than 400 stories had been published that included some version of the Lewinsky-as-stalker story. So it seems conceivable that the two men discussed the issue of Lewinsky being described as a stalker — and both would still be telling the truth in their sworn statements of the last week.
Sources familiar with various aspects of the case, reached late Monday afternoon, expressed doubt whether the entire question would ever lead to an indictment of Blumenthal, or anything more than a perfunctory investigation of the matter by Justice Department lawyers. Independent counsel Kenneth Starr is known to loathe Blumenthal, and would no doubt love to get his prosecutorial powers around Blumenthal, but he has no jurisdiction in the matter.
One staffer from the office of a conservative Republican senator, who is no friend of the president, told Salon that there had as yet been little serious discussion among Republican senators of pressing the matter with the Justice department. “It’s up to the Justice Department,” the staffer told Salon. “There’s not much people on the Hill can do about it.” House manager Henry Hyde pushed to introduce the Hitchens affidavit into the record of the impeachment trial, but the move was blocked by the Senate.
Like so many peripheral developments in the course of the scandal, the Blumenthal-Hitchens episode seems — at least at this point — destined to live only briefly in bold headlines. But the underlying passions and bitterness the scandal has loosed, and the severed friendships and associations it has left in its wake, may turn out to be the most enduring consequences of the entire drama.