Time: Sun Jun 29 15:33:27 1997
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Date: Sun, 29 Jun 1997 15:28:40 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: Safire: COURT v. CLINTONS (fwd)

>[not to be used for commercial purposes]
>June 29, 1997
>ESSAY / by William Safire
>"Court v. Clintons"
>LONDON--All over the world, the prurient interest 
>is battling the public interest. 
>Here in Britain, when the new Tory leader named 
>Cecil Parkinson to be chairman of the bedraggled 
>Conservative Party, the press reported him finally 
>released from "the sin bin." This recollection 
>of a 15-year-old affair, using a hockey metaphor,
>seemed unduly unforgiving. 
>In Israel, a TV interviewer provoked Sara Netanyahu,
>the Prime Minister's wife, into an unfortunate 
>outburst by asking about her husband's prior infidelity. 
>This nosiness struck many as excessive. 
>In Russia, Minister of Justice Valentin Kovalyov 
>was embarrassed by a video purportedly showing 
>him cavorting in a sauna with three naked women. 
>Public reaction: not to castigate the minister 
>but to wonder what combination of gangsters and 
>journalists was out to get him. 
>In the U.S., a report that investigators for the 
>Independent Counsel asked Arkansas state troopers 
>about Clinton liaisons provided Democrats with 
>an excuse to attack Kenneth Starr for invasion 
>of privacy and to call for an end to his investigation. 
>In this global orgy of first titillating and then 
>condemning prurient interest, legitimate lines 
>of inquiry are obscured. That's why Americans have 
>not focused on last week's most significant development 
>in the prosecutors' case against the Clintons. 
>For three years, the Office of White House Counsel 
>has conspired with a score of private attorneys 
>and Democratic counsel in Congressional committees 
>to delay and frustrate the working of Whitewater 
>and Filegate justice. 
>This Clinton Stonewall Brigade bought a full year's 
>delay by hiding notes with a spurious claim of 
>lawyer-client privilege, then recently sought another 
>year's delay by taking the claim to the Supreme 
>This was a huge gamble, but the odds were good. 
>If the Clintons could get the high court--which 
>traditionally gives great weight to Presidential 
>requests--to take the case, argument would not 
>begin until the fall and the case not decided until 
>next spring. Meanwhile the Clinton witnesses could 
>hang tough and stymie the investigation. 
>Moreover, there was the chance that the Court could 
>decide on some halfway privilege that would allow 
>the stonewalling to continue. 
>Downside risk: that the Court would refuse even 
>to consider the Clinton appeal, letting stand the 
>stern judgment against any privilege by the Eighth 
>Circuit Court of Appeals. 
>And then the case would proceed all too speedily. 
>That Clinton worst-case scenario is what happened. 
>In rebuffing the President's outrageous claim, 
>the Court sent a signal that it would not be a 
>party to his delay strategy. The subpoenaed notes 
>were at last produced. 
>But the significance is not merely in these particular 
>notes taken by taxpayer-paid lawyers and so long 
>wrongfully concealed. The Court action gives prosecutors 
>a green light to get--without delay--all the 
>plans for obfuscation, manipulation and information-
>sharing among subjects and targets of the investigation. 
>This includes grand jury testimony to be taken 
>from a parade of White House Counsel from Bernard 
>Nussbaum to Lloyd Cutler to Abner Mikva to Jack 
>Quinn (especially Quinn) and present Counsel Charles 
>Recollections can be refreshed by notes, diaries 
>and logs withheld for years by some of these unprivileged 
>lawyers and their assistants, including William 
>Kennedy 3d. The 1994 plan to "monitor" the investigation 
>mapped out by Jane Sherburne deserves sworn elaboration. 
>Counsel Bruce Lindsey's work-product and testimony 
>should be of interest now that the claim of privilege 
>has been exposed as a sham. And not just on Whitewater;
>the tight-lipped Clinton confidant was present 
>at the 1995 meeting with James Riady when the President 
>personally decided that John Huang, the longtime 
>Riady employee assigned to a top-secret job in 
>the Department of Commerce, would be reassigned 
>to the Democratic Finance Committee. 
>Even the communications between White House Counsel 
>and those helping block Congressional investigations 
>may now be accessible. 
>The White House lost its high-risk gamble. The 
>Supreme Court decided not to be suckered into a 
>strategy of delay. No wonder Clinton defenders 
>are venting their outrage at Kenneth Starr.
>Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company 

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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