A massive trove of documents from Bill Clinton’s presidency was released Friday, covering some of the most controversial moments in Clinton’s time in the White House.
The Monica Lewinsky scandal, Whitewater, the pardon of Marc Rich and Vince Foster’s suicide are topics covered in the documents. The 10,000 documents have been carefully chosen, scrubbed and redacted, and little was newly revealed. But here are some of the highlights NBC journalists found:
Former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal claimed in an email to journalist Jonathan Freedland on April 30, 1999, that Clinton told him Lewinsky had “complained that she was called ‘the stalker’ in the White House … and that if he didn't have sexual intercourse with her she'd tell people that they did anyway.”
A Sept 11, 1998, memo outlining talking points in anticipation of the report by special investor Kenneth Starr argued that the president had already admitted he made a “serious mistake” but the “private mistake does NOT amount to an impeachable action.” The memo also staunchly argued that Clinton “never tried to get Ms. Lewinsky a job after she left the White House in order to influence her testimony in the Paula Jones case.”
Bill Clinton's top personnel advisers Patsy Thomasson wrote to colleagues in April of 1996 that she hoped to place Monica Lewinsky at the Pentagon. "We are working closely with DOD to make this happen for Monica," Patsy Thomasson wrote "We have not finalized the deal but are working toward that end."
In the final days of Clinton’s presidency and one month before he pardoned indicted financier Marc Rich, a handwritten note from Rich’s lawyer, Jack Quinn, to White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey indicated that Rich’s case was widely discussed and pertinent.
The note said then Israel Prime Minister Ehud Barak pressed Clinton about Rich. “I am told that Barak also raised the Marc Rich matter with the President, as has at least one other person who was told that you and I should discuss it,” Quinn wrote.
Vince Foster and Whitewater
David Dreyer, assistant White House communications director, drafted an opinion piece that he sent to fellow staffers addressing the controversies plaguing the Clinton presidency. Dreyer suggested the piece publish on the one-year anniversary of Foster's death.
He draws parallels to the McCarthy era, writing, "We have now reached the point in the Whitewater investigation in which people are using this tragic incident to conceal their true intentions of trying to reverse the results of the 1992 election ... One year later, what do we know now that we didn't know then?"
"We know that the right wing conspiracy theories were actually storm and fury signifying nothing — there was no murder. There was no conspiracy ...There was no moving of the body ... there was no white van ... Enough is enough. As we approach the one-year mark since Vince Foster's suicide — a year of politics of the most vicious sort in which zealots working for their own ends with total irregard for decency — his family, as well as the President and First Lady of the United States, deserve the right to grieve in private."
— NBC News