Clinton Document Dump: Lewinsky, '90s Deja Vu

But no apparent bombshells are in the mix
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2014 11:40 AM CDT
Clinton Document Dump: Lewinsky, '90s Deja Vu
In this Dec. 16, 1996, White House photo, President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky shake hands at a Christmas party.   (AP Photo/OIC, File)

Bill Clinton's presidential library released 10,000 pages of documents yesterday touching on everything from the Monica Lewinsky scandal to Whitewater, but an early scan reveals no political bombshells, reports Politico and the AP. They do provide insights into West Wing thinking on a number of high-profile topics, however. Some samples highlighted by those two sources, along with NBC, USA Today, CNN, and Fox:

  • Lewinsky strategy: A talking-points memo in 1998 ahead of a report by independent counsel Kenneth Starr advised stressing that while Clinton had admitted a "serious mistake," this "private mistake does NOT amount to an impeachable action.”
  • 'The stalker': Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal told a journalist that the president said 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.”
  • Lewinsky job: As the White House grew worried about the scandal in April 1996, Lewinsky was removed from her West Wing job as aides discussed getting her a Pentagon job. “We are working closely with DOD to make this happen for Monica,” wrote a White House personnel exec. "We have not finalized the deal but are working toward that end. … Our direction is to make sure she has a job in an Agency.”

  • Olbermann: Then MSNBC employee Keith Olbermann sent an apology to Clinton for "whatever part I may have played in perpetuating this ceaseless coverage" of the Lewinsky scandal.
  • Kagan: Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan was a White House counsel who defended Clinton in a lawsuit brought by former Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. In a 1996 memo, Kagan writes, "I realize now that I may have really (profanity) up" in regard to a miscommunication with other aides about a segment on a Sunday talk show. "God, do I feel like an idiot."
  • Gays in military: Marine Corps Gen. Carl Mundy is quoted as telling the president that saying "I'm gay" is the "same as I'm KKK, Nazi, rapist." At one point in that same 1993 meeting with the joint chiefs, Clinton says that the "people I would like to keep (in the military) wouldn't show up at (a) Queer Nation parade."
  • Whitewater: A memo from adviser Paul Begala in 1994 offered advice on how to handle the real estate scandal, namely by having the first couple go before the public to rebut the charges. "In this situation, the Clintons' attitude is their message. They must be relaxed, open and forthcoming. Any sense of bitterness, anger or righteous indignation will not work. No matter how justified some of our feelings on this may be, this will be the first time most Americans will hear directly from the president and first lady."
You can see the newly released documents in full here. (More Bill Clinton stories.)

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