OUT OF CONTROL?
FEBRUARY 6, 1998
A series of leaks and unnamed sources has Mr. Starr's investigative team and the Clinton Administration pinning the blame on each other. Following a background report, Margaret Warner talks speaks with Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser to the President for policy and strategy, about the Starr investigation.
February 6, 1998:
Two former White House Counsels and a television producer discuss leaks from the Starr investigation.
February 6, 1998:
A background report on leaks from the Clinton administration and the Starr investigation.
February 5, 1998:
Kenneth Starr holds a press conference.
February 2, 1998:
Washington Post reporter, Dan Balz, discusses the Starr investigation .
January 29, 1998:
Dan Balz discusses the White House crisis.
January 28, 1998:
An update on the White House crisis with Dan Balz.
January 27, 1998:
Dan Balz, discusses the latest developments in the White House crisis.
January 26, 1998:
Our presidential historians discuss the importance of President Clinton's State of the Union address.
January 26, 1998:
Experts debate the role of the independent counsel.
January 23, 1998:
Mark Shields and Paul Gigot discuss the the political issues surrounding President Clinton's alleged affair.
January 22, 1998:
Shields and Gigot discuss the legal implications of the crisis.
January 22, 1998:
The legal implications of President Clinton's alleged affair.
January 22, 1998:
Presidential historians and experts put the brewing crisis in perspective.
January 21, 1998:
President Clinton responds to charges that he may have had an affair with a former White House intern.
MARGARET WARNER: And to give us that additional perspective we're joined by Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser to the President for policy and strategy. Mr. Emanuel, hello. We heard the President say someone's leaking unlawfully out of the grand jury. David Kendall, his lawyer, says it's Ken Starr. How do you know that?
RAHM EMANUEL, Clinton Senior Adviser: Well, I mean, as noted in David--in Mr. Kendall's letter--12-page letter--he has citation after citation where a reporter says coming out of the independent counsel's offices, or sources close to the independent counsel, and the only way that we're getting that information was from the independent counsel. But this goes to a fundamental task of the independent counsel. He has a solemn oath, a fundamental principle of that oath, which is to protect everybody involved, anybody who witnesses any subject. And when that erodes, it destroys the credibility of his office and it also is not only a violation of law that he has sworn to uphold, but also the way his office is conducting it. And you cannot have an independent counsel or an office that is doing that type of violation because it basically destroys a fundamental principle of trust. And the grand jury was set up for that type of secrecy to have an honest investigation, rather than one that's tried by innuendo, rumors, lies, and leaks.
MARGARET WARNER: So, are you saying that he's personally guilty of irresponsible conduct?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, I'm not--I don't know whether Ken Starr is or isn't. I mean, David Kendall has outlined in a very specific letter--12-page letter--citation after citation of where that's happened from the independent counsel office. And I think we have to have a serious look at what happened. And I don't think that we can rely on the fox covering the chicken coop right now, looking at the chickens to see whether, in fact, his office has done it. I think we're going to have to have a serious investigation because it goes to the core of that office. But this is built on a long history of what has happened with this office and what is its motivation. You know, one of the things that strikes me here is that, you know, in the Flight 800 investigation they reconstructed the plane from the bottom of the ocean, tested thousands of chemicals, interviewed hundreds of people, spent $18 million.
MARGARET WARNER: The FBI you're talking about here?
RAHM EMANUEL: Yes. And in one year issued a report to the American people. This investigation on a 24-year-old real estate deal, over four and a half years, over $40 million it cost, without a report to the people. What is the difference between these two investigations? One was done professionally with an obligation to the American people, with a full-time investigation, and the other one wasn't.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. We just heard Ken Starr saying he takes it very seriously; he's looking into it.
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, given that it's coming from his office, I appreciate his recent concern, No. 1, but it's been something that's building on not--this is a recent kind of real heated moment two days in a row where two lawyers for two witnesses have said the leaks coming out of the office are in direct not only mischaracterization but also absolutely false. I think, though, there's been a long record of four and a half years where there's been a public effort to basically disparage people's character when, in fact, he's supposed to be doing it in secret.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Well, let's look at the leaks today, though, because the New York Times had the first story, but the second story was in the Washington Post, and there there were sources close to the President or close to Mr. Clinton quoted. I mean, don't leaks come from many quarters in this city?
RAHM EMANUEL: Yes. I mean, obviously, leaks come from many quarters, but not all leaks are involved win a criminal investigation, which he has the responsibility, given the oath of his office, to uphold. And the fact is, you know, Betty Currie's lawyer on the story today has a very explicit letter characterizing this leaks as a mischaracterization of her testimony. The other day in the Wall Street Journal there was also another attempt to basically turn--not only turn--but turn on its head one witness's testimony and make it come out the way it was not presented to the grand jury. And I think, you know, though what is motivation, and that's what I think you have to ask here. You know, this investigation started on a 24-year-old real estate deal and has ended up on a 24-year-old young lady, and that's the only common thread between these two.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Let me ask you about something. When this story--how do you in the White House decide what to say about a leaked story, how to respond? For instance, when the New York Times story came out last night, the White House issued a statement pretty quickly saying it was a false leak. Do you all have a meeting? Do you--
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, Margaret, it's pretty easy when the fact is that these are false.
MARGARET WARNER: How do you know they're false?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, I mean, what we know is only what we know--is I'm assuming the lawyers on this case, you know, in this case today and in the Wall Street Journal the other day have--the lawyers for those two individuals who testified--said they were false. That's how we know.
MARGARET WARNER: But, I mean, when you all put out a statement last night, or you're asked to come out and talk to us, how sure are you, you really know the facts you need to know?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, what I do know on this situation is that the lawyers for the two individuals in the situation have both had testimony to the grand jury that has been mischaracterized and in some cases blatantly falsely put out, basically turned what the story was. In that situation that's all you can work on, is the representation of these two individuals. And I think that's an unfortunate situation.
MARGARET WARNER: But are you able to get information say from the President about a particular meeting?
RAHM EMANUEL: Absolutely not. I cannot do that, and I would not do that.
MARGARET WARNER: Why?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, because you have an ongoing investigation. I don't want to put myself in danger. All I have to do is work with the information that's available publicly, and that's how I work and operate.
MARGARET WARNER: Now, the President talked about the ongoing investigation also today in reply to a question about, once again, why won't you characterize the nature of your relationship with Monica Lewinsky, and he said, "I'm complying with the rules of the investigation." What does he mean by that?
RAHM EMANUEL: I mean in this situation, one, you have an ongoing investigation by an independent counsel who has shown over the four and a half years--four years that he's been doing an investigation--to willingly pop off his subpoena at any time. And as long as that investigation is going on, he's--the questions that he thinks are fundamental, they need to be answered right now, are: Did he have a relationship with--a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky? The answer to that is, no. Did he ask anybody to do anything but tell the truth? And the answer to that is he's always told people to tell the truth. And that's what's fundamental.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. But explain what kind of legal jeopardy it would--or jeopardy of any kind it would put him in to characterize it affirmatively because that's what the reporters keep asking for. Why can't you say what it was, as opposed to what it wasn't?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, you have--I mean, it gets back to what the President said, which is as long as you have an ongoing investigation by the independent counsel, the most appropriate thing is to deal with the two facts that are at play here, the two charges, he has to answer those. And we can't go beyond that, because you can't answer very specifically every little detail, especially given the scenario that's happened with this independent counsel, who continues to decide--that office decides to leak it all the time.
MARGARET WARNER: But just to be clear here, there is no gag order. There's no legal prohibition on the President saying--
RAHM EMANUEL: There is--the case involved in the Paula Jones--on this issue, what you have is an independent counsel operating in a situation that is more dominant than a political situation. The President obviously would like to answer some questions, but he can't as long as the independent counsel is roaming around.
MARGARET WARNER: Do you think that the failure, for whatever reason, to characterize the relationship helps--leads to more stories based on leaks, leads to leaks, or leads to stories based on leaks?
RAHM EMANUEL: Well, that's--the independent counsel has a sworn responsibility here. There is no justification for violating the law, never. Second is the President believes and his counsel believes that as long as we're operating with the independent counsel roaming around the most appropriate and prudent thing to do is to answer the two fundamental questions and appropriate, you know, at this point. And until--otherwise, that's where we're going to be. But, you know, I get back to, I think, a fundamental issue here. What is the motivation? You know, nobody told Kenneth Starr to have a job at Pepperdine University waiting that's been paid for by Richard Scafe. Nobody told Kenneth Starr while he's investigating on this level to continue his legal affiliation with Kirk Reynolds--earning over a million dollars year tobacco interests. Nobody's told Kenneth Starr to continue to do political speeches with political entities. He has brought those actions--have brought questions about his bias and his motivation in this investigation. He, himself, has done that.
MARGARET WARNER: All right. Thanks, Mr. Emanuel, very much.
RAHM EMANUEL: Thank you.
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