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 speaks with Rahm Emanuel, senior adviser to the President for policy and strategy, about the latest developments in the Starr investigation.
February 6, 1998:
Two former White House Counsels and a television producer discuss leaks from 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.
KWAME HOLMAN: Leaks from the grand jury testimony of Betty Currie, the President's personal secretary, ended up on the front page of the New York Times this morning. The story quotes unnamed sources as saying Currie last week told a grand jury in Washington that the President reviewed with her her own recollections of his meetings with Monica Lewinsky. President Clinton referred to Ms. Currie's testimony while taking questions about his relationship with Lewinsky at a White House press conference this morning with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
HELEN THOMAS: Despite the ongoing investigation, you've felt no constraint in saying what your relationship with Monica Lewinsky is not--was not. So it seems by logic that you ought to be able to say here and now what was your relationship. Her lawyer says--called it "colleagues." Is that an apt description?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, let me first of all say once again I never ask anybody to do anything but tell the truth. I know about the stories today. I was pleased that Miss Currie's lawyers stated unambiguously this morning, unambiguously that she's not aware of any unethical conduct. But as this investigation is going on, and you know what the rules for it are, and I just think as long as it's going on, I should not comment on the specific question because there's one--and there's another, and there's another. It's better to let the investigation go on and have me do my job and focus on my public responsibilities, and let this thing play out its course. That's what I think I should do, and that's what I intend to do.
HELEN THOMAS: Why keep people in the dark?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I'm honoring the rules of the investigation. And if someone else is leaking unlawfully out of a grand jury proceeding, that's a different story. I am going to do--I have told the American people what I think is essential for them to know about this and what I believe they want to know. What I'm doing is going on with my work and cooperating with the investigation. And I do not believe I should answer specific questions. I don't think that's the right thing to do now.
TONY BLAIR, Prime Minister, Great Britain: Michael.
MICHAEL BRAMSFORD: Michael Bramsford of ITN in London. Is it not time, though, to drop the pretense that this is simply business as usual? Should you not both be saying let the public have a right to expect the very highest standards in the private lives of public politicians?
TONY BLAIR: Well, Michael, I hope we do that, but what I would say to you is that what is essential is that we focus on the issues that we were elected to focus on. And in the discussions that we have had over this past two days we've been focusing on issues like Iraq, where we are considering if diplomatic solutions fail taking military action. We've been focusing on the peace process in Northern Ireland. That gives the chance for the first time in generations after centuries of conflict for people to find a way through. We've been focusing on the problems of the world economy that if they're not tackled could have a serious impact on the living standards of people here and people in Britain, as well as people out in Asia. These are the important questions for me: schools, hospitals, crime, living standards, jobs that people want us to focus upon. And I believe that it is absolutely essential that we stay focused upon those things and that we deliver for our people what we are elected to deliver. Now, that is what I intend to do. And I think that that is in the end what the British people would expect me to do.
REPORTER: Mr. President, there have been various reports that in some ways have come to be accepted as fact. And I just wanted to give you an opportunity. One of them is that in sworn testimony to the lawyers for Paula Jones that you changed your version of your relationship with Gennifer flowers. And I just wonder if you can tell us, I mean, do you now--
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let me just say this. Again, even though the judge's order has been routinely violated by the other side in the case, the judge has issued strict orders in the case for--that covers everybody, including me, not to discuss. I can tell you this--and I'm confident as this thing plays out it will come more apparent in the future--if you go back, I told the truth in my deposition with regard to that issue, and I also did in 1992, when I did the interview, which I think was re-run the other night, the interview that Hillary and I did on "60 Minutes," and you just have to know that, and that I think it will become apparent as this case plays itself out that I did, in fact, do that, but I am not going to discuss that. The judge has given us strict orders not to discuss anything related to that case. The other side has violated it on a regular basis. I don't intend to do that. I'm just not going to do it.
REPORTER: Mr. President, your spokesman this morning described to us in his words a very dangerous environment following these alleged leaks. What's your own assessment of the legal atmosphere? And we understand that your attorneys are planning to take some action about this. What action do they intend to take?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I think you should talk to them. I don't want to comment on what they're going to do. They're fully capable of speaking for themselves and for me in this case.
REPORTER: And your comments, sir, on the effect of the leaks.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't have anything to add to what has already been said about that.
REPORTER: Mr. President, all these questions about your personal life have to be painful to your and your family. At what point do you consider that it's just not worth it and you consider resigning from office?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Never. You know, I was elected to do a job. I think the American people know two or three things about me now that they didn't know the first time this kind of effort was made against me. They--I think they know that I care very much about them, that I care about ordinary people whose voices aren't often heard here. And I think they know I have worked very, very hard for them. And I think they know now more often than not the ideas I have and the things I fall for turned out to be right in terms of the consequences for the American people. I think they know all that. And I'm just going to keep showing up for work, I'm going to do what I was hired to do, and I'm going to try to keep getting good results for them. The pain threshold--at least for our side--being in public life today has been raised. But to give into that would be to give into everything that I fought against and got me into this race in 1991, to try to run for President in the first place. I have tried to bring an end to this sort of thing in our public life. I've tried to bring the American people together I've tried to de-personalize politics and take the venom out of it. And the harder I've tried to do it, the harder others have pulled in the other direction. That doesn't mean I'm wrong. And I would--I would never walk way from the people of this country and the trust they placed in me.
KWAME HOLMAN: Even as the President was speaking, independent counsel Kenneth Starr, who is investigating the President, held an impromptu news conference of his own.
REPORTER: --Mrs. Currie's testimony apparently--the relevance of it--have you any explanation, sir, as to--
KENNETH STARR, Independent Counsel: I do not have an explanation. I am very concerned. And if I could--if I could continue--and if there was an act of unprofessional activity, I'm confident we will find out. I don't know that there was. I take it very seriously. We're going to find it out.
REPORTER: You are reviewing, Your Honor, your own--procedure?
KENNETH STARR: Absolutely.
REPORTER: You are conducting your own investigation, Judge--
KENNETH STARR: We are taking appropriate action. I'm not going to describe at this time what that is.
REPORTER: Can you tell us what your involvement--
KENNETH STARR: I'm taking it very seriously.
REPORTER: Are you angry, Your Honor, at this, or--
KENNETH STARR: I'm trying to find out the facts. I try to control my emotions until I know the facts.
KWAME HOLMAN: But late this afternoon David Kendall, one of President Clinton's personal attorneys, read a statement saying he would take legal action to stop the leaks.
DAVID KENDALL, President Clinton's Attorney: I have today sent a 15-page letter to the independent counsel documenting with particularity a deluge of illegal leaks from that office of false and misleading information. We are going to court as soon as possible, which I hope will be Monday, to seek judicial relief under Rule 6-E of the federal rules of criminal procedure against this leaking. Although most of my previous communications with the independent counsel have been confidential, in view of the gravity of the situation I'm making copies of my letter available to the press today. The leaking of the past few weeks is intolerably unfair. It violates not only the criminal rules, rules of court, rules of ethics, and Department of Justice guidelines, it also violates the fundamental rules of fairness in an investigation like this. We've see leak after leak, which ultimately and in the fullness of time turns out to be false information. These leaks make a mockery of the traditional rules of grand jury secrecy. They often appear to be a cynical attempt to pressure and intimidate witnesses, to deceive the public, and to smear people involved in the investigation. The independent counsel appears to have acknowledged some of these leaks, but that office is out of control. And that's why we're going to seek in court appropriate remedies, including contempt sanctions in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Thank you and good day.
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