WHITEWATER: TAKING CLINTON TO COURT?
DECEMBER 20, 1995
MARGARET WARNER: Former White House aide William Kennedy, Jr., took part in a 1993 meeting in which White House lawyers and President Clinton's personal lawyer discussed Whitewater. Two weeks ago, before the Senate Whitewater Committee, Kennedy refused to divulge the details of that discussion.
WILLIAM KENNEDY, Former White House Aide: (December 5) I don't think I can answer that question because of my instructions regarding the attorney-client privilege.
MARGARET WARNER: At the direction of the President, Kennedy also has refused to turn over the notes he took at that meeting. That irritated the Republican Committee chairman, New York Senator Alfonse D'Amato.
SEN. ALFONSE D'AMATO, Chairman, Whitewater Committee: (December 14) I am very concerned that the White House has put us in this position where the Committee is forced to spend far too much time and energy to obtain relative evidence which we are entitled to do, and which should have been produced upon request.
MARGARET WARNER: The Committee has subpoenaed Kennedy's notes, and today, before the full Senate, D'Amato urged his colleagues to support his Committee's demand.
SEN. ALFONSE D'AMATO: We asked for this information, information that was covered, going back to August, August, August. We had numerous conferences with the White House with regard to not only this but all of the information relevant. Throughout these proceedings we have had the continued--continued posture publicly of cooperation and yet when it came to producing relevant material evidence that goes to the heart of the matter, why, delay.
MARGARET WARNER: The White House has agreed to turn over the notes to Kenneth Starr, the independent counsel investigating Whitewater, in return for Starr's assurances that in doing so, the President is not forfeiting his attorney-client privilege. The White House has offered the same deal to Congress, but House Banking Committee Chairman Jim Leach reportedly won't agree to the deal. That is frustrating Senate Democrats.
SEN. PAUL SARBANES, (D) Maryland: I have difficulty understanding why this matter is at this point. I don't understand--I don't being to understand why the House Committees are taking this position, because I think that if, if they make the accommodation, they have something to gain and nothing to lose. Now, if they simply want to provoke a confrontation, if that's the objective, that's a different story.
SEN. ALFONSE D'AMATO: Will my friend yield for an observation on this point?
SEN. PAUL SARBANES: Certainly.
SEN. ALFONSE D'AMATO: And I just got this letter faxed to me, and it comes from Chairman Leach. He says, "To accede to the White House position that disclosure of the notes of November 5th, 1993, does not constitute a waiver of the President's attorney-client privilege, one must accept the proposition that a privilege attaches to this meeting in the first place. Given the presence of three government lawyers at the meeting and the indication that confidential law enforcement information may have been improperly disclosed to the President's private lawyer, that is a proposition that legal experts the Committee has consulted on the subject cannot accept."
MARGARET WARNER: With Republicans holding a 53 to 46 majority in the Senate, the resolution to take the President to court is expected to pass along party lines later this evening.