September 22, 1997
A RealAudio version of this segment is available.
September 22, 1997:
Will a special counsel be appointed? Two legal experts provide their perspective.
September 19, 1997:
Kwame Holman reports on shifting priorities in the Senate and the day's hearing.
September 18, 1997:
Controversial DNC donor Roger Tamraz testifies in the Senate.
September 17, 1997:
The Senate hears testimony on pressure to allow controversial DNC donor Roger Tamraz to meet with the President over the objections of members of the National Security Council.
September 11, 1997:
The highest ranking Clinton administration official, National Security Advisor Samuel Berger, testifies on White House screening procedures for donors and guests.
September 4, 1997:
The NewsHour explores the reshuffling at the Department of Justice's campaign task force.
April 30, 1997:
Janet Reno announces that she does not plan to appoint an independent counsel.
October 18, 1996:
Margaret Warner explores the growing call for an investigation into fund-raising by the Clinton White House.
Browse the NewsHour's coverage of the campaign finance investigation.
The President has said he doesn't remember making any but says he may have. The Justice Department's review is the first step of a process that could lead to the appointment of an independent counsel to conduct a full investigation.
For the last two weeks Vice President Al Gore has been the subject of a similar review because of phone calls he made from the White House, calls the Vice President admits making. Both actions began at the direction of Attorney General Janet Reno, who just last week replaced the top people in charge of the Justice Department's campaign finance task force.
JANET RENO, Attorney General: What I want to do is to make sure we have the strongest possible team and that we are able to make--to pursue all the leads, pursue them as thoroughly as possible, pursue them at the same time, whenever possible, and that we leave no stone unturned.
KWAME HOLMAN: The pressure on Reno to act has been intensifying for months.
SEN. TRENT LOTT: (March) Why has the Attorney General Reno appointed an independent counsel to investigate these matters?
SEN. NICKLES: I'm not asking the panel to--even for their comments. I'm just saying it's clearly, according to the attorney general's interpretation, illegal. And she should appoint a special counsel. I don't see how she has any other choice.
KWAME HOLMAN: For months, however, Reno resisted.
JANET RENO, Attorney General: As you know, I have consistently said that I will constantly review the evidence and that if at any point the statute is triggered, we will ask for an independent counsel. As I have said all along, at any point that the evidence justifies triggering the statute we will do so.
KWAME HOLMAN: As part of her explanation, the attorney general had drawn a clear fund-raising distinction between soft money contributions used for party building and not covered by federal law and hard money sent directly to candidates, money that is subject to federal limits. Vice President Gore had maintained the calls he made from the White House were to solicit soft money contributions for the Democratic National Committee.
But on September 3rd, the Washington Post reported some of the money Gore raised, in fact, went into hard money accounts at the DNC. Soon after, Reno announced the 30-day review of Gore's actions but has said little about them since.
JANET RENO: I would not comment about the steps we're taking, taking during any investigation, other than to say that we're reviewing all aspects of the issues that have been raised.
KWAME HOLMAN: And Reno had not commented at all about the Clinton review, but it does follow a New York Times report last week in which details of a deposition given by former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes to Senate investigators indicate President Clinton did make fund-raising calls from his office. Following a speech at the United Nations today, the President had this to say.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I believe them. I believe now what we did was legal, but I am absolutely positive that we intended to be formally within the letter of the law when we were out there campaigning and raising funds, as we should have been doing. We had to do that.