Peter Boyer: OK, so we have 1992, and somebody goes in, quite possibly
Vince Foster, goes into Rose Law Firm, prints out these billing records showing
what work, what time Hillary spent on Madison Guaranty, and the billing records
leave Rose. 1992 comes and goes, and election comes and goes, the purpose, in
other words, for having that record, ostensibly, comes and goes. A new
administration comes in, and that is no longer a question, what work Hillary
did for Jim McDougal and Madison Guaranty. Why did those billing records even
matter after that?
Viet Dinh: Well, they mattered very much actually, because there were
ongoing federal investigations as to the propriety of the Rose Law Firm's
representation of Madison Guaranty. One of the unfortunate facts of the
savings and loans crisis was that quite often professionals, that is,
accountants and lawyers, were either used as part of the scheme or helped to
further the fraudulent schemes that ended up defrauding taxpayers of billions
of dollars of money. And so, as part of this investigative procedure, the FDIC
and the RTC investigated into whether Rose Law Firm's representation of Madison
And so, this investigation was ongoing, as part of the winding down process of
Madison Guaranty. And, as a matter of fact, there were a number of subpoenas
that were issued by these agencies for the Rose Law Firm billing records,
simply because they are the best evidence, as we've discussed before, of what
work was actually performed, by whom, and how much was billed for them.
Peter Boyer: So, we have two government agencies now--in the era of the
Clinton presidency, he's already been sworn in, the Clintons are living in the
White House. And you have two federal agencies that are looking for these
billing records. Where do they go? To the Rose Law Firm, presumably, and ask
for them. Is that where the subpoena would go?
Viet Dinh: I believe that would be the logical place, and the affected
parties. I do not know the specifics as to the particulars of their
investigation, but, logically, they would go to the Rose Law Firm and to
affected parties, persons whom they have reason to know would have the records.
We know that by 1993, certainly by 1994, the Department of Justice has now also
joined the investigation, because of allegations that touched to the White
House, and the appointment of the independent counsel, Robert Fiske.
And so, at that time, I believe there was also a Justice Department subpoena
seeking records relating to Rose Law Firm's representation of Madison
Peter Boyer: And here's what I'd like to know about that: You know that
there may be billing records - if you're one of these agencies, the Justice
Department, FDIC, RTC, looking for whatever can be found regarding Rose's
representation of Madison. You know there may be billing records. You go to
Rose Law Firm and ask for these, and they, presumably, look in the computer
disk and find that it's not there. Is that what happened?
Viet Dinh: That would probably be what happened. And that's how we come to
know that the files were deleted.
Peter Boyer: And so, from that moment, until their discovery, those people
who were quite alive and intimately familiar with the fact that a hard copy
existed somewhere of those billing records, namely Webster Hubbell and the
First Lady, Hillary Clinton. Did they at least offer that information, did
they at least come forward and say, "Well, we know that perhaps the records
don't exist in the computer, but at least they're somewhere in a hard copy
form, on a piece of paper, several pieces of paper, because we had them printed
Viet Dinh: We did not know of the existence of any hard copies, that is,
we--by "we" I mean the general public and the federal investigators, and the
Senate investigators also, did not know that there existed anywhere a hard copy
of the billing records. And they were made specific, they were referred to
specifically during the hearings of the Whitewater Committee, when we obtained
the testimony of Webster Hubbell and Susan Thomases in December of 1995. And
so, there was quite a number of avenues whereby even if the person did not
personally see a subpoena or get a request for records from the lawyers
responding to a subpoena, which is general course of action.
Whomever had the billing records would have known that they are probably the
most hotly sought after set of documents within these various investigations.
And nobody came forward, whoever had it. By 1996, when they did come forward,
that was the first time we had knowledge that his hard copy existed. And,
really, that was the first time we had knowledge that, indeed, Vince Foster had
taken a look at them, because, on the billing records themselves--now, these
are a copy of the original print-outs; they are not the original computer-run
paper, but a copy of that paper; but an original in the sense that it had Vince
Foster's handwriting in red ink on the copy itself, on this copy; and so, they
were original copies.
So, we know that these billing records were in Vince Foster's possession,
and, indeed, he had made notations to them, specifically directed to the First
Lady, questions like, "HRC--I believe there's a subsequent bill?" "HRC"-- This
is the first bill designating the various records that were found in what we
now call the billing records. And so, at some point, then we know, by
inference and by subsequent admission by the First Lady and the White House,
that Mrs. Clinton had reviewed those records in 1992.
We also know that, because of fingerprints analysis that was performed by the
FBI, information, the result of which was shared with the committee. And that
indicated that Vince Foster's fingerprints appeared at a number of locations on
the set of billing records, and also that Mrs. Clinton's fingerprints appeared
at a couple of places on the billing records. And so, we know, at least, that
those persons had handled the billing records.
Peter Boyer: So, just so I'm clear about this--you have an outstanding
request by at least three of the federal investigatory agencies, for these
billing records. And you have one officer of the Justice Department, Webb
Hubbell, and one resident of the White House, Hillary Clinton, who know that a
paper version of these records exists--even if they don't know where they are,
they know they exist. And neither of those individuals came forward and
volunteered the information, that this existed.
Viet Dinh: Right. And as I said before, nobody knew that these existed, and
nobody, nobody even suggested that there would be a copy available out there
somewhere, because, you know, these, as I said before, these are critical
documents that is a subject of several subpoenas for over, at least, two years,
until they're discovered. Certainly, whoever had the documents themselves were
under a legal obligation to produce them. That much is clear. And the failure
of that production, if it is conscious, if it's intentional, an intentional
withholding of documents subject to a federal subpoena, would be obstruction of
justice. The question is, who had the documents during this two year, two or
three year hiatus that is unaccounted for in the time frame that we have.
Peter Boyer: Well, that is precisely one of the things that
presumably you all, are trying to figure out. And so, let's follow that
Viet Dinh: We had already tried to figure that out, and our committee ended
in 1996. Now I'm just a sleepy old law professor.
Peter Boyer: Is there reason to believe that the billing records made
their way to Vince Foster's office in the White House?
Viet Dinh: There is no specific reason to believe that they were, indeed, in
Vince Foster's office at the time of his death, or that's really the only
relevant time that we have. But, certainly, it is a possibility, simply
because we know that he had access to them in 1992, and he had handled them in,
during that campaign. His fingerprints are on it. And there's no evidence
suggesting that they specifically were in his office, but we certainly know
that, at some point, he had possession of them. Whether or not it was he or
another person who carried them to Washington is an open question, simply
because we don't have any evidence as to, as to that.
But one reason why we do not know whether they were in Vince Foster's office
at the time of his death was the lack of cooperation that the White House
showed to federal investigators, at the time of his death. On the night of the
discovery of Vince Foster's body, we have testimony from two park police
officers that they had specifically requested to Webb Hubbell and others that
the White House office be sealed, White House office of Vince Foster be sealed.
That a guard be put there and nobody allowed access.
This is standard procedure in a death investigation, because they wanted to
find out the cause of death. It was apparently a suicide, but they wanted to
conclusively determine that, and a man's office is certainly one of the
primary areas that they would search for any evidence, especially since the
evidence was suggesting that was the last place that he left before his body
They specifically requested that the office not be disturbed, the office be
sealed. Instead of sealing the office, we've got several senior White House
officials going through and riffling through the office. And then, two days
later, when the federal investigators--again, the park police officers and now
Department of Justice, senior Department of Justice officials--come over to go
through the files of, that were present in Vince Foster's office, they were
kept out, pending negotiation as to the procedures, how the files would be
And so, we have a request to seal the office by the appropriate authorities.
Instead of sealing the office to outsiders, the only person, as I can
determine, that the office was sealed to were federal investigators. And a
course of conduct that led the deputy attorney general at that time, Phil
Heymann to call the White House counsel, Bernie Nussbaum and say, "Bernie,
you're making a terrible mistake. This is not a way to conduct an
investigation." And, certainly, at that time, there was a review of the
documents in the office and a review, I might add, that the Department of
Justice officials thought was wholly inadequate.
The investigators and officer were not allowed to actually review the files,
but simply take Mr. Nussbaum's word as to what the files were, and take notes
as to the inventory, rather than conducting an actual review. I think that the
Justice Department officials characterized their role there as "window
dressing", that they were just simply there to make this review look good,
without playing any substantive role during the review.
Had the office been sealed, had a proper investigation been allowed to be
conducted, so that we have an inventory as to all the materials in his office,
at the time of his death, we could answer this question conclusively: What
materials were in Vince Foster's office at the time of his death, and whether
they related to the cause of his death, whether they contributed to a state of
mind at the time when he made a decision to take his life.
Peter Boyer: Well, even in this confessedly inadequate categorizing of the
material and the way it was handled in the days subsequent to Foster's death,
we do know some general things about what was in there. What were the
categories of materials that were in Foster's office?
Viet Dinh: We have, you know, the usual stuff that would be in a White House
counsel's office: papers relating to nomination hearings, papers relating to
the official business of the White House. But more significant, we have a
number of files which related not to the official business of the White House,
but to the personal dealings of the Clintons, and suggesting that Vince Foster
actually played a significant role in acting as the Clinton's personal lawyer,
rather than as a deputy White House counsel representing the President and the
Presidency, rather than Bill and Hillary Clinton as private, as private
Those files relating to these personal matters run the gamut from Whitewater
Development Corporation to Mrs. Clinton's stock investments. There were some
questions raised at one point-- But the general mix was that some official
business, including the investigation into the Travelgate affair, as it has
been termed, the firing of, the removal of seven career travel office
employees, and the subsequent investigation into the propriety of that action,
and also the files relating to personal matters such as Whitewater.
Peter Boyer: The paper copy of the Rose Law Firm billing records,
the famous billing records that mysteriously disappeared for two years plus,
that copy was, in fact, not the original, but a copy. So, I have two questions
to ask you about that: Does that mean that, presumably, the original exists
somewhere now, that is still not located?
Viet Dinh: Unless it was discarded or destroyed, yes, we know that at least
this copy had to be made from an original. Given the lapse of time and
difficulty with us getting this set of billing records, I do not have very much
confidence that we will find the original set of documents. I think that
chances are that they have been lost or destroyed.
Peter Boyer: But the documents, the billing records, that were found, were
a copy of the original, but they were Vince Foster's copy, were they not?
Viet Dinh: They were, because they had his handwriting on them in red ink, so
the original handwriting on this set of copies of the billing records
Peter Boyer: So, they were Vince Foster's copy of billing records that
were created, if not at his direction, at least with his knowledge, that were,
through some period of time, at least, in his possession. He died only a few
months after the election. Is it not, therefore, reasonable to guess, at
least, that these billing records were in Vince Foster's office when he
Viet Dinh: It is certainly possible that they were in Vince Foster's office,
or possession, at the time that he died. There may be other explanations that
are out there. One is that the, we know from Webb Hubbell's testimony that the
last he saw of the billing records was with Vince Foster. So, presumably,
Vince Foster had it and brought them to DC, unless he had given them to other
people for review or for other purposes.
One person we know that he gave this set to was Hillary Rodham Clinton,
because he directed ... (inaudible) of his writings as notes to Hillary Clinton
and, you know, suggesting asking questions, as it were, whether to see whether
she recollect anything from the billing records. And we know that she received
these records from Vince Foster, because we know that her fingerprints, in
addition to Vince Foster's, were on the billing records themselves.
So, Vince Foster certainly had them, Webb Hubbell admits that he had them and
reviewed them at one point, and we know that Hillary certainly had them at one
point. The question is, who had them at the relevant point? And the relevant
point being the end of 1992 campaign until August 5th, 1996, or thereabout, the
first weeks of August, 1995, when they were discovered by Carolyn Huber in the
book room of the White House.
Peter Boyer: But, Professor, what possible motivation, why would these
papers, these billing records, be kept away from the authorities that were
Viet Dinh: We really do not know the motive for concealment, which we
can only guess as to why were they concealed by what they reveal. And what
they reveal is the extent and nature of Mrs. Clinton's involvement and work in
the Castle Grande transaction. Without the billing records, we would not have
the full picture of the Castle Grande transaction as we now know.
As a matter of fact, the FDIC and the RTC inspector generals had
concluded their investigation into the Rose Law Firm's representation of
Madison Guaranty in August, 1995, at around the same time the billing records
were discovered in the book room by Carolyn Huber. And they had concluded
that investigation. They reopened that investigation in 1996, after the
billing record surfaced, and now they have access to it. And it's only after
this subsequent investigation, the reopened investigation, do we know the full
extent and nature of, one, the fraudulent transaction underlying this whole
land deal, and also Mrs. Clinton's involvement in facilitating, or drafting up
documents, that facilitated the concealment of this fraudulent scheme.
What had happened was that the investigators used the billing records to
refresh the memory of the key officer in this transaction, Don Denton, the
Madison loan office. And Don Denton, upon checking his calendar, after being
shown the billing records, said, "Oh, yeah, I remember this conversation. And
this was a conversation where Hillary summarily dismissed my concerns regarding
the propriety of this transaction, and she said, `You take care of the S&L
business, I will take care of the legal matters.'" And, also, we know from the
billing records that it was indeed Mrs. Clinton who billed for the client, for
the drafting of the May 1st, 1986, option.
Peter Boyer: So, if a party were in possession of these billing records,
and had been interested in protecting the First Lady, that might help to
explain why they went missing for that period of time.
Viet Dinh: Certainly, I believe that is a general consideration as the
motive. And certainly the special committee itself concluded that this was the
primary motivation for concealing the record, not only the nature of the work,
as we have talked just a minute ago, but also the extent of Mrs. Clinton's
work. The billing records reveal that Mrs. Clinton billing 29.5, close to 30
hours, of work to this transaction, to the Castle Grande transaction--half the
law firm's billing. And so, that is a significant amount of work on a very
questionable transaction, indeed a transaction that federal regulators have
characterized as a "sham deal". And, more important, it pinpoints Mrs. Clinton
as the person who drafted and charged the client for the document that the
federal investigator had concluded was used as a means to conceal the
underlying fraudulent nature of this transaction.
Peter Boyer: Well, there are two questions about that: One, all of these
years later -Castle Grande was 1986 - and a lot has changed since then. Two
elections. What is the continuing relevance today of whatever happened to
those billing records, whether they were deliberately withheld-- What
difference does that make?
Viet Dinh: The difference, Peter, is that we know if a person deliberately
withheld these documents from federal investigators, and a number of federal
subpoenas were outstanding, that would constitute obstruction of justice.
There is little question of that, because the subpoenas were applicable and
they were specific, and they called for this document, and these were the
critical documents to elucidate the nature of the transaction.
The questions that remain is, who did it?; and what level of intent? If it
was deliberately withheld from federal investigators, with knowledge of their
subpoena, then that would be obstruction of justice. And that goes to a much
deeper question as to why it is that we have investigations as such. These are
not primarily concerned about transactions that go back to 1986. The statute
of limitations has run on these underlying transactions. We have a notion of
the law that people shouldn't be held accountable for things that are so far
gone; they should have a peace of mind.
But what they relate to is a pattern of conduct that tries to conceal the true
nature of these transactions from federal investigators. We have a very strong
governmental interest in finding out the truth. And we have a very, very
strong interest of bringing about justice. And that interest cannot in any way
be served when responsible people obstruct justice, and especially when, as it
may turn out, which we do not know, but especially if it turns out that those
persons happen to be among the people who are at the highest levels of our
We have faith, we should have faith, in our government officials. The
founding fathers called for a higher civic duty amongst our officials. We hold
them, rightly or wrongly, to a higher standard. But what we're talking about
here is not any higher standard than an ordinary citizen, simply just to obey
the law, and the average citizen has an obligation to advance justice, and
certainly not to impede or obstruct justice.
Peter Boyer: A second question about the relevance of those billing
records: I'd just like your reaction to the assertion made by Mrs. Clinton at
the time of their discovery that, "This is delightful news to us, because,
after all, this merely proves that point we've been saying all along: I did
hardly any work on Madison Guaranty and this is evidence of that."
Viet Dinh: I do not think that is the case; as I mentioned, that she had
significant involvement with the representation of Madison Guaranty, and,
indeed, the majority of involvement with respect to a very questionable
transaction, Castle Grande, to which she said that, also, at various points,
that she not recall that she had done any work on that transaction.
Peter Boyer: And Castle Grande work done by Rose Law Firm was mostly Mrs.
Clinton's work, the billing records show.
Viet Dinh: It was 29.5 hours was billed to the matter, and I think close to
half of all the work that was billed by the law firm to Madison on that matter.
Now, one of the defenses that--one of the answers that Mrs. Clinton's lawyer
has offered as to this apparent contradiction in Mrs. Clinton's public and
sworn statements regarding the nature of her involvement in Castle Grande, was
that it was not known as Castle Grande to Mrs. Clinton. It was known as the
IDC transaction, "IDC" being Industrial Development Corporation, the company
that sold the land to Madison Guaranty.
That is a matter of, obviously, a matter of memory and a matter of
recollection, and what I do know and what, is that almost everybody who has
been involved in this case, including the federal regulators since its
conception in 1986, throughout, and throughout the history of this case, has
referred to this set of transactions as "Castle Grande". And, indeed, the
advertisements for the eventual development, featuring Susan McDougal, went
under the name of "Castle Grande". So, it was known publicly as Castle Grande.
It was known among the affected parties, including the regulators, as Castle
Grande. What Mrs. Clinton referred to it as, or knew it as, she has asserted
to be IDC.
Peter Boyer: During your work on the committee, did you all ever come
across any others who were that closely involved with this project, who claimed
not to remember it as Castle Grande?
Viet Dinh: We did not. I think everybody referred to it as Castle
Grande, from our, from the testimony that we received.
Peter Boyer: So, back to the billing records, whose significance you have
underscored today for me. We have these documents that are under subpoena. If
you are at all aware of the general fact of inquiry, you know that somebody
wants these billing records. The parties who knew that they existed did not
come forward for more than two years, until, in fact, they were discovered by
Ms. Huber. These particular billing records, we know, belonged to--they were
Vince Foster's copy. He may, in fact, have created them. We know that they
were, at one point, in his possession, because his handwriting is on them. We
know further that he gave them, at some point, to Mrs. Clinton, because there's
a note on them addressed to her, and she did, in fact, receive them.
Is it not reasonable to assume that Mrs. Clinton, in fact, was in
possession of those billing records throughout the period that they were
missing, after Vince Foster's death?
Viet Dinh: Well, the special committee concluded that Mrs. Clinton was more
likely than any other known person to have been, to have had possession of
these records and had knowledge of their whereabouts when they were discovered
by Mrs. Huber. In plain English, I think that means that she is most likely,
the person most likely to have been in possession and to have, and to know the
circumstances of their placing in the book room. That's the special
committee's conclusion, based on the evidence that were discovered by a number
of investigators, like myself, and others on the special committee. I think
there was evidence to lead to that conclusion, to support that conclusion. Of
course, as you know, there were dissenting members of the special committee,
who took a different view of the evidence.
But what I do know is that we have three people who had access to the billing
records, who had a motive to conceal the billing records....
Peter Boyer: And those three people?
Viet Dinh: Webster Hubbell, who in August of 1995 was on his way to
jail, Vince Foster, who, by August, 1995, had already deceased, and Mrs.
Hillary Clinton. Those three were the lead lawyers, as it were, for Rose Law
Firm, the managing partners of the Rose Law Firm. Mr. Hubbell himself was the
managing partner, but the evidence suggests that all three were very much
running the firm while Mr. Hubbell was the nominal managing partner.
And, more important, Mrs. Clinton was the billing partner for Madison
Guaranty, was the partner in charge of this client. And so, and the
investigation, of course, centered around the Rose representation of Madison
Guaranty. And so, those three people are the ones that should have been, and I
would suggest, were most familiar with the details of not only Rose's
representation of Madison, but also the progress of the investigation into, the
subsequent federal investigation into Rose's representation of Madison
So, if they did not know about the subpoena, they should have known about the
subpoena. And if I were the attorney, in response to a federal subpoena for
records, these are the people I would first go to ask for any documents that
they would have in their possession that is relevant, in response to this
Peter Boyer: Were there subpoenas out, by the way, during the time when
Vince Foster was still alive?
Viet Dinh: I do not believe so. I believe the subpoenas were issued in late
1993, and early 1994. As I mentioned, I do not know the specifics of the FDIC
and the RTC investigations, and certainly those were ongoing. At what point
did those crystallize into a specific subpoena demanding documents, I think it
wasw a little bit later than that, but, certainly, the knowledge that the
investigation was pending, and the information would be relevant to that
information, was general and was known at the time.
Peter Boyer: And Vince died in July of 1993. And the events in the days
surrounding that death we've discussed some today. What interests me
particularly about the days and events surrounding Vince Foster's death are the
series of telephone calls between Mrs. Clinton and some of her aides and
associates--Maggie Williams, Susan Thomases, Bernie Nussbaum. When you all
look at the records, and the notes, of those telephone conversations, do they
seem to be just random communications between friends who have a shared grief,
or does there seem to be the suggestion of a pattern, a purpose, to those
Viet Dinh: The calls that I think we specifically focused on occurred on the
22nd of July, two days after Vince Foster's death. Certainly, on the night of
Mr. Foster's death, there were a series of phone calls also, between the White
House, certain officials, and Mrs. Clinton in Little Rock. But the calls that
were most significant, I think, with respect to the handling of the records in
Mr. Foster's office, were the calls that occurred on July 22nd. July 22nd was
the day that Bernie Nussbaum was going to go over the materials in Vince
Foster's office with the Department of Justice officials and the park police
All these investigators were there the day before, on the 21st, and toward the
afternoon of the 21st. And, at that time, there were significant discussions
regarding the procedure as to how they would handle this. And when they left
that meeting--and, at that time, I believe that meeting ended late on the 21st,
in the evening, six or seven--and as they left that meeting, the Justice
Department officials believed they had an agreement as to how they would go
about detailing the materials that were in Mr. Foster's office. And they were
simply going to come back the next morning, because the time was late, so that
they could undergo their search.
And it was indeed contemplated as an actual search by federal investigators,
with the presence of the White House counsel, to protect the White House's
interests, and with the presence of the Department of Justice officials, in
order to oversee the entire process. What happened between the evening of July
21st and the morning of July 22nd at nine o'clock, when the investigators came
in expecting to be able to, expecting to be able to review the files in Mr.
Foster's office, is a series of early morning phone calls that started with a
phone call from Mrs. Williams--I believe it was very early in the morning,
before eight o'clock--to Little Rock, to Mrs. Clinton's house, where she
was--to the house where she was staying.
Immediately after that phone call, Mrs. Clinton placed a phone call to a hotel
here in Washington, DC. The hotel was the location where Mrs. Thomases was
staying in Washington, DC, at this time. Immediately after that call ended,
Mrs. Thomases called Mr. Nussbaum on this pager and left a message to call her.
And at some point during that time, the two of them had spoken. And what we
know from the testimony of Mr. Neuwirth, one of Mr. Nussbaum's assistants in
the White House counsel's office, was that, that morning, he told Mr. Neuwirth
that Mrs. Clinton and Mrs. Thomases did not want federal investigators to have,
quote, "unfettered access," unquote, to Mr. Foster's office.
And at that time was when the Justice Department officials, in their
impression, Mr. Nussbaum broke their agreement of the night before, and
instituted new procedures. And it sufficiently disturbed the Justice
Department officials that they called back to the deputy attorney general,
Philip Heymann, who told Mr. Nussbaum that he was making a terrible mistake.
Peter Boyer: "Are you trying to hide something here, Bernie?"
Viet Dinh: Well, actually, that did not happen until the end of the
day, because, as it happened, the Justice Department's officials came back,
came back from this review, which they thought were being mere window dressing,
that it wasn't really a substantive review or investigation as to the materials
in Mr. Foster's office, but it was a sham review, that they were there for
window dressing. They described that to Mr. Heymann, who was understandably
perturbed, and called Mr. Nussbaum from his house and said, "Bernie, are you
Now, realize, this is the deputy attorney general of the United States calling
the White House counsel of the United States, both senior lawyers in the
government, probably at the highest levels of attorneys in the federal
government, and one is asking the other, "Are you hiding something?" This is
the pattern of conduct that leads us to have problems like we have today, have
questions that now arise: What records were in Mr. Foster's office at the time
of his death?
We will never know, because the review that federal investigators had access
to was not actually a review, and it wasn't a comprehensive listing of all
files, and we know that, subsequent to that review, Mr. Nussbaum and Ms.
Williams, the chief lady, the First Lady's chief of staff, came in for a second
review of the files, and segregated the personal files, that what they deemed
to be the "personal files" of the President and Mrs. Clinton, relating to the
personal work that Mr. Foster was doing, segregated those from the files that
should remain in the office.
Peter Boyer: Under the observation of what outside authority?
Viet Dinh: Nobody. It was a plenary review, as it were, between Mr.
Nussbaum and Ms. Williams, and going over the files and separating one or two
boxes of files, as deemed to be, quote, unquote, "personal files" of the
President and Mrs. Clinton. And these files were removed from the office.
And, you know, at the time, of course, we don't have an inventory as to what
was actually removed on that day. And these were carried up to the third
floor, third floor office of Mrs. Clinton, and placed in the closet in the
third floor office. The third floor office, of course, is in the White House
residence, adjacent to the book room where the records were subsequently
discovered, the billing records were subsequently discovered.
We will never know, I don't think, unless, by some miracle of faith, that we
actually come up with new evidence relating to this, we will never know what
was in Mr. Foster's office at the time-- Or at least right now, we don't have
any comprehensive inventory of all the files and documents that were in Mr.
Peter Boyer: But as of the night of July 21st, there had been something
like a comprehensive inventory agreed to between the Justice Department and
White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum, an inventory that, in fact, did not take
place, and, that the Justice Department was surprised to discover the next day,
would not take place. And what happened, you're telling, between then and the
next day was this series of phone calls, a phone call from Mrs. Clinton's chief
of staff, Maggie Williams, to Little Rock, to Mrs. Clinton, from Mrs. Clinton
to Susan Thomases here in Washington, from Susan Thomases to Bernie, who then
conveyed the news to the Justice Department, "Sorry, we're not going to do it
the way we agreed. We're going to do it this other way, this much more
Viet Dinh: Right, right. And we have the testimony of an associate
White House counsel, Mr. Neuwirth, saying that--from Mr. Nussbaum--saying that,
stating that Mr. Nussbaum had told him that Mrs. Thomases and Mrs. Clinton did
not want investigators to have, quote, "unfettered access" to Mr. Foster's
Now, Mr. Nussbaum has testified that he does not recall telling Mr. Neuwirth
this, but, in the phrase "unfettered access," is a rather catchy phrase that I
think would stick in lawyer's mind, especially a junior lawyer being told this
by the White House counsel. And this is the chain of events, you know, that
led to the final communication. Now, of course, we only have inferences. We
don't have the evidence of the phone calls, we don't have any evidence as to
what transpired during these phone calls.
And I believe the testimony was that they were general consolation phone
calls, which, you know, raises certain obvious questions: One, there were
certainly a lot of consolation phone calls, two, consolation phone calls that
happened quite early in the morning, and, three, consolation phone calls that
are rather short in nature, you know, on the order of five, six, seven minutes.
And at the end of the chain of events, that one phone call begetting another
phone call, that ended up with this communication to Mr. Neuwirth that Mrs.
Clinton and Mrs. Thomases did not want "unfettered access" by the federal
Peter Boyer: That was the instrument, the device, the legal device that
was drawn up in order to obscure what amounted to a questionable portion of
this sham deal.
Viet Dinh: Right. No question about it: The federal regulators from
the FDIC and RTC concluded that the May 1st option, which Mrs. Hillary Clinton
drafted, was used in order to conceal the true nature of this transaction,
which was that it was a fraudulent transaction.
The mere act of executing the May 1st option was not illegal in and of
itself. Its use as part of a pattern and scheme in order to conceal the
underlying fraud was wrong. The question that arises, of course, is, did Mrs.
Clinton consciously draft that option as a means to conceal the fraudulent
nature of the transaction? It may be that she was duped, it may be that she
was unwittingly serving the interests of the client, who had the fraudulent
intent that she did not know.
I do think, however, in light of the testimony of Don Denton regarding his
conversation with Mrs. Clinton on April 7th, 1986, when the offsetting set of
notes were executed, alerting her to the possibility that this is improper
under federal and state regulations, because they are offsetting the prior
notes that she was on specific notice that her option and the work that she
performed in drafting up the second set of notes, also, was part of an overall
scheme to conceal a fraudulent transaction from the federal government.
Producer Mike Kirk: And that is not something, that if you were an
attorney, you would necessarily want to be uncovered, let's say, if your
husband was running for the presidency.
Viet Dinh: I think if you were any attorney, you would not want it to be
uncovered. If you are part of the fraudulent scheme, then, of course, you are
a member of that underlying conspiracy. And it is a fact that, I think, that
any lawyer would live in dread of, let alone a prominent lawyer who is in the
Peter Boyer: And even subsequently, even years later, even past the time,
let's say, of the statute of limitations regarding the actual transaction, even
then it would not be the sort of information, the sort of association that one
would want made public?
Viet Dinh: Right. The statute of limitations, of course, speaks to legal
liability. It speaks very little to public perception. It is law, not
politics. And when your husband is the President of the United States, I
would, I think that one would be concerned with both the law and the politics.
And even if no legal liability attached, certainly the potential for a
political embarrassment is very significant.
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