First Lady faces new attack

AS Hillary Clinton's chief aides testified before a federal grand jury here yesterday, House Republicans opened a new front against the embattled First Lady by demanding a probe into whether she improperly traded in health care stocks, when she was already heading the President's task force on health-care reform.

More than 80 Republican Congressmen have asked the government's ethics office to investigate Mrs Clinton's stake in Valuepartners, a Little Rock investment group which took short positions in several health care stocks in early 1993 - in other words betting that the share prices would fall. The White House has denied any impropriety, saying that Hillary Clinton knew nothing of Valuepartners' activities after 1992.

But the Clinton's financial assets of around dollars 500,000 ( pounds 340,000) were not put into the automatic 'blind trust' customary for a Presidential family until July 1993.

The move increases the pressure on Mrs Clinton to explain publicly her involvement in the Whitewater controversy, a tangled skein that has not only enveloped the Clintons' links with the Whitewater real estate venture and the failed Madison Guaranty bank, but all their Arkansas financial dealings.

Yesterday there were signs of a change of heart by the White House. After a week of stonewalling and media criticism that Mrs Clinton, whose Whitewater role was greater than her husband's, was evading scrutiny, Officials are said to be considering a television appearance by the First Couple to take questions on Whitewater.

Though physically absent, Mrs Clinton was present in spirit at the yesterday's opening grand jury proceedings, in the same courthouse through which once trooped witnesses in the previous causes celebres of Watergate and Iran-Contra. Maggie Williams, her Chief of Staff, and her press secretary, Lisa Caputo, were the first of 10 subpoenaed White House and Treasury officials to be questioned by special counsel, Robert Fiske.

Ms Williams helped the White House counsel, Bernard Nussbaum, remove Whitewater documents from the office of Vince Foster, a close friend of the Clintons and Mr Nussbaum's deputy until his apparent suicide last July.

Mr Foster's death has been an enduring mystery and source of rumours. Whether Ms William's testimony yesterday covered the episode in Mr Foster's office was unclear. But it did deal with the meetings between White House and Treasury officials on the progress of a federal probe into Madison's failure. Ms Williams took part in one of the sessions, last month. Their disclosure a week ago transformed an Arkansas financial imbroglio into a full- fledged White House scandal. A key issue is to what extent she informed, or was instructed by, Mrs Clinton.

For all the media uproar, the public is still unconvinced by Whitewater. According to one poll, only 16 per cent think the President did something illegal, compared to 34 per cent who consider Whitewater little more than Republican mischiefmaking. But the positive ratings of both Clintons has slipped from 55 per cent to below 50 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power