Prosecutor appointed to lead Clinton files inquiry
Saturday 19 December 1992
The extraordinary move, initiated by the Attorney General, William Barr, and leaked to several leading US newspapers yesterday, is the latest twist in an episode which has clouded the last weeks of the Bush presidency. For the first time in its four years, potential serious scandal is lapping at his administration's door.
Yesterday, the Justice Department refused all comment on the appointment of the counsel, the former District of Columbia federal attorney Joseph diGenova, and on which officials are under investigation. But the outgoing Chief of Staff, James Baker, and two of his top aides, Janet Mullins and Margaret Tutwiler, were among those questioned in the earlier State Department inquiry into the affair.
That inquiry found no evidence of an 'orchestrated' manoeuvre by the White House to obtain access to Mr Clinton's files, but acknowledged the department's reputation had been severely tarnished. Later, however, Sherman Funk, who drew up the report, said he had discovered unspecified 'new information', and referred what he termed 'potentially criminal matters' to the Justice Department.
The search of the president- elect's files was ordered at the end of September, at the height of the election campaign, by a senior political appointee at the State Department. Far behind in the polls, the Republicans were desperate for material with which to attack the Democratic candidate. At the time, rumours were rife about his role in the anti-Vietnam war movement during his spell as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford in the 1960s, complete with suggestions he had applied for either British or Norwegian citizenship in a bid to escape the draft. In the event, the trawl turned up nothing.
According to the New York Times yesterday, Mr Baker and his two aides have engaged lawyers to represent them over the inquiry. The General Accounting Office of Congress is also probing the affair, and has asked the White House to turn over relevant documents and phone and computer records.
The move was doubly unexpected in that Mr Barr has been a forthright opponent of the entire system of special counsels, and refused a congressional request for one to look into the 'Iraqgate' affair. The announcement, moreover, came just a day before expiry of the law which authorises such investigations. So far there has been no official comment from the White House. But Mr Baker, who has not been seen in public for weeks, is said to be outraged at the implied attack on his integrity. Ms Mullins and Ms Tutwiler are 'depressed and preoccupied', the Washington Post wrote.
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Group of students refused entry to Leicester nightclub 'because they are black'
- 4 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...