White House names counsel: President moves swiftly to defuse Whitewater scandal with appointment of Lloyd Cutler
Wednesday 09 March 1994
Mr Cutler, 76, who held the job as White House counsel under President Carter, said that because of his age he had agreed to serve for only 130 working days, during which the White House would look for a permanent replacement. He said if a congressional committee wanted to question White House officials he would recommend they co-operate. 'Trust is the coin of the realm,' Mr Cutler told a news conference.
The speed of Mr Cutler's appointment underlines the pressure on the White House to defuse the Whitewater affair, which is crippling its effectiveness, by demonstrating that it has nothing to hide and is not impeding the investigation. As in previous crises Mr Clinton has once again turned to the inner circle of the Washington establishment to strengthen his administration. Last year he appointed David Gergen, former aide to President Reagan, as an adviser on dealing with the media.
The extent of the political damage to Mr Clinton from Whitewater was shown yesterday by an ABC News poll, which says that 36 per cent of Americans believe that the Clintons acted illegally in their dealings with the company. A larger number, 49 per cent, said that Whitewater was a serious matter. But the Republican political offensive over the affair does not seem to be going down well: 58 per cent of those polled said they thought the Republicans were simply trying to score political points.
The scandal over Whitewater revolves less around Mr Clinton's business dealings than accusations of conflicts of interest and obstruction of justice both before and after he entered the White House. Mr Nussbaum, who attended three meetings with Treasury officials during which they briefed him about confidential inquiries into the Clintons' connections with the failed Arkansas bank Madison Guaranty, was held to have interfered with federal investigations.
Mr Cutler said yesterday: 'I've done it before, as you know. You don't look forward to it. You're asked to do it and you have to do it.' Dee Dee Myers, the White House press spokeswoman, said Mr Cutler's standing 'would be reassurance to the press and public that this White House is adhering to the highest ethical standards'.
Ten senior White House officials have now been subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury tomorrow.
Mr Cutler was White House counsel under President Carter in 1979-81, but also lawyer to the former Republican Secretary of State George Shultz during the Iran-Contra hearings. Last year he was a main supporter of Zoe Baird's nomination to be Attorney-General, which had to be dropped when it was revealed she had not made tax on payments to her domestic help.
Mr Cutler, once called 'the ultimate Washington lawyer', helped to deal with ethics allegations against several Carter aides during his earlier spell at the White House.
Double trouble, page 16
- 2 Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Mystery man who gave mum heart-warming note on train 'wanted to put a smile on her face'
Michelle Obama highlights harsh restrictions faced by Saudi women after meeting King Salman without wearing a headscarf
Mafia's wall of silence broken: Victim of Cosa Nostra's extortion rackets in its Corleone heartland co-operates with authorities for the first time ever
Amal Clooney gives excellent answer to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
Sir David Attenborough interview: The one question about life that still baffles him
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
Louise Mensch says 'F**K YOU' in explosive tweets about David Cameron, Saudi Embassy and the Queen over King Abdullah tributes
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: This post arises as a result of the need to...
£120 - £150 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: I am recruiting on instruction o...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£24000 - £28000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Wim...