Clinton Scandals: A Guide From Whitewater To The Clinton FoundationBy Carrie Johnson
Clinton Scandals: A Guide From Whitewater To The Clinton FoundationBy Carrie Johnson
Donald Trump has promised to speak Wednesday about, in his words, “the failed policies and bad judgment of Crooked Hillary Clinton.”
He had previously billed the speech, which was postponed after last week’s Orlando shooting, as addressing “all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons.” Specifically, Trump had vowed to cover everything from what he calls the couple’s “politics of personal enrichment” to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, which he argued was “designed to keep her corrupt dealings out of the public record, putting the security of the entire country at risk.” Trump has previously attacked Clinton on the campaign trail for her husband’s scandals with women, calling her an “enabler.” And just this week, Trump referenced a new book by a former Secret Service employee who said he witnessed allegedly abusive behavior when the Clintons occupied the White House.
The ongoing FBI investigation into Clinton’s email practices may be well known. But over decades in public life, dating to Bill Clinton’s tenure as a state official in Arkansas, numerous other public controversies — from the death of Vince Foster and Whitewater to Benghazi — have swirled around the Clintons.
Here’s our shorthand guide to some of those scandals and their outcome.
Alexander Tin and Ashley Young contributed to this report.
A Guide To The Clintons’ Scandals
Allegation: The granddaddy of all Clinton scandals surfaced during Bill Clinton’s bid for the presidency. It centered on financial contributions by Bill and Hillary Clinton into a real estate entity known as Whitewater Development Corporation during his time as an Arkansas state official. Eventually, the Justice Department and independent counsel launched investigations.
Outcome: Neither Bill nor Hillary Clinton faced prosecution for their involvement in Whitewater. But their public statements about the matter, and the handling of documents that went missing and later reappeared, came under intense scrutiny. Their partners in the real estate investment were Jim McDougal and his then-wife Susan. Jim McDougal was convicted of fraud charges for making bad loans and he died of heart disease in a Texas prison. Susan was convicted of fraud in connection with obtaining a $300,000 federally-backed small business loan. She refused to answer grand jury questions in the Whitewater affair and was held in contempt of court, spending 18 months in jail. Bill Clinton pardoned her before he left the White House in early 2001.
Allegation: Not long after Bill Clinton entered the White House, in May 1993, seven workers in the travel office were fired. The White House attributed the ouster to ethics and financial record-keeping problems in the office. Critics said the Clintons got rid of government workers to make room for cronies. The FBI was tapped to investigate.
Outcome: The Justice Department, at least one congressional panel, and special prosecutors all probed the reason for the firings. Independent Counsel Ken Starr found no blame rested with Bill Clinton. Another independent counsel scrutinized Hillary Clinton’s involvement and statements about the firings but seven years after the event, he found no basis to bring any charges against her.
Vince Foster Death, 1993
Allegation: White House lawyer Vince Foster was found dead in a Virginia park in 1993. Republican lawmakers and conservative interest groups suggested foul play in the death, perhaps tied to swirling ethics investigations of the Clintons that Foster had handled. In a document found in his briefcase, Foster wrote, “I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport.”
Outcome: Investigators and family members said Foster had struggled with depression and fears about keeping his security clearance if he sought help for the problem. Multiple investigations by the FBI, the Justice Department and special prosecutors concluded that Foster died at his own hand.
White House aide Vince Foster was found dead at a Virginia park. APPaula Jones/Monica Lewinsky, 1994
Allegation: Former Arkansas employee Paula Jones sued Bill Clinton for civil money damages in 1994 alleging that Clinton had propositioned her in a Little Rock hotel room years earlier. Clinton fought the case, but the Supreme Court ruled that the lawsuit could proceed. In the course of the long and bitter litigation, Jones’s lawyers identified other women with whom Bill Clinton allegedly had intimate relationships. They included Gennifer Flowers, a cabaret singer whose contacts with Clinton were detailed in a tabloid report, and former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Outcome: In a deposition for the Jones civil lawsuit, in early 1998, Bill Clinton denied having “sexual relations” with Lewinsky. Her name had already come to the attention of Independent Counsel Ken Starr, who sought her cooperation in his own investigation. Months later, in front of a federal grand jury, Clinton acknowledged the personal relationship with Lewinsky and later appeared on television to offer a public apology. The statement failed to head off a vote in the U.S. House of Representatives to impeach the president. Clinton settled the Jones lawsuit for $850,000 but he did not acknowledge wrongdoing. In February 1999, the U.S. Senate acquitted Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.
Allegation: Investigators delving into a different scandal found hundreds of FBI files on former White House workers. The information also covered the backgrounds of Republicans in Congress.
Outcome: Two staff members who obtained the files quit their jobs. An independent counsel uncovered no wrongdoing by the Clintons themselves.
Allegation: Extremists seized the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in on Sept. 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. Members of Congress have accused Clinton of offering misleading comments about the nature of the attack and failing to protect the Americans.
Outcome: The House Select Committee on Benghazi interviewed Clinton in an 11-hour-long hearing last year but it has not yet issued a public report on its findings. The work of the committee has been criticized as partisan by House Democrats. Their suspicions were fueled by remarks from House Majority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, who publicly suggested the panel’s work had helped drive down Clinton’s poll numbers in the presidential race. An investigation by the Accountability Review Board outlined “systematic” security failings by managers at the State Department. Earlier work by other congressional committees found that intelligence analysts had shifting views about the nature and motivation for the attack.
Clinton Foundation, 2015
Allegation: Republican lawmakers and watchdog groups have asked whether Clinton Foundation, established in 1997, engaged in conflicts of interest or quid pro quo deals during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Speeches by both Bill and Hillary Clinton to private groups and foreign governments have also been called into question. Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley, the Republican chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and conservative watchdogs at Judicial Watch are investigating the matters.
Outcome: Congressional and outside investigations are ongoing. Republican lawmakers have asked whether the FBI is investigating dealings between the Foundation, its donors, and State Department officials, but federal authorities have not publicly confirmed those topics are under law enforcement scrutiny.
Private Email Server, 2015
Allegation: The FBI and Justice Department are investigating whether Clinton’s private email server compromised government secrets during her tenure at the State Department.
Outcome: FBI agents are continuing their work on the investigation and have interviewed several of Clinton’s top aides. Clinton has said she will cooperate as well. The State Department inspector general recently concluded that Clinton did not follow the rules for safeguarding information, that she had not asked for approval to use the private server, and would not have been granted permission had she sought it.
This story was originally posted on June 12.
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