A fraught Whitewater season for the Clintons opened yesterday with a Senate report charging that the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, was behind a concerted attempt to curb the investigation into the suicide of Vince Foster, her friend and deputy White House counsel, in July 1993.
According to the findings prepared by the Republican majority on the Senate Whitewater Committee and leaked to the Washington Post and New York Times, Mrs Clinton immediately "dispatched her trusted lieutenants to contain any potential embarrassment or political damage" that could arise from Mr Foster's papers. These dealt, inter alia, with the now notorious Whitewater real- estate venture.
The Whitewater special prosecutor, Kenneth Starr, will now be asked to investigate whether three of those trusted lieutenants - Mrs Clinton's chief of staff, Maggie Williams, her close friend, Susan Thomases, and the former White House counsel, Bernard Nussbaum - committed perjury in their evidence to the committee during its 13 months of hearings or otherwise obstructed justice.
Ms Williams, according to sworn testimony from a Secret Service agent, removed documents from Mr Foster's office on the night of his death, while law enforcement officials have accused Mr Nussbaum of systematically limiting their access to the office until his own secret search was complete, on the instructions of Mrs Clinton.
Thereafter, the report continues, the White House continued to make life as difficult as possible for investigators, obfuscating and prevaricating at every turn. "Crucial files and documents `disappeared' or were withheld from scrutiny whenever questions were raised," it says.
Capitol Hill, however, is only one of the places which will be making Whitewater headlines in the coming days and weeks. Today a second Whitewater- related trial starts in Little Rock, while the Senate criticism of Mrs Clinton can only embolden Mr Starr in his investigations, which some observers believe could yet lead to her indictment for …