Magazine article Newsweek

'A Bottomless Pit.' (Possible Problems and Scandals That Could Plague the Clinton Administration in Its Second term)(Brief Article)

Magazine article Newsweek

'A Bottomless Pit.' (Possible Problems and Scandals That Could Plague the Clinton Administration in Its Second term)(Brief Article)

Article excerpt

Nothing has caused the Clinton White House more trouble in the Whitewater affair than the tendency to fudge inconvenient facts. Now that pattern seems to be repeating itself in the Indogate scandal, which centers on $1.2 million in suspect foreign contributions to the Democratic National Committee. After weeks of nonchalant assertions that the president had only a handful of meetings with Indonesian banker James Riady - and that these sessions were merely social in nature - aides acknowledged that Riady had been to the White House 15 to 20 times over the past three years and that he and Clinton had talked about Asian trade issues on at least some occasions.

Newsweek has learned that the chief source of the now inoperative version of reality was deputy White House counsel Bruce Lindsey, who told other Clinton aides "there was never any business discussed" in the Clinton-Riady meetings. Lindsey is close to some of the Arkansas lawyers and businessmen who are central to Indogate, and some White House staffers are furious that he wasn't more candid. "This is a bottomless pit," said one. (White House spokesman Mike McCurry denied any suggestion that Lindsey might have misled him.)

Indogate now threatens to engulf the DNC and the White House in a wide-ranging probe of "soft money" campaign contributions. And since no fewer than three special prosecutors are already investigating Bill Clinton and his administration, the next four years could produce a politically disastrous series of high-profile prosecutions. …

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