Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton's Counsel Impeded Inquiry, Park Police Say He Insists, `I Did the Right Thing'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Clinton's Counsel Impeded Inquiry, Park Police Say He Insists, `I Did the Right Thing'

Article excerpt

The U.S. Park Police report on its inquiry into the death of a top White House attorney strongly suggests that Bernard W. Nussbaum, counsel to the president, impeded its investigators and offered a dubious account of the discovery of the dead man's brooding note, federal law-enforcement officials who have seen the report say.

The report suggests that Nussbaum interfered with interviews of witnesses by directing that other White House attorneys sit in on them. It suggests that he denied the park police access to documents in the office of Vincent Foster, the deputy White House counsel, as they looked into his death.

In interviews in recent days, Nussbaum insisted that he had acted properly throughout the inquiry, saying that at the time the park police never objected to any of his actions.

"I did the proper thing," Nussbaum said Thursday. "I did the ethical thing." He added that it would have been wrong and unethical for him to have allowed investigators to examine Foster's files.

"This was a time of great personal tragedy at the White House, particularly for people who worked closely with Vince Foster," Nussbaum said. "Under difficult circumstances, we cooperated fully with all law-enforcement officials, including the park police. These criticisms were not raised with us at the time and for very good reason - they are totally unjustified."

The investigators distrusted Nussbaum's account of the circumstances of the discovery in Foster's briefcase of his note, six days after his death from a gunshot wound on July 20.

The note, a bitter lament on Washington politics, was found by another aide to Nussbaum. But an investigator said he watched Nussbaum inspect the briefcase earlier without finding the note.

The park police report, which has not been made public, does not directly accuse Nussbaum of wrongdoing. Rather, the officials said, the report draws a harsh picture of the top White House lawyer trying to restrict the inquiry. …

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