Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Whitewater Investigation Appears to Be Gaining Momentum

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Whitewater Investigation Appears to Be Gaining Momentum

Article excerpt

Why has Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, the tiger of Senate Whitewater hearings, suddenly appeared to turn into a judicious pussycat? Why has Rep. Jim Leach, anguished and frustrated accuser of Bill and Hillary Clinton in the farcical House hearings, fallen silent now that he and D'Amato have become chairmen of the House and Senate banking committees?

Interviews with both men and others suggest this answer: They are satisfied that a serious investigation is under way by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, and that each of their committees is getting traction in its own inquiries.

In case you've forgotten, here is the suspicion at the heart of Whitewater: that the Clintons used the influence of the Arkansas statehouse to bilk funds out of a federally insured savings and loan; unlawfully used a real estate venture as a conduit for that money to their political campaigns, and later - in the White House - were served by aides who blocked investigations by the Justice Department and Congress into the financial dealings that helped them into office.

It is a serious and current concern, if true; not just noise about a decade-old land deal in which everybody lost money, as the Clintons contend.

The earlier investigation, by Clinton-appointed counsel Robert Fiske, was discredited in the Senate hearings when D'Amato unearthed dozens of improper contacts, overlooked by Fiske, between White House and Treasury officials. That contradictory sworn testimony is now being reviewed by the special prosecutor.

Was justice obstructed as criminal referrals languished and a friendly prosecutor was appointed in Little Rock? If anybody knows, it should be Webster Hubbell, the Clinton intimate at Justice who recently copped a felony plea in exchange for information that might implicate the Clintons.

At the same time, the Senate committee is seeking the depositions taken of President and Mrs. Clinton in the White House by Fiske. These are in White House hands, and portions about the death of Vincent Foster were shared with the Senate.

"We want the rest of the Clintons' testimony," D'Amato says; he does not consider the deposition, taken in the White House, to be grand jury testimony. …

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