Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senators of 2 Minds in Inquiry on Foster Hearings Begin Today into Suicide Aftermath

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Senators of 2 Minds in Inquiry on Foster Hearings Begin Today into Suicide Aftermath

Article excerpt

MEMBERS OF A Senate committee that begins new hearings today on the Whitewater controversy are heading into the proceedings with similar expectations of the evidence to come - and widely varying interpretations of it.

For Sen. Christopher S. Bond, R-Mo., this week's inquiry into the handling of documents surrounding the death of White House lawyer Vincent Foster will show an intent by the administration of President Bill Clinton to hide the truth.

"I think the bigger picture, one that we learned very clearly last year, is that the White House continually and aggressively, since the Clinton administration has come into power, has used the office of the presidency to gain information on independent federal regulatory activities and has taken steps to interfere with and hinder investigations," Bond said Monday.

He said examination and removal by White House aides of documents from Foster's office on the night of his death two years ago - and a failure to agree to police requests to seal the office - will show "White House power being used where it shouldn't be used for purposes it shouldn't be used."

Sen. Paul Simon, D-Ill., another committee member, has a different take on the removal of documents. "Was there some sloppiness? Did some people act in a less than completely prudent manner? The answer is yes. But this took place at a time when people were in an emotional situation . . . after the death of a close colleague and friend. I think the fundamental question is: Was there some kind of a cover-up? I have seen no evidence of that."

Simon and Bond are members of the Senate Banking Committee, which held limited hearings into Whitewater last year. The Senate has authorized nearly $1 million for the current hearings by a special committee made up of last year's panel and two senators from the Judiciary Committee.

The first phase, expected to last two or three weeks, will be about the Foster documents. Later hearings will concern the Resolution Trust Co. …

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