OTD in History… December 19, 1998, Bill Clinton becomes only the second president in American history to be impeached

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OTD in History… December 19, 1998, Bill Clinton becomes only the second president in American history to be impeached

By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

Source: Washington Examiner

On this day in history December 19, 1998, the House of Representatives votes to impeach President Bill Clinton on two counts of “high crimes and misdemeanors” for “lying under oath and obstructing justice” over his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Clinton’s impeachment ended what historian Gil Troy called the “Lost Year of 1998,” while Lewinsky referred to it as a “living hell.” The Republican controlled House mostly voted on party lines approving two articles of impeachment while voting down two others. After the vote, Clinton speaking on the South Lawn of the White House surrounded by Congressional Democrats vowed to keep “working” “to do what’s best for our country… It’s what I’ve tried to do for 6 years; it’s what I intend to do for 2 more, until the last hour of the last day of my term.”

With the House’s vote, Clinton became only the second president in history to be impeached after Andrew Johnson in 1868 and the only elected president to face impeachment. Historians Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali, Peter Baker, and Jeffrey A. Engel in their 2018 book Impeachment: An American Historynote, Clinton “thus avoided joining Nixon as only the second president to be driven from office by scandal. He could not, however, evade the dubious distinction of joining Johnson as one of the only two presidents ever impeached.” (Meacham, 7)

On January 7, 1999, the Senate convened to commence the first impeachment trial in 130 years, after a five week-trial the Senate voted to acquit, Clinton ending a constitutional crisis brought on because Clinton wanted to hide his inappropriate personal behavior. Meacham, Naftali, Baker, and Engel believe, Clinton “ultimately won this third presidential campaign of his two terms when the required supermajority of senators declined to convict him of perjury and obstruction of justice.” (Meacham, 7)

After a thirteen-hour debate on the House floor, which began on Friday, December 18, on Saturday, December 19, the House of the 105th Congress mostly voted down party lines, with the exception of some Republicans voting with the Democrats in opposition to the articles of impeachment, and some Democrats voting for impeachment with the Republicans. The impeachment or House Resolution 611 vote was delayed because of Clinton’s order to bomb Iraq. The House passed the first article of impeachment 228 to 206 at 1:22 p.m. for Clinton perjuring himself during his August 17, 1998, grand jury testimony, where he denied having any relations with Lewinsky.

Article I stated, “The president provided perjurious, false and misleading testimony to the grand jury regarding the Paula Jones case and his relationship with Monica Lewinsky.” Five Republicans and five Democrats crossed party lines in their votes. The second article of impeachment passed article III, for obstruction of justice by a slimmer margin, the article accused Clinton of inducing others to commit perjury at his bequest. The article passed with a vote of 221 to 212, with 12 Republicans voting against the article and two Democrats voting in favor. Article III stated, “The president obstructed justice in an effort to delay, impede, cover up and conceal the existence of evidence related to the Jones case.”

The House defeated two of the four articles of impeachment, Article II accusing Clinton of perjury during the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit failed with a vote 229 to 205, with 28 Republicans voting against the article. The last article, Article IV accusing Clinton of abuse of power in his responses to the House Judiciary Committee overwhelmingly failed in a vote of 285 to 148, where 81 Republicans opposed the article and just one Democrat voted in favor. The vote set up Clinton to be only the second president ever to go through a Senate impeachment trial. At the time, the American public opposed the impeachment proceedings. As the New York Times reported, “a CBS News Poll of 548 people showed only 38 percent wanted their representative to vote for impeachment; 58 percent wanted a no vote.”

The year 1998 began with the Drudge Report scooping, Newsweek’s Michael Isikoff’s story on President Clinton’s affair with a former intern on January 17 launching the media frenzy over whether the president had or not with Clinton’s vehement denials. On January 21, the mainstream media including the Washington Post, Newsweek, and ABC News reported on the possible affair. Clinton went into full denial mode appearing on PBS’s Jim Lehrer,“There is no improper relationship.” Lewinsky recently recounted for the new A&E documentary “The Clinton Affair,” “With that, the demonization of Monica Lewinsky began. As it so often does, power throws a protective cape around the shoulders of the man, and he dictates the spin by denigrating the less powerful woman.” From the news media to the late night shows, comedians and everything in between shamed Lewinsky, mocking her and attacking her as a stalker and slut, bullying she could not escape even after Clinton’s resolved his legal issues.

Source: Time

The accusation led Clinton famously to declare at a press conference on January 26, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time — never.” Following up, First Lady Hillary Clinton decried the accusation on January 27, at a Today Show appearance as a “vast right wing conspiracy” by the Republican House of Representatives. The then dubbed Lewinsky Scandal dominated the news, the American public and the Clinton presidency throughout 1998. The news media and public questioned every action Clinton did as president as a diversion from the scandal that dominated.

The story actually started two and half years earlier in July 1995, when 21-year-old Monica Lewinsky became a White House intern. After intense flirting, they began a sexual relationship during the November 1995 government shutdown where interns worked as White House support staff. Lewinsky recalled how it started, “I blurted out, ‘You know, I have a crush on you,’ And he laughed and smiled and then asked me if I wanted to go to the back office. And I did.” Over the next year and a half, Clinton would have nine encounters of oral sex in the confines of the Oval Office and phone sex continuing until March 1997. In April 1996, Deputy White House Chief of Staff Evelyn Lieberman concerned that Lewinsky was getting too close to the president, transferred Lewinsky to work as the assistant to Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon. Lieberman officially said the reason was Lewinsky’s “inappropriate and immature behavior.” The personal relationship and gift giving continued as the sexual relationship ended and Lewinsky began pressuring Clinton for a job after he failed to keep his promise and bring her back to the White House after the 1996 presidential election.

Source: History.com

In July 1996, Lewinsky frustrated began confiding in her Pentagon colleague Linda Tripp, who betrayed Lewinsky’s trust and told book agent Lucienne Goldberg about Lewinsky’s affair with the president, a blue semen stained dress as proof and the mutual gifts. Goldberg convinced Tripp to record Lewinsky, and beginning in August 1997, Tripp recorded her conversations with Lewinsky. Tripp also took her story to the news contacting Isikoff. In an October meeting with Goldberg, Isikoff and Jonah Goldberg offered to play a recording of her conversation with Lewinsky but Isikoff later recounts, “I had gotten what I wanted to get, which was the name.” In November 1997, Tripp tips off Paula Jones’ lawyers and leads to them to Lewinsky and her involvement with the president and she is subpoenaed to testify in the case. In 1994, Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton accusing him of exposing himself to her in an Arkansas hotel room in 1991.

Source: Clinton Library

Throughout the fall of 1997, Lewinsky pressured Clinton to help her find a job, Clinton’s personal secretary Betty Currie helped in enlisting the Vernon Jordon with the job search. After interviews with the United Nations and Ambassador Bill Richardson, MacAndrews & Forbes Burson-Marsteller, and Revlon in New York, Lewinsky settled on public relations at Revlon, and left the Pentagon on December 26, 1997, after the scandal broke Revlon revoked their offer. The Jones case haunted Clinton throughout his presidency and with the tip; Jones’ lawyers placed Tripp and Lewinsky on their witness list. On December 5, Clinton’s lawyers received the witness list with Lewinsky’s name included and ten days letter a subpoena. Clinton asked Lewinsky to give all the gifts he had given her to Currie to, who hide them in her home. Tripp already notified Lewinsky she would be on the Jones’s witness list, but early on December 17, Clinton phoned her about being a witness, claiming it “broke his heart.” Two days later on December 19, Lewinsky receives her subpoena.

The year 1998 would begin with the actions that would to Clinton’s impeachment eleven months later. On January 7, Lewinsky signed an affidavit for the Jones case saying, she “never had a sexual relationship with the president.” Lewinsky’s lawyer only submits the affidavit on January 12. Jones lawyers outlined in 92 words their “Definition of Sexual Relations,” Clinton would later argue that he was telling the truth based on the definition provided, a loophole in his lie. Robert Bennett recently recounted to The Atlantic, “the president took full advantage of in answering.” On January 17, Clinton responded in his deposition that Lewinsky’s response was “absolutely true.” Clinton also denied he had been alone with Lewinsky, a blatant lie. Lewinsky recounted they used Clinton’s personal secretary as a cover, she would go into the Oval Office with them but then leave and stay in the adjoining dining room, while Lewinsky and Clinton would be alone in the study.

Meanwhile, On January 12, Tripp contacted Kenneth Starr’s Office of the Independent Counsel (OIC) telling them about Lewinsky’s involvement with the president, offering and then providing them with 20 hours of taped conversations between Lewinsky and Tripp. Starr asked Tripp to wear a wire at her next meeting with Lewinsky, and on January 13, she did recording their conversation at a lunch. On January 15, Starr requests from the Department f Justice permission to expand the scope of his investigation into President Clinton. On January 16, after a three-judge panel and Reno gave Starr permission to expand his investigation, the OIC set up to entrap Lewinsky in what resembled a hostage situation and an “ambush.” Tripp set up a meeting with Lewinsky at the Pentagon Mall and then the FBI swooped in and held Lewinsky at a room in the Ritz-Carlton for 12 hours, preventing her even from having a lawyer present. Just minutes before, Currie gave Lewinsky the heads up about the press finding out about the affair and two FBI agents arrived forcing Lewinsky to come with them, as Tripp looked on. The OIC’s operation was defining moment in the scandal and Lewinsky’s involvement, both Lewinsky and Ken Starr have different recollections of the events from what Lewinsky wore to from where she was taken.

Starr wrote in his memoir Contempt: A Memoir of the Clinton Investigationpublished in 2018 for the twentieth anniversary, “Our team dubbed the operation ‘Prom Night.” Lewinsky was facing “facing federal charges of perjury and subornation of perjury.” Starr recounted, “For an hour, Monica screamed, she cried, she pouted, and complained bitterly about her scheming, no-good, so-called friend. After a while, she calmed down and began asking questions. The meeting turned into a marathon.” In her authorized biography Monica’s Story by Andrew Morton published in 1999, Morton recounts, “She was in shock and she was panicking, but most of all she was in deep, deep trouble. As the lift took Monica, her treacherous friend and the two cold-eyed FBI men to the Ritz-Carlton’s Room 1012, she found herself thinking, “How did I get here?”

Lewinsky recounted in her March 2018, Vanity Fair article, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo” Starr’s staff “had hustled me into a hotel room near the Pentagon and informed me that unless I cooperated with them I could face 27 years in prison.” Starr and his lawyers “[threatened] to prosecute my mom (if she didn’t disclose the private confidences I had shared with her), [hinted] that they would investigate my dad’s medical practice, and even [deposed] my aunt, with whom I was eating dinner that night. And all because [Starr], standing in front of me, had decided that a frightened young woman could be useful in his larger case against the president of the United States.”

Recently, in the new A&E documentary “The Clinton Affair” Lewinsky retold how she felt during the questioning, “The ground completely crumbled in that moment. I felt so much guilt. And I felt terrified.” Visibly upset Lewinsky, she recounted, “There was a point for me somewhere within these first several hours where I would be hysterically crying and then I would just shut down… And in the shut down period I just remember looking out the window and thinking the only way to fix this is to kill myself…. I just felt terrible … and I was scared … and I was mortified.”

In March 2018, Lewinsky recounted meeting Starr for the first time since the investigation on Christmas Eve 2017, and seeing him “as a human being.” She was “paving the way” for Starr to apologize, telling him, “Though I wish I had made different choices back then. I wish that you and your office had made different choices, too.” All Starr did was respond, “I know. It was unfortunate.” Recently, Starr said he would not apologize to Lewinsky for his actions. In a June 2018, interview on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Starr responded “no,” “Monica — and I wish her all the best — her life has been disrupted. But the evidence is the evidence, and she was part, as we saw it, of an effort to obstruct justice and to commit perjury.” In October 2014, the Washington Postuncovered a Special Counsel’s Report from December 2000, which counters Starr and determined that Starr and the OIC staff mistreated Lewinsky during the twelve-hour interrogation.

The OIC realize Lewinsky was the real deal when later on Lewinsky’s lawyer brought them the gifts Clinton gave to Lewinsky. Since the fall of 1997, Currie hid the gifts in her home to hide any evidence from Lewinsky that linked her to the president. Paul Rosenzweig, the lawyers at OIC, who first spoke to Tripp, remembers, “They’re real gifts. They’re not like something the president gives everybody…. So the connection between the president and Monica Lewinsky — we know it’s real.”

As Starr zeroed in on Lewinsky, Isikoff finished his story about President Clinton’s affair, when on January 17; Newsweek informed him they were holding the story until the next week. When Goldberg found out that Newsweek held the story she told Ann Coulter, who advised her to go to conservative leaning Matt Drudge, who operated a website, the Drudge Report, a no hold’s bar site that was not afraid of exposing Washington scandals. Drudge broke the story on January 17, opening the floodgates, under the headline “Newsweek Kills Story on White House Intern.” Goldberg recounted to the Atlantic, “I think it was Ann, or my lawyer, or Tripp’s lawyer. Drudge broke it within the hour.”

In 1998, again Clinton’s personal actions led to scandal this time leading to a constitutional crisis over his lying, possible perjury, obstruction of justice and abuse of power. Since his campaign in 1992, Clinton had been dogged by accusations of impropriety both personal and professional. From the start Clinton dealt with accusations of sexual affairs, while a 1978 land deal gone wrong, called Whitewater might have led to illegal campaign contributions. Accusations became legal issues for the president when former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the president and in April 1997, the Supreme Court ruled the harassment suit could proceed against a sitting president, Clinton main argument against the suit. On January 12, 1994, Clinton’s scandals invaded his presidency when Attorney General Janet Reno appointed a special prosecutor to investigate Whitewater. In his role, Kenneth Starr, a former Pepperdine University Law School professor, former federal judge and solicitor general expanded his investigations to the White House Travel Office, White House Counsel Vince Foster’s suspicion suicide and then Jones and Lewinsky.

As winter 1998 turned to spring, Clinton’s and the White House denials seemed to be working on the American public, and in turn, the Clinton White House turned the tables in their attacks. As Troy recounts in his book, The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s, Clinton “and his aides argued that the accusations were not true, and besides, his accusers were worse, especially Monica Lewinsky, the emotional stalker, and Kenneth Starr, the legalistic stalker.” (Troy, 224) While, Historians Meacham, Naftali, Baker, and Engel in their 2018 book Impeachment: An American History recount, “Clinton refused to resign in shame, launching instead an orchestrated push to save his presidency by undermining his accusers’ credibility. (Meacham, 6)

Where there is smoke there is fire, however, and the news was circulating rumors of semen stained dress that would link Clinton to Lewinsky and prove he had been lying, but American public opinion did not seem to care, as Clinton’s approval ratings remained high. Clinton especially felt vindicated when on April 1, U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright dismissed the Jones case. All the while, however, Starr was conducting his investigation amassing the evidence linking Lewinsky to Clinton. Starr called a former East Wing intern, Nicole Maffeo Russo and Special Assistant to the President Sidney Blumenthal in front of a grand jury among his witnesses.

Starr, however, ramped up his investigation in July, when on July 27, he began interviewing Lewinsky. After threatening Lewinsky with prosecution, for nearly seven months her lawyers argued for immunity before she would speak to Starr. Starr blames Lewinsky for the time she took to tell the truth. Starr also interviewed for The Clinton Affair said, “The real shame is that, when you look back on it, if [Lewinsky] had said, ‘I was betrayed by Linda Tripp, there’s nothing else I can do, I’ve got to tell the truth.’ And you know what? The horror that the nation went through for eight months would have been essentially avoided. It would have been over very, very quickly.”

On July 28, after Lewinsky agreed to hand over the semen stained blue dress and other proof of the affair, Starr granted Lewinsky and her family transactional immunity. On August 6, Lewinsky gave her grand jury testimony, recounting her whole affair with the president and revealing about her blue Gap semen stained dress. On July 17, Starr subpoenaed the president and but on July 29, Clinton agreed to testify for Starr’s grand jury under conditions, “Clinton would appear via closed-circuit TV from the White House, his testimony would be limited to one day, and his lawyers could be present.” In a presidential first, on August 3, the White House physician drew blood from Clinton for DNA test to confirm a match with the dress.

On August 17, Clinton became the first sitting president subjected to giving testimony in front of a grand jury. After Lewinsky’s testimony and the physical evidence, Clinton was asked if “there is absolutely no sex of any kind” with Lewinsky, he responded, “It depends on what the meaning of the word is is.” After his testimony, in the evening Clinton went on television to speak to the nation. Clinton acknowledged his affair with Lewinsky after months of lying to the public. Clinton admitted, “As you know, in a deposition in January I was asked questions about my relationship with Monica Lewinsky. While my answers were legally accurate, I did not volunteer information. I know that my public comments and my silence about this matter gave a false impression. I misled people, including even my wife. Indeed, I did have a relationship with Miss Lewinsky that was not appropriate. In fact, it was wrong. It constituted a critical lapse in judgment and a personal failure on my part for which I am solely and completely responsible.”

One month later on September 9, Starr and the OIC transfer 36 boxes of evidence including their 445-page report recommending nine articles of impeachment to Congress. Starr never believed the report he and his writing staff, which included lawyers Brett Kavanaugh and Stephen Bates, would be made public. Their report relied heavily on Lewinsky graphic testimony to outline Lewinsky relationship with the president, however, the report left out some information. One of Clinton’s lawyers David Kendell, does not think the OIC wanted an accurate document because they never included a key Lewinsky grand jury statement, where she declared, “No one ever asked me to lie and I was never promised a job for my silence.” Kendell told The Atlantic, “Starr used the compelled testimony of Ms. Lewinsky to paint a detailed, lengthy, and graphic account of their relationship. To what end? To humiliate and demean both people.”

The same day, Clinton speaking in Florida expressed, “I let you down. I let my family down. I let this country down. But I’m trying to make it right. I determined to never let anything like that happen again.” On September 11, at the National Prayer Breakfast Clinton admitted, “I sinned.” Finally, Clinton publicly apologized. Clinton expressed in his speech, “I don’t think there’s a fancy way to say that I have sinned. It is important to me that everyone who has been hurt know that the sorrow I feel is genuine — first and most important, my family, my friends, my staff, my cabinet, Monica Lewinsky and her family, and the American people. I have asked all for their forgiveness.”

Republicans had different reasons for believing the report should be made able to the public and each side felt it would be beneficial to their cause. Republicans thought Democrats were not taking Clinton’s impeachable actions seriously, while Democrats thought there would be a backlash to the report’s pornographic elements. On September 11, the House voted 363–63 to release the report to the public on the internet. Fledgling publishing house PublicAffairs took advantage publishing the Starr Report, which became a best seller on the new bookseller Amazon.com. On September 21, 2,800 pages of evidence and video of Clinton’s grand jury testimony was made public, another “three volumes” of evidence was made public on October 1, including transcripts of Lewinsky’s conversations with Tripp.

By October, the House Republicans geared up to impeach Clinton. The House Judiciary Committee recommended an impeachment inquiry on October 5. The first vote with the full House on October 8, decided on an impeachment inquiry, the motion passed 258–176, Republicans along with 31 Democrats voted in favor. Republicans won in proceeding with the impeachment but they faced a backlash in the 1998 midterm election. The scandal benefited the Democrats, Clinton’s popularity only increased, after the scandal broke in January, according to Gallup, Clinton’s approval rating went up from 59 to 69 support throughout 1998 it remained in the sixties and when the House impeached Clinton it went to 73 percent. The Democrats won five seats, and the Republicans majority became 223-to-211 seats with one independent. Clinton felt vindicated, ‘’If you look at all the results, they are clear and unambiguous. The American people want their business, their concerns, their children, their families, their future addressed here. That’s what the message of the election was. ‘’

Speaker of the House Gingrich gambled with the House majority betting impeachment would increase their hold and he lost, and after the election announced he would step down. Bob Livingston of Louisiana was voted the new speaker but with the discovery of his past affairs, he resigned on December 19, the same day the House impeached Clinton and urged Clinton to follow his example. Livingston was a byproduct of Hustler magazine publisher Larry Flynt call offering a million dollars to anyone who had “an adulterous sexual encounter with a current member of the United States Congress or a high-ranking government official.” Other Republican casualties included “Dan Burton of Indiana, Helen Chenoweth of Idaho and Henry Hyde of Illinois,” the Chairman of Judiciary Committee who served as the chief House manager of Clinton’s Senate trial.

In November as the House Judiciary Committee moved forward on impeachment, they looked at the inquiry into President Richard Nixon and the Watergate cover up as their model. On December 8 and 9, Clinton’s lawyers presented their case, including witnesses, Watergate veterans, and historian Sean Wilentz, who warned the Republicans “History will track you down.” The Democrats tried to negotiate a censure with the House Republicans but they would not agree to anything less than impeachment. On December 11 and 12, the Judiciary Committee voted on three articles and then a fourth article of impeachment sending them to the House floor for hearings and a vote on them.

All four articles of impeachment related to perjury about his involvement with Lewinsky and influencing witnesses in the Paula Jones. According to the Atlantic, “The first article alleged that Clinton had committed perjury by lying to the grand jury in August about his relationship with Lewinsky, and in prior false statements. The second alleged that he had also perjured himself in his January deposition in the Jones case. The third accused him of obstructing justice — coaching Lewinsky and Betty Currie on their stories, concealing gifts he had received from Lewinsky, and attempting to find her a job. The fourth alleged that he had abused his office by attempting to stonewall the impeachment inquiry.”

Source: The New York Times

On December 19, after the House voted to impeach Clinton, Rep. Ray LaHood of Illinois who presided over the House impeachment process, recalls the reaction, “I think people were surprised by the fact that Clinton was impeached by the House but not on all four impeachment articles.” Rep. James Rogan of California remembers, “We had maybe half the Senate standing along the back rail of the House chamber watching the vote. There was just absolute, utter shock. I walked by a bunch of them, and they were apoplectic: ‘What’re we going to do now?’ I said, ‘Well, you’re going to have to try the case, that’s what you’re going to do now.’”

Before the Senate trial, the Senate convened behind closed in the Old Senate Chamber to work out the process. Thirteen members of the House Judiciary Committee served as prosecutors and trial managers, including Reps. James Rogan and Bob Barr and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, they worked with Republicans’ chief investigator, David Schippers negotiating the process with the Senate. Despite support among House Republicans for impeachment, Senate Republicans including Majority Leader Trent Lott were not excited to impeach President Clinton they were more concerned how impeachment would affect their reelection chances. House Republicans were limited in making their case; they could not call live witnesses and were limited to the evidence that was already made available to the public.

The Senate trial began on January 7, 1999, as the 106th Congress commenced. The trial was only the second time in American history a sitting president faced an impeachment trial that would determine if he remains in office. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court William Rehnquist presided as the judge. On the first day, the trial consisted of formally presenting the charges of impeachment against Clinton and swearing the participants for both sides including the entire Senate which served as jurors. Attorney Cheryl Mills defended Clinton and had a staff of eight other lawyers. The trial lasted for five weeks, on January 8, they adopted the trials “rules and procedures,” both parties submitted briefs, the House on January 11, Clinton’s attorneys on January 13. The House managers presented their case on January 14 through 16, while the defense presented from January 19 to 21. January 22 and 23 were reserved for questions from the prosecution and defense, which were written down and read by Chief Justice Rehnquist.

Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia was the first to call for the case to be dismissed on January 25, and on January 26, Rep. Bryant of the House managers called for witnesses. The Senate voted on both motions on January 27, the motion to dismiss failed 56–44, while the motion to dispose witnesses passed 56–44. Between February 1 and 3, behind closed doors House managers deposed three witnesses Lewinsky, Jordan and Blumenthal. On February 4, the Senate agreed with a vote of 70 to 30 just to use the videotaped deposition as opposed to live witnesses. On February 6, the House Managers played 30 excerpts from Lewinsky’s deposition discussing her affidavit from the Jones case.

On February 8, both sides gave their closing argument, White House Counsel Charles Ruff argued for Clinton’s defense, “There is only one question before you, albeit a difficult one, one that is a question of fact and law and constitutional theory. Would it put at risk the liberties of the people to retain the President in office? Putting aside partisan animus, if you can honestly say that it would not, that those liberties are safe in his hands, then you must vote to acquit.” Chief House manager Rep. Henry Hyde counter-argued, “A failure to convict will make the statement that lying under oath, while unpleasant and to be avoided, is not all that serious. … We have reduced lying under oath to a breach of etiquette, but only if you are the president. … And now let us all take our place in history on the side of honor, and, oh, yes, let right be done.”

Source: The New York Times

The Senate as jury began their closed-door deliberations on February 9, 1999. The House Republicans needed a two-thirds majority, 67 senators to convict Clinton. On February 12, 1999, the Senate voted to acquit Clinton on the two articles of impeachment and charges. The Senate voted not guilty 55 to 45 for Article I, the perjury charge, including 10 Republicans voting with the Democrats to acquit. The Senate split 50–50 for the obstruction of justice charge with five Republicans voting with the Democrats. There were five Republicans Senators that voted to acquit on both charges, John Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, Jim Jeffords of Vermont, Olympia Snowe of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who voted “not proved,” the equivalent of not guilty. Afterward, a victorious Clinton expressed from the White House, “Now that the Senate has fulfilled its constitutional responsibility, bringing this process to a conclusion, I want to say again to the American people how profoundly sorry I am for what I said and did to trigger these events and the great burden they have imposed on the Congress and on the American people.”

Despite, the Senate impeachment trial in his favor, Clinton’s legal problems and their ramifications were not over. In November 1998, Clinton settled with Jones while she was appealing the court’s dismissal of the case, for $850,000 without admitting any wrongdoing. However, in April 1999, the same Federal District Judge Susan Webber Wright, who dismissed the Jones suit cited Clinton with civil contempt of court for his perjury and “willful failure” to obey her orders. Wright claimed, “Simply put, the president’s deposition testimony regarding whether he had ever been alone with Ms. (Monica) Lewinsky was intentionally false, and his statements regarding whether he had ever engaged in sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky likewise were intentionally false.”

Kenneth Starr left the independent counsel position in 1999 and Robert Ray served as his replacement. Although Clinton escaped impeachment, he still had the possibility of facing criminal charges. In December 2000, to end the independent counsel’s investigation, Clinton’s lawyer drew up an agreement with Ray. There would be no criminal charges, but Clinton would admit to “testifying falsely” in his deposition in the Jones case, he would pay a $25,000 fine, his Arkansas law license would be suspended for five years, and with that, the Supreme Court Bar suspended him.

Twenty years after the scandal broke and Clinton’s impeachment, the perspective is different. The tables have turned, as Republicans have a president who admitted to inappropriate behavior to women on video, and is facing an independent counsel’s investigation over Russian interference in the 2016 election that got him elected. The #MeToo movement, which began in 2017, gave greater sympathy to women who faced sexual assault, sexual harassment and were in relationships with a power imbalance. No longer is Clinton’s actions dismissed as they were in 1998. In the spring of 2018, when Clinton said in a televised interview on NBC TODAY SHOW he did not owe Lewinsky a personal apology he faced a backlash. When host Craig Melvin pushed the issue Clinton responded, “No. I do not — I have never talked to her. But I did say publicly on more than one occasion that I was sorry.” Before the #MeToo movement asking Clinton about the scandal and Lewinsky would have taboo, now even he has to be accountable. Instead, of the scandal recessing in the American mind, it has come to the forefront to Clinton’s detriment. The backlash pushed Clinton to the defensive and to clarify his original comment, “So first point is, I did. I meant it then, and I meant it now. I apologized to my family, to Monica Lewinsky and her family, and to the American people before a panel of ministers in the White House, which was widely reported. So I was… I did that. I meant it then, and I mean it today. I live with it all the time.”

Recently, Lewinsky wrote in Vanity Fair, “So, what feels more important to me than whether I am owed or deserving of a personal apology is my belief that Bill Clinton should want to apologize. I’m less disappointed by him, and more disappointed for him. He would be a better man for it… and we, in turn, a better society.” Lewinsky, however, would like to apologize personally to Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, “My first public words after the scandal — uttered in an interview with Barbara Walters on March 3, 1999 — were an apology directly to Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton. And if I were to see Hillary in person today, I know that I would summon up whatever force I needed to again acknowledge to her — sincerely — how very sorry I am.” Continuing Lewinsky writes, “I know I would do this because I have done it in other difficult situations related to 1998. I have also written letters apologizing to others — including some who also wronged me gravely. I believe that when we are trapped by our inability to evolve, by our inability to empathize humbly and painfully with others, then we remain, victims, ourselves.”

Historian Taylor Branch in his book The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House sheds light why perhaps Clinton does not feel he owes Lewinsky an apology for his behavior, especially how he demonized her to the press after the scandal broke. Branch recounts, Clinton “pointed out that Starr had been threatening to jail Lewinsky all year over her sworn denial of the affair. If Clinton had come forward with anything at all about their relationship, he said Starr could have turned him into a witness against Lewinsky, betraying her discreet silence. Such subtleties, while original, struck me as tendentious. The president never claimed chivalry as the real motive for his steadfast denials, nor did he dispute the essential truth of Lewinsky’s account.” (Branch)

The Democrats behavior and blind support for Clinton in 1998 contrasts with the post- #MeToo era and in the context of times seems hypocritical. As Troy recounts in his 2000 book, Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons, “Democrats defended their president’s privacy while exposing Republicans’ affairs. The Democrats instinctively expansive reading of law narrowed into a strict construction of perjury standards and the Constitution’s impeachment clauses. The Democrats also decided that women did not always tell the truth about male predators, especially if the accused was a pro-choice president. Democrats who had skewered Nixon indulged Clinton…. All the while, reporters and citizens played both sides of the fence — as usual — condemning the spectacle while feeding it.” (Troy, 378)

Now twenty years later, history, the public and the characters involved are revising how they viewed the affair and scandal in light of the #MeToo movement, Clinton’s scandals are no longer “dismissed.” Historians Jon Meacham, Timothy Naftali, Peter Baker, and Jeffrey A. Engel in their 2018 book Impeachment: An American History note, “Twenty years later, though, the view of history has shifted a bit. Once dismissed as a national distraction while more serious such as international terrorism and Wall Street corruption went ignored, the Clinton scandal looks a little different in the age of the #MeToo movement… Today some of the key figures in the Clinton impeachment are reassessing.” (Meacham, 203) MSNBC one of the key Clinton defenders in 1998, now host Chris Hayes said, “Democrats and the center left are overdue for a real reckoning with the allegations against him.” (Meacham, 203)

In light of this, Lewinsky, who persistently claimed their relationship, was consensual and she was not a victim, is currently reconsidering whether it was consensual in light of the #MeToo movement. In her March 2018, Vanity Fair article, “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo Lewinsky wrote, “We now recognize that it constituted a gross abuse of power…. Now, at 44, I’m beginning (just beginning) to consider the implications of the power differentials that were so vast between a president and a White House intern.” “I now see how problematic it was that the two of us even got to a place where there was a question of consent. Instead, the road that led there was littered with inappropriate abuse of authority, station, and privilege. (Full stop.)”

In November 2018, Lewinsky wrote of Clinton’s lopsided power, “As it so often does, power throws a protective cape around the shoulders of the man, and he dictates the spin by denigrating the less powerful woman… If you want to know what power looks like, watch a man safely, even smugly, do interviews for decades, without ever worrying whether he will be asked the questions he doesn’t want to answer.” Lewinsky is not the only one reconsidering the relationship and President Clinton’s actions, so is the media and even fellow Democrats. Democratic New York Senator and former Clinton ally Kirsten Gillibrand caused shock waves when in November 2017 when she told the New York Times she believed Clinton should have resigned during the scandal in 1998, telling the Times, “Yes, I think that is the appropriate response.” It was the first time a high-ranking Democrat, indicated Clinton should have resigned.

The woman that brought the whole affair to Starr’s attention, Linda Tripp still maintains that she always saw what Clinton did as an abuse of power. Tripp say s that was the reason she revealed what was going on. Tripp recently spoke to Slow Burn’s host, Leon Neyfakh telling him, “I mean, how it was presented to the country initially is how it continues to be referred to today, which is an affair, the Lewinsky affair. But by virtue of using that word, one assumes it was in some way an actual relationship of sorts — romantic, physical, whatever, it was a relationship — which couldn’t be farther from the truth. What it was was a series of encounters to address a physical need, a use of a young girl, and then the sort of cold, hard dismissal of her on any human level.”

The only two involved who do not believe Clinton abused his power, is he and former First Lady Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton appeared in October 2018 for an interview on CBS and she was was asked if Clinton’s actions were an abuse of power, to which she responded it was not because Lewinsky “was an adult.” Hillary Clinton also responded “absolutely not” when asked if the former president should have resigned over the affair.

For the twentieth anniversary of Clinton’s impeachment and the scandal, A&E made a new documentary, entitled, “The Clinton Affair.” The documentary produced by women gave a different perspective on the scandal, starting with the name giving the responsibility over to Clinton where it rightfully belonged, because he was the president and the one in control. Lewinsky has said she liked “that the perspective is being shaped by women.” In a recent Vanity Fair article “Who gets to live in victimville?: Why I participated in a new docuseries on the Clinton Affair” Lewinsky explains her decision to “relive the events of 1998.” Lewinsky explains, “Why did I choose to participate in this docuseries? One main reason: because I could. Throughout history, women have been traduced and silenced. Now, it’s our time to tell our own stories in our own words.” She also indicates the significance for the series to call it the Clinton Affair as opposed to the Lewinsky Scandal as its been dubbed from the onset another by-product of the #MeToo movement. Lewinsky writes, “Bye-bye, Lewinsky scandal. I think 20 years is enough time to carry that mantle.”

Early on, journalists or jurists, legal scholars wrote most of the books on Clinton’s impeachment, it takes time for a historical perspective. Jurist Richard Posner in his book, An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton published just after the legal issues of the scandal resolved in 1999, argued for writing a history so close to the contemporary events having occurred. Posner explains, “The judgments in it are informed by knowledge of how the story ends, although not by knowledge of how it will come eventually to be judged by history,” before “the danger that the history of it will pass rapidly into myth,” because “hindsight bias is a serious problem in historiography.”

In August 1998, after Clinton admitted to the affair with Lewinsky, historian Douglas Brinkley indicated, “In judging a president, there is a considerable world of difference between the long view of history and the volatility of the political moment.” At the time, historians believed Clinton’s legacy would be affected by the scandal. Famed historian Arthur J. Schlesinger Jr. also questioned Clinton’s legacy, saying, “It all depends on what he does, not what he says. Instead of going off to Martha’s Vineyard, he should be gaining control of his demoralized administration. He should be making decisions about Ireland and the Middle East. Obviously, what he said last night is going to tarnish his legacy. But he can overcome these things if he begins fighting for real social change and reform. That’s his very best hope.”

Some historians, however, believed that the scandal might define his presidency. Alan Brinkley believed, “While I don’t believe the Lewinsky matter will constitute the final judgment of him, the scandals and a limited agenda will be what people remember.” Historian Joyce Appleby thought Clinton made scandal more a fixture of the modern political landscape. Appleby stated, “When people look back at the Clinton years, I think they’ll see him as the epitome of a time when our nation became permanently scandalized.”

Historians found that Clinton’s scandal and impeachment was worst than Richard Nixon’s resignation over his impending impeachment over the Watergate Scandal because of Nixon’s presidential accomplishments and the supporting cast. Historian Joan Hoff the author of Nixon Reconsidered, finds that Nixon had more accomplishments as president and had ideological positions that he championed. Hoff remarked Nixon “took risks, he had some success. But what does Bill Clinton stand for? He has no strong inner compass, he wavers a lot, and that’s not much to build a legacy on.” While Troy in his book, Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to the Clintons, published in 2000 during Clinton’s last year in office compared Watergate to Clinton’s scandal. Troy points out, “The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was an ugly moment in American history. Unlike during Watergate, no heroes emerged, few ideals triumphed. Reputations shattered. Public language coarsened. Truth became pliable. Partisanship raged. Deathbed conversions predominated.” (Troy, 378)

In 2017, Clinton ranked a respectable number 15 in C-SPAN’s third Presidential Historians Survey, where a hundred historians and biographers ranked the presidents. They marked each president on ten qualities including, “public persuasion, crisis leadership, economic management, moral authority, international relations, administrative skills, relations with Congress, vision and setting an agenda, pursued equal justice for all, and performance within the context of his times.” Clinton’s overall reputation has improved with time, but his ranking on moral authority has remained dismal and at the bottom of the rankings. When he left office in 2000, historians ranked him twentieth overall but number 41, second to last on moral authority. In 2009, Clinton’s overall reputation improved to fifteenth but his moral authority remained low at number 37. In 2017, Clinton’s overall reputation with historians remained the same, his overall score improved, but his moral authority fell to number 38. The ranking was published months before the #MeToo movement burst onto the scene and months after the 2016 presidential election, where former First Lady Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee and the media drudged up Clinton’s scandals.

Pulitzer Prize historian Taylor Branch a friend of Clinton’s wrote the revealing The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History in the White House. Throughout Clinton’s presidency, Branch sat down with Clinton to discuss his impressions of his presidency, which were recorded on tape, retained by Clinton, Branch’s book was based on his personal notes, and give insights no other historian can have on Clinton’s thoughts including the scandal and impeachment. According to Branch, Clinton explained the reason he became involved with an intern within the confines of the White House, “I cracked; I just cracked.” Clinton felt “beleaguered, unappreciated, and open to a liaison with Lewinsky” after “the Democrats’ loss of Congress in the November 1994 elections, the death of his mother the previous January, and the ongoing Whitewater investigation.” Branch’s view of President Clinton attempts to reshape the narrative and softens Clinton’s intentions throughout the scandal but spends too little time to have lasting consequences for how history views Clinton, the scandal and his impeachment.

Historians writing in the context of nearly twenty years after scandal have argued the range of the scandal affected Clinton’s legacy and American history. Historian Russell L. Riley writing for the Miller Center at the University of Virginia indicates how Clinton affected his legacy with the scandal. Riley explains, “The damage done to Clinton’s place in history is far more pronounced and probably permanent. Future historians will likely evaluate not just what Clinton did, but also what he did not accomplish, because he was tied-up in a second-term struggle for political survival. It is this consideration of ‘what might have been’ that may be Clinton’s greatest obstacle to gaining historical stature.” Troy lamented the problems with writing about Clinton and having the rest of Clinton’s presidency taken seriously, writing, “The Monica Lewinsky sex scandal upstages,” Clinton’s “astute statements about family, work, community, responsibility, and freedom, but “modern readers must compartmentalize, just as the American people did. Ultimately, the majority of Americans accepted his argument to judge his presidency by his public record.” (Troy, 22–23)

Clinton’s scandal and impeachment affected not only his legacy but also the course of American history in the early twenty first century. Meacham, Naftali, Baker, and Engel argue, “Impeachment thus disrupts the American political landscape as few other events do, leaving scars for generations while dimming the political careers of all involved. Clinton was not only the second president impeached; he was also the first impeached after having been elected president, a stain his two-term vice president and would-be Democratic successor found impossible to wash away during his subsequent razor-tight campaign for the presidency in 2000…. Bill Clinton’s impeachment thus directly contributed to the election of the two subsequent Republican presidents in 2000 and 2016, respectively. But for his behavior, the twenty-first century might have unfolded completely differently.”

SOURCES AND READ MORE

105th Congress (1997–1998). “H.Res.611 — Impeaching William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States, for high crimes and misdemeanors.”Congress.gov. December 16, 1998. https://www.congress.gov/bill/105th-congress/house-resolution/611

Branch, Taylor. The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010.

Clinton, William J. “Remarks Following the House of Representatives Vote on Impeachment.” The American Presidency Project. December 19, 1998 https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/remarks-following-the-house-representatives-vote-impeachment

Cosgrove, Alexandra. “A Clinton Timeline.” CBS News. January 12, 2001. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-clinton-timeline/

CNN. “A Chronology: Key Moments In The Clinton-Lewinsky Saga.” http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/1998/resources/lewinsky/timeline/

CSPAN. “William J. Clinton, C-SPAN Survey on Presidents 2017.” https://www.c-span.org/presidentsurvey2017/?personid=1651

Engel, Jeffrey A, Jon Meacham, Timothy J. Naftali, and Peter Baker. Impeachment: An American History. New York: Modern Library, 2018.

Getlin, Josh. “Clinton Legacy May Be History, Say Historians Standing: They cite Lewinsky matter, detect flaws in the president’s character,” Los Angeles Times, August 19, 1998. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/aug/19/news/mn-14568

Garber, Megan. “The End of The Clinton Affair.” The Atlantic, November 22, 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2018/11/clinton-affair-how-we-remember-women/576271/

Graham, David A. and Cullen Murphy. “The Clinton Impeachment, as Told by the People Who Lived It,” The Atlantic, December 2018. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/12/clinton-impeachment/573940/

Harris, John F. “President Responds With Simple Apology.” The Washington Post, February 13, 1999, A1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/president021399.htm

Lewinsky, Monica. “Emerging from the ‘House of Gaslight’ in the age of #metoo.” Vanity Fair, March 2018. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/02/monica-lewinsky-in-the-age-of-metoo

Lewinsky, Monica. “Who gets to live in victimville?: Why I participated in a new docuseries on the Clinton Affair.” Vanity Fair, November 2018. https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2018/11/the-clinton-affair-documentary-monica-lewinsky

Nicks, Denver. “Report: Investigators Mistreated Monica Lewinsky in Clinton Probe.” Time, October 24, 2014. http://time.com/3536555/report-lewinsky-clinton-starr/

Mitchell, Alison. “IMPEACHMENT: THE OVERVIEW — CLINTON IMPEACHED; HE FACES A SENATE TRIAL, 2D IN HISTORY; VOWS TO DO JOB TILL TERM’S ‘LAST HOUR’.” The New York Times, December 20, 1998. https://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/20/us/impeachment-overview-clinton-impeached-he-faces-senate-trial-2d-history-vows-job.html

Morton, Andrew. Monica’s Story. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999.

Posner, Richard A. An Affair of State: The Investigation, Impeachment, and Trial of President Clinton. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Univ. Press, 1999.

Riley, Russell L. “Bill Clinton: Impact and Legacy.” Miller Center, University of Virginia. https://millercenter.org/president/clinton/impact-and-legacy

Starr, Kenneth. Contempt : a Memoir of the Clinton Investigation. Penguin Publishing Group, 2018.

Starr, Kenneth. The Starr Report: The Findings of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr on President Clinton and the Lewinsky Affair. Bridgewater, N.J: Replica Books, 1998.

Troy, Gil. Mr. and Mrs. President: From the Trumans to Clintons. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2000.

Troy, Gil. The Age of Clinton: America in the 1990s. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin’s Press, 2015.

Washington Post. “Approved Articles of Impeachment.” December 20, 1998. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/articles122098.htm?noredirect=on

Wikipedia. “Clinton–Lewinsky scandal.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton%E2%80%93Lewinsky_scandal

Wikipedia. “Impeachment of Bill Clinton.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impeachment_of_Bill_Clinton

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. She is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor, and a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion, and news. She has over a dozen years of experience in education & political journalism.

Politics November 7, 2016: WikiLeaks Chelsea Clinton’s husband used Clinton Foundation for hedge fund

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WikiLeaks Chelsea Clinton’s husband used Clinton Foundation for hedge fund

By Bonnie K. Goodman

HEMPSTEAD, NY - SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looks on with husband and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and daughter, Chelsea Clinton after the Presidential Debate with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC's Lester Holt. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

HEMPSTEAD, NY – SEPTEMBER 26: (L-R) Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton looks on with husband and former U.S. President Bill Clinton and daughter, Chelsea Clinton after the Presidential Debate with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at Hofstra University on September 26, 2016 in Hempstead, New York. The first of four debates for the 2016 Election, three Presidential and one Vice Presidential, is moderated by NBC’s Lester Holt. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Another day another Clinton scandal exposed. The FBI might not be charging Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over her private email server, but does not mean the Clintons’ are not without scandal and general abuse of power privilege. On Sunday evening, Nov. 6, 2016, WikiLeaks released another batch of 8,000 emails relating to Hillary and former President Bill Clinton. Among those emails was two indicating that daughter Chelsea Clinton’s husband, Marc Mezvinsky used his connections with the Clinton Foundation to secure money for his hedge fund.

Wikileaks released two specific emails between ex-Bill Clinton aide Doug Band to Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta and long-time aide Cheryl Mills who at the time was serving as Clinton’s Chief of Staff at the State Department. There was a memo from 2011 and an email from 2012 outlining how Mezvinky used the foundation’s donors to invest his hedge fund.

Mezvinsky invited prospective donors to a Clinton Foundation poker event to “court” his potential investors and was introduced to a “billionaire foundation donor” who contributed to his fund. Chelsea was also actively involved she phoned foundation donors inquiring if they would invest in her husband’s hedge fund.

Mezvinsky was working as an investment for Goldman Sachs, and he and two others were trying to gain enough capital and investments for a hedge fund. The three called their enterprise Eaglevale Partners. As Politico pointed out in their report, “The word among rich Clinton backers on Wall Street was that the family would look favorably on investments in Eaglevale.”

The emails are a part of the 50,000 hacked Podesta emails WikiLeaks has released since the beginning of October in an attempt to sway the election. The emails have shown a calculated Clinton campaign that has used the Democratic National Committee and the news media to get an advantage for Clinton in the primary and general election. The emails not released in any order include both emails and internal memos and documents showing the Clintons’ used their political connections to gain favors.

Politics November 1, 2016: Voters not too bothered by renewed Clinton email investigation, but why?

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Voters not too bothered by renewed Clinton email investigation, but why?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak during a debate watch party at Craig Ranch Regional Amphitheater following the third U.S. presidential debate at UNLV on October 19, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight was the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV – OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (L) and her husband former U.S. President Bill Clinton speak during a debate watch party at Craig Ranch Regional Amphitheater following the third U.S. presidential debate at UNLV on October 19, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight was the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Three new polls show that American voters do not seem to care very much about the FBI Director James B. Comey’s renewed investigation into Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email server, which is troubling. On Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016, ABC News/Washington Post poll found that 66 percent of voters say the new probe is not going to change how they vote. Meanwhile, in the first national Politico/Morning Consult poll released after the news from FBI on Monday, Oct. 31, Clinton still maintains her same three-point lead over Republican nominee Donald Trump. Even worse, in the latest the Reuters/Ipsos survey released on Monday, Clinton has 5-point lead over Trump. Although this good news for Clinton it does not say much about the judgment of the American voters where an FBI investigation does not matter when the person in question wants to be president.

With a week left before the election, Clinton still holds on to her lead in the latest national Politico/Morning Consult poll. Clinton has the support of 42 percent of voters to Trump’s 39 percent support in a four-way race. Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson has 7 percent support, while Green Party nominee Jill Stein has 5 percent. Clinton still maintains her lead in a two-way race with 46 percent to Trump’s 43 percent.

The poll also asked voters how they felt about Clinton’s renewed email scandal. Fortunately at least a minority find it troubling, and it will now to affect how the vote on Nov. 8. According to the poll, 33 percent say they are “less likely” to vote for Clinton after the news broke, while 39 percent of Americans say it will not sway their vote. However, 45 percent “agreed with Trump” Clinton’s email scandal is worse than Watergate. The ABC News/Washington Post poll seems to concur; determining that 34 percent of voters are less likely to vote for Clinton after newly discovered emails forced the FBI to renew their investigation into Clinton.

Even more troubling is a third poll released Monday, the Reuters/Ipsos survey gave Clinton a five-point lead. In the survey, Clinton has 44 percent support to Trump’s 39 percent in a two-way race. The polls give Clinton a six percent lead in a four-way race, Clinton has 43 percent support to Trump’s 37 percent, while Johnson has six percent with Stein at just one percent.

On Friday morning, Oct. 28, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Congressional Committee leaders informing them of a new development the discovery of news and that the FBI will be reopening their investigation into Clinton’s private server. The FBI discovered 650,000 emails on the computer of disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner in their investigation of his sending sexually inappropriate text messages to an underage girl.

Weiner is the estranged husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s longtime aide who was Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now her deputy campaign chair. Abedin also had an account on Clinton’s server. FBI agents knew of the emails for two weeks before notifying Comey on Thursday, Oct. 27. The bureau was just granted a warrant to search the emails on Sunday, Oct.  30. Comey has faced praised from Trump’s campaign but criticism and attacks from Clinton her campaign and Congressional supporters for the timing of the letter.

Voters’ attitude toward the renewed investigation is surprising. We live in a society that still despite advances for many demographic groups views criminal activity, whether suspected, questionable or convicted with abhorrence. The mantra might be innocent until proven guilty, but in the public opinion, any question, nevermind an arrest is enough to convict in the court of public opinion. In the United States criminals even lose their voting right when convicted.

This same opinion is not just reserved for the average person, or demographic groups that the public feel are more prone to get involved in criminal activity sometimes based just on social circumstance but usually for our politicians. Americans put leaders to a higher standard and claim they want them to have with impeccable morals. Former President Richard Nixon’s involvement in the Watergate cover-up is forever seared as the standard-bearer. Although he worked hard to rehabilitate his image as the elder statesman, he was still considered by many a “crook.” The sex scandals that are discovered are enough to usually get a politician banished for life, never mind any hint or whiff of political corruption.

Republican nominee Donald Trump has felt the burn enough this campaign cycle much to the hypocrisy. His comments calling some Mexicans immigrants criminals calling for a wall on the border with Mexico were derided as racist, but privately many who do not consider themselves racist feel the same, or rationalize it as a class issue rather one of race. The same about Muslim immigrants, many want to consider themselves open-minded, but secretly are afraid maybe some do have terrorist leanings, possibly avoiding interactions with Muslims because of their fears. The same people were outraged at Trump’s position.

Then there was Trump’s 2005 tape bragging about groping women because of celebrity status, and his failed attempt at an affair with a married woman. The tape and the 12 women accusing Trump of sexually inappropriate behavior mostly unwanted kisses and hugs nearly destroyed his campaign. The public was already writing his campaign obituary, and arguing when he refused to say whether he would concede the election. The public and news media were being presumptuous arguing and insulting over a hypothetical situation three weeks before the election when Trump did not lose yet.

The Clintons however, seem to defy every common convention, the logic goes out the door when it comes to former President Bill Clinton and former First Lady, New York Senator, Secretary of State and now Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. The Clintons have had had scandal after scandal since they entered the political sphere in the 1970 s and it has exacerbated since their entrance onto the national stage in 1992.

There have been strings of “allegations of legal or ethical wrongdoings” that have plagued the Clintons since Bill’s administration (1993-2000). The most notable being Whitewater, Paula Jones sexual harassment case, the Monica Lewinsky scandal and subsequent impeachment never mind the countless smaller ones. Through it, all Clinton maintained his high approval ratings, fiercely defended by Democratic colleagues even remaining in office after becoming only the second president ever impeached. Bill Clinton has been the exception rather than rule with politicians involved in sex scandals.

Hillary Clinton has always appeared as a Lady Macbeth, her scandals after her husband’s presidency only confirm that reputation of ruthless ambition above all. Clinton might have called her private email server as Secretary of State a convenient mistake; it was a shrewd way to manipulate her actions and political future but risking national security and giving a disgraced congressman access to it all unintentionally. Equally troubling is the blurring lines between her post at the State Department and her husbands’ Clinton Foundation. The WikiLeaks released emails from her campaign chairman John Podesta, the Democratic National Committee and others in the Clinton circle give an unappealing backstage view at the shrewd Clinton machine; that should not be ignored or dismissed.

One after the other the Clintons blamed someone else, with their favorite being the Republicans, they played the misunderstood victim, the innocents being preyed on, never truly taking responsibility for their actions. The Clintons played the American public, and in turn, they bought continuing their devotion and love affair. It either proves American voters are truly stupid or have stone age brains as historian Richard Shenkman argues, or the Clintons’ are master manipulators whose put on charm is truly inescapable.

Academics and pundits are defending Clinton’s actions, blaming sexism, Republicans or anything else. These academics and pundits would never tolerate Clinton’s behavior in their personal situations if they even suspected someone they knew behaved a similar manner they would throw stones, cut ties and blacklist making sure they are banished forever. Still, they continue to compromise their principals for an op-ed, a quote, radio or TV appearance book sales some professional attention. Too many academics and pundits see the Clintons’ scandals as fueling their careers, and they are milking it if she becomes president staying on the right side will gain them a favor. Keeping up with the popular position whether ethically sound or not shows they are morally not too far from the Clintons themselves.

There is no way to defend a criminal repeat offender, and there is no excuse for the Clintons’ repeated scandals, nothing justifies it after all this time. Former assistant FBI director James Kallstrom has come out to deride the Clintons’ repeated scandals in a recent radio interview calling the Democratic nominee a “pathological liar.” Kallstrom agrees with Comey’s decision to send the letter to Congress notifying them of the renewed investigation, saying, “The Clintons, that’s a crime family, basically. It’s like organized crime.”

It is not hatred, antipathy or anything else, upright and moral Americans, for the most part, want justice, they believe that politicians and leaders should be treated the same way they would in similar situations, the problem is the Clintons always escape that justice and that is the only reason for the animosity. They appear, act and behave like a ruling class when we live in a democracy.

Is it not because Clinton is a woman, her scandals and how far she has come, proves she plays the game better than any man does, and maybe even better than her husband. Clinton’s main advantage is as Trump accuses overusing the woman card, while she and her defenders cry out sexism; they use that as the top excuse to get away with anything. Neither is about her being a Democrat; there are many fine Democrats whose morality is without reproach including our current President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. Obama tolerates Clinton for the ambition of securing his legacy, while Biden commended FBI Director Comey and reminded the public he would have won the primary and been the nominee.

The poll results are disheartening it shows American voters particularly Democrats are cutting themselves short and have been doing so since the primaries. They want justice and morality for everyone but their future president if the name is Clinton. So many scandals, an FBI investigation over Clinton’s head, how can even the staunchest Democrat accept that after all, this time it is not a witch-hunt there has to be some truth to the accusations. I had a professor who once claimed in a seminar that it is fine to be a hypocrite as long as one knows they are. He was wrong, it is never right to be a hypocrite, it is wrong if one knows they are, and it only worse when they do not realize it, and that is this election’s greatest problem.

Politics October 19, 2016: New Bill Clinton accuser comes forward says he groped her repeatedly in 1980

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New Bill Clinton accuser comes forward says he groped her repeatedly in 1980

By Bonnie K. Goodman

INDIANOLA, IA - OCTOBER 12: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an Iowa Democratic party early vote event at Simpson College October 12, 2016 in Indianola, Iowa. With less than four weeks until election day, polls show Hillary Clinton expanding her lead over Donald Trump in battleground states. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

INDIANOLA, IA – OCTOBER 12: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton speaks at an Iowa Democratic party early vote event at Simpson College October 12, 2016 in Indianola, Iowa. With less than four weeks until election day, polls show Hillary Clinton expanding her lead over Donald Trump in battleground states. (Photo by Steve Pope/Getty Images)

In the running of who has acted more inappropriate to women Bill Clinton or Donald Trump, Clinton has ranked up another accusation. On Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2016, Leslie Millwee, a former reporter at a Fayetteville, Arkansas television station came forward announcing that former President Bill Clinton and husband of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton groped her three times in 1980 when he was Governor of Arkansas. Millwee made the accusation in an interview with the Conservative Breitbart News hours before the last presidential debate.

Millwee told Breitbart News in a video interview about the three instances where Clinton essentially attacked her. According to The Hill’s reporting, “Bill Clinton confronted her on three separate occasions in a small room at her station, both touching himself and grabbing her as she protested.” Millwee quit her job at the station after Clinton showed up at her apartment one night. Millwee explains she did not tell the media what happened sooner because she saw how both Bill and Hillary Clinton destroyed the reputations and credibility of any of Bill’s other accusers.

Millwee’s news comes after a week where eight women came forward and accused Republican nominee Donald Trump of groping them between 1980 and 2007. The women accused Trump of kissing them without their permission and or fondling them. Trump vehemently denied the accusations and then went about attacking his accusers, the news media and Hillary Clinton’s campaign for them coming forward now after all these years.

Trump’s problem started as a video tape emerged from 2005 where the GOP nominee bragged to then Access Hollywood reporter Billy Bush about his sexual exploits that he can kiss and grab women when he wants because he is a celebrity and his failed attempt at starting an affair with a married host. Trump apologized, called it “locker room talk” and denied acting on it during the second presidential debate. The denial during the debate, prompted eight women top come forward and claim that occurred between 1980 and 2007 Trump kissed, fondled or grabbed them without their permission.

Trump tried to contrast himself from Bill Clinton saying the tapes were words, not actions. In the midst of the tape scandal, Trump held a pre-debate press conference with three of Clinton’s victims, Paula Jones, Juanita Broaddrick, and Kathleen Willey and then they were his guests at the second debate. Trump in trying to focus on Bill Clinton’s sex scandals has brought his possible inappropriate exploits into the limelight at a critical time in the campaign. The new account only confirms what American voters already know that the former friends have similar sex scandals in their closet that have and are coming back to haunt them.

Politics October 9, 2016: Clinton’s hypocritical reaction to Trump’s lewd comments as she stood by her man

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By Bonnie K. Goodman

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY - JULY 14: (L-R) Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Trump, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Joe Torre, and Billy Crystal attend the 2008 Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation Golf Classic at Trump National Golf Club on July 14, 2008 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Rick Odell/Getty Images)

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, NY – JULY 14: (L-R) Rudolph W. Giuliani, Donald Trump, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Bill Clinton, Joe Torre, and Billy Crystal attend the 2008 Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation Golf Classic at Trump National Golf Club on July 14, 2008 in Briarcliff Manor, New York. (Photo by Rick Odell/Getty Images)

After hearing the news about an audio recording of Republican nominee Donald Trump making lewd comments about women, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton responded with outrage. On Friday, Oct. 7, 2016, The Washington Post released a report about the 2005 recording of Trump bragging to then Access Hollywood reporter Billy Bush about his sexual exploits, groping, and kissing women when he wanted and his unsuccessful attempt at bedding a married TV host. Trump immediately faced a backlash mostly from fellow Republicans especially those in Congress. Clinton also responded with outrage, calling his remarks “horrific.” Clinton’s reactions come off as hypocritical considering her husband’s past sex scandals, with the nation needing a refresher in Clinton history to put it all in perspective.

Clinton had a much different response when news broke of her husband then President Bill Clinton’s greatest sex scandal with White House intern Monica Lewinsky broke in January 1998. Hillary’s appearance on Tuesday, January 27, 1998, edition of NBC’s “Today” show is legendary for the unabashed defense of her husband, blaming the Republicans for being out to get her husband and sabotage his presidency. Her remarks came as Clinton denied ever having “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” Lewinsky was all of only 22 when the affair began in 1995, while Clinton was 49.

Speaking on “Today” to host Matt Lauer Hillary said: “This is-the great story here for anybody willing to find it and write about it and explain it is this vast right-wing conspiracy that has been conspiring against my husband since the day he announced for president. A few journalists have kind of caught on to it and explained it. But it has not yet been fully revealed to the American public. And actually, you know, in a bizarre sort of way, this may do it.”

Later in the interview, she gave additional remarks, now perceived as threats towards Lewinsky and any other women that have or would come forward against her husband. Hillary attacked these women, saying, “I think we’re going to find some other things. And I think that when all of this is put into context, and we really look at the people involved here, look at their motivations and look at their backgrounds, look at their past behavior, some folks are going to have a lot to answer for.”


It would take over six months, finally in August 1998; Clinton admitted to having a relationship with Lewinsky after DNA from her blue dress proved he had a relationship with the intern and committed perjury. The president was forced, to tell the truth in his grand jury testimony. The president later appeared on national television acknowledging his wrongdoing and apologizing. Clinton in his speech said, “I misled people, including even my wife. I deeply regret that.” Hillary was furious, but she forgave him, and stood by him through the humiliation, forever the good wife, parlaying the public pity into a political career and fruitful run for a New York Senate seat in 2000. Her political career’s foundations were built on her husband’s scandals.

The Starr Report written by independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr about his findings on the president’s wrongdoings was released the next month in September 1998. The report with testimony from Lewinsky read like a soft porn movie, with Lewinsky and Clinton’s trysts happening in the Oval Office or adjacent to it, even as the president was conducting official business. Reading the Starr Report, one felt they needed a cold shower to clean up and this is coming from an official government document.

The Lewinsky scandal was hardly Clinton’s first time dealing with sex scandal accusations; he was an old pro throughout his political career in Arkansas and the presidency. In January 1992, his candidacy for the Democratic nomination was nearly derailed from the news he had a 12-year affair years before with cabaret singer Gennifer Flowers. There too, Hillary’s fierce defense and forgiveness on national TV, this time, a CBS News’ “60 Minutes” interview with Steve Kroft saved his political career. At the time, Hillary blamed Flowers for being out to ruin her husband’s aspirations. Then Hillary famously said “I’m not sitting here some little woman standing by my man like Tammy Wynette,” and that, “I think it’s real dangerous in this country if we don’t have some zone of privacy for everybody.”


In fact, Hillary also blamed all the women for her husband’s scandals leaving him blameless. The women still accuse Hillary of being the mastermind who sucked private detectives on them and went about destroying their lives and credibility to the nation to save her husband’s and as we now know her presidential goals. Now all of a sudden, Hillary has become puritanical. To her Trump’s actions, here words are far worse than anything her husband has done to her and the nation?  Clinton tweeted, “This is horrific. We cannot allow this man to become president,” yet she wanted the country to allow her husband to remain president in 1998.

Hillary and the country have a short memory of who exactly they are letting back into the White House when they elect Hillary Clinton in November. Hillary stood by her man, not for him but her ambitions to become president, she forgave him; she has condoned his actions by remaining with him. She was his co-president in the 1990s, and he has been her co-campaigner in 2008 and 2016 and will be her co-president. Only a divorce, could give her moral superiority, but we will never see that.

For Republicans abandoning Trump so quickly they are letting back their greatest foe into the White House and the presidency, as the repeatedly clashed with Clinton the first time around in the 1990s and tried even to impeach him for high crimes and misdemeanors. Yes, Clinton was only the second president ever impeached by the House of Representatives, the other Andrew Johnson was impeached in 1868. Clinton was impeached for obstruction of justice and perjury in his testimony for the Paula Jones sexual harassment lawsuit. Only the Senate’s Democrats and 10 Republicans saved Clinton from being forced out of the presidency in shame and altering the Clintons’ reprise to power. Still, he was found in contempt of court in civil proceedings and fined. Clinton also had his license to practice law suspended for five years by the state of Arkansas and the Supreme Court.

For the nation, Clinton had an over 60 percent approval rating during his impeachment. In that midterm election year, the Democrats gained seats in Congress, at a time when the ruling party usually loses seats, as is often the case in the last midterms of the presidency. The American public forgave Clinton quickly, stood by him, and even revered him for loathsome, offensive, sexist and disrespectful sexual actions he did while president. He is now the respected elder statesman, but by the grace of his party, he could have been as disgraced as Richard Nixon who resigned in 1974 over the Watergate scandal.

Trump was right to bring up the Clinton’s scandals in his apology. In the video statement released Friday evening, Oct. 7, Trump said, “I never said I’m a perfect person nor pretended to be someone I’m not. I’ve said and done things I regret and the words released today on this more than decade-old video are one of them. These words don’t reflect who I am. I said it; I was wrong and I apologize.” Then the GOP nominee decided to go on the attack, contrasting his words to Bill Clinton’s actions as president. Trump continued, “I’ve said some foolish things, but there is a big difference between the words and actions of other people Bill Clinton has actually abused women, and Hillary has bullied, attacked, intimidated and shamed his victims.”

Although Trump’s remarks are reprehensible, no one should deny it, but as his former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski noted ‘We’re not electing a Sunday school teacher,’ but world leader, a president. Trump’s words are probably less offensive than what former President Clinton did to the women he was involved with. His hijinks with Lewinsky in the Oval Office were a disgrace, a disgusting offense done in the nation’s house while conducting official duties of the presidency.

In contrast, Trump was a private citizen. He was speaking off the record in an entertainment news interview on one of the trashiest television news shows Access Hollywood, on the way to filming a cameo on a soap opera, Days of Our Lives, where the characters’ sex romps outshine the story lines, and actors have to be sexy to succeed. Trump, the aging man, attempted to recapture his youth and wild oats with embellishing talk of sexual exploits. Trump’s comments also come in another lifetime just months after the Clintons and Trumps were caught laughing together at Trump’s wedding to Melania, 11 years later they are arch rivals for the presidency.

Trump is right if not tactful or politically correct is it was “locker room banter,” the type of sexist talk, unfortunately, men all over the country if not the world engage. Unfortunately, as much as political correctness wants to believe otherwise men are not that evolved. Trump’s previous public personas and time as a celebrity in the limelight were in the 1980s as the yuppie millionaire dandy, the 1990s as the beauty pageant operator or later in the oughts as the reality TV star. Throughout Trump has been known for his antics, big talk, relationships, and two divorces; Republicans cannot be shocked, nobody can by his remarks.

Why has the public forgave Bill Clinton’s actions from 18 years ago, but are aghast by Trump’s words from 11 years ago? Why is there a double standard when it comes to the Clintons, where they are forgiven, but everyone has to pay penance for the same or lesser actions? Let’s not forget Clinton’s sex scandals were not all consensual as the star struck Lewinsky. He was accused of raping Juanita Broaddrick in 1978, sexually harassing Paula Jones in 1991, and fondling and groping Kathleen Willey in 1993 as president in the Oval Office.

We have to all remember there were reasons why Trump and Bill Clinton were ever friends; they had in common their behavior or sexist talk about women. As Trump brought up in his first apology statement, “This was locker room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course – not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.” Now the American voter has to realize that neither nominee is morally pure but only one brings baggage that had sex scandals in the White House, and that is Hillary Clinton until she divorces Bill she carries his weight, his scandals are “with her.”

Bonnie K. Goodman has a BA and MLIS from McGill University and has done graduate work in religion at Concordia University. Ms. Goodman is an expert in presidential campaigns and election history and she has been covering American elections as a journalist since 2004.

Politics August 24, 2016: Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

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Did Hillary abuse her power by meeting with Clinton Foundation donors?

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton scandals at the State Department keep growing, but will voters take the warning? A new report by the Associated Press published on Monday, Aug. 23, 2016, shows that outside of government people over half the people former Secretary of State Clinton met with during her tenure were donors or associated with donors to her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

According to the AP, Clinton tittered on the boundary, ethically violating her role at the State Department but not the legal agreement she made before commencing her post. Donations to the foundation were the ticket to a meeting with Clinton or possible favors from the State Departments. Donors received unprecedented access to the Secretary of State.

The AP discovered that based on the State Department released calendars that of the 154 private people Clinton met with during her tenure, 85 donated to the foundation or pledged donations for “international programs.” The 85 donors contributed a total of $156 million, of those donors 40 donated $100,000 each while 20 each gave over a million dollars each. The donors who met with Clinton each had a request for help from the State Department.

The AP notes, “The frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.”

The AP’s report was hardly complete; it only covered Clinton’s first two years as Secretary of State did not cover government officials and foreign governments. They based their findings on calendars and contacts that the State Department was forced to hand over to the AP. Although the AP added that 16 foreign governments met with Clinton that also donated a total of $170 million to the foundation. Completeness was not the aim; the point was to indicate the unprecedented access private citizens had to Secretary Clinton, as long they paid admission for the golden ticket a donation to the Clinton Foundation.

Clinton’s campaign used the report incompleteness as a means to discredit its very damaging findings calling it “utterly flawed data.”Campaign spokesman Brian Fallon said in a statement, “It is outrageous to misrepresent Secretary Clinton’s basis for meeting with these individuals.” Fallon also said the report “cherry-picked a limited subset of Secretary’s Clinton’s schedule to give a distorted portrayal of how often she crossed paths with individuals connected to charitable donations to the Clinton Foundation.” Fallon also said it “omits more than 1700 meetings she took with world leaders, let alone countless others she took with other US government officials while serving as secretary of state.”

The State Department is also backing their former secretary; spokesman Mark Toner downplayed the report. Toner pointed out, “Individuals, including those who have donated to political campaigns, non-profits, or foundations — including the Clinton Foundation — may contact or have meetings with officials in the administration.”

Republican nominee Donald Trump is seizing on the reports to turn the attacks and attention towards Clinton’s ongoing scandals. First Trump issued a statement, which read, “It is now clear that the Clinton Foundation is the most corrupt enterprise in political history. We’ve now learned that a majority of the non-government people she met with as secretary of state gave money to the corrupt Clinton Foundation. … It was wrong then, and it is wrong now — and the foundation must be shut down immediately.”

At a Tuesday evening, rally in Austin, Texas Trump again assailed the foundation, saying, “Hillary Clinton is totally unfit to hold public office. It is impossible to figure out where the Clinton Foundation ends and the State Department begins. It is now abundantly clear that the Clintons set up a business to profit from public office.” Continuing Trump accused, “The specific crimes committed to carry out that enterprise are too numerous to cover in this speech.”

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, backed the GOP nominee up, repeating his call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Clinton’s actions at the State Department. Pence in a statement wrote, “The fact Hillary Clinton’s official schedule was full of meetings with Clinton Foundation donors is further evidence of the pay-to-play politics at her State Department. No one is above the law.”

The Republican National Committee and its Chairman Reince Priebus took the opportunity to go after Clinton. In a statement Priebus said, “This is among the strongest and most unmistakable pieces of evidence of what we’ve long suspected: at Hillary Clinton’s State Department, access to the most sensitive policy makers in U.S. diplomacy was for sale to the highest bidder.” Republicans are not the only ones attacking the Clinton Foundation, news publication USA Today’s editorial board is calling for the organization’s closure.

The Clinton campaign is trying to curb the criticism and potential damage to her chances of winning the election. Bill Clinton issued a statement outlining changes to the Clinton Foundation should Hillary be elected president. The former president would step down from the board of directors, stop fundraising, cease taking foreign donations, or even from American corporations and would end “annual meetings of its international aid program, the Clinton Global Initiative.” Daughter Chelsea Clinton, however, would remain on the board.

Former President Clinton again defended his foundation, saying, “We’re trying to do good things. If there’s something wrong with creating jobs and saving lives, I don’t know what it is. The people who gave the money knew exactly what they were doing. I have nothing to say about it except I’m really proud.”

Despite the changes, Clinton still owes favors to 6,000 donors that had combined, donated $2 billion dollars to the foundation since its inception in 2000, when Clinton left the presidency. No matter how many scandals Clinton has had during her tenure at the State Department, never mind her husband’s during his presidency in the 1990s, she still leads in the polls. Whatever, her actions can be called they are a clear warning sign, one voters are ignoring. Instead, the media continually attacks Trump for mere statements and comments rather than actions.

Republicans choosing to defect to Clinton do not realize any Republican president will be more sympathetic to their agenda, than Clinton, who continually views the GOP as an enemy creating conspiracy theories about her. If Clinton wins the election, she truly would be made of Teflon devoid of any consequences for her actions, when any leader is given such a free pass it never ends well. Although different, not so much according to journalist Bob Woodward voters should read a history book on Watergate. Brewing political scandals during an election do tumble over into the presidency.

Politics August 12, 2016: Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

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Senate Republicans take on possible corruption over State Dept and Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Republican are taking the news that Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton might have abused her power as Secretary of State seriously. Senate Majority Whip Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) sent a letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, questioning why the State Department and Department of Justice refused to investigate a potential conflict of interest between Clinton’s high-ranking aides working at the department and her husband former President Bill Clinton’s foundation.

In the past couple of days, two troubling incidents have shown a possible conflict of interest or at worst abuse of power during Clinton’s tenure. First, was when Conservative Watchdog group Judicial Watch published previously unreleased emails from Clinton’s aide with emails to and from Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, two trusted aides to Clinton.

The emails consisted of a request from to find a position for someone close to the foundation by a close aide to Bill Clinton, and to help a donor meet the Lebanese ambassador. Next came the CNN investigation report which uncovered that Mills interviewed candidates to head the Clinton Foundation, while she was Chief of Staff at the State Department.

Although Clinton’s campaign and the State Department defended Mill’s actions, Republicans are not accepting those responses. Cornyn in his letter said the State Dept and DOJ “favors Secretary Clinton.” The Majority Whip wrote, “This contrast does little to instill faith in the Department, part of why I called for an appointment of the Special Counsel in the email matter. But greater clarity for the public on the basis for your decision may.”

The Texas Senator called the recent discoveries “unacceptable” behavior. Sen. Cronyn continued, “It violates the commitment Secretary Clinton made to Congress and the Executive Branch following her nomination to be Secretary of State. That and her proven record of extreme carelessness with national security warrant a careful examination of Secretary Clinton’s other conduct and that of her staff.”

Additionally, Cronyn asked about CNN’s report, and why the FBI asked the DOJ to “open a case and pursue criminal charges,” however, the DOJ decided against an investigation. The DOJ claims they did not investigate because of lack of “evidence.” Cronyn wanted to know if DOJ employee, who decided against pursuing the case were questioned. The Majority Whip was concerned that at Lynch’s meeting with former President Clinton at a tarmac in Phoenix earlier this summer they discussed the conflict of interest.

Politics August 11, 2016: Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

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Investigation State Dept aide interviewed job candidates for Clinton Foundation

By Bonnie K. Goodman

It is possible the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton blurred the lines with her husband’s Bill Clinton’s foundation while she was serving as Secretary of State. According to a CNN investigation report released on Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, Clinton’s Chief of Staff and longtime aide Cheryl Mills interviewed two candidates in 2012 for a high position at the Clinton Foundation.

In 2009, as Clinton was set to become Secretary of State to she created guidelines about the Clinton Foundation to ensure that it does not “create conflicts or the appearance of conflicts for Senator Clinton as Secretary of State.”

Recent emails, however, released by Conservative Watchdog Group Judicial Watch and CNN investigation prove otherwise. The emails indicate that Clinton’s top aides at the State Department Mills and Huma Abedin, another longtime aide who served as Deputy Chief of Staff may have blurred the lines between their positions at the State Department and the Clinton Foundation showing possible “corruption.”

According to the report, on June 19, 2012, Mills, still serving as Clinton’s Secretary of State Chief of Staff at the State Department took an Amtrak train from Washington to New York. There at executive search firm Mills interviewed two business executives “one from Pfizer and another from Wal-Mart” for the position leading the Clinton Foundation. Both companies are donors to the foundation and “partner” with the Clinton Global Initiative.

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon downplayed any connection, saying in a statement on Thursday, “Cheryl volunteered her personal time to a charitable organization, as she has to other charities. Cheryl paid for her travel to New York City personally, and it was crystal clear to all involved that this had nothing to do with her official duties. The idea that this poses a conflict of interest is absurd.” Mill’s lawyer also claims that she did the work voluntarily, was not paid and did not use government funds for the trip.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, chaired by Republican Chuck Grassley of Iowa also wants real answers about Mills trip and her involvement in the job search. In January, Grassley sent current Secretary of State John Kerry a letter requesting further explanations about Mill’s actions but never received a response.

Scott Amey, “an attorney for the Project on Government Oversight,” believes the State Departments needs to provide answers and be accountable to Congress on this potential corruption and abuse of power. Amey stated, “Congress has a rightful right to ask for any information that it wants to from the executive branch of government to keep track of them. And the government should be turning that information over, when you have a breakdown in that system, we have a breakdown in our democracy.”

CNN asked the State Department if Mills had permission or needed it to do what she did with the Clinton Foundation job search. The department responded, “Federal employees are permitted to engage in outside personal activities, within the scope of the federal ethics rules. All federal employees are subject to federal ethics laws and regulations, including rules pertaining to conflicts of interest.”

Mills’ actions are not so innocent. Mills has a long history with both Clintons, and her loyalties have been with them. According to CNN during the first Clinton Administration, Mills served as Deputy White House counsel and defended Bill during his Congressional impeachment hearings. During Hillary’s first run for president in 2008 Mills was her senior legal campaign adviser. Mills also served on the board of the Clinton Foundation before leaving her post at the State Department, after the brief interlude, she is again serving on the board.

Politics August 10, 2016: New Clinton emails released show possible abuse of power

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New Clinton emails released show connection between Foundation and State Dept

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is not over yet. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch released on Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016, more emails from Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State. The 296 pages of emails include 44 emails Clinton did not give the State Department when she handed over the 55,000 pages of work-related emails in December 2014. The emails show a connection between the State Department and former President Bill Clinton’s foundation during his wife’s tenure.

In 2015, Judicial Watch sued the State Department to release Deputy Chief of Staff and longtime Clinton aide Huma Abedin’s emails from Clinton’s tenure. The emails were not directly to or from Clinton but are related more important they shed light on possible impropriety and abuse of power during Clinton’s time as Secretary of State. When Clinton took on the post, she promised that there would be no connection between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department but the emails prove otherwise.

There is three particularly eye-raising emails. The first email dated April 22, 2009, was by Doug Band, a longtime Bill Clinton aide who is an official at the foundation to Abedin. In that email, Band asked Abedin to find a State Department job for an associate, who name was withheld. The email was from Band to Abedin, Clinton’s former Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and aide Nora Toiv. Band wrote, “It’s important to take care of [redacted],” to which Abedin answered, “Personnel has been sending him options.”

In another email from Band made a request to Abedin and Mills about a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire, who was a Clinton Foundation Donor. In that 2009 email Band wanted them to connect the donor to the State Department and according to ABC News, “introduce the donor to former U.S. Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman.” Band wrote, “We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon. As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.” Abedin responded, “It’s Jeff Feltman. I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to Jeff.”

A third email proved how much Clinton and her aides were trying to cover-up that fact that she was using a private email server. In the email, Mills falsely responded to a freedom of information request that asked for all of Clinton State Department email accounts in that response Mills said there were no accounts obviously ignoring the private email account Clinton regularly used.

Judicial Watch President Tom Filton issued a press release along with the emails being made public. Filton wrote, “No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts, and Congress. They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”

State Department spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau responded defending Clinton, “We feel confident that all the rules were followed.” Trudeau also said, “State Department officials are regularly in touch with a range of outside individuals and organizations including non-profits, NGOs, think tanks, and others.”

Clinton’s campaign also implied there was no wrongdoing. Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin issued a statement, writing, “Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the foundation’s work. They are communications between her aides and the president’s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the foundation.”

Continuing Clinton’s favorite right wing conspiracy against her and her husband, her campaign blamed Judicial Watch. Schwerin wrote, “The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s, and no matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation.”

Clinton’s opponent Republican nominee Donald Trump and his campaign had a field day with the new emails. Trump’s national policy director Stephen Miller commented, “This is yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton lacks the judgment, character, stability and temperament to be within 1,000 miles of public power.”

Continuing Miller said, “She views public office as nothing more than a means to personal enrichment — and every dollar she takes comes at the expense of the public welfare. This latest finding is an unseemly, disturbing window into a corrupt office, and yet more evidence that Hillary Clinton has been lying from the beginning — and by any reasonable definition attempted to obstruct the investigation of the FBI.”

Personally, Trump tweeted, “When is the media going to talk about Hillary’s policies that have gotten people killed, like Libya, open borders, and maybe her emails?” At a Tuesday rally in Abingdon, Virginia, Trump also attacked “Crooked Hillary Clinton” about the emails. Trump pointed out, “A couple of very bad ones came out, and it’s called pay for play. And some of these were really, really bad and illegal. If it’s true, it’s illegal. You’re paying and you’re getting things.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also issued a statement, saying, “Anything less than a full release of these public records before voting begins will only further prove that we have a rigged system that has one set of rules political elites and another for everyone else.”

The FBI supposedly contacted the State Department about a connection between the department and the foundation earlier in the year, but the FBI and its director James Comey denied there was or is any investigation. The State Department OIG is also looking into to seeing if there was any conflict that has to be dealt with an “administrative remedy.”

Although their implication in the emails there is still no concrete proof, that Clinton explicitly abused her power at the State Department. CNN indicated, “For there to be criminal conflict of interest there would have to be evidence showing a government employee received something of value in exchange, such as a job post-employment or money.”

Even if Clinton’s activities were not illegal, she at the very least had a conflict of interest and crossed an official line. Clinton’s whole time at the State Department pushed boundaries and verged on abuse of power. The problem is throughout the campaign; the media is more interested in Trump’s missteps than Clinton’s wrongdoings.

Full Text DNC Day 2, July 26, 2016: Bill Clinton’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

2016 PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN:

Bill Clinton’s Speech at the Democratic National Convention

Source: Time, 7-26-16

Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

(APPLAUSE)

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

In the spring of 1971 I met a girl.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

The first time I saw her we were, appropriately enough, in a class on political and civil rights. She had thick blond hair, big glasses, wore no makeup, and she had a sense of strength and self- possession that I found magnetic. After the class I followed her out, intending to introduce myself. I got close enough to touch her back, but I couldn’t do it. Somehow I knew this would not be just another tap on the shoulder, that I might be starting something I couldn’t stop.

And I saw her several more times in the next few days, but I still didn’t speak to her. Then one night I was in the law library talking to a classmate who wanted me to join the Yale Law Journal. He said it would guarantee me a job in a big firm or a clerkship with a federal judge. I really wasn’t interested, I just wanted to go home to Arkansas.

(APPLAUSE)

Then I saw the girl again, standing at the opposite end of that long room. Finally she was staring back at me, so I watched her. She closed her book, put it down and started walking toward me. She walked the whole length of the library, came up to me and said, look, if you’re going to keep staring at me…

(LAUGHTER)

CLINTON: …and now I’m staring back, we at least ought to know each other’s name. I’m Hillary Rodham, who are you?

(APPLAUSE)

I was so impressed and surprised that, whether you believe it or not, momentarily I was speechless.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Finally, I sort of blurted out my name and we exchanged a few words and then she went away.

Well, I didn’t join the Law Review, but I did leave that library with a whole new goal in mind.

(LAUGHTER)

A couple of days later, I saw her again. I remember, she was wearing a long, white, flowery skirt. And I went up to her and she said she was going to register for classes for the next term. And I said I’d go, too. And we stood in line and talked — you had to do that to register back then — and I thought I was doing pretty well until we got to the front of the line and the registrar looked up and said, Bill, what are you doing here, you registered morning?

(LAUGHTER)

I turned red and she laughed that big laugh of hers. And I thought, well, heck, since my cover’s been blown I just went ahead and asked her to take a walk down to the art museum.

We’ve been walking and talking and laughing together ever since.

(APPLAUSE)

And we’ve done it in good times and bad, through joy and heartbreak. We cried together this morning on the news that our good friend and a lot of your good friend, Mark Weiner, passed away early this morning.

We’ve built up a lifetime of memories. After the first month and that first walk, I actually drove her home to Park Ridge, Illinois…

(APPLAUSE)

…to meet her family and see the town where she grew up, a perfect example of post World War II middle-class America, street after street of nice houses, great schools, good parks, a big public swimming pool, and almost all white.

I really liked her family. Her crusty, conservative father, her rambunctious brothers, all extolling the virtues of rooting for the Bears and the Cuba.

(APPLAUSE)

And for the people from Illinois here, they even told me what “waiting for next year” meant.

(LAUGHTER)

It could be next year, guys.

Now, her mother was different. She was more liberal than the boys. And she had a childhood that made mine look like a piece of cake. She was easy to underestimate with her soft manner and she reminded me all over again of the truth of that old saying you should never judge a book by its covers. Knowing her was one of the greatest gifts Hillary ever gave me.

(APPLAUSE)

I learned that Hillary got her introduction to social justice through her Methodist youth minister, Don Jones. He took her downtown to Chicago to hear Dr. Martin Luther King speak and he remained her friend for the rest of his life. This will be the only campaign of hers he ever missed.

When she got to college, her support for civil rights, her opposition to the Vietnam War compelled her to change party, to become a Democrat.

(APPLAUSE)

And then between college and law school on a total lark she went alone to Alaska and spent some time sliming fish.

(APPLAUSE)

More to the point, by the time I met her she had already been involved in the law school’s legal services project and she had been influenced by Marian Wright Edelman.

(APPLAUSE)

She took a summer internship interviewing workers in migrant camps for Senator Walter Mondale’s subcommittee.

(APPLAUSE)

She had also begun working in the Yale New Haven Hospital to develop procedures to handle suspected child abuse cases. She got so involved in children’s issues that she actually took an extra year in law school working at the child studies center to learn what more could be done to improve the lives and the futures of poor children.

(APPLAUSE)

So she was already determined to figure out how to make things better.

Hillary opened my eyes to a whole new world of public service by private citizens. In the summer of 1972, she went to Dothan, Alabama to visit one of those segregated academies that then enrolled over half-a-million white kids in the South. The only way the economics worked is if they claimed federal tax exemptions to which they were not legally entitled. She got sent to prove they weren’t.

So she sauntered into one of these academies all by herself, pretending to be a housewife that had just moved to town and needed to find a school for her son. And they exchanged pleasantries and finally she said, look, let’s just get to the bottom line here, if I enroll my son in this school will he be in a segregated school, yes or know? And the guy said absolutely. She had him!

(LAUGHTER)

I’ve seen it a thousand times since. And she went back and her encounter was part of a report that gave Marian Marian Wright Edelman the ammunition she needed to keep working to force the Nixon administration to take those tax exemptions away and give our kids access to an equal education.

(APPLAUSE)

Then she went down to south Texas where she met…

(APPLAUSE)

…she met one of the nicest fellows I ever met, the wonderful union leader Franklin Garcia, and he helped her register Mexican- American voters. I think some of them are still around to vote for her in 2016.

(APPLAUSE)

Then in our last year in law school, Hillary kept up this work. She went to South Carolina to see why so many young…

(APPLAUSE)

…she went to South Carolina to see why so many young African- American boys, I mean, young teenagers, were being jailed for years with adults in men’s prisons. And she filed a report on that, which led to some changes, too. Always making things better. (APPLAUSE)

Now, meanwhile, let’s get back to business. I was trying to convince her to marry me.

(LAUGHTER)

I first proposed to her on a trip to Great Britain, the first time she had been overseas. And we were on the shoreline of this wonderful little lake, Lake Ennerdale. I asked her to marry me and she said I can’t do it.

(LAUGHTER)

So in 1974 I went home to teach in the law school and Hillary moved to Massachusetts…

(APPLAUSE)

…to keep working on children’s issues. This time trying to figure out why so many kids counted in the Census weren’t enrolled in school. She found one of them sitting alone on her porch in a wheelchair. Once more, she filed a report about these kids, and that helped influence ultimately the Congress to adopt the proposition that children with disabilities, physical or otherwise, should have equal access to public education.

(APPLAUSE)

You saw the results of that last night when Anastasia Somoza talked.

(APPLAUSE)

She never made fun of people with disabilities; she tried to empower them based on their abilities.

(APPLAUSE)

Meanwhile, I was still trying to get her to marry me.

(LAUGHTER)

So the second time I tried a different tack. I said I really want you to marry me, but you shouldn’t do it.

(LAUGHTER)

And she smiled and looked at me, like, what is this boy up to? She said that is not a very good sales pitch. I said I know, but it’s true. And I meant it, it was true.

I said I know most of the young Democrats our age who want to go into politics, they mean well and they speak well, but none of them is as good as you are at actually doing things to make positive changes in people’s lives. (APPLAUSE)

So I suggested she go home to Illinois or move to New York and look for a chance to run for office. She just laughed and said, are you out of you mind, nobody would ever vote for me.

(LAUGHTER)

So I finally got her to visit me in Arkansas.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: And when she did, the people at the law school were so impressed they offered a teaching position. And she decided to take a huge chance. She moved to a strange place, more rural, more culturally conservative than anyplace she had ever been, where she knew good and well people would wonder what in the world she was like and whether they could or should accept her.

Didn’t take them long to find out what she was like. She loved her teaching and she got frustrated when one of her students said, well, what do you expect, I’m just from Arkansas. She said, don’t tell me that, you’re as smart as anybody, you’ve just got to believe in yourself and work hard and set high goals. She believed that anybody could make it.

(APPLAUSE)

She also started the first legal aid clinic in northwest Arkansas, providing legal aid services to poor people who couldn’t pay for them. And one day I was driving her to the airport to fly back to Chicago when we passed this little brick house that had a for sale sign on it. And she said, boy, that’s a pretty house. It had 1,100 square feet, an attic, fan and no air conditioner in hot Arkansas, and a screened-in porch.

Hillary commented on what a uniquely designed and beautiful house it was. So I took a big chance. I bought the house. My mortgage was $175 a month.

(LAUGHTER)

When she came back, I picked up her up and I said, you remember that house you liked? She said yeah. I said, while you were gone I bought it, you have to marry me now.

(LAUGHTER)

The third time was the charm.

(APPLAUSE)

We were married in that little house on October the 11th, 1975. I married my best friend. I was still in awe after more than four years of being around her at how smart and strong and loving and caring she was. And I really hoped that her choosing me and rejecting my advice to pursue her own career was a decision she would never regret.

A little over a year later we moved to Little Rock when I became attorney general and she joined the oldest law firm west of the Mississippi. Soon after, she started a group called the Arkansas Advocates for Families and Children.

(CHEERS)

It’s a group, as you can hear, is still active today.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1979, just after I became governor, I asked Hillary to chair a rural health committee to help expand health care to isolated farm and mountain areas. They recommended to do that partly by deploying trained nurse practitioners in places with no doctors to provide primary care they were trained to provide. It was a big deal then, highly controversial and very important.

And I got the feeling that what she did for the rest of her life she was doing there. She just went out and figured out what needed to be done and what made the most sense and what would help the most people. And then if it was controversial she’d just try to persuade people it was the right thing to do.

(APPLAUSE)

It wasn’t the only big thing that happened that spring my first year as governor. We found out we were going to be parents.

(APPLAUSE)

And time passed. On February 27th, 1980, 15 minutes after I got home from the National Governors Conference in Washington, Hillary’s water broke and off we went to the hospital. Chelsea was born just before midnight.

(APPLAUSE)

And it was the greatest moment of my life. The miracle of a new beginning. The hole it filled for me because my own father died before I was born, and the absolute conviction that my daughter had the best mother in the whole world.

(APPLAUSE)

For the next 17 years, through nursing school, Montessori, kindergarten, through T-ball, softball, soccer, volleyball and her passion for ballet, through sleepovers, summer camps, family vacations and Chelsea’s own very ambitious excursions, from Halloween parties in the neighborhood, to a Viennese waltz gala in the White House, Hillary first and foremost was a mother.

She became, as she often said, our family’s designated worrier, born with an extra responsibility gene. The truth is we rarely disagreed on parenting, although she did believe that I had gone a little over the top when I took a couple of days off with Chelsea to watch all six “Police Academy” movies back-to-back.

(LAUGHTER)

When Chelsea was 9 months old, I was defeated for reelection in the Reagan landslide. And I became overnight, I think, the youngest former governor in the history of the country. We only had two-year terms back then.

Hillary was great. Immediately she said, OK, what are we going to do? Here’s what we’re going to do, we’re going to get a house, you’re going to get a job, we’re going to enjoy being Chelsea’s parents. And if you really want to run again, you’ve got to go out and talk to people and figure out why you lost, tell people you got the message and show them you’ve still got good ideas.

I followed her advice. Within two days we had a house, I soon had a job. We had two fabulous years with Chelsea. And in 1982, I became the first governor in the history of our state to be elected, defeated and elected again.

(APPLAUSE)

I think my experience is it’s a pretty good thing to follow her advice. The rest of the decade sort of flew by as our lives settled into a rhythm of family and work and friends.

In 1983, Hillary chaired a committee to recommend new education standards for us as a part of and in response to a court order to equalize school funding and a report by a national expert that said our woefully underfunded schools were the worst in America.

Typical Hillary, she held listening tours in all 75 counties with our committee. She came up with really ambitious recommendations. For example, that we be the first state in America to require elementary counselors in every school because so many kids were having trouble at home and they needed it.

(APPLAUSE)

So I called the legislature into session hoping to pass the standards, pass a pay raise for teachers and raise the sales tax to pay for it all. I knew it would be hard to pass, but it got easier after Hillary testified before the education committee and the chairman, a plainspoken farmer, said looks to me like we elected the wrong Clinton.

(LAUGHTER)

(APPLAUSE)

Well, by the time I ran for president nine years later, the same expert who said that we had the worst schools in America said that our state was one of the two most improved states in America. And that’s because of those standards that Hillary developed.

(APPLAUSE) Now, two years later, Hillary told me about a preschool program developed in Israel called HIPPY, Home Instruction Program for Preschool Youngsters. The idea was to teach low-income parents, even those that couldn’t read, to be their children’s first teachers.

She said she thought it would work in Arkansas. I said that’s great, what are we going to do about it? She said, oh, I already did it. I called the woman who started the program in Israel, she’ll be here in about 10 days and help us get started.

Next thing you know I’m being dragged around to all these little preschool graduations. Now, keep in mind, this was before any state even had universal kindergarten and I’m being dragged to preschool graduations watching these poor parents with tears in their eyes because they never thought they’d be able to help their kids learn.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, 20 years of research has shown how well this program works to improve readiness for school and academic achievement. There are a lot of young adults in America who have no idea Hillary had anything to do with it who are enjoying better lives because they were in that program.

CLINTON: She did all this while being a full-time worker, a mother and enjoying our life. Why? Well, she’s insatiably curious, she’s a natural leader, she’s a good organizer, and she’s the best darn change-maker I ever met in my entire life.

(APPLAUSE)

Look, this is a really important point. This is a really important point for you to take out of this convention. If you believe in making change from the bottom up, if you believe the measure of change is how many people’s lives are better, you know it’s hard and some people think it’s boring. Speeches like this are fun.

(LAUGHTER)

Actually doing the work is hard. So people say, well, we need to change. She’s been around a long time, she sure has, and she’s sure been worth every single year she’s put into making people’s lives better.

(APPLAUSE)

I can tell you this. If you were sitting where I’m sitting and you heard what I have heard at every dinner conversation, every lunch conversation, on every lone walk, you would say this woman has never been satisfied with the status quo in anything. She always wants to move the ball forward. That is just who she is.

(APPLAUSE)

When I became president with a commitment to reform health care, Hillary was a natural to head the health care task force. You all know we failed because we couldn’t break a Senate filibuster. Hillary immediately went to work on solving the problems the bill sought to address one by one. The most important goal was to get more children with health insurance.

(APPLAUSE)

In 1997, Congress passed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, still an important part of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It insures more than 8 million kids. There are a lot of other things in that bill that she got done piece by piece, pushing that rock up the hill.

In 1997, she also teamed with the House Minority Leader Tom DeLay, who maybe disliked me more than any of Newt Gingrich’s crowd. They worked on a bill together to increase adoptions of children under foster care. She wanted to do it because she knew that Tom DeLay, for all of our differences, was an adoptive parent and she honored him for doing that.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, the bill they worked on, which passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority, led to a big increase in the adoption of children out of foster care, including non-infant kids and special-needs kids. It made life better because she’s a change-maker, that’s what she does.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, when you’re doing all this, real life doesn’t stop. 1997 was the year Chelsea finished high school and went to college. We were happy for her, but sad for us to see her go. I’ll never forget moving her into her dorm room at Stanford. It would have been a great little reality flick. There I was in a trance just staring out the window trying not to cry, and there was Hillary on her hands and knees desperately looking for one more drawer to put that liner paper in.

(LAUGHTER)

Finally, Chelsea took charge and told us ever so gently that it was time for us to go. So we closed a big chapter in the most important work of our lives. As you’ll see Thursday night when Chelsea speaks, Hillary’s done a pretty fine job of being a mother.

(APPLAUSE)

And as you saw last night, beyond a shadow of a doubt so has Michelle Obama.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, fast forward. In 1999, Congressman Charlie Rangel and other New York Democrats urged Hillary…

(APPLAUSE)

…urged Hillary to run for the seat of retiring Senator Pat Moynihan. We had always intended to go to New York after I left office and commute to Arkansas, but this had never occurred to either one of us. Hillary had never run for office before, but she decided to give it a try.

She began her campaign the way she always does new things, by listening and and learning. And after a tough battle, New York elected her to the seat once held by another outsider, Robert Kennedy.

(APPLAUSE)

And she didn’t let him down. Her early years were dominated by 9/11, by working to fund the recovery, then monitoring the health and providing compensation to victims and first and second responders. She and Senator Schumer were tireless and so were our House members.

In 2003, partly spurred on by what we were going through, she became the first senator in the history of New York ever to serve on the Armed Services Committee.

(APPLAUSE)

So she tried to make sure people on the battlefield had proper equipment. She tried to expand and did expand health care coverage to Reservists and members of the National Guard. She got longer family leave, working with Senator Dodd, for people caring for wounded service members.

And she worked for more extensive care for people with traumatic brain injury. She also served on a special Pentagon commission to propose changes necessary to meet our new security challenges. Newt Gingrich was on that commission, he told me what a good job she had done.

(APPLAUSE)

I say that because nobody who has seriously dealt with the men and women in today’s military believes they are a disaster. They are a national treasure of all races, all religions, all walks of life.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, meanwhile, she compiled a really solid record, totally progressive on economic and social issues. She voted for and against some proposed trade deals. She became the de facto economic development officer for the area of New York outside the ambit of New York City.

She worked for farmers, for winemakers, for small businesses and manufacturers, for upstate cities in rural areas who needed more ideas and more new investment to create good jobs, something we have to do again in small-town and rural America, in neighborhoods that have been left behind in our cities and Indian country and, yes, in coal country.

(APPLAUSE)

When she lost a hard-fought contest to President Obama in 2008, she worked for his election hard. But she hesitated to say yes when he asked her to join his Cabinet because she so loved being a senator from New York.

So like me, in a different context, he had to keep asking.

(LAUGHTER)

But as we all saw and heard from Madeleine Albright, it was worth the effort and worth the wait.

(APPLAUSE) As secretary of state, she worked hard to get strong sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program. And in what The Wall Street Journal no less called a half-court shot at the buzzer, she got Russia and China to support them. Her team negotiated the New START Treaty with Russia to reduce nuclear weapons and reestablish inspections. And she got enough Republican support to get two-thirds of the Senate, the vote necessary to ratify the treaty.

(APPLAUSE)

She flew all night long from Cambodia to the Middle East to get a cease-fire that would avoid a full-out shooting war between Hamas and Israel in Gaza to protect the peace of the region.

She backed President Obama’s decision to go after Osama bin Laden.

(APPLAUSE)

She launched a team, this is really important today, she launched a team to fight back against terrorists online and built a new global counterterrorism effort.

We’ve got to win this battle in the mind field.

She put climate change at the center of our foreign policy.

(APPLAUSE)

She negotiated the first agreement ever — ever — where China and India officially committed to reduce their emissions. And as she had been doing since she went to Beijing in 1995 and said women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights…

(APPLAUSE)

…she worked to empower women and girls around the world and to make the same exact declaration on behalf of the LGBT community in America and around the world.

(APPLAUSE)

And nobody ever talks about this much, nobody ever talks about this much, but it’s important to me. She tripled the number of people with AIDS in poor countries whose lives are being saved with your tax dollars, most of them in Africa, going from 1.7 million lives to 5.1 million lives and it didn’t cost you any more money. She just bought available FDA-approved generic drugs, something we need to do for the American people more.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, you don’t know any of these people. You don’t know any of those 3.4 million people, but I’ll guarantee you they know you. They know you because they see you as thinking their lives matter. They know you and that’s one reason the approval of the United States was 20 points higher when she left the secretary of state’s office than when she took it.

(APPLAUSE)

CLINTON: Now, how does this square? How did this square with the things that you heard at the Republican convention? What’s the difference in what I told you and what they said? How do you square it? You can’t. One is real, the other is made up.

You just have to decide. You just have to decide which is which, my fellow Americans.

The real one had done more positive change-making before she was 30 than many public officials do in a lifetime in office.

(APPLAUSE)

The real one, if you saw her friend Betsy Ebeling vote for Illinois today…

(APPLAUSE)

…has friends from childhood through Arkansas, where she has not lived in more than 20 years, who have gone all across America at their own expense to fight for the person they know.

(APPLAUSE)

The real one has earned the loyalty, the respect and the fervent support of people who have worked with her in every stage of her life, including leaders around the world who know her to be able, straightforward and completely trustworthy.

The real one calls you when you’re sick, when your kid’s in trouble or when there’s a death in the family.

The real one repeatedly drew praise from prominent Republicans when she was a senator and secretary of state.

(APPLAUSE)

So what’s up with it? Well, if you win elections on the theory that government is always bad and will mess up a two-car parade…

(LAUGHTER)

…a real change-maker represents a real threat.

(APPLAUSE)

So your only option is to create a cartoon, a cartoon alternative, then run against the cartoon. Cartoons are two- dimensional, they’re easy to absorb. Life in the real world is complicated and real change is hard. And a lot of people even think it’s boring.

(APPLAUSE)

Good for you, because earlier today you nominated the real one.

(APPLAUSE)

Listen, we’ve got to get back on schedule. You guys calm down.

Look (INAUDIBLE) a long, full, blessed life, it really took off when I met and fell in love with that girl in the spring of 1971. When I was president, I worked hard to give you more peace and shared prosperity, to give you an America where nobody is invisible or counted out.

(APPLAUSE)

But for this time, Hillary is uniquely qualified to seize the opportunities and reduce the risks we face. And she is still the best darn change-maker I have ever known.

(APPLAUSE)

You could drop her into any trouble spot, pick one, come back in a month and somehow, some way she will have made it better. That is just who she is.

(APPLAUSE)

There are clear, achievable, affordable responses to our challenges. But we won’t get to them if America makes the wrong choice in this election. That’s why you should elect her. And you should elect her because she’ll never quit when the going gets tough. She’ll never quit on you.

She sent me in this primary to West Virginia where she knew we were going to lose, to look those coal miners in the eye and say I’m down here because Hillary sent me to tell you that if you really think you can get the economy back you had 50 years ago, have at it, vote for whoever you want to. But if she wins, she is coming back for you to take you along on the ride to America’s future.

(APPLAUSE)

And so I say to you, if you love this country, you’re working hard, you’re paying taxes and you’re obeying the law and you’d like to become a citizen, you should choose immigration reform over somebody that wants to send you back.

(APPLAUSE) If you’re a Muslim and you love America and freedom and you hate terror, stay here and help us win and make a future together. We want you.

(APPLAUSE)

If you’re a young African American disillusioned and afraid, we saw in Dallas how great our police officers can be, help us build a future where nobody is afraid to walk outside, including the people that wear blue to protect our future.

(APPLAUSE)

Hillary will make us stronger together. You know it because she’s spent a lifetime doing it. I hope you will do it. I hope you will elect her. Those of us who have more yesterdays than tomorrows tend to care more about our children and grandchildren. The reason you should elect her is that in the greatest country on earth we have always been about tomorrow. You children and grandchildren will bless you forever if you do.

God bless you. Thank you.

 

Political Musings May 16, 2015: Out of Touch Bill, Hillary Clinton have made more than $30 million since 2014

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Out of Touch Bill, Hillary Clinton have made more than $30 million since 2014

May 16, 2015

Hillary Clinton may want to model herself as the champion of the middle class average American, but her and husband, former President Bill Clinton’s earnings in the last year paint a totally different picture. According the public financial…

Political Musings April 6, 2015: New book reveals bloody fight Hillary Clinton had with Bill over Lewinsky affair

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

April 6, 2015

Just as Hillary Clinton is setting up to announce her presidential run later this month, she cannot escape her husband’s former President Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and the scandal in its…

Full Text Political Transcripts March 19, 2015: Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 114TH CONGRESS:

Monica Lewinsky’s speech at TED 2015 Conference about Bill Clinton Scandal and Cyber-Bullying Transcript

Monica Lewinsky speaks at TED2015 - Truth and Dare, March 19 2015, Vancouver Convention Center. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Monica Lewinsky

You are looking at a woman who was publicly silent for a decade. Obviously that has changed, but only recently.

It was several months ago that I gave my very first, major public talk at the Forbes 30 Under 30 summit.

1500 brilliant people, all under the age of 30. That meant that in 1998 the oldest among the group were only 14 and the youngest just 4.

I joked with them that some might only have heard of me from rap songs. Yes, I am in rap songs. Almost 40 rap songs.

But the night of my speech, a surprising thing happened. At the age of 41, I was hit on by a 27-year-old guy. I know, right? He was charming and I was flattered and I declined. Do you know what his unsuccessful pickup line was? He could make me feel 22 again.

I realized later that night I am probably the only person over 40 who does not want to be 22 again.

At the age of 22 I fell in love with my boss. And at the age of 24, I learned the devastating consequences.

Can I see a show of hands of anyone here who  didn’t make a mistake or do something they regretted at 22? Yep, that’s what I thought. So like me, at 22, a few of you may have taken wrong turns and fallen in love with the wrong person. Maybe even your boss.

Unlike me, your boss probably wasn’t the President of the United States of America.

Of course, life is full of surprises.

Not a day goes by that I am not reminded of my mistake. And I regret that mistake deeply.

In 1998, after having been swept up into an improbable romance, I was then swept up into the eye of a political, legal and media maelstrom like we had never seen before. Remember, just a few years earlier, news was consumed in just three places: reading a newspaper or magazine, listening to a radio, or watching television. That was it.

But that wasn’t my fate. Instead, this scandal was brought to you by the digital revolution. That meant we could access all the information we wanted, when we wanted it, anytime, anywhere. And when the story broke in January, 1998, it broke online. It was the first time the traditional news was usurped by the internet for a major news story. A click that reverberated around the world.

What that meant for me personally was that overnight I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly-humiliated one worldwide. I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on the global scale almost instantaneously.

This rush to judgement enabled by technology led to mobs of virtual stone-throwers. Granted, it was before social media, but people could still comment online, email stories and of course, email cruel jokes. News sources plastered photos of me all over to sell newspapers, banner ads online, and to keep people tuned to the TV.

Do you recall a particular image of me, say, wearing a beret? Now, I admit I made mistakes, especially wearing that beret. But the attention an judgement I received, not the story, but that I personally received, was unprecedented.

I was branded as a tramp. Tart. Slut. Whore. Bimbo. And, of course, “That Woman”. I was seen by many, but actually known by few. And I get it. It was easy to forget that “that woman” was dimensional, had a soul, and was once unbroken.

When this happened to me 17 years ago, there was no name for it. Now we call it cyber-bulling and online harassment.

Today I want to share some of my experiences, and talk about how those experiences helped shape my cultural observations, and how my past experiences can lead to a change that can lead to less suffering for others.

In 1998 I lost my reputation and my dignity. I lost almost everything. And I almost lost my life.

Let me paint a picture for you. It is September of 1998. I am sitting in a windowless office room inside the Office of the Independent Counsel, underneath humming flourscent lights. I am listening to the sound of my voice. My voice on surreptitiously taped phone calls that a supposed friend had made the year before. I am here because I’ve been legally required to authenticate all 20 hours of taped conversation. For the past eight months, the mysterious content of these conversations has hung like the Sword of Damocles over my head.

I mean, who can remember what they said a year ago?

Scared and mortified, I listened. Listened as I prattled on about the flotsam and jetsam of the day. Listen as I confess my love for the president. And of course, my heartbreak. Listened to my sometimes catty, sometimes churlish, sometimes silly self being cruel, unforgiving, uncouth. Listened deeply, deeply ashamed of the worst version of myself. A self I don’t even recognize.

A few days later, the Starr Report is released to Congress and all of those tapes and transcripts, those stolen words, form a part of it. That people can read the transcripts is horrific enough. But a few weeks later the audio tapes are aired on TV, and significant portions are made available online.

The public humiliation was excruciating. Life was almost unbearable.

This was not something happened with regularity back in 1998. And by this, I mean the stealing of people’s private words, actions, conversations or photos, and then making them public. Public without consent, public without context, and pubic without compassion.

Fast forward 12 years to 2010 and now social media has been born. The landscape has sadly become much more populated with instances like mine, whether or not someone actually made a mistake. And now it is for both public and private people. The consequences for some have become dire. Very dire.

I was on the phone with my mom in September, 2010 and we were talking about the news of a young college freshman from Rutgers University named Tyler Clementi.

Sweet, sensitive, creative Tyler was secretly webcammed by his room mate while being intimate with another man. When the online world learned of this incident, the ridicule and cyber-bullying ignited. A few days later, Tyler jumped from the George Washington Bridge to his death. He was 18.

My mom was beside herself about what happened to Tyler and his family and she was gutted with pain in a way I just couldn’t understand.

And then eventually, she was reliving 1998. Reliving a time when she sat beside my bed every night. Reliving a time when she made me shower with the bathroom door opened. And reliving a time when both of my parents feared I would be humiliated to death. Literally.

Today too many parents haven’t had the chance to step in and rescue their loved ones. Too many have learned have of their child’s humiliation and suffering after it was too late.

Tyler’s tragic, senseless death was a turning point for me. It served to recontextualize my experiences and I then began to look at the world of humiliation and bullying around me and see something different.

In 1998 we had no way of knowing where this brave new technology called the Internet would take us. Since then it has connected people in unimaginable ways, joining lost siblings, saving lives, launching revolutions.

But the darkness, cyber-bullying and slut-shaming that I experienced had mushroomed. Every day online people, especially young people who are not developmentally equipped to handle this, are so abused and humiliated that they can’t imagine living to the next day. And some, tragically, don’t. And there is nothing virtually about that.

ChildLine, a UK-based service that is focussed on helping young people on various issue, released a staggering statistic late last year. From 2012 to 2013, there was an 87 per cent increase in calls and emails related to cyber-bullying. A meta analysis done out of the Netherlands showed that for the first time, cyber-bullying was leading to suicidal ideations more significantly than offline bullying.

And you know what shocked me, although it shouldn’t have, was other research that determined that humiliation was a more intensely felt emotion that either happiness or even anger.

Cruelty to others is nothing new. But online, technologically-enhanced shaming is amplified, uncontained and permanently accessible.

The echo of embarrassment used to extend only as far as your family, village, school or community. But now it is the online community too. Millions of people can stab you anonymously with their words, and that is a lot of pain. And there are no perimeters around how many people can publicly observe you and put you in a public stockade.

There is a very personal price to public humiliation. And the growth of the internet has jacked up that price. For nearly two decades now we have slowly been sowing the seeds of humiliation and shame in our cultural soil, both on and offline.

Gossip websites, paparazzi, reality programming, politics, news outlets and sometimes hackers all traffic in shame. It has led to desensitization and a permissive environment online which lends itself to  trolls, trolling, cyber-bullying and invasion of privacy. This shift has created what Professor Nicolas Vilas calls a culture of humiliation.

Consider a few common examples just from the past six months alone.

Snapchat, the service which is mainly used by the younger generations and claims that its messages only have the life span of a few seconds. You can imagine the range of content that gets. A third-party app that SnapChatters used to preserve the life span of the messages was hacked, and 100,000 personal conversations, photos and videos were leaked online to now have a lifetime of forever.

Jennifer Lawrence and several other actors had their iCloud accounts hacked and private, intimate nude photos were plastered across the internet without their permission.

One gossip website had over one million hits for this one story.

And what about the Sony Pictures cyber-hacking? The documents that which received the most attention were private emails that had maximum public embarrassment value.

But in this culture of humiliation, there is another kind of price tag attached to public shaming. The price does not measure the cost to the victim, which Tyler and many others, notably women and minorities and members of the LGBTQ community have paid, but the price measures the profit of those who prey on them.

This invasion of others is a raw material efficiently and ruthlessly mined, packaged and sold at a profit. A marketplace has emerged where public humiliation is a commodity and shame is an industry.

How is the money made? Clicks. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars. We are in a dangerous cycle. The more we click on this kind of gossip, the more numb we become to the human lives behind it. And the more numb we get, the more we click.

All the while, somebody is making money off of the back of someone else’s suffering. With every click we make a choice. The more we saturate our culture with public shaming, the more accepted it is, the more we will see behaviour like trolling, cyber-bullying, some forms of hacking and online harassment.

Why? Because they all have humiliation at their cores. This behaviour is a symptom of the culture we’ve created. Just think about it.

Changing behaviour begins with evolving beliefs. We’ve seen that to be true with racism, homophobia and plenty of other biases today and in the past. As we have changed beliefs about same-sex marriage, more people have been offered equal freedoms. When we began valuing sustainability, more people began to recycle.

So as far as our culture of humiliation goes, what we need is a cultural revolution. Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop. And it is time for an intervention on the internet and in our culture.

The shift begins with something simple, but it is not easy. We need to return to a long-held value of compassion. Compassion and empathy. Online we have a compassion deficit and an empathy crisis.

Researcher Berne Brown said, and I quote, “shame can’t survive empathy. Shame cannot survive empathy.”

I have seen some very dark days in my life. It was the compassion and empathy from my family, my friends, professionals, and even strangers, that saved me.

Even empathy from one person can make a difference. The theory of minority influence proposed by social psychologist Serge Muscovici says that even in small numbers, when there is consistency over time, change can happen.

In the online world we can foster minority influence by becoming “up standers”. To become an upstander means instead of bystander apathy, we can post a positive comment for someone or report a bullying situation.

Trust me, compassionate comments help abate the negativity. We can also counteract the culture by supporting organizations that deal with these kinds of issues, like the Tyler Clementi Foundation in the US. In the UK there is anti-bullying Pro, and in Australia there is Project Rocket.

We talk a lot about our right to freedom of expression. But we need to talk more about our responsibility to freedom of expression. We all want to be heard. But let’s acknowledge the difference between speaking up with intention and speaking up for attention.

The internet is the superhighway for the Id. But online, showing empathy for others benefits us all

and helps create a safer and better world.

We need to communicate online with compassion, consume news with compassion and click with compassion. Just imagine walking a mile in someone else’s headline.

I’d like to end on a personal note. In the past nine months the question I have asked most is why.

Why now, why now was I sticking my head above the parapet. You can read between the lines in those questions, and the answer has nothing to do with politics. The top note answer answer was, and is, because it is time. Time to stop tip-toeing around my past, time to stop living a life of oppoprium, and time to take back my narrative.

It is also not just about saving myself. Anyone who is suffering from shame and public humiliation needs to know on thing. You can survive it.

I know it is hard. It may not be painless, quick or easy. But you can insist on a different ending to your story. Have compassion for yourself.

We all deserve compassion. And to live both online and off in a more compassionate world.

Thank you for listening.

Political Musings January 12, 2015: Monica Lewinsky at Golden Globes after party, as new Clinton sex scandal emerges

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

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HISTORY BUZZ: HISTORY HEADLINE NEWS

History Buzz

HISTORY MAKING HEADLINES

Thousands of Bill Clinton White House Papers Released

Source: NYT, 2-28-14

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POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Clinton praises King, implores people to ‘push open those stubborn gates holding America back”

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