THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
TESTIMONY OF LLOYD N. CUTLER Before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs July 26, 1994
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee,
My name is Lloyd Cutler. Since March 10, I have been Special Counsel to the President. Since the beginning of April, when Mr. Bernard Nussbaum's resignation became effective, I have been performing the duties of Counsel to the President. I had previously held this position under President Carter, and in 1989 I was a member of President Bush's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform.
I am here today to present the White House position on the ethical propriety of certain White House contacts with Treasury officials concerning the Resolution Trust Corporation's inquiries into a failed savings and loan called Madison Guaranty.
President Clinton has directed me and the White House staff to cooperate fully and openly both with the investigation of Independent Counsel Robert Fiske and with the oversight Committees of the Congress. We have done so. No White House staff witness has refused to appear. We have produced thousands of pages of documents requested by the Committees. We appreciate the Chairman's statement that we have cooperated fully. We recognize the right of Congress to conduct this inquiry, and we take it very seriously.
In our system, the President and Congress must cooperate on smaller as well as larger matters. We are opening these Madison Guaranty/Whitewater hearings on the very same day that Prime Minister Rabin of Israel and King Hussein of Jordan will address a joint session of Congress, one day after signing the Declaration of Washington with the President as witness, outlining the principles for a treaty of peace between their countries. There could be no more profound demonstration of how diligently the Congress and the President can work together to make the national government as open and productive as we can.
The Treasury-White House Contacts.
As you know, Independent Counsel Robert Fiske has interviewed, deposed or taken before the Grand Jury every Treasury and White House official involved in the so-called Treasury-White House contacts during the period September 1993 through February 1994. These contacts originated in the Fall of 1993, at the time the RTC reportedly made a number of criminal referrals to the Department of Justice of various matters involving a failed S&L called Madison Guaranty. A criminal referral is a recommendation that the Department consider undertaking an investigation and, if the evidence warrants, bringing a criminal charge against one or more persons; the final decision, of course, is up to the Department. According to press reports, these referrals apparently mentioned, among other matters, a 1978 joint real estate venture called Whitewater between the Chairman of Madison Guaranty (Mr. James McDougal) and President and Mrs. Clinton, as well as some campaign contributions to a Clinton gubernatorial campaign.
As you also know, Mr. Fiske concluded that there was no basis for a criminal prosecution under the ethics laws or other laws as to any of the Treasury or White House officials who took part in these contacts. He expressed no opinion on whether these contacts involved any violation of any non-criminal ethical standards or gave rise to any other concerns. As to the White House staff members, those are the questions Chief of Staff Mack McLarty asked me to review when I returned to the Counsel's Office, and the results of that review are covered in this statement.
In summary, I have concluded there was no violation of any ethical standard, but that it would have been better if some of the issues that arose had been handled differently than they were. I have also recommended measures to assure that future contacts between the White House and executive branch agencies with law enforcement responsibilities will be beyond reasonable challenge.
Before discussing the Treasury-White House contacts and the ethical questions they present, I want to stress that nothing happened as a result of these contacts. No White House staff member made any effort to change any decision by the RTC and no decision by the RTC was changed. These contacts had no impact on the real world of the RTC's activities.
Attached to this statement is a chronology of the TreasuryWhite House contacts that occurred from September 1993 through February 1994 and the substance of each, so far as I have been able to determine. Where the participants do not substantially agree on what was said, the chronology sets forth the principal differences. For the most part, the differences are the typical variations in recollection of different witnesses to months-old events, and they are not material to the question of whether the contacts were proper.
Let me summarize the main points of this chronology. The
contacts generally fall into three time periods. The first set of
contacts occurred in the Fall of 1993. They began on September
29, when Treasury General Counsel Jean Hanson took White House
Counsel Bernard Nussbaum aside at the end of a meeting on another
subject and told him that the Clintons were mentioned incidentally
in an RTC criminal referral concerning Madison Guaranty. Ms.
Hanson indicated to Mr. Nussbaum that the referral was likely to
be the subject of press leaks and inquiries. She said she was
informing Mr. Nussbaum so that the
White House would not be taken by surprise. Mr. Nussbaum asked Ms. Hanson to be in touch with his staff if there were further press developments. Over the next few weeks, Ms. Hanson spoke on a couple of occasions to lawyers in the Office of White House Counsel to report the details of continuing press inquiries. Intensifying press interest in the referrals apparently led Mr. Jack DeVore, then Treasury's Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, to arrange a meeting with White House communications and legal staff to discuss Treasury's response to the press. This meeting occurred on October 14. As far as I have been able to determine, no White House official took any action based on the information received about the referrals other than preparing to respond to press inquiries.
The second set of contacts occurred because of the thenimpending expiration (on February 28, 1994) of the statute of limitations for the RTC to file certain potential civil claims arising out of the failure of Madison Guaranty. As you may recall, Senator D'Amato was reminding the Senate daily of the shrinking period during which certain possible civil claims related to the Madison Guaranty failure could be pursued by the RTC, and RTC officials had provided a briefing on this subject to members of Senator D'Amato's staff on January 24. Mr. Roger Altman, the Deputy Secretary of the Treasury and acting CEO of the RTC, sought a meeting with White House officials on February 2 to provide a similar briefing to the White House. Ms. Hanson accompanied Mr. Altman to the meeting. Using talking points prepared by Ms. Hanson, Mr. Altman described the various procedural options available to the RTC for preserving potential claims when the expiration of a statute of limitations was imminent.
At the same meeting, Mr. Altman also raised the issue of his possible recusal from decisions about how to proceed with respect to possible Madison-related claims potentially involving the Clintons. I will refer to this issue in greater detail later in this statement.
The third set of contacts relates to the RTC Oversight Board hearing before the Senate Banking Committee on February 24. By that time, Congress had already passed and the President had promptly signed a law extending the statute of limitations on potential RTC civil claims until December 31, 1995, when the RTC is scheduled to be wound up.
At the hearing, in response to questioning about contacts with the White House related to the Madison matter, Mr. Altman did not mention that he had raised the question of his possible recusal at the February 2 meeting. Mr. Altman also did not mention the September 29 and October 14 meetings regarding press inquiries about criminal referrals. Following the hearing, lawyers from the Office of the White House Counsel and other White House staff met to determine whether Mr. Altman's hearing testimony might require supplementation. As a result, White House Staff Secretary John Podesta telephoned Mr. Altman and expressed concern with Mr. Altman's omission of the fall meetings and of his possible recusal as a subject of discussion at the February 2 meeting.
The day after the hearing, The New York Times published a story about White House and Treasury meetings on the Madison investigation. That afternoon, Mr. Joshua Steiner, the Treasury Chief of Staff, reported to Mr. Podesta of the White House staff that Mr. Altman had just informed an editor of The New York Times that he had decided to recuse. This news took several at the White House by surprise and led to a series of telephone calls which I will also refer to later in this statement.
The Standards of Ethical Conduct.
The ethical rules applicable to executive branch employees are set forth in the Standards of Ethical Conduct issued by the Office of Government Ethics. Three of the standards are arguably relevant to the Treasury-White House contacts.
(1) A Standard of Conduct provides that an employee shall not participate in a matter without the prior authorization of a designated ethics official if the employee "determines that a reasonable person with knowledge of the relevant facts would question his impartiality in the matter." 2635.501 and .502. There are two reasons why this standard was not violated. First, in connection with the vast majority of the contacts, no White House official did anything that could be regarded as "participating" in the Madison Guaranty matter before the RTC, or in any other Madison Guaranty matter affecting his or her own personal interests or those of anyone else. Second, whether there may be an appearance of partiality depends in part on whether the employee has certain types of private relationships with persons interested in the matter at issue. President and Mrs. Clinton were arguably interested in some RTC actions concerning Madison Guaranty. But on the basis of my review, none of the White House staff members involved in the contacts has any of the types of financial or family relationships with President or Mrs. Clinton that would raise the issue of partiality. It is not "partiality" for presidential aides to receive information or express opinions relating to the interests of the President for whom they work. For example, a White House staff member could receive information or express opinions about a congressional proposal to raise or lower the salary of the President without violating this standard. There is no other evidence to show that a question concerning the impartiality of any of the staff members should reasonably have arisen.
(2) An executive branch employee may not use his public office for the private gain of himself or his close friend, relative, or private business associate. 2635.702. Stated a slightly different way, he may not use his Government position "in a manner that is intended to coerce or induce another person . . . to provide any benefit, financial or otherwise," to himself or his close friend, relative, or private business associate. 2635.702(a). On the basis of my review, none of the staff members involved in the contacts sought private gain for himself or anyone else covered by this standard.
(3) Executive branch employees may not use non-public information to further their own private interests or those of anyone else, whatever their relationship with the person. 2635.703. No White House staff member attempted to further anyone's private interests with any non-public information from the Treasury.
Two main ethical issues arise with respect to these events. The first is whether it violated any ethical standard, or was otherwise inappropriate, for the White House to receive a "headsup" from a Treasury official that the RTC was making criminal referrals that made incidental mention of President and Mrs. Clinton, and thereafter for Treasury and White House officials to discuss how to respond to press leaks and queries about the matter.
The second issue relates to whether it violated any such standard, or was otherwise inappropriate, when Mr. Altman told White House officials he was considering whether he should recuse himself from participation in any Madison Guaranty matter, for White House officials to have given Mr. Altman their views about this subject.
To put these questions of propriety in perspective, one must consider the constitutional structure of the Executive Branch. The Constitution vests the entire executive power in the President alone. Congress has passed various laws redistributing that power within and outside the executive branch, such as the laws purporting to vest power in various Cabinet Secretaries, the laws creating various fully independent agencies like the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Communications Commission, and the recently revived law creating the office of Independent Counsel. But the Department of the Treasury remains wholly within the Executive Branch, and the RTC is not a fully independent agency in the same sense as the Federal Reserve and the FCC. The RTC acts under the general direction of a chief executive appointed by and answerable to the President, and under the general supervision of an Oversight Board which includes the Secretary of the Treasury and a number of other Executive Branch officers directly or indirectly answerable to the President. In my view the RTC, like the Environmental Protection Agency, is an independent agency within the executive branch.
Of course, the constitutional role of the President as the sole holder of the executive power does not mean that the White House can properly seek to influence executive branch law enforcement investigations involving other high government officials or the President himself. One reason we have an Independent Counsel law is to prevent this from happening. It would of course be inappropriate for the White House to try to influence investigations under that law. But it is entirely appropriate for the White House to receive a heads-up promptly after the Attorney General makes a decision to seek the appointment of an Independent Counsel, so that the White House will not be surprised by press questions. That has been the practice followed ever since the Independent Counsel law was enacted in 1977.
The same principles apply when high officials are directly or indirectly involved in law enforcement investigations within the jurisdiction of other executive branch agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, the Food and Drug Administration, and the RTC. (Strictly speaking, the RTC is not a law enforcement agency, but it can make criminal referrals to the Department of Justice, and it can bring civil actions against directors, officers and borrowers when failed savings and loans are taken over by the government.)
The heads-up principle applies with particular force to criminal referrals by the RTC or other agencies to the Department of Justice. Because of their preliminary nature, it is the usual practice, in fairness to those involved, not to make a public announcement that such a referral has been made. I understand that the RTC and the FDIC have made more than a thousand criminal referrals to the Department, of which only a small percentage have been found meritorious enough to warrant an actual criminal prosecution.
The heads-up received by the White House that the RTC was making criminal referrals concerning Madison Guaranty did not in my opinion involve any impropriety or breach of any ethical standard by any White House official. None of them made any effort to influence the RTC's decision.
On the same reasoning, there was no impropriety or breach of any ethical standard in the meeting requested by Treasury officials and held on October 14, 1993, to discuss press leaks and inquiries to the Treasury concerning the unannounced criminal referrals and the responses to be made to these inquiries. It was obviously important and appropriate for the Treasury to inform the White House about the leaks and resulting press queries so that the White House could prepare itself and brief the Treasury to answer the questions being raised by the press concerning the Clintons' investment in Whitewater and their knowledge as to the campaign contributions raised by Mr. McDougal. In my opinion, those who participated acted in good faith and in compliance with existing ethical standards.
The Office of Government Ethics -- the agency charged with interpreting and applying the Standards of Conduct -- agrees that the receipt of such information by White House officials, if not then used to further their own or another's private interest, does not violate the Standards. On the basis of my review, the information was not used for such a purpose.
Let me now come to the more difficult issue of the contacts
about the statute of limitations and Mr. Altman's consideration of
his possible recusal, starting with the meeting on February 2.
Under the RTC statute, its chief executive is appointed by the
President by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. In
March 1993, pending the selection of a nominee, the President had
named Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Roger Altman to serve
simultaneously as acting chief executive of the RTC. Under
applicable law, Mr. Altman could only serve as acting chief
executive for a maximum of 120 days, expiring during July 1993,
unless by that time a nomination had been sent to the Senate for
its advice and
consent, in which case he could continue until the nominee took office. In July of 1993, before the 120 days expired, the President nominated Stanley Tate to the RTC post, but he ran into confirmation problems and withdrew on November 30. As a result, Mr. Altman was legally authorized to continue as acting chief executive for 120 additional days after November 30, 1993, i.e. March 30, 1994.
In January 1994, there was increasing congressional interest in the status of potential civil claims relating to Madison Guaranty and Whitewater. At that time, the relevant statute of limitations on such claims was to expire on February 28, 1994, and the RTC had not yet decided whether civil claims relating to Madison Guaranty should be brought. At a meeting requested by Mr. Altman and held with White House staff members on February 2, 1994, Mr. Altman briefed the White House staff on the procedural options available to the RTC in potential cases such as Madison Guaranty where the statute of limitations was about to expire, just as the RTC had previously briefed an interested member of Congress who had inquired about the Madison Guaranty situation.
At the same meeting, Mr. Altman also said he had been considering recusal from participation in any RTC decisions concerning Madison Guaranty, and that he had been advised to recuse by his Treasury colleagues. There is a difference of recollection among the participants as to whether Mr. Altman said he had already decided to recuse or whether he said he was still considering the matter. There is no evidence that White House personnel knew before the meeting started that Mr. Altman would raise the issue of recusal.
Mr. Bernard Nussbaum, then the White House Counsel, expressed his concern, partly because a similar question had been raised in the then pending confirmation hearings of Ms. Ricki Tigert, President Clinton's nominee for Chairman of the FDIC. In her hearing on February 1, Ms. Tigert had been asked to make a blanket recusal in any matter potentially involving President Clinton. She had replied that she would defer any decision on recusal until a particular matter came before her and would then follow the advice of the FDIC ethics officer.
Mr. Nussbaum understood Mr. Altman to say that he had been advised he had no legal or ethical obligation to recuse, but was inclined to do so anyway. Mr. Nussbaum was convinced that an Altman recusal -- in the absence of a legal or ethical requirement to do so -- might undercut the position taken by Ms. Tigert. Mr. Nussbaum expressed his view that a presidential appointee, solely because of her or his status as such, should not recuse merely because the matter tangentially involved the President. Although Mr. Altman said he would leave any Madison Guaranty decision to RTC's career officers in any event, Mr. Nussbaum said he thought these officers could be expected to act with greater fairness and professionalism if Mr. Altman did not recuse. Mr. Nussbaum also made clear that the final decision on recusal was Mr. Altman's to make.
On February 3, Mr. Altman advised the White House that he had decided not to recuse for the time being. He maintained that position until February 25 (a day after his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee) when he announced his recusal.
As you know, the Office of Government Ethics had concurred with the determination of the Treasury and RTC ethics officials in February 1994 that Mr. Altman had no legal obligation to recuse himself from Madison Guaranty-Whitewater matters, and that a decision on whether or not to recuse lay within his personal discretion. The Office of Government Ethics has now also informally confirmed that it has no reason to believe that any White House official violated any ethical standard with respect to the recusal issue.
However, Mr. Nussbaum's statements plainly suggested his preference that Mr. Altman not recuse himself in the circumstances, and Mr. Altman may have so understood him. This may have influenced Mr. Altman's decision on February 3 to defer recusal. Even though this did not in my opinion violate any ethical standard, there is a broader question as to whether it was appropriate for any White House staff member to make this preference known to Mr. Altman.
The answer to that question seems clearer when viewed in hindsight than it may have appeared to be at the time. I am sure that everyone concerned acted in good faith. But in my judgment, this discussion should not have taken place. And once the question was raised, I believe that in the light of all the factual and political circumstances relating to Madison Guaranty and Whitewater, the White House should have encouraged Mr. Altman to recuse.
However, it is important to note that during the period before Mr. Altman recused himself, Mr. Altman did not participate in the RTC decision to make the criminal referrals or any other RTC decision relating to a particular Madison Guaranty/Whitewater matter.
Let me turn briefly to whether it violated any ethical standard for White House officials to receive the February 2 briefing as to RTC's statute of limitations options. This same briefing was being given to various members of Congress, and was public information. It was in the nature of a heads-up to the White House, and no White House participant said anything that could have affected how the RTC exercised its options. Moreover, that issue was mooted ten days later when Congress passed and the President signed the law extending the limitation period until December 31, 1995, or the winding-up of the RTC, whichever comes later. There was no discussion of the merits or substance of any possible claims relating to Madison Guaranty.
There remain the contacts that occurred on February 25, after Mr. Altman's testimony on February 24 and after he announced his decision to recuse on February 25. In the course of a telephone conversation initiated by Mr. George Stephanopoulos, Senior Advisor to the President, and Mr. Harold Ickes, the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, with Mr. Altman, they expressed their concern that Mr. Altman had informed The New York Times of his recusal decision before informing the White House. However, they made no effort to persuade Mr. Altman to change his mind. In this conversation they also expressed their surprise and dismay about reports that the RTC had retained Mr. Jay Stephens and his law firm to investigate and conduct any civil litigation on behalf of the RTC relating to the same allegations as the criminal referrals. (Let me remind you that when Attorney General Janet Reno had replaced Mr. Stephens and other holdover U.S. attorneys earlier in the Clinton administration, Mr. Stephens had strongly criticized the administration, and had later considered running as a Republican candidate for the Senate. It is no exaggeration to say he was a vocal political critic of the President.) In an earlier conversation the same day between Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Joshua Steiner, Secretary Bentsen's Chief of Staff, Mr. Stephanopoulos had also expressed these concerns, and questioned how Mr. Stephens could have been considered impartial and suitable for appointment. Mr. Steiner responded that it was a done deal and should not be pursued further.
In my view, the concerns expressed by Mr. Stephanopoulos and Mr. Ickes were perfectly natural under the circumstances, and involved no ethical impropriety. They made no real effort to alter what had been done, and with respect to Mr. Stephens, Mr. Stephanopoulos was simply "letting off steam." Republican observers like Mr. Marlin Fitzwater (President Bush's press secretary) and Congressman James Leach have also dismissed the incident as trivial. As in the case of the earlier contacts, the contacts concerning the retention of Mr. Stephens had no effect on his status or on the RTC's activities concerning Madison Guaranty.
Let me turn to when the President and Mrs. Clinton learned about the Treasury-White House contacts. Mr. Lindsey informed the President of the criminal referrals early in October, shortly after the initial "heads-up" from Ms. Hanson and after the press had begun inquiring into the matter. Mrs. Clinton learned about it later in October through press reports.
The President and Mrs. Clinton do not recall learning about the discussions concerning Mr. Altman's recusal until Mr. Altman announced it on February 25. Mr. Ickes recalls that at some point he briefly informed the President of the February 2 meeting and Mr. Altman's subsequent decision not to recuse. He does not recall when that discussion took place. Mr. Ickes also recalls a similar brief discussion with Mrs. Clinton.
I also want to refer to the brief conversation between the President and Comptroller of the Currency Eugene Ludwig on December 30, 1993, which does not even deserve to be described as a contact. They were both at Renaissance Weekend in Hilton Head, along with more than a thousand others. They had a brief exchange. Their recollections differ somewhat, but they agree the President said he wanted to have a further talk with Mr. Ludwig about the Madison Guaranty/Whitewater matter, which was then very much in the news. Mr. Ludwig called Ms. Jean Hanson, the Treasury General Counsel, for guidance. She referred him to the White House Counsel's Office, where he reached Mr. Clifford Sloan. Mr. Sloan called his colleague Mr. Neil Eggleston, who called Deputy White House Counsel Joel Klein, who was also at Renaissance Weekend. Mr. Klein found the President and inquired about the conversation. The President said he had only wanted to get Mr. Ludwig's suggestions as to the names of experts familiar with real estate development and financing who might be willing to write articles explaining the Whitewater project to the public. Mr. Klein said it would be better to obtain such advice from someone other than the Comptroller. The President said he agreed, and would turn elsewhere. Mr. Klein so informed Mr. Ludwig.
Since the President and Mr. Ludwig never had a substantive conversation -- even about the names of experts who could write articles -- their brief encounter is hardly worth mentioning. It could not possibly have violated any applicable ethical standard or be considered a significant error of judgment.
Mr. Chairman, I have said that while the various TreasuryWhite House contacts violated no ethical standard, in my judgment it would have been better if some of these contacts had never occurred, and if fewer White House staff members had participated. When I reviewed these incidents in their totality, I found there were too many people having too many discussions about too many sensitive matters -- matters which were properly the province of the Office of the White House Counsel. The contacts were not sufficiently channeled between White House Counsel and Treasury Counsel, and there were too many conversations in which no counsel participated. In retrospect, we did not meet as high a performance standard as we should have set for ourselves. We have therefore taken additional measures to assure that future contacts between the White House and executive branch agencies with law enforcement functions will be beyond reasonable challenge.
First, in March 1994 we reminded everyone on the White House staff of the rule that no such contacts relating to a particular law enforcement investigation may be initiated without the prior approval of the White House Counsel. Some of the Treasury-White House contacts were initiated or permitted by White House staff members without the prior approval of the Counsel, even though Counsel's memoranda requiring prior approval have been in effect since February 1993.
Second, as a result of my review, we have concluded that such contacts by staff members other than those in the White House Counsel's Office are inadvisable even with the approval of the White House Counsel, and that in the future all such contacts should be solely between White House Counsel (or Deputy) and the General Counsel (or Deputy) of the agency involved. These are the understandings already in place with the Attorney General and her Deputy, and we plan to extend them to other agencies as well.
Third, we are drafting rules of conduct for future contacts between the Office of the White House Counsel and executive branch agencies with law enforcement functions on particular investigative matters, defining the circumstances under which such contacts are appropriate or not. We will review these drafts with the agencies, and we plan to issue them promptly.
Finally, I want to point out again that none of the TreasuryWhite House contacts I have described had the slightest effect on the RTC's activities concerning Madison Guaranty to date, and to pledge that no such effects will be tolerated in the future.
The Fiske Report on Mr. Vincent Foster's Death.
With your permission, Mr. Chairman, let me add a word about Mr. Fiske's report on Mr. Vincent Foster's death. Mr. Foster was a childhood friend of the President and admired by numerous members of the White House staff. Although I knew him only slightly, I am told he was hard-working, deeply intelligent, a good colleague, and a treasured member of the White House "family." To the people who knew him, his death was unexpected and devastating. On the day he died, a curtain of sadness descended upon the White House.
On June 30, 1994, Mr. Fiske published a thorough and voluminous report of his findings concerning Mr. Foster's death. I believe that report proves beyond reasonable doubt that Mr. Foster's death was indeed a suicide that occurred in Fort Marcy Park, as originally reported by the Park Police. According to Mr. Fiske, "the evidence overwhelmingly supports this conclusion, and there is no evidence to the contrary."
Mr. Fiske's report also stated that his team "found no evidence that issues involving Whitewater, Madison Guaranty, CMS or other personal legal matters of the President or Mrs. Clinton were a factor in Foster's suicide." Since these Whitewater/Madison Guaranty matters are the main reason for this Committee's hearings, and Mr. Foster's death has been found to be unrelated to these matters, we hope that all members of the Committee will accept Mr. Fiske's report without chasing down every new question that conspiracy theorists will always raise about the violent death of any prominent person.
Even The Wall Street Journal's editorial page -- one of Mr. Foster's most persistent critics -- has accepted the findings of the Fiske Report. After a year of lurid, personally invasive and totally unsubstantiated speculations, surely it is time for decent people to leave Mr. Foster's bereaved family in peace.
I had hoped this thorough report would put to rest the wild
rumors that Mr. Foster was murdered or committed suicide at
another location, and that his dead body was then moved to Fort
Marcy, as well as all the other innuendos and speculations that
circulated by mere gossips, by irresponsible journalists, and by persons who would harm the President and torment Mr. Foster's family to advance their political goals. It, unfortunately, has not.
So, I would ask those rumormongers to heed the words of Vince Foster's family. In a statement they released seven days ago, the Foster Family wrote: "We love Vince and miss him terribly. He was an honorable man and deserves to be treated with respect. On this anniversary of his death, our fervent hope is that this matter now will recede from public view and that the family will be left alone to deal with its loss in private." That is their wish. Let it be ours, as well.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee.