THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 2, 1998
STATEMENT BY GREGORY CRAIG ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND SPECIAL COUNSEL
The White House
5:15 P.M. EDT
Good afternoon. Today we received an additional 3400 pages of information that purportedly supports the allegations made by the Independent Counsel in his referral. Our review of this material is only preliminary. We have obviously not had the time to conduct a complete review.
Our initial examination, however, confirms two disturbing trends first illuminated by the initial release of information eleven days ago.
The first trend has to do with the Independent Counsel's failure to include or discuss evidence favorable to the President. In its zeal to prop up its allegations against the President, the Office of the Independent Counsel in its referral to the House of Representatives intentionally omitted direct, exculpatory testimony, paraphrased unambiguous statement to obscure their plain meaning, and systematically resolved conflicting testimony in its favor.
Let me cite a couple of examples. One of Mr. Starr's central allegations is that the President obstructed justice by enlisting Vernon Jordan's assistance in an effort to find Monica Lewinsky a job in New York. That allegation is squarely contradicted by Grand Jury testimony from Ms. Lewinsky herself, from Betty Currie and from Mr. Jordan.
Ms. Lewinsky testified, "No one ever asked me to lie, and I was never promised a job for my silence." Ms. Currie testified about her efforts to help Monica get a job that "I was doing it on my own. I was dealing with John Podesta and Ambassador Richardson. Then, when she said she didn't want that, then I went to Vernon Jordan who has contacts in New York." And Mr. Jordan testified, "Betty Currie called to say would you help Ms. Lewinsky. I asked her to ask Ms. Lewinsky to send me her resume. Ms. Lewinsky sent me her resume and that's all I know."
Mr. Jordan testified at the time of Ms. Currie's request that he had no reason to believe that Ms. Lewinsky even knew the President.
Now, none of these three statements is directly quoted in the Starr referral. The referral also neglects to include the fact that Ms. Lewinsky told the President she wanted to move to New York in July 1997, five months before she was ever mentioned in the Jones Case.
Finally, the Independent Counsel also chose to ignore this telling set of facts. Almost from the moment she was transferred to the Pentagon in mid-1996, Ms. Lewinsky tried to get a job back in the White House. The President was very aware how much she wanted to return. Testimony in today's document release overwhelmingly demonstrates that not one member of the White House staff who testified believed that it was important to find Ms. Lewinsky a job.
If the President intended to secure Ms. Lewinsky's silence in exchange for a job, it was clearly in his power to do so, and to grant her precisely what she wanted, but the OIC simply ignores the plain fact that he did not because that fact thoroughly eviscerates the Independent Counsel's job-for-silence theory.
Another of Mr. Starr's significant charges is that the President obstructed justice by seeking to conceal his gifts to Ms. Lewinsky by having her hide those gifts with Ms. Currie. Not only does the President's testimony refute that allegation, but Ms. Currie refuted it each and every time she testified, beginning with her first appearance on January 24, 1998. Ms. Currie stated then and continued to restate throughout her subsequent appearances that Ms. Lewinsky called her in December 1997 and asked Ms. Currie to hold her gifts. Ms. Currie also maintained throughout her testimony that she did not discuss the gifts with the President.
The second trend has to do with Linda Tripp's central and troubling role in this matter. Ms. Tripp's repeated efforts to encourage behavior that the Independent Counsel later suggests is central to his case against the President raised disturbing questions about her role in this entire affair with the Independent Counsel, with the Jones' lawyers, and for her own enrichment.
The OIC referral does not state these critical facts about Ms. Tripp's conduct. First, Linda Tripp talked with Paula Jones' legal team as early as the fall of 1997 before she ever contacted the Independent Counsel. She told the lawyers she spoke with that she knew of someone who had a relationship with the President and agreed at that time to cooperate with the Jones team.
It was Linda Tripp and only Linda Tripp who suggested to Ms. Lewinsky that she demand a job in exchange for her affidavit. It was Linda Tripp or Monica Lewinsky herself who came up with the idea to ask Vernon Jordan for help in finding a job for Ms. Lewinsky.
And fourth and finally, it is Linda Tripp who, in the tape recording she made, can be heard actively engaging Ms. Lewinsky in discussions about how both could avoid testifying about Ms. Lewinsky's relationship with the President.
We intend to submit a complete accounting of the pattern of evidentiary manipulation and misdirection employed by the Independent Counsel to the judiciary committee.
We also intend to ask the committee to examine more fully the troubling role that this new material suggests was played by Linda Tripp.
We've just gotten this material. We've conducted this preliminary inquiry. We'll be available to answer questions in greater detail and we'll be providing you with a full accounting in writing at the earliest possible date and I thank you for your attention.
END 5:27 EDT