Tag Archives: Whitewater

Whatever happened to the Republican Party?

Oh, yoo-hoo! Are you out there, somewhere, Republican Party members, folks who once stood for principles that appear to have been vanquished and trampled asunder in this Age of Donald John Trump?

I have been looking for those folks for some time. To no avail, I am afraid to admit. You remember how those good folks. If not, I’ll offer a reminder.

I think of the Republicans of 1980 and those of 1994. They presented candidates and platforms that represented a specific ideology and point of view.

The Grand Old Party in 1980 was led by a former B-movie actor-turned California governor, Ronald “The Gipper” Reagan. Gov. Reagan became the Republican nominee that year. He and his party then proceeded to savage President Jimmy Carter because he had the temerity to stand watch while the federal budget ran a deficit of $43 billion in that election year.

Fort-three billion bucks, man! Why, you’d have thought the nation was heading for bankruptcy to hear the Republicans tell it.

Fast-forward 40 years and the budget deficit this year is going to top $1 trillion. Yes, a Republican is now president of the United States. Where is the outcry? Where are the calls for fiscal restraint?

The sound of crickets you are hearing is the sound of a political party that has tossed aside the principle of fiscal efficiency because its members have become beholden to the man who leads the party, the man who before he ran for president had no discernible connection to the party under whose banner he ran for the only public office he ever has sought.

Amazing, yes? I believe so.

Then the GOP of 1994 came and went. These were the politicians who campaigned for Congress on the Character Matters mantra. The object of their scorn in that election year was a Democratic president who had been elected two years earlier despite allegations of womanizing. Bill Clinton won the 1992 election and then two years later, the GOP — led by a House backbench flamethrower named Newt Gingrich — set about campaigning on the Character Matters platform.

Republicans won control of both congressional houses that year, then sought the impeachment of President Clinton, ostensibly after seeking the goods on a scandal called Whitewater, a real estate deal that caught the GOP’s attention. The probe ended up producing a tawdry relationship between the president and a White House intern. Clinton took an oath to tell the truth to a grand jury, then he lied to jurors. Perjury! Clinton broke the law! Then he got impeached. He stood trial and was acquitted in early 1999.

Well, that version of the Republican Party has vanished, too. Gingrich became speaker of the House after the 1994 congressional takeover, then the GOP lost seats in Congress in the 1998 midterm election, all while Gingrich was being revealed as a philanderer ‚Ķ even as he was bemoaning the president’s crappy conduct.

It’s gotten worse. The GOP these days rallies behind a president who makes all of that seem like schoolyard frolic.

So, I have to ask: What in the world has become of a once-great political party?

Let the Mueller probe continue … and conclude

Congressional Republicans keep harping on the length of time special counsel Robert Mueller has been investigating whether the Donald Trump presidential campaign “colluded” with Russians who meddled in our 2016 election.

They keep saying it’s gone on too long. They want Mueller to wrap it up now.

Hold on here.

Mueller’s probe hasn’t lasted as long as the Whitewater investigation that ended up with President Clinton’s impeachment; or as long as the Iran-Contra probe; or as long as the Benghazi probe that looked for years to find criminality against Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Mueller has been given the opportunity to find the truth to a highly complicated set of issues. The president keeps saying there was “no collusion.” He keeps calling the investigation a “witch hunt.”

If that’s the case, then let the probe continue to its conclusion.

And has anyone noticed that Mueller’s team has been water tight? There have been zero leaks? Can the president’s team make that claim? No.

Let the special counsel reach his conclusion at his own meticulous pace. Then let the man deliver his report to the nation.

And stop griping, Republican partisans, about the length of time he’s taking.

Mueller’s probe might find new paths to travel

Kenneth Starr’s investigation of President and Mrs. Clinton began with a look into the first couple’s real estate dealings.

Then it morphed into something quite different. A blue dress emerged with some DNA on it, linking it to a relationship between the president and a young White House intern.

Starr, a special prosecutor, summoned the president before a grand jury and asked him about the relationship. President Clinton didn’t tell the truth.

Boom! We had an impeachment!

Two decades later, special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe — which began as an investigation into possible collusion with Russians who hacked into our 2016 presidential election — might be heading down a similar path.

Donald Trump allegedly had an affair with a porn queen in 2006. He has denied it. The president’s personal lawyer, Michel Cohen, has acknowledged writing a $130,000 check to keep the porn queen quiet about an affair — again, that the president says didn’t happen.

So, here comes the latest Big Question: Where did the money come from to pay the porn actress? Cohen says he paid it out of his personal account.

Meanwhile, you and I know that Mueller’s antennae have been alerted. The special counsel/former FBI director is a meticulous lawyer. There just be be some dots connect between the Russian probe and this seedy, crappy, tawdry affair.

Looking back on the Starr investigation, I am perplexed at how the special prosecutor connected the dots between real estate and a tawdry relationship between the president and a much younger woman. But he did.

Might history be repeating itself?

Kenneth Starr: The King of Irony

Leave it to Kenneth Starr to make one of the more ironic declarations about the unfolding investigation into Donald J. Trump’s alleged involvement with Russian election hackers.

Starr has cautioned special counsel Robert Mueller to avoid going onto a “fishing expedition” in his search for the truth behind whether Trump’s presidential campaign had any improper dealings with Russians seeking to meddle in our 2016 election.

Mueller needs to keep his mission focused, Starr said. He shouldn’t allow it to wander onto unplowed ground.

Well now. How does one respond to that?

Let’s try this.

Kenneth Starr became a master judicial fisherman in the 1990s when he was selected as special counsel to investigate a real estate deal called Whitewater involving President and Mrs. Clinton. He came up with nothing there. Then he sauntered off into a sexual harassment charge leveled against the president by Paula Jones. Then he found something else, which was a relationship the president was having with a White House intern.

Real estate deal leads to sexual harassment, which then leads to a sexual relationship. Impeachment followed all of that.

Is the current special counsel headed down the same path? I haven’t a clue.

Kenneth Starr, though, proved to us all that these investigations can hit pay dirt even as they wander hither and yon.

The comic aspect of this whole discussion is that someone such as Starr would issue a word of caution for one of his legal descendants about a “fishing expedition.”

Turn the special counsel loose

If history is any guide, a special counsel investigation aimed at rooting out issues relating to the president of the United States and his alleged ties to Russia well could develop a life of its own.

Robert Mueller has been given the task of finding out whether Donald John Trump’s presidential campaign was complicit in Russian government efforts to swing the 2016 presidential election. He’s also going to examine possible links between a former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, to the Russians. Moreover, he has latitude to look into whether the president¬†obstructed justice by “asking” former FBI Director James Comey to shut down a probe of Flynn’s ties to Russia.

Could there be even more to learn, beyond the official tasks given to Mueller — himself a former FBI director?

Mueller’s the man

We have some historical precedent to ponder.

Kenneth Starr once held the title of “independent prosecutor.” His duty in the 1990s was to look at a real estate venture involving President Bill Clinton and his wife,¬†Hillary Rodham Clinton. Republican critics in Congress thought there were some shady circumstances that needed to be examined. Starr began poking around and discovered some evidence of a relationship between President Clinton and a young 20-something White House intern.

A federal grand jury summoned the president to testify.¬†The president¬†took an oath to tell the whole truth to the grand jury — and then he lied about his relationship.

Ah-hah! GOP House members then cobbled together an impeachment proceeding that charged the president with perjury and obstruction of justice. The House impeached the president. The Senate held its trial and he was acquitted.

Will history repeat itself? I have no clue. My guess is that special counsel Mueller doesn’t yet know where his probe will lead.

These matters do have a way of growing legs. The statute gives Mueller considerable leeway in his pursuit of the truth. The president cannot fire him; he can, though, order the Justice Department to do so. Let’s hope that Donald Trump resists that impulse. I know that’s a tall order, given the self-proclaimed joy he gets when he fires people.

But the Justice Department’s deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has picked a serious¬†legal heavyweight to do some seriously heavy lifting.

It’s time now for Robert Mueller to get busy. Rapidly.

‘Scandals’ won’t end? Of course they won’t!

imrs

The headline from the Washington Post was funny when I saw it.

Then I noticed who wrote the essay over which the headline was posted. Then I chuckled out loud.

“The Clinton scandals will never stop,” the headline blared. The byline belongs to Ed Rogers, a noted Republican operative.

If you add two plus two, you come up with four. So, if you believe what Rogers theorizes, then it all adds up. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton’s “scandals” won’t die because Republicans like Rogers won’t allow it … ever!

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/11/03/the-clinton-scandals-will-never-stop/

Clinton has been in the public eye since before her husband, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. The foes of the two politicians have been digging for dirt for longer than most of us can remember.

Whitewater, Vince Foster, sexual misbehavior, the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, e-mails, “pay for play.”

I am sure I have missed something, but you get the idea.

The late Rev. Jerry Falwell once produced a video called “The Clinton Chronicles” that alleged that the Clintons were responsible for the murders of their political foes. How in the world he got away without being sued for defamation is beyond me.

If Clinton wins the election in three days, you can bet some serious American money that the “scandals” will stay in the news.

Republicans will make damn sure of it.

Football isn’t exactly ‘king’ at Baylor University

briles

The hammer has dropped on two leading figures at Baylor University.

Kenneth Starr has been moved out of the president’s office and “demoted” to the role of Baylor chancellor. I guess within the Baylor system, the chancellor is more of a figurehead than an actual administrator.

Meanwhile, head football coach Art Briles has been “suspended.” Baylor regents, though, said they intend to fire the coach.

What’s more, Baylor Athletic Director Ian McCaw has been placed on probation.

This is a big deal. It centers on a sex scandal at the Waco school.

Two players were convicted of sexual assault. The trouble erupted, though, when allegations surfaced that the school didn’t take the charges seriously enough initially.

“We were horrified by the extent of these acts of sexual violence on our campus,” said Richard Willis, chair of the Baylor Board of Regents. “This investigation revealed the university’s mishandling of reports in what should have been a supportive, responsive and caring environment for students. The depth to which these acts occurred shocked and outraged us.”

And just why is this a big deal? Because, the football program had been rebuilt. Baylor was getting a lot of money because its football team was winning a lot of games. The school rebuilt its stadium. Coach Briles was seen a major celebrity at Baylor.

As for Starr, well, I’ve already commented on the rich irony of his dismissal. Recall that Starr served as special counsel to Congress, which charged him with looking into the Whitewater real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. The Whitewater probe then morphed into an investigation into a sexual relationship between President Clinton and a young White House intern.

That investigation culminated in the president’s impeachment on charges that he lied to a grand jury.

Sex consumed that investigation … just as it has consumed the university that Starr has led for the past couple of years.

Irony? You bet.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/26/us/baylor-kenneth-starr-art-briles/index.html

This isn’t the first time a big-name football has been taken down by a sex scandal. Penn State University fired the legendary Joe Paterno after one of his assistant coaches, Jerry Sandusky, was accused of sexual abuse of boys. Sandusky has been convicted of multiple felonies and is serving time in prison. The question became: What did JoePa know and when did he know it?

The same thing can be asked of Coach Briles and Kenneth Starr.

Someone has to be held responsible. Who better than two of the men at the top of the chain of command?

Is karma about to bite Kenneth Starr?

ken starr

Does anyone out there see the irony in reports that Kenneth Starr has been fired as president of Baylor University?

Baylor’s board of regents will announce soon whether reports of Starr’s dismissal are true.

Why all the fuss over Starr? Baylor University has been struggling with a sex scandal on campus and reports that school officials failed to take action when one of the school’s football players was accused of raping a female student. The athlete was convicted and other cases emerged in which Baylor officials allegedly failed to take proper action.

The incident and the ensuing scandal has swallowed up the school.

https://www.texastribune.org/2016/05/24/amid-reports-starrs-firing-baylor-says-expect-anno/

The irony is this …

Kenneth Starr is the very same fellow who more than 20 years ago launched an investigation into President Bill Clinton’s real estate dealings. Congress appointed him as a special prosecutor to probe the Whitewater investment matter.

Then something happened. Starr got wind of an inappropriate relationship that the president was having with a young female White House intern. That scandal grew as well. The investigation into a real estate matter morphed into something quite different, more salacious.

The president was summoned before a federal grand jury, which asked him about the relationship. The president, who swore to tell the truth, didn’t tell the truth and he was impeached for lying under oath.

Sex has this way of engulfing things, if you know what I mean.

I get that the cases are far from similar. Starr hasn’t been accused of doing anything improper here. He might take the fall, though, for others’ actions or inaction. He does run the university and as President Truman’s famous White House desk sign pointed out: The Buck Stops Here.

Still, as the saying goes: Karma can be a real drag, man.

 

Yes, impeachment was about sex

bumpers

Now that Donald Trump has dredged up the Bill Clinton impeachment travesty, it’s good to take a brief moment to remember someone who arguably had the best sound bite of all regarding that tawdry political episode.

Dale Bumpers was a former governor and U.S. senator from Arkansas, President Clinton’s home state. Bumpers died this week at the age of 90.

He once described himself as the “best lawyer in a one-lawyer town.” His self-deprecating wit would be welcome today in an era when too many politicians take themselves as seriously — if not more so — than their public service calling.

Well, it was Bumpers who offered up a fascinating quote regarding the president’s impeachment. You’ll remember that special counsel Kenneth Starr started looking at a real estate deal involving President and Mrs. Clinton. He expanded his probe to include a wide range of issues.

Lo and behold, he discovered that the president had improper relationship with a White House intern. A federal grand jury questioned Clinton about it; the president was less than truthful. Thus, came the ostensible grounds for impeachment.

Bumpers, though, told the truth about it.

“When they say this impeachment isn’t about sex,” Bumpers said, “it’s about sex.”

He was right.

The impeachment itself turned out to be a political travesty of the first order.

The House did its job by impeaching the president. The Senate — which included Bumpers — did its job as well by acquitting him.

 

‘Liberal media’ take no prisoners

media

Ben Carson¬†has counterattacked the “liberal media” for what he calls a “witch hunt.”

Questions about his past have become all the rage. CNN keeps poking around in the hunt for corroboration that he once stabbed someone in a fit of anger. The network can’t find anyone to back it up. Now we hear that Dr. Carson, um, didn’t exactly get offered a West Point scholarship in the manner he said he did.

The media want to know the truth.

The counterattack points to what the doctor/Republican presidential candidate said is a double standard as it regards Democrats running for president. The media don’t look quite as intently at them as they do Republicans, according to Dr. Carson.

Hold on, doc.

Barack Obama faced intense scrutiny over:

  • His relationship with a fiery Church of Christ pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
  • His friendship with anti-Vietnam War activist William Ayers.
  • His place of birth and whether he was constitutionally qualified to run for president of the United States.
  • His academic records at Harvard, which Carson brought up again this week.

And, oh yes, Hillary Clinton, the current Democratic frontrunner has, throughout her public career, faced down matters involving:

  • Allegations that she covered up information about Benghazi.
  • Her involvement with her husband, the 42nd president, in the Whitewater real estate matter.
  • The death of her good friend, Vince Foster, who some in the media have suggested was murdered.

So … let’s take a breath, shall we?

I also should mention the names of other prominent Democratic pols who’ve wilted under the media glare.

Do the names Gary Hart and John Edwards ring a bell? How about Anthony Weiner and Barney Frank?

Let’s get back to the story at hand. Did a leading candidate for president of the United States misrepresent whether he was offered a West Point scholarship?

Well … ?