While America patiently awaits the arrival of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report findings over Trump-Russia and the rapidly expanding list of other legal issues, you can’t help but be reminded of a time when another report was being delivered into the hands of Congress, all over the actions of a sitting President. In 1998 it was President Clinton and the fracas was over an affair the President had with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Tawdry, salacious and a bit graphic, the report compiled by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr, made its entrance during the afternoon of September 9, 1998 when Capitol Police handed over to Congressional police some 35 boxes of evidence and a 500 page report on the Counsel’s findings. All the ingredients were there; the infamous “blue dress”, the Presidential deposition which included the memorable “what the definition of is, is”; all those bit and pieces and descriptions, delivered to House Speaker Newt Gingrich who, with stone-faced solemnity, accepted the boxes and arranged their secure storage in a room until time came for their dissection.
And days later the report came out – all of it. And the juicy bits were on display for everyone to witness. In a strange way, it seemed like payback of a sort – payback for Nixon and Watergate; dragging a nation and a political party through the mud and debris of political corruption and name calling. How, with Clinton, the shoe was on the other foot and now it was the Democrats turn to feel that overwhelming discomfort and glare of national scrutiny and embarrassment.
Although you’d be hard pressed to equate the goings on in the Clinton White House with those going on in the current administration, you can’t help but feel a certain political tit-for-tat underneath all of it. Or perhaps, in the Buddhist sense, it’s Karma, and that it’s just the nature of things to operate in a pendulum swing. Whatever it was and whatever it is, history does repeat and repeat often.
And as a reminder, here are the first reports of the Starr Report and its delivery to Capitol Hill, as it happened on September 9, 1998 and broadcast over KNX, Los Angeles.