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Opening Up the Clinton Archives


(L-R) Former first lady Rosalyn Carter, former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, first lady Laura Bush, and former first lady Barbara Bush walk to the stage during the dedication ceremony for the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, November 18, 2004.(Reuters.)

By Peter Baker
After months of controversy, the William J. Clinton Presidential Library plans to make public tomorrow more than 11,000 pages of records from Hillary Rodham Clinton's time in the White House, in this case her daily schedule for eight years as first lady. No word on whether they marked down all those 3 a.m. crisis phone calls, but they could give the clearest picture yet of her role in her husband's administration.

The documents are being released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed nearly a year ago by Judicial Watch, the watchdog group that spent much of the Clinton years probing various scandals. The Clinton library, part of the National Archives and Records Administration, notified the U.S. District Court this month that it had finally completed a line-by-line review of all the daily schedules it had found and would release them before a status hearing scheduled for Thursday.

"It is about time," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. "We're pleased, thanks to Judicial Watch's lawsuit, that the American people will be able to review Hillary's daily schedule records. The Clintons slow-pedaled this process but were unsuccessful in delaying the document release any further."

But the library is still reviewing another 20,000 pages of material that may be responsive to Judicial Watch's request, including telephone logs, and told the group that those may take one or two years to process. Fitton said it "would be an injustice" to not put out the telephone logs until after this year's presidential election and noted that his group went back to court yesterday seeking a judge to intervene further.

The 11,046 pages to be released tomorrow include schedules of meetings, trips, speaking engagements and social activities for 2,888 days in the White House, nearly the entire time Hillary Clinton was first lady. The library said it initially found no schedules for 32 days in the files of Patti Solis Doyle, Clinton's scheduling director in the White House (and later her campaign manager until she departed last month following a series of primary losses). Subsequent searches found schedules for 27 of those missing days in other files, officials said. No schedules have been found for the remaining five. Additionally, the library said it withheld schedules for the first 19 days of January 1993 prior to Bill Clinton's inauguration as president since she was not yet first lady.

Under law, the records were subject to review by former president Bill Clinton's personal representative, Bruce R. Lindsey, his longtime lawyer, White House deputy counsel and now chief executive officer of the William J. Clinton Foundation. Lindsey personally went through every line of every document to determine whether they should be released according to criteria set out in federal law. In the end, some information was redacted on 4,746 of the pages, but officials said it was mainly personal information such as telephone numbers, Social Security numbers and home addresses of visitors, not whole pages. Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives, said neither the foundation nor Hillary Clinton's campaign determined the timing of the release. "We're releasing them tomorrow because they're ready tomorrow," she said. "It was as soon as we could get them out."

Judicial Watch has a separate lawsuit pending against the archives seeking records related to the health care task force that Hillary Clinton led during her husband's first term. Hillary Clinton so far has not released her most recent tax returns but promised to do so before the April 22 primary in Pennsylvania.

By Web Politics Editor  |  March 18, 2008; 5:32 PM ET
 
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Comments

Zuckermand -
We need more of those smart-ass comments. There is not nearly enough ridicule of the Phony Nepotist Hillary's Kamikaze Kampaign. She is being taken far too seriously, and given far too much deference.

Posted by: pachyder | March 18, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

Interesting, I guess the t-shirt I saw is right. Hillary does have bigger balls. (www.cafepress.com/wetnoodle). Seriously, I'm sensing a pattern of secrecy. How long does it take for records to be released? And if the issue is finishing the review... maybe the National Archives could set a monthly "release date" and every month they can release whatever documents they finished that month. There's no reason to hold an entire batch of records until everything is finished.

And how about Hillary's taxes?? Clearly they're finished. And clearly, they are wanting to time the release of those documents to insure that they don't actually affect the PA primary, on which Hillary is banking. My guess is that Hillary will release the taxes the day before the PA primary, say "see I kept my promise to release them before the primary"... then a few days after the primary, we'll all learn the truth of what's in those taxes. But it'll take at least a couple of days to vet the taxes for information and for the media to write their stories... long enough to not affect primary voters in advance.

Haven't we had enough of the Clinton-Bush approach to governing?

Posted by: radiocboy | March 18, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

It's good to see that the Clintons were unable to keep these records secret until the end of the primaries, but frustrating that so many people have already been forced to cast their votes without knowing what's in them. Hillary always assumed that the contest would be over by Feb. 5th, and if so she would have been able to run out the clock. Oh well...

Once again, the Clintons paranoid passion for secrecy only hurts their cause. If there was nothing to hide, then why not just turn them over in a timely manner and be done with it? Now, because of their delatory tactics, these papers will get much more intense scrutiny precisely because of the impression that Hillary never wanted them to see the light of day.

Now then, where are those years of tax returns that she still can't find the time to make public? Or to put it another way, how many times can she repeat the same stupid mistake? And how can she make any claim to possessing good judgment when she's shown none up to this point? I guess in her eyes the American electorate is just one huge vast right-wing conspiracy, eh?

Posted by: whatmeregister | March 18, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Indeed, keeping the phone records under wraps is rather interesting...
http://newsusa.myfeedportal.com/item.php?itemid=503389

Posted by: davidmwe | March 18, 2008 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Now, let's open the books about the Clintons' tax returns and the list of people who donated large amounts of money to the Clinton's library... Because there are troubling facts: for example ...

The Clinton's library foundation received recently a $31.3 million donation after Bill expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader's, undercuting both
American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan's poor human rights (Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/pol...ref=slogin ).

Shortly after beeing pardonned by President Clinton, fugitive financier Marc Rich had his ex-wife giving $400 000 to the Clintons library foundation: Source: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,98756,00.html

Posted by: Logan6 | March 18, 2008 6:13 PM | Report abuse

"The Clinton library, part of the National Archives and Records Administration, notified the U.S. District Court this month that it had finally completed a line-by-line review "
=================

"finally"? Is that a quote? Does Mr Baker think it took a long time? If so, don't his editors think he ought to keep it to himself, him not being an opinion columnist and all?

Posted by: zukermand | March 18, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

... Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement." ... The Clintons slow-pedaled this process but were unsuccessful in delaying the document release any further."

But:
...Under law, the records were subject to review by former president Bill Clinton's personal representative, Bruce R. Lindsey, ... Lindsey personally went through every line of every document to determine whether they should be released according to criteria set out in federal law... Susan Cooper, a spokeswoman for the National Archives, said neither the foundation nor Hillary Clinton's campaign determined the timing of the release. "We're releasing them tomorrow because they're ready tomorrow," she said. "It was as soon as we could get them out."
...

==============
So, either Baker misstates the law and Cooper is a liar or Fitton's charge is a baseless smear.
Which is it and why does Baker type both without qualification?

Posted by: zukermand | March 18, 2008 5:46 PM | Report abuse

"No word on whether they marked down all those 3 a.m. crisis phone calls"
============
Perhaps Mr Baker could keep his smart*ss remarks to himself while he's on the clock. Thanks.

Posted by: zukermand | March 18, 2008 5:39 PM | Report abuse

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