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Clinton and Whitewater

January 14, 1994

* In 10 years in Congress I have never seen a more irresponsible piece of journalism than Lars-Erik Nelson's Column Left (Jan. 11) on the Whitewater scandal.

Nelson writes that over a recent breakfast I "talked easily about impeaching President Clinton" and engaged in "offhand, reckless speculation. . . ." He notes that "the very word impeachment puts his legitimacy as President in doubt," and adds "Partisan politicians like Armey are joined by the howling jackals of the press in using the sly weasel words of accusatory politics."

The first time I ever heard the word impeachment used in connection with Whitewater was when Nelson raised the prospect of impeachment at that breakfast. Nelson quotes me accurately as saying that "these things (political scandals) take off like an amoeba in all directions," but neglects to note that after he repeatedly pressed me on the prospect of impeachment, I repeatedly told the reporters present that I was not there to talk about impeaching the President.

Here are the points I made: I don't know what an investigation will turn up, but the circumstances certainly merit one. I don't know if there's anything there that would lead to impeachment, and have never heard the prospect discussed by any Republican in Congress. Political manipulation of a government-guaranteed savings and loan for personal gain is a serious charge, and I think the President should be forthcoming with information.

Nelson's column is like the old "when did you stop beating your wife" line. He asks me about impeaching the President, I answer his question, then he blasts me for "talk(ing) easily about impeaching President Clinton." What a crock. I feel sorry for his readers.

REP. DICK ARMEY

R-Tex.

* Why it is that, contrary to our system's having placed the burden of proof on the prosecution, the Clintons must prove their innocence--to the satisfaction of clearly partisan Republicans and the so-called "liberal" press--of incredibly vague, unspecified and wholly unsubstantiated allegations, based on nothing but speculative innuendo and accusatory conjecture?

And especially since Republicans, with their record of formal indictments and convictions, and legacy of insulting the public with thoroughly implausible denials of wrongdoing, have conveniently pardoned themselves from the rule of law, proclaiming that their self-serving conspiracies, cover-ups and sundry other violations of the Constitution were motivated by "patriotism," and the mainstream media just yawned?

Should an independent counsel be appointed to investigate the unspecified wrongdoing which the Republicans have suggested were behind Bill Clinton's student visa to Moscow? If not for that, then why for this (and vice versa)? Why isn't the press' focus instead on the monumental hypocrisy, pathological cynicism, and basic Joe McCarthy character which motivate the Republicans?

BRIAN ZICK

Los Angeles

* Oliver North and George Bush should immediately offer their shredding machines to Bill and Hillary Clinton as a gesture of goodwill.

BOB JONES

San Juan Capistrano

* Apparently the NAFTA treaty has dissolved and all remembrance of it has died. It was so nice to see the two warring army's join and fight together for a common goal. But the civil war rages on; the Democratic army is digging in to protect itself from the Republican barrage. The new hill to be taken: Whitewatergate. Leading the troops is Gen. Bob Dole, who has been heard rallying the troops by yelling, "Remember Iran Contra." Oh, who could forget that victory, the "I don't remember" and "I wasn't present" battle cries rang out to keep the casualties to a single marine.

Long live the memory of Oliver North.

Will this battle have the same outcome? I believe so. Commander in Chief Clinton has his top tacticians and strategists scattering about collecting all the top secret documents. For if these documents were to fall into enemy hands, Gen. Dole may have a victory as profound as the one known as the "Battle of Tricky Dick."

While the armies bombard each other with accusations, slander and pointed fingers, little civilian girls get kidnaped and killed, commuters on subways get slaughtered, and the number of gun sales in Los Angeles continues to rise. It is time for both of the armies to put up the white flag and return to protecting, serving and being all that they can be for the citizens that enlisted them.

SCOTT STARR

San Juan Capistrano

* I hope Whitewater doesn't turn into whitewash.

ROBERT W. DIEHL

Burbank

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