Signed, sealed, delivered
Breakfast at the White House on Sept. 9 didn't go well. Like a child caught with his hand in the cookie jar, President Clinton reiterated over and over to Democratic leaders how sorry he was, and how he promised never to let them down again. But his own party's leaders didn't seem to buy that line. Those who spoke to the press after the meeting sounded thoroughly unconvinced, saying as little as possible with little visible conviction. For the embattled president, things went downhill from there. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the senior Democrat in the Senate, chastised Mr. Clinton from the floor of the chamber. On the other side of the Capitol, at a bipartisan meeting of House leaders, it was difficult to tell Republicans from Democrats as members of all political persuasions put on their longest faces and spoke in somber tones about their heavy duty to pursue the truth, wherever that might lead. It was at 4 p.m., however, that the real political drama began. About 15 minutes after notifying Speaker Newt Gingrich, Ken Starr finally sent his long-awaited report to Capitol Hill. Oprah fans in many cities watched, stunned, as local stations broke away with live pictures of box after box-36 in all-being loaded into a police van on the east side of the Capitol. In the boxes: thousands of pages of transcribed testimonies, the fruit of months of work by Mr. Starr's grand juries. The delivery itself was the fruit of a frantic, last-minute push to wrap up the long-running investigation. Lawyers from the Office of the Independent Counsel worked almost around the clock beginning Labor Day weekend to produce a report so detailed that even the executive summary was said to run 445 pages. Ironically, the surprise deadline may have been set by Mr. Clinton himself. After his personal lawyer, David Kendall, demanded an advance copy of the report so the president could prepare a rebuttal, Mr. Starr's team feared a series of legal challenges designed to delay the inevitable. So the independent counsel went on the offensive, putting his report in the hands of congressional leaders before they expected it, and before the president's legal team could stop it. And so, after months of nervous anticipation, Congress finally held the future of the Clinton administration in its hands. Four years and $40 million all came down to this: 36 cardboard boxes in a dark green van. The fighting began almost immediately. With Mr. Starr's evidence under lock and key just blocks from the Capitol, House leaders began debating what to do with it. A potentially divisive rule vote was set for the next day to determine how the evidence would be handled. Though grand jury testimony will be kept confidential to protect the privacy of witnesses, Republicans promised quick release of the report's executive summary, most likely via the Internet, since many details would likely be too sensitive for broadcast news or family newspapers. That scenario would likely damage further Mr. Clinton's already tattered public image. The release of the Starr report-and the sense that its contents would be a national embarrassment-amplified calls for the president to step down. "I think the president should resign," Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, told WORLD. "It's the only dignified thing to do. He has admitted lying to the American people. He has admitted to a sexually abusive relationship-given the power difference between these two people, it's classic sexual abuse. I think he clearly should resign. He can use it as an opportunity to teach America that there are in fact consequences to wrongdoing." If that doesn't happen, Mr. Inglis said the president is entitled to the same presumption of innocence granted to all defendants in criminal trials. "We should treat the polls as completely irrelevant. We should try to put out of mind the fact that the election is in November. We should put partisanship aside and look at this report. We must only consider the evidence in those 36 boxes." That won't be easy, of course-or quick. Just the physical duplication of the report will take time. A single copy for each congressional office would require nearly 240,000 pages of Xeroxing. Given the rule debate and the problems of distribution, Mr. Inglis on Sept. 10 expected to have to wait another week to receive a copy of the report. Still, he said, the drama was drawing inexorably to a close. "Justice is not rushed, nor is it served by inordinate delay. I think the American people just want to get this behind them. We have a very impaired president, which means we have a nation at risk. We need a leader of the free world with the moral authority to lead the world. It's a serious problem for all of us as Americans."
Yeltsin's dicey endgame
Russian president Boris Yeltsin named Yevgeny Primakov prime minister after his first choice, Victor Chernomyrdin, was rejected by the lower house of parliament, the Duma. It was a compromise move to avert a constitutional crisis on top of the country's economic emergency. Mr. Primakov appeared likely to receive confirmation but no easy ride from the Communists who control the Duma. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov called the choice of Mr. Primakov "good sense" but pushed an economic plan of his own, which is likely to differ widely from one pushed by allies of Mr. Primakov. It called for "years of patience and labor ... to rebuild what has been destroyed." It pledged "direct state capitalization" and "protection from ill-willed competition on the part of foreign producers." It also promised state support to industries and "cheap credits." In selecting Mr. Primakov, Mr. Yeltsin faced a desperate political endgame: He had to find a way around the failed nomination of Mr. Chernomyrdin or dissolve parliament and call new elections. Presidential hopeful Alexander Lebed said, "The worst thing would be for the current paralysis of power to continue." He predicted most Russians will join a Communist-led nationwide strike Oct. 7. "Five minutes after it starts, it will be out of control," he said.
Members of the judiciary committee
Henry J. Hyde, Illinois, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, WWII combat veteran, former trial lawyer in Chicago, served in 1987 on the Iran-Contra investigating committee.
F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr., Wisconsin, attorney finishing his ninth term in Congress.
Bill McCollum, Florida, served in the Navy on active duty for four years and in the reserve for 23 years. He has practiced law privately.
George W. Gekas, Pennsylvania, former district attorney and state legislator.
Howard Coble, North Carolina, former U.S. attorney, former state legislator, served five years active duty and 18 years reserve duty in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Lamar S. Smith, Texas, attorney best known for attempts to restrict immigration.
Elton Gallegly, California, businessman and real estate broker, former mayor.
Charles T. Canady, Florida, practiced law for 13 years and served in the state legislature for six years, best known as a point man on attempts to ban partial-birth abortions and eliminate affirmative action.
Bob Inglis, South Carolina, attorney running for the Senate against Fritz Hollings.
Bob Goodlatte, Virginia, attorney with e-mail address that begins "talk2bob."
Stephen E. Buyer, Indiana, lawyer, Gulf War veteran, major in the Army Reserves.
Ed Bryant, Tennessee, former U.S. attorney, served in the Military Intelligence Branch of the U.S. Army, taught constitutional law at West Point.
Steve Chabot, Ohio, former Cincinnati city councilman and county commissioner, taught elementary school while attending law school at night.
Bob Barr, Georgia, former U.S. attorney and CIA agent, among the first to call for impeachment.
William L. Jenkins, Tennessee, farmer, attorney, and judge, first elected to the Tennessee legislature at 25.
Asa Hutchinson, Arkansas, former U.S. attorney.
Edward A. Pease, Indiana, lawyer, former state legislator, Eagle Scout. Chris Cannon, Utah, lawyer and ex-Reagan administration official.
James E. Rogan, California, former district attorney, law professor, and judge.
Lindsey O. Graham, South Carolina, former state legislator, Gulf War veteran, and military judge.
Mary Bono, California, wife of late Rep. Sonny Bono, elected this year to fill his seat.
John Conyers Jr., Michigan, lawyer, Korean War veteran, 16-term congressman whose career has focused on civil rights and criminal justice legislation.
Barney Frank, Massachusetts, Harvard-trained lawyer, best known at the beginning of the 1990s for having a homosexual lover who ran a gay brothel out of Mr. Frank's townhouse.
Charles E. Schumer, New York, lawyer, fast-rising career politician first elected to the state legislature at 23 and the U.S. Congress at 29, best known as a gun-controller.
Howard L. Berman, California, lawyer, ex-state legislator, former VISTA volunteer.
Rick Boucher, Virginia, lawyer, eight-term congressman.
Jerrold Nadler, New York, lawyer, abortion-industry go-to guy on key abortion votes.
Robert C. "Bobby" Scott, Virginia, lawyer.
Melvin L. Watt, North Carolina, lawyer, Democratic Baseball Team pitcher for the last four years.
Zoe Lofgren, California, lawyer, law professor, ex-congressional staffer in the 1970s, during which time she worked on presidential impeachment and the Equal Rights Amendment.
Sheila Jackson-Lee, Texas, lawyer, former member of the Houston city council, former municipal court judge.
Maxine Waters, California, former state legislator, seconded Bill Clinton's nomination at the 1992 convention and served as co-chair of the national Clinton campaign.
Martin T. Meehan, Massachusetts, former district attorney.
William D. Delahunt, Massachusetts, lawyer, first-term congressman.
Robert Wexler, Florida, lawyer, regular guest on talking-head shows to defend President Clinton.
Steven R. Rothman, New Jersey, lawyer, judge, ex-mayor.
One vote shy
Spurred by Russian instability, together with recent missile tests by North Korea, Iran, India, and Pakistan, Republican leaders in Congress say they will push to speed work on a national missile defense system. They ran into a slowdown Sept. 9 when a measure to do just that failed by one vote in the U.S. Senate. Republicans needed 60 votes to overcome Democratic opposition to developing a protective shield against intercontinental ballistic missiles, once dubbed "Star Wars." The vote ended 59-41. House Speaker Newt Gingrich vowed to push a similar vote through the House later this month, saying, "The United States has to truly move towards a missile defense and has to recognize that an [anti-ballistic-missile] treaty with the Soviet Union that no longer exists is hardly a defense against real missiles in the hands of real dictators."
They're not buying it
The morning after the Kenneth Starr report dropped, editorial pages across the country continued their criticism of the president's conduct and his too-little, way-too-late apologies. "Eight months ago," USA Today editorialized, "those words-plus full disclosure of his transgressions-might have sufficed. Today, they only grate." The national newspaper's editorial noted that concerning the Lewinsky scandal, the president's words "clearly can no longer be believed" and that "any chance for quick forgiveness passed" with the delivery last week of the Starr report. "Congress has no choice now but to review Starr's evidence in detail and render a judgment of it, be that an impeachment proceeding or a vote of censure. Silence would amount to tacit approval of the president's behavior." The conservative Washington Times ran an editorial bluntly titled "Open the boxes," referring to the sealed cardboard crates of evidence backing the Starr report. The editorial predicted the entire report would eventually be leaked anyway and would lead to "undending speculation as to the accuracy of the leaks." The only way to prevent that, the Times said, is with "fresh air and sunlight, which can only get in if the boxes are cracked open." The capital city's newspaper of record carried a solemn editorial about the "most solemn process in our constitutional system," impeachment of a president. The Washington Post cautioned Congress to conduct its probe in "as detached, objective, and nonpartisan a fashion as possible." President Clinton's 11th-hour attempt to get quick absolution, the Post editorialized, is "still too glib." The good gray New York Times pronounced last Wednesday a "somber day in Washington," and went on to critique the president's continued attempt to "make it right" with the American people. "At some deep level the president fails to acknowledge how much of the story of his life and this presidency has been written in indelible ink," the Times said.
Healing baseball, but not the nation
Christians know that there is no such thing as an atheist. Deep down, everyone believes in the existence of God-and, therefore, godliness. Many people, as the first chapter of Romans explains, suppress the truth in unrighteousness, but the desire to worship comes bubbling up at weird and wonderful times. Sportswriters last week frequently found themselves using religious imagery in their attempt to convey the atmosphere of Mark McGwire's record-setting. "Mighty McGwire could reach official godliness today," read an Austin American-Statesman headline, although the process for making that status "official" remained unclear. The Washington Post reported that when No. 62 went out of the park, "The game was delayed for 11 minutes as baseball genuflected before its new home-run king." Providentially, Mr. McGwire himself was having none of this. While enjoying the moment, he emphasized his role not as a heavenly father but a human one paying attention to his 10-year-old son, the product of a failed marriage. Just before the slugger tied the home-run record in the first inning on Sept. 7, he was anxiously looking for his son, who lives with Mr. McGwire's ex-wife in California and was scheduled to arrive by plane just in time for the game. At game time, Matthew was not yet in the dugout, but just before Mr. McGwire walked to the plate, "He was there. I told him I loved him and gave him a kiss. The next time I saw him was at home plate," following the home run. The successful chase for a new record was good for the wonderful sport of baseball, but powerless beyond that. The weekend before home runs 61 and 62, Cincinnati Reds manager Jack McKeon reflected on a summer of Washington scandal and said pitchers should throw the ball across the plate to Mr. McGwire: "Going into this healing process, I thought, 'Well, I'm going to do something good for the country. I'll pitch to him. See if we can't help with the healing process.'" When that comment was relayed to Mark McGwire, he laughed and said: "Wouldn't it be great if that's all it came down to?" For more on the joy of the new record, see page 26.
Character cuts both ways
The announcement last week came as a bombshell: Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.), champion of family values and fierce critic of President Clinton, has a 15-year-old son fathered out of wedlock. Conservatives were shocked. Liberals were gleeful. Mr. Burton was contrite. "What bothers me the most is not about me. I know this is hard for someone to believe about a politician, but I have watched everybody's hearts being ripped out," he said in an interview with two Indianapolis newspapers, shortly after the facts were made public. "I just don't want anybody to be hurt any more than they are going to be hurt. I made a mistake." Mr. Burton said he made that mistake years ago during a rocky period in his marriage. He said his wife, Barbara, has long known about the son, for whom he has been paying child support for years. "There was no need for anybody to go to court or anything else. I said I would be glad to pay support because I think that is my responsibility." Some Democrats immediately charged that Mr. Burton had a further responsibility-to stop "preaching" at others about family values. "The underlying hypocrisy is what is troubling," said Joe Andrew, chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party. Mr. Burton, however, insisted that as chairman of the House committee charged with investigating campaign finance abuses by the Clinton administration, he has stuck to issues of money-rather than morals-specifically because of his own past. But Russell Pulliam, editor of the Indianapolis News, one of the two papers breaking the story, told WORLD that Mr. Burton's loss of moral authority was a genuine blow. "The issues he's struggling with in the Clinton administration are at base moral issues, not just legal or financial issues. When a person has sins like these in his own background, it makes it harder to call others to account." With "character" likely to be a hot political topic for years to come in the wake of the Clinton scandals, the line between private and public, past and present, will become increasingly blurred. And that means the principle found in chapter 10 of the book of Matthew will become increasingly plain: "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known." For defenders of family values, the lesson of the Burton affair is plain: Search your souls-and your closets.
Abusers resigned to judgment
Mark McGwire produced happy headlines last week, but the ghastly headlines called attention to the cause for which Mr. McGwire donates a million dollars a year-prevention of child sexual abuse. The beaming home-run champion's mug graced the front pages of newspapers and broadcast news shows the same day they showed a 19-year-old thug confessing in court to the sexual assault and murder of 7-year-old Sherrice Iverson. The news of that day also reported the apparent suicide of a New Britain, Conn., scientist who was one of more than 40 people arrested the week before in a worldwide child pornography sting. Last week, Sherrice's killer, Jeremy Strohmeyer, avoided a potential death sentence by pleading guilty to murder, kidnapping, and sexual assault only hours before opening statements were to begin at his trial in Nevada. Mr. Strohmeyer, now 19, is to be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life for the 1997 slaying. In his confession to police, Mr. Strohmeyer said he wanted to know what it felt like to kill someone. Now he is worried about possibly being on the receiving end in prison, his attorney said. Prisons are not usually friendly environments for child molesters and child killers. Might the Internet also become a less friendly environment for pedophiles? Law enforcement officials around the globe hoped their efforts to bust members of the alleged online kiddie-porn ring, the Wonderland Club, would pay off. But even as news broke last week of the suicide of a man caught in the sting, details emerged about the depth and depravity of club members. European and Canadian newspapers reported that prospective members were required to possess at least 10,000 unique images of kiddie porn.
Home in glory
Johnson Ferry Baptist Church of Marietta, Ga., may be a big church-but the statistical oddity was still striking. When Cherie Hastie and Caroline Smith were announced as among 229 people who died Sept. 2 in the crash of Swissair Flight 111, it was the third time in two years that persons associated with the church had perished in a highly publicized air disaster. In July 1996, Lamar Allen and his son Ashton of the Johnson Ferry church were among those who died in the crash of TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island. Then in August 1997, Gloria Chung, who taught in the church's preschool, was aboard the Korean airliner that crashed in Guam. Although Mrs. Hastie, 59, was not a member of the Johnson Ferry church, she was a faithful participant in a regular Bible study there. With her good friend Mrs. Smith, who had also attended the Bible study before moving out of the area, she was heading to Switzerland to visit the Hasties' daughter Elizabeth, who had interrupted her studies at Covenant College to spend time at L'Abri, the study center established by the late Francis Schaeffer. Cherie's husband Sandy-a former Navy captain-said later he had been praying for the women's trip throughout the fatal Wednesday evening. But when it became clear that no one survived the crash off the coast of Nova Scotia, he was just as quick to explain their family's faith to the media. "We have a gaping hole in our lives," he acknowledged in a testimony carried by National Public Radio. But "one thing we can rejoice in is that she's home with the Lord in glory. I can't tell you why that happened, but obviously the Lord has a master plan.... He'll pull us through; he has a plan." At Johnson Ferry Church, staffer Angela Leveridge said, "It's been hard, being impacted by these three crashes. It's just tragic."
Nation in brief
Hoping to head off any U.S. recession that might be brought on by faltering economies abroad, Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan hinted last week the central bank may cut interest rates. The stock market also reacted nervously to the global economic crunch: After a record single-day bounce-back last week (380 points), the Dow Jones plunged 155 points on Sept. 9. Despite the wild ride on Wall Street and the attendant economic uncertainty, two-thirds of American adults say they have not changed their spending habits, according to an Associated Press poll. More than 90 percent of those polled say they believe that a year from now their family's financial situation will be as good as it is today or better. Recent financial news made 30 percent more cautious about spending. But most people said interest rates and the job market were more important to them than the stock market. Surplus and shutdown
In less than two weeks, the federal government's Fiscal Year 1999 begins. But with Republicans and Democrats in Congress at odds over how to spend taxpayer money in the new year, each passing day brings a greater likelihood that the new year will start without spending legislation-and that could mean a government shutdown. The budget wrangling comes at a time when one of the biggest disagreements is over what to do with the expected budget surplus; Republicans want to give the money back to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts, while Democrats and the White House insist the surplus be poured into the Social Security system. Last week, the Congressional Budget Office projected $1.6 trillion in surpluses over the next 11 years. Continued economic growth is credited for the black ink. However, the CBO projection assumes no recession in the next decade. My wife, my mother
A physicist with no medical license said he is ready to begin the first step toward earthly pseudo-immortality: He will clone himself. Richard Seed, who provoked controversy earlier this year by announcing plans to clone humans, said that the first person he will try to copy will be himself. The Boston Globe reported that Mr. Seed said his wife, Gloria, has agreed to carry an embryo he says will be created by combining the nucleus of one of his cells with a donor egg. Inappropriate relationship, part II
A church leader under investigation for misusing millions of dollars of his denomination's money made a surprise admission last week: Henry J. Lyons, head of the National Baptist Convention USA, confessed to having an affair with a church worker and asked for the church's forgiveness. He got it from church leaders. Although Mr. Lyons was flanked by dozens of backers at a news conference starting off the convention's annual meeting, the show of support doesn't end the federal financial corruption probe. Both Mr. Lyons and the mistress are targets.
World in brief
National park service
In Poland, government officials took jurisdiction of Nazi concentration camps at Auschwitz away from local authorities in a move to end a battle over crosses erected near the site. Local officials and Jewish groups have opposed a "radical" Roman Catholic group, which has raised hundreds of white crosses within view of the death camp, where 1.5 million Jews were killed during World War II. The controversy prompted Warsaw officials, in effect, to create a national park-style system of camps scattered throughout the country. They also hope to attract international funding for the sites. One-man troika
It's official. North Korea's Kim Jong Il became the country's "paramount leader" after he was named head of the National Defense Commission last week. Mr. Kim is already general secretary of the Korean Workers' Party and commander of the armed forces, but has been slow to take up the full mantle of leadership, even four years after the death of his father, Kim Il Sung. If the country lives by secrecy, there is nothing hidden about its nostomania: The People's Assembly did away with the title of president in order to honor the memory of the late dictator, Kim Il Sung. Its explanation of an Aug. 31 missile test over the Sea of Japan was also a throwback: It said it had launched a satellite. Heavy hands?
Cambodian police used clubs and cattle prods against female protesters outside Phnom Penh's National Assembly to break up a 16-day vigil against the government of Hun Sen. A group of 30 praying Buddhist monks were dispersed with water cannons. The heavy-handed assault in the capital city's narrow streets near the U.S. embassy came after a grenade attack on Hun Sen's home. Opposition leader Sam Rainsy denied his group's involvement in the grenade launch and sought UN protection from police, who reportedly were under orders to arrest him. His group has been protesting July elections. Hun Sen did not win the necessary two-thirds majority, and charges of voter fraud remain unresolved.