Today's Papers

Burial Plot Thickens

USA Today

leads with Janet Reno’s refusal to hand over to a congressional committee a memo FBI director Freeh had written her urging an independent counsel for investigating allegations of Clinton campaign fund-raising wrongdoing. The national edition of the New York Times leads with the report that Reno and Freeh wrote a joint letter to the committee defending and explaining their noncompliance. (The metro edition of the Times leads with a proposed reduction in NYC bus and subway fares.) The Washington Post leads with Al Gore’s vague speech at the Kyoto global-warming conference and the lukewarm-to-hostile reaction it got. Gore promised U.S. “flexibility” in arriving at a deal on such issues as how much constraint will be required of developing nations like China. The Los Angeles Times leads with the latest development in the mini-scandal concerning the interment at Arlington of the late Clinton political donor and ambassador M. Larry Lawrence: the decision of his widow to have her husband’s body removed from there.

The LAT lead explains that the Lawrence disinterment comes in response to a rising outcry over evidence that Lawrence didn’t have a right to an Arlington plot because he invented his story of being on a Merchant Marine ship, the Horace Bushnell, that was torpedoed while ferrying emergency supplies to the Russians during World War II. The paper points out that the dust-up is a particular embarrassment for a president for whom military issues have always been a matter of special sensitivity. (Can you say “the Col. Holmes letter”?) The LAT reports that officials of Wilbur Wright Community College in Chicago say that their records show Lawrence was enrolled there at the time of the Bushnell sinking. The WP and NYT both also have this detail in their pieces, which they run inside. Moreover, both these papers somewhat out-report the LAT. The WP finds a Bushnell survivor who doesn’t remember Lawrence and the NYT finds the widow of one who is none too pleased about the whole affair. Both papers are reporting that Lawrence’s claim to have graduated from the University of Arizona appears to be false. Plus, the NYT reports that Lawrence would “struggle with his emotions” when he would talk of his near sinking, which he did at his Senate confirmation hearings.

Both the USAT and NYT leads also cover the White House’s turn-over to Congress of a new batch of internal documents relating to President Clinton’s meetings with Democratic fund-raisers under investigation in Justice and congressional probes. According to the Times, the documents quote one presidential assistant observing that the Federal Election Commission would not be able to finish its investigation of foreign contributions to the Democrats until after the election and then quote Leon Panetta, the White House Chief of Staff as saying, “This will certainly help move campaign reform forward.”

The Wall Street Journal “Work Week” column reports on the advent of Web sites that offer employees a chance to vent about their troubles at work. One site posts anecdotes sent in by readers about their bosses’ antics and features a satirical advice column. Another offers tips on how to relax before job interviews (have a Tic Tac).