Today's Papers

Lewinsky Outsky

The New York Times, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times lead with the decision by the judge in the Paula Jones lawsuit to exclude all evidence relating to Monica Lewinsky. USA Today goes with the apparently floundering negotiations between Lewinsky’s lawyers and Kenneth Starr. All four fronts are adorned with a fresh picture of Ms. Lewinsky, appearing far more sophisticated than in the previous head shot or the CNN reel. No doubt about it, sitting chiaroscuro in the back of a limo next to a criminal defense attorney is a good look.

The Jones case ruling came, explain the papers, in response to Starr’s even broader request to halt all of the case’s fact-finding in deference to Starr’s criminal investigation. The judge acknowledged that Lewinsky-related evidence might be relevant, but says it’s not essential. Jones’ lawyers were disappointed, being left in the position, observes the NYT, of not being able to use evidence their case helped flush out. President Clinton’s suits liked the decision. “That’s huge,” said Robert Bennett in the WP. “That means we try the Paula Jones case and not the Monica Lewinsky case. That’s huge, man.” (The NYT has the same quote, but loses the “man.”)

Pace Hillary Clinton, the NYT points out that this legal conflict between the Starr and Jones camps shows that there’s not a united anti-Clinton front.

The LAT lead cites experts who argue that the decision has a big pro-Clinton upshot: if the sworn statements Clinton and Lewinsky recently gave to Jones’ lawyers are not admissible, then they cannot be used as the basis for perjury or obstruction of justice charges. The LAT notes that Starr’s office doesn’t agree.

The NYT story on the Lewinsky/Starr negotiations has plenty of goodies. Such as: Tripp saying Thursday night that she was present late one night when Clinton called Lewinsky, and that she had seen “numerous gifts” the two exchanged. The story also states that FBI agents removed several dresses and pant suits from Lewinsky’s Watergate closet and that the FBI laboratory has tested them to see if they could be linked to Clinton. The paper does not know the tests’ outcome.

The WP, NYT, and USAT go front-page with the bombing yesterday at an Alabama abortion clinic that killed an off-duty police officer working there as a security guard. Operation Rescue reps joined pro-choice advocates in condemning the action. Investigators are looking to see if the crime has any connection to two unsolved 1997 Atlanta clinic bombings.

The Wall Street Journal “Washington Wire” reminds us that journalists can dish it out but they can’t take it, with its report that Sidney Blumenthal, who is suing Matt Drudge for slander, has, via his lawyers, blasted NBC’s Tim Russert for having Drudge on “Meet The Press” last weekend.

The WP off-lead reports that the French foreign minister is unexpectedly firm in his support of U.S. threats against Iraq. The new French stance is also Page One at the LAT. Meanwhile, fully half of the NYT op-ed page is given over to calls for action against Saddam. William Kristol and Robert Kagan say that the U.S. should remove Hussein and his regime from power. A.M. Rosenthal goes that one better: “Eventually he will have to be killed for the safety of his own people and of the Middle East.”

The NYT reports that the Manhattan Deli added two sandwiches to its menu Thursday: The “Bill Clinton” and the “Ken Starr.” And on the first day at least, the former outsold the latter. The sandwiches are identical concoctions of ham, baloney, and turkey. With one difference: The “Clinton” uh, comes with a tomato.