Today's Papers

Tripped Up

The New York Times leads with a bit of a bombshell about the grand jury testimony of President Clinton’s personal secretary. The Washington Post leads with the news that Linda Tripp gave an affidavit about Monica Lewinsky and Kathleen Wiley to Paula Jones’ lawyers. The top national story at the Los Angeles Times is the emerging pressure on the Clinton administration to not just strike against Saddam Hussein, but remove him. USA Today goes with the severe storms that are forecasted to punish both coasts starting today.

According to the NYT lead, Ken Starr’s quest to find out who the President knew and when did he know her may have gotten a big boost from the grand jury appearance of Betty Currie, who testified that Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky were sometimes alone together in the White House. Additionally, says the paper, the day after giving his Jones case deposition, Clinton told Currie that he had never been alone with Monica Lewinsky and that he had resisted her sexual advances.

Also, the Times reports, Currie turned over to investigators several gifts that Clinton had given to Lewinsky–a dress, a brooch, and a hatpin. According to Lewinsky’s account to Starr, after Jones’ lawyers issued a subpoena demanding Lewinsky surrender any gifts the President gave her, she discussed this with Clinton and he told her if she didn’t have the gifts, she wouldn’t have to turn them over. And soon after that conversation, says the Times, Currie collected the items from Lewinsky. The paper also quotes a person who has read Clinton’s deposition as saying that when asked by Jones’ lawyers if he had given Lewinsky any gifts, the president replied that perhaps, but only ordinary White House souvenirs.

The Post lead nails down the scandal’s earliest known details. In her January 21, 1998 affidavit for Jones (still under seal but somehow obtained by the WP), Tripp says Lewinsky told her of an affair with Clinton commencing on November 15, 1995, and that Lewinsky had played at least three tapes for Tripp containing Clinton’s voice and showed her gifts from Clinton. Tripp also says that Lewinsky had told her she planned to lie under oath if questioned about the relationship by Jones’ attorneys.

Inside, the Post runs Tripp’s sworn statement in its entirety. In it, Tripp describes herself as having once served in the Clinton White House as an “apolitical careerist.”

The Wall Street Journal reports that during his Middle East shuttle, Secretary of Defense Cohen may ask some smaller Gulf states to take up to 60 U.S. fighter-bombers now based in Saudi Arabia. The Pentagon, says the Journal, feels it can live with the Saudi policy of not allowing U.S. bombers to base there, but still allowing other U.S. combat support aircraft to do so.

The WP front and the NYT inside run stories about the clash between U.S. and Italian officials over what happened when that American military jet sliced a ski-lift suspension wire killing 20 people. An American general says the plane was following a standard training route, and thus far the crew have refused to speak with Italian investigators. The Italians are charging that the aircraft was too low and was hot-dogging. They are even alleging that the plane was equipped with a flight data recorder but that the Americans are withholding it. “Killer pilots” is a phrase that has appeared in the Italian press.

USAT reports that the makers of the best-selling drug in the U.S, Astra, has agreed to pay a record nearly $10 million to female employees who claimed that they were pressured for sex by company officials and urged to wear bikinis at a beach function.

A NYT top front piece discusses how newly released documents from the tobacco industry giants make it clearer than ever just how hard the companies tried to market cigarettes–especially mentholated ones–to blacks. A 1973 Brown and Williamson document quoted speaks of the possibility that “Kool will cover the top 25 markets in terms of absolute Negroes.” The revelations have led to calls from minority lawmakers and health authorities that some proceeds from any global tobacco settlement be earmarked for minorities.

What with all the headlines about Democratic Party fundraising, you might think the Dems take in more dough than the Republicans. You might be wrong–the WP runs a Reuters piece inside stating that in 1997, the GOP raised $37 million more–$114 million to $77 million.

Yesterday’s WP ran a story on the current political turmoil in Zimbabwe under the headline “Winter of Discontent.” But that’s wrong. After all, with a latitude of 19 degrees below the equator, Zimbabwe’s now in the middle of summer.