Today's Papers

Willey, Adversary

USA Today

and the Washington Post lead with the grand jury appearance of Kathleen Willey. The New York Times covers the Willey questioning in its lead too, but goes higher in the story with the news that President Clinton may be headed for a grand jury appearance himself. The Los Angeles Times leads with the news that the INS announced that none of a new batch of Border Patrol agents is being assigned to San Diego–because the agency feels that illegal immigration there has “reached a level of control.” The paper notes that some Southern Californians, including some area politicians, dispute this, noting that while San Diego’s illegal entries seem to have dropped, nearby areas of inland California have seen their illegal immigration arrests skyrocket.

Yesterday’s WP said that Willey was coming to the Starr grand jury, but nobody predicted this soon. The papers seize on various indications that in Willey, Starr seems to have at last found a cooperative witness, noting that she did not appear to have her own lawyer with her (USAT), that she arrived in a Starr van (the WP), and was accompanied inside the courthouse by prosecutors (the WP and NYT). The WP notes the White House projected an air of unconcern, quoting spokesman Joe Lockhart’s comment: “When people tell the truth, they tell the truth. It doesn’t matter who drove you there.” But the Post also notes that the White House was mum about how Willey, a clerical volunteer, managed to wangle the private appointment in November, 1993 with Clinton to discuss her husband’s financial troubles and her sudden need for a job, during which, she charges in her Jones case deposition, he groped her.

The Post observes that Willey’s appearance indicates Starr is widening his investigation beyond the allegations involving Monica Lewinsky to determine whether President Clinton has testified truthfully in his Paula Jones deposition about other women as well. Everybody reports that Starr is also interested in determining if Willey was–as she stated in her Jones case affidavit–approached by Democratic fund-raiser Nathan Landow in an effort to influence her to back off her grope charge.

It has been widely reported that a woman named Julie Steele now says Willey asked her to falsely claim that she was told by Willey about the incident not long after it happened. But USAT says that it has found another Willey friend who says Willey told her of the incident shortly after it allegedly took place. On the other hand, the paper also notes that in her 1995 testimony in connection with a lawsuit over her late husband’s estate, Willey says she never had a conversation with anyone in Washington about her husband’s financial reversals.

The NYT front reports that six Iraqis who worked with the CIA in plots against Saddam Hussein have now been declared threats to U.S. national security and hence subject to deportation, in a ruling so secret that their lawyers aren’t allowed to read it.

Another Times front-page piece describes how fear of litigation has made high school guidance counselors much more hesitant to pass along information about applicants to college admissions personnel. “They’ll write that Johnny took these courses and was a great student,” remarks one expert in the field, “but they won’t tell you that Johnny burned down the gym.”

The Wall Street Journal “Tax Report” says that the number of tax cases referred to the Justice Department in which taxpayers have simply refused to recognize the basic legality of the income tax has doubled over the past three years.

And the Journal’s piece about the upcoming Blumenthal vs. Drudge libel suit quotes First Amendment scholar Floyd Abrams as saying, “If one were rewriting libel law today, one would try to write it to assure that the false statements of Matt Drudge were treated as libel.” And what exactly would that rewrite say? You know, that wouldn’t allow Matt Drudge to say what he says, but would allow Floyd Abrams to say what he says.

The WP reports that according to a new GAO report, in 1995-96, $8.5 million worth of food stamps were issued to more than 25,000 dead people.

Both the NYT and WP report that when asked to identify himself by reporters in front of the courthouse where the Starr grand jury is located, Kathleen Willey’s son said he was “the sausage king of Chicago.” The Times is stumped by this, but the Post gets it: he’s quoting a line Matthew Broderick used in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”