The New York Times leads with President Clinton’s push for a new International Monetary Fund strategy to avert further global economic turmoil. The Washington Post’s lead forecasts that during Monday’s House Judiciary Committee proceedings, more grounds for the impeachment of President Clinton will be added to the 11 counts currently pending. The Los Angeles Times leads with the story that preoccupies everyone’s front: the latest act in the Lewinsky circus, namely the 4610 pages of evidence released yesterday by the House Judiciary Committee.
The new three-volume set of documents includes excerpts from Linda Tripp’s taped conversations with Monica Lewinsky and grand jury testimony from Vernon Jordan, Bettie Currie, Bruce Lindsey, and other key figures. With so many fresh details, it is hardly surprising that each paper emphasizes a different aspect. All papers note, however, that the new evidence does more to disclose the details we’ve all been wondering about than to substantively change the investigation.
The papers also agree that the tapes portray Tripp as a manipulator, which plays into White House hands. (From the NYT analysis: The “friendship” between Lewinsky and Tripp seems “less a real friendship than a temporary alliance between two women obsessed with Bill Clinton who often do not even seem to like each other very much.”) The LAT highlights the improbable assertions by Betty Currie, President Clinton’s secretary, that despite hiding in the Oval Office bathroom during one of the Clinton-Lewinsky encounters (according to a synopsis of Tripp’s account), she remained uncertain about the nature of the encounters: “I had a feeling, but I had nothing to base it on other than a gut.” The WP fronts a story about strenuous efforts by Jordan and Lindsey to persuade Clinton to settle the Paula Jones lawsuit after Lewinsky testified. As all papers note, Jordan strongly denied that his job-search on Lewinsky’s behalf was an attempt to get her to lie in the Jones case.
Citing “an informed source” throughout, the WP lead says that Republican investigator David Schippers’ new impeachment counts against President Clinton will involve accusations of witness tampering, obstruction of justice, and making false statements under oath (as distinguished from more serious and difficult-to-prove perjury charges). Of the 11 counts already set forth, one which relates to executive privilege will be dropped, because Schippers views privilege as the domain of the judicial not the legislative branch. Schippers’ presentation will be countered Monday by Democratic investigator Abbe Lowell, who will downplay the gravity of Clinton’s offense.
The NYT lead story, also the off-lead at the WP, describes Clinton’s proposal that the IMF distribute preemptive emergency lines of credit to countries that show relative economic stability but nonetheless could succumb to panic swings. (The NYT observes that Clinton’s “hasty presentation … suggested the idea had been cobbled together quickly”–perhaps to deflect attention from Starr’s new releases.) Clinton’s words came on the same day as the release of a Labor Department report showing that fewer jobs were created and unemployment rose incrementally during September–developments which raise some fears that the Asian malaise is spreading to the U.S. Clinton’s IMF proposal contains a number of weaknesses, as the papers point out. First, these “lines of credit” are as-yet vaguely defined and may not differ significantly from current IMF policy. Second and more crucially, the IMF needs to collect its money before it can activate such a plan. The U.S. (among other debtor nations) still owes the IMF $18 billion. Approval for the payment is mired in the House, where Republicans are staunchly opposed to additional IMF funding.
And now for some comic relief: The NYT Arts section reports that French literary great Marcel Proust has just joined company with Asterix and Tintin. His 12-volume classic Remembrance of Things Past has been remade into a French comic book, which has been selling like mad(eleines). All 12,000 first-run copies were scooped up in three weeks. This naturally has sparked a heated debate in France, where attempts to “democratize Proust” affront French custodianship of high culture.
Anyone sending mail to Russia is out of luck. The NYT front page reports that almost all of the country’s mail service has shut down because railway companies and some airports are demanding $13 million in back pay from the post office. Predictably, the post office is owed approximately that same amount by the government. Hey, Russia, it’s email time!