Today's Papers

Depose or Deep Pose?

Today’s questioning of Monica Lewinsky by House prosecutors leads at USA Today and the Washington Post. The New York Times goes with the unveiling of the Clinton administration’s proposed $1.7 trillion budget. The Los Angeles Times lead is a poll putting George W. Bush first among Republican voters and Elizabeth Dole second, and purporting to show that each right now would beat Al Gore. The story also states that a House or Senate incumbent candidate’s vote on President Clinton’s impeachment would not affect most voters’ attitudes towards him or her, and that most voters also think impeachment should not be an issue in the upcoming presidential campaign.

Both Lewinsky leads say that the questioning will focus on the obstruction of justice charge. USAT reports that senators are now saying the perjury charge is “doomed.” And both say not to expect any big bombshell from the uh, big bombshell.

The WP does go on at some length though to say that based on Lewinsky’s prior grand jury testimony, she could in fact represent a substantial threat to Vernon Jordan, who has never before been asked about her testimony, but presumably will be when he’s deposed later in the week. For instance, notes the Post, when first asked about some pages he made to Lewinsky, Jordan told the grand jury he was certain he wasn’t calling her to ask about the Drudge Report’s revelations of Lewinsky relationship with Clinton. But later he said that’s exactly what the pages were about. And Jordan testified that he never had an inkling during his assist to Lewinsky’s job search that she and the president were intimate. But Lewinsky testified that she told Jordan this. And Jordan said he did not discuss Lewinsky’s Jones case affidavit with her beforehand and only skimmed it afterwards. But Lewinsky swore she showed him a draft and discussed a wording change with him.

The NYT says President Clinton’s proposed fiscal 2000 budget proposes billions in new spending while preaching fiscal conservatism, via combining such liberal domestic programs as urban housing vouchers and classroom construction with cherished Republican priorities like the military, the police and small business. The Times says that with his State of the Union and now this budget, Clinton has moved into a policy vacuum created by a year of scandal and the Republicans’ failure during that time to offer their own coherent response to the long-term problems of the nation’s costliest domestic programs.

Front-page stories at the LAT, and NYT and inside stories elsewhere describe the just-announced discovery that AIDS is linked to a virus found in chimpanzees native to West Africa. The virus does not sicken the chimps but apparently, after jumping to humans through the blood exposure involved in chimpanzee hunting and slaughtering, transmutes into the HIV virus. Scientists hope that investigating this process will help them learn more about ways of combating the disease. A lengthy Wall Street Journal takeout points out a possible side benefit of the news: focusing more attention on the extensive “bushmeat” trade in Africa that is decimating the chimp population. The paper adds that many African nations aren’t happy to be identified as the original source of a viral plague that’s infected 34 million people. (Odd locution: there are some African nations that are?)

Last week, the NYT reported that for the first time ever the U.S. military has asked for the power to take charge in the case of major terrorist strikes on American soil. Today the story is developed at the Times as well as at the WP and WSJ. As the Times reported previously, today’s coverage mentions the concern some civil libertarians have about this unprecedented augmentation of domestic military authority. The Journal effort is typical in repeating the calming assurances of DOD officials, quoting one who emphasizes that “the military wouldn’t get involved in law enforcement.” The reader is left puzzled, since it seems obvious that if a military unit were to take charge during any sort of domestic terrorist strike it would have to do precisely that, and besides, the U.S. military is already involved with law enforcement. Remember those Marines who shot that young rancher while on a stakeout a while back?

A front-page WSJ feature uses hundreds of Microsoft e-mail exchanges released in connection with the company’s myriad court cases as well as interviews with Microsoft officials to tell the story of what the paper calls the company’s heated internal conflict over whether or not to abandon Windows and its successor PC operating systems in favor of a programming base that would run on any kind of operating system reachable via the Internet. The coterie of Internet “doves” inside the company’s senior reaches even, says the piece, once produced an in-house strategy presentation called “Java Is Our Destiny.”

In the course of his assessment of the likely impact of the Clinton scandal on the book biz, the WP’s literary reporter David Streitfeld points out that the New Yorker’s Jeffrey Toobin has performed the “journalism equivalent of a triple lutz”: writing books on Iran Contra, OJ, and Bill-Monica.