[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 94 (Tuesday, July 19, 1994)]
[Page H]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]

[Congressional Record: July 19, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

                              {time}  2000

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Deutsch). Under the Speaker's announced 
policy of February 11, 1994, and June 10, 1994, the gentleman from 
Indiana [Mr. Burton] is recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of 
the minority leader.
  Mr. BURTON of Indiana. Mr. Speaker, over the past few weeks, I have 
been talking about the Whitewater affair, the death of Assistant White 
House Counsel Vince Foster, the strange circumstances surrounding his 
death, and other things connected to White House activities, or some of 
the people at the White House. As a result, I have been criticized by 
some members of the majority because they thought I was a little bit 
insensitive, particularly regarding the family of Vince Foster whose 
untimely death happened last July. They say, ``Why can't you leave that 
family alone?''
  I am not insensitive to their concerns. A family that has lost a 
loved one under these kinds of tragic circumstances certainly should 
expect some kind of sympathy from the people who are in the Congress of 
the United States.
  Nevertheless, there are strange circumstances concerning his death 
that need to be explored. The investigation into Whitewater, the 
Arkansas Development Financial Authority and Vince Foster's death and 
the people who went into Vince Foster's office right after he died 
needs to be looked into by the Congress of the United States. Yet 
Special Prosecutor Mr. Fiske, in my opinion, has deliberately tried to 
limit the scope of the investigation so that Congress cannot get the 
answers that we should. As a matter of fact, Federal Judge Charles 
Richey, who has the Leach document suit pending before him, is very 
concerned about Mr. Fiske's activities as well. Richey denounced 
Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert Fiske for his efforts to limit 
the scope of the Whitewater hearings that will be held by the Banking 
Committee later this month, saying Fiske was infringing on 
constitutionally guaranteed congressional rights and obligations.
  The judge said, ``I don't believe the Independent Counsel has the 
power to tell the Congress what they have the power to look into and 
when.'' I agree with that. But the fact of the matter is Mr. Fiske, in 
my opinion, is obfuscating the issues and keeping the Congress from 
getting to the bottom of many of these questions.
  U.S. News & World Report said this week in their magazine:

       Based on strong forensic evidence, Fiske's report concludes 
     that Foster did indeed take his own life in the spot where he 
     lay at Marcy Park.

  I want to talk about that tonight. I want to talk about a lot of 
things concerning Whitewater and the Fiske investigation. I do care 
about the feelings of the Foster family. That is why I want to find out 
really how he died and why.
  This weekend when I went home to my district, I took the opportunity 
to do some investigative calling on my own. I called a ballistics 
expert in California who deals with this type of homicide or suicide. 
He said that a .38-caliber bullet like that which was fired into Mr. 
Foster's mouth would have traveled a maximum of 1,200 to 1,600 feet 
after it exited his skull. That is about 500-yards maximum.
  The investigation, which took place 9 months after Mr. Foster's 
death, never found that bullet. You say, ``That is like finding a 
needle in a haystack.'' That is not so. With the expert people that 
they had out there, they had 16 FBI agents going all over the place 
with all kinds of modern technological equipment, they should have 
found that bullet. But it was not there. They found all kinds of other 
bullets, even Civil War bullets that were buried under the soil. But 
the fact of the matter is they did not find the one that killed Vince 
Foster. If you go 500-yards back and you take a pie shape out this way, 
you are looking at an area that is no more than 100- to 150-, 200-yards 
wide and 500-yards deep. They should have found that bullet.

  Foster's body was not x rayed because the county coroner in Virginia 
who investigated this said the x ray machine was broken. Why didn't 
they find another x ray machine? They should have, to find out if there 
were fragments in the skull that would have given more information 
regarding how far the bullet may have traveled if it was exiting his 
skull at that particular location.
  The Fiske report contains voluminous material on the background and 
qualifications of the forensic experts who examined the physical 
evidence of Vince Foster's death. No doubt these people are well 
qualified and hardworking. But they had limited physical evidence 
because their work started 9 months after Vince Foster was dead. They 
did not see the body. All they saw was paper evidence, other people's 
work. They had no x rays. They were looking at secondhand evidence.
  No fingerprints were found on the gun in Vince Foster's hand. The man 
allegedly committed suicide at Fort Marcy Park, but there were no 
fingerprints on the gun. Fiske's report says the hot summer day may 
have melted the fingerprints off the gun. Come on, now. Give me a 
  In addition to that, there were no fingerprints on Vince Foster's 
suicide note. They looked in his briefcase on two separate occasions 
looking for evidence concerning his suicide, and they did not find 
anything. The third time they looked, then they found 27 pieces of 
paper, 27, a suicide note, but there were no fingerprints on them.
  If Mr. Foster was such a close friend of President Clinton, why did 
President Clinton wait 9 months before beginning an FBI investigation? 
He had the Park Police out there looking into this. Clearly the FBI has 
much more experience with this type of investigation than does the 
National Park Service. Clinton should have had the FBI begin the 
investigation immediately. But they did not do it. They waited almost a 
  The Fiske report says blonde hair, carpet fibers and wool fibers were 
found on Foster's body and clothing. Whose hair was on his body? It was 
not his. Foster's diary, which they took out, which Clinton's people 
when they went into Foster's office later that day, when they took that 
diary out of there, that diary could have told us a lot about who 
possibly was with Foster and whose hair that might have been on his 
  The other body went to great lengths to obtain a diary of one of its 
Members in a sexual harassment case. This one is a death. Yet we have 
not heard one word from the special counsel about the diary. Did Fiske 
read Vince Foster's diary? Why hasn't he said anything about it in his 
report? Because it could give us evidence and maybe even tell us whose 
blonde hair was on his body and where Fiske was between 1 and 5 that 
  Robert Novak, columnist Robert Novak is the only one that I know of 
that has been able to get Robert Fiske to respond to any questions.
  He asked Special Counsel Fiske why they found no skull fragments in 
the park. Fiske responded, ``Because the search wasn't conducted for 9 
  That is a terribly sloppy way to conduct an investigation. If someone 
is killed in a given location or commits suicide, the forensic expert 
should be out there that afternoon or the next day, especially if it is 
someone as highly visible as the Assistant Counsel to the President of 
the United States. Any kind of mysterious death or murder that takes 
place like this, they are out there right away, yet they waited 9 
months before they went out there with the FBI and the forensic 
  Mr. Novak asked Fiske why he did not try to identify the hair. 
Fiske's response was almost insulting to the intelligence. He said:

       While we have not concluded where this blonde hair came 
     from, there is no evidence to suggest that it provides any 
     evidence of circumstances connected to this death.

  Let us just go back and look at all of the questions about the Foster 
suicide, or alleged suicide.
  There was no bullet found in the park. There were no skull fragments 
found in the park. There were no skull fragments found in the park. 
There were no fingerprints on the gun. There were no fingerprints on 
Vince Foster's suicide note. The hairs and carpet fibers on Foster's 
clothes were never explained in the report. The gun was in the wrong 
hand. He was left-handed, the gun was in his right hand. The head was 
straight up. His head was straight up when he was found by the 
gentleman in the white van who stopped in the park. But if you look at 
the report, they will say that Vince Foster had blood on his cheek and 
blood on his shirt and it was evident that his head laid against his 
shoulder. Who straightened his head up?
  In the report they say that one of the people who came there to 
investigate it must have moved his head. But they forgot that the man 
who found him said his head was straight up when he found him.
  So who moved the body? Where did the carpet fibers come from? Whose 
hair was it on his body? Why were there no fingerprints on the gun?
  There is all kinds of questions that are not answered in this report. 
Yet we are supposed to accept it at face value.
  Finally, the gentleman who found the body said he walked up to within 
3 feet of the body, and he looked right down into the glazed eyes of 
Vince Foster, and he said the head was straight up, and he looked in 
both hands, and there was no gun in either hand.
  And he said that not once, not twice, but three times in a 
conversation with Mr. Liddy over a kitchen table. Mr. Liddy asked him, 
he said, ``Hey, did you see the picture that showed the gun in his 
hand?'' The man looked surprised and said, ``There was no gun in either 
hand. I looked at it very closely.'' He was asked twice more by Mr. 
Liddy, was there a gun in either hand. He said no. He was absolutely 
sure of it. Yet in the report they said that the hand had the gun in 
it, the thumb was in the trigger guard and the hand was down underneath 
the leg, in the foliage.

                              {time}  2010

  After they asked this gentleman several times he said, ``Well, 
perhaps we could have been wrong.'' But he insisted time and again that 
the head was straight up and the hands were at his side so there are 
all kinds of questions about the death of Vince Foster. And they need 
to be answered, and the only way we are going to get a complete answer 
to all of these questions is to have a congressional investigation and 
Mr. Fiske, in my opinion, is trying to stop Congress from having an 
investigation by prolonging this thing and holding evidence away from 
  In addition to that, we have some other questions that must be 
answered. A number of them. At 6 p.m. on July 20, 1993, 1 year ago, 
Vince Foster was found dead in Marcy Park. Shortly after 9 p.m., the 
chief of staff at the White House, Mack McLarty was told about Foster's 
death. McLarty ordered Vince Foster's office closed and sealed. 
However, the office remained opened and unlocked overnight and was not 
sealed until 11 a.m. the next day.
  At that time they posted a guard on the door but what happened 
between the time Vince was killed or committed suicide and they put a 
guard on that office?
  Despite the order from McLarty, less than 3 hours after the body was 
found, White House officials went into Vince Foster's office and 
removed records of business deals between President Clinton and his 
wife and the Whitewater Development Corp. from Mr. Foster's office 
without telling the FBI or Federal authorities who were investigating 
the death. They went in there for 2 hours and took files out and the 
people who went, whether White House counsel Bernie Nussbaum, the 
President's special assistant Patsy Thomasson and Mrs. Clinton's chief 
of staff Margaret Williams. Now, Bernie Nussbaum said they were only in 
there 10 minutes but the Park Police said they were in there for over 2 
hours taking files out of that office.
  During this first search Whitewater files and President Clinton's tax 
returns were removed and turned over to David Kendall, President 
Clinton's attorney. White House officials did not confirm that this 
search of Foster's office on July 20, took place until December. They 
did not even tell anybody they had been in there taking those files out 
for almost 6 months when they had to because it came out.
  Two days later on July 22, 1993, Mr. Nussbaum and White House 
officials went into Vince Foster's office for a second time. By now the 
office was locked and under guard. They collected more documents. Some 
were sent to President Clinton's attorney and others were sent to Vince 
Foster's attorney, Mr. James Hamilton. During the second search Mr. 
Nussbaum, using executive privilege, told the FBI to stay out of the 
room and the Park Police to stay out of the room. Dee Dee Myers, the 
White House press secretary said:


  That is Mr. Nussbaum--

     went through and sort of described the contents of each of 
     the files and what was in the drawers while representatives 
     of the Justice Department, the Secret Service, the F.B.I. and 
     other members of the counsel's office were present.

  According to other sources, the FBI agents and the Park Police were 
ordered to sit on chairs in the hallway while the White House staff 
went through documents that Mr. Nussbaum gave the FBI agents and Park 
Police no indication of what he was doing or what he was taking. One 
FBI agent was reprimanded when he stood up to look in the room. ``This 
is Executive privilege, you stay out there and sit down.''
  Park Police later discovered that Whitewater records had been removed 
from Vince Foster's office during the second search, after they visited 
James Hamilton, Foster's lawyer a week after the death to review a 
personal diary that was also taken during one of the searches and that 
personal diary I think could very well tell us whose blonde hair was on 
Vince Foster's body and where he might have been between 1 and 4 that 
afternoon and whether or not he actually died at Fort Marcy Park 
because the body was moved, in my opinion. They never found the bullet. 
No fingerprints on the gun, carpet fibers all over the body. And the 
body obviously had been moved at least at the location they found it 
and it may have been moved from someplace else but the diary may have 
given more evidence but nothing has been done about that.
  The attorney, Mr. Hamilton, allowed Park Police to briefly inspect 
Vince Foster's diary and other documents. However he did not allow them 
to make any copies citing privacy concerns and he refused a request for 
access to the diary and documents by the Justice Department. He would 
not let them look at it.
  Did Robert Fiske review Vince Foster's diary, the special prosecutor? 
His report says not one thing about it. If it does not, why did he not 
look at it? He is the guy that is supposed to investigate all of this 
stuff. It might identify to whom the blonde hair on the body belonged. 
This is important evidence and it has never been checked.
  On July 27, 1993, White House officials reviewed that. On July 26 
they found a note supposedly written by Vince Foster in the bottom of 
his briefcase which was in his office and that note as I said before 
like the gun, had no fingerprints on it but it was not out of the sun 
so they could not have melted off of that note. They said they missed 
the note in their first two searches. They had looked through that 
briefcase twice and they missed 27 pieces of torn up paper. The note 
was unsigned, undated and torn into 27 pieces and it bore no 
  Here is a few questions I would like Mr. Fiske to answer. First, when 
did White House chief of staff Mack McLarty give the order to seal 
Vince Foster's office and how was the White House staff informed of 
McLarty's order?
  Second, why was the office not sealed until 11 a.m. the next morning? 
Was it because they wanted to get in there, Bernie Nussbaum and Patsy 
Thomasson and others to get in there and get files out that they 
wanted? How did they first learn about Vince Foster's death, the people 
that did go in the office and the people at the White House? Did 
somebody order Nussbaum, Thomasson, and Williams to search Vince 
Foster's office or did one of them make the decision to do that on 
their own, and if so, who?
  Fifth, if someone ordered them to search the office, what were they 
told to look for? If it was Nussbaum, Thomasson, or Williams' idea to 
search the office what were they looking for? Why would Hillary 
Clinton's chief of staff be involved in the search of Vince Foster's 
office? Why would the First Lady's chief of staff be going in there 
looking around the files?
  Seventh, why did they remove the Whitewater files, and whatever 
happened to them?
  Eighth, were other documents taken? Were documents destroyed? How can 
we ever know for sure at this point?
  Ninth, where were the documents when they entered the office? Were 
they locked in safes, or in locked files? And if so, how were they 
  Tenth, should they not have left everything alone for the police and 
FBI to investigate? Would you think so in a case like this? One of the 
leading people in the U.S. President's administration, would you not 
think they would want the FBI and police to do a thorough analysis of 
everything? But no, they were in there like that, getting everything 
out that they could.
  Eleventh, instead of keeping the FBI from doing its job, should not 
the White House staff have given law enforcement their full cooperation 
after their friend and colleague was found dead?
  Twelfth, if Vince Foster was President Clinton's friend, and he was, 
why did not the President immediately order the FBI to take charge of 
the entire investigation instead of allowing the Park Police to take 
charge? They did not have the kind of experience to conduct this kind 
of investigation and if you read the report you will find out why. They 
laid his clothes on contaminated paper so a lot of evidence was 
damaged. The pictures they took were overexposed so they did not get 
proper pictures. The Park Police does a great job in many respects but 
they were not qualified to do this and I think those around this case 
know it. And they should have had the FBI and the experts in there 
right away. The Park Police has little experience in investigating 
suspicious deaths.
  Did anyone else besides the three I mentioned go into Vince Foster's 
office that night, and if they did what did they take out?
  Thirteenth, did the White House officials purposely mislead the Park 
Police about the existence of Whitewater documents in Vince Foster's 
office? They did not let anybody know about that first trip into his 
office for almost 6 months.
  Fourteenth, how did the White House staff miss a note torn into 27 
pieces in the bottom of Vince Foster's briefcase during their first 2 
searches of his office?
  Fifteenth, why were there no fingerprints on the note? Why were there 
no fingerprints on the gun? Why was the gun in the wrong hand?
  Sixteenth, what documents were given to Vince Foster's attorney, 
James Hamilton, and what was given to the Clinton's attorney, David 
Kendall? Were any of these documents destroyed?
  Seventeenth, who were all of the White House officials involved in 
the second search of Vince Foster's office and what did they take out 
of there?

                              {time}  2020

  Eighteenth, did the White House staff have a legal right to prohibit 
the FBI and Park Police from searching Foster's office as part of an 
investigation into Foster's death? They used Executive privilege to 
keep the Park Police and FBI out of there. Nussbaum said that to them 
according to the information we have, told them to stay out in the 
hall. Did he have authority to do that in this kind of a case?
  Nineteenth, has the Banking Committee requested the phone logs of 
Bernie Nussbaum, Patsy Thomasson, and Margaret Williams for the period 
immediately following the Foster death until the actual search of his 
office? If not, why have they not checked those logs to find out who 
they talked to? We should know who these three officials talked to 
before they went into and removed these documents from Vince Foster's 
  There are a million questions that need to be answered, and when I 
see that they are accepting at face value this report, it really makes 
me ill. It makes me very ill. And yet that is exactly what happened, 
and when I see U.S. News & World Report saying the forensic evidence 
was so overwhelming that he had to commit suicide at Fort Marcy Park, 
it sickens me, because the forensic evidence, if you really take a look 
at it, does not prove that at all. It leaves all kinds of gaping holes 
and questions in the investigation. You just have to look at the thing. 
Read it. I do not know how many news people I have talked to who say, 
``Oh, my gosh, that was a very comprehensive report.'' And when I say, 
``Did you read this, did you read this, did you read this,'' they do 
not know what I am talking about.
  I had one news reporter from a major network contact me and ask me 
questions about it when they had the document in front of them. I think 
that is very, very unfortunate.
  Now, let us look at the Rose Law Firm down in Arkansas. Jeremy 
Hedges, a part-time courier at the Rose Law Firm, told a grand jury 
that he was told to shred documents from the files of Vince Foster 
after special prosecutor Robert Fiske had announced he would look into 
Foster's death. Fiske was appointed January 20, 1994, and yet down at 
the Rose Law Firm they are saying, ``We want you to shred these 
documents,'' even though an investigation was already commissioned and 
ready to start. Even before a subpoena is issued, the law prohibits 
people from intentionally impending an investigation by destroying 
evidence they know investigators want.

  So the people at the Rose Law Firm who asked this Jeremy Hedges, this 
part-time courier, to start shredding documents may have been guilty of 
violating the law and impeding an investigation into this death.
  In February after Fiske served subpoenas on the law firm's employees, 
Hedges and the other couriers employed by the firm were called to a 
meeting with Ron Clark and Jerry Jones, two of the firm's partners, 
after Fiske had served subpoenas on the law firm.
  These couriers were asked to meet with Ron Clark and Jerry Jones, two 
of the partners in the firm. Jones challenged Mr. Hedges, that is, this 
part-time courier, he challenged his recollection that he had shredded 
documents belonging to Foster and cautioned him against relating 
assumptions to investigators. He started trying to tell him what to 
  ``I said,'' Hedges recounted, ``I shredded some documents of Vincent 
Foster's 3 weeks ago.'' Jones replied, ``How do you know they were 
Foster's? Don't assume something you don't know.'' Hedges said he was 
certain they came from Foster's files. Jones then said, ``Don't assume 
they had anything to do with Whitewater.'' Sounds like they were trying 
to cover up something, does it not? We have not heard anything from Mr. 
Fiske about this yet.
  The box Hedges was told to shred, and all of its file folders, were 
marked ``VWF,'' and that is the firms's shorthand for Vince Foster, and 
he was shredding these documents. None of the documents he saw related 
to Whitewater development, Hedges said. How does he know? He was 
shredding these documents fast as he could going through there.
  However, another Rose employee told the Washington Times documents 
showing Clinton's involvement in the Whitewater project had also been 
destroyed and had been ordered to be destroyed. The shredding 
reportedly occurred February 3, 1994.
  During the 1992 Presidential campaign, three current or former Rose 
employees said the couriers from the Rose law firm were summoned to the 
Arkansas Governor's mansion by Hillary Clinton who personally handed 
over records to be shredded at the firm's downtown office. The 
shredding began after the New Your Times reported on March 8, 1992, the 
involvement of Bill Clinton, Governor Bill Clinton, and his wife in the 
Whitewater development. They were sending documents from the Governor's 
office over to the Rose Law Firm to be shredded. This is documented. 
Couriers made at least six other runs during the campaign. They were 
given sealed, unmarked envelopes with instructions that they were to be 
shredded at the firm. The shredding continued through the November 3 
general election.
  Records belonging to Webster Hubbell, Vince Foster, and William H. 
Kennedy III also were shredded. A current employee said, ``A 
conservative estimate would be that more than a dozen boxes of 
documents were ultimately destroyed.'' What was in those boxes, do you 
  James McDougal and his wife Susan, now divorced, have said they 
personally delivered all the Whitewater records to the Governor's 
mansion in December of 1987 at Hillary Clinton's request. She wanted 
all of those documents over at the Governor's mansion. Then in 1992 
they are sending them over to the Rose Law Firm to be shredded.
  Is that obstruction of justice? I do not know. We ought to look into 
  So here are a few questions. First, why would the Clintons order the 
records from the Governor's mansion be shredded during the 1992 
Presidential election? why would they do that?
  Second, could it be just a coincidence that the shredding began just 
after a March New York Times article detailing Bill and Hillary 
Clinton's involvement in Whitewater? It started right after that.
  Third, why would officials at the Rose Law Firm order a courier to 
shred documents bearing Vince Foster's initial after Robert Fiske 
announced he would investigate Foster's death? I mean, after his death, 
Fiske said he was going to investigate it, and they start shredding 
documents with his initials on it at the firm. Would not Vince Foster's 
former colleagues at the firm want to cooperate in every way with an 
investigation of their good friend's death? So why were they shredding 
these documents?
  Who gave the initial order the Rose Law Firm documents belonging to 
Vince Foster, Webster Hubbell, and William Kennedy be destroyed during 
the 1992 Presidential election? Who gave the initial order that Vince 
Foster's records be destroyed this year after Fiske was appointed 
special prosecutor? Who told them to destroy those records at the Rose 
Law Firm? Or was it somebody from the Rose Law Firm?

  Who gave the order that Bernie Nussbaum and Patsy Thomasson search 
Vince Foster's office and remove files right after Vince Foster's 
  These are questions that must be answered. I do not believe Mr. Fiske 
is going to give us these answers or get these answers. There is a 
growing suspicion that Mr. Fiske does not want all of this 
investigation put out into the public. I hope that is wrong, but there 
is a growing concern about that among people in this body, and I am one 
of them. I am very concerned about that.
  As a matter of fact, I have written a letter, along with nine of my 
colleagues, to the three-judge Federal panel urging them, if Mr. Fiske 
is suggested to be the independent counsel, that they pick somebody 
else, because we really need to get all of the information before the 
American people so the American people will know what really happened. 
And in order to do that, we need to have complete and thorough 
congressional hearings, and every time we try to do that we are stopped 
saying, ``Oh, my gosh, you are going to impede the investigation by Mr. 
Fiske.'' And yet when we look at what Mr. Fiske has come up with in the 
Vince Foster death, we find holes big enough to drive a truck through.
  Yet, when you look at the media like U.S. News & World Report, they 
say the forensic evidence is so conclusive obviously he did commit 
suicide at Fort Marcy Park. I do not think so.
  I think anybody who is discerning and looked at these facts and 
questioned this report will come to the same conclusion that I have, 
and that is that we do not have the answers. We do not know why there 
were no fingerprints on the gun. We do not know why his head was 
straight up when it was obvious his head was on the side. We want to 
know who moved the body. Whose hair was on his body? Why were there no 
fingerprints on the gun? Why were there not fingerprints on the notes? 
Why did they shred those documents? Why did they go into his office and 
take those files out within hours after he died, all relating to income 
tax returns and Whitewater and Lord only knows what else? Why did they, 
after the Fiske investigation started, start shredding documents with 
Vince Foster's initials on them at the Rose Law Firm?
  These are things the American people need to know.
  To the media, I would say, ``Start asking these questions.'' These 
questions should not be left unanswered, and this body should be 
investigating it, and we will continue to do our best, but we are up 
against a stone wall right now with the special counsel.
  We need these answers, America.