Days of Future Passed
3 June 2001
Based on confidential conversations with the Office of the Independent Counsel ("OIC"), Bear Left has learned that the OIC is preparing a referral to Congress that there is substantial and credible evidence that the President obstructed the electoral process and did not tell the truth to the American people. The OIC was asked to investigate by the Congressional Democratic leadership after the recent arrest of the President's daughters. According to OIC sources, the decision to investigate the President was not political and was not about drinking, but was about obstruction of justice. The OIC believes there is a pattern of behavior exhibited by the President, the President's brother and the President's daughters that violated the law. The character issue has haunted the President's family over the years. The President's brother is also under investigation for voter fraud and misappropriation of funds in Florida. Sources within the OIC said that its investigation in Florida, which is not part of this referral, has centered around a extramarital relationship because the President's brother is alleged to have provided his alleged paramour with a government job and other perks paid for by the citizens of Florida.
This Referral presents substantial and credible information that the President obstructed the electoral process, first in the primary process in which he was a candidate and then in the general election. The opening section of the narrative provides an overview of the object of the President's cover-up of the drinking relationship between the President and Ms. Jenna, and the President's false and misleading statements to aides and to the American public before and after the Jenna story became public. The narrative excludes the President's efforts to get Ms. Jenna into college and his contact with the United States Supreme Court.
Physical evidence conclusively establishes that the President and Miss Jenna had a drinking relationship. After reaching an immunity and cooperation agreement with the Office of the Independent Counsel on April 1, 2001, Ms. Jenna turned over a navy blue dress that she said she had worn during a party attended by both her and the President. According to Ms. Jenna, she noticed stains on the garment the next time she took it from her closet. From their location, she surmised that the stains were made by the President.
Initial tests revealed that the stains are in fact Bailey's Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Kahlua and Vodka. Based on that result, the OIC asked the President for a blood sample and permission to look in his liquor cabinet. After requesting and being given assurances that the OIC had an evidentiary basis for making the request, the President agreed. In the White House Map Room, the White House Physician drew a vial of blood from the President in the presence of a FBI agent on loan from the McVeigh document search. By conducting these tests, the FBI Laboratory concluded that the President was the likely source of the stain obtained from the dress. In addition to the dress, Ms. Jenna provided what she said were answering machine tapes containing messages from the President with slurred speech, as well as several gifts that the President had given her. The gifts included The Very Hungry Caterpillar (a book the President has said was his childhood favorite), a margarita glass from Chuy's in Austin, and some nips of blackberry brandy.
Ms. Jenna was extensively debriefed about her relationship with the President. For the initial evaluation of her credibility, she submitted to a detailed "proffer" interview. After entering into a cooperation agreement, she was questioned over the course of approximately 15 days. In the evaluation of experienced prosecutors and investigators, Ms. Jenna has provided truthful information. She has not falsely inculpated the President. Harming him, she has testified, is "the last thing in the world I want to do." Moreover, the OIC's immunity and cooperation agreement with Ms. Jenna includes safeguards crafted to ensure that she tells the truth. Ms. Jenna will lose her license and not be able to go to Spring Break if the government can prove to a federal district judge--by a preponderance of the evidence, not the higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt--that she lied.
Ms. Jenna confided in 11 people about her drinking relationship with the President. All have been questioned by the OIC, most before a federal grand jury. Ms. Jenna told most of these confidantes about events in her relationship with the President as they occurred, sometimes in considerable detail. Some of Ms. Jenna's statements about the relationship were contemporaneously memorialized. These include deleted email recovered from her home computer and her school computer, email messages retained by two of the recipients, tape recordings of some of Ms. Jenna's conversations with Ms. Trip and notes taken by Ms. Trip during some of their conversations. The Trip notes, which have been extensively corroborated, refer specifically to places, dates, and times of drinking contacts between the President and Ms. Jenna. Ms. Jenna told her psychology professor about the drinking shortly after it began. She related details of drinking encounters soon after they occurred (sometimes calling from the White House). Ms. Jenna showed no indications of delusional thinking, according to her psychology professor, who had no doubts whatsoever about the truth of what Ms. Jenna told her.
In addition to her remarks and email to friends, Ms. Jenna wrote a number of documents, including letters and draft letters to the President. Among these documents are:
The details of Ms. Jenna's many statements have been checked, cross-checked, and corroborated. When negotiations with Ms. Jenna did not culminate in an agreement, the OIC proceeded with a comprehensive investigation, which generated a great deal of probative evidence. After the courts rejected a not-so-novel privilege claim, Secret Service officers and agents testified about their observations of the President and Ms. Jenna in the White House. Ms. Jenna agreed to submit to a proffer interview (previous negotiations had deadlocked over her refusal to do so), and, after assessing her credibility in that session, the OIC entered into a cooperation agreement with her. Pursuant to the cooperation agreement, Ms. Jenna turned over the dress that proved to bear traces of the President's drink along with a number of fake identifications in her possession. And the President, who had spurned prior invitations to testify, finally agreed to provide his account to the grand jury. In that sworn testimony, he acknowledged "inappropriate drinking contact" with Ms. Jenna.
During the 2000 election, the President denied being a bad influence "on that woman, Ms. Jenna" and stated that he hid his prior record of driving under the influence in order to protect "that woman, Miss Jenna" from the truth of his "youthful indiscretions".
The President noted that "[t]here are no curtains on the Oval Office, there are no curtains on my private office, there are no curtains or blinds that can close [on] the windows in my private dining room, no place to drink" and added: "I have done everything I could to avoid the kind of questions you are asking me here today. . . ." The President, under oath of a pinkie swear, stated that Ms. Jenna's affidavit denying a "drinking relationship" was "absolutely true."
During a press conference, the President's Press Secretary, Ari Fleiss, sought to limit questioning about Ms. Jenna. Mr. Fleiss told the White House press corps that Ms. Jenna had sworn on a stack of Bibles "that there is absolutely no drinking of any kind in any manner, shape or form, with the President." Mr. Fleiss continued: "I would urge all of you to very carefully think through how much you want to pursue this. I understand that there's a question of law. I've never called anybody or suggested to anybody that the coverage today is in any way inappropriate. But to go beyond that I would urge you to be very careful because any reaction of the President is personal; it is not governmental. It is family. It's private and the American people respect that."
Several months after his Electoral Comments and Presidential Pinkie Swear, the President acknowledged "inappropriate conduct" with Ms. Jenna but maintained that his electoral and presidential statements were accurate. In his account, "what began as a family matter [with Ms. Jenna] came to include this conduct." He said he remembered "having my first real conversation about drinking during a visit to her dorm room." According to the President, the inappropriate contact occurred later (after Ms. Jenna's first semester had ended), "in early 2001."
The President refused to answer questions about the precise nature of his drinking contacts with Ms. Jenna, but he did explain his earlier denials. As to his denial in the Electoral Comments that he and Ms. Jenna had a "drinking relationship," the President maintained that there can be no drinking relationship without both parties "getting drunk," regardless of what other drinking activities may transpire. He stated that "most ordinary fratboys" would embrace this distinction.
The President also maintained that none of his drinking contacts with Ms. Jenna constituted "getting drunk" within a specific definition used by Miller Brewing. Under that definition a person is "drunk" when the person knowingly engages in or causes himself or herself to "pass out" or "black out." The President stated his understanding was that this definition "covers drinking by the person 'getting drunk' if the contact is done with an intent to 'pass out' or 'black out'." However, "it does not cover drinking performed by the person who stays awake or can remember what took place during the drinking." In the President's view, "any reasonable person" would recognize that his action falls outside the definition of being "shitfaced."
[Editors' note: Kenneth Starr contributed to this news story.]
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