Clinton Legacy

How Bill Clinton Cleared a Path for Donald Trump

Dana Millbank: “We didn’t know it at the time, of course. But in Bill Clinton were the seeds of Donald Trump.”

“With 20 years of hindsight, it is clear. To see the former president — now promoting a mystery he co-wrote with novelist James Patterson — sit down with NBC’s Craig Melvin was to see how Clinton’s handling of the Monica Lewinsky affair was a precursor of the monstrosity we now have in the White House: dismissing unpleasant facts as ‘fake news,’ self-righteously claiming victimhood, attacking the press and cloaking personal misbehavior in claims to be upholding the Constitution.”

“The former president’s offenses were far less serious than President Trump’s. Trump’s many misdeeds — against women, law, facts, democracy and decency — are in a category of their own. But Clinton set us on the path, or at least accelerated us down the path, that led to today.”

Exchange of the Day

Bill Clinton was interviewed by Craig Melvin on NBC’s Today Show about whether he ever apologized to Monica Lewinsky:

MELVIN: “I asked if you’d ever apologized. And you said you had.”

CLINTON: “I have.”

MELVIN: “You’ve apologized to her?”

CLINTON: “I apologized to everybody in the world.”

MELVIN: “But you didn’t apologize to her?”

CLINTON: “I have not talked to her. I– I thought it—”

MELVIN: “Do you feel like you owe her an apology—”

CLINTON: “No, I do—I do not. I’ve never talked to her. But I did say, publicly, on more than one occasion, that I was sorry. That’s very different. The apology was public.”

Clinton is on a book tour promoting his new novel with James Patterson, The President Is Missing.

Bill Clinton Takes Issue with Kirsten Gillibrand

Bill Clinton told CBS News that he “disagrees with” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) “position that he should have resigned” following his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

Said Clinton: “You have to– really ignore what the context was. But, you know, she’s living in a different context. And she did it for different reasons. So, I – but I just disagree with her.”

When Clinton Testified

New York Times: “As President Trump and Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, negotiate about a possible interview in the Russia investigation, all sides can turn back to the only real precedent: the time that President Bill Clinton was interrogated by prosecutors before a grand jury watching over closed circuit television.”

“The date was Aug. 17, 1998. Mr. Clinton was defending himself against allegations that he had lied under oath and obstructed justice during a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, a former Arkansas state worker, to cover up an unseemly affair with a former White House intern named Monica S. Lewinsky. While Ronald Reagan and George Bush had been interviewed during the Iran-contra investigation, never before had a sitting president given testimony in a case in which he was so clearly a potential target of prosecution or impeachment.”

Clinton’s High Profile Only Hurts Democrats

Michelle Cottle: “Yes, what happened to Clinton was awful. She did not merely lose the presidency, she lost it to an opponent singularly unqualified to hold the office. Worse still, multiple external factors likely contributed to her loss, including Russian meddling and former FBI Director James Comey’s October surprise and, yes, the media’s absurd obsession with ‘Servergate.'”

“But whatever the root causes, the result is what it is: She lost. And while her frustration, disappointment, and rage make perfect sense, Clinton needs to give the public kvetching and finger-pointing a rest—if not for the sake of her or her party, then for the nation as a whole.”

Democrats Say Bill Clinton Too Toxic for Midterms

“In a year when the party is deploying all their other big guns and trying to appeal to precisely the kind of voters Clinton has consistently won over, an array of Democrats told Politico they’re keeping him on the bench. They don’t want to be seen anywhere near a man with a history of harassment allegations, as guilty as their party loyalty to him makes them feel about it.”

“After booting Sen. Al Franken precisely because they wanted to draw a clear contrast with Trump, Democrats across the party’s ideological and geographical spectrum acknowledged the political trouble that any appearance with Clinton would cause.”

Court Will Unseal Starr Investigation Documents

CNN: “A federal court in Washington will unseal documents that have stayed secret for two decades from independent counsel Ken Starr’s investigation of then-president Bill Clinton, following a request from CNN. Some of the records from Starr’s grand jury proceedings are public already — but only reprinted in the independent counsel’s 1998 report to Congress. Until now, the federal court had listed the cases as sealed.”

Gillibrand Says Bill Clinton Should Have Resigned

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-MNY), who holds Hillary Clinton’s former seat, said that Bill Clinton should have resigned the presidency after his inappropriate relationship with an intern came to light nearly 20 years ago, the New York Times reports.

“Asked directly if she believed Mr. Clinton should have stepped down at the time, Ms. Gillibrand took a long pause and said, ‘Yes, I think that is the appropriate response.’ But she also appeared to signal that what is currently considered a fireable offense may have been more often overlooked during the Clinton era.”

Why Bill Clinton Should Have Resigned

Matthew Yglesias: “But looking back through today’s lens, this whole argument was miscast. The wrongdoing at issue was never just a private matter for the Clinton family; it was a high-profile exemplar of a widespread social problem: men’s abuse of workplace power for sexual gain. It was and is a striking example of a genre of misconduct that society has a strong interest in stamping out. That alone should have been enough to have pressured Clinton out of office.”

“Had Clinton resigned in disgrace under pressure from his own party, that would have sent a strong, and useful, chilling signal to powerful men throughout the country.”

“Instead, the ultimate disposition of the case — impunity for the man who did something wrong, embarrassment and disgrace for the woman who didn’t — only served to confirm women’s worst fears about coming forward.”

Anchor Debunks His Network’s Favorite Clinton ‘Scandal’

“Fox News anchor Shepard Smith debunked what his own network has called the Hillary Clinton uranium “scandal,” infuriating Fox viewers, some of whom suggested that he ought to work for CNN or MSNBC,” the Washington Post reports.

“Smith’s critique, which called President Trump’s accusations against Clinton ‘inaccurate,’ was triggered by renewed calls from Republicans on Capitol Hill for a special counsel to investigate Clinton.”