Conflicting Testimony Before Whitewater Panel
Aug. 03, 1995
WASHINGTON (AP) _ A White House aide testified today that he picked up a box of Vincent Foster's papers from the office of Hillary Rodham Clinton or her chief of staff and carried it to the Clinton family residence two days after Foster's death.
Appearing before the Senate Whitewater Committee, Thomas Castleton contradicted the testimony of Mrs. Clinton's chief of staff, Margaret Williams, who maintains that Castleton picked up the records from Foster's office.
The committee is trying to determine whether anyone tampered with the box of documents, which Castleton said he was told contained personal and financial records pertaining to the Clintons. He said that Williams accompanied him with the box to the family residence.
Republican staff attorney Michael Chertoff asked Castleton where he got the material. ``I'm not exactly sure which office,'' Castleton replied. ``My best recollection'' is that it was in ``either Maggie Williams' office or the first lady's office.''
Castleton said that while he was carrying the box, Williams told him that it contained papers from Foster's office that ``needed to be reviewed by the first lady.''
``What she (Williams) said was that the box contained personal and financial records pertaining to the first family,'' Castleton said.
The White House denies that Mrs. Clinton or anyone else reviewed the material in the box before it was turned over to the Clintons' personal attorney a week after Foster died.
In addition, Ms. Williams denies saying that to Castleton.
In testimony Wednesday, former Deputy Attorney General Philip Heymann told the panel that the White House should have been more cooperative with police investigating Foster's suicide.
Heymann said he became so upset with the way Bernard Nussbaum, then the White House's chief counsel, kept documents away from police that he asked during an angry phone call whether Nussbaum was trying to hide something.
``He said, `No, Phil, I promise you we aren't hiding anything,''' Heymann testified.
At her weekly news conference, Reno defended the work of two Justice Department lawyers, David Margolis and Roger Adams, who accompanied the police and were barred by Nussbaum from examining the documents during the search of Foster's office.
``I think that the representatives of the department did everything they could,'' Reno said.
Nussbaum said he was protecting the confidentiality of White House documents protected by executive privilege and papers on President Clinton's personal finances.
Committee Republicans are trying to find out whether Nussbaum tried keep documents on Whitewater _ Clinton's failed Arkansas land investment _ away from investigators.
Foster's body was found July 20, 1993, in a park outside Washington, and U.S. Park Police were looking for a suicide note or any other evidence that would help them confirm that his death was a suicide.