Do you remember when former President Bill Clinton paid Paula Jones $850,000 to go away? Do you remember the FBI raiding his lawyer’s office? Well, that’s because the former happened and the latter did not. It Saturday, November 14, 1998, when the Washington Post published a story about Clinton settling a lawsuit with Paula for the amount of $850k. It was a sexual harassment lawsuit that eventually turned into the downfall of the Clinton presidency and his eventual impeachment.
The Washington Post reported that there were about 4 1/2 years of a legal battle between Clinton and Jones and that all ended the moment that Bill Clinton agreed to pay Paula Jones the $850,000 within a 60-day timeframe. While all of this was going on, there was no raid of Clinton’s attorney’s offices. His attorney at the time was Robert S. Bennett. As per the 1998 article: “President Clinton reached an out-of-court settlement with Paula Jones yesterday, agreeing to pay her $850,000 to drop the sexual harassment lawsuit that led to the worst political crisis of his career and only the third presidential impeachment inquiry in American history.
After more than 4 1/2 years of scorched-earth legal warfare, Clinton and Jones brought a sudden end to the case with a four-page deal in which he acknowledged no wrongdoing and offered no apology. The agreement, which will be filed with:
When it comes to any crime or action that anyone wants to accuse Donald Trump of, the Clinton’s have him beat tenfold. So, when are the charges for Bill and Hillary going to be announced??? Oh, the investigations are over…Hillary cleared by all those who are losing their security clearances???
From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer
In a letter on Sunday, FBI Director James Comey wrote that newly discovered emails do not change the FBI’s prior conclusion that Hillary Clinton should not be charged with a crime.
Oops, never mind!
That’s FBI Director James Comey’s new message to Congress and, by extension, the American public on Sunday. A little over a week ago, Comey shook the presidential election with a letter to the chairs of several congressional committees, announcing that the FBI had found a new tranche of emails pertinent to its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while secretary of state. The emails came from an unrelated case, he said—since widely reported to be an investigation into alleged sexts to a teenager from Anthony Weiner, whose estranged wife is a top Clinton aide—and there was no timeline for finishing the review.
The revelation gave new life to the struggling Donald Trump campaign, which seized on the matter as proof of Clinton’s bad judgment. Her poll numbers, as well as her favorability figures and Democratic enthusiasm, sagged. New leaks began dripping out of the FBI on a daily basis, along with allegations that the bureau was trying to tip the election toward Trump. The Clinton campaign demanded that Comey say more, but no information was forthcoming.
But in a new letter on Sunday, Comey revealed that FBI agents had been working “around the clock” to look at the emails.
“During that process, we reviewed all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State,” Comey wrote. “Based on our review, we have not changed our conclusions that we expressed in July with respect to Secretary Clinton.” In other words, it was all much ado about nothing. Comey’s recommended in July was that although Clinton had been “extremely careless” with classified information, there was no grounds for charging her with a crime. Put more bluntly, the FBI altered the course of the presidential campaign for what amounts to a fire drill. This doesn’t mean the email story is gone entirely. On Friday, a new release showed that in at least one case Clinton forwarded emails to her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, that the government now labels classified.
The chain in question was released on November 4, as part of the ongoing release of Clinton’s emails from her time as secretary of state. The messages appeared to be related to climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009, although they were redacted so that it is impossible to tell. They were sent to an email address that Chelsea Clinton used under an alias, “Diane Reynolds.” It was not marked classified at the time. The emails and the private server through which they operated have been a defining story of the Clinton campaign. In March 2015, The New York Times first reported on Clinton’s use of a private email address and a private server during her time at Foggy Bottom. The story has dogged Clinton ever since, raising questions about her judgment and trustworthiness.
While polls showed Clinton’s lead over Trump narrowing slightly before Comey’s first letter, on October 28, the news brought on near panic among Democrats. Clinton’s polling fell further, and her favorability tumbled, and so did enthusiasm among Democrats. Clinton’s struggles to generate enthusiasm among her voters, and to bring up her favorability, have contributed to a still-tight race over a rival, Donald Trump, who has committed multiple errors that would have been lethal for practically any other candidacy. The emails represent something of a classic Clinton scandal. Although the House investigation turned up no evidence of wrongdoing on her part with respect to the attacks themselves, it was during that inquiry that her private-email use became public.
This is a pattern with the Clinton family, which has been in the public spotlight since Bill Clinton’s first run for office, in 1974: Something that appears potentially scandalous on its face turns out to be innocuous, but an investigation into it reveals different questionable behavior. The canonical case is Whitewater, a failed real-estate investment Bill and Hillary Clinton made in 1978. Although no inquiry ever produced evidence of wrongdoing, investigations ultimately led to President Clinton’s impeachment for perjury and obstruction of justice.
With Hillary Clinton the Democratic nominee for president, every Clinton scandal—from Whitewater to the State Department emails—will be under the microscope. (No other American politicians—even ones as corrupt as Richard Nixon, or as hated by partisans as George W. Bush—have fostered the creation of a permanent multimillion-dollar cottage industry devoted to attacking them.) Keeping track of each controversy, where it came from, and how serious it is, is no small task, so here’s a primer. We’ll update it as new information emerges.
The Clintons’ Private Email Server
What? During the course of the Benghazi investigation, New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt learned Clinton had used a personal email account while secretary of state. It turned out she had also been using a private server, located at a house in New York. The result was that Clinton and her staff decided which emails to turn over to the State Department as public records and which to withhold; they say they then destroyed the ones they had designated as personal.
When? 2009-2013, during Clinton’s term as secretary.
Who? Hillary Clinton; Bill Clinton; top aides including Huma Abedin
How serious is it? Very serious. A May report from the State Department inspector general is harshly critical of Clinton’s email approach, but Loretta Lynch announced on July 6 that the Justice Department would not pursue criminal charges, removing the threat of an indictment that could: