The Washington Times distinguished itself in its coverage of Bill Clinton, even before he declared his presidential candidacy, by first reporting widespread accusations of marital infidelities by the then-governor in his home state of Arkansas.
Mr. Clinton’s formative years as a collegiate war protester, draft evader, Moscow tourist and party animal at Oxford came to light in exclusive reports in The Times. On his use of marijuana, he said he had tried it but “didn’t inhale.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Clinton won election in 1992 in what was essentially a three-way contest among himself, President George H.W. Bush and Texas billionaire H. Ross Perot.
Before he assumed office, The Times reported about his plans to allow homosexuals to serve openly in the military, which eventually morphed into the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Voter discontent with that plan, the president’s failed attempt to reform health care and abuses of power by mostly Democratic leaders — all chronicled by The Times — spawned a Republican takeover of Congress in the 1994 midterm election, making Rep. Newt Gingrich speaker of the House.
But a failed Arkansas land deal called Whitewater brought Mr. Clinton more disappointment. The Times’ coverage of Whitewater prompted a special-counsel investigation that netted 14 convictions, including Arkansas Gov. Jim Guy Tucker and close associates of the Clintons’. What’s more, the Clinton administration, which the president had promised would be the most ethical ever, gave rise to a trio of “-gate” scandals:
Filegate — the disappearance of Whitewater files from the office of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster immediately after his suicide in 1993.
Travelgate — a Clinton scheme to fire White House Travel Office personnel and award lucrative travel contracts to a Hollywood crony.
Troopergate — Mr. Clinton’s use of Arkansas state troopers to procure women and conceal his peccadilloes when he was governor.
“Bimbo eruptions” — as one Clinton operative described the president’s indiscretions — plagued Mr. Clinton throughout his tenure, and several women told of highly charged encounters with him: Paula Corbin Jones, Gennifer Flowers, Kathleen Willey. Yet his presidency was almost undone by a young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky.
Ms. Lewinsky’s midnight confessions, which were recorded by her friend and former White House staffer Linda Tripp, prompted another special-counsel investigation that made a household name of Kenneth Starr.
Based on Mr. Starr’s findings, the House impeached the president on two charges in December 1998 — only the second time Congress had taken such action. The Senate acquitted Mr. Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice in January 1999.
Still, Mr. Clinton was disbarred and forced to pay a $25,000 fine.
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