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Documents Suggest Hillary Knew Craig Livingstone

[FBI FIles]

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, July 25) -- Though she's denied any involvement with hiring Craig Livingstone, some FBI documents suggest Hillary Clinton helped the former security office head get White House clearance, a congressman charged.

House Government Reform and Oversight Chairman William Clinger (R-Penn.) took to the House floor, saying newly obtained FBI notes from 1993 show then-White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum telling an agent that Mrs. Clinton knew and could vouch for Livingstone, who was undergoing a background check.

Clinger read from the notes of agent Dennis Sculimbrene that Livingstone "came highly recommended to him by Hillary Clinton, who has known his mother for quite some time."

Nussbaum promptly released a statement, saying, "I never told FBI agent Sculimbrene, or anyone else, that the First Lady recommended Craig Livingstone for his position in the White House or that the First Lady knew Livingstone's mother. I am mystified and outraged that someone would attribute to me something I never said," he added.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif) followed Clinger on the House floor and declared, "It's out of line to come to the floor and use information that has not been verified presumably from some FBI file, to try to smear the first lady, Bernard Nussbaum...and the Democratic administration. This is a partisan smear."

Dismissing Sculimbrene as zealously anti-Clinton, Democrats entered into the congressional record a statement from Livingstone's mother saying she never knew Mrs. Clinton before her son was hired at the White House.

In interviews, the first lady has denied any involvement with Livingstone's hire, and Nussbaum testified under oath to House investigators on June 26 that he was not involved. Just who hired Livingstone was not quickly established, although White House officials eventually said late White House attorney Vincent Foster brought him in.

Clinger also took issue with the FBI, which reportedly alerted the White House (who then alerted Nussbaum's attorneys) about Sculimbrene's notes several weeks ago. In a letter to Clinger, the FBI said it "had a responsibility to advise affected parties."

But Clinger called it a "heads up." "What possible legitimate reason could the FBI have had to contact the White House about this information?" he stormed.

Livingstone resigned June 26 after revelations surfaced that his office had improperly obtained over 700 FBI background files, many on Republicans, including former Bush officials Marlin Fitzwater, James Baker and Brent Scowcroft. Clinger's oversight committee and Whitewater independent prosecutor Kenneth Starr are investigating the affair.

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