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E-Wire

AllPolitics E-Wire -- Oct. 13, 1997

A weekly briefing on U.S. politics:

More Tapes To Come

While congressional Republicans and Attorney General Janet Reno continue ask why the White House delayed so long in releasing videotapes of President Bill Clinton at the controversial White House coffees, as many as 150 new tapes are expected to be released Wednesday. Though the next batch doesn't show anything incriminating, White House aides say, it could cause the president some embarrassment due to the current political climate over fund-raising abuses. In one of the tapes, Clinton reportedly praises John Huang, a Democratic fund-raiser who has been vilified over the course of the Senate fund-raising hearings.

Democrats are hoping that one newly released tape will quiet some of the outrage focused on Clinton's entertaining of guests in the White House. It shows former President Ronald Reagan making a fund-raising pitch to a group of major Republican contributors at a 1987 White House reception.

For the full story visit: http://allpolitics com/1997/10/10/fundraising.tapes/

QuickTime excerpts of the coffee tapes are also available at: http://allpolitics.com/1997/10/06/coffee.movies/

Reno Under Pressure

Attorney General Reno faces another deadline Wednesday in the campaign controversy. She must decide whether to extend her inquiry into whether President Clinton made illegal fund-raising calls from the White House. Reno will wait up until the deadline to make her decision, but sources say investigators have turned up no evidence of improper phone calls by Clinton. Reno will have to answer to angry Republicans in Congress if she doesn't extend the Clinton inquiry, as she is also scheduled to appear before the House Judiciary Committee.

This Week In Congress

The House and Senate are out of session this week for the Columbus Day recess.

Fund-Raising Hearings

In his much-anticipated testimony before the Senate's campaign fund-raising hearings last week, a feisty Harold Ickes fended off Republican accusations of campaign-finance abuses in President Clinton's 1996 re-election effort, saying his mandate was to obey the law. The former deputy chief of staff, and chief architect of the Clinton-Gore re-election campaign, testified he knew of no illegalities or Democratic discussions on how to evade a ban on overseas political contributions. He said it would make no sense to try to break the law on foreign contributions, given the political risk. Ickes, an experienced political operative, was expected to be a tough witness and he was. He quarreled with senators over accusations of obstruction of justice and refused to take the blame for Democratic National Committee actions.

Finally underway, the House fund-raising hearing took their first testimony last Thursday. The lead-off witnesses, including the sister of controversial Democratic donor Charlie Trie, told how they served as "straw donors," making contributions to the Democratic Party that were later reimbursed by outside sources.

For all the details of the House and Senate fund-raising hearings, visit: http://allpolitics.com/gaveltogavel

Jones vs. Clinton

Sworn testimony in Paula Jones' sexual-harassment suit against President Clinton began this week. Jones' mother and her sister, Charlotte Brown, were deposed in Little Rock, Ark., on Monday, and are expected to testify about what she told them after the alleged 1991 hotel-room encounter. Brown has long said Jones has ulterior motives, accusing her sister of being in it for the money. Though talk of an out-of-court settlement appears dead for now, several months ago First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton urged the president to settle the case, sources close to the administration told CNN. Though she believes her husband did nothing wrong, the first lady felt that a trial could prove embarrassing and politically damaging. But Clinton decided to seek full exoneration of Jones' allegations in court, sources said.

South Of The Border

While videotapes continue to be the hot topic in Washington, President Bill Clinton hopes to put some distance between himself and the furor on his trip to South America. His arrival in Venezuela Sunday marked Clinton's first trip as president to the southern continent. Venezuela recently surpassed Saudi Arabia as the largest exporter of oil to the United States, and the president signed agreements on energy cooperation and combating drugs. Clinton had hoped to arrive in South America with congressional approval of legislation enabling him to effectively negotiate new free-trade agreements, but the so-called fast-track legislation remains on hold. The president and his larger-than-normal entourage will also travel to Brazil and Argentina.

Quotations Of The Week

"I know it is customary for witnesses to express their great pleasure to appear before you, but because I am under oath I am unable to say I share that sentiment." -- former White House Deputy Chief of Staff Harold Ickes, setting the combative tone for his testimony before the Senate panel investigating Democratic fund-raising, in his opening statement

"No, we basically invited people we didn't like." Ickes sarcastic reply to a question from Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla.), asking if the president's political friends were invited to ride on Air Force One. Nickles called the answer "pretty flippant."

"And if you give enough money to Republican senators, you get access, too." Ickes retort to Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins' suggestion that Democratic contributors gained access to presidential appointees

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