President Bill Clinton's library releases nearly 10,000 pages of documents
They include colorful remarks from Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan
A top military official compared gay people to Nazis, rapists and the KKK
One document also has an explanation for e-mail attachments
Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan once fretted that she “may have really f—ed up” after a miscommunication with other aides about a segment on the CNN show “Crossfire.”
Her comments were in a note to her boss, White House Counsel Jack Quinn, that was among the nearly 10,000 documents released Friday by the Clinton Presidential Library.
Kagan, an associate counsel in the Clinton White House whom President Barack Obama later nominated to the Supreme Court, was explaining to Quinn a “right-hand-left-hand” communication problem as aides prepared for media appearances amid Paula Jones’ sexual harassment allegations.
“God, do I feel like an idiot,” Kagan said.
In another document released Friday, Kagan offered an interesting recommendation for who should defend Clinton against Jones’ sexual harassment accusations at the Supreme Court: John Roberts.
A handwritten note lists Roberts with the word “Hogan” underneath his name – a reference to the law firm now called Hogan Lovells, where he then worked. Another page lists Roberts’ name again, this time with some biographical details.
Kagan and Roberts now serve on the Supreme Court together. Roberts never worked on the Jones case.
The documents released Friday cover the entire Clinton presidency from 1993-2001 and are the last batch of documents released by the library under the Presidential Records Act. The act says the documents must be made available to the public 12 years after the end of a president’s administration.
The Clinton Library began releasing the documents in batches starting in February.
Here are four other interesting tidbits disclosed in Friday’s release:
- In a January 1993 meeting with Clinton six days after his inauguration, members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff voiced opposition to gays serving openly in the military. Marine Corps Gen. Carl Mundy says those who admit to being gay or who associate with Gay Pride “will have a negative effect” and that it “fractures teamwork.”
For a person to “proclaim: I’m gay” is the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist,” Mundy says.
Apparently Vice President Al Gore didn’t like Mundy’s comments; the notes indicate he called them “borderline.”
Clinton tells the military chiefs that the whole issue causes him “great discom(fort)” as he wrestles with the idea of gay men and women who are patriotic and devoted to the armed forces but unable to serve because they declare they are gay.
Later in the meeting, he says the “people I would like to keep (in the military) wouldn’t show up at (a) Queer Nation parade.”
- Keith Olbermann, then in his first run as an MSNBC host, sent Clinton a letter apologizing for the network’s coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal and for “whatever part I may have played in perpetuating this ceaseless coverage.”
Olbermann added that he had a career change in the works, writing, “I’ll be headed back to my previous career in sports as quickly as possible.” Clinton aide R. Scott Michaud said he planned to flag the letter for the president to see, and also asked if it’d be OK to send Olbermann a generic response.
- Jennifer Palmieri, who is now President Barack Obama’s communications director, makes an appearance when she receives an explanation for how to open an email attachment. “It can be accessed by hitting ‘launch,’” she is advised.
- Mike Huckabee, who was then the governor of Arkansas, needed a “warm response” to his letter to Clinton declaring May 8, 1999, as “Safe Television for All Ages Day” in his state and asking the president to make it a national proclamation.
A White House aide noted atop the letter that Huckabee “hates” Clinton and was planning to run against Democratic Sen. Blanche Lincoln. “He needs a quick/warm response,” the note says.