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President Clinton’s Legal Problems

2012-03-10 15:16[VOA] 来源: 浏览: 次 评论:


STEVE EMBER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION – American history in VOA Special English. I’m Steve Ember.

This week in our series, we continue the story of America's forty-second president, Bill Clinton. He was a popular and successful president who was re-elected in nineteen ninety-six. But he also became only the second president in American history ever to be put on trial in Congress.

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Clinton's past in Arkansas became the source of accusations and questions about his character as he was running for president. These included questions about financial dealings with a land development company called Whitewater.

In January of nineteen ninety-four, President Clinton asked Attorney General Janet Reno to appoint an independent lawyer to lead an investigation. She named a Republican, but some critics said her choice was too friendly to the Clinton administration. He was replaced by another Republican, Kenneth Starr.

In nineteen ninety-five the Senate Judiciary Committee began its own investigation of the president. The committee later reported that it had not found evidence of any crimes. However, because the committee was led by Democrats, there was continuing suspicion of the president among Republicans.

The main cause of that suspicion dated back to a purchase of land in Arkansas years earlier. Bill and Hillary Clinton had bought the land in nineteen seventy eight -- the year he was first elected governor of that state. The Clintons formed the Whitewater Development Company with Susan and James McDougal. The goal was to sell vacation homes along a river. However, the company did poorly.

James McDougal also owned Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan, for which Hillary Clinton did legal work. Madison failed during the nineteen eighties. The McDougals were found guilty of wrongdoing in connection with that failure.

A former local judge in Little Rock, the state capital, also became part of the story. In nineteen ninety-four David Hale pleaded guilty to charges of cheating the federal government. That case was in connection with a lending company he owned and was not connected to Whitewater. But Hale accused Bill Clinton of having pressured him while governor to loan money to Susan McDougal and other politically influential people. Clinton denied the accusations.

During the president's first term, investigators sought billing records for Hillary Clinton's past legal work for James McDougal. They wanted to know, in connection with the Whitewater investigation, how much time she had spent on that work. The first lady said she could not find the records. Then, in January of nineteen ninety-six, the billing records appeared without explanation in the White House.

That mystery only added to the suspicions of some Americans. Others thought Kenneth Starr was just wasting taxpayer money on his investigation of the Clintons. They felt it was just for political reasons.

The Whitewater investigation became increasingly complex and difficult to follow. In the end, President Clinton was never charged with any wrongdoing in connection with his financial dealings. But his legal problems did not stop there.

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