(March 2)

The death of civil rights hero Vernon Jordan, who well merits most of the encomia he is receiving elsewhere, also brings to mind an episode that contradicts a longtime liberal myth about the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

The myth is that prurient, hypocritical Republicans “impeached Bill Clinton for sex.” Poppycock. They impeached him for perjury and obstruction of justice stemming from attempts to cover up an abuse of power. The abuse of power being broadly investigated wasn’t merely Clinton’s sexual activities with intern Monica Lewinsky, but several aspects of misusing state power related to those activities. Vernon Jordan was central to one of those misuses of state power, even if, as he testified, he did not recognize the way his actions contributed to a legal impropriety.

Part of the investigation by independent counsel Kenneth Starr already involved Clinton’s alleged misuse of state resources, including security personnel, to cover up various wrongdoings, some of them involving legal transgressions and some moral. As those allegations piled up, Attorney General Janet Reno expanded Starr’s mandate to include investigations thereof. And when Paula Corbin Jones, as part of her sexual harassment lawsuit against Clinton, alleged the same modus operandi, Reno also made aspects of the Jones allegations part of Starr’s investigation. (For more on the background, please follow this link.)

Anyway, when Clinton’s efforts to hush up Lewinsky took the same approach of mixing veiled threats with various enticements, the parallelism of those efforts to the Jones matter (and others) looked to establish a criminal mens rea, a mindset, that led Reno to make the Lewinsky matter also part of Starr’s job.

And the greatest of those enticements was secured through the direct action of Vernon Jordan….

[For the rest of this piece, which is meant not as a slam at Vernon Jordan but a reminder of Clinton’s perfidy, is at this link.]


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