Accusations that President Clinton failed to provide lawyers for Paula Corbin Jones with correspondence from Kathleen Willey set off partisan sparring Sunday between Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
Republicans, speaking on television talk shows, agreed with Jones' lawyers that Clinton might have broken the law if he had withheld the letters that the lawyers had requested. Clinton's lawyers made the letters public one day after Willey, in a March 15 appearance on "60 Minutes," accused Clinton of sexual misconduct."If these documents were in existence, and if they were not produced when there was a request to do so, depending on a lot of specifics, that could cross the line of obstruction of justice," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said on "Fox News Sunday."
But Democrats sharply disagreed. "The president cannot be held responsible for the negligence of Jones' own lawyers," Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J., said on the Fox news program. "They didn't file the subpoena properly. The president did, however, after the Willey interview, produce them. So there is, indeed, compliance."
The partisan bickering occurred a day after the filing in U.S. District Court in Little Rock, Ark. A trial is scheduled for May 27 in Little Rock.
Jones' lawyers, in a Dec. 15 pretrial request for documents, sought any "correspondence and communications" with Willey in Clinton's possession. The White House replied in January that it had "no such documents," the filing said.
But on March 16, the day after Willey made her accusations on "60 Minutes," the White House released letters from her to Clinton.
The White House said on Saturday in response to the filing that the letters were White House documents, not Clinton's, and were not covered by the subpoena.