After helping to finish a 14-month probe into the Whitewater affair Tuesday, Utah's two senators say they are convinced the White House lied about it.
And Whitewater controversy will not disappear anytime soon either, said Sens. Orrin Hatch and Bob Bennett, R-Utah, who are both members of the Senate Special Committee on Whitewater."Almost everything they do down there is covered with a layer of sleaze," Hatch said in an interview about the Clinton administration as the committee issued its report.
Bennett said he also came to the conclusion during the committee's 52 hearings that, "It seems that the quality of the witnesses' memory is in inverse proportion to that witness's proximity to the Clintons."
Bennett complained that the folks who are career employees of the Park Service, the Justice Department, the Secret Service or various agencies in Arkansas who had no close proximity to the Clintons had clear memories."
He said those clear memories showed the Clinton administration lied about what whether it took Whitewater related files from the office of White House lawyer Vince Foster after his suicide; whether the Clintons were involved in Whitewater, "travel-gate" and "filegate"; and whether other coverups occured.
"The closer you got to the Clintons, the more they (administration witnesses) had difficult memories, they couldn't have their memories refreshed even when referring to notes of meetings that they had attended. They just couldn't remember anything," Bennett complained.
Besides aides' not remembering much about such scandals, Bennett said, "When faced with difficult information, the reaction by the White House has been attack the messenger. They have attacked the chairman of this committee. They have attacked the special prosecutor (investigating Whitewater)."
Hatch said much of such criticism has "been silenced by 12 people convicted on at least 33 counts (related to Whitewater). And that's just the beginning. Now you have another trial starting with these two bankers who were very close to the president."
Hatch said, "If you look at the constant politicization of that state (Arkansas), the constant misuse of funds and the constant ethical problems down there, it becomes a matter of great concern."
He also called Whitewater a "layer of impropriety over layer," and said he is concerned about "the obfuscation, the lying that also happened in this administration."
Hatch said he still intends to pursue more hearing there about how political operatives at the White House were able to obtain hundreds of FBI files on employees of past Republican administrations.