Nation/World

Whitewater Probe Witness Is Stumped By Being Called First Lady’s Chief Of Staff Says She Knows Nothing Of Foster’s Papers

First lady Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief of staff, Melanne Verveer, testified Tuesday before the grand jury investigating possible obstruction of the Whitewater probe.

Verveer, who served as Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff during the first four years of the Clinton administration before being promoted, is a bit player in various investigations of the White House.

However, her former boss and predecessor as chief of staff, Maggie Williams, has been questioned by congressional committees about a variety of matters, including the handling of Vincent Foster’s papers after the deputy White House counsel committed suicide in 1993. Williams, who resigned last spring, has also been questioned by the Whitewater grand jury, impaneled by independent counsel Kenneth Starr.

Before she entered the grand jury room, Verveer said she didn’t know why she had been called to testify. Later, she declined to comment, saying: “We don’t have anything to say.”

In 1996, Verveer was questioned by a Department of Housing and Urban Affairs Committee about her knowledge of the Whitewater affair.

During the two-hour deposition, Verveer said she had no knowledge of the handling of Foster’s papers by then-White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum, nor did she recall seeing billing records from Hillary Clinton’s Little Rock, Ark., law firm that mysteriously reappeared in a room in the White House in 1995. Starr is investigating why those records were not produced until long after they were first subpoenaed.



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