WASHINGTON — The National Archives is releasing a batch of documents that might shed light on painful chapters in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s life as first lady, just as she ponders a bid for the White House in 2016.
The 10,000 pages of records from the Clinton administration were expected to be released Friday. They touch on the Whitewater investigation into the Bill and Hillary Clinton’s land dealings in Arkansas; Bill Clinton’s affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky; the 1993 death of deputy White House counsel Vince Foster; and the pardons Bill Clinton granted in his final hours as president.
With these documents the National Archives will have released about 30,000 pages of papers since February. Both the Obama White House and the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas, have signed off on the release of the records.
Hillary Clinton’s influence in the White House is also expected to be explored in the papers, from her role on Clinton’s unsuccessful health care overhaul plan to her 2000 Senate campaign in New York.
Past installments have offered an unvarnished look at Bill Clinton’s two terms, detailing his unsuccessful attempt to change the health care system, Republicans’ sweeping victories in the 1994 midterm elections and the shaping of his wife’s public image.
Hillary Clinton, who went on to serve as a senator from New York and as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, now is a powerful advocate for Democrats in the midterm elections and the leading Democratic prospect for president in 2016. The possibility of a presidential campaign has heightened interest in the documents by media organizations, political opposition researchers and historians.
In addition to the 1990s-era events, the papers will touch on Elena Kagan, now a Supreme Court justice, who as a White House counsel defended Bill Clinton in the lawsuit brought by ex-Arkansas state employee Paula Jones. Clinton’s testimony for the Jones lawsuit, in which he denied a sexual relationship with Lewinsky, led to his impeachment in 1998. The House approved two articles of impeachment against Clinton, but he was acquitted by the Senate.
The memos were previously withheld by the National Archives because they were exempt from disclosure under restrictions related to appointments to federal office and confidential advice received by the president from his advisers. Under the law, presidential records can be withheld from the public for 12 years after the end of an administration if they fall under certain restricted categories.
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