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New Clinton documents shed light on Monica Lewinsky fallout

This Official White House photo taken Nov. 17, 1995, from page 3,179 of Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr’s report on President Clinton, showing Mr. Clinton and Monica Lewinsky at the White House.

AP Photo/OIC

The National Archives has released documents showing how the White House sought to defend President Bill Clinton against the political fallout from his affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.

The papers, released Friday in conjunction with Mr. Clinton's presidential library, include lists of talking points, questions prepared for media interviews and efforts to steer the president through impeachment proceedings sparked by the scandal.

Many records involving Lewinsky are redacted. Two emails that were not released, for example, included the subject line "Monica drinking game."

One email in 1996 showed White House aide Patty Thomason trying to firm up plans to transfer Lewinsky to a job at the Pentagon.

"We are working closely with DOD to make this happen for Monica," Thomason wrote. "We have not finalized the deal but are working toward that end."

Another document released Friday shed light on Lewinsky's job at the White House. In it, Lewinsky sent an official request to hang a picture of Clinton, signing a telecommunications bill, in a White House legislative affairs office.

After the scandal involving Lewinsky began gathering steam, several emails discussed how the White House should coordinate its pushback. One advises officials to emphasize that "a private mistake does not amount to an impeachable action."

About 10,000 pages of Clinton administration records were released Friday - the final release of a total of 30,000 documents made public - involving topics including Lewinsky, the Whitewater investigation and the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster.

The papers could offer details on painful chapters in Hillary Rodham Clinton's life as she considers a White House run.

The papers also offered new insight into how the White House dealt with some unflattering leaks about the administration.

In a memo sent to Mrs. Clinton in 1996, White House aide Ira Magaziner said he was tempted to get even with those he'd identified as the source of the leaks, which had been published in several books from journalists covering the administration. At the time, Magaziner was consulting with the authors of a new book chronicling the administration's failed health care reform effort, but he eventually decided against settling the score with the leakers during that consultation.

"Although I seethe inside when I think of how disloyal some administration officials have been to you and the president and how hurtful they have been to me in their private discussions with the press, I decided to stick to the principle of not being critical of other administration officials and I withheld materials that would cast our colleagues in a bad light," Magaziner wrote. "Although it is tempting, I just don't feel it's right to do and it could sew discord in 1996 when the book appears, which would not be helpful to the campaign."

Also of note in Friday's release: A Bill Clinton White House staffer saw unsavory motives in a short, innocuous-looking letter from Arkansas Republican Gov. Mike Huckabee in May 1999.

Now that aide, Fred DuVal, is himself running for governor in Arizona as a Democrat.

Huckabee asked Clinton to declare a national "Safe Television for All Ages Day."

DuVal jotted a note on the letter before forwarding it for response.

It said: "Huckabee hates BC (Bill Clinton) & is planning a Senate race against Lincoln. He needs a quick, warm response."

Huckabee did not run against Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat who won re-election in 2004. But he ran for president in 2008.

Clinton apparently did not declare an "all ages" TV day.