So that's why NBC and MSNBC wanted Clinton's schedules?

››› ››› MATTHEW BIEDLINGMAIER, JEREMY HOLDEN & MATT GERTZ

On Today, Tim Russert discussed the schedules from Sen. Hillary Clinton's time as first lady and asserted: "Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with?" Russert added that "this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country." Indeed, while NBC and MSNBC journalists discussed more substantive issues related to her schedules, they also repeatedly discussed what the schedules say, or do not say, about where Hillary Clinton was during Monica Lewinsky's encounters with President Clinton, in many cases teasing segments or leading them with that information.

On the March 19 edition of NBC's Today, discussing the release of 11,000 pages of schedules from Sen. Hillary Clinton's time as first lady, NBC News Washington bureau chief Tim Russert asserted: "Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with?" Russert added that "this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country." Indeed, on March 20, NBC and MSNBC journalists did discuss the documents during several segments throughout the day. And while they discussed more substantive issues related to her schedules, such as NAFTA, Bosnia, and Northern Ireland, they also repeatedly discussed what the schedules say, or do not say, about where Hillary Clinton was during Monica Lewinsky's encounters with President Clinton, in many cases teasing segments or leading them with that information.

On the 9 a.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live, anchor Mika Brzezinski introduced a segment about the schedules by stating: "More politics now, and the 11,000 pages of documents that provides some insight into Senator Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. A lot of it's redacted, though, so you don't get all the insight that you want." She continued: "Among the revelations, though, that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House on at least seven occasions when her husband was engaging in those encounters with Monica Lewinsky." Later in the segment, Brzezinski had this exchange with NBC correspondent Kevin Corke:

CORKE: And lastly, I can tell you that as far as the Monica Lewinsky thing is concerned, on the night that most people found out about it, Senator Clinton, then first lady Clinton, was at the White House at 7:25, then left, and then came back 25 minutes later. It does make you wonder what -- the sort of, you know -- what happened in those 25 minutes, what happened after she got back, but again, you don't get that clear sense, because that's not something we would find in paperwork like this.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I think that might be their personal business. Kevin, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And we'll hear more about this, I'm sure.

During a second segment later that hour, Brzezinski said to Washington Post staff writer Peter Baker, "So clearly there's some interest in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and what do the records show about who was where, when?" Baker replied, "Right. She was there when a lot of these encounters happened. She was in the building, in the house as it were, different part of the house, obviously. Sort of adds, I think, to the discomfort that [unintelligible] about that scandal." Baker continued: "That's not entirely new, we sort of knew that, but it sort of reinforces what we learned at the time the Starr Report came out in 1998."

During the 10 a.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live, anchor Tamron Hall introduced a segment on the schedules by asserting: "New documents released by the Bill Clinton Presidential Library offer the most extensive record of Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. Now, among the revelations that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House at least seven occasions when her husband engaged in encounters with Monica Lewinsky." She also said to Corke: "[B]esides the curiosities, I guess, involving Monica Lewinsky, I think the heart of what a lot of people want to know is whether or not these documents back up any foreign policy experience that the first lady has talk -- well, the then-first lady has talked about."

Anchor Contessa Brewer began a segment on the schedules on the 11 a.m. ET edition of MSNBC Live by saying: "We want to talk about the 11,000 pages of documents released by Bill Clinton's presidential library that provide the most comprehensive insight into Senator Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. Among the revelations, that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House on at least seven occasions when her husband was engaging in sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky."

During the noon ET hour of MSNBC Live, Hall introduced a segment on the schedules with Washington Post editorial page writer Jonathan Capehart and Houston Chronicle White House correspondent Julie Mason by asserting: "More than 11,000 pages of documents released by the Clinton presidential library detail Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. In addition to providing a record of her policy meetings, the documents also shed some light, at least on the timeline, a little bit of light, on the timeline that was going on during the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal."

Later in the segment, Hall reported that according to the schedules, "during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it shows that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House at least seven occasions when Bill Clinton was otherwise --" Hall paused, and then said in unison with Capehart, "[e]ngaged." Hall continued: "-- engaged, uh-huh, with Monica Lewinsky. I know that's tawdry, but it's what people are talking about. But what relevance could it play in anything?" Capehart replied, "It just puts Hillary Clinton near the scene of the crime, if you will. That's all it does." Later in the segment, Hall purported to "try to make a political issue out of it," saying, "Bill Clinton, her number one surrogate by her side -- does this potentially bring up bad blood, you know, that may have been going on in their marriage that could hurt her later? I'm trying to make this political." Capehart replied: "Good luck, Tamron. I mean, this is one of those issues. We know about Monica, we know about the president and Monica, and all sorts of other things that have been going on." He continued: "If anything, like I said before, what we now know through these schedules is, we know where President Clinton was, we know where Monica was, and now we know where Mrs. Clinton was." Hall responded, "OK. One more political stab at it then. Julie, you think this will help her with women voters? Might they hear that she was in the White House when he was with another woman -- more outrage, how strong, how tough, how much she's persevered, and 'I'm going to support her'?" Mason replied, "Maybe a little bit," adding, "[W]e're so inoculated to the whole Lewinsky thing, I'm not sure it cuts either way at this point."

On the 1 p.m. ET hour of MSNBC Live, Brewer provided the following report on the schedules:

BREWER: Let's get back to politics here. We're getting some insight into Hillary Clinton's role during her time as first lady now that 11,000 pages of her schedules during those years have been released. So where was Mrs. Clinton during those infamous sexual encounters between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? According to the logs, she was in the White House on at least half a dozen of those occasions. The schedules also detail her extensive world travels, her work on failed health care reform, and her previous support of NAFTA.

On March 20, MSNBC Live anchors used the following statements to tease segments on the release of the Clinton White House schedules:

  • During the 9 a.m. ET hour, Brzezinski asserted: "Plus, revelations from the Hillary Clinton files. What was she doing on the days when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office?"
  • Also during the 9 a.m. ET hour, Brzezinski said: "Well, if you ever wondered what Hillary Clinton was doing when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office, we're going to tell you what's buried in those papers from Hillary's time as first lady."
  • During the 10 a.m. ET hour, Hall said: "And Hillary Clinton's White House papers go public. What it says about her White House experience and what it reveals about what she was doing during the Monica Lewinsky affair."
  • During the 11 a.m. ET hour, Brewer asserted: "Ever wonder what Hillary Clinton was doing when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office? We'll tell you what's buried in those papers from Hillary's time as first lady."
  • During the 1 p.m. ET hour, Brewer said: "Coming up, what do we know about those 11,000 pages of schedules from Hillary Clinton's time in the White House? Are there answers to Mrs. Clinton's days during events that changed history, events like the war in Kosovo, the USS Cole attack or the Monica Lewinsky scandal? That's next."

Further, during a report on the schedules on the March 20 edition of NBC's Today, NBC News senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers stated that Clinton's "schedule shows her at home in the White House on a number of days when her husband had sexual encounters there with Monica Lewinsky."

In addition, a March 19 ABCNews.com article headlined "Hillary at White House on 'Stained Blue Dress' Day," Brian Ross and the ABC News investigative unit reported in their first sentence that "Hillary Clinton spent the night in the White House on the day her husband had oral sex with Monica Lewinsky, and may have actually been in the White House when it happened, according to records of her schedule released today by the National Archives."

From the March 19 edition of NBC's Today:

MEREDITH VIEIRA (co-host): Meanwhile, today they're releasing -- the Clinton camp is releasing 11,000 pages of her schedule when she was first lady. Any surprises you expect?

RUSSERT: We do not know. There have been several lawsuits asking for this information. Senator Clinton has made her experience such a part of this campaign, particularly her eight years as first lady. So this may be very rich in terms of exactly how did she spend her time, who did she meet with? We don't know how much -- how censored or redacted some of these documents will be. This will be the first step in a document dump, Meredith. Next comes the Clinton tax returns for every year since the White House, where their income has gone up rather dramatically. And then the remaining question is, will the Clintons release the $500 million in donors that gave money to the foundation and library? Thus far they have resisted. But this, I think, today will be analyzed very closely by all of us at NBC News and media organizations across the country.

VIEIRA: All right, more to come. Tim Russert, as always, thanks very much.

RUSSERT: Thanks, Meredith.

From the March 20 edition of NBC's Today:

VIEIRA: And now NBC News investigates presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Did her time as first lady make her the one you'd want to answer that emergency phone call in the middle of the night? Well, NBC's senior investigative correspondent Lisa Myers has been pouring through those newly released papers documenting her every move during the Clinton administration. Lisa, good morning to you.

MYERS: Good morning, Meredith. Senator Clinton cites her years in the White House as evidence that she's best qualified to be commander in chief, but these new documents detailing her schedule over eight years show a mixed bag when it comes to substantive involvement in foreign policy.

[begin video clip]

MYERS: The 11,000 pages of the first lady's schedule show a continuing interest in substantive meetings on Bosnia and the effort to find peace in Northern Ireland, but when the 3 a.m. crisis hit --

AD NARRATOR: Who do you want answering the phone?

MYERS: Which she now says she's best-prepared to handle, her schedule suggests she was not involved. Take the 1998 bombing of two U.S. embassies by Al Qaeda. Her schedule does not show any foreign policy meetings in the aftermath but does show a trip to Andrews Air Force Base to console victims and families as they returned to the U.S. And there are plenty of missing details in these pages, especially unexplained private meetings redacted during the dark days of 1998. Her schedule shows her at home in the White House on a number of days when her husband had sexual encounters there with Monica Lewinsky.

CLINTON: Well, you know, I think I'm probably the most transparent person in public life.

MYERS: These documents were released as the results of a lawsuit, and so far, only 1 percent of documents from the Clinton library have been made public.

From the 9 a.m. ET hour of the March 20 edition of MSNBC Live:

BRZEZINSKI: Plus, revelations from the Hillary Clinton files. What was she doing on the days when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office?

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: All right, Jeff Ranieri, thank you very much. We'll talk to you again soon. Well, if you ever wondered what Hillary Clinton was doing when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office, we're going to tell you what's buried in those papers from Hillary's time as first lady.

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: More politics now, and the 11,000 pages of documents that provides some insight into Senator Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. A lot of it's redacted, though, so you don't get all the insight that you want. Among the revelations, though, that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House on at least seven occasions when her husband was engaging in those encounters with Monica Lewinsky. Let's go now to NBC's Kevin Corke. He joins us now from Washington. Kevin, these documents reveal mostly Hillary Clinton's public schedule. A lot of unanswered questions, too. What can we -- what conclusions can we draw out of what we've seen so far?

[...]

CORKE: And lastly, I can tell you that as far as the Monica Lewinsky thing is concerned, on the night that most people found out about it, Senator Clinton, then first lady Clinton, was at the White House at 7:25, then left, and then came back 25 minutes later. It does make you wonder what -- the sort of, you know -- what happened in those 25 minutes, what happened after she got back, but again, you don't get that clear sense, because that's not something we would find in paperwork like this.

BRZEZINSKI: Yeah, I think that might be their personal business. Kevin, thank you very much. I appreciate it. And we'll hear more about this, I'm sure.

[...]

BRZEZINSKI: Right. OK. So clearly there's some interest in the Monica Lewinsky scandal, and what do the records show about who was where, when?

BAKER: Right. She was there when a lot of these encounters happened. She was in the building, in the house as it were, different part of the house, obviously. Sort of adds, I think, to the discomfort that [unintelligible] about that scandal. That's not entirely new, we sort of knew that, but it sort of reinforces what we learned at the time the Starr Report came out in 1998.

BRZEZINSKI: OK. Well, we'll be waiting to hear if there's anything more with phone logs, I know those are in question.

From the 10 a.m. ET hour of the March 20 edition of MSNBC Live:

HALL: And Hillary Clinton's White House papers go public. What it says about her White House experience and what it reveals about what she was doing during the Monica Lewinsky affair.

[...]

HALL: New documents released by the Bill Clinton Presidential Library offer the most extensive record of Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. Now, among the revelations that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House at least seven occasions when her husband engaged in encounters with Monica Lewinsky. NBC's Kevin Corke joins us now from Washington. And Kevin, besides the curiosities, I guess, involving Monica Lewinsky, I think the heart of what a lot of people want to know is whether or not these documents back up any foreign policy experience that the first lady has talk -- well, the then-first lady has talked about, now presidential candidate, and some of the questions about private meetings that are left unclear in these documents.

From the 11 a.m. ET hour of the March 20 edition of MSNBC Live:

BREWER: Ever wonder what Hillary Clinton was doing when Monica Lewinsky was in the Oval Office? We'll tell you what's buried in those papers from Hillary's time as first lady.

[...]

BREWER: We want to talk about the 11,000 pages of documents released by Bill Clinton's presidential library that provide the most comprehensive insight into Senator Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. Among the revelations, that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House on at least seven occasions when her husband was engaging in sexual encounters with Monica Lewinsky.

NBC's Kevin Corke joins us from Washington. Kevin, we were talking yesterday, a lot of pages to read. A lot, though, that we're finding out has been left out or redacted. But do we have an idea of what that was?

From the noon. ET hour of the March 20 edition of MSNBC Live:

HALL: And back to politics. More than 11,000 pages of documents released by the Clinton presidential library detail Hillary Clinton's tenure as first lady. In addition to providing a record of her policy meetings, the documents also shed some light, at least on the timeline, a little bit of light, on the timeline that was going on during the infamous Monica Lewinsky scandal. Jonathan Capehart is an editorial writer with The Washington Post. Julie Mason is White House correspondent for the Houston Chronicle. Thank you both.

CAPEHART: Hi, Tamron.

HALL: Before we talk about the Monica Lewinsky part of it, Jonathan, has there been any bombshell information to come out? I know people are still looking at these documents.

CAPEHART: Well, I think if they're looking for bombshell information, they're certainly -- probably not going to find it in her schedules. I was able to look at some of them, and they're, you know, just a few lines, you know, "private meeting with prime minister of Norway," or, you know, "policy meeting in the yellow oval room," and things like that. It doesn't give you any context or any details of what happened in those meetings.

HALL: And, Julie, has there been any information from what you've been able to discern and hear about -- that back up Hillary Clinton's claims of being in the White House gave her foreign policy experience, or could help her foreign policy experience if she gets the nomination?

MASON: Well, Tamron, I've heard it spun both ways by now. The Clinton campaign obviously saying that this absolutely, this information backs up her claim that she was in the room and had a role. But, you know, I've heard the other side, too, and saying, you know, for example, she wasn't there when, you know, the Belfast Accords were figured out, she was back here in Washington and she really wasn't in the room. And as Jonathan said, the records that were released don't really support either side. I mean, you know, it's kind of a wash for her.

HALL: It's kind of a wash. All right, Jonathan, and something else people are talking about -- I guess her schedule shows that during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, it shows that Mrs. Clinton was at the White House at least seven occasions when Bill Clinton was otherwise --

HALL and CAPEHART: Engaged --

HALL: -- engaged, uh-huh, with Monica Lewinsky. I know that's tawdry, but it's what people are talking about. But what relevance could it play in anything?

CAPEHART: It just puts Hillary Clinton near the scene of the crime, if you will. That's all it does.

[pause]

CAPEHART: I left you speechless, Tamron. What happened?

MASON: OK, I'll jump in. I'll jump in on that.

HALL: I'm sorry. Julie, go ahead.

MASON: It's true, it's one of those cases where you -- reporters sort of can't resist the urge to look at these documents and compare them against those days.

HALL: Yeah. OK.

MASON: So it's like, I would compare it to the same impulse as looking at a car wreck.

CAPEHART: Right.

HALL: All right, so I'll try to make a political issue out of it then.

MASON: All right.

HALL: Bill Clinton, her number one surrogate by her side -- does this potentially bring up bad blood, you know, that may have been going on in their marriage that could hurt her later? I'm trying to make this political.

CAPEHART: Good luck, Tamron. I mean, this is one of those issues. We know about Monica, we know about the president and Monica, and all sorts of other things that have been going on. If anything, like I said before, what we now know through these schedules is, we know where President Clinton was, we know where Monica was, and now we know where Mrs. Clinton was.

HALL: OK. One more political stab at it then. Julie, you think this will help her with women voters? Might they hear that she was in the White House when he was with another woman -- more outrage, how strong, how tough, how much she's persevered, and "I'm going to support her"?

MASON: Maybe a little bit. You know, that does, that issue, Tamron, does resonate with a lot of women. But I don't know, I mean, I think we're so inured, we're so inoculated to the whole Lewinsky thing, I'm not sure it cuts either way at this point.

HALL: All right, thank you both. Julie, Jonathan -- appreciate it.

CAPEHART: Sure.

MASON: Thank you.

HALL: I'm Tamron Hall. My colleague Contessa Brewer picks up our coverage next.

From the 1 p.m. ET hour of the March 20 edition of MSNBC Live:

BREWER: Coming up, what do we know about those 11,000 pages of schedules from Hillary Clinton's time in the White House? Are there answers to Mrs. Clinton's days during events that changed history, events like the war in Kosovo, the USS Cole attack or the Monica Lewinsky scandal? That's next.

[...]

BREWER: Let's get back to politics here. We're getting some insight into Hillary Clinton's role during her time as first lady now that 11,000 pages of her schedules during those years have been released. So where was Mrs. Clinton during those infamous sexual encounters between Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky? According to the logs, she was in the White House on at least half a dozen of those occasions. The schedules also detail her extensive world travels, her work on failed health care reform, and her previous support of NAFTA.

Posted In
Elections
Network/Outlet
MSNBC, NBC
Person
Tim Russert, Contessa Brewer, Kevin Corke, Tamron Hall
Show/Publication
MSNBC Live
Stories/Interests
Hillary Clinton, 2008 Elections
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