Many of us remember the strange circumstances surrounding the July 1993 suicide of Vince Foster. Foster, President Clinton’s Deputy White House Counsel at that time, shot himself at Fort Marcy Park along the Potomac River.
Prior to joining the Clintons in Washington, Foster had been a partner at Rose Law Firm in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he had been a colleague and a friend of Hillary Clinton’s.
Ken Starr spoke to former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal writer Ronald Kessler last weekend at the 2019 Annapolis Book Festival. Starr admitted that he had omitted from his final report on Foster’s suicide, one major event that had occurred the week before he took his own life.
During a White House meeting on her health care proposal, Hillary Clinton had “attacked and humiliated Foster in front of other aides.” Although an earlier FBI investigation had concluded that Hillary had “triggered” Foster’s suicide, Starr told Kessler he excluded this information from his final report in order to spare her feelings.
Starr said “he ‘did not want to inflict further pain’ on Hillary by revealing that her humiliation of Foster a week before he took his own life pushed him over the edge.”
Kessler spoke to former FBI agent Coy Copeland and former FBI supervisory agent Jim Clemente, both of whom had participated in the investigation of Foster’s death. Kessler was told that “Hillary violently disagreed with a legal objection Foster raised at the meeting and ridiculed him in front of his peers. During the White House meeting, Hillary continued to humiliate Foster mercilessly.”
Copeland said, “Hillary put him down really, really bad in a pretty good-size meeting. She told him he didn’t get the picture, and he would always be a little hick town lawyer who was obviously not ready for the big time.”
Clemente said, “Hillary went so far as to blame Foster for all the Clintons’ problems and to accuse him of failing them…Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others. Hillary blamed him for failed nominations, claimed he had not vetted them properly, and said in front of his White House colleagues, ”You’re not protecting us” and ”You have failed us.” That was the final blow.”
The FBI agents told Kessler, that following Hillary’s attack, “Foster’s behavior changed dramatically. Those who knew Foster said his voice sounded strained, he became withdrawn and preoccupied, and his sense of humor vanished. At times, Foster teared up. He talked of feeling trapped.”
Copeland and Clemente described the events of the week preceding Foster’s death to Kessler.
On Tuesday, July 13, 1993, while having dinner with his wife Lisa, Foster broke down and began to cry. He said he was considering resigning.
That weekend, Foster and his wife drove to the Eastern Shore of Maryland, where they saw their friends, Michael Cardoza and Webster Hubbell, and their wives.
‘They played tennis, they swam, and they said he sat in a lawn chair, just kind of sat there in the lawn chair,’ Copeland said. ‘They said that just was not Vince. He loved to play tennis, and he was always sociable, but he just sat over in the corner by himself and stared off into space, reading a book.’
Two days later, Foster left the White House parking lot at 1.10pm. The precise time when he shot himself could not be pinpointed. After Park Police found his body, they notified the U.S. Secret Service at 8.30pm.
Based on what ‘dozens’ of others who had contact with Foster after that meeting told the agents, while Foster was already depressed, ‘The put-down that she gave him in that big meeting just pushed him over the edge,’ Copeland said. ‘It was the final straw that broke the camel’s back.’
No one can explain a suicide in rational terms. But the FBI investigation concluded that it was Hillary’s vilification of Foster in front of other White House aides — coming on top of his ongoing depression — that triggered the White House official’s suicide about a week later, Copeland and Clemente both say.
Starr issued a 38,000-word report, along with a separate psychologist’s report on the factors that contributed to Foster’s suicide. Yet Starr never mentioned the meeting with Hillary, leaving out the fact that his own investigation had found that Hillary’s rage had led to her friend’s suicide.
Starr’s investigation of Foster’s suicide was part of the larger probe of the Clintons’ investment in the Whitewater real estate development which ended in 1998. Hillary Clinton had just endured the Monica Lewinsky scandal and all that followed. Perhaps Starr’s omission makes more sense in that context.
Still, none of us who have witnessed the past 25 years of Hillary Clinton’s cruelty, duplicity and insolence on the national stage have any trouble imagining the scene inside that July 1993 White House meeting. She was a predator then and she continues to be.
The saddest part is that, even if Starr had included the meeting in his report, she would have rationalized it away as “just politics.”
I doubt very much if she would have felt any personal responsibility for it.
Sociopaths generally aren’t capable of empathy.
Me Here.....I remember this so called suicide. The question still remains as to why the first person that found Foster's body didn't see any weapon in his hand? Then when he came back there was a pistol in his hand? Normally in a pistol suicide the pistol does not stay in the person's hand. Mrs. Foster couldn't ID the pistol as his. Why were there carpet fibers in his coat consistent with a body being dragged on a carpeted floor? Later it was learned that Mr. Foster had accumulated a large amount of frequent flier miles flying back and forth to Switzerland for day trips. Why did he do those trips? Hiding Clinton's ill gotten gains?
There will always be unanswered questions into Mr. Foster's death. Mr. Starr doesn't answer most of the hard questions.