Donald Trump has revived the matter of Vince Foster’s suicide, calling claims of possible foul play “very serious” and the circumstances of Foster’s death “very fishy.” Trump added, “I don’t know enough to really discuss it” but “I will say there are people who continue to bring it up because they think it was absolutely a murder.”
As he often does, Trump is barking up the wrong tree, and irresponsibly so (if you don’t know enough to discuss it, don’t discuss it). In my view, and I once spent a fair amount of time looking into this, the claim that Foster was murdered is baseless. Investigators repeatedly have so found.
But, as is often the case with Trump, there’s a nearby tree worth barking up. Did Hillary Clinton’s behavior contribute significantly to Foster’s suicide?
The question has two components. First, did she contribute directly through the way she behaved towards Foster? Second, did she contribute indirectly by engaging in indefensible conduct that Foster had to defend? Both questions go to her character.
As to the first question, Alana Goldman of the Washington Free Beacon is reporting that Jim McDougal, the Clintons close business associate, said Clinton bullied Foster just before he committed suicide. According to Goldman:
Hillary Clinton relentlessly browbeat her clinically depressed former law partner Vince Foster shortly before he committed suicide in 1993, according to [previously unreported] notes from a final jailhouse interview with a former close business partner of the Clintons.
Jim McDougal, a long-time member of the Clintons’ Arkansas inner circle and a central figure in the Whitewater scandal, passed away from a heart attack in prison in 1998. But he said in a final interview before his death that Hillary Clinton had a “hard, difficult personality” and was “riding [Vince Foster] every minute” about Whitewater before Foster took his own life.
Goldman adds that McDougal’s comments “support a Daily Mail report last week on the FBI’s 1993 investigation into Foster’s death.” Federal investigators reportedly concluded that Hillary Clinton “triggered” Foster’s decision to take his own life after she publicly humiliated him during a White House meeting.
“Foster was profoundly depressed, but Hillary lambasting him was the final straw because she publicly embarrassed him in front of others,” Jim Clemente, a senior FBI investigator on the probe, told investigative reporter Ron Kessler.
McDougal’s comments are also consistent with the recollection of former Secret Service Agent Gary Byrne in his forthcoming book about the Clinton White House. Bryne says Hillary berated Vince Foster until he could stand no more.
McDougal summed things up this way: “[Foster] had so much of their sh*t on his head and Hillary was riding him every minute.”
The “sh*t on his head” line leads to the second question I posed above: Did Clinton contribute indirectly by engaging in indefensible conduct that Foster had to defend?
An affirmative answer makes intuitive sense, and is buttressed by strong evidence that Clinton also induced Foster himself to engage in indefensible conduct. Recall that, from all that appears, Foster participated in the theft of “Whitewater” related Rose Law Firm billing records. Copies were found in Foster’s attic some years after his death.
Federal prosecutors came close to indicting Hillary for stealing the billing records. It’s my understanding that they fell one witness short. In Ken Starr’s view, they needed the testimony of either Webb Hubbell, Seth Ward (Hubbell’s father-in-law), or Foster before they could indict the First Lady.
Hubbell and Ward were men with no shame, but Foster was fundamentally decent. Prosecutors believed he felt remorse over his behavior. If they were to get “one more witness,” it would be Foster.
If this account is true, then Foster was under even more Hillary-related pressure than commonly supposed. And it becomes even more plausible to conclude that Hillary contributed to Foster’s suicide through her indefensible actions in connection with the “Whitewater” scandal.
If, Hillary was also riding and humiliating Foster, as apparently she was, then her behavior is all the more unconscionable. This is the tree Trump should consider barking up, especially as Hillary continues to “open the door” with an assault on Trump’s problematic character.
NOTE: I changed the paragraph about Byrne’s book. When I wrote the original post, I forgot that Bryne wrote about Vince Foster specifically.
Imagine how Foster must have felt during his final days. This pillar of the Arkansas legal community had, from all that appears, been a party to the illegal removal of documents in order to help Bill and Hillary Clinton. In Washington, he’s burdened with trying to deal with the various legal problems created by the Clintons’ misconduct.
He has, in effect, sold his soul for the Clintons, yet Hillary, it seems, can’t stop berating him. The situation must have been unbearable.