Kathleen Willey Grope 'n' Gripe Extravaganza!

Kathleen Willey Grope 'n' Gripe Extravaganza!

Kathleen Willey Grope 'n' Gripe Extravaganza!

Gossip, speculation, and scuttlebutt about politics.
Feb. 3 1998 6:44 PM

Kathleen Willey Grope 'n' Gripe Extravaganza!

A FEW MORE POINTS

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about the Kathleen Willey incident. As noted in yesterday's Chatterbox, if true Willey's story is the worst of Clinton's alleged sexual indiscretions--worse than Lewinsky, worse than Paula Jones. But is Willey telling the truth? In his original Newsweek article on the Willey/Willy business, reporter Michael Isikoff said Willey's "friend" Julie Steele initially confirmed Willey's account, saying she (Steele) had heard the gruesome details from Willey the night of the incident. But in the same article Isikoff reported that Steele had later recanted and said that Willey "had asked her to 'lie' about what had happened in order to give credibility to the allegation that she had been harassed." According to Isikoff, Steele now said that Willey only told her that "the president had made a pass at her," and not until weeks after the incident. ...

ARE WE TO BELIEVE Steele's recantation? Or had the same Mystery Suborner who gave Monica Lewinsky anti-Willey "talking points" to give to Linda Tripp--"you now do not believe that what she claimed happened really happened. You now find it completely plausible that she herself smeared her lipstick"--also given them to Steele, with greater success? Chatterbox has no idea what the answer is. Steele's testimony will clearly now be very important. But the mere existence of the "talking points" casts a retrospective cloud over her semi-exculpatory recantation. ...

STEELE'S NEW ACCOUNT is only "semi-exculpatory" because she did tell Isikoff that Willey had talked to her about Clinton making a pass (just not an unwanted pass). The New York Times, rehashing Isikoff's reporting in a front-page piece last Saturday, conveniently omitted this point, leaving the false impression that the first Steele had heard about any Clinton pass was when Willey called to ask her to lie when Isikoff "was on his way to her home." ...

ONE ANTI-WILLEY CONSIDERATION is this: her husband apparently stole about $274,000 of a client's money and didn't repay it. Instead, with the repayment deadline looming, he committed suicide. Kathleen Willey got $1 million in insurance money after his death, and apparently didn't give any of it to the poor client whose money was stolen. Indeed, she has fought through protracted legal proceedings to successfully stiff him. Is Chatterbox alone in finding this behavior deeply troubling? ...

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DESIGNATED SCANDAL VILLAIN LINDA TRIPP, of course, told Isikoff that when she ran into Willey after Willey's Oval Office encounter, Willey looked "flustered, happy, and joyful"--not harrassed. But is Tripp's account really all that incompatible with Willey's? Even if Clinton had made an unwanted grope, Willey still could have looked "flustered and happy" afterwards, and maybe even have failed to tell Tripp she was at some level appalled. After all, it must be a heady thing for the president make a pass at you, even an unwanted pass--though Chatterbox has no personal experience in this department. Willey may have been "joyful" that she was going to get the job she desperately wanted. Even if Clinton's behavior was piggish, it's a bit unfair to expect Willey to get instantly angry and dress down the president of the United States as if he were the heavy in some "How to Stop Sex Harassment" training video.