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  • Uncovering Clinton
  • Written by Michael Isikoff
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307813985
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Uncovering Clinton

A Reporter's Story

Written by Michael IsikoffAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Michael Isikoff

eBook

List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: December 21, 2011
Pages: 448 | ISBN: 978-0-307-81398-5
Published by : Three Rivers Press Crown - Archetype
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

"I realized something that should have been apparent to me much earlier: I was in the middle of a plot to get the president."

A quarter of a century after Woodward and Bernstein's history-making expose All the President's Men stunned the nation by capturing the Nixon presidency in the throes of turmoil, Newsweek reporter Michael Isikoff gives us an equally explosive and surprisingly suspenseful behind-the-scenes account of his investigative role in the scandals that have rocked President Clinton's second term and led to the historic vote for impeachment that will define his presidency.
        
Isikoff, who is credited with breaking the Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey and Monica Lewinsky stories, is universally acknowledged as the leading reporter who brought to light the incredible revelations about Clinton's personal and political lives that have consumed this country and shocked the world. As a reporter for the Washington Post  and Newsweek, Isikoff has established himself as an astute observer and chronicler of Clinton's conduct throughout his presidency, following a trail of presidential misconduct from Little Rock, Arkansas, to the Oval Office. But Isikoff also unwittingly became a primary character in the unfolding Clinton drama. This is a story only he could tell, a gripping narrative of how one journalist went from battling skeptical editors and a formidable White House spin machine in his quest for the truth about Clinton to becoming a central participant in one of the biggest scandals in American political history.
        
Featuring a cast of bizarre characters who make this book as entertaining to read as a novel, Uncovering Clinton is also a nuanced and scrupulously fair account with a wealth of never-before-told information about the major players and events in the Clinton scandals, including:
The real reasons why some Washington Post reporters and editors believed Paula Jones's story from the start--and why Isikoff's story nonetheless was later killed before it ran.
How George Stephanopolous covered for Clinton as Isikoff pursued the Paula Jones story.
How Lucianne Goldberg's private notebook and tapes of her phone calls with Linda Tripp show that while Tripp was crying "victim" to the press, she was really plotting to bring down the president and betray Monica Lewinsky--and write a book about it all.
The real truth behind Hillary Clinton's oft-cited "vast right-wing conspiracy"--a coterie of right-wing lawyers known as "the elves" who secretly wrote the Jones legal briefs and arranged to bring the Lewinsky story to Ken Starr's office and to public light.
How Linda Tripp manipulated Ken Starr's prosecutors into launching a criminal investigation into the Lewinsky matter while withholding critical information, including her repeated contacts with Isikoff.

Isikoff had no agenda when he started investigating President Clinton's conduct  other than to get at the truth.  Now, after accomplishing a remarkable case of journalistic detective work, Isikoff gives us something even more significant: a work that illuminates the psychologically troubling behavior of a president, an Administration that has enabled his actions, a motley crew of Clinton-haters who would stop at nothing to topple the president, and a rapidly changing media grappling with the ever-shifting boundaries between public and private behavior. Uncovering Clinton will surely be the definitive account of our nation's biggest political scandal since Watergate.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

The next day, November 21 [1997], Tripp called me. There was another courier pickup from the Pentagon this morning. Only this time, it was not a letter. It was a tape--for phone sex, she told me. I called Speed Service and arranged to get the receipt. It showed once again a "Monica" at Lewinsky's extension at the Pentagon calling it in and a delivery to the White House with Betty Currie's extension as the contact number. As luck would have it, the messenger who delivered it also had to make a delivery to Newsweek that morning. I asked him to describe what he had delivered to the White House. It was a package, sort of like this, he said holding up his hands, sort of like a small box. Like a tape? I asked. Yes, he told me, like a tape.

I was once more impressed with the reliability of what Tripp was telling me. And with the strangeness of the information: a sex tape couriered to the Oval Office. What would people think if they knew about this? But then I also started, for the first time really, to feel strange myself about what was going on--and what I was doing. I realized with a bit more clarity something that should have been apparent much earlier: I was in the middle of a plot to get the president.

I was only covering it, of course. Or so I told myself. But I was covering it from the inside, while it was unfolding, talking nearly every week with the conspirators as they schemed to make it happen. Tripp would at times ask me questions. She would seek my advice. I would, cautiously, give it: No, you shouldn't go to the tabloids with this story, it would only cheapen it, I had told her when she floated this idea. You should deal only with me. Reporters have these kinds of conversations with sources all the time. But in a situation like this, the lines between aggressive reporter and passive co-conspirator can get awfully blurry.

I had tried at every stage to adhere strictly to my role as a journalist: when I wouldn't listen to Tripp's tapes, when I rejected her harebrained scheme to steal the semen-stained dress and give it to me, when I wouldn't give Joe Cammarata the name of Kathleen Willey. But still, I was in treacherous and uncharted territory. There was a lot about Linda Tripp I didn't know--and much that even then made me distinctly uncomfortable. Her duplicity was obvious. Leave aside her tapes, which we had not talked about since that meeting back in October. She was betraying Lewinsky every time she spoke to me. She was relating in the mornings conversations she had been having with her unsuspecting young friend the night before--intensely personal conversations that Lewinsky obviously thought were taking place in confidence. On a practical level, I found it mindspinning--the cutouts, the code names, the switching on and off between sympathetic friend and devious informant. How did Tripp keep it all straight? And what were these talks between Tripp and Lewinsky really like? What was Lewinsky like? Who was she? I had no idea, really, and no effective way to find out--without tipping her off to what was going on, without betraying the woman who was betraying her.  Yet it was the betrayer who was my source.

We all like to think of ourselves as ethical people, even headline-hungry reporters. But the ethics here looked a bit bewildering. I retreated to more comfortable terrain: my professional obligation as a journalist. On this score, I felt sure, I was safe. I reminded myself that neither I nor Newsweek had decided to publish anything. And for a good reason, too: I couldn't prove that any of this was real and that Monica Lewinsky wasn't some psychotic fantasist. I was only doing my job: listening, collecting evidence, testing what my sources were telling me to see if the information would hold up if and when Newsweek decided there was something here worth sharing with the public. According to Tripp, Clinton was using his office to get Lewinsky a job. That, in and of itself, was suspect. There was also a lawsuit out there in which the alleged sexual compulsiveness of the president of the United States was a central issue. This thing could well come up. I was doing only what any good reporter under the same circumstances would do, I concluded. What was I supposed to do? Tell Tripp and Goldberg to get lost? Say to them, "How dare you provide me with evidence of presidential misbehavior"?

Still, I was uneasy and told myself again I had to be extremely careful.


From the Hardcover edition.
Michael Isikoff

About Michael Isikoff

Michael Isikoff - Uncovering Clinton

Photo © Photo courtesy of Damien Donck/Newsweek

Michael Isikoff is an award-winning investigative correspondent for Newsweek, a frequent guest on MSNBC and other cable news networks, and the author of the bestselling Uncovering Clinton.
Praise

Praise

"A penetrating look at the most explosive presidential scandal since Watergate."                      
--Associated Press

"Isikoff is who Woodward used to be."
--Frank Rich, The New York Times Magazine

"A lively, highly readable, and attention-holding account."
--Los Angeles Times


From the Trade Paperback edition.

  • Uncovering Clinton by Michael Isikoff
  • December 21, 2011
  • Social Science; Current Affairs
  • Three Rivers Press
  • $11.99
  • 9780307813985

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