New Clinton Docs Disparage Ginsburg, Underscore Security Concerns at Atlanta Olympics

Clinton Global Initiative America Meetings Begin In Chicago
Former President Bill Clinton listens as Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks to guests at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) on June 13, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson—Getty Images

Among other revelations in the newly-released papers, the White House warned of the Supreme Court candidate's "halting speech" and "laconic nature" in one memo

The latest trove of previously-unreleased documents from the Clinton White House reveal the administration’s candid and at times unflattering assessment of Ruth Bader Ginsburg before her confirmation to the Supreme Court.

The memo, drafted by then-White House Associate Counsel Ron Klain to David Gergen, lists Ginsburg’s defense of the American Civil Liberties Union and “her failure to make eye contact, her halting speech, her “laconic” nature” as potential “performance pitfalls” for her in Senate confirmation hearings. It also includes the underlined warning that, “Judge Ginsburg views the White House’s interest and her interests as being at odds with each other.”

“She sees us as having a stake in presenting her as a moderate and in getting along well with the Senate; she sees her interests as ‘being herself,’ preserving her ‘dignity,’ and promoting her ‘independence,’” the memo continued.

The document is part of the latest batch of memos from the Clinton administration that have been released by the Clinton Library over the past several months. Also in this release is a memo from Klain outlining the subjects President Bill Clinton should bring up and which to avoid in a conversation with soon-to-be Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

Also of note is the multiple-choice memo to Clinton seeking his preferences for a planned trip to Spain, Poland, Romania and Denmark, and a White House memo outlining contingency planning for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.

Bonus: With this check mark, President Bill Clinton began the process of nominating Sonia Sotomayor to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Clinton Library

The Ginsburg memo:

The Breyer memo:

The Olympics memo:

The trip planning memo:

TIME 2016 Election

Liz Cheney Trusts Hillary Over Bill Because of Monica

"I’d have to go with Hillary”

Some scandals never go away.

Liz Cheney, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, indicated Monday that she trusts former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over her husband Bill because of the Monica Lewinsky affair 18 years ago.

“Whose judgment do you respect more, Bill or Hillary,” Dick Cheney was asked to laughter from the audience during a Politico event at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington.

“Oh boy, well,” Cheney said. “I didn’t vote for Bill and I don’t expect to vote for Hillary either.”

His daughter was more expansive.

“Taken in its totality in terms of all aspects of how one conducts themselves, I’d have to go with Hillary,” said Liz, who ran an unsuccessful campaign for Senate in Wyoming this year. When pressed why she trusts Hillary more than Bill, Liz responded, “Because I said in all areas of life.”

“I think I’ll just leave it there,” she added.

“I’m not sure there’s a difference,” said Dick Cheney’s wife Lynne.

Dick Cheney didn’t take the bait on most of the other rapid response questions. But he did say he would “probably” pick Secretary of State John Kerry’s judgment over Barack Obama’s.

“I really don’t think Obama has in his mind the same worldview that most of our presidents—Republican or Democrat alike—have had for the last 70 years,” Dick Cheney said.

TIME space

Halle Berry Is Right: Aliens Are (Probably) Real

Berry talks science—and gets it righter than most
Berry talks science—and gets it righter than most Trae Patton/NBC; NBC via Getty Images

Don't dismiss the sci-fi star's admission that she believes in extraterrestrial life — there's a very strong case to make that it exists

Correction appended, July 8

It’s not often Halle Berry’s name comes up in scientific circles, but today, the actress—who’s starring in CBS sci-fi thriller Extant—is all the buzz, after telling David Letterman that she believes aliens exist. Dr. Berry joins Bill Clinton, who made a similar admission to Jimmy Kimmel back in April, and as I said at the time, there’s solid science backing the we-are-not-alone community.

Some of the case for ET is based on simple numbers: the 300 billion stars in our galaxy, the 100 billion galaxies in the larger universe, and the recent discovery of thousands of planets or candidate planets in the Milky Way, thanks to the Kepler Space Telescope. Those thousands suggest there could be billions or trillions more.

Exobiologists disagree on the likelihood of life emerging on any of those worlds, but if you belong to the life-is-easy school (which I do) there’s reason for optimism, thanks to a simple equation: water plus hydrocarbons plus energy plus time may equal life. That’s how we got here—and who said we’re so special that the formula can work only once?

But Berry does get one thing very wrong when she says, “…it might take us 20 years to get to those other life forms, but I think they are out there.” Sorry Halle, but 20 ain’t happening. Unless we find a microorganism in water deposits on Mars (a legitimate possibility) or something living in the warm, salty oceans of Jupiter’s moon Europa, or on one of the handful of other moons in the solar system thought to harbor water, making contact with any species—particularly an intelligent species—across billions of light years of space is the very longest of cosmic long shots. We may not be alone, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be hosting extraterrestrial dinner parties any time soon.

Correction: The original version of this story misstated who Halle Berry told she believes in aliens.


TIME celebrity

Halle Berry Admits She Believes in Aliens

Bill Clinton agrees


Halle Berry, who plays an astronaut in the new CBS sci-fi thriller Extant, told David Letterman Monday night that she believes in life on other planets.

“I don’t believe we are the only species in existence,” Berry said, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “My ego doesn’t tell me that we’re the only ones who survived … it might take us 20 years to get to those other life forms, but I think they are out there.”

Berry keeps pretty good company in going on late night television to admit extraterrestrial ideology. Former President Bill Clinton told Jimmy Kimmel in April that he believes there’s something else out there.

“If we were visited someday I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said. “I just hope it’s not like Independence Day.” (TIME’s Jeff Kluger argued that the 42nd president was talking sense.)

Extant will premiere Wednesday at 9 p.m. EDT. Berry plays a pregnant astronaut who has been in space for a year — which draws a lot of questions about who, or what, the father might be.


TIME Supreme Court

Supreme Court Limits Presidential Recess Appointment Powers

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks about the situation in Iraq on June 19, 2014, in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington D.C. Pablo Martinez Monsivais—AP

The setback for President Obama is unlikely to stem the increasing political debate over the reach of executive power

Handing a victory to those who fear the executive branch has overreached in recent years, the Supreme Court has reined in the President’s power to appoint officers of the government when Congress is in recess. Weighing competing clauses of the constitution, the justices ruled Thursday that the President cannot circumvent the framers’ requirement that he seek the Senate’s advice and consent on executive branch appointments if Senators are only formally in recess for three days.

The ruling undermines hundreds of decisions made by the National Labor Relations Board in 2012 and for half of 2013, when the board comprised unconfirmed recess appointees. Those decisions will be revisited by the board that has since been confirmed by the Senate.

Nominally, the ruling is a win for Republicans who have made Obama’s use of presidential power a central plank of their mid-term election strategy. Sen. Orrin Hatch, the Republican former chair of the Senate Judiciary committee applauded “the Court’s willingness to stand up to President Obama’s flagrantly unconstitutional power grab,” while House Speaker John Boehner called the ruling a “victory for the Constitution, and against President Obama’s aggressive overreach.”

In fact, over the years, Republicans presidents have used recess appointments as often as Democrats. In 2013, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service found that Ronald Reagan had made 232 recess appointments, Bill Clinton had made 139, and George W. Bush had made 171. As of Jan. 2013, Obama had made 32. In that light, the ultimate effect of the Court’s ruling will be a slight shift in power to Congress from the executive branch.

Paradoxically, in recent years, Democrats have responded to Republican efforts to block Obama’s appointments by changing Senate rules to streamline the confirmation process. Last fall, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid forced through an ad hoc rule change effectively doing away with filibusters of all presidential appointments, except Supreme Court nominees—a dramatic move that curtailed the Senate minority’s ability to block presidential priorities. Reid said Thursday that thanks to that rule change, “today’s [Supreme Court] ruling will have no effect on our ability to continue ensuring that qualified nominees receive an up-or-down vote.”

By any ranking, America is one of the most free countries in the world. But particularly in recent years, as the 20th century threats of Communism, Fascism and National Socialism have faded, political discourse in the U.S. has tended toward apocalyptic predictions of democracy’s overthrow. Under George W. Bush, the left held that presidential signing statements threatened a fascist takeover of the country, while the right vigorously defended their use. Under Obama, the right sees the same presidential signing statements as an unconstitutional exercise of “king-like authority” while the left decries right-wing obstructionism.

The Supreme Court ruling Thursday on the fairly narrow issue of recess appointments is unlikely to placate either side’s concerns for long. House Speaker Boehner is set to bring an election-year law suit against the president next month in a self-described effort to “defend the Constitution and protect our system of government and our economy from continued executive abuse.”

–with reporting by Alex Rogers/Washington

TIME Congress

Charlie Rangel’s Famous Friends Are Happy He’s Still in Congress

A fixture in New York's social and political scenes, Rangel is slated to add two more years to his 44-year stint in Congress after a tight race against state Sen. Adriano Espaillat

TIME 2016 Election

Bill Clinton: Hillary Is ‘Not Out of Touch’

Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton listens during a session of the annual gathering of the Clinton Global Initiative America in Denver on June 24, 2014 Brennan Linsley—AP

The former President said his wife is "not out of touch," after she came under fire for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews

Former President Bill Clinton defended his wife’s recent comments about their family’s wealth Tuesday in an interview at the Clinton Global Initiative America conference.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has come under fire from Republicans and some Democrats for minimizing their wealth in recent interviews in promotion of her new book. Hillary Clinton said earlier this month she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001, and in an interview with the Guardian newspaper published last weekend, Clinton implied she was not among the “truly well-off,” despite more than $100 million that the former President has collected from speaking engagements alone.

The criticisms are undercutting Hillary Clinton’s efforts to highlight populist economic issues in preparation for a possible presidential campaign and lending to an image that she can’t relate to average Americans.

The former President told NBC News’ David Gregory he was not surprised the subject of their wealth came up, suggesting it was an effort by Republicans to “change the subject.”

“It is factually true that we were several million dollars in debt,” Bill Clinton said in an interview airing this week on Meet the Press, in reference to the millions in legal fees they racked up in the White House. “Everybody now assumes that what happened in the intervening years was automatic; I’m shocked that it’s happened. I’m shocked that people still want me to come give talks.”

With his wife and daughter looking on, Bill Clinton asserted that they do normal things in the tiny New York suburb of Chappaqua, the location of one of their two homes.

“The idea that now, after — I think I had the lowest net worth of any American President in the 20th century when I took office, but I still could have been tone-deaf,” said Clinton. “And, you know, now I don’t, and we’ve got a good life, and I’m grateful for it. But we go to our local grocery store on the weekend. We talk to people in our town. We know what’s going on. The real issue is if you’ve been fortunate enough to be successful, are you now out of touch and insensitive to the agonizing struggles other people are facing? That’s the real issue.”

Asked whether he could see why the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate’s comments were drawing accusations that she was out of touch, Bill Clinton said he could, adding “but she’s not out of touch.”

“She advocated and worked as a Senator for things that were good for ordinary people,” he continued. “And before that, all her life. And the people asking her questions should put this into some sort of context.”

Hillary Clinton’s remarks on wealth have evoked comparisons to former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. On Monday, potential 2016 rival Vice President Joe Biden highlighted his relatively meager finances at an event on working families, but called himself fortunate regardless.

Watch the video of the exchange below:

TIME 2016 Election

7 Songs We Want to Hear in the Upcoming Clinton Musical

Bill & Hillary Clinton Mayoral Inauguration
President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton attend the Inauguration of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Jan. 1. New York Daily News—NY Daily News/Getty Images

The show arrives in New York next month

The Clintons are coming back to New York–in song. Clinton: The Musical will play at the Pershing Square Signature Center in New York City from July 18-25 following its year-long run in London.

Clinton follows two Bill Clintons ['W.J. Clinton' and 'Billy'] and Hillary on their quest to save their presidency, change America and prove that ‘politics is show business for ugly people,’” the show’s description reads. Colorful 1990s characters like Monica Lewinsky, Newt Gingrich and Kenneth Starr also make appearances.

Here are 7 songs we think should be in Clinton: The Musical’s New York debut:

Fool on the Hill(ary)

It couldn’t have been easy stomaching Bill’s repeated chorus of, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman.” In this song, the musical’s Hillary would lament all of the signs she missed that Bill was playing her for the fool.

Stand by Me

Bill had a lot of ‘splainin to do back in 1998. In the musical version, after Ken Starr’s report reveals some rather explicit details about the President’s relationship with Monica Lewinsky, Bill would beg Hillary, “Stand by me.”

We Can Do It

In this musical number taken from The Producers, Hillary tells Bill she has decided to become the second Clinton to run for the White House. The Clintons’ chorus of “We Can Do It” is rudely interrupted by an Obama conga line of “Yes, We Can!”

Big Girls Don’t Cry

Hillary might have lost out on the nomination in 2008, but she kept her poker face and went on to become Secretary of State. Nobody puts Hillary in a corner.

Started from the (Foggy) Bottom

Hillary channels her inner Drake as she takes on the job of Secretary of State and confronts new foreign policy problems.

It’s the Hard-Knock (Choices)

As Hillary sings this ballad reminiscent of Annie, a stenographer in the backdrop furiously records the words for her biography Hard Choices.

(20)16 Goin’ on 17

The Sound of Music-inspired anthem will chronicle Hillary’s adventures and misadventures on the campaign trail as she tries to make it to the White House (again).

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Confronts Her Squirrel Stalker

The GOP has been sending someone dressed in a squirrel costume to the likely presidential contender's book tour events

While out on the campaign tra-….er, book tour Tuesday, Hillary Clinton took a moment to say hello to her most devoted groupie: a Republican squirrel.

The Republican National Committee has been sending an RNC staffer (or staffers rotating shifts) to follow Clinton around on her book tour wearing a squirrel costume and a shirt that says, “Another Clinton in the White House is Nuts.” The “HRC Squirrel” even has its own Twitter account.

On Tuesday, Clinton hopped out of her transport for a moment to deliver a copy of her book, Hard Choices, to the squirrel, which had been on her heels since last Friday.

TIME White House

The Clinton Family Business

Brooks Kraft/Corbis for TIME

As partners in Hillary’s political dynasty, Bill and Chelsea bring a lot to the party, as well as some baggage

This originally appeared in TIME’s book Hillary: An American Life, available on newsstands everywhere June 27.

When Chelsea Clinton announced in April 2014 that she was pregnant, it took the media about two nanoseconds to zero in on what that could mean for national politics. Namely, that Hillary, should she run for president in 2016, could campaign as a grandmother. Within hours, Democratic analysts predicted gleefully that the new role could be a “game changer” on the campaign trail, while Republicans downplayed the potential shift in public persona. A few of the more conservative commentators even suggested, rudely, that the Clintons had planned the pregnancy to maximize good optics in 2016. The morning after the announcement, New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin, on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, described the disclosure as the beginning of “the human drama that is Grandma Clinton.”

The speculation, while admittedly absurd—calculating the political implications of an unborn child requires a certain audacity, at least—was also an indication, as Sorkin suggested, of the continuing role that the Clinton family has played in the American political drama for a generation. The Clintons have been more or less constantly on stage since the late ’70s, when Bill first ran for governor of Arkansas. After Clinton entered the White House in 1993, Chelsea was featured in 87 network news stories and 32 articles in the New York Times, among the most of any president’s kid, according to the political scientist Robert Watson. And the White House years were just another act in the long-running drama. We have, over the years, carefully scrutinized their decisions, their health scares, their haircuts; we have weighed in on their missteps and victories. We were there when Bill joined the ex-presidents club and when Chelsea went to high school, then college, then graduate school. We had front-row seats when Hillary’s political star began to rise, first as a U.S. senator from New York and then as the secretary of state. And we watched as the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and the recently renamed Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Family Foundation became one of the most influential players in the field of international development.

The question now is whether all that history—a quarter-century of memories, goodwill and baggage—will help or hurt if Hillary runs for president in 2016. Voters tend to like political dynasties in both parties, almost despite those dynasties’ history. America is on its fourth generation of Bushes; Mitt Romney’s father ran for president in 1968, 40 years before the son mounted his first run. Al Gore’s father was in national politics long before his son tried his hand. Even Rand Paul is a legatee of his libertarian father’s years in Congress. The ways that candidates with familiar names both fit in with and stand apart from their clans matter, because such behavior is a window into their values, priorities and private lives.

The good news for Clinton supporters is that, according to an April 2014 Washington Post/ABC News poll, 66% of Americans viewed the Clinton family favorably. Analysts say that’s largely because many Americans remember the Clinton era, from 1993 to 2001, as one in which the economy was booming, unemployment was down, wars were won quickly, and important federal issues, like welfare reform, were actually addressed head-on. Bill Clinton’s charisma and charm is a trickier thing to measure: like it or not, he has an almost preternatural ability to connect with voters young and old, black and white, rich and poor. But if he was at times Hillary’s secret weapon in 2008—acting as headliner at fundraisers, expert interview-giver, proxy and consultant—his feel for the electorate was sometimes off-target.

Chelsea, for her part, has dutifully campaigned for both her parents over the years. Chelsea remembers, as she told Fast Company magazine in May 2014, waving little American flags at her father’s gubernatorial races in the early ’80s, when she was barely 3. More recently, on her mother’s primary-campaign trail in 2008, Chelsea gave hundreds of speeches, mostly on college campuses, where she—herself a bright-eyed, articulate member of the millennial generation—worked to connect with young people, a demographic to whom her then-60-year-old mother had a harder time appealing.

If Hillary throws her hat in the ring in 2016, analysts expect that both husband and daughter will play larger, and perhaps better-defined, roles in the next campaign. Bill, whose speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention electrified the audience and sent pundits writing encomiums about Bill as the “greatest communicator,” will likely be used to win over key voting groups and pull in influential help, while Chelsea is expected to take on a fairly robust high-level role, possibly in strategic management. “I can see her being a senior adviser,” Amie Parnes, co-author of the recent New York Times best seller HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton, told Fast Company.

Regardless of what happens next, the Clintons’ center of gravity as of now is CGI and the Clinton Family Foundation, which together employ more than 2,000 people in 36 countries. CGI has helped create $103 billion of pledges to 2,800 philanthropic projects around the globe. Unlike other family-branded foundations like the Gates Foundation, which disburse families’ personal wealth, Bill, Hillary and Chelsea must solicit grants from wealthy friends and corporations to fund projects that range from curbing global warming to ending elephant poaching. In 2014 the foundation launched the “No Ceilings” project, which Chelsea will help steer and which will monitor and facilitate the progress of women and girls worldwide.

The financial motor behind much of these efforts is CGI, which hosts an annual conference in Manhattan and draws the brightest stars from the political and development firmament, each of whom coughs up a $20,000 yearly membership fee to cozy up with one another for the three-day love-fest. For campaign-finance and tax reasons, no dollars raised by CGI or the Clinton Family Foundation can be used toward Hillary’s—or anyone else’s—campaign, although the relationships developed beneath the CGI umbrella are, of course, fair game. Both critics and admirers of the Clintons have noted that the family’s charity work has allowed them to assemble a team of wealthy donors, while simultaneously cultivating a reputation for service, a position that certainly doesn’t hurt a national campaign. It also offers Chelsea, who recently started working at the foundation (“I joined the family business,” as she puts it), the opportunity to work closely with her mother in an organizational capacity, should she end up taking on a similar position in her campaign.

“You can see it already,” Parnes said in Fast Company. “She and her mom are working on these issues together . . . Something her mom learned last time was that there was arrogance at the top. She wasn’t hearing the truth from people, and Chelsea will give her the truth.”

But while in this context the Clintons may appear an unstoppable triumvirate, their arms around each other’s waists at state dinners, funerals, fundraisers, galas and countless charity events, the media—and their rivals—have hardly forgotten their less-TV-ready past. In an interview with Vanity Fair in April, Monica Lewinsky herself came forward to defend Hillary, asking the nation to “bury the blue dress,” while Senator Rand Paul, whose name is floated as a potential nominee in 2016, has done everything he can to resurrect it. In an interview with Meet the Press in late Jan. 2014, the Kentucky Republican suggested that the Clinton family’s social advocacy, especially with regard to girls’ and women’s rights, is disingenuous, given what he described as Bill’s “predatory behavior” toward women while he was in office. “If they want to take [a] position on women’s rights, by all means do,” he said in early February on C-Span. “But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.” Paul’s wife, Kelley Ashby, also suggested in a Vogue article in 2013 that Bill’s history with Monica Lewinsky “should complicate his return to the White House, even as First Spouse.”

And well it may. But trying to make an issue of the Clinton family’s well-litigated past could also backfire during a time in this country when unemployment is still high, real wages are declining, and Americans are feeling squeezed. The electorate may feel that attacking Hillary for the mistakes of her husband (for which she has already paid a painful price) is simply untoward. Nor does it follow that the past is prologue. In the late ’90s, the Clinton family is arguably what helped refurbish Bill’s legacy. Following a press conference in 1998 in which the president admitted that he had had an affair, Chelsea, who was 18 years old, walked between her mother and father and held each of their hands. The resulting image—the visual equivalent of sticking-togetherness, of forgiveness—came to define the Clintons in the following year.

As for Hillary’s future role as grandmother? To indulge in a bit of our own speculation: the precious bundle could be a mixed blessing, in political terms. The most obvious risk to Hillary’s new role is that it will inevitably highlight her age, a vulnerability some conservatives have already begun exploiting. (At 66, Hillary is “not particularly old for a man,” conservativecolumnist Wes Pruden argued last year, but “a woman in public life is getting past her sell-by date.”) And although such calculations might rightly infuriate feminists—who cared how many grandchildren Mitt Romney had?—whether Hillary is being a “good grandma” or not may make headlines as well.

By the same token, however, becoming a grandmother could also help Hillary excite and relate to younger voters for whom the title of “grandmother” is powerful. While it might have been a political liability in 1975 to be seen as a graying older lady, the role has taken on new meaning, particularly among younger, black and Latino voters, whose families are often bound by strong matriarchs. “In a world where nearly 40% of new mothers are single, many communities rely on grandmothers to hold together the whole family,” says Anne Liston, a Democratic strategist. “The image of a grandmother is one of a compassionate caregiver.”

That might be exactly the ace in the hole that Hillary needs as a national candidate. While poll after poll has found that voters find her competent, strong, intelligent and electable, in 2008 she struggled to connect with crowds of even strongly Democratic supporters, who found her calculating or aloof. Becoming a grandmother could help her warm up her public image and provide her speechwriters with a supply of rich material that they could use to connect her to the advocacy for children, families and public health that she’s championed for decades.

Of course, regardless of how deftly Hillary fits into her new role, and no matter how solid the Clinton family is, her many critics will complain. They will, as they have before, remind voters of past mistakes or paint Chelsea as a pawn of her parents’ political regime. They’ll accuse Hillary of using the grandchild as a campaign tool and suggest that the Clintons’ considerable influence is misused. But throughout it all, the Clintons will have one another, holding hands onstage. And if the past 25 years is any indication, it can be unwise to underestimate their staying power.

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser