TIME Terrorism

Bill Clinton Said The Day Before 9/11 He Could Have Killed Bin Laden

Listen to the audio

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Chilling audio of former President Bill Clinton admitting that he turned down an opportunity to attack Osama bin Laden during his presidency was recently uncovered by Sky News Australia. The audio was recorded on September 10, 2001, one day before the 9/11 attacks which claimed nearly 3,000 lives and dramatically impacted the course of global history.

“I could have killed him, but I would have had to destroy a little town called Kandahar in Afghanistan and kill 300 innocent women and children,” Clinton said. “And then I would have been no better than him.”

Sky News obtained this footage of the former U.S. President through former Australian politician Michael Kroger.

TIME politics

New Monica Lewinsky Essay in Vanity Fair Hints at a Comeback

The Masterpiece Marie Curie Party Supported By Jaeger-LeCoultre And Hosted By Heather Kerzner
Monica Lewinsky arrives at The Masterpiece Marie Curie Party supported by Jaeger-LeCoultre and hosted by Heather Kerzner at The Royal Hospital on June 30, 2014 in London. David M. Benett—Getty Images

She wants internet redemption after the Clinton scandal

Monica Lewinsky wrote another essay in Vanity Fair Thursday, and it was pretty much about everything except Bill Clinton. After her May bombshell in Vanity Fair about surviving the scandal, is this the second step in Lewinsky’s long road to internet redemption since the 1998 scandal.

If the essay is any indicator, that road may have a lot of twists and turns. She started off by discussing how she watches Orange Is the New Black, then stopped when she heard a nasty joke about her affair with the President. She goes on to discuss something she heard on NPR, then New Jersey teen who was body-shamed, then a Haruki Murakami short story about a monkey who is an identity thief. She was basically all over the place.

The piece was supposed to be about how to regain control of your public persona after your reputation has been smeared. And that’s pretty interesting from Lewinsky’s perspective. Here was a cogent moment:

But more and more I’m finding that those who have lost command of their public narratives, do the opposite. They shake off the assault or the slight, take control of their rightful place in their community or the larger culture, and use social media to return the salvo. They refuse to have their identities swindled or misshapen. Instead, they take charge. They turn the attack on its head and use it as an opportunity for self-definition, instead of just taking blood as they go down.

The example she chose was Carleigh O’Connell, a 14-year old girl who posted a selfie in a bathing suit to get back at social media haters who were making fun of her butt and calling her fat. O’Connell took a stand against body-shaming and has now become an ambassador for a few body-postive organizations, so Lewinsky is using her as a symbol of an otherwise non-famous person who was publicly shamed, and then had to regain a public standing she never had in the first place. That’s a narrative that should sound familiar to Lewinsky, now 41, who was just a 22-year old intern didn’t have a public reputation to defend until the Clinton scandal launched her to global infamy.

MORE: The Shaming of Monica: Why We Owe Her an Apology

But then the essay takes a weird turn when she talks about Murakami’s freaky monkey character who steals identities. She’s trying to use it as a parable for the Internet, which she calls a “shadowy medium that exists outside the physical world—that has allowed us, as Carleigh’s story proves, to begin to have the means of reclamation.”

Lewinsky ends the essay with another coy reference to Carleigh and internet redemption, calling her butt selfie “an online rebuttal . . . in all meanings. Sounds good to me.”

So does this mean we can expect some Lewinsky butt selfies coming soon? Probably not, but it likely means we may be hearing a lot more from her as Hillary Clinton prepares for a (possible) presidential run.

 

TIME Morning Must Reads

Morning Must Reads: July 24

Capitol
The early morning sun rises behind the US Capitol Building in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

In the news: Gaza war; Two Ukrainian fighter jets shot down; Air Algerie flight missing; How Hillary and Bill Clinton raised $1.4 billion; Report of Sen. John Walsh plagarism; The execution of Joseph Wood; What's prettier in print

  • New Push to Lure Hamas Into Truce [WSJ]
    • Civilians as Human Shields? Gaza War Intensifies Debate [NYT]
    • Obama wants Israel to limit casualties in Gaza. But he won’t say how. [TIME]
    • FAA lifts its ban on flights to Israel [TIME]
  • “Two Ukrainian fighter jets were shot down Wednesday over separatist-held territory not far from the site of the Malaysia Airlines crash as international outrage over the tragedy has done little to slow the fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.” [WSJ]
  • “Authorities have lost contact with an Air Algerie flight en route from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso to Algiers with 110 passengers on board…” [Reuters]
  • How Hillary and Bill Clinton Raised $1.4 billion [TIME]
  • “It’s becoming increasingly clear that Congress won’t address the border crisis until sometime after its upcoming August recess.” [TIME]
  • Senator’s Thesis Turns Out to Be Remix of Others’ Works, Uncited [NYT]
  • Inside the Efforts to Halt Arizona’s Two-Hour Execution of Joseph Wood [TIME]
  • Prettier in Print

A brief message from Michael Scherer, TIME Washington D.C. bureau chief:

We will hold an #AskTIME subscriber Q&A this Friday, July 25, at 1 p.m., with TIME’s political correspondent Zeke Miller, who covers the White House and national politics, and congressional reporter Alex Rogers.

You can submit your questions beforehand on Twitter using the #AskTIME hashtag or in the comments of this post. For this to work, we depend on smart, interesting questions from readers.

You will need to be a TIME subscriber to read the Q&A. ($30 a year or 8 cents a day for the magazine and all digital content.) Once you’re signed up, you can log in to the site with the username and password you are given when you subscribe.

TIME Hillary Clinton

How Hillary and Bill Clinton Raised $1.4 Billion

Together, the Clintons have become two of the most impressive fundraisers in American history. Use the interactive graphic to see the many ways their supporters' money has been collected over the years.

There are great American political fundraisers. And then there are Hillary and Bill Clinton, the first couple of American political fundraising. Few in American history have collected and benefited from so much money in so many ways over such a long period of time. Since they arrived on the national political scene 32 years ago, the Clintons have attracted at least $1.4 billion in contributions, according to a review of public records by TIME and the Center for Responsive Politics.

That sum helps illustrate Hillary Clinton’s enormous advantage should she decide to run for President in 2016. Much of the money, raised through two Senate and three Presidential campaigns, was gathered together in small checks by an extensive network of donors and fundraisers. Other donations came in the form of six-figure “soft money” donations from wealthy individuals during Bill Clinton’s presidency. A third category includes money the couple has raised for the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global non-profit, through speaking engagements for Bill Clinton, and through outside political spending that benefitted the Clinton efforts.

The records also show a select group of top donors who have given in multiple ways to the Clintons over the years. Many of these same donors, including people like S. Daniel Abraham, founder of diet supplement company Slim Fast, and Susie Tompkins Buell, founding of the clothing company Espirit, have formed personal friendships with the Clintons, even as they have continued to pursue public policy campaigns around issues like U.S. relations with Israel and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Through the years, the Clintons have adjusted over time to the changing rules that govern political contributions. Craig Smith, a longtime adviser to the Clintons who is now helping to organize the Ready for Hillary PAC, estimates that a Hillary 2016 candidacy could cost as much as $1.7 billion, including the money raised and spent on her behalf by outside groups. That would make the effort about 150% more expensive than the 2012 Obama effort, an increase in line with historical norms.

[See profiles of the top donors.]

The data for this analysis is drawn from three broad categories.

Campaign contributions: Direct giving to Hillary and Bill Clinton’s campaigns for the Senate and the Presidency going back to 1992, as reported to the Federal Election Commission. It includes both individual contributions and money from other PACs given to either the leadership committees or joint fundraising committees of the Clintons. These figures also include “soft money” contributions to the Democratic National Committee during Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and his presidency. Those donations were later eliminated by the 2002 campaign finance reform law.

Non-political contributions: Speaking fees collected by Bill Clinton up to 2008, and contributions to the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Figures for Bill Clinton’s speaking fees are based on filings from Hillary Clinton’s tenure in the Senate. The foundation has only released a list of donors grouped by the contribution ranges, so in all cases the interactive assumes that each donor gave the smallest amount possible in that category. The range of contribution, from all foundation donors, as reported by the foundation, could go as high as $1.3 billion.

Outside spending: Independent expenditures on behalf of the Clintons, as well as contributions to Ready for Hillary PAC, an independent super PAC created to support Clinton in 2016, which she has told friends she grateful to have organized on her behalf.

Additional reporting by Becca Stanek.

TIME

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

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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.

[THR]

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

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