Washington Prowler

Kagan Counsel

The missing years under Bill Clinton.

By 5.13.10

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Republicans on the Senate Judiciary staff are not only interested in reviewing the papers of Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan from her time in the Clinton White House as a deputy assistant to the President for domestic policy, they are also interested in getting documents from the time she spent in the White House as associate White House counsel before moving over to policy. While some reports have included her time as a counsel (1995-1996), a number of mainstream reporters have downplayed that period or ignored it altogether, focusing instead on her next job with the domestic policy staff.

According to White House sources, the Obama Administration and Democrats on Capitol Hill have hoped to downplay that period in an effort to limit review process to Kagan's time working on domestic policy issues.

"I don't think anyone knows how much or how little paper there is from that time where attorney-client privilege would be a sticking point," says one White House aide. "We used [Chief Justice John] Roberts' nomination as a model, so we assume the Clinton library will have to provide some of what will be asked for."

But already some reporters are jumping on that period of time.

Kagan moved from the counsel's office to the domestic policy office in 1997, and documents from that period were pushed into reporters' hands almost immediately after Kagan was announced as the SCOTUS nominee. It is believed that Kagan worked at least tangentially on some of the so-called "Clinton scandals" during her brief tenure in the counsel's office, including the Travelgate scandal and ensuing investigation.

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