"I Did Not Lie"

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Testifying before a House oversight committee, former Clinton aide David Watkins claimed that he had felt pressured by Hillary Clinton to fire seven White House travel office workers. Watkins stood firmly behind the notes he made at the time, stating that Mrs. Clinton was "ready to fire them all." His newly released notes recount being approached separately by two presidential advisers who said Mrs. Clinton wanted action on the matter. But Watkins told lawmakers the First Lady "did not order me to fire them. Did I feel pressure? Yes, I did." This was not the witness against Mrs. Clinton the GOP-led committee had hoped for, notes TIME's Jeff McAllister. "Again and again with witnesses both for Whitewater and Travelgate it seems this way: a smoky environment but no fire. About all that can be concluded so far is that Hillary Clinton is feared at the White House and her wishes are given tremendous deference." Interviewed by CNN in Detroit, Mrs. Clinton skirted Watkins' testimony but maintained that she only expressed concern over reports of financial wrongdoing at the travel office. The main target of those allegations, former travel office director Billy Dale, told CNN's Larry King: "I would like for her or anyone at the White House to prove that I mismanaged one dollar of funds." Congressional Republicans have long suspected that Hillary Clinton was behind a scheme to level bogus corruption charges against the White House travel employees so that they could be replaced with Arkansas cronies. Declared William Clinger, chairman of the House oversight committee: "The new administration needed a better plot line than simple patronage and contract steering to rich friends."