Is She Onboard with the Cover-Up?
Kenneth Starr has questions about departing paralegal
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She graduated from Johns Hopkins University and earned an MBA at the University of Denver, but her real education began with what was apparently her first job after receiving her graduate degree. Possibly through the connections of one of her parents, who both had important positions in New York City at the time, she got a job working as a paralegal for former United States Attorney for the southern district of New York, Robert Fiske. Fiske had been appointed as special prosecutor by Attorney General Janet Reno in January of 1994 to investigate the Whitewater scandal—and, particularly the death of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent W. Foster Jr.—of the Bill Clinton administration.
Lucia Rambusch, the person of whom we speak, would have likely been around 23 or 24 years old at the time of her appointment. We know of no evidence that she had any legal training, but it’s not really necessary for most of the sort of “gofer” work that paralegals typically do. We don’t know what she actually did for Robert Fiske or for Kenneth Starr when he was appointed by a three-judge panel to replace Fiske after the lapsed law creating the office of “Independent Counsel” was put back in force. The problem for Starr and for the head of the Little Rock office of the Independent Counsel, Hickman Ewing, is that they weren’t too sure what she did, either. Moreover, they didn’t know exactly what she had learned as of March 13, 1995, what she felt about what she had learned, and what she might do with that knowledge.
Starr and Ewing did know that she had learned a lot more than was safe for them…and for her. You see, the man for whom she had last worked directly, Miguel Rodriguez, had resigned in disgust, and before that, in December of 1994, he had written a long memorandum for the record laying out his case.
It is very clear what motivated Rodriguez to write this 30-page memorandum to “File.” It is the same as what motivated Judge John Butzner when he argued with his two colleagues for inclusion of [dissenting witness Patrick] Knowlton’s letter with the Starr report. He could see already that a cover-up was taking place. He probably had already figured out that he was powerless to stop it, but he wanted the official record to show that he had tried. (Partially covering her behind at the same time was Rodriguez’s assistant, paralegal Lucia Rambusch. Her initials can be seen at the bottom of every page along with those of Rodriguez.)
Hickman Ewing’s Memo to Kenneth Starr
The Memphis attorney Ewing was Ken Starr’s “good cop,” and the head of Washington office, the politically connected Democrat and holdover from the Fiske investigation, Mark Tuohey, was his “bad cop.” Ewing, then, was the man to send to cozy up to Ms. Rambusch to feel her out and to see to it that she stayed in line. As you read Ewing’s report to Starr, which is a little more than two pages in length, you might conclude that the cozying up didn’t go well at all. Rambusch pretty much clammed up to Ewing, but the message got across to her quite clearly that she had better stay clammed up to everybody. We can see that message very clearly in the fourth of Ewing’s seven bullet points:
I told her that I wanted to find out from her what she thought had happened out at Fort Marcy Park. She said that she, Mark Tuohey and Chuck (SA Chuck Regini, FBI) had gone over every fact that she knew. She said words to the effect, “Thus, you have all the facts I had.”
I asked her for her opinion on what happened to Vince Foster. She said, “My opinion is irrelevant.” I told her, “No, it’s not. You worked on the case.” I told her that anytime I have ever taken over a case from someone, they have discussed it with me, both as to the facts developed to date, and what they think happened. I have done likewise if I was bringing someone up to speed on a matter.
I told her that if we continued on with the investigation and one and a half months from now came up with an opinion different from hers, was she then going to state that she had a different opinion. I told her that we were entitled to her input.
She said words to the effect, “I can’t go into something that I haven’t made my mind up on…maybe when I return from my trip, I might talk about it.” (emphasis added)
So Ewing, the salesman, was unable to close the sale. You know that after Rambusch has spent her two months about as far away from this nightmare as she can possibly get—in Tasmania, of all places—she is not going to have anything more to say to Ewing. She knows, quite correctly as we see, that anything she tells Ewing is going straight back to Starr. Furthermore, it’s likely to be going back to Starr’s enforcer, Tuohey, when, according to Ewing’s handwritten notes, “MT had asked LR to lie about MR” and “LR is terrorized by MT.”
But Ewing does not discourage easily. He tries another angle at bullet point 6, but once again he’s cold shouldered, like a smoothie being rejected on a persistent request for a date:
Since she said she did not want to give opinions or theories, I asked her if she would talk about facts. She said she would. I then asked:
Do you know of any facts that would show that [Cheryl] Braun, [John] Rolla, or [Peter] Simonello [of the Park Police] staged the corpse and planted the gun on Vince Foster? [I was looking a (sic) Miguel’s memo, p. 22, fn. 17, as my basis, but made no mention of Miguel or the memo in asking this.] She said, “I really don’t want to discuss this.”
Rambusch’s government education was at an end. One can only wonder what larger lesson she gained from the experience. Do you think she learned enough to agree with my observation in “Vince Foster’s Valuable Murder”: “For those willing to open their eyes only a little bit, no episode reveals so simply and clearly the complete corruption of America’s major institutions as we head into the 21st century”?
Don’t Talk to Lucia
When Ewing said to Rambusch “…if we continued on with the investigation and one and a half months from now came up with an opinion different from hers…” she knew full well what he was saying. He was telling her in so many words that they were going to proclaim Foster’s death a suicide even though Rambusch had seen thoroughly convincing evidence that it was a rather poorly covered-up murder.
And that’s what happened, although Starr’s team strung things out for more than two and a half additional years, no doubt in hopes that interest in the matter would die down. During that period their most noteworthy act occurred in October of 1995 when they were unsuccessful in their attempt to harass witness Patrick Knowlton into silence. In his book The Secret Life of Bill Clinton, British journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard has titled his chapter 12 about the episode, “Street Fascism.”
As we intimated earlier, Ewing’s call to Rambusch was not the complete failure that it might at first appear. Like Miguel Rodriguez, she got the message that it would not be a good idea for her to tell anyone what she had discovered on her first job. For his part, Rodriguez sent a memo to everyone at the office of the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, California, to which he had returned after leaving Starr’s employ in frustration, that anyone from the press inquiring about his work for Starr should be referred to Ewing’s office in Little Rock for a response. To show everyone how committed he was to omertą, U.S. shadow-government style, he open-copied the memo to his boss at the Sacramento office and to Ewing and Starr. You can see the memo here. And a couple of weeks before he wrote that memo, he had dutifully reported to Ewing about telephone calls he had received from the media and how he had brushed the callers off.
One might think that Rambusch would be proud to tell everyone that she had worked for a famous special prosecutor and a famous independent counsel right out of college, but such is not the case. Her Linked-In résumé has a curious gap after she left the University of Denver. You’d never know that she ever worked for the federal government. It could hardly be clearer that she doesn’t want anyone asking her about her work there.
It’s enough to make this writer feel a little bad about the article he has just written on account of the attention he has directed her way. Let everyone be clear, to paraphrase a man whose presence looms over this sorry affair, I have not had any sort of exchange, either written or oral, with that woman, Miss Rambusch. I made no attempt to contact her and plan no such attempt. Everything I have learned about her work for Fiske and Starr is available at the National Archives and what I have related about her professional life can be found with a diligent search of the Internet. If I have not documented statements about her career as I would usually do it is because I don’t want to make it easy for anyone to invade the privacy that she clearly wants to guard. She has married, has three children, and I am sure she wishes that she had never taken that job in Washington, DC.
May 19, 2015
For more articles on Vince Foster’s murder and the cover-up go here.