Get PolitiFact in your inbox.
An old allegation suggesting the Clinton family killed yet another associate is making the rounds again as Facebook users share this post from Sept. 5, 2018.
"On this date in 1993, Vince Foster went to Fort Marcy Park and shot himself 3 times in the back of the head to avoid testifying against Hillary Clinton," it says.
The post, which has been shared more than 79,000 times, was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
Here are the facts.
Vince Foster, deputy White House counsel to then-President Bill Clinton, killed himself on July 20, 1993, at Fort Marcy Park in Virginia.
His death was grist for the conspiracy theory mill. Critics of the Clintons speculated that the Clintons had killed Foster. Dan Burton, then a Republican congressman from Indiana, "famously shot a melon in his backyard to ‘prove’ that Foster couldn’t have killed himself," an Esquire story says. An autopsy concluded that he committed suicide, according to the story, but Foster’s death still drew the attention of, among others, Brett Kavanaugh before he was a Supreme Court justice.
Back then, Kavanaugh was on independent counsel Ken Starr’s team when it looked into whether Foster was murdered. In early 1995, Kavanaugh offered Starr "the legal rationale for expanding his investigation of the Arkansas financial dealings of President Bill Clinton and his wife, Hillary, to include the Foster death," the Washington Post reported. "Kavanaugh, then 30, argued that unsupported allegations that Foster may have been murdered gave Starr the right to probe the matter more deeply. Foster’s death had already been the focus of two investigations, both concluding that Foster committed suicide."
One investigation by then-special counsel Robert Fiske involved four lawyers, five physicians, seven FBI agents, approximately 125 witnesses, and DNA tests, the Washington Post reported in 1994. "According to Fiske," the paper said, "Foster’s death was a personal collapse, not a White House scandal."
He complained to his physician in Little Rock, Ark., about depression and anxiety, and his symptoms worsened when he got to Washington to work in the White House. After he bore some of the political fallout from an incident that became known as "Travelgate," in which seven White House travel office employees were "fired amid hints of financial shenanigans," he became "increasingly obsessed" with the affair and the possibility of a congressional hearing, the Washington Post said.
"Though he was confident he and the White House had done nothing wrong," the paper wrote, "he told his friend Webster L. Hubbell that ‘in Washington you are assumed to have done something wrong even if you have not.’"
After a series of critical editorials in the Wall Street Journal, he became more distraught, Fiske found. "His anxiety over the congressional hearings deepened," according to the Post. He told his sister he was depressed. He ultimately shot himself once in the mouth with a gun.
Kavanaugh eventually affirmed the suicide finding and, in October 1997, Starr issued a report on Foster’s death and concluded that Foster killed himself. But today, conspiracies continue to flourish. In 2016, for example, President Donald Trump called Foster’s death "very fishy."
We rate this Facebook post False.
Facebook post, Sept. 5, 2018
FBI, Vincent Foster records, visited Nov. 5, 2019
Esquire, Brett Kavanaugh was involved in 3 different crises of democracy, Aug. 3, 2018
The Washington Post, After investigating Clinton White House and Vincent Foster’s death, Brett Kavanaugh had a change of heart, Aug. 2, 2018
The Washington Post, Foster’s death a suicide, July 1, 1994
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.