The National Archives on Friday released almost 30 pages of previously restricted documents related to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Those documents were among about 7,500 pages from former President Bill Clinton’s administration that became public Friday.
The 19th anniversary of the terrorist attack is Saturday.
Among the most interesting documents on the bombing is a 1996 memo showing then-Vice President Al Gore cut back his involvement in the first anniversary because of victims’ complaints.
Gore had been scheduled to walk with victims from the bombing site to a memorial service at what was then known as the Myriad Convention Center.
His aides cut the processional walk from his April 19, 1996, schedule after then-city Councilman Mark Schwartz warned there was a small but growing sentiment against his participation in it, the memo shows.
Clinton and Gore were up for re-election in 1996.
“I think you would all agree that the last thing we want to do is appear to be opportunistic, or intrusive in a grieving process and day that is so painful to so many people” aide Jackie Dycke wrote.
“I also think that if we did do this, and ended up with several angry or upset people, it could reflect extremely poorly on the Gores.
“Regarding the schedule, we will go back to observing a moment of silence on the place, doing a meeting with federal workers, doing the memorial service, stopping by the Murrah site, and departing.”
Clinton visited Oklahoma City on April 5, 1996, because he was going to be in Russia on the date of the first anniversary.
Memos from 1997 show Clinton was advised not to participate in any public events on the bombing’s second anniversary because of Timothy McVeigh’s trial.
Jury selection for McVeigh’s trial began on March 31, 1997.
The memos indicate that White House attorneys gave that advice because of concerns Clinton could be accused of interfering with the trial process.
In a March 12, 1997, memo, Barry Toiv, then White House deputy press secretary, wrote city leaders asked that Clinton “make a personal donation to the Oklahoma City Memorial Foundation (which will fund the construction of the memorial to the victims of the bombing) and encourage federal employees to do the same.”
Toiv wrote: “Counsel wasn’t too comfortable w/that so the current idea is to have him send an appropriate floral arrangement and a letter to the people of Oklahoma City on 4/19.”
McVeigh was convicted in June 1997 for his bombing crimes and executed in 2001.