N312RC From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 2684 posts, RR: 15 Posted (15 years 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 955 times:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former White House counsel Jack Quinn told a congressional hearing on Thursday that President Clinton's (news - web sites) controversial last-minute pardon of fugitive billionaire Marc Rich was merited by the facts and was not the product of improper influence.
Quinn, who represented Rich and shipped his pardon application directly to the White House in December, said he kept Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder informed of his actions and never discussed anything but the facts of the case with Clinton.
Critics have blasted Clinton for pardoning Rich in the last hours of his presidency and questioned if it was influenced by Quinn's role or by hundreds of thousands of dollars in Democratic campaign donations from Rich's ex-wife Denise.
``He made this judgement on the merits,'' Quinn said of Clinton, criticizing the prosecution case against Rich as a ''house of cards.''
At the first of what promises to be a series of hearings on Clinton's pardon of Rich, a beleaguered Quinn defended the pardon to the House Government Reform Committee and said he did nothing wrong or unethical in handling it.
In a letter from her attorney released on Thursday, Denise Rich refused to answer 14 written questions submitted to her by the committee, claiming her constitutional privilege against incriminating herself.
Committee Chairman Dan Burton of Indiana, one of Clinton's most vocal Republican critics, said Rich also gave ``an enormous sum of money'' to the former president's library fund, although it was unclear how much.
Burton said the committee would go to the Justice Department (news - web sites) to seek a grant of immunity for Rich in order to force her to testify.
Rich, who fled to exile in Switzerland 17 years ago, was given an irrevocable presidential pardon shortly before Clinton left office on Jan. 20, freeing one of the world's richest men from prosecution on more than 50 counts of racketeering, wire fraud, income tax evasion and illegal oil trading with Iran.
Committee Republicans, who conducted a contentious three-year probe of alleged campaign fund-raising abuses by Clinton, said Rich was an international fugitive who renounced his citizenship and illegally traded oil with not only Iran but also Iraq, Libya, Cuba and South Africa during anti-apartheid sanctions.
``On the surface, this doesn't look like a very good case for a pardon,'' Burton said. ``So the question we have is, how did this happen?''
Democrats did not defend the pardon, but ranking Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman (news - bio - voting record) of California questioned when the Republican pursuit of Clinton would stop. Waxman said he might not have granted a pardon in such circumstances, but ``there is a crucial distinction between bad judgement and a presidential scandal.''
``To date, I see plenty of bad judgement, but no evidence of criminal wrongdoing,'' Waxman said, adding the ``cottage industry'' of investigating Clinton scandals had to end.
Two of the federal attorneys who prosecuted Rich, Sandy Weinberg and Martin Auerbach, told the panel they felt ''outrage'' over the pardon and were convinced of Rich's guilt and his unworthiness for clemency.
``Whatever the reason for the pardon, surely the reason was not the merits of the case,'' Weinberg said. The conviction of Rich and his business partner for evading more than $48 million in taxes was the biggest tax fraud case in U.S. history.
But Quinn said the case was ``fundamentally flawed,'' based on a meritless tax charge and a misuse of federal racketeering statutes by a prosecution team headed in the early 1980s by then-U.S. Attorney Rudolph Giuliani, now mayor of New York.
At a New York news conference, Giuliani said the case must have had some merit for Rich to ``run to Zurich, Switzerland, and spend $100 million to avoid extradition.'"
Quinn also denied allegations he made an end-run around standard pardon procedures by not submitting the application through the Justice Department's pardon officer, saying many pardons often originated at the White House and he kept Holder informed of his actions.
Holder said he paid little attention to the Rich case, but after White House counsel Beth Nolan told him on Jan. 19 that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (news - web sites) had sought a review of the issue and she asked his opinion, he told her he was ``neutral, but leaning toward if it had a foreign policy benefit.''
Nolan and former Clinton aide Bruce Lindsey were asked to testify but were out of town and did not appear. Both will be subpoenaed for a future hearing, a committee aide said.
Allegations have surfaced that Rich provided intelligence data to Israel and other countries, and Burton said without explanation that briefings from intelligence agencies indicated ''the pardon has been raised to another level.''
Under questioning from Burton, Holder said he asked Quinn for his support, probably last fall, in getting the attorney general's job in a possible Al Gore (news - web sites) administration. Holder denied a ``quid pro quo'' between the talk and the pardon.
``My actions in this matter were in no way affected by my desire to be attorney general,'' Holder said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee also will launch hearings on the pardon next week. Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (news - bio - voting record), who will head the probe, has suggested he might call Clinton to testify at future hearings.
Specter sent a letter to Senate colleagues urging support for a constitutional amendment allowing Congress to overturn presidential pardons on a two-thirds vote of each chamber.
DG_pilot From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 856 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (15 years 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 857 times:
....But wait folks..there's more....
-One late minute pardon was traced back to the former Clinton Secretary of Energy O'Leary, who reduced security around all of America's nuclear facilities 50% (!!!) before atleast one was infiltrated by the Chinese.
-Denise Rich plead the 5th Amendment concerning questioning about the "enormous" amount of money SHE gave to the Clinton Presidential Library Fund, AND many Democrats, namely Mr. Waxman, said there was no need to find out ANY more facts about it. Fishy?
-A lady by the name of Dorothy Rivers that was convicted of stealing federal money that was suppose to have gone to troubled kids, was pardoned at the last minute before anyone could review the papers. She reportedly bought furs for herself and bought a Mercedes for her son.
-Clinton received a huge amount of money from a liberal party he has ties to in Indonesia, whose finances come from a coal mining operation. The major competing plant, which is in Utah, was then shut down.
-Twenty two of the pardons came SOO late that the Justice Department did not even have time to review the paperwork, such as the actual typing in of the crimes they were being pardoned of. Except with Clinton, this scenario has happened very little with other presidential pardoning.
-Most of the pardons came without reference papers. These reference papers have been a part of all presidential pardons for the last 150 years. The reference papers reflect why other people think that the criminal should be pardoned, and not only just the president's reasoning in other words.
XFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4297 posts, RR: 35
Reply 6, posted (15 years 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 855 times:
The crowd is about to start cheering woodshed..b/c Clinton is getting taken there..... Somehow it seems that when the libs get a whipping like this they start yawning? But yes..this is all getting beaten to death anways..back to aviation stuff.....
KROC From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 11, posted (15 years 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 832 times:
Were Nuts...How can you honestly judge Bush before he has done anything? Is it because you know Clinton was a screw up, and you want the Rep. president to be seen in the same light? How sad.....either way.
We're Nuts From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5722 posts, RR: 17
Reply 15, posted (15 years 4 days 21 hours ago) and read 809 times:
KROC, name me a President in the modern age who wasn't made fun of? Can't, can you. Then why do you think Bush will break the mold? Seems like through your eyes, the only good Presidents are the ones who fly the Elephant flag! Besides, the general consensus is that Bush is a babbling moron, but as long as he has a good staff....
Anyhoo, as I said, defending Bush will be a full-time job, so get comfortable!
Cba From United States of America, joined Jul 2000, 4532 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (15 years 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 791 times:
It's not the fact that Gore won the popular vote. It's the whole Florida scandall. The republicans played a double standard here. Conservatives have always wanted less federal government power, and more power to the states and local governments. Well, the Florida Supreme Court granted Gore the recounts. The republicans then went to the Supreme Court. Why were they against the recounts? They knew that if the votes were counted properly, then Gore would be our president. According to their manufacterer, the voting machines have a 3% margin of error. Bush's lead in Florida was a small fraction of a percent. Before the recounts were stopped by the supreme court, Bush's lead dwindled from about 500 to a little over a 100 votes. We all know what wouldv'e happened if the rest of them had been counted.
N766AS From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 23, posted (15 years 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 790 times:
>The republicans then went to the Supreme Court
Thats because when you appeal a ruling (as you know), it goes to the higher court. In this case, the US Supreme Court. I don't like Federal intervention, either, but when it is necessary, it's necessary, as in the case of a much confused Florida Supreme Court.
And all this 'election scandal' crap is a broken record. Yes, we know you think there was a scandal. No, there wasn't a scandal. No, no one was disenfranchised. And, yes, its time to get over it.