- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 26, 2000

President Clinton told federal investigators he never asked an Indonesian businessman to pay $100,000 to Arkansas pal Webster L. Hubbell to guarantee his silence in the Whitewater investigation.
Mr. Clinton, under intense questioning by Robert J. Conrad Jr., the Justice Department's campaign finance task force chief, admitted going on vacation with Mr. Hubbell to Camp David a week after the businessman, James Riady, gave Mr. Hubbell the cash, but the president said they never discussed the matter.
Mr. Clinton said he also met with Mr. Riady at the White House the same day the Indonesian businessman met twice with Mr. Hubbell to discuss the $100,000 payment, but knew nothing of the arrangement.
White House records show Mr. Riady met with Mr. Clinton at the White House at 10 a.m. on June 23, 1993, the same day Mr. Riady met with Mr. Hubbell for breakfast and for lunch. Four days after his White House visit, Mr. Riady gave the $100,000 to Mr. Hubbell for work that has never been explained.
"So the question would be, at the same time that Mr. Riady is meeting with Mr. Hubbell twice, sandwiching the meeting with you, do you have any recollection about any conversation with Mr. Riady with respect to Webster Hubbell?" Mr. Conrad asked in the April 21 interview, which was released Monday by the White House.
"No, sir, I don't," the president said. "I just don't remember it. If he did say anything, I simply don't remember it."
Mr. Clinton angrily denied asking Mr. Riady to help Mr. Hubbell, who had resigned as associate attorney general and pleaded guilty to defrauding his Rose Law Firm partners of more than $480,000 and failing to pay $143,000 in income taxes. Mr. Hubbell signed an agreement to cooperate with independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr's Whitewater investigation to avoid a 10-year prison sentence. He eventually served 16 months in prison.
"Do you have any memory of a conversation with Mr. Riady about paying Mr. Hubbell because of concerns that Mr. Hubbell might end up being a witness against you in some fashion?" asked Mr. Conrad.
"Absolutely not. I never talked to anybody about that," Mr. Clinton said. "Webb Hubbell was persistently persecuted by the independent counsel because he would not lie about me or Hillary. I never worried about what Webb Hubbell would say. If he wanted to say something bad about me, he'd have to make it up."
"So you didn't have the conversation?" Mr. Conrad asked.
"No. It never occurred to me that he would be asked to be a witness. He didn't know anything. There was nothing to Whitewater. He didn't know anything to testify against me for. It never happened," the president responded.
Mr. Starr investigated accusations that Mr. Hubbell was paid "hush money" by associates of Mr. Clinton for his silence in the Whitewater probe. Mr. Hubbell's promised cooperation never met Mr. Starr's expectations.

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