- The Washington Times - Monday, February 19, 2001

New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani yesterday said President Clinton had further muddied the waters with explanations of his pardon of financier Marc Rich.
"Every time the president talks about this … it seems more questions are raised rather than answered," Mr. Giuliani said yesterday on ABC News' "This Week."
Mr. Clinton explained his last-day-in-office pardon of Mr. Rich and Pincus Green in a column in yesterday's New York Times.
The former president denied suggestions that he had granted the pardon in exchange for either political donations or contributions to the Clinton Library Foundation. "There was absolutely no quid pro quo," he said.
Mr. Clinton also said the case for the pardons was "reviewed and advocated" by three top Republican lawyers Lewis Libby, now Vice President Richard B. Cheney's chief of staff; Leonard Garment, a former Nixon White House official; and William Bradford Reynolds, who served in the Reagan Justice Department.
Each of the lawyers represented Mr. Rich at different times.
And each has denied either directly or through a spokesman that he had supported Mr. Rich's pardon.
Mr. Rich fled the United States for Switzerland 17 years ago to avoid prosecution on more than 50 counts, including tax evasion, racketeering and illegal oil trading with Iran.
Federal law enforcement agencies and two congressional panels are probing the pardon to determine whether it was connected to campaign contributions by Mr. Rich's ex-wife, songwriter Denise Rich.
"It is incorrect to say that [the three Republican lawyers] were part of the pardon application, but it was all of their work that persuaded the president that he ought to grant the pardon," former White House spokesman Joe Lockhart told "This Week" yesterday.
As U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Giuliani brought the original charges against Mr. Rich. Mr. Giuliani, a Republican, was vying for a U.S. Senate seat against former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton until he bowed out because of prostate cancer.
Mr. Giuliani also criticized Mr. Clinton for complaining that Republicans had singled him out.
"That doesn't work here," Mr. Giuliani said, noting that several key Democrats had also found fault with Mr. Clinton's pardons, including Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware and Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, a senior member of a Senate Judiciary Committee, which is reviewing the pardon, said there are "a great many questions which the former president has left unanswered."
"He does not say why he did not talk to the prosecuting attorneys. He does not say why he didn't talk to the pardon attorney for the Department of Justice" and didn't follow their regulations, Mr. Specter said on NBC's "Meet the Press."
Nonetheless, Mr. Specter said it is still up to Mr. Clinton to decide whether to testify before Congress. "I think it really has to be his decision," Mr. Specter said.
"Nobody's questioning that the president had the power to pardon whomever he wanted to," said Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican, whose House Government Reform Committee also held hearings on the pardon.
"The American people want to know why one of the most wanted fugitives in the world was granted a pardon," he said on CNN's "Late Edition. "This editorial [Mr. Clinton wrote] doesn't explain it."
Democrats found themselves squirming to defend Mr. Clinton.
Rep. Henry Waxman, California Democrat, said the pardon should not have happened. But he criticized Republicans for their investigation of the former president.
"I think to some extent President Clinton is [being] held to a different standard than other presidents have who have given controversial pardons in the past," Mr. Waxman said on CBS News' "Face the Nation".
"There's a cottage industry of investigating President Clinton, and it seems like they never want to stop," Mr. Waxman said.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide