- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 28, 2000

King Henry II of England in the year 1170 was furious at his archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket, for opposing him on a church/state dispute. The enraged king turned to his trusty sword-wielding knights and proclaimed: "What! Shall a man who has eaten my bread, insulted the king and all the kingdom and not one of the lazy servants whom I nourish at my table does me right for such an affront? Who will free me from this turbulent priest?" Four of the king's loyal swordsmen promptly went to Canterbury and murdered Becket at the alter.
All of Christendom condemned King Henry for the murder. He was forced to execute the assassins his loyal henchmen and pay personal penance by being whipped by a line of monks. The remainder of his reign was ruined with his own wife and sons turning rebelliously against him.
Eight centuries later, Queen Hillary royally grumbled about her will not being respected in the matter of the White House Travel Office. And, as in the days of yore, two trusted knights Sir Stephanopoulos and Sir Watkins snapped into action, wielding their swords of justice in a base and contemptible way: Sir Stephanopoulos pressuring the FBI to put out a press release accusing the Travel Office workers of possible criminality, while Sir Watkins organized the firing and false indictment of Billy Dale head of the office.
Queen Hillary denied under oath any role in the miserable affair, admitting only to an innocent inquiry of the problems in the office. And, although Mr. Watkins later confessed that he understood her constant inquiring to mean that there would be "hell to pay" if the dirty deeds were not carried out, she and her spokesmen persisted in her denials.
Last week, the independent counsel in the Travel Office case, Robert Ray, proved that it is harder to gain justice against a first lady in the year 2000 than it was to sanction a king in 1170.
He found that the White House had delayed or failed to deliver probative, subpoenaed evidence, and that there was substantial evidence that Hillary had under oath disguised her role in the episode. However, he decided against prosecuting her because he was not satisfied that he could make the case beyond a reasonable doubt to a jury of typical Americans. Apparently, the prosecutor assumed that a 21st century juror would be unfamiliar with the persuasive force of a royal inquiry. But clearly the president's men Messrs. Stephanopoulos and Watkins were under no illusions as to the intent and power behind her majesty's pronouncements. It is a fair bet that no politician or staffer in Washington who has ever personally seen the cold steel in the first spouse's blue eyes would doubt the prudence of their feudal submission to her will.
The only truly innocent actor in this charade, aside from Billy Dale, is the independent counsel Mr. Ray. Not having the courage of his obvious conviction that Hillary was guilty of perjury, he foreswore her prosecution, while he implied her guilt. Then in an act of a supreme folly, he spent a half an hour on "Meet The Press" discursively assessing his prosecutorial responsibilities. Undoubtedly, Hillary's henchmen will have that transcript studied by leading liberal law professors who specialize in prosecutorial misconduct. They will search Mr. Ray's words for the slightest implications of a misstatement of a prosecutor's duty.
If they cannot construe a mistake in his words, they will misconstrue one and then they will pounce. Friendly reporters, editors and producers will be briefed. Portentous op-eds will be published. Talking heads will be unleashed. And within a month Mr. Ray "Ken Starr Junior," as Hillary's hit men are already saying will be one more honorable Clinton accuser with his reputation in ruins. Any thoughts he may have of prosecuting President Clinton for perjury next year will not be feasible.
He will be both professionally and personally humiliated. Sixty-five percent of the public will once again be induced to judge the prosecutor instead of the suspect. And Mr. Ray will have learned the truth of the age-old adage: Don't strike at the monarch and miss.

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