- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 9, 2001

Independent counsel Robert W. Ray has notified the Justice Department that his office has completed the historic seven-year investigation that led to the only impeachment of an elected president Bill Clinton.
Mr. Ray has submitted an annual report to Congress that says the Justice Department has taken over five minor legal affairs that are still pending. But he might remain in office until May to write a final report, ship documents to the National Archives and tie up other loose ends.
"The investigation has been terminated," Mr. Ray told USA Today. "Does that mean the office shuts down, the lights turn out? No."
The probe netted 14 convictions or guilty pleas, including those of a sitting Arkansas governor, Jim Guy Tucker; Whitewater Development Corp. business partners James and Susan McDougal; and one-time Associate Attorney General Webster L. Hubbell, a law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton at Little Rock's Rose Law Firm.
Mr. Ray succeeded Kenneth W. Starr in 1999 as the chief Clinton investigator. Mr. Starr took over from Robert Fiske, the original investigator who opened the case by probing the Clintons' role in the failed Whitewater land deal.
Over the years, the case broadened to include numerous Clinton scandals, including the firing of White House Travel Office employees and the rifling of FBI files on Republicans and other perceived enemies of the Clintons. The office also probed the disappearance of Mrs. Clinton's law firm billing records, which vanished after the 1992 election and mysteriously surfaced in the White House living quarters in 1996 18 months after the first lady received a subpoena for the documents.
Mr. Ray said he could not determine whether "any person, including Mrs. Clinton, knowingly or willfully possessed the billing records with the intent to obstruct justice."
The probe culminated in the perjury and obstruction of justice case against Mr. Clinton for his attempt to conceal his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
That led to the first and only impeachment of an elected president in American history. Mr. Clinton was then put on trial in the Senate, which split 50-50 over whether to remove him from office.
Although Mr. Clinton was allowed to complete his term, he still faced the possibility of a criminal indictment from the independent counsel's office after turning over the White House to President Bush. But on the final full day of his presidency, Mr. Clinton reached a plea bargain of sorts with Mr. Ray.
The president admitted he had given false testimony in exchange for a pledge from Mr. Ray not to indict Mr. Clinton.
The office spent $65 million investigating the Clintons and employed about 55 persons at the height of the Lewinsky scandal. Mr. Clinton and his supporters mounted an extraordinary effort to demonize Mr. Starr, whom Mrs. Clinton said was part of a "vast, right-wing conspiracy" to destroy her husband.

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