Hillary's Grand, Failed Cover-Up
"I believe that presidential pardon authority is available to any president, and almost all presidents have exercised it. This (the Libby decision) was clearly an effort to protect the White House. ... There isn't any doubt now, what we know is that Libby was carrying out the implicit or explicit wishes of the vice president, or maybe the president as well, in the further effort to stifle dissent." ...There are so many holes in that argument -- like how not accurately remembering what was said to an investigator who already had the facts constitutes stifling dissent -- that you'd think a good captain would steer clear of it. Nevertheless, The Captain did indeed comment, and his comments are typical of the reaction from the right side of the blogosphere, including C-SM:
Her husband's pardons, issued in the closing hours of his presidency, were simply routine exercise in the use of the pardon power, and none were aimed at protecting the Clinton presidency or legacy, she said.
"This particular action by the president is one more piece of evidence in their ongoing disregard for the rule of law that they think they don't have to answer to," she said.
Oh, please. ... How about the [pardon] granted to financier Marc Rich -- ironically, represented by none other than Scooter Libby -- after his wife donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library? That certainly sounds like a bit of legacy building to me.Yes, it does sound like legacy-building, but could it be that Hillary really has a point here? Were her husband's pardons different from Bush's? Well, there sure were more of them, I learned as I scanned the list of 397 -- that's three hundred and ninety seven -- Clinton pardons you can find here, including the infamous 141 pardons on his final day in office.
Clinton got an early jump on pardoning, starting in January of 1996 and not all these crimes were exactly current -- he pardoned Henry Ossian Flipper of his 1891 conviction for conduct unbecoming an officer.
Scrolling through the list, you begin to think that Hillary's right. Most who received pardons look like Bill's kind of guys -- real scumbags -- but by the dozens, they're not people who could harm Bill's legacy.
There's his first pardon, to Phillip David Aroenshon, who failed to pay taxes on gambling wins. And Jimmy Dick, who counterfeited some bills. And Jackie Lee Miller, who conspired to defraud the United States.
There are dozens of folks who made false statements to banks, embezzled from banks and conspired to defraud banks, folks who probably tugged on Bill's heartstrings, given his Whitewater experience.
He even pardoned Theodore Roosevelt. That's Theodore Roosevelt Noel, who sold whiskey in unstamped containers. And in a hat-tip to his Hollywood friends, he pardoned Thelma and Louise ... er, Thelma Louise Wingate, who conned a bunch of innocent folks through mail fraud.
If Hil wanted to really show how unconcerned Bill was about matters political, about his legacy, she could point to his pardon of Philip D. Winn, who was found guilty of conspiring to give illegal gratuities, i.e., bribery.
Winn was hardly a Dem operative: Chairman, Colorado Republican Party, 1979-81. Member, National Republican Senatorial Committee, 1984-88. Colorado Chairman for the Reagan-Bush Outreach for Blacks, Hispanics and Jews, 1984. Delegate, 1984 Republican National Convention. Colorado gubernatorial candidate, 1982.
He pled guilty to bribery in 1994 and was pardoned in 2000. His NNDB bio notes that he was caught up in a HUD scandal. A HUD scandal?
Wasn't Clinton's HUD Secretary, Henry Cisneros, caught up in a HUD scandal? Wasn't he convicted of basically the same offense as that fellow Scooter Libby? Yes, pretty much: False statements, 1991. Pardoned, January 20, 2001, in Clinton's last-day Pardon Spree.
To refresh your memory, Cisneros had a gal on the side and lied about it to the FBI agents doing his background check. Hmmm. Lying to a federal agent ... that's sort of like lying to a prosecutor, isn't it? The agents had asked him about payments that he'd made to former squeeze Linda Medlar, aka Linda Jones, and his answer netted him an indictment on 18 counts of conspiracy, giving false statements and obstruction of Justice.
He copped a plea to a misdemeanor, but that didn't stop the investigation of other possible crimes by Clinton's infamous co-skirt-chaser. In all, $21 million of your tax dollars was spent chasing Cisneros, who served no jail time, no probation, and got a pardon, to boot.
Medlar a.k.a. Jones was a peach, too. She used part of the money she got from Cisneros as hush money and invested much of the rest of it in scams of what sort or another. The result: conviction on conspiracy to commit bank fraud, to make a false statement to a bank, to launder monetary instruments, and to engage in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity; aiding and abetting bank fraud; aiding and abetting false statements to a bank; aiding and abetting laundering monetary instruments; aiding and abetting engaging in monetary transactions in property derived from specific unlawful activity; obstruction of justice; falsifying, concealing and covering up a material fact by trick, scheme, or device; and making a false statement.
Her fate? Pardoned on Clinton's last day in office.
Also pardoned that day:
- Susan McDougal, Whitewater co-conspirator, of charges of mail fraud; aiding and abetting in misapplication of Small Business Investment Corporation funds, and aiding and abetting in making false entries.
- Stephen A. Smith, another Whitewater figure, lying to the SBA
- On the national security front, of course there's John Deutch, Clinton's Sec of Defence and CIA chief. In Sandy Berger style, classified materials left the CIA with Deutch, the matter was never fully investigated, and Janet Reno declined to prosecute. Even though he wasn't prosecuted, Clinton pardoned Deutch on the charges. Can you say "cover up?"
And the pardon of Dan Rostenkowski, the powerful Ways and Means chair caught up in the Congressional Post Office scandal and also charged with keeping "ghost" employees on his payroll, using Congressional funds to buy gifts for friends.
But, Hil assures us, none of Clinton's pardons were aimed at protecting the Clinton legacy or his presidency -- sure, because most were on the last day of the presidency, in a classic "what the definition of 'is' is" Clintonism.
Uh-huh. Like Incredible Wife says, Hillary should keep her mouth shut.