Sunday, August 20, 2006

Let the Clinton fawning begin

Bill Clinton is turning 60 and the fawning will soon be reaching a feverish pitch:
..."I am always excited to read about your efforts on behalf of those in need," wrote Mary Flowers. ". . . Keep up the great work."

C. Stuart added: "You bring class, style, a wealth of knowledge, a restless sense of urgency to ANY problem . . . I wish you another 60!"

And a Syracuse woman confided: "When I grow up (I am 45) I want to be like you!!" ...
Hmmm...How quick our fellow Americans are to forget the shameful (besides the Lewinsky fiasco) behavior of the former President.

Remember the Marc Rich pardon? Well, Tim Russert certainly has convenient amesia on the issue, so how can you blame the woman from Syracuse above that wants to be like Bill?

As for Clinton, he doesn't think he did anything was just terrible politics.

By the way, what's the status of that Justice Department investigation into that pardon initiated by Mary Jo White? Assistant Attorney General James Comey, Mary Jo White's successor, was critical of Clinton's pardons but could not find any grounds on which to indict him.

Mr. Comey's criticism probably stems from the fact the Clinton did not follow the normal pardon procedures for Marc Rich (emphasis added):

...With respect to the pardon of Marc Rich and Pincus Green, none of the regular procedures were followed. The first time I [ Roger C. Adams, Pardon Attorney before the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate on February 14, 2001] learned that the White House was considering these two persons for pardon was shortly after midnight on the morning of Saturday, January 20, 2001. At that time, I received a telephone call from the Office of the White House Counsel advising me that they were faxing me a list of additional persons to whom the President was considering granting pardons. When the facsimile arrived, among the several names listed were Pincus Green and Marc Rich. Since the fax included no other information about these persons, I telephoned the White House Counsel's Office to advise that I would need additional identifying data in order to request that the FBI conduct criminal records checks on the named individuals. (I had been contacting the FBI for the past several days with names of persons for whom the White House wanted checks of criminal records and outstanding warrants.)

I was told by White House Counsel staff that the only two people on the list for whom I needed to obtain records checks were Marc Rich and Pincus Green, and that it was expected there would be little information about the two men because they had been "living abroad" for several years. I obtained the dates of birth and Social Security numbers for Rich and Green from Counsel's Office and then passed this information along to the FBI by telephone so that the records checks could be completed. Shortly thereafter, White House Counsel's Office personnel faxed to my office a few pages that appeared to have come from a clemency petition that had been submitted to the White House on behalf of Rich and Green by Jack Quinn, Esq. and other attorneys. The information contained in these documents revealed that the pardon request sought clemency for pending charges that had been brought by indictment in the Southern District of New York some 17 years earlier, and that Rich and Green had resided outside the United States ever since and were considered to be fugitives. At that point, a member of my staff began to conduct a quick Internet search for information about the two men.

While that search was ongoing, I received a facsimile transmission from the FBI of records which confirmed that Rich and Green were wanted fugitives whom law enforcement authorities were willing to extradite for a variety of felony charges, including mail and wire fraud, arms trading, and tax evasion. Because I was concerned that the FBI transmission would not be readable if it were itself faxed to the White House Counsel's Office, I wrote a quick summary of the information regarding the outstanding charges against Rich and Green and their fugitive status and faxed that to Counsel's Office shortly before 1:00 a.m. on January 20th. Because of what we had learned about Rich and Green, I also immediately contacted Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder at home through the Justice Department Command Center to alert him that the President was considering granting pardons to the two men. Mr. Holder indicated to me at that time that he was aware of the pending clemency requests by Rich and Green. After receiving my short summary of the FBI's information about Rich and Green, personnel from the White House Counsel's Office called to ask that I fax them a copy of the FBI record itself. I did so shortly after 1:00 a.m., and also included the limited information about Rich's fugitive status and the charges against him that my staff had been able to obtain from the Internet.

The only other time the names of Marc Rich and Pincus Green had come to my attention was on the morning of January 19, 2001, when I first saw a copy of a letter dated January 10, 2001, that their attorney, Jack Quinn, had sent to Deputy Attorney General Holder seeking his support for pardons for the two men. The Justice Department transmittal sheet attached to the letter indicated that on January 17th, the Department's Executive Secretariat had assigned the Quinn letter to my office for response and had sent a copy to the Deputy Attorney General's Office for information. My office received its copy on the afternoon of January 18th, and on the morning of the 19th, I saw it in our mail. The due date for response indicated by the Executive Secretariat was January 31st. Because neither Rich nor Green had filed a clemency application with my office and because the White House Counsel's Office had never indicated to me that pardons for these two persons were under consideration, I simply drafted a short response on the morning of the 19th, to be held until the following Monday, advising Mr. Quinn that neither man had submitted a pardon petition to my office and that if they wished to request pardons, the application forms were available upon request...



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