Continuing To Whitewash Whitewater

Ron Fournier, in a piece describing his opinion of the danger of Benghazi to Barry and Hillary, writes:

Credibility is Clinton’s vulnerability, dating to the unjustified financial accusations that triggered the Whitewater investigation.

My emphasis.

On what basis does he claim they were “unjustified”? They were perfectly justified, as anyone who reads Ray’s report can attest. Contrary to popular myth, he didn’t exonerate either her or her husband. All he said was that he didn’t have sufficient evidence to assure a conviction, particularly given how politicized any trial would have been (he saw what happened to Susan McDougal, and knew that he’d be almost guaranteed a hung jury if he took them to trial).

[Update a while later]

Here’s the AP story at the time. The lede:

Independent Counsel Robert Ray concluded in his final Whitewater report that the Clintons’ land venture benefited from criminal transactions but that there was insufficient evidence to prove the former president or his wife engaged in wrongdoing.

Not “no evidence.” “Insufficient evidence to prove [beyond a reasonable doubt].” David Kendall called it an “exoneration,” but that doesn’t make it one. It’s exactly what you’d expect their lawyer to say. That he didn’t want to waste more time and money on a trial that would likely have hung a jury doesn’t mean that we should consider them innocent. “Innocent until proven guilty” applies to the justice system, not the court of public opinion. They were guilty as sin, but got off because they were popular among the amoral or the ignorant. And that includes the senators who refused to remove him in the impeachment trial.

[Update early afternoon]

From Watergate to Benghazi-gate.

And just to remind people of what the accusations were:

Part of the investigation focused on a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan that a Little Rock judge claimed he was pressured by Clinton to make to the McDougals, who operated the failed Madison Guaranty S&L.

“Insufficient evidence also exists to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Governor Clinton knew of or approved” the loan, Ray’s report said.

“There is some evidence that Governor Clinton knew or should have known that Jim McDougal was not conducting Madison Guaranty’s affairs as required by banking rules,” it said.

The report related an incident in which the Arkansas banking commissioner told Clinton in 1983 that there were problems at Madison. The report said Clinton told the commissioner to do whatever was necessary and not to worry about politics.

The report also focused extensively on Mrs. Clinton’s legal work on an Arkansas land development called Castle Grande that was being operated by Jim McDougal and partly financed by his failed S&L. The former first lady is now a senator representing New York.

Mrs. Clinton’s legal work on the project wasn’t disclosed until 1996, when her law firm billing records, which had been subpoenaed earlier in the case, were found in the White House family residence.

Prosecutors investigated whether there was an attempt to obstruct justice by hiding the records. The report said, “The evidence gathered could not exclude the possibility that Mrs. Clinton put the billing records in Room 319A.” It noted that she gave sworn testimony “denying placing them in Room 319A or knowing how they got there.”

Much of the evidence about Mrs. Clinton’s activity as a lawyer for McDougal could have been laid out in a trial of her law firm partner, former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell. Hubbell avoided trial by pleading guilty to a felony.

The inspector general’s office of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. concluded that Mrs. Clinton helped draft a legal document on Castle Grande, which was later used by the S&L to mislead federal bank examiners.

But other than all that, probably perjury and all, the investigation was “unjustified.”

2 thoughts on “Continuing To Whitewash Whitewater

  1. wodun

    Wasn’t Jim claiming the CIA changed the talking points? Now we know the whitehouse and state dept edited them no less than 12 times and then blamed the CIA for it.

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