Carl Bernstein’s new book about Hillary Clinton contains a very significant quotation from Mark Fabiani, the White House special counsel who played a key role in defending the Clintons during the investigation by Independent Counsel, Kenneth Starr. Fabiani apparently told Bernstein that Clinton was
so tortured by the way she’s been treated that she would do anything to get out of the situation. . . And if that involved not being fully forthcoming, she herself would say “I have a reason for not being forthcoming. If we do this, they’re going to do this to me. If we say this, then they’re going to say this. You know [expletive] ‘em, let’s just not do that.”
In evaluating this statement, it’s important to remember that Clinton was nearly indicted for perjury in connection with deposition testimony she gave under questioning by the Independent Counsel’s office. Thus, Fabiani’s statement should be seen not just as an abstract comment about Clinton’s willingness to be forthcoming, but as powerful evidence that she actually was not forthcoming — in other words, not truthful — when she answered questions under oath. I’m reasonably confident that if the Independent Counsel’s office had known Clinton had made this statement (assuming she did), it would have indicted her, as it almost did anyway, when it indicted her former law partner Webster Hubbell for the second time.
Hubbell ultimately pleaded guilty under interesting circumstances. In 1999, the Independent Counsel’s office notified Hillary Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, that Clinton would be called upon to testify in Hubbell’s case. Although this could not have comes as a great surprise — Clinton was mentioned repeatedly in the Hubbell indictment — the notification had an immediate effect. The very next day Hubbell’s lawyer notified the Independent Counsel’s office that Hubbell wished to plead guilty. Hubbell proceeded to do so, thus sparing Hillary from having to testify.
By this time, Clinton was gearing up for her New York Senate campaign, and was not in the mood to rehash her days in Arkansas. Clearly, she’s even less in that mood today. Is the U.S. in the mood to elect a probable perjurer as its president?
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