Remembering the Rich pardon, part 2

Last week when John Hinderaker appeared on Hannity & Colmes, he assumed the unaccustomed role of an innocent bystander to Lanny Davis shouting down Andrew McCarthy. McCarthy testified to the indefensible role played by presumptive Attorney General nominee Eric Holder in facilitating the outrageous pardon of Marc Rich by Bill Clinton.

Davis didn’t exactly scare off McCarthy, but he did prevent him from citing particulars in his case against Holder. “Tell it early, tell it all, tell it yourself,” Davis advises aspiring spinmeisters in his book on scandal management And don’t let the other side tell the truth if at all possible either.

Today McCarthy returns to the subject to fill out the case Davis shouted down last week:

When Eric Holder aided and abetted Rich’s pardon effort, he was not only grossly violating the Justice Department policy it was his job to uphold; he was dealing with the agents of someone who was actively committing a serious federal crime. That’s why, when prosecutors deal with a fugitive’s representatives, the appropriate question is: “When is he going to turn himself in?” It’s not, as Holder essentially asked, “What can I do to help?”

Holder, then Clinton administration deputy attorney general, steered the fugitive toward a friendly Clinton insider: former White House Counsel Jack Quinn. That enabled the most-wanted fugitive to lobby the President directly — and in violation of an executive order barring lobbying by recently departed White House staffers — without nettlesome interference from the Justice Department’s long-established, procedurally rigorous pardon process. In order to protect the public, that process called for input from the case prosecutors and investigators. As Holder well knew, following it would have demonstrated beyond cavil that pardoning Rich would be an outrage, in violation of every DOJ guideline.

Moreover, Holder extended his helping hand with the crassest of motives: the careerist was hoping the influential Quinn would look favorably on Holder’s quest to become attorney general in a Gore administration. That is, Holder was actively soliciting help from Quinn (Vice President Gore’s former counsel and friend) at the very time he was providing invaluable help to Quinn’s fugitive client — first in unsuccessfully pushing Rich’s preposterous effort to settle the case without jail time with prosecutors in New York, then in overcoming the uniform objections of White House staffers to a Rich pardon.

And the cherry on top: The scenario in which Holder’s sell-out of Justice Department principle took place was scummy in every particular; multi-millionaire Rich’s ex-wife and staunchest supporter, Denise Rich, was making mega-bucks donations to Clinton causes (according to Time, $400,000 to the Clinton Library Fund, $10,000 to the Clinton Legal Defense Fund, and over $1 million to Democrat campaigns during the Clinton era — including $70,000 for the 2000 Senate campaign of Hillary Clinton, now Obama’s pick for secretary of State).

No Republican who’d entangled himself even slightly in such an incident could ever again seek a position requiring Senate confirmation. Democrat Eric Holder was in this one up to his eyeballs.

McCarthy also addresses Holder’s role in the Clinton commutations of the sentences of terrorists Susan Rosenberg and Linda Sue Evans as well as those of the 16 FALN terrorists. It is all worth reading, together with George Lardner, Jr.’s “A pardon to remember.”

UPDATE: McCarthy also weighs in at NRO’s Corner here and here.

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