- WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Independent
counsel Robert Ray concluded in a report released on Wednesday that first
lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gave "factually false'' testimony about
her involvement in the White House travel office firings in 1993.
- Ray said his office found "overwhelming evidence''
that Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate from New
York, played a role in the dismissals of the seven longtime employees.
Nonetheless, he said there was not enough evidence to bring any criminal
- Despite her denials to Congress and to his office, the
first lady played a role and provided input into the decision to fire the
employees to three White House aides and to Harry Thomason, a longtime
friend of the Clintons, Ray said.
- ``Her statement to the contrary under oath to this office
was factually false,'' Ray said in the conclusion of the 243-page report,
adding that her sworn testimony was ``factually inaccurate.''
- Ray said the evidence, however, was ``insufficient to
show that Mrs. Clinton knowingly intended to influence the travel office
decision or was aware that she had such influence at this early stage of
- Ray said the admissible evidence was insufficient to
establish beyond a reasonable doubt for a jury that the false statements
were made with the required criminal intent.
- First Lady Says She's Glad It's Over
- In Syracuse, New York, Mrs. Clinton said, ``I said when
they issued the press release months ago I was glad it was over after all
these years and millions of dollars, and I really have nothing to add to
- Asked if the report would have an impact on the campaign,
she said, ``I just think most New Yorkers and Americans have made up their
minds about all of this.''
- Presidential spokesman Jake Siewert said the report confirmed
the White House's contention that there were financial improprieties, the
firings were lawful, and the decision was made by White House staff, not
the first lady.
- ``The suggestion that Mrs. Clinton somehow testified
falsely is belied by the text of the report itself,'' he said. ``This report
should close the matter once and for all.''
- Ray in June announced his conclusion of the investigation
into the dismissals of the employees right after President Clinton took
office in 1993. His report was made public on Wednesday, about three weeks
before the election.
- The White House travel office firings were one of several
investigations conducted by Ray and his predecessor, Kenneth Starr, dating
back more than six years and costing more than $55 million.
- Ray last month said there was also insufficient evidence
to warrant criminal charges against the Clintons in the Whitewater land
deal in Arkansas.
- But Ray has said he will wait until after Clinton leaves
office in January to decide whether to bring charges against him in the
Monica Lewinsky sex-and-perjury case.
- David Kendall, a lawyer for the Clintons, criticized
Ray's conclusion that the first lady gave inaccurate testimony as ''highly
unfair and misleading.''
- He said the various investigations of the travel office
have largely been ``a wasteful partisan extravagance.''
- The travel office arranges travel for reporters accompanying
the president on official trips.
- Ray said Mrs. Clinton's concerns about the office ultimately
influenced the decision by then-White House aide David Watkins to dismiss
- He said Mrs. Clinton expressed her concerns about the
travel office staff with Watkins during one direct telephone conversation
and with Thomason, White House deputy counsel Vince Foster, who committed
suicide in 1993, and with the White House chief of staff at the time, Thomas
- Ray said the office also investigated whether there was
a cover-up of the White House's alleged mismanagement of the firings. ``The
answer is simple: The evidence is insufficient to prove a cover-up involving
any violations of federal criminal law,'' he said.
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