|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Clinton Acknowledges His Brother-in-Law Received Money for Pardons, Asked Money to Be ReturnedAired February 21, 2001 - 5:32 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BERNARD SHAW, CNN ANCHOR: We now have some breaking news and CNN Capitol Hill correspondent Bob Franken has joined us now here in the studio -- Bob.
BOB FRANKEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: CNN has learned that former President Clinton is about to put out a statement in which he will acknowledge that his brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham, received a sum of money to represent two clients who were given pardons by the president. They two are Almon Glenn Braswell and Carlos Vignali, both of them controversial.
The statement will go on to say that the president and first lady asked him to return the money, the brother-in-law, Hugh Rodham. who is an attorney. Rodham in fact did return the money. He will say that he regrets this. That it was bad judgment. but that there was nothing illegal about it and at no time, will say Rodham, was there any communication between the president and first lady.
Now a little background about the two cases. One of them involves Almon Glenn Braswell. He was pardoned for a 1983 conviction on a mail fraud claim, a false claims about a baldness product. In fact, he's still under investigation by the Justice Department in connection with his vitamin and supplement business.
The other case involves Carlos Vignali, who was freed after serving six years of a 15-year term for a role in a cocaine trafficking ring. This is something that has gotten quite controversial in California.
President Clinton did pardon both of those, and Hugh Rodham is the person who represented them. He said that there was no direct communication with the president but that he has returned the money.
And we have a statement now from President Clinton saying that: "Yesterday, I became aware of press inquiries that Hugh Rodham received a contingency fee in connection with a pardon application by Glenn Braswell and fee for work on the Carlos Vignali commutation application.
"Neither Hillary nor I had any knowledge of such payments. We were deeply disturbed by these reports and have insisted that Hugh return any monies involved." And as I said, we are hearing from a source close to the situation that the money has been returned -- Bernie.
SHAW: Bob Franken, do we know whether Mrs. Clinton's brother-in- law Hugh Rodham informed the Clintons that he had received a contingency fee and funds for working on the case of Carlos Vignali?
FRANKEN: At this particular point we don't know that. He did say that he had no communication with the president while he still was still president about this matter. Now, it first came to light, I should point out, in a "National Enquirer" case which talks strictly about the Braswell case.
The "National Enquirer" says that it's talking about a $200,000 payment. There is no specification in the Vignali case, but we have no discussion about whether or not Rodham actually talked to the president and the first lady about the return of the money.
SHAW: OK, I misspoke. Hugh Rodham, of course, Mrs. Clinton's brother. Our senior political analyst Bill Schneider is here. Obvious why the Clintons want to get a statement out in reaction to this.
WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, certainly, because this is -- it may not be illegal, but it certainly is a questionable judgment and may be challenged on ethical grounds. This is a fairly serious matter continues the controversy over the Clinton pardons way beyond what they ever expected.
SHAW: Bob Franken.
FRANKEN: Well, one other thing I would point out is that we've already spoke with sources on the House Government and Reform Committee, that is the one that's Dan Burton's committee conducting an investigation and the first reaction was that there did not seem to be, said a spokesperson for that committee, that there was anything illegal about this transaction. Rodham is, after all, a lawyer but, of course, the Clintons are saying that this was something that had such bad appearances that they asked him to return the money.
SHAW: OK, thank you, Bob Franken and, of course, Bill Schneider. Thanks very much. We're going to pause here at INSIDE POLITICS. And return in just a moment.
TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com
|Back to the top|