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Clinton Pardons: House Government Reform Committee Questions Former Clinton AidesAired March 1, 2001 - 4:32 p.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to return now to our major coverage of the day. That is the House Government Reform Committee, which has just come back from its break and is prepared to hear more testimony from witnesses to the question of the Clinton pardons -- Chairman Dan Burton speaking now. Let's listen.
REP. DAN BURTON (R-IND), CHAIRMAN: ... you received word that Mr. Rich had been involved in arms trading. And as I understand it, correct me if I'm wrong, you asked Mr. Quinn about that. Is that correct?
BETH NOLAN, FORMER COUNSEL TO PRESIDENT CLINTON: That's correct.
BURTON: Did you ask anybody at the Justice Department about it?
NOLAN: No, this was...
BURTON: Turn your mike on, would you, please?
This was at 2:00 or 2:30 in the morning. I did not.
BURTON: Well, the thing is, when somebody who's an international fugitive is about to be pardoned, and somebody tells you from one of the, I guess, intelligence agencies that the man was involved in international arms-trading, which may or may not have been the case, it may have been under that category, it looks like red lights would go all over the place. And you would say, "My gosh, we've got to check this out very thoroughly."
Now, I cited earlier six or seven violations of embargoes, trading with the enemy of the United States: Iran, Iraq, the Soviet Union during the grain embargo, Cuba, South Africa during the embargo, all of those things, Libya, Moammar Gadhafi, whom we bombed because of the things he was doing. And it seems light if a red light went off like that, you would say, "Hold it. We've got until tomorrow at noon. Let's double check this thing."
What I want to understand is, why would you go to the man who's advocating a pardon, Mr. Quinn, and ask him about it and not get people out of bed at the Justice Department? I just don't understand it. It doesn't make any sense to me. NOLAN: That's what I did. I asked Mr. Quinn the information. Then I talked to the president. I told him that we had this information that -- I remember the words I used, because I said, "All we have is Jack Quinn's word" that the arms-trading is not, in fact, an issue for Mr. Rich.
BURTON: If you will, let me interrupt. All you had was Jack Quinn's word.
NOLAN: That's correct.
BURTON: An intelligence agency tells you that there was arms- trading, a violation of law, and all these other things had taken place, which should had not yet been revealed or checked, and you take the man's word or the president takes his word on a pardon of one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, who renounced his citizenship and all the other things we've talked about, you took his word when Mr. Quinn was representing him. And Mr. Quinn has said in previous testimony, the last time he was here, "My job wasn't to tell all the facts that were against the pardon. My job was to point out all the reasons why there should be a pardon." And you know as an attorney that's what you do. You try to make the best case for your client.
Now, why in the world would you go to Mr. Quinn when there was a question of illegal activity and say, "Hey, what about this?" You darn well he's going to say, "Oh, that's nothing. That's just a minor thing. That was probably not arms trading. It's probably oil trading or something else." Why would you take his word for it and why would the president take his word for it, and then go ahead and grant that pardon? I just don't understand it. It eludes me. Would you explain that to me?
NOLAN: Mr. Chairman, I will try to explain it to you. I don't know that you and I will see eye to eye on what the situation was then.
BURTON: I'm worried about the American people and what they think about it.
NOLAN: Well, I would like to try to explain it.
NOLAN: This was 2:30 in the morning. My eyes were officially stuck together, by then. I'd had my contact lenses in since 7 or 6 the morning before. I'd been going on a couple of hours sleep most nights that week, as had the president. And I think, frankly, as Mr. Podesta said, because this came up so late, we did not do the kind of checks that we would have done if we had more time.
BURTON: Ms. Nolan...
NOLAN: The president and Mr. Lindsey -- if I may finish, Mr. Chairman, since you asked this question.
BURTON: Sure. NOLAN: As Mr. Lindsey indicated, he had indicated that he had said to the president that, you know, "Understand Mr. Quinn is not your adviser. He's an advocate."
But I do think that the president viewed Mr. Quinn as somebody who he truly did trust to give him correct information. And as far as we know, that information was not incorrect. BURTON: I'm running out of time here.
BURTON: Was Mr. Quinn at the White House?
BURTON: OK, so you had the ability, with your eyes stuck together, to get a hold of Mr. Quinn, but you didn't try to contact the Justice Department to ask them about it because it was...
BURTON: Let me -- it's 2:30 in the morning and you can get a hold of the man who is an advocate for pardoning one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, but you don't call the Justice Department or the intelligence agencies at 2:30 in the morning, because your eyes are stuck together. I just don't understand that.
BURTON: Why would you call Mr. Quinn and not call the Justice Department to find out about that?
NOLAN: I was trying to determine if Mr. Quinn understood or had an explanation for why it was there. I agree, although as I said, it may very well be, appears that it is correct, that Mr. Quinn was correct about the description of the NCIC. So I'm not sure, in retrospect, that was an incorrect decision.
But I agree, had there been more time, had I been operating on more sleep, had the president been operating on more sleep, if the Constitution didn't say that at 12 noon, this was done, there would have been more calls made.
I have no question about that. I completely agree with that. I can only tell you what happened.
BURTON: Well, let me just end by saying this: It was 2:30 in the morning. The president didn't leave office until noon the next day. This was a very, very serious thing. It should have sent up red flags all over the place. And to ask the defense attorney for his counsel on this and not ask the Justice Department when you're going to be pardoning one of the most wanted fugitives in the world, whom everybody in Justice and Democrats and Republicans, alike, said shouldn't be pardoned, just doesn't make sense. It just doesn't past muster.
Who is next?
REP. ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS (D), MARYLAND: Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
CHEN: Chairman Burton moving on to the next testimony in it before the House Government Reform Committee. We'll be back with more of it after a break here.
CHEN: The questioning continues before the House Government Reform Committee, meeting on Capitol Hill today, asking questions -- members asking questions about the final hours as they led to pardons by the outgoing president, Mr. Clinton, of a number of individuals, most particularly Marc Rich, the financier whose pardon, of course, has generating so much controversy, and which led, of course, to the start of these hearings.
A number of figures are appearing before the House Government Reform Committee this afternoon, as we've been watching for the last few hours. Those panelists have included Jack Quinn, who represented Marc Rich, as he sought that pardon and received it, as well as you see here -- that is Jack Quinn -- as well as you see Beth Nolan, who was the White House counsel -- also John Podesta, who was the chief of staff, and Bruce Lindsey, who was a close adviser to the president.
Mr. Quinn is asking -- answering questioning now. Let's listen.
JACK QUINN, MARC RICH ATTY.: ... my advocacy here would lead to us being in this room today. I acknowledge that.
I did believe in the merits of the case I made. I still do. I don't expect to convince anyone of that, after all the publicity we've seen and all the questions that have been raised. But I believed in it and I do today. And I would not have misrepresented the facts, either to the people sitting alongside me or to the president. When Ms. Nolan called me about this matter, I told her what my understanding of the allegation was. I told her that I wanted to confirm my understanding with the person who had led me to that understanding, one of my co-counsel, and I did so.
And I would point out that, with respect to these matters of arms dealing that have been alleged, not only were these people never indicted for anything like that, to my knowledge, there's not any criminal investigation of it.
And again, I will repeat, if they violated any law for activities outside the scope of this indictment, of which the chairman has complained, they can be held legally accountable.
CUMMINGS: I just want to take a moment again to thank you all for your service to the country. One of the things that has always concerned me about this committee is that so often we drag people before the committee and then their reputations are tarnished. And like somebody said, "How do I get my reputation back?" And I really do appreciate what you all have done to try to lift up all Americans.
And so I just want to take that moment to speak on behalf of Elijah Cummings and the people that I represent, to say thank you. BRUCE LINDSEY, FMR. WHITE HOUSE COUNSEL: Thank you, sir.
NOLAN: Thank you.
JOHN PODESTA, FMR. WHITE HOUSE CHIEF OF STAFF: Thank you, Congressman.
REP. BOB BARR (R), GEORGIA: The time of the gentleman has expired.
Ms. Nolan, Mr. Lindsey, or Mr. Podesta, any of you all familiar with the Braswell case?
LINDSEY: Yes, sir.
NOLAN: Yes, sir.
BARR: Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: I was not familiar with it while I was at the White House, but I've become familiar with it from reading press accounts later.
BARR: Did any of you all see the petition filed by Mr. Braswell?
LINDSEY: Yes, sir.
NOLAN: I believe I did. Yes, sir.
BARR: Very interesting. According to the Department of Justice, there was no petition filed.
NOLAN: We certainly received something, and I think it was in the form of a pardon petition.
BARR: Oh, really?
NOLAN: I think so.
BARR: This is very interesting, because, according to the Department of Justice, he was one of 44 individuals pardoned on the president's last day in office who did not file clemency applications with the Department of Justice prior to January 20. How could you all have seen a petition?
NOLAN: Well, I think, as in the case with Mr. Rich, he filed a pardon petition. It was filed with the White House, not with the Justice Department.
BARR: And apparently a very fine one.
Well, this is the pardon petition for Mr. Rich. Did any of you all see that one?
NOLAN: Yes, sir. BARR: OK. Well, that one really does exist. I'm really intrigued that you all could have seen a petition that the Department of Justice says didn't exist.
NOLAN: Sir, all I can tell you is the fact that the Department of Justice didn't receive a pardon petition doesn't mean that a pardon petition wasn't filled out and sent to the White House.
NOLAN: And I believe I saw one. I certainly saw some application. I think it was a pardon petition.
BARR: That's very interesting. Was it Mr. Rodham that filed it?
NOLAN: I don't know who filed it. I believe that it was sent to the White House through Mr. Rodham, yes.
BARR: Is that the petition that you might have seen, Mr. Lindsey, a petition filed by Mr. Rodham?
LINDSEY: I did not know Mr. Rodham was involved at all. I believe what I saw was filed by Mr. Kendall Coffee.
BARR: OK. Which one did you...
LINDSEY: Filed it may not be the right word.
NOLAN: Yes, I'm not sure -- right.
LINDSEY: Filed is not the right word because, again, as Ms. Nolan said, you know, it...
BARR: Well, I'm not splitting hairs. Apparently the two of you all saw some document on behalf of Mr. Braswell.
LINDSEY: Yes, sir, I actually...
NOLAN: That's correct.
LINDSEY: And I believe it was a pardon application, because I think I read it.
BARR: And did you bring that with you, Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: It would be in the White House files. It would be at the archives.
BARR: OK, Ms. Nolan did you bring what you saw with you? NOLAN: I don't have it.
BARR: And which one did you see, Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: I didn't see any of Mr. Braswell. The first time I heard about Mr. Braswell was when I read about him in the New York Times. BARR: OK. Do you recall exactly what was in that petition, Ms. Nolan? To your recollection, the one filed by Mr. Rodham?
NOLAN: May I be clear? I would not use the word "filed," and I don't know that it was sent to the White House by Mr. Rodham. I thought it was, but I don't know for sure. It could be the same one Mr. Lindsey is talking about. I just want to be clear.
BARR: Well, that's not very clear.
NOLAN: Well, it's as clear as I can be, sir.
BARR: First, you...
NOLAN: I want to be clear about the lack of clarity of my memory.
BARR: That's clear, that you're trying to be clear about the lack of clarity.
NOLAN: I don't want to overstate what I remember.
BARR: I don't think there is any doubt that any of us harbor any illusions that you do. I think you're deliberately unclear.
BARR: Yes, ma'am.
NOLAN: ... I have not been deliberately unclear.
BARR: Well, then perhaps you might rethink whether the petition that you saw, the documentation that you saw on behalf of Mr. Braswell, came from Mr. Rodham.
NOLAN: Are you asking me to testify to facts I don't remember?
BARR: Why would I do that?
NOLAN: Sir, you seem to be objecting to the level of my memory.
BARR: That is...
NOLAN: All I can do is tell what you I remember.
BARR: That is true. I do object to the level of your memory.
NOLAN: Really? Well...
BARR: It is apparently pretty low.
NOLAN: I don't think that's correct, sir, and I don't think that's a fair characterization of my testimony.
BARR: Well, you can't remember where the petition came from, yet you take great exception to the fact that I used the word "filed," which is not a legal term that I'm using. Apparently there was documentation that was somehow delivered to the White House or got in the hands of people at the White House, namely, yourself.
First you say that you think it was sent by Mr. Rodham or he had something to do with it. Then as soon as we hear from Mr. Lindsey that he saw something filed perhaps, or delivered by somebody else, all of a sudden your memory becomes even fuzzier, and you're not sure that it was from Mr. Rodham. This one might be the one Mr. Lindsey filed.
NOLAN: I think I testified right to begin with that I thought it was from Mr. Rodham. I just wanted to clarify that I had so testified. But maybe can just move on, because I don't know that we'll see eye to eye on...
BARR: Thank you very much for your direction to the committee.
NOLAN: You're welcome, sir.
BARR: We will come back to that.
BURTON: The chair recognizes the gentlelady from Hawaii.
REP. PATSY MINK (D), HAWAII: Thank you.
CHEN: Congressman Bob Barr, following a sharp line of questioning of White House counsel Beth Nolan regarding some of the other pardons and petitions made to President Clinton in his final hours, in the final days of his presidency and, of course, leading to the pardons that have raised the controversy and questions before the House Government Reform Committee.
CNN has been listening in throughout most of the afternoon, listening into the House Government Affairs Committee and the testimony. And we understand that it will continue for some time, maybe a couple more hours to come this afternoon, as several figures, including Ms. Nolan, the former chief of staff, John Podesta, and presidential adviser Bruce Lindsey, as they testify before the committee.
CNN's coverage will continue after the break.
CHEN: CNN picks up, now, the coverage of the House Government Reform Committee and its hearings into the Clinton pardons.
Rejoining us now from Capitol Hill is CNN's Bob Franken.
Before we go back to the hearing itself, Bob, give us a little detail on what happened just before the break; we heard rather a prickly exchange between Congressman Barr and the witness Beth Nolan from the White House counsel's office -- former White House counsel. What was this about?
BOB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: You do have a way with understatement, Joie -- are you a hockey fan?
CHEN: Well, it did seem at least prickly -- how could I describe that, Bob?
FRANKEN: Well, you know, every hockey team has an enforcer, somebody who's supposed to be the one who spends a lot of time in the penalty box by keeping the other team intimidated, and if -- the Philadelphia Flyers comes to mind. And on this Republican hockey team, Bob Barr has always been the enforcer; he's been the one who goes for the jugular. The problem is that the penalty box is at the witness table, and so you had this prickly exchange, if you want to call it that, between Bob Barr, who is, frankly, trying to discredit the former White House Counsel Beth Nolan, and Beth Nolan who was saying, no way, I'm not going to allow this to happen. So what you had, I guess you could call, was a bit of a brawl.
CHEN: Yes, we did seem to hear that.
Bob, of course you know Mr. Barr is from down here in the Atlanta area and he's only had an opportunity to watch the Thrashers, but he's apparently able to handle that.
Let's continue, now, with the hearing; Patsy Mink asking questions before the committee now.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
MINK: ... this administration for such a long time. And I thank you for coming here today voluntarily.
BARR: The chair recognizes the gentleman from Connecticut, Mr. Shays, for five minutes.
REP. CHRISTOPHER SHAYS (R), CONNECTICUT: Thank you very much.
I think one of the things that this hearing has pointed out is that you don't give pardons in the last few days of the president's term, unless you're able to do real due diligence. And I don't agree with any comment on any side of the aisle that would suggest that due diligence was done.
Whether someone questions your memory or not, that's another issue. I don't know what your memory is, but due diligence was not done. This was not the finest hour for the president or for his staff. And it may be just that, just not a fine hour.
But, I mean, I have a problem with the pardon of Susan McDougal. But, you know, I just happen to have a problem with someone who is given immunity to testify and tell the truth, and just explain why in the September 1996 appearance before the grand jury, the United States located a record of a check dated August 1, 1983, in the amount of $5,081.82 drawn on the James B. McDougal trustee account payable to Madison Guarantee and signed by Susan McDougal. The words quote, "payoff" are written in the notation section of the check.
What we wanted to know is what the word payoff meant, and all she had to do was come and tell the truth. Instead, she went to jail because she, even after given immunity, didn't want to tell the truth and was sent to jail. And the president pardoned her. I mean, there's nothing really very pleasant about a lot of these pardons.
So, we're just going to plug away. And in the end, I look at someone I know well, Mr. Podesta, and I hope that we meet on better grounds, and I hope that we find a way to get out of this morass, because the more questions we ask, the worse it looks.
I would just want to verify a few things and then I have a subject to question, and I may have to keep coming back.
But, Mr. Lindsey, when I was gone ahead a number of people came up to me and said that you had reason to know Mrs. Mills schedule a little better than you have led on. And I want to just put on the record, because when you ask different people -- the questions may not have directed it properly.
But the last week of the president's term, I'd like to know in that last week, the 20th down to Monday, do you know if Ms. Mills was in town on Monday?
LINDSEY: Monday, what Monday?
SHAYS: The Monday preceding the Saturday before the January 15th.
LINDSEY: I do not.
SHAYS: On Tuesday?
LINDSEY: I don't know.
SHAYS: On Wednesday?
LINDSEY: I don't know.
SHAYS: On Thursday?
LINDSEY: I don't think so.
SHAYS: On Friday?
LINDSEY: She came to town on Friday, I think.
SHAYS: So your testimony is that she came to town on Friday and she was there on Friday, but not before?
LINDSEY: Again, my testimony was that I don't know. I don't think she was there on Thursday, because I think she came to town on Friday. I don't know whether she was there earlier in the week.
SHAYS: Was she there in the White House on Friday?
LINDSEY: Yes, that was the night that we were talking about.
SHAYS: Yes, was she at the White House on the 20th?
LINDSEY: Yes, she flew back with us to New York.
SHAYS: Thank you very much.
I am going to ask each of you these questions. Ms. Nolan, Mr. Lindsey and Mr. Podesta, the questions I ask each, I'm asking all of you. And so some of it will be a little redundant, but we'll just plug through it.
Starting with you, Ms. Nolan, when did you first discuss with Mr. Clinton the possibility of a pardon for Mr. Rich and Mr. Green?
NOLAN: I'm not sure. I think it was about mid-January, but it could have been the week before.
SHAYS: Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: We had a discussion prior to the 19th. Mr. Podesta believes we had a discussion on the 16th. I'll accept his memory on that. Whether we had a discussion prior to that, I don't know.
SHAYS: Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: As I said in my opening statement, I think that we had that discussion, I believe it was on the night of the 16th, and that was the first time, I believe, that I discussed the matter with the president.
SHAYS: Thank you.
Do you have any understanding of what the president knew about either Mr. Rich or Mr. Green at the time the pardon application was presented to him? And what is that understanding?
NOLAN: I'm sorry?
SHAYS: Yes, I read it fast. Do you have any...
NOLAN: It was the last phrase, sir, "at the time the pardon petition was presented"?
SHAYS: Was presented to him.
NOLAN: I don't know that he knew anything at that time. Do you mean, what did he know when we discussed the pardon or...
SHAYS: When he got the application did he have a sense of what this application was all about?
NOLAN: I don't know at the time that he received the application what he knew it was. I think he did understand the arguments Mr. Quinn was making by the time we discussed it.
SHAYS: Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: I would agree with that.
SHAYS: Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: I have no knowledge of his knowledge...
CHEN: All right, the testimony continues before the House Government Reform Committee, and it may continue for some hours to come.
CNN will take a pause in our coverage. When we return, Judy Woodruff will report from Washington.
JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: I'm Judy Woodruff in Washington. Our live coverage of the congressional hearings, looking into the pardons granted by former President Clinton continues. But before we go back into the hearing room, let's go to our congressional correspondent Bob Franken.
Bob, tell us about the highlights today; I guess it started when the democratic fund-raiser Beth Dozoretz essentially took the Fifth.
FRANKEN: There's no "essentially" about it, she did. She said that she would not testify, on the advice on her lawyer, who said he was concerned about self-incrimination. She was asked a couple of questions and she gave that same answer. And the choreography that had been prearranged was that she would then be released -- but not before Bob Barr, who is the very intense, shall I say, Republican from Georgia, put her through her paces just a little bit, saying that she was obviously trying to withhold information -- was she doing this on the advice of her counsel? Yes. Would she cooperate with the federal criminal investigation? She would do whatever her counsel advised to her. But finally that was over.
Now, what is the headline from today's session? That the top advisers to President Clinton, John Podesta, the White House chief of staff at the end of the administration; Beth Nolan, the White House counsel; and Bruce Lindsey, the close adviser to the president all opposed the Pardon of Marc Rich and his partner Pincus Green and said so repeatedly, only to have their advice ignored by President Clinton.
But they all also said that they believe the reason had nothing to do with any sort of quid pro quo, or anything like that has been alleged but, rather, was done on the merits; it's just that they really strongly saw the merits differently -- Judy.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bob Franken, who's been listening to these hearings all day long. Let's go back into the hearing room now. Again, this is the House Government Operations Committee -- this is Bruce Lindsey, a former senior counselor to President Clinton.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
LINDSEY: Right; someone made reference to it this morning -- sent us a list of 24-25 people. We took a look at them, we granted --
REP. STEVEN C. LATOURETTE (R), OHIO: Twelve, she said.
LINDSEY: Twelve, 13, I'm not sure how the numbers -- they got to us through Families Against Mandatory Minimums.
Members of Congress sent them to us.
LATOURETTE: I understand. I'm interested in Mr. Vignali in particular.
LINDSEY: And I told you that Mr. Vignali's -- we took a -- I'm not sure what we would have done if we had gotten the recommendation from Mr. Adams. The fact of the matter is that application had been pending at the Department of Justice for over two years, which is one of the problems that the president had been complaining about. And it's only, you know, probably when we went back to the department and said, you know, "We're going to look at this; are they able to rush up a recommendation?" And they sent it to us some time in the last week.
So my point is, if an application -- no person, in my judgment, should have to have his application sit over at the Department of Justice for two or three years. That is part of the system that's wrong, you know.
LATOURETTE: Well, and no person that wants to become a United States citizen should have to sit at INS for two or three years, either.
LINDSEY: And I agree with that.
LATOURETTE: Anyway, but as the president said in that wonderful video he made for the White House correspondents, so many questions, so little time. And I'll be back in a little bit.
BURTON: Mr. Ose?
REP. REPRESENTATIVE DOUG OSE (R), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to go back into the White House office of gifts, Mr. Podesta. If I understand your earlier testimony, if a citizen gives a gift to the White House, it comes into the office of the gifts, there's a determination made, "Is this a personal gift to the president? Does this go to the archives?" What have you. And there's an evaluation attached to the gift; am I correct on that?
PODESTA: When a gift is sent to the president, it goes to the gift unit. The gift unit values the gift, puts it on a list, and the president, under the law, may choose to keep that gift or it goes to the archives.
OSE: OK. How is the value of the gift that's received determined?
PODESTA: By the gift's unit, which is staffed by a career employee, I believe of the General Services Administration, who's detail to the White House.
OSE: So GSA sends over...
PODESTA: I believe that's right, but I think there's a career person in the gift unit and I believe that's a detailee from the GSA. But, I could hate to stand to be corrected on that.
OSE: All right. Who oversees -- I mean, is there a check on these valuations? In other words, if I'm that GSA career employee and I say that it's worth $3,218, is that the end of the debate? Is there any check on it? I mean, I...
PODESTA: Well, you know, I don't believe there's any re-review of the career employee's decision about what a gift is worth and I believe that's been the system that's been in place for many, many years and many, many presidents.
OSE: OK. How many gifts -- I have no idea. I mean, how...
PODESTA: Hundreds of thousands.
OSE: Ten per day?
PODESTA: Oh, at least, I would think. I don't know. I don't know the answer to that.
OSE: Hundreds of thousands; is that what you said?
PODESTA: Thousands. Let me correct that. Thousands.
OSE: Tens of thousands or ones of thousands?
PODESTA: I think that over the course of eight years, I would think it was tens of thousands.
OSE: OK. Now, do the questions as to how to assign the gifts ever percolate up to your level?
PODESTA: Assign the gifts?
OSE: For instance -- well, for instance, if the office of gifts can't make a determination and it's a close call, does it ever percolate up to your level for final determination?
Ms. Nolan, does it ever come to the counsel's office, Mr. Lindsey?
NOLAN: As to the evaluation of the gift?
OSE: Or how to treat it -- whether it's a gift to the president, or a gift to the White House, or something that goes to archives, or what have you? LINDSEY: First of all, just to be absolutely fair, I don't believe the White House has gift authority. So gifts to the White House are actually gifts to the National Park Service, which accepts the gifts on behalf of the White House.
OSE: Well, Mr. Lindsey, you just -- you're embarrassing me. You've exposed my ignorance here. So I appreciate that.
LINDSEY: So -- but gifts that are meant to be part of the permanent gift collection, I think, go to the National Park Service that makes -- sends a thank you-note, and so forth.
Gifts that are meant to be gifts for the Clintons personally are sent to the White House gift unit that makes the evaluation, puts them on a register, if you will. The president, at some point, reviews that register and decides whether or not he intended to keep any of the gifts personally. If he does, those gifts are reported on his annual financial disclosure form.
So, every year, any gifts that the president accepts are reported on his annual financial disclosure form.
OSE: All right.
LINDSEY: Any gifts that he does not accept, automatically at the end of the administration, go with everything else from the White House -- all other presidential records, if you will, to the archives, and becomes part of the archives collection -- the president's collection that are maintained by the archives.
OSE: If you've got tens of thousands of gifts flowing in over an eight-year period of time -- let's say, it's 10,000 -- that's 10 gifts a day. If it's 20,000, it's 20 gifts a day -- or whatever -- I mean, do the math. How do you handle gifts that, say, come in the last month or six weeks?
Because you are in the process of shipping stuff to the archives, you are in the process of crossing the t's and dotting the i's on the administration. Do you maintain the process of logging in the gifts?
OSE: So that went on all the way till noon on the 20th.
LINDSEY: If any gifts were accepted or received on the 20th, it would have been the process, yes.
LINDSEY: Now, there is some dollar amount, and Ms. Nolan might know...
WOODRUFF: Bruce Lindsey, former adviser to President Clinton, answering questions about how gifts are handled at the White House.
We're going to take a break. We'll be back with more live coverage of these hearings.
WOODRUFF: Back to the congressional hearing. Marc Rich attorney Jack Quinn describing his contacts with President Clinton.
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QUINN: ... and I'm not sure whether it was Monday or Tuesday or even conceivably Wednesday -- I had a conversation with him about the considerable press attention that this had gotten.
QUINN: Now, on staff, I, as I've testified earlier, had a relatively brief conversation with Mr. Lindsey around the 12th or 13th of December when we were in Belfast.
DAVIS: OK, and that was in person?
DAVIS: OK. Were there any others -- people there with you?
QUINN: A lot of people around, but no one else in that conversation. I think it's possible, though I'm not 100 percent sure of this, that I may have also spoken to Ms. Nolan separately on the same day.
DAVIS: In person?
QUINN: In person, on the course of that trip.
I had subsequent telephone conversations with Ms. Nolan. I think I've left out that I believe that on the day I filed this, the 11th of December, I believe I called Ms. Nolan and either told her it was coming or it was there.
Then again, I had a number of telephone conversations with her subsequently. I really can't identify each and every one of them. I had, you know, more than one conversation with her on the 19th.
I don't recall having had further conversations with Mr. Lindsey, and I did not at any time have a conversation with Mr. Podesta.
BURTON: Ms. Davis would you yield just for one question?
DAVIS: If you leave me time to ask one more.
BURTON: When did you start working on the Rich case?
QUINN: I started working on the matter sometime in the spring of 1999. The focus of our efforts in '99 and going through March or so of 2000, was twofold. First, the efforts we made at main Justice to attempt to get assistance from main Justice, either in the form of having them encourage the Southern District to sit down with us and try to work this case out, take another look at it; or, secondly, to, you know, see if it were possible that they might, in essence, take the matter.
BURTON: Thank the gentlelady.
DAVIS: Thank you.
The committee received waives records indicating you entered the White House on January 17, 2001, at 9:01 a.m. and exited at 10:58 a.m. You were scheduled to visit with the president of the United States in the residence. Could you tell us what you were doing at the White House on the morning of January the 17th?
QUINN: Yes, that was what has been referred to as the president's last public event at the White House. I think Mr. Podesta alluded to it earlier; it was the designation of certain national monuments around the country, an event that he did with Secretary Babbitt. There were a couple hundred people there. I was invited to attend that event, and I did. But in the course of being there, I did not have any conversation with the president or anyone from -- I don't think I even saw anyone from the counsel's office.
DAVIS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I think my time has expired.
BURTON: Mr. Souder?
REP. MARK E. SOUDER (R), INDIANA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I don't have any questions at this time.
BURTON: Would the gentleman yield to me then for a couple of questions?
SOUDER: I yield to the chair.
BURTON: Thank you very much.
Let me ask you, Mr. Quinn, you started, you said, working on the Rich case in 1999 in the spring?
QUINN: Yes, sir.
BURTON: And you said you focused your attention, initially, on the Justice Department to try to find out what could be done there?
QUINN: That's correct.
BURTON: Did you ever talk to anybody at the White House? I mean, you were a very close friend of the president. Did you ever talk to him about that during the years 1999 or 2000, before all of this happened?
QUINN: I don't believe so, sir.
BURTON: Well, I don't want you to believe. Did you or didn't you?
QUINN: I'm quite confident I did not.
BURTON: I don't want you to be quite confident. Did you or didn't you?
QUINN: Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm doing the very best I can.
BURTON: No, I know, but, you know, we've had these little nuances in the language. Did you, yes or no, talk to the president about this? Did you, yes or no, talk to the president about this in the year 1999 or 2000, before all of this happened?
QUINN: No, sir.
BURTON: You're sure about that?
QUINN: I gave you may preferred answer, and you blackjacked me into that one.
BURTON: OK, I want to read you something. This is a memo from Avner Azulay. Do you know who he is?
QUINN: Yes, sir.
BURTON: OK. It's dated Saturday, March 18, year 2000. I think it's exhibit 137. And it's to Robert Fink, who will be testifying later. And it's subject JQ. I guess that might be Jack Quinn. What do you think?
QUINN: Yes, sir.
BURTON: And MS, et cetera. "I had a long talk with JQ," Jack Quinn, "and Michael." Now, as I understand it, Michael is Michael Steinhart, who is a New York financier and a good friend of Mr. Rich.
QUINN: I think that's right.
BURTON: "I explained why there is no way the MOJ," and I understand that's the Minister of Justice in Israel, "there is no way the MOJ is going to initiate a call EH," Eric Holder, "a minister calling a second-level bureaucrat who has proved to be a weak link," period. "We are reverting to the idea discussed with Abe," Abe is Abe Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League, "Abe, which is to send DR," Denise Rich, "on a personal mission to No. 1," now I have a wild guess that might be the president, "with a well-prepared script. If it works, we didn't lose the present opportunity until November which shall not repeat itself. If it doesn't, then probably Gershon," and Gershon Kekst is a public relations expert in New York, "then, probably, Gershon's course of action shall be the one left option -- to start all over again. This is only for your info. Regards, AA."
Now, this was in March 18 of the year 2000, and they were talking, if I interpret this correctly, and this was about you and MS, they were talking about asking Denise Rich to go on a personal mission to No. 1 with a well-prepared script. You don't anything about that or do you?
QUINN: Let me say what I know and what I don't know. First of all, you'll see, I think, that I didn't receive this e-mail.
BURTON: No, I know you didn't receive this e-mail. I just want to know, do you know about this?
QUINN: I don't have any recollection of it.
BURTON: No, no, don't give me "no recollection." Do you know about this, yes or no?
QUINN: I have no recollection of having heard this, but -- OK? -- I do not believe that Denise Rich spoke to the president at this time about this matter. I don't believe this was followed up on.
BURTON: Well, the reason I'm asking this question is, you said you didn't talk to the president about this at any time up until, you know, the timeframe we're talking about here, and here you started working on this back in 1999. Here is March 18, 2000, 10 months before the pardon was granted, or 11 months, And this is a pretty involved memo saying, you know, "We're trying this, we're trying that, and now we're talking about sending Denise Rich, his former wife, on a personal mission to number one with a well-prepared script."
And the subject of the memo was you. But you don't recall anything about it, and you don't think anything happened, and you didn't talk to the president about it.
QUINN: Mr. Chairman, I did not speak to the president any time around this time about this matter. I do not believe that Denise Rich spoke to him about it.
By the way, remember, this was, I suspect, around the time that we had heard from the southern district in New York that they would not sit down with us. When I had then made another effort to persuade Mr. Holder, who, in turn, was consulting with two other senior officials at the Department of Justice, to meet with us and essentially take the case -- sometime around this time, and I know that the record reflects a note in my hand to this effect, I asked Mr. Holder, "Look, is this over? Are we basically dead? Are you guys not going to take this?" And he said that's correct.
It is entirely possible that these folks and every one of us involved in this thought out loud with each other: Is there any way to persuade the president to tell Justice to tell the southern district to do something.
It's also entirely possible that Mr. Kekst, Mr. Azulay, others, myself included, were involved in a conversation where someone said, you know, "We're going to have to try a pardon one of these days." But as I think the record also reflects, basically the legal work on this matter at all of these firms, Mr. Fink's, Mr. Libby's and so on, basically shut down some time around the end of March.
Now, I'm telling you, I did not speak to the president in the year 2000 about the Marc Rich matter. I was not a recipient of this. I had no reason to believe that any one asked Denise Rich to speak to him about this matter, and I have no reason to believe that she did so. But my first hand knowledge of this is limited to the facts I'm able to testify to.
SHAYS: Well, we'll talk to Mr. Fink about that later.
REP. HENRY WAXMAN (D), CALIFORNIA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Just to follow up on this issue. Mr. Rich had lawyers, lots of lawyers, didn't he?
QUINN: Yes, sir. Over the years a good many.
WAXMAN: Over the years a good many, and they were trying to figure out how to serve their client. So it appears, and even there's a story on the web on The Washington Post that, even a year ago, a top aide to Marc Rich was thinking about a presidential pardon.
QUINN: That would not surprise me. But my impression, having been involved in this, is that that was not seriously considered until sometime in the vicinity of the 30th of October and decided upon early, you know, in the next couple of weeks. And I don't think the lawyers involved actually got together to meet about it until the 21st of November.
WAXMAN: Now, earlier in the year, as I recall your testimony from three weeks ago when you were before this committee, earlier in that year, Mr. Rich's lawyers, and maybe I think you were included, you were trying to get a deal with the Justice Department. And, in fact, as I recall, you were talking to Mr. Holder about getting the prosecutors to talk to Mr. Rich's attorneys, you and his other attorneys. Is that right?
QUINN: Yes, and heard back from Mr. Holder that he and other senior officials of the Department of Justice thought it was ridiculous that the southern district wouldn't sit down with us.
BARR: Was there some point in the year 2000 when you concluded that there was no chance any longer with the Justice Department?
QUINN: Yes, sir.
WOODRUFF: Jack Quinn, attorney for Marc Rich answering committee questions about when he first discussed the pardon with President Clinton. At one point, he said it was not until January of this year that it came up, even though he had been working on this case since March of 1999.
We're going to take another break. We'll be right back.
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BARR: ... did convince the -- it did -- it convinced the president on a day when he was probably fuming about the deal he had to make with the independent counsel and concern about what was happening in the Middle East and looking at so many different other things and probably wanting to do something for Mrs. Rich, who was certainly very helpful to him.
QUINN: I don't think any one of us can testify to all the different things that might have been in the president's mind at the time. But I think the point that Mr. Lindsey made earlier is fair, that it's, you know, it's inconceivable and, based on what we know, more than quite likely that the appeal from Prime Minister Barak -- which, by the way, followed on the heels of an appeal from Shimon Peres and others in Israel...
WAXMAN: But that was all based on strategies you and other lawyers worked out to try to influence the president...
QUINN: Right. But I think that all of these things...
WAXMAN: I'm not being critical.
QUINN: I understand. But I think that all of these things were elements of the decision.
WAXMAN: All of us in public office have to understand that when we have an orchestrated campaign, we have to recognize it for what it is, that often the rich and the powerful, whether it's an individual or an industry, get access and make their case. And it comes from all different directions, because they have smart lawyers, skillful people thinking about what might be the right button to push with any of us as we sort through and make our decisions.
QUINN: Yes. And I think, by the way, that the president was served by some very smart people, himself.
BURTON: Let me start another round.
Going back to exhibit 137, you said that you didn't talk to the president during the year 2000. Did you talk to any of his aides about the pardon, any of the people at the White House, besides the president?
QUINN: I believe the first conversation I had with anyone in the White House, again, I believe that I spoke to Ms. Nolan on the 11th of December to tell her the application was coming, and the next conversation I had was with Mr. Lindsey in Belfast.
BURTON: But that was the first, the 11th of December, year 2000.
QUINN: Right, you asked about the year 2000.
BURTON: Yes. Now, this is 2001, so it would have been last year.
So the earliest that you talked to anybody at the White House was in December of 2000.
QUINN: Yes, sir, that is my recollection.
BURTON: I just wanted to get that straight, because the memo that we're talking about there, if you look up above it, you'll see that that was followed up two days later. The memo I refer to was on the 18th of March, 2000, at 2:11 a.m., incidentally.
And then two days later, it says it's from Mr. Fink to Avner Azulay. And it says, "Thanks, I spoke to J.Q. after you, and he told me about Denise. Let's see how his visit with Zivy (ph) goes and what E.H.'s," Eric Holder's, "research shows. I assume you're keeping," Marc Rich, "M.R. update to date, as I had nothing real there to report." And the first memo says that they were going to try to send her to No. 1 with a well-prepared script.
What did you tell him about Denise?
QUINN: I don't recall that conversation.
BURTON: You don't recall?
QUINN: No, sir. And I didn't write the memo or receive it.
BURTON: No, I know, but the memo said that they were going to suggest sending her on a personal mission to, number one, with a well- prepared script. And two days later it says, "I spoke to J.Q. after you, and he hold me about Denise."
QUINN: I'm not sure what he's referring to. He may have a better recollection of this. And the best I can do for you is that I do not believe, but I have no personal knowledge, but I don't believe that Denise Rich spoke to the president about her ex-husband in this timeframe.
BURTON: Mr. Barr, I yield my time to you.
BARR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
According to the wave records, two individuals visited the White House, visited the president, between this period of January 16 and January 19 when something seems to have happened to gel in the president's mind that he would grant the Rich pardon. The two individuals are Beth Dozoretz and Denise Rich. Both, according to the records, visited the president during that timeframe.
Do any of you know why Ms. Dozoretz and Ms. Denise Rich visited the president during that particular time?
PODESTA: Mr. Barr, I think, given the fact that at least I believe Ms. Rich through her counsel, I believe, and certainly, Ms. Dozoretz, through her husband, have denied that they met with the president, I think that the question is unfounded.
Look, I don't know anything about this, but I believe, but I believe that Mr. Dozoretz...
BARR: Well, then how do you know that the question is unfounded? PODESTA: It's in the newspapers, laid-out records that he had showing that they are on an airplane and staying in some hotel in Los Angeles. So I think the implication of your question, unless you're not reading the newspapers, Mr. Barr, is just off-base.
BARR: Well, thank you very much, Mr. Podesta. You and Ms. Nolan certainly have thin skins today.
I'm reading not the newspaper...
PODESTA: Mr. Barr, I have exceedingly thick skin.
BARR: Hold on, hold on.
PODESTA: And that's why I'm sitting here all day.
BARR: Hold on. I'm not reading a newspaper. I am reading the wave records from the White House, which show not only a scheduled time for the visit for Ms. Dozoretz and Ms. Rich, but also a time of arrival on those days. So unless you're telling me that in your experience these wave records don't accurately reflect the reality of who's visiting the White House, the question has a very well-founded basis in fact, the White House records themselves.
PODESTA: The question has a well-founded innuendo, in fact.
BARR: According to these waves records, with which all three of you are very familiar with -- and I'm sure you are too, Mr. Quinn -- they indicate that during that time period, between January 16th and the 19th, both Ms. Dozoretz and Ms. Rich -- neither of whom have chosen to testify, so it's very easy for you to stand there and say that these records are not good -- visited the White House. And I'm simply asking, do you all know why they might have visited the White House during this period of time?
LINDSEY: Mr. Barr, if I may, you keep saying between the 16th and the 19th. Are you talking about the 19th?
BARR: According to these records...
LINDSEY: Well, the records have the date, so which date is it that they were supposed to have visited the White House, between the 16th and the 19th?
BARR: Well, thank you for assuming the role of questioner here, but I don't mind telling you, because these are the records. According to these records, Ms. Dozoretz visited the residence of the president of the U.S., visited him at his residence on the 19th, at 1729.
BARR: And this...
LINDSEY: The event on the 19th was a reception for Kelly Craighead, who got engaged several weeks before that. Again, Ms. Rich and Ms. Dozoretz say they were not there. I have asked other people who were there, who do not remember seeing them. But the event that they were waved in for, was a reception for Kelly Craighead, who had just gotten engaged.
BARR: And the same would hold, according to the best of your recollection, for Ms. Denise Rich, also?
LINDSEY: For the 19th, yes. I asked ...
BARR: For the 19th.
LINDSEY: I asked people who were there, whether -- because I knew they were on the waves list -- whether they attended, and was told that nobody remembered them being there.
BURTON: My time has expired. Who's next on the your side?
WOODRUFF: A testy exchange there, between Congressman Bob Barr of Georgia, a Republican, and former White House chief of staff, John Podesta.
Bob Barr asking both Podesta and Bruce Lindsey about records showing that Denise Rich and Beth Dozoretz visited the White House just before the president left office. Separately from this individual speaking for Rich and Dozoretz, have said that the women, the two women, were not at the White House, that the records were mistaken. But we just heard Congressman Barr going over that ground once again.
We're going to take a break. We'll be right back.
WOODRUFF: Back in the hearings, Jack Quinn answering a question from a Democratic Congressman about a letter to Marc Rich's attorneys from a former attorney for Marc Rich named Lewis Libby, who also, who happens now to be the chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. He's also scheduled to testify before this committee tonight.
Here's Jack Quinn.
QUINN: ... you'll recall there were press reports about the Bank of New York Russian money laundering matter, which was pending, in fact, in the southern district of New York. And based on those press reports, it seemed apparent to us that the U.S. attorney's office had, in fact, dealt with attorneys for people who ultimately became defendants and pled in the matter, even though they were not in the country.
So we were trying to demonstrate that there was no such policy and that it was at least the practice in a good many U.S. attorney's offices, and perhaps even in the southern district, from time to time to negotiate with attorneys for people who had absented themselves.
CUMMINGS: That's dated October 6, 1999, is that right? QUINN: Yes, sir.
CUMMINGS: And just so that we'll be real clear, this is the same Lewis Libby who is now chief of staff for Vice President Cheney?
QUINN: Yes, sir.
CUMMINGS: All right. I just wanted to make sure I was clear on that.
Let me just go on to something else. Ms. Nolan, you said something that was very interesting a little bit earlier, and I just wanted to see what you meant by this. You said, when you were talking about advising the president and you had talked about the president is the president, he makes the decision, he had the final decision, you said one person would have to take the hit for it; in other words, for a decision. And I take it that what you meant by that is that if it was the wrong decision, that there might be some criticism. Is that what you were alluding to?
CUMMINGS: And did you all ever say -- you, Mr. Podesta, Mr. Lindsey or Ms. Nolan -- did you ever say, "Mr. President, you know, you are the president, but I think you're going to really take the hit for this one, because people are going to really be very critical of you, although you may feel very strongly that you're doing the right thing." Did any of you ever say anything like that to the president, just out of curiosity? NOLAN: Yes. I said it with respect to a number of pardons, some of which I was right about, some of which I wasn't.
CUMMINGS: When you say you were right about, what do you mean? In other words, you were right about whether there was going to be fallout?
NOLAN: There were some that I suspected would be criticized that weren't, and some that I thought would be criticized that would be.
CUMMINGS: And did he feel comfortable in so-called taking the hit for them?
NOLAN: He fully understood that he might take a hit, and he listened to our recommendations. We had discussions about how things would look and appearances. He didn't always agree with our assessments, and I have to say, my assessments were sometimes quite right on and sometimes not.
CUMMINGS: Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: I think the answer is almost the same. I'm not sure. I think I made it clear to the president, as did others, that pardoning Marc Rich would not go down well, that, you know, I was, you know, again, I was opposed to it because he was a fugitive. As others said, he had the ability, if all these arguments that Mr. Quinn were making were correct, he could come back, he could have the RICO claims dismissed, he could present the arguments of the two law professors as to why there was no tax fraud, he could argue that the trading with the enemies involved a company that wasn't subject to U.S. law. He could make all those arguments, and that I did not believe that people would understand why you pardoned a fugitive.
CUMMINGS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
BURTON: Thank you, Mr. Cummings. Gentleman's time's expired.
Mr. Barr, you have your own time now.
BARR: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Going back to the Braswell pardon, did any of you all have any communications or discussions, in person or on the phone, with Mr. Rodham about the Braswell case?
NOLAN: I did not.
LINDSEY: I did not.
BARR: Mr. Podesta?
BARR: Are you are of any conversations that Mr. Rodham had with anybody at the White House concerning the Braswell pardon?
NOLAN: I'm not.
LINDSEY: I'm not personally aware of any. I've read, I think, press reports, but I have no personal knowledge.
BARR: Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: No, I have no knowledge of that.
BURTON: Would the gentleman yield just briefly?
BURTON: Do you recall, during the last couple of weeks of the administration, how often Mr. Rodham was there? We've had reports he was there two or three days a week. Was he there continually, or was he there just two or three days a week? Can you give us some information on that?
LINDSEY: I, personally, wouldn't know whether he was there, unless he came by to see me, called me or I ran in to him.
BURTON: You don't know if he was in the residence, any of you?
PODESTA: I'm unaware of -- I don't know what his presence was in the residence or at the White House.
BURTON: Thank you. BARR: With regard, back on the Rich pardon, did any of you all, Ms. Nolan, Mr. Lindsey or Mr. Podesta, have any discussions with either Ms. Denise Rich or Beth Dozoretz about the Marc Rich pardon?
NOLAN: I did not.
LINDSEY: I believe, I've never spoken, I don't think, to Denise Rich. Ms. Dozoretz called me on one occasion and asked me about two pardons, Milken and Marc Rich. It was at a time when I -- I'm quite not sure exactly what I indicated to her. I told her I thought the president wasn't going to do Milken, and I hoped he wouldn't do Rich.
BARR: Would this have been in early January?
LINDSEY: Early to mid-January, yes. Again, it's hard for me to place it, but it could have been well within that last week sometime.
BARR: Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: No, I never talked to either one of them.
BARR: Thank you.
Mr. Quinn, I'd like to give you an opportunity. You and I had a discussion at your last hearing, with regard to a January 10 -- I think it was January 10 -- e-mail that had to do with Ms. Dozoretz. And we had a discussion about that. And then there was a subsequent discussion that you have in your testimony on the Senate side, and there seems to be, when you read your two statements, one was much more elaborative and contained a lot more information and background, which was not part of your answer here. And I'd like to give you an opportunity to discuss that, if you would, please.
QUINN: And in fact, as a result of your appearance and Mr. Shays', on a television show, subsequently, and I have gone back and looked pretty carefully at the exchange. And the fact that I testified the way I did in the Senate, I think it's fair to say, was, in some sense, directly related to how this didn't unfold here.
I think, in fairness, if one goes back and looks at the transcript, at least this is the way I read it, I was first asked a question, which I understood to be asking me to express a view as to why the president was making a call to her.
And, as with every other thing that might be in the president's head, I didn't know and tried to explain that I didn't know whether he was calling to discuss the pardons or whether he was calling for some other matter and it came up in the course of that.
Then, you seemed to clarify that you were interested in knowing why she was involved. At which point, I said, "Oh, well," and I began to tell you the facts that I laid out in my Senate testimony. You'll see in the transcript that you interrupted me and then you were interrupted by the chairman and time expired and we went off to another subject. Now, the principal focus of our discussion in almost nine hours that day was on my dealings with Mr. Holder and, to a lesser degree, with the White House counsel's office. I was certainly impressed after the hearing that it would be important for me to give a more complete presentation of my discussions with Ms. Dozoretz in the Senate testimony that occurred just six days later.
And as I hope you know, I then filed that Senate testimony with the chairman for inclusion in the record of this committee's hearings
BARR: Thank you. Maybe if...
WOODRUFF: Jack Quinn, attorney for Marc Rich, telling members of the House Government Reform Committee about his conversations with Beth Dozoretz, the former Democratic Party fund-raiser about the Marc Rich pardon.
We'll be back with more live coverage in just a moment.
WOODRUFF: We're continuing with our live coverage of the House committee hearings looking into the pardons President Clinton granted in the last days of his administration. Let's quickly turn to two of our analysts: Roger Cossack, Bill Schneider.
Roger, to you first. You've been listening to these hearings all day long.
ROGER COSSACK, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: All day long.
WOODRUFF: What has come out that you think is important?
COSSACK: Briefly, I think it's this: There's been two things; one is the fact that we've now heard these three individuals that have been testifying all day -- all talk, all close aides to the president, all say the same thing. You know, we told them not to do it; we didn't buy into Jack Quinn's argument; we didn't think it should be done. Our arguments about why it shouldn't be done obviously weren't paid...
WOODRUFF: Mainly because Marc Rich is a fugitive...
COSSACK: Marc Rich is a fugitive and all the other reasons pale besides the fact that he ran away. If he wants to come back, that's one thing; but if he's a fugitive, he shouldn't be given the benefit of a pardon.
The other thing is Cheryl Mills. Cheryl Mills, the former deputy White House counsel clearly had a great deal of access to the White House and she was in the White House and her voice was heard as a voice in this. Although she had no official post, she was clearly someone who the president relied upon and listened to.
WOODRUFF: And Bill, where was she arguing on this -- what was she arguing? WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: I think she supported the idea of a pardon for Marc Rich; and the question was, what was she doing in the White House in those last few weeks? And they haven't established that she was talking to the president at any point about it, but there are lots of suspicions being raised by Republicans about, why was she at the White House at all? And the very staff members gave reasons why she might have been there, as a former staff member.
WOODRUFF: But that raises a new question...
COSSACK: You know, Bill, I'm not sure that she was -- that they have said that she was so much in favor of the pardon, but it's clear that what the implication was that she certainly wasn't as dead-set against it as we've seen these three testify.
SCHNEIDER: That's right.
WOODRUFF: All right, Bill Schneider, Roger Cossack.
We'll be back; we're going to take a quick break. We'll be back with continuing live coverage of the hearings.
WOODRUFF: Back to the hearings now; House Government Reform Committee. Democratic delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton of the District of Columbia questioning Marc Rich attorney Jack Quinn.
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DEL. ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON (D), DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: ... is to make sure that the pardon attorney has this, and not to make this a question of jurisdiction...
QUINN: OK, but...
NORTON: ... as you have made it. You're not trying to make him the fall guy. But the fact is that one of the bright stars of the African-American community has had his reputation damaged...
QUINN: And it shouldn't be. NORTON: And a lot of us do not appreciate it. He has taken full responsibility for it. But I think there was also some very smart lawyering going on here, avoiding the pardon attorney and going around the process. And it's the kind of thing that almost any lawyer, seeing openings, might have done. But the net effect of it is that Eric Holder, the president of the United States, Marc Rich, yes, and even Jack Quinn, have been hurt by the way this process unfolded. And I don't think you can -- you should take a lot of credit for it.
But you offered some advice, in response to a question to me before, about the kinds of things that might be done to shore up the process. I thought it was very good advice about an executive order. And the thrust of my question was that, if there were an executive order, to indicate that the president had, within his own context, a sufficiently adversarial process to make an informed and responsible decision that he could defend, might well be something we would want to recommend or that an executive order ought to say.
Yes, and I think I told you last time that I thought that was a good idea.
BURTON: The gentlelady's time has expired.
SHAYS: Mr. Barr, you wanted me to yield to you.
BARR: I appreciate the gentleman for yielding.
Looking again at the e-mail of January 10th -- and I'm no longer focusing on your testimony here or in the Senate. What I'm looking at is the substance of the e-mail, and your subsequent explanation in the Senate. And if you could, just clarify what Beth Dozoretz was doing here. The e-mail of January 10th indicates that the president takes the initiative and calls her and talks with her about the pending pardon application.
Your explanation -- and maybe we are talking about two different things here, I don't know. Your explanation or your discussion before the Senate indicates that you went to Beth to encourage her to intercede on your behalf with the president, which seems very different from the discussion of the -- this e-mail description, which the president reached out to her. What was her role in all of this?
BARR: Was she acting as your agent, or as a friend of Denise Rich's, or in some other capacity?
QUINN: I informed Beth Dozoretz sometime around the Thanksgiving holiday that I would be pursuing a pardon for Marc Rich. I did so because she was a friend of mine, because she had a relationship with Denise Rich. She was in much more frequent communication with the president than I was.
I was motivated by two things, principally. One, I was hopeful that she could let the president know that I had or was going to file this, so that he would be aware it was there. And two, she was another person who I hoped might be in a position to give me the kind of information that I, as a lawyer, thought would be useful to me to pursue this effort on behalf of my client, vigorously.
Now, I want to also tell that you that in that conversation I had with her, again, around Thanksgiving time, I cautioned her that it would be very important to make sure that no such conversation was ever connected in any way with any kind of fund-raising activity. She reacted to that by kind of looking at me like, how could I even suggest that? She said to me, "Of course, I would never do that to him."
BURTON: And the reason you brought that up is she is the finance director for the DNC, or was?
QUINN: She had been, OK? And I wanted to be very careful to make sure that no discussions about this ever took place in the context of anything related to fund-raising.
I had a conversation with her, a couple of conversations with her, after the pardon was granted in which I essentially reminded her of that. She had called to congratulate me on Saturday, said: This guy's going to be enormously grateful. He owes you a lot. He owes everybody who was involved in this process a lot. And I reflected on that conversation after I got off of the phone with her, and I called her back. Initiated a call and said to her: Relating to our earlier conversation, when you say he should be very grateful, I want to be very clear, you're not talking that he should be grateful to the president? And I said: We had a conversation about this a long time ago. I trust that no one ever had a conversation with the president about this matter and connected it in any way to any fund- raising activity.
And she said: Absolutely not. And left me with the impression that my concern that she had been vague about this was misplaced, that she was not talking about that at all.
BURTON: I thank the gentlemen for yielding.
WOODRUFF: Very interesting testimony for Jack Quinn, attorney for Marc Rich, saying that in a couple of different conversations with Beth Dozoretz, the former Democratic party fund-raising chair, that he told her that she should not make a connection between efforts to obtain a pardon for Marc Rich with any talk of or suggestion of fund- raising for the Democrats -- or funds that would accrue to the benefit President Clinton.
We are going to take a short break and come right back to more live coverage of these hearings.
WOODRUFF: Republican Congressman Steven LaTourette asking close advisers to President Clinton whether they were in on discussions about the decision to pardon drug trafficker Carlos Vignali.
(JOINED IN PROGRESS)
LATOURETTE: ... invoked to the president of the United States in this meeting?
NOLAN: I don't know, Mr. LaTourette.
LATOURETTE: How about you, Mr. Lindsey? LINDSEY: I, frankly, don't recall. I don't have a specific memory of mentioning it. I wouldn't have hesitated to mention it, but I just don't recall.
LATOURETTE: You don't remember.
How about you, Mr. Podesta? PODESTA: With the caveat that I gave earlier, in the meeting that I was in where Vignali was discussed, Mr. Rodham's name did not come up.
Going back to the meetings of the 16th and the 19th when you're doing the Rich pardon, as you sat in that meeting -- I know the fund- raising wasn't discussed -- but as you sat in the meeting in the 16th, Ms. Nolan, were you aware that Denise Rich had contributed $1.2 million to the Democratic National Committee, $75,000 to Senator Clinton's campaign and $450,000 to the Clinton Library? Was that within your knowledge?
NOLAN: I did not know that and don't know that.
LATOURETTE: Mr. Lindsey, how about you?
LINDSEY: The amounts, I had no idea. But I knew she was a supporter of the Democratic Party and had been a supporter of Mrs. Clinton and that she had indicated some level of support to the library, but the dollar amounts, I had no idea.
LATOURETTE: But were you aware that she wasn't someone that came to a clam bake and bought a $35 ticket, that she was a significant contributor to all three of those causes?
LATOURETTE: How about you, Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: No, I was not aware of that.
LATOURETTE: You were not aware that she was a contributor to any of those causes.
Do you know, any of you, whether or not the president was aware that she was a participant and a contributor to those three causes?
Of course, Ms. Nolan, I assume no, since you didn't even know that she was one.
NOLAN: I don't know.
LATOURETTE: How about you, Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: Well, I've seen clippings of an event where he is standing on a stage somewhere with her and Mrs. Clinton. So to the extent that she was on the stage with them, yes, I would assume he knew that she was a major supporter.
LATOURETTE: How about you, Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: I did not know that -- I do not know what the president's knowledge was, which is, I think, the question you asked. Although, subsequently learned, just to clarify what Mr. Lindsey said -- I didn't know this at the time. I subsequently learned, having seen that photo over and over again, that was a benefit concert for the Leukemia Foundation that she is involved with, and that had nothing to go to with the Democratic Party, etcetera.
LINDSEY: You can't believe what you see in the press.
LATOURETTE: I understand that to be a charitable event also, and I think she giving him a saxophone instead of cash on that particular occasion, if I understand the clipping.
How about with Braswell that you were asked by Mr. Barr? Were you aware that Mr. Braswell was being advocated by Mr. Rodham?
NORTON: Yes, I believe I was.
LATOURETTE: And with you, Mr. Lindsey?
LINDSEY: No, I was not.
LATOURETTE: Mr. Podesta?
LATOURETTE: Did you have a meeting with the president of the United States on the Braswell pardon, Ms. Nolan?
LATOURETTE: And Mr. Lindsey, were you present at such a meeting?
LINDSEY: I'm not sure we had a meeting on the Braswell...
NOLAN: I think it came up in a meeting. I mean, I don't think we had a meeting on the Braswell pardon.
LATOURETTE: But it came up in a meeting.
LINDSEY: I don't recall Braswell coming up in a meeting.
LATOURETTE: OK, how about you, Mr. Podesta?
PODESTA: I don't remember Braswell at all, until I heard about it subsequent to January 20.
LATOURETTE: OK, and Ms. Nolan, then, since you're the only one that has a clear recollection of the Braswell matter coming up in a meeting, was Hugh Rodham's name invoked to the president of the United States during the course of that meet as someone who was interested...
NOLAN: I don't believe so, Mr. LaTourette. But I'm not positive.
LATOURETTE: I think if we do another round, I'd like to ask you a similar set of questions about Roger Clinton, and then I think I'll be done with this panel.
I thank you.
BURTON: Mr. Davis?
REP. THOMAS M. DAVIS III (R), VIRGINIA: Thank you very much. Mr. Quinn, I got some questions for you. I know it's been a long day for you and I appreciate you being here now, twice on your own volition. I just have a few questions that I'm not sure about and I want to clear up. Can you tell me anyone, other than the people who were either paid by Mr. or Mrs. Rich or friends or the objects of their political or charitable beneficence, who are really in favor of this pardon?
QUINN: Well, you know, what I can't do is tell you whether each and every one of the people who wrote letters or spoke up in favor of it were in some ways beneficiaries of their generosity. I just don't know the answer to that.
T. DAVIS: I'd like you to turn to exhibit 79; it's a copy of the agenda for a November 21, 2000, meeting among the Rich legal team. Number seven on the item on the agenda states, "maximizing use of DR and her friends."
QUINN: Yes, sir.
T. DAVIS: Perfectly understandable. Who were her friends? I mean, what did you mean by that?
QUINN: Mr. Davis, I didn't write this. And my best recollection is that, when I did get together with Mr. Fink and Ms. Behan, I don't believe we went through these items, at least, I don't recall having done so. But, you know, as for what Mr. Fink had in mind, he'll be here sometime later.
T. DAVIS: Okay, let me ask you this. In your Senate testimony, you said that "I expect that Ms. Dozoretz would inquire about the status of our application, and I believe she might provide me with a sense of our progress or lack thereof. As a lawyer, I wanted information from as many sources as I could get about where my petition stood in the White House so I could refocus my efforts and my arguments to achieve the desired result for my client." Did Ms. Dozoretz keep you updated on the status of the application?
QUINN: There were times when I would get phone messages from her, asking me what the status of the matter was. We had a number of conversations. The ones that stick out in my mind as having been meaningful in this regard are that, as I had requested early on in the process, she indicated to the president that I was going to be filing a pardon application.
She left a message for me to the effect that I should meet with or talk to Bruce Lindsey, and I understood, again, thirdhand, that the president had in essence said, "Fine. Quinn's filing a pardon application. He should deal with the White House counsel's office." The other one that sticks out in my mind is the conversation, which we've talked about here today and a couple of weeks ago, that's reflected in this Avner Azulay e-mail. I don't recall whether she reported that information to me directly at around the same time, but it's entirely possible.
T. DAVIS: How many times to you think you spoke Mrs. Dozoretz about the pardon application?
QUINN: It's quite honestly hard for me to say. I had over the course of a few months a fair number of phone messages with her, some of which no doubt led to conversations, but not all of those conversations would have been about this matter. We have been friends, we're from time to time invited to social events by her and her husband. I was working with her to try to put her together with a start-up company in which I thought the Dozoretzes might want to get involved, and there were conversations and get-togethers in connection with that.
I'm confident that I actually spoke to her far fewer times than the pink message slips in my office might indicate, and I just hesitate to pick a number because...
T. DAVIS: Would it be more than 10 times, possibly?
QUINN: Very unlikely.
T. DAVIS: More than five?
QUINN: Probably. Probably in that neighborhood, five to 10.
T. DAVIS: If I was to ask you how many contacts...
QUINN: At most. At most.
T. DAVIS: ... you had with either Mr. Clinton or...
WOODRUFF: Jack Quinn, attorney for Marc Rich, beginning -- or continuing to paint a picture of his contacts with Democratic fund- raiser Beth Dozoretz -- conversations they had, he said, about the effort to obtain a presidential pardon for Marc Rich.
We'll be back in a moment with more live coverage.
WOODRUFF: We're going to wrap up our live coverage of these hearings before the House Government Reform Committee. Before we go away, though, we want to talk to two CNN analysts: Roger Cossack, our legal analyst; Bill Schneider, our senior political analyst.
Roger, you know, we were just talking about what new has come out of these hearings. But really, behind the facts, as they've been talked about, you really do begin to get a picture of how things get done in Washington -- how the squeaky wheel gets the grease, how knowing somebody makes a difference. COSSACK: Yes, I'm not sure that it's much different in Washington than it is, perhaps, in corporations or in other situations where the value is placed upon knowing the right person, having access to the right person, hiring the right person and getting things done.
But what these hearings have really done is sort of open up that window, as you say, and give us a view as to what happened. You know, Jack Quinn calls Beth Dozoretz to get some information from her because he knows that she has access to the president. Is there anything wrong with that? There's nothing illegal -- as a lawyer, there's nothing illegal about that. But, you know, that's how power works.
WOODRUFF: But when you go back and you read these e-mails, you have them put up on a screen, Bill, they can look much more nefarious than people would have intended at the time, sometimes.
SCHNEIDER: What was Beth Dozoretz doing involved in this at all? I mean, she was the former fund-raising chairman of the Democratic Party, which is a money role?
He says he spoke to her because he was hopeful that she could let the president know that he was there looking for a pardon. Hoped she might give him information, presumably about the president's thinking; cautioned her, keep this unconnected to fund-raising -- excuse me, she's the former fund-raising chairman of the party.
And he said, after the pardon, she said Rich will be enormously grateful, and that got him very worried and he called her back and he said, oh, no, remember what I said earlier -- enormously grateful, but that doesn't mean anything about money. That's very strange.
COSSACK: That's almost laughable.
WOODRUFF: All right, we're going to have to leave it there, Roger Cossack, Bill Schneider.
As I said, we're going to wrap up our coverage for now, but CNN, of course, will bring you highlights of these hearings, and this programming note: Congressman Bob Barr and Bernie Sanders of the House Government Reform Committee will discuss the Clinton pardons tonight -- the hearing tonight on "CROSSFIRE." That's at 7:30 p.m. Eastern.
And then at 9:00, Committee Chairman Dan Burton and ranking Democrat Henry Waxman will be among the guests on "LARRY KING LIVE."
I'm Judy Woodruff.
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