March 16, 2000
Hillary Clinton Cleared in ‘Filegate’ Case
By Beverly Lumpkin
Whitewater Independent Counsel Robert Ray today filed two reports with a court panel, closing two of his investigations involving the Clinton White House.
Ray, who took over from former Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr last October, issued a brief statement saying he had found that no prosecutions were warranted in the so-called FBI files matter, or in whether former White House Counsel Bernard Nussbaum had lied to a Congressional committee.
No ‘Credible Evidence’
In the FBI files matter, Ray’s statement said he had determined “there was no substantial and credible evidence that any senior White House official, or first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, was involved in seeking confidential Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) background reports of former White House staff from the prior administrations of President Bush and President Reagan.”
Regarding Nussbaum, Ray said he had found “no substantial and credible evidence that he lied to the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight about his discussions with Mrs. Clinton regarding the hiring of former Office of Personnel Security Director Craig Livingstone or about his knowledge regarding the circumstances of Livingstone’s appointment.”
Livingstone was the head of the office that erroneously gathered the files of former Republican staffers. An FBI agent testified that Nussbaum told him Mrs. Clinton hired Livingstone. But Ray said, “There was no substantial or credible evidence that Mrs. Clinton was involved in the hiring of Mr. Livingstone.”
In June of 1996, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno asked that the Whitewater independent counsel’s mandate be expanded to include an investigation of how the Clinton White House had come to hold about 900 files on former Reagan and Bush appointees. The files had been gathered in 1993 and 1994 by Livingstone, then-White House director of personnel security, and his aide, Anthony Marceca. The White House has always contended that the acquisition of the files resulted from a series of bureaucratic blunders and that there was no evidence that anyone was trying to dig up dirt on political enemies.
Marceca’s lawyer, Robert Muse, told ABCNEWS, “We are just pleased that the Office of Independent Counsel has completed (its) investigation.” Livingstone attorney Randall Turk, said, “I haven’t seen the report yet but it sounds like they reached the right conclusion.”
The two reports from Ray were filed under seal with a special three-judge panel known as the Special Division, which oversees the work of the remaining independent counsels. The panel will take about three months to send portions of the reports to everyone named in them and give those named the opportunity to file a response before the report is made public.
More Reports to Come
Ray plans to file additional reports on other matters he and Starr have investigated over the course of the next several months, and possibly into next year.
Upcoming reports include conclusions on the White House firing of its Travel Office staff, and whether the first lady lied about her involvement in that; the original Whitewater land deal allegations, including the mysterious re-appearance of Mrs. Clinton’s law firm billing records in the White House residence; and a final report on the Lewinsky matter, including questions about whether there was attempted obstruction in the case of Kathleen Willey, who accused the president of having groped her.
Ray is also still studying whether he should indict President Clinton once he leaves office for alleged perjury before a grand jury in the Lewinsky matter.
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