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First Whitewater prosecutor says 'serious crimes' were uncovered in probe

OWoN: Whitewater rides again to get the Clintons.

First Whitewater prosecutor says 'serious crimes' were uncovered in probe

Robert Fiske's new memoir provides fresh look at investigation into Clintons

Yahoo News
By Michael Isikoff
7 October 2014

The first federal prosecutor to probe the financial dealings of Bill and Hillary Clinton says he was poised to bring high-profile indictments against top Arkansas political and business figures — based in part on testimony from a chief witness against the then president — when he was abruptly replaced by a panel of federal judges, throwing his investigation into turmoil.

"I was angry, frustrated and above all disappointed that I was not going to be able to carry through and finish bringing the indictments," writes Robert Fiske, a former U.S. attorney who served as the original independent counsel in charge of the Whitewater investigation, in a forthcoming memoir, "Prosecutor Defender Counselor."

Fiske — ever the punctilious prosecutor — offers no judgments on the conduct of the Clintons, nor on that of the man who replaced him, Kenneth Starr.

But in his first extensive public comments on his Whitewater investigation, in his book and in an exclusive Yahoo News interview, Fiske contends his removal had a devastating impact on the agents and prosecutors working the case: It ultimately caused the Whitewater probe to stretch on for years longer than it needed to under Starr, a conservative former federal appellate judge who had no prosecutorial experience.

"The simplest way to put it, after I was replaced, the lawyers on the staff in Arkansas said the agents for the FBI and IRS were totally demoralized," Fiske said in the Yahoo News interview. "They thought we were on the brink of doing all these great things, and now that was not going to happen."

The long-ago Whitewater probe seems likely to be revived by political foes if, as is widely expected, Hillary Clinton runs for president. (The Clinton library is due to release new documents, including some that are expected to include Whitewater files, this Friday.) For years, the Clintons have sought to portray the entire investigation as a politically inspired witch hunt, pushed by partisans hunting for any ammunition they could find to damage the president and first lady.

"I'm still waiting for them to admit that there was nothing to Whitewater," Bill Clinton said in a recent appearance.

But the new account of Fiske, a pillar of the New York legal community, offers a more complicated picture. He describes how he had quickly uncovered "serious crimes" in the Whitewater investigation but that his probe was cut short after conservatives falsely accused him of a "cover up."

"There were indictments, there were convictions," said Fiske when asked about claims that there was "nothing" to the investigation. "People went to jail. There was never any evidence that was sufficient to link the Clintons to any of it, but there were certainly serious crimes."

Appointed by Janet Reno in January 1994, Fiske describes how he moved aggressively from the start, carving out a wide-ranging mandate and hiring a top-flight staff of veteran prosecutors. One of his first moves was to subpoena Hillary Clinton's law firm billing records — documents that were later found under mysterious circumstances in the White House living quarters.

By the summer of 1994, Fiske says, he was preparing to bring eight indictments against 11 defendants, including criminal charges for fraud against Jim and Susan McDougal (the Clintons' Whitewater business partners), Webster Hubbell (then an associate attorney general and formerly Hillary Clinton's law partner) and Jim Guy Tucker (Clinton's successor as governor of Arkansas).

A key witness in these cases was David Hale, a former municipal judge and the owner of a federally subsidized small-business lending company. It was Hale who had made the most serious allegation against Bill Clinton: Hale had claimed that Clinton, while Arkansas governor, had pressured him to make a fraudulent $300,000 federally backed loan to a marketing company owned by Susan McDougal that was really intended to pay off the two couples' debts in their Whitewater real estate investment. ("My name can't show up on this," Hale claimed Clinton had told him, an account that President Clinton later denied.)

Defenders of the Clintons have long depicted Hale as an inveterate liar who was put up to his allegations by bitter political enemies of the then president and first lady.

But Fiske devotes a chapter of his book to how he cut a plea deal with Hale, titling it "An Early Breakthrough," and describing how Hale's information "moved us forward."

"You used David Hale as a witness. You believed he was credible?" Fiske was asked by Yahoo News.

"Yes, we did," Fiske replied. He noted that FBI agents and prosecutors working for him (including famed Texas trial attorney Rusty Hardin) had closely vetted Hale's story.

"He provided very valuable information to us," Fiske said about Hale.

But Hale was also a confessed felon, who had pleaded guilty to defrauding the government. "Standing alone, nobody was going to bring a case based on what he was telling us," Fiske said — unless there was corroboration from other witnesses and documents. "But from what we had seen of him, we thought the story was plausible and was certainly worth pursuing," said Fiske.

Despite Fiske's efforts to find more evidence, he soon ran afoul of conservatives in Congress and on the Wall Street Journal editorial page, who accused him of pulling his punches. In late June, he issued two reports — one clearing the Clintons and White House officials of any wrongdoing in trying to influence a regulatory agency review of Jim McDougal's savings and loan, and a second one concluding that Vince Foster, another law firm partner of Hillary Clinton's, who was serving as White House counsel, had committed suicide in Fort Marcy Park overlooking the Potomac River and was not the victim of foul play.

In his memoir, Fiske contends that the evidence that Foster took his own life was overwhelming. But Fiske writes, "conspiracy theorists" attacked his findings, suggesting that Foster may have been murdered elsewhere and his body dumped in the park. Fiske recounts how an Indiana congressman, Dan Burton, even sought to disprove his findings by shooting a watermelon in his backyard. And soon Fiske was also being accused of conflicts of interest and protecting the Clintons. "The Fiske cover up," ran the headline on one Wall Street Journal editorial.

In August 1994, just as his investigation in Arkansas was gathering steam, Fiske was jolted when a panel of three federal judges — two of them strong conservatives — removed him on the grounds that he was not independent enough (because he had been appointed by Clinton's attorney general) and replaced him with Starr.

Fiske says he sought to reassure his dejected staff. Starr "has no experience as a prosecutor, so things may move a little slower but these indictments will happen," he told them.

The indictments were ultimately brought by Starr — only in some cases more than a year after Fiske's removal, and by then, Starr was widely being depicted by the White House and its allies as a conservative partisan. In that sense, Fiske's removal may have been a turning point that ended up undermining public confidence in the entire Whitewater probe, said Ken Gormley, the dean of Duquesne University School of Law and the author of "The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr," an exhaustive study of the investigation.

"Painting the whole thing as a witch hunt would have been much harder" if Fiske had not been replaced, said Gormley. And, he believes, Fiske would likely not have expanded the probe, as Starr did, to include Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky. "Fiske was a lawyer's lawyer," said Gormley. "He was the consummate principled prosecutor." 



  1. Fitzgerald probe: Sen. Clinton withdrew stolen funds from Grenada bank
    Bank accounts, trust documents proving Bush-Clinton embezzlement of U.S. Treasury

    Prosecutor in possession of documents, numbered bank accounts, trusts—and alleged film evidence of Senator Hillary Clinton withdrawing stolen U.S. Treasury funds from bank in Grenada as Fitzgerald probe expands to $742 billion theft

    Washington—April 13, 2006——Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald is in possession of filmed evidence allegedly showing Senator Hillary Clinton entering Bank Crozier in the British territory of Grenada during early 2003 for the purpose of withdrawing stolen and laundered U.S. Treasury funds for alleged personal use after presenting the bank with CIA code numbers in her capacity as a U.S. senator, CIA operative and wife of a former president, according to a team of intelligence sources.

    One source requesting anonymity told us that “competing teams” of fired intelligence agents and military, federal whistleblowers and patriotic government operatives committed to restoring the U.S. Constitution established private teams “to follow and track Senator Clinton for years” in an effort to validate the intelligence operative’s crimes with the kind of evidence presented to Mr. Fitzgerald.

    “Bank account numbers, entities and trust documents also linked to former Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton have been delivered to Fitzgerald by agents who originally leaked the evidence for the purpose of exposing the largest embezzlement of taxpayer funds in the history of the United States,” according to informed sources close to the investigation who spoke with

    Mrs. Clinton’s trip to Grenada may have been linked to personal and private control over an old Reagan CIA [executive order 12333] proprietary trust account called the Children’s Defense Fund—a Title 18 Section 6 USG corporation set up for intelligence operations—not for use in upcoming election campaigns.

    Certain Washington Riggs Bank ties to its world banking system correspondent Bank Crozier in Grenada indicate that the stolen, laundered and back-dated U.S. treasury notes may allegedly be linked to funding the September 11 attacks in violation of U.S. racketeering laws [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act—RICO statutes], the intelligence sources said.

    This, providing additional evidence circuitously linked to the Valerie Plame leak case, since intelligence sources say Plame was also looking into the 9-11 money trail—but also an attempt to plant weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to buttress the case for war, thus requiring Fitzgerald to probe the money-trail connections and strong incentives for the Bush administration to “out” Mrs. Plame-Wilson for her intelligence operations.

    1. (continued from: Fitzgerald probe: Sen. Clinton withdrew stolen funds from Grenada bank-above) has previously detailed and published the contents of a hand-written memo to Vice President Richard Cheney proving the White House knew that boxes containing large amounts of U.S. currency were moved from the Philippines seven weeks after the 9 11 attacks—with phrases in the document revealing that “the ‘family’ wants their boxes!!...Things are getting out of hand! MIL [Marvelous Investments, Ltd., Andover, MA according to intelligence sources] needs cash with which to purchase & remove these items [boxes of currency]…too much is in the wrong hands!”

      House and Senate members are quite aware of these authentic documents, but are likely powerless to investigate their explosive implications—perhaps due to “control files” and other financial, sexual and criminal activities preventing due process of law, given past bribery and blackmail linked to judges.

      Former Presidents Bush and Clinton have also reportedly been using Children’s Defense Fund bank accounts to expand, control and leverage secret national security—CIA front proprietary accounts for their personal use in direct violation of Title 18, Section 6, the Corporate Proprietary Banking Statutes—accounts intended to be used for U.S. intelligence operations only, according to informed sources who are aware that U.S. legislators are also implicated.
      (See documents and more at links above)

  2. Division 4 team names Clintons, Bush 41, 43 in JFK Jr. assassination

    Division 4 JFK Jr. preliminary report

    The long-time Special Forces and Division 4 operative’s explosive evidence, witness testimony and his team’s suppressed and classified final report naming former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H. W. Bush, President George W. Bush and Senator Hillary Clinton among others as being involved in orchestrating the assassination of John F. Kennedy Jr. will require U.S. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald to hear testimony to investigate John Jr.’s death as part of his ongoing grand jury probe involving White House crime families.
    (see full article)


    Part 2: The Money Trail

    POM president/co-owner Seth Ward's brother-in-law is Webster ("Webb") Hubbell, who served on POM's board during the early '80s. Later Webb Hubbell would become a partner in the Rose Law Firm, the Little Rock firm which employed Hillary Rodham Clinton and is currently at the center of the Whitewater scandal. While a partner at Rose, Hubbell served as POM's lawyer on a number of cases, including a failed claim of patent infringement.
    Hubbell co-wrote the documents which created the ADFA in 1985. He also represented Madison Savings and Loan, owned by McDougal. Later, he served on the Resolution Trust Corporation during its takeover of Madison. Hubbell neglected to inform the RTC of this conflict of interest.[17]
    Clinton appointed Hubbell as the Associate Attorney General, the number-three position in the Justice Department (although he was viewed by many as the de facto head). In December 1993 he ordered a new FBI review of the death of Danny Casolaro and the Promis software case. Only a month later Hubbell resigned under a cloud because of questions about his role in Whitewater, and a question about $1 million owned by POM to the Rose firm.[18] His resignation not only shielded him from other accusations related to Whitewater, but it also served to get POM out of the headlines.
    The names of Hubbell and the Rose law firm appear on the bond issues and loan agreement papers for the largest contributions to Clinton's presidential campaign. The banks, which extended several loans of more than $3 million, were all owned by a company named Stephens Inc., which was also a primary underwriter of ADFA bonds. Stephens Inc. is owned by one Jackson T. Stephens (read complete article at link)


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