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Time for Safire to Give it Up

In today's New York Times, William Safire writes: "In the Hillary Clinton Travelgate case, the independent counsel Robert Ray concluded that her sworn testimony was 'factually false,' but he declined to prosecute because he didn't think a jury would convict the first lady of perjury. Prosecutors hate to spoil their records."

Safire's implication is clear: Clinton was guilty, but her fame would have kept her from being found guilty.

If he would have pursued the matter, Robert Ray's record would not have been sullied because of the supposed incompitance of the jury. It would have been because, as Kenneth Starr himself said, there was no "substantial and credible" evidence of criminal wrongdoing.

Safire is still trying to spin "travelgate" for his own devices. However, the witch hunt is over. It's time for him to give it up.


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Comments (1)

1. I wasn't sure Safire's comment was fair... to Robert Ray. A prosecutor's job isn't to substitute his judgment for that of a jury's, but he's not supposed to bring cases he doesn't think he can prove, either. Not because he wants to have a high batting average, but because it's a waste of time and money, and is unfair to the potential defendant.

2. Joe Conason appears to be -- what's the word? -- lying. I re-read the transcript of Starr's testimony, and can find nothing to suggest that Starr said this. Starr implied that he hadn't found "substantial and credible" -- the standard in the independent counsel statute -- evidence involving the president in these matters. The hearing that Conason refers to had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton, and Starr made no comments about her involvement, one way or the other.

3. Your argument makes no sense. Ray did find what Safire said he found. Safire isn't engaging in a "witchhunt"; he's reporting the facts. If Starr had said what Conason falsely claims Starr said, and Ray said something different later, why is Safire supposed to ignore Ray's subsequent findings in favor of Starr's earlier ones?


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