Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Amid Scandals, Clinton Follows Run-out-the-Clock Strategy

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Amid Scandals, Clinton Follows Run-out-the-Clock Strategy

Article excerpt

Let's use some imagination. Suppose that George Bush were still president of the United States. Suppose further that his former business partner of 14 years, found guilty of four felonies including fraud, has been sentenced to jail for contempt of court. The reason? Refusing to cooperate with a grand-jury investigation into the activities of the president.

Now, I ask you, fair-minded reader, how would the American press handle such a situation? Would this not be front-page news, day after day? Would t he jailed friend of the president not be featured on every network news broadcast regularly? Would the commentators not be jumping up and down, and jumping to conclusions about the motives of the presidential friend?

Yet there is almost no interest in the story of Susan McDougal, who sits today in a jail in Arkansas, serving a contempt citation for refusing to answer grand-jury questions. Let's be clear about what is going on here. All McDougal is being asked to do is to answer truthfully questions about the fraudulent $300,000 Small Business Administration loan she received (part of which was used to finance the Whitewater scheme). Former Judge David Hale says he made the loan to McDougal because then-Gov. Bill Clinton asked him to. McDougal is refusing the answer two questions: Did Clinton know about the loan? And did Clinton testify truthfully in his videotaped testimony at her trial? Now it seems obvious that if the truthful answer to the first question is "no" and the truthful answer to the second question is "yes," Susan McDougal would be a free woman today (pending sentencing on her felony counts). Why is she making such a fuss? And why is she lobbing stink bombs at Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr? "They have an agenda to ruin the presi dent," she complains. "They're after the Clintons, and they're killing me to do it." At first blush, such comments may seem peculiar. After all, if the Clintons are indeed innocent, McDougal can help them by testifying truthfully. But if they are guilty, her defiance makes perfect sense. It is part of the run-out-the-clock strategy that the administration has been following in all scandal-related matters over the past several weeks (Craig Livingstone recently defied a subpoena to appear before a congress ional committee investigating the Filegate matter). …

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