It looks like the mainstream media was right and I was wrong. Though perhaps not for the reason they think.
I had followed the progress of the Starr probe carefully and knew when the first (unannounced) indictment was handed down in Arkansas. I also knew how angry Starr was at press reports he had "promised" not to announce anything prior to the November election, and how eager he was to get the indictment particulars out into the public domain. I also knew of at least five people who were indictment targets.
But there were two glitches that affected the original timing. The first one was good: more walk-in witnesses. (More accurately, the witnesses were dragged in.) Their testimony greatly improved the conviction probability of the charges against Hillary Rodham Clinton. The second glitch was legal in nature. An outside review of the indictments as signed by the grand juries both in Arkansas and New York made important criticisms of the wording. So the indictments were rewritten both in Arkansas and New York earlier this month. The revised indictments had to be re-presented to the grand juries. But the revised versions had been signed in both locations by the end of day Friday, October 18.
I anticipated the indictment particulars would be made public the following week. But no news was forthcoming. The first intimation I received there might be a change in plans was when an individual connected to the Starr investigation observed that the election wasn't really over until the state electors had cast their votes in December. This was offered as a simple observation, without elaboration.
The second indication was when the Fifth Column said they would not be giving Bob Dole a second incriminating financial package prior to the election. (The first package induced Dole to resign from the Senate.) Explanation: "So as to not be seen as playing politics." Of course, it wouldn't be playing partisan politics if Clinton and Dole went out together.
The final indication was the incarceration of Charles Hayes in Kentucky. Hayes had reminded me more than once: "Before this is over, it's going to get rough. Mark my words: It's going to get rough."
I knew how rough it had already become. A silent war had been in existence for the past two months. A committee formed under the Emergency Powers Act was negotiating with Bill Clinton over his resignation, and Clinton was using his powers as President to fight them every step of the way. And I knew that this committee, not Starr, was in charge of the timing of the indictment announcements. The committee was trying to deal with a Criminal Presidency, on a neutral bi-partisan basis--but to keep things silently in the background. Hayes, as a participant in this fight, had deflected so many attempts on his life as to seem invulnerable. His incarceration showed how massive the battle had become.
Of course, it is times like this that give definition to the term "fair-weather friends". But for the rest, here is what is important to keep in mind: This is only a temporary setback. It is not the end of the war.
And battleship-size Roto-rooters have been prepared both for Bill Clinton and the U.S. Department of Justice.
October 27, 1996
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