Time: Sun Sep 21 23:55:00 1997
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Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 17:31:46 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: The Fred Thompson Wimpout (fwd)

>September 21, 1997
>Thompson Take a Breather      [a/k/a The Thompson Wimpout infra]
>Safire, William
>New York Times
>WASHINGTON -- Why, just as the investigation into Clinton campaign
>corruption was hitting pay dirt, did Fred Thompson suddenly strike a
>deal with Democrats to shift the hearings into a softer, gentler
>discussion of legislative changes?
>Consider the momentum building:
>1. Venerable Gore, now wisely hiring criminal lawyers, was shown to be
>fund-raising from Federal property for his own campaign, which forced
>Janet Reno to shake up Justice's hapless bureaucracy -- in hope of
>evading the law's mandate to seek court appointment of a real
>2. Our rogue President, after selling face time to an engaging hustler
>for $300,000, was shown to have directed his aide to be "supportive"
>of the donor at the Energy Department. Mack McLarty swore this
>attempted fix was merely "seeking information," echoing the words of
>Sherman Adams to excuse his improper intercession for Bernard
>3. One of two Clinton 1992 fund-raisers who became high officials at
>Energy was shown to be a perjurer. "Somebody's lying," concluded a
>senator. In that connection --
>4. D.N.C. chairman Don Fowler was shown disremembering conversations
>held with a C.I.A. operative named Bob to help sanitize donor Roger
>Tamraz. This triggered a C.I.A. Inspector General investigation likely
>to reveal abuse of authority within the Directorate of Operations.
>With all that -- plus evidence of China's fund-funneling -- what
>caused Fred Thompson to veer off into legislative la-la land? His
>1. The coming week's hearings were to be Democrats' payback time, and
>G.O.P. leaders did not want to offer a chance to argue "everybody did
>2. Thompson thought he was running low on ammunition. The best
>witnesses -- Huang, Middleton, Trie -- were taking the Fifth or hiding
>Only exposes on tap were the Democrats' ripoff of a Native American
>tribe and the complicated tale of Gore confidant Peter Knight's
>delivery of millions in contracts to donor Molten Metal Technology.
>3. After a slow start that drew media derision, Thompson reached a
>level of interest and grudging respect that would be hard to maintain
>(ain't gonna get no betta); soon the pack's mantra would become
>"petering out."
>4. Thompson believes this is the time for a deep breath; to see if New
>York U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White's prosecution of teamsters leads to
>the A.F.L. and the White House's Harold Ickes (whom he will depose
>again); to press the Freeh-Reno crowd on the Asian connection; and in
>three weeks, to take another look at his hand.
>Is, Thus Thinking Tactically -- About How The Hearings "Play" --
>Thompson making a strategic blunder.
>A serious Senate investigation has three purposes: first, to use its
>subpoena power to expose to public view, often in dull detail, the
>widespread wrongdoing and potential lawbreaking that corrupted a
>Presidential election. Next, with the public educated and aroused, to
>shame the see-no-evil, conflicted Justice Department into action.
>Purpose three: to propose legislation to make certain future
>wrongdoing of this kind is prosecutable.
>But just when the committee's exposing purpose was getting traction --
>when front pages and even TV network news shows were paying attention
>-- Chairman Thompson cut away from the chase.
>Because he mistakenly thought he was running out of fresh ammunition
>and running out of time, the Tennessee Senator switched -- three
>months too soon and to the White House's huge relief -- to the general
>legislative purpose.
>It was part of a deal with Trent Lott to steal a march on the
>Democrats' domination of campaign finance reform.
>With Thompson taking his heavy breather, who will take up the torch?
>Not Ms. Reno's latest in-house delayer, who spent three years losing
>to Imelda Marcos.
>That leaves it to Intelligence Chairman Richard Shelby, who plans to
>examine Democratic penetration of the C.I.A. , perhaps publicly, as
>former D.C.I. John Deutch urges; to Dan Burton's House committee,
>bedeviled by cover-upper Henry Waxman but unencumbered by deadline; to
>41-year-old Mary Jo (Death to Drug Smugglers) White; and to slowpoke
>prosecutor Hickman Ewing Jr., administering water torture to Webster
>Too bad about Fred Thompson's wimpout. Hope he catches his breath in
>Copyright 1997 The New York Times Company

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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