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Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 11:47:42 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]
Subject: SLS: "Who and Why is Janet Reno?" WSJ

>The Wall Street Journal
>October 15, 1997
>Review & Outlook
>Who Is Janet Reno?
>So maybe Janet Reno will dispatch someone to
>interview the President of the United States about
>fund-raising charges, all the while averring that there
>is no need to appoint an independent counsel. That is 
>to say, the President's minions will question him to see
>whether there's any reason he should be questioned by
>someone independent.
>At least this seems to be the latest deal being cooked up
>by the legal eagles of Justice and the White House, with
>billing and cooing from the President and the Attorney
>General in respective press conferences. Extension of
>Ms. Reno's inquiry until Dec. 2 is intended as a bow to
>get her past hearings today before Congressman Henry
>Hyde's Judiciary Committee. What will bear watching is
>the committee's Democrats, a menagerie with Barney
>Frank on point.
>Ms. Reno's position gets more preposterous by the hour. 
>After all, the whole idea of an independent investigation 
>is independence. The intent of the present Independent 
>Counsel Act is that when accusations involve the President 
>and other high officials, their own appointees should not 
>be the investigators. Before the statute, Justice Department 
>practice--in Watergate and Teapot Dome, for example--was 
>to appoint a special prosecutor to operate independently 
>of the Attorney General and other Presidential appointees. 
>The President could always fire a special prosecutor, but 
>at a high political price, as President Nixon discovered 
>when he dispatched Archibald Cox.
>Which system works best remains a question for another
>day; the statute is the tool history and events have
>given us to deal with corruption in high places. At present, 
>it is being construed as a shield by Mr. Clinton and Ms.
>Reno; the career officials appointed to cook up
>rationalizations peer into its entrails and find reason
>not to do, or at least to delay, what the occasion so 
>clearly demands.
>If a controversy has reached the point where it's
>necessary to question the President, it has long since
>passed the point where an independent counsel is
>required. After getting "mad" about the delay in
>releasing video tapes of White House coffee solicitations, 
>Ms. Reno hauled a member of the White House Counsel's
>office before a grand jury. If White House lawyers are
>being taken to a grand jury, surely it should be done 
>not by Justice but by an authority with some measure 
>of independence.
>In defending her position, Ms. Reno has been at once
>defensive and self-righteous. Yet in fact throughout her
>tenure, the press, the Congress and the public have
>treated her with extraordinary deference, due to her
>gender, her demeanor and her sufferings with
>Parkinson's Disease. Ed Meese would have been run
>out of town way back over Waco.
>Consider her record as Attorney General. Appointed to
>the job after the misfortunes of Zoe Baird and Kimba
>Wood, she arrived to find Webster Hubbell already
>ensconced as "White House liaison." In our first "Who Is
>Webster Hubbell?" editorial, he had already come to our
>attention for helping to engineer the reversal of a
>Justice Department position in a corruption case, leading 
>to the resignation of a U.S. attorney. Even before confirmation,
>Ms. Reno quickly endorsed the new position.
>About her first act as Attorney General was the
>unprecedented dismissal of all 93 sitting U.S. Attorneys,
>a sweeping step toward politicization of the Justice
>Department. This led to the speedy replacement of
>prosecutors in Washington and Little Rock, the
>jurisdictions where Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr
>now operates. Ms. Reno also resisted appointment of an
>Independent Counsel in the Whitewater affair, only to
>reverse her position when the President made a political
>decision to the contrary.
>Today Mr. Hubbell is a convicted felon, and Ms. Reno's
>Justice Department a shambles, with many top positions
>unfilled. The head of the Criminal Division, in
>particular, has been on "acting" status for two years; 
>and the acting head had to recuse himself from the 
>campaign finance inquiry because his lawyer son was 
>hired to represent some of the potential defendants.
>Meanwhile, a Federal Court taking a new look at one of
>Ms. Reno's proudest accomplishments as a district
>attorney back home in Florida. As our Dorothy
>Rabinowitz reported yesterday, a three-judge panel of
>the 11th Circuit Court has accepted jurisdiction in the
>case of Grant Snowden, a former policeman Ms. Reno
>convicted of child abuse in 1986, on the basis of the
>kind of hysterical evidence then fashionable but now
>discredited. Indeed, when a first jury acquitted Mr.
>Snowden, Ms. Reno set out to get him with a whole
>new set of charges. She came to White House attention,
>and her present high office, as a champion of children.
>Ms. Reno's record as Attorney General is far from one
>of independence; it is a record of pliability. Which of
>course is why Bill Clinton, a shrewd judge of character,
>chose her in the first place.

Paul Andrew Mitchell, Sui Juris      : Counselor at Law, federal witness 01
B.A.: Political Science, UCLA;   M.S.: Public Administration, U.C.Irvine 02
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