OIC Cites 'Inaccurate' Hillary Testimony

ByABC News
October 18, 2000, 1:02 PM

Oct. 18 -- In his final report on the matter, Independent Counsel Robert Ray has concluded that first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton gave factually inaccurate testimony about her role in the firings of seven White House travel office employees.

Rays report on the so-called Travelgate inquiry, released today, states that Mrs. Clinton played a role in the 1993 firings, but is not subject to criminal charges because she was not aware that her discussions of the matter with aides were interpreted as a demand to fire the workers.

In June, Ray released a memo summarizing his conclusions, in which he made clear that he would not seek to prosecute the first lady, but claimed she had ultimately influenced the course of the matter.

In a rebuttal to Rays finding, included as an appendix to the report, Mrs. Clintons lawyer, David Kendall, objected to Rays conclusion, terming it highly unfair and misleading.

According to Kendall, The suggestion that Mrs. Clintons testimony was factually inaccurate as to her role in this matter is contradicted by the final report itself, which recognizes she may not have even been aware of any influence she may have had on the firing decision.

Campaign Implications?

The release of Rays report comes less than three weeks before the conclusion of Mrs. Clinton highly visible campaign for New Yorks open Senate seat against Republican congressman Rick Lazio.

When asked about the report today, Lazio criticized the first lady, saying we believe that character counts in public service.

The GOP nominee, trailing Mrs. Clinton by a few points in the polls, added that the rule of law applies to all of us and not just to some of us.

Mrs. Clinton has had to contend with public reports on the overlapping inquiries of the Office of the Independent Counsel during the course of her campaign.

In March, Ray, who took over as independent counsel from Kenneth Starr in 1999, cleared the first lady of wrongdoing in the so-called Filegate case, in which the Clinton administration had obtained FBI files on former White House employees.