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Clinton Unsure Of Hubbell's Lippo Connection


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Jan. 24) -- President Bill Clinton "does not have a specific recollection of precisely when he learned" that his former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell was hired by the controversial Lippo conglomerate, according to a White House statement released Thursday.

There is still some uncertainty over the source of the news, but White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said the president still believes that it was from news media reports last year.

Hubbell, an Arkansas friend of the Clintons and former law partner of Hillary Rodham Clinton, was convicted of defrauding the Rose Law firm where he and Mrs. Clinton worked.

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Before going to prison, he worked for five months in 1994 for the Lippo Group, an Indonesian conglomerate that has since become part of the controversy surrounding Democratic fund-raising.

The timeline involved with Hubbell's retention by the Lippo Group has been the source of White House inconsistencies over the past few weeks.

Last month, McCurry told reporters that Deputy White House Counsel Bruce Lindsey, a longtime aide and confidante of Clinton, did not learn of Hubbell's employment until last year. But a June 1996 Senate deposition from Lindsey showing that he knew of Hubbell's job as early as November 1994, contradicts this statement.

Under fire this week for the inaccuracies, McCurry defended himself and his White House colleagues as getting "everyone pointed in the direction of truth." Said McCurry: "I take it as a matter of faith that my colleagues give me the information I need to do my job."

"In any event," he added, "the key thing and the most important thing is that based on the information provided to counsel, neither the president, nor Mr. McLarty, nor Mr. Lindsey had any knowledge of Mr. Hubbell's retention by Lippo prior to being retained. That's the fundamentally important point."

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