Text of Janet Reno's written submissions to the special three-judge panel that appoints the independent counsel:
Gore's Reaction (12/2/97)
Reno Mulls Independent Counsel Decision (11/30/97)
Analysis: Huge Cry Over A Small 'No'
Mountain of Republican anger over Reno's decision may backfire
By Thomas H. Moore/AllPolitics
WASHINGTON (Dec. 3) -- Attorney General Janet Reno's decision to not seek independent counsels to look into the telephone fund-raising of the president and vice president was termed "preordained" by unhappy Republicans and "welcome" by Democrats.
But once you get past the partisan verbiage, what does the decision mean? Reno's action settled the narrow question of whether Clinton and Gore's White House phone calls were legal, but, she insisted, has no effect on the ongoing investigation into the broad sweep of 1996 fund-raising activities by Democrats and Republicans alike. Those investigations could still provide tremendous headaches for the administration.
But many are sure to misunderstand Reno's action as a clean legal bill of health for Clinton and Gore on all campaign-finance fronts, a misperception the administration is unlikely to take pains to correct.
The GOP actually seems to be reinforcing the misperception. Could this level of anger really be aroused by what adds up to a very small amount of activity being declared in-bounds? Those paying only casual attention might think Republicans were decrying a full Reno pardon of Clinton and Gore.
It will be interesting to see the effect of the Republican mountain of outrage over Reno's decision. Will it serve to convince many that she's a Clinton stooge who's ignoring the independent-counsel law to protect him?
Or will it only reinforce the lurking suspicion of some that Republicans are trying to refight the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections in court? And, by extension, taint the Republican-led campaign-finance probes in Congress?
It could go either way; that small portion of the country paying attention to all this is conflicted and ambivalent, as seen in the CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll out today. While a slender majority trusts Reno to do the right thing, they also feel (by a similar majority) that she somehow didn't do so in this case.
Meanwhile, up on the Hill...
Attention now moves up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Justice Department to the Capitol, where Rep. Dan Burton plans to haul Reno and Freeh before his Government Reform and Oversight Committee next Tuesday.
It will be the best show in town in a town where precious little news gets committed in December, but all signs point to it being a snoozer; those hoping for a public show of sparks between Reno and Freeh are likely to be disappointed.
Look for Freeh to find two dozen ways to restate the statement he made late Wednesday, in which he said, "Lawyers and investigators can and often do disagree. I and all of my colleagues in the FBI respect her decision and understand fully that it is the Attorney General's by law to make."
And look for Reno to continue praising Freeh's "best advice and counsel," which she said Wednesday she values "a very great deal."
In Other News:
Wednesday Dec. 3, 1997
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