Wild Bill’s January 23, 2001 Diary entry while inside the Chappaqua Bunker N.Y.
It took a blizzard to get people to shut up about my pardons. My everybody-did-it defense wasn’t doing the trick, and blaming the Jews for the Rich pardon on the Op-Ed page of The Times kind of backfired. So now we just have to keep hammering away at old Bush’s pardon of that wealthy commie Armand Hammer.
Wasn’t Beth Dozoretz a knockout in that blue cashmere outfit when she took the Fifth for me? Burton dragged her before his committee to guarantee front-page pictures because the tabloids were getting tired of pictures of Denise Rich.
I’m not worried about Denise’s (man I’m getting hot thinking about her!) immunity deal with my U.S. attorney in New York, who’s a good ol’ slowpoke. Denise has a good forgettery and if they rough her up, she’ll pop for another half-million to my library.
Smart of her to hire a press agent to say she pleaded with me because Marc only wanted a pardon so he could visit his daughter’s grave.
Of course, Rich is the slimy sort who wouldn’t take the chance to come to visit his kid when she was dying. But neither his character nor fugitive standing influenced me on the pardon. I did it on the merits, and the main merit was that I owed Jack Quinn a favor that would make him a quick quarter-million bucks.
That’s the reality liberals now bad- mouthing me can’t seem to get through their heads. The power to pardon is the final presidential power of patronage. It has little to do with the felon but everything to do with repaying the loyalty of intermediaries.
That’s not true in every case. I pardoned my friend Henry Cisneros – all he did was lie to the F.B.I. about supporting a girlfriend – so he can run for governor of Texas. Then I pardoned her so she wouldn’t give him a hard time in the campaign. Now Henry can make his comeback and determine how Texas votes at the next Democratic convention.
Now about those two hoods that Hugh Rodham represented? I never gave a hoot about them. It was Hillary’s brother who got two nice chunks of patronage from me, and what’s so terrible about a lawyer charging 200 G’s apiece for new leases on life? Hillary panicked and to get the heat off her told him to give back the fee, but maybe not all the return checks will be cashed—if you know what I mean. I’ll stand by her story that her brother never mentioned his pardon contingency fee while he was living with us at the end, and I’ll cover for her on getting votes for pardoning those Hasidic crooks, but if the bitch ever rats on me to boost the sales of her $8 million memoir . . .
I delivered for Harry and Linda Thomason, pushing for a couple of Arkansas felons on behalf of a third party. Years ago, I tried to help Harry make a buck by sicking the F.B.I. on the travel office people; then I got my buddy who runs CBS to be nice and pay Harry a million dollars; and now I made good his pardon contract. All because he and Linda are my friends. Someday they’ll deliver for me on a multimillion-dollar film deal because I’m their friend. That’s what friends are for.
Pardons are for getting even with independent counsels, too. The guys from Tyson Foods, my first big-money benefactor, and where Hillary got her excellent commodity advice, are now clean. They’d been convicted for giving illegal gratuities to my Agriculture Secretary. There’s tens of millions of dollars could come my library’s way from the Tysons and nobody could ever prove a quid pro quo. Friends help friends, is all. Bush is lucky – he won’t need to pardon supporters convicted by independent counsels. At Justice, Ashcroft is holding over the bureaucrats who protected me and the D.N.C. in the Riady investigation.
To head the Criminal Division, he may bring in Mike Chertoff, who didn’t much bother me as counsel in Al D’Amato’s Whitewater hearings, on condition Chertoff keep on Lee Radek, Joanne and Susan in “Public Integrity.”
Somebody in Bush’s White House has the smarts; that same old crowd at Justice will drag a foot for Bush whenever he gets in trouble just as they did for me.
To those who ask me, “How could you do it?” I reply: Because I could. If it ain’t provably criminal, it ain’t all that wrong. Beth Nolan, the team player Jack Quinn got me to appoint White House counsel, got it right: “the President is the President.”
The pardon fuss will be forgotten. I’ll just hunker down and read the life of Jimmy Walker, “Night Mayor” of New York.