Ray says 'pressure was applied' on deal with Clinton
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Independent Counsel Robert Ray said
Sunday that "pressure was applied" to accomplish the deal
that spared former President Clinton a criminal
indictment in return for his admission that he gave
"evasive and misleading" testimony about his sexual
affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Ray defended the deal as a
just conclusion to a scandal and investigation that
nearly cost Clinton the presidency.
Ray noted that a grand jury had been impaneled in July
2000 to consider indicting Clinton after he left office.
"I mean, obviously, pressure was applied and it was
important to apply it," Ray said. "My job is to
accomplish results, and those results were accomplished
as a result of a process that I put in place that I
believe, ultimately, vindicated the principle that no
person, including the president, is above the law."
Clinton's admission -- in the form of a written statement
-- focused on his sworn testimony in an Arkansas civil
suit filed by Paula Jones charging him with sexual
harassment when he was governor there. In that
deposition, he denied having had sex with Lewinsky and
said he could not remember even being alone in the same
room with her.
"Certain of my responses to questions about Ms. Lewinsky
were false," Clinton said in a statement Friday, when the
deal was announced.
The deal signaled an end to the long-running
investigation of Clinton that had started with a probe of
the controversial Whitewater land deal.
Asked if Clinton was an honorable man, Ray demurred.
"That's not for me to decide," he said. "I don't make
moral judgments. That's for others. My job as a
prosecutor is to make decisions with regard to the
appropriateness of bringing criminal charges and to seek
Pressed on whether Clinton had escaped justice, Ray
rejected that suggestion.
"Justice does not always require that a prosecutor bring
a charge," he said.
Former Independent Counsel Ken Starr, who preceded Ray on
the job, called the agreement "a very reasonable and
Speaking on CNN's Late Edition, Starr said the deal
forced Clinton to "acknowledge his responsibility and a
shortcoming as a witness in the system."
The former president was in Chappaqua, N.Y., with his
family. He emerged from his home briefly to visit a local
deli, saying he planned to spend the week catching up on
sleep and getting organized.
Also appearing on Late Edition, former White House Chief
of Staff Leon Panetta said the last two days of the
Clinton presidency reflected the dichotomy of his legacy.
"President Clinton is a paradox in terms of two
presidencies -- one that was very successful and yet one
that obviously had this shadow," Panetta said. "In these
last two days, we saw that paradox play out. He talked
about all of his achievements one day, said goodbye to
the nation. And then the next day, he cut a deal with the