Attorney General Janet Reno and FBI Director Louis Freeh were summoned before a House committee Tuesday by Republicans hoping to make the most of their differences over Reno’s refusal to name an independent counsel to investigate campaign fund raising by Democrats.
The nation’s top law enforcement officials refused to cooperate, however, lavishing only praise on each other.
“I have the highest regard for her as a lawyer,” Freeh said of Reno. “I think her integrity is impeccable.”
But what about the FBI director’s advice to name a special prosecutor to investigate President Clinton?
“I would be upset if I found the director of the FBI agreeing with me all the time,” said the attorney general. “I do not want to be surrounded by yes-people.”
The Republican members of the the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight were undaunted.
Rep. Stephen Horn of California suggested Reno and Freeh should resign and Rep. John Mica of Florida said he was prepared to initiate contempt-of-Congress proceedings against Reno.
Henry Cisneros - the former San Antonio mayor, vice presidential aspirant and U.S. housing secretary - was indicted Thursday on charges of lying to the FBI to secure his Cabinet post.
Wrapping up a 2-1/2-year investigation, independent counsel David Barrett said Cisneros underreported payments to his former mistress, Linda Jones, then tried to cover it up.
The 21-count indictment, returned by a federal grand jury, also charges Jones, who formerly went by the name Linda Medlar, and two former Cisneros associates of making false statements. The indictment also refers to other alleged affairs by Cisneros but does not elaborate.
The indictment includes charges of conspiracy to defraud government agencies, making false statements and obstruction of justice. Cisneros, named in 18 counts, faces up to five years in prison for each count. Cisneros’ attorney, Cono Namorato, predicted his client will be exonerated at trial.
Falling through the cracks
The nation’s largest private social service agency reported an increase Wednesday in the number of Americans requesting food, shelter and other emergency services.
The 25th-annual survey by Catholic Charities USA said its agencies served 12.7 million people in 1996, about 2 million more than in 1995. Among those in need, 7.9 million people asked for emergency services such as food and shelter, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
Overall, the report found “most startling” the 5.6 million Americans who requested food in 1996, up from 4.9 million in 1995.
At a time of economic growth and declining unemployment, Catholic Charities officials blamed the increased demand for basic needs nationwide on government cutbacks and legislation that worsens many Americans’ financial problems.
“There used to be government programs which acted as a financial safety net,” said the Rev. Michael Boland, administrator of Catholic Charities for the archdiocese of Chicago. “Now welfare reform has people falling through the cracks.”
A change in the weather
Negotiators from around the world agreed Thursday on a package of measures that for the first time would legally obligate industrial countries to cut emissions of waste industrial gases that scientists say are warming the Earth’s atmosphere.
But details on one contentious issue - the possible trade or sale of emission permits between countries - remain unsettled, and may remain unsettled for months, and the United States has said it wants this issue resolved before it signs the treaty. Any treaty is subject to approval by the U.S. Senate.
The agreement reached by delegates from more than 150 nations creates a landmark environmental policy to deal with global warming, and innovative new mechanisms to carry it out.
The nations would have a year to ratify the treaty, starting in March. It remains to be seen whether the White House can persuade the Senate to accept the agreement, or even whether the United States will sign it.
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The following fields overflowed: CREDIT = Compiled by News Editor Kevin Graman from wire reports.