Monday, May 4, 1998; 10:14 p.m. EDT Following are excerpts of tape-recorded conversations that former Associate Attorney General Webster Hubbell had while serving time in prison:
In an Oct. 23, 1996 conversation with his lawyer, John Nields, Hubbell complains about demands by prosecutors that he account for money that he and his family got other than his salary at the Department of Justice or investment income.
``Did ya'll get into any discussion about justification for this?'' he asked Nields. ``Or is it just, 'No, and here's what we need'?''
``No ... You remember what their response was,'' Nields replied. ``It was fairly vague. I mean this is a fishing expedition.''
``Absolutely,'' said Hubbell.
In that same conversation, Hubbell argues that he has nothing to hide but resents the intrusion into his family's affairs.
Hubbell: I guess I just have such a resistance to not telling them anything. Especially in this case, because I know we're talking about lots of money. And I also know that there's nothing wrong. My only worry is forgetting something.
Nields: Well that is surely my worry. And Webb, I'm worried about your forgetting something when you're telling me so that it surprises me later on and then it's too late ...
Hubbell: You and I have the same concern. And I have no access to anything. That's my biggest, I'm sitting here with no access to anything.
Nields: Right. Right. I really would like to have this conversation on an appropriate attorney call. Um, I mean I sort of wonder if the best course isn't to just put off the rest of our conversation until we can set that up. Does that make sense.
Later in the Oct. 23 talk:
Hubbell: There's nothing there, but I mean for me to try to, you know, whether you know you know my mother in law gave my daughter, you know, you know, some money to buy some clothes or not, you know, it's getting pretty intrusive. And I don't think that, I think they would say 'That's not worth it.' But, you know, you don't know what they're after and I just hate to think of having my family involved, other than what I know. We'll just talk it out. It's just really, really intrusive.
In a March 25, 1998 conversation, Hubbell's wife Suzy says White House lawyers are concerned that Hubbell might involve first lady Hillary Clinton in the controversey if he files a lawsuit against the Rose law firm.
Mrs. Hubbell: .... And she said one of the biggest sticking points is that you had never apologized. That there had been no expression of remorse on your part and then by suing (the Rose Law Firm) makes it look like you really don't give a (expletive). And that you are opening Hillary up to all this.
Web: Honey, I keep telling you sometimes you have to fight battles alone, you can't worry about other people. I know what I'm doing. OK? If you don't want me to, I won't.
Mrs. Hubbell: No, I want you to, I just want, I'm the one who bears the brunt of this up here. I am the one that has to explain this to (White House aide) Marcia (Scott). She says you are not going to get any public support if you open Hillary up to this, well, by public support I know exactly what she means. I'm not stupid.
Hubbell: And I spent Saturdy with you saying I would not do that. I will not raise those allegations that might open it up to Hillary. And you know that. I told you that.
Later in the same conversation, Hubbell is explaining to his wife what he did at the law firm that got him into trouble.
Mrs. Hubbell: You didn't actually do that, did you? Mark up time for the client, did you?
Hubbell: Yes I did. So does every lawyer in the country.
Mrs. Hubbell. And that would be one thing you would look into the firm for ... and that's an area..
Hubbell: Now Suzy you're getting ahead.
Mrs. Hubbell: No, i'm just thinking out loud. That would an area that Hillary would be vulnerable.
Hubbell: Not if I did ...
Mrs. Hubbell: Not unless she overbilled by time, right?
Hubbell: No, that's not what I want to say. You're talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone. I'm trying to explain. I know you are upset, and I'm upset because you are upset.
Later, Hubbell tells his wife Mrs. Clinton didn't have knowledge of what was going on at the firm.
Hubbell: I say this with love for my friend of (former White House lawyer) Bill Kennedy, and I do love him, he's been a good friend. He's one of the most vulnerable in my counter claim.
Mrs. Hubbell: I know.
Hubbell: OK? Hillary's not. The only thing is, people say why didn't she know what was going on. I wish she'd never paid any attention to what was going on at the firm, that's the gospel truth. She didn't know what was going on, she didn't participate in any of this.
A Nov. 1, 1996 call that Hubbell had with his lawyer, John Nields:
Nields: .... Is it the Department of Commerce that (Democratic fund-raiser John) Huang was in?
Nields: They've released his telephone logs, and they have a message on the 26th of August, 1995.
Hubbell: It's not possible.
Nields: It says Webb is trying to set up a lunch ..... (laughter) .... So I got a call about that and the reporter and I had a good laugh...
Hubbell: (laughs) Who am I supposed to .... I'm setting up lunch with, him?
Nields: It's something that on its face is absurd if you're in prison at the time...
Hubbell: I was, and I promise there was no...I didn't have anyone...He didn't come up here...true.
Nields: Did you ever call him from ...
Hubbell: No, I don't think so...I know so...Because his number wouldn't be on my (inaudible ) list.
Nields: So that's either a typo or screwup, or .... I'd still like to know, were you a social friend of Huang's?
Hubbell: Well, I met him before he came to Commerce. He was still working for Lippo. He was moving to DC. I had at that became an employee -- not an employee but a consultant -- to the subsidiary, and one of the things that I wanted to do was make sure that he got settled in, you know, and to use courteous southern hospitality as much as possible, you know. In the meetings I had found him to be a very charming gentleman. I knew him a long time ago when he worked at Worthan.
Nields: Uh-huh, but your Southern hospitality was all social and not business?
Hubbell: Yeah, once he went to Commerce, yeah, I had no business at Commerce.
Nields: .... So, you never really were talking to him on the Lippo that work you did?
Hubbell: Only as before he went to Commerce, he was still working with Lippo. He attended the first couple of meetings I had with James (Riady, son of Lippo patriarch Mochtar Riady). And as James was encouraging me to come to Indonesia until John was working for Lippo. He was the contact person in trying to set that up and arrange it.
Hubbell's conversation on Oct. 23, 1996 with tax accountant and friend Michael Schaufele about problems with his tax forms:
Hubbell: It was an unbelievably stressful time and Suzy had no way of knowing what in hell was going on when she signed the return. And as soon I found out that there were items not on it, we amend it. I mean, the facts are the facts and there's just no, I think in any other world you wouldn't be concerned at all.
Schaufele: I agree with that wholeheartedly, with the election, and all that. I think by filing with the IRS at home it'll go through normal channels. ... We're OK there. ... So how much are we talking about or are they going to send me?
Hubbell: I don't know for sure. I think it is four clients (for his consulting work).
Schaufele: Really? OK.
Hubbell: But none of them sent 1099s (income-declaration forms) and that, which they should have ... and which would have cured the problem. If you remember, I was thinking about that time too, besides all that was going on, that month I was trying to get ready, I had to testify four times.
Schaufele: You had to testify four times. We had to rush it because you had to send it to me the week before you went up to Cumberland.
Hubbell: And I was in the middle of testifying.
Schaufele: Yeah. And we had your trial and the whole bit. ... I talked to Suz and she's doing OK.
Hubbell: Yeah, I mean she's, this is just horrible to have this happen. As you're thinking positive, to have all this. ... I thought I had certainty in my life. You know I've dealt with it, being in prison for almost two years, saying that I could get on my life. And it's still there. ...''
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