Beth & Denise & Bill

After a hearing into the fishy pardon of fugitive Marc Rich, new clues about why Clinton did it

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Dozoretz and Rich have more in common than their support for Clinton. They are successful businesswomen. Rich is a well-known songwriter; Dozoretz made it big in retail clothing before marrying. Both entertain lavishly, Rich in her penthouse apartment overlooking Central Park and Dozoretz in a $4 million mansion north of Georgetown. Although both have raised money for the Clintons, Dozoretz, who was finance chair of the Demo- cratic National Committee in 1999, is more active and, sources say, introduced Rich to the library effort. They were among 15 donors invited to one of the first library fund raisers, a 1999 meeting in a Manhattan hotel attended by the former President.

Clinton has publicly denied being influenced by Denise Rich and has insisted to friends that if anyone helped nudge the pardon, it was former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who called repeatedly to press Rich's case. Sources tell TIME Barak's influence could also be seen in the talks held at least as late as the second week of January between White House staff and lawyers for another pardon applicant, Jonathan Pollard, the convicted spy for Israel. While not dismissing Barak's influence, House investigators are focusing on the more familiar nexus of money and politics. According to the Jan. 10 e-mail, Clinton supposedly told Dozoretz (she denies it) that "he wants to do it, and is doing all possible to turn around the White House counsels." Clinton should have seen the furor coming. Not only did he fail to persuade counsel Beth Nolan that the pardon was appropriate, sources say, but his most trusted aide, Whitewater warhorse Bruce Lindsey, opposed it to the end.

--With reporting by Viveca Novak/Washington

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