Morris admits he fabricated story on Clinton, Reno and Waco

Appearing on Hannity on April 19, Dick Morris dropped a bombshell claim that has “never been said before,” that in 1997 then-Attorney General Janet Reno threatened Bill Clinton that if he did not reappoint her as Attorney General she was “going to tell the truth about Waco.” He very specifically claimed that “Clinton told me -- that I couldn't not appoint Reno because she would have turned on me over Waco. That's the phrase he used.” At the time, Media Matters' Brian Frederick pointed out that Morris' new story contradicted the previous version of events Morris offered in his 2004 book, Because He Could, in which Morris merely speculated that it “may well have been” that Reno was “demanding reappointment as her price for taking the fall for Waco.” Brian asked: “Did Dick Morris fabricate [a] new Clinton-Reno-Waco story?”

Turns out he did. This morning, Fox & Friends gave Morris the opportunity to discuss his “bombshell” story, and Morris quickly walked back his story by attempting to separate “the facts from” his “conjecture based on the facts.”

Here's the exchange (emphasis added):

CALRSON: Wow, that's a bombshell. So did Janet Reno -- was she forced or did she force Bill Clinton into a reappointment to the attorney general post? Let's ask Fox News contributor again, Dick Morris. All right, Dick, you released a bombshell by saying that, actually, President Clinton made this Waco decision and not Janet Reno?

MORRIS: Well, let me -- yes, I believe he did. I -- but let me -- let me distinguish the facts from my conjecture based on the facts. The facts are that the Timothy McVeigh attack took place on the anniversary of Waco. And when President Clinton was contemplating his second-term Cabinet, he appointed the whole Cabinet but left attorney general vacant. And he and I were in extensive discussions about who he might appoint to become the new attorney general. In fact, we had focused on the idea that Bill Weld, the governor of Massachusetts, might do that, and Hillary and Bill had asked me to check Bill out -- Bill Weld out, he's a client of mine. And we had extensive discussions about his becoming attorney general.

And then Clinton met with Reno in what I anticipated would be a firing session. He told me the night before the meeting, “I'm going to fire her.” Then he goes into the meeting and he reappoints her. So I called him, and I said, what gives? And he said, “Well, I told -- I told her that nobody's ever served for eight years as attorney general in an administration, or few people have, and I don't think you should, and I think we should change.” And she said “Well, I'd like you to reappoint me for at least one more year, because if not, people will think that you're blaming me for what went on in Waco.” Now, that's the quote that Clinton gave me.

I believe based on that quote that the reason he reappointed her was that he was not anxious to have his own role in that Waco controversy spelled out. Let me explain what was going on then. Clinton was getting a lot of negatives -- huge negatives -- because he was seen as weak. The FBI and the ATF were sitting out there for months and months while the siege was going on, and people said, all right, enough already. And eventually -- and there were rumors of child abuse and all kinds of stuff. And then the raid went in and as you know, it was a very savage raid with a lot of deaths that some considered unnecessary. Reno publicly took the blame for that decision. But I inferred based on Clinton's conversation with me that there was more to that story, and that there was more of a role that Clinton was playing. He didn't actually say that. But what he did say is she asked me to reappoint her for at least a year, because if I didn't, people would think that I was blaming her for Waco.

To recap, on Monday, Morris said that “Clinton told” him that he “couldn't not appoint Reno because she would have turn on” Clinton “over Waco,” saying specifically: “That's the phrase he used.” Two days later, Morris backpedals and says that Clinton “didn't actually say that,” and that what Clinton actually told him was “she asked me to reappoint her for at least a year because if I didn't, people would think that I was blaming her for Waco.” Given Morris' history of distorting, contradicting, and -- dare I say -- lying about the Clintons, why should we ever trust anything this man ever says?