Skip to comments.(MORE ON HILLARY/ZEIFMAN STORY) - What Hillary never mentions (and others fail to ask....)
Posted on 04/02/2008 7:36:44 PM PDT by doug from upland
What Hillary never mentions (and others fail to ask....)
Ann Althouse brings up an important question about Hillary Clinton which so far hasn't received any attention at all in the campaign -- much less the attention it deserves:
...she never mentions her work on the Nixon impeachment inquiry these days either. I wonder why.As a Watergate buff, I don't wonder why at all. (I'm also thinking there might be a sarcastic element in Ann Althouse's wonderment, but I don't want to make unwarranted assumptions which aren't all that relevant anyway, as this is an important issue.)
In 1974, Democrat Jerry Zeifman was chief counsel to the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, and he recalled (in 1999) that Hillary Rodham had been charged with establishing legal procedures. The procedures she urged the committee to adopt, though, were so ethically flawed that the members refused to adopt most of them:
Hillary's main duty on our staff has been described by as "establishing the legal procedures to be followed in the course of the inquiry and impeachment." A number of the procedures she recommended were ethically flawed. And I also concluded that she had violated House and committee rules by disclosing confidential information to unauthorized persons.
Hillary had conferred personally with me regarding procedural rules. I advised her that Judiciary Committee Chairman Peter Rodino, House Speaker Carl Albert, Majority Leader Tip O'Neill and I had previously agreed not to advocate anything contrary to the rules already adopted and published for that Congress. I quoted Mr. O'Neill's statement that: "To try to change the rules now would be politically divisive. It would be like trying to change the traditional rules of baseball before a World Series."
Hillary assured me that she had not drafted and would not advocate any such rules changes. I soon learned that she had lied: She had already drafted changes, and continued to advocate them.
In one written legal memorandum, she advocated denying President Nixon representation by counsel. This, though in our then-most-recent prior impeachment proceeding, the committee had afforded the right to counsel to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.Huh?
I thought only Bush and Cheney denied people the right to counsel. Of course, it didn't work. The evil Nixon was afforded the same right to counsel as had William O. Douglas during his impeachment.
Except that according to Zeifman, Hillary tried to prevent the public from seeing the Douglas impeachment files:
I also informed Hillary that the Douglas impeachment files were available for public inspection in our offices. I later learned that the Douglas files were then removed from our general files without my permission, transferred to the offices of the impeachment inquiry staff, and were no longer accessible to the public.
The young Ms. Rodham had other bad advice about procedures, arguing that the Judiciary Committee should neither 1) hold any hearings with or take the depositions of any live witnesses, nor 2) conduct any original investigation of atergate, bribery, tax evasion, or any other possible impeachable offense of President Nixon - but to rely instead on prior investigations conducted by other committees and agencies.
The committee rejected Ms. Rodham's recommendations: It agreed to allow President Nixon to be represented by counsel and to hold hearings with live witnesses. Hillary then advocated that the official rules of the House be amended to deny members of the committee the right to question witnesses. This unfair recommendation was rejected by the full House. (The committee also vetoed her suggestion that it leave the drafting of the articles of impeachment to her and her fellow special staffers.)Sounds like the young Hillary was already trying to bite off more than she could chew.
In her defense, though, she seems to have been doing the dirty work for others:
The recommendations advocated by Hillary were apparently initiated or approved by Yale Law School professor Burke Marshall - in violation of committee and House rules on confidentiality. They were also advocated by her immediate supervisors, Special Counsel John Doar and Senior Associate Special Counsel Bernard Nussbaum, both of whom had worked under Marshall in the Kennedy Justice Department.
It was not until two months after Nixon's resignation that I first learned of still another questionable role of Ms. Rodham. On Sept. 26, 1974, Rep. Charles Wiggins, a Republican member of the committee, wrote to ask Chairman Rodino to look into a troubling set of events. That spring, Wiggins and other committee members had asked "that research should be undertaken so as to furnish a standard against which to test the alleged abusive conduct of Richard Nixon." And, while "no such staff study was made available to the members at any time for their use," Wiggins had just learned that such a study had been conducted - at committee expense - by a team of professors who completed and filed their reports with the impeachment-inquiry staff well in advance of our public hearings.
The report was not made available to members of Congress. But after the impeachment-inquiry staff was disbanded, it was published commercially and sold in book stores. Wiggins wrote that he was "especially troubled by the possibility that information deemed essential by some of the members in their discharge of their responsibilities may have been intentionally suppressed by the staff during the course our investigation."
On Oct. 3, Rodino wrote back: "Hillary Rodham of the impeachment-inquiry staff coordinated the work. ... After the staff received the report it was reviewed by Ms. Rodham, briefly by Mr. Labovitz and Mr. Sack, and by Mr. Doar. The staff did not think the manuscript was useful in its present form." That's only part of it. There's a more detailed account here, and at at Jerry Zeifman's web site.
It';s worth noting that Zeifman's allegations were substantially confirmed by former Congressman Wiggins. Zeifman also alleges Hillary's role in suppressing a report on the long history of tolerated presidential misconduct:
In the end, several members of the committee "revolted" at being kept in the dark, and the staff was ordered to turn over all materials to the committee and to Zeifman, who was the chief counsel, and ultimately Hillary's boss. "When that time came ... Hillary suppressed the report on the long history of tolerated presidential misconduct and did not tell me, did not tell anybody. It is a felony to suppress information from a congressional committee by a nonstaff member; there are no cases that I know of where a staff suppressed information," Zeifman says. Certainly not such vital material.
Why single out Hillary as the culprit? "It was done by Hillary in particular because she was in charge of [the 'prior misconduct'! project," Zeifman says, adding, "In that particular instance she was personally responsible and not simply acting feloniously at the behest of Bernie Nussbaum." Was she taken to task over her misconduct? "We didn't know about all this," Zeifman explains. But his assessment in retrospect is heavy indeed: "I came to regard Doar, Nussbaum and Rodham as somewhat less than honorable lawyers, unworthy of either public or private trust."
The report that might have saved Nixon came to light in a peculiar way. Well after Nixon had resigned to avoid a vote on the House floor and a trial in the Senate, Wiggins discovered a book, Responses ofthe Presidents to Charges of Misconduct, in an airport-terminal bookshop that claimed to have been "prepared for John Doar and the Impeachment Staff of the House." The book was published in 1974 with eminent Yale historian C. Vann Woodward given as principal author; the copyright is held by Delacorte Press. That's fascinating in itself, for Hillary certainly seems to have known and worked with the late Arkansan C. Vann Woodward; the latter's Yale papers even list a Box 47, file 555 which pertains to Hillary Rodham, in 1974.
(Hmmm... maybe I shouldn't have mentioned this. Wouldn't want Sandy Berger to go rooting through file 555, now would we?)
Might Hillary have made money selling the report she suppressed?
Wiggins, never having seen the material before and aware of what that meant, wrote to committee chairman Peter Rodino -- who did not deny that the study was done. "No investigation was ever conducted; no one has determined whether Hillary illegally profited," Zeifman says, recalling that, obstruction of justice or not, there was by then no interest in reopening any can of worms related to Watergate.God forbid that anyone would reopen any can of worms related to Watergate.
(And I do mean a long sigh....)
Anyway, in answer to Ann Althouse, I think it's completely understandable why Hillary never mentions her work on the Nixon impeachment inquiry.
I also think it's quite understandable why she's never asked.
(Not that anyone's allowed to ask her about anything these days anyway, but with Hillary, there are a lot of questions that would never be asked even if they could be asked.)
UPDATE: I should have credited Glenn Reynolds for the Althouse link! (I was so distracted by Watergate nostalgia that I forgot all about the law professor angle, which was the whole point of the Althouse post, and Glenn's link to it.)
Is Zeifman dead? When I heard him mentioned yesterday in regard to Hillary’s actions during Watergate, I thought that I had heard he died a year or so ago. Do you know? Just curious.
He was on with Neal Boortz today. I bet Boortz puts up the audio. He was amazed at the story and hadn’t heard about it before.
You give me way, way too much credit.
Althouse says: “I thought only Bush and Cheney denied people the right to counsel.” I asume this refers to those slimeballs in Gitmo.
I don't know if you op chaos guys are Rush Kool Aid drinkers, Hillary supporters or both.
Well, Doug, I for one think that you deserve a *lot* of credit.
Hey Doug when is the next Peter Paul hearing in court for the Clinton’s? Any traction expected out of it?
So somewhere there’s a report on the misconduct of other presidents? It sounds like a juicy read. But it would need to be amended to include Bill - or maybe he should get a whole volume to himself.
April 25. Now that Levin has been served, there should be a trial date set and depositions can begin.
Was he not somehow involved in the "death" of Vince Foster???
AMEN AMEN AMEN!!!!!!!!!
Send this GD witch to the bottom of the ocean NOW!
He was seen in Foster’s office after Foster’s death. As you probably recall, they raided his office and removed his computer and documents that night.
I remember from reports at the time, that Maggie Williams left Foster’s office with stacks of files so large she could hardly carry them.
Yep, Maggie was part of the raid.
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