It’s been bugging me for days now (even worse than my knee), this b.s. being pushed by the GOP that White House/Executive Branch people are not only “immune” from having to appear before Congressional Committees and provide documents and testimony but that (according to them) there is no precedent for them having done so. Really? Have my eyes and ears deceived me over and over again? No. They haven’t. LOTS of key White House advisers and even lesser people have appeared before Congress, something you’d never know if you didn’t witness it with your own eyes or check out a little history if you weren’t old enough.
Worse, the media has been letting this crap go pretty much unchallenged. The “line” I have heard is something to the effect of four decades of precedent. Even someone in Jr. High School these days gets some basic education on Watergate and knows that forty five years ago John Dean who had only recently been the White House Counsel to Richard Nixon had the nation riveted during the Senate Hearings on Watergate. Not the actual Impeachment hearings, but the ones conducted by a Select Senate Committee in 1973 to explore the goings on of the1972 election. IOW John Dean was a forerunner of Don McGahan — someone who was in the exact same job and was witness to (and participant in) some seriously shady stuff. From what we know so far McGahan didn’t cross the line into criminal activity while on the job as Dean did (and would serve time in prison for) but he damn well was witness to the burying of multiple bodies so to speak. Let’s not forget Alexander Butterfield either. Butterfield is the guy who testified to that same Committee regarding the existence of the taping system for all Oval Office conversations. In fact, he was the one tasked with setting the whole thing up. What was Butterfield’s position in the Nixon White House? His title was Deputy Assistant to the President and his day to day job was as WH Chief of Staff H.R. Haldeman’s top assistant. Butterfield pretty much controlled the flow of visitors and “paper” that went in to and out of the Oval Office.
Ok, so that was forty five years ago and the current line of b.s. is that for the past “forty years” people in such positions haven’t been expected to, much less actually appeared in front of Congress. And as I’ve said the media is (seemingly dutifully) parroting the line. So I call BULLSHIT! That guy in the picture is familiar to anyone reading this. Then Lt. Col Oliver North wasn’t even the National Security Advisor when he appeared during Iran Contra Hearings. He was a National Security agency staffer! It should be noted however the actual National Security Advisor John Poindexter also appeared in front of Congress during those hearings. So did Don Regan who for those who don’t know served as WH Chief of Staff! There were quite a few others from the Executive Branch (not all on the WH staff) who appeared. Here’s a handy link to the cast of characters and if you click on the tab in the brown bar that says Profiles you can see each each person’s job at the time.
That was thirty years ago, well within the “forty year” time frame being bandied about but let’s not stop the trip down memory lane. There were plenty of investigations into Bill Clinton other than Inspector Javert’s Ken Starr’s dog & pony show which over time (about four years as I recall) absorbed all Clinton investigations. Now, when the then House Judiciary Committee decided during the lame duck session after the 1998 midterms to officially open impeachment proceedings there was only one big TV hearing everything in Starr’s investigation (which had ALL been made public) was not only fair game for discussion with Starr but everything, from interviews with Starr’s team and other investigators to grand jury proceedings made part of the record. Clinton himself submitted answers to 81 questions submitted by Chairman Henry Hyde too & unlike Trump there was no limiting of categories of questions & all were answered. Without the Trump “I can’t remember” bullshit. However let’s stick to the point of this diary which is that among witness testimony accepted into the record and used during the actual impeachment trial was evidence (documents and testimony either to investigators or in formal proceedings) from various Executive Branch officials including Clinton’s own WH Counsel and others in that Office. Keep in mind Starr pressed hard to get this testimony, going to Court to win the right to obtain it and along the way setting precedent. Hell, his team even interviewed Secret Service agents. Starr went so far as to try and pierce the attorney/client privilege with Clinton’s personal lawyer!
Here’s another significant one everyone should remember, this time from the Bush 43 years. As to be expected their was Congressional inquiry into the (mis)use of intelligence to push for the war in Iraq that took down Saddam. One such Congressional hearing that provided some dramatic public (televised) testimony had a witness who’d not only never been confirmed by any Senate procedure for her job, but couldn’t have been because her actual job was so highly classified almost no one outside the CIA knew what her job actually was. I’m of course talking about former covert CIA Agent Valerie Plame. The GOP couldn’t wait to get a crack at her, and she laid waste to them when the time came. Lots of testimony about govt. policy and the workings of how information is gathered, none of which should ever have been made public but by grab Darth Cheney wasn’t about to let her husband’s calling out his boss for lying go unchallenged so he outed her and destroyed an invaluable intelligence operation that had been built up over a couple of decades. Well, my point is that the GOP at least thought they could score points by discrediting her live on TV so they had no problem at all having some non-confirmed, even former Executive Branch employee appear before Congress.
So now we come to the most recent bit of hypocrisy — the myriad of investigations conducted by the GOP into Benghazi! which again delved into taking testimony not only from Executive Branch people who’d been Senate confirmed but going well down the list into local (to Libya) security folks. For all their considerable years long (and costing tens of millions of dollars) effort a boatload of Congressional investigations couldn’t “get” either President Obama or SecState Clinton — or anyone else. However, desperate to tar her image (which after she left the State Dept. was quite good) the GOP controlled House created yet another investigation — a Select Committee headed up by adult Draco Malfoy impersonator Trey Gowdy which went over the same ground and talked to all the cast of characters. That list btw included fourteen freaking hours of televised testimony from by that time years out of govt. service Hillary Clinton! Funny how she didn’t kick up a fuss and hide but instead took a “bring it on” approach to testifying. And she kicked their asses in the process.
Given all this I’m major league pissed off that the GOP has been getting away with (and the media is helping them) with this bullshit line that the current House investigations are asking for documents and witness testimony that is “unprecedented” because it concerns people who are WH staffers (even former ones) or work/worked in the Executive Branch (IOW Cabinet agencies) and therefore is off limits. In fact, they claim to be “SHOCKED! SHOCKED I SAY” that Congress is seeking the information and witnesses it has asked for, and saying for four decades the production of such documents & witnesses has been unheard of. Bullshit.
Moldy, nasty stinks to high heaven bullshit.