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COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY, UNITED STATES HOUSE OF
SWORN AFFIDAVIT OF WILLIAM J. CLINTON, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, RELATING TO THE INQUIRY OF IMPEACHMENT AUTHORIZED PURSUANT TO H. RES. 581
AFFIDAVIT I, William J. Clinton, under penalty of perjury and remedies available to the House of Representatives under the Constitution of the United States, swear or affirm that the foregoing responses to the Requests for Admission submitted by the Committee on the Judiciary relating to the inquiry of impeachment authorized pursuant to. H. Res. 581, are the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Sworn this _ day of November, 1998.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON, President of the United States.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, DC, November 6, 1998. Hon. WILLIAM JEFFERSON CLINTON, President of the United States, The White House, Washington, DC.
DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: There is a typographical error in request number 27 of the First Set of Requests for Admission of William J. Clinton, President of the United States, Relating to the Inquiry of Impeachment Authorized Pursuant to H. Res. 581 which you received yesterday. That request asks about conduct “alleged to have occurred on December 28, 1998.” In fact, the request should have asked about conduct “alleged to have occurred on December 28, 1997."
I would appreciate your making this conforming change in the Requests prior to submitting your response. Sincerely,
HENRY J. HYDE,
cember zequest asks anto, H. Res. 53 to the
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, DC, November 9, 1998. CHARLES F.C. RUFF, Esq., Counsel to the President. GREGORY B. CRAIG, Esq., Special Counsel to the President. DAVID E. KENDALL, Esq., Personal Counsel to the President. The White House, Washington, DC.
DEAR MESSRS. RUFF, CRAIG AND KENDALL: Thank you for your letter of October 23. As we said at our meeting, we will continue
to give you the opportunity to present us with your views on the process.
With all due respect to your suggestions, you are certainly aware that the Committee has already met and resolved by a nearly unanimous vote the issues that you are now raising. After extensive bipartisan staff discussions, the Committee met on October 5 and adopted its Impeachment Inquiry Procedures by voice vote with only a single objection heard.
We believe that the reason for the nearly unanimous approval of these procedures is that they are overwhelming fair to the interests of the President. When the Committee meets for the “presentation of evidence" (i.e. as an investigative fact-finding body), the procedures adopted afford the President and his counsel the right to: respond to evidence received and testimony adduced by the Committee, orally or in writing as shall be determined by the Committee: suggest additional testimony or other evidence for the Committee to receive based upon submissions of written requests and precise summaries of what he would propose to show, and in the case of a witness precisely and in detail what is expected the testimony of the witness would be if called (the Committee would then determine whether suggested evidence is necessary or desirable to a full and fair record of the inquiry and whether to accept the summaries or receive the suggested additional testimony or evidence); attend all hearings at which witnesses are called, including any held in executive session: raise objections to the examination of witnesses, or to the admissibility of testimony and evidence which shall be ruled upon by the Chairman or presiding Member (such rulings are final unless overturned by a majority of the Members present); and question witnesses called before the Committee, subject to instructions from the Chairman or presiding Member with respect to time, scope and duration of the examination.
These protections for the President track nearly verbatim the protections afforded to President Nixon during the Watergate impeachment inquiry. As you know, the Watergate model was criticized in 1974 not as being unfair to the President but as being too deferential to the interests of the President, especially in light of the Constitution's explicitly exclusion of the Executive Branch in the impeachment process. In 1974, Representative John Conyers, Jr., now the distinguished Ranking Minority Member of the Committee, said: “[I]t seems to me that we have gone to great excess in and are probably making a serious mistake that will insure that we never ever emerge from these evidentiary hearings in terms of allowing the President's counsel to take this unlimited and overfull participation in hearings that we are conducting to merely advise the Congress. This is not a trial, and it may be that for one time this committee has been bent over backwards in trying to maintain this theoretical bipartisanship that is going on. And I yield to the subcommittee chairman if he wishes to throw some light on this.”
Representative George Danielson felt even stronger in his closing views when he stated: “In my opinion. the expanded role of the President's counsel was improvidently permitted. for it threatened to transform the proceeding from its constitutional role of the “Grand Inquest of the Nation” to that of an adversary proceeding similar to a judicial trial. I would urge that in any future impeach
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ment inquiries the role of the counsel of the person subject to the impeachment process not be extended beyond that of an observer and auditor. In the Nixon hearings, the extensive participation was permitted out of an overabundance of caution that the hearings be conducted with fairness and that due process be observed. Those goals were not only achieved, but surpassed, and because of excessive participation by President's counsel, both fairness and due process were threatened. We note that Representative Danielson's statements were made after President Nixon resigned. It served as a warning to future Congresses that may conduct impeachment inquiries.
We believe that the premises for your suggestions are misplaced. In paragraph two of your letter of October 23, you state.“... The issue of particular concern to us in the right of the President's counsel to participate in depositions and interviews of witnesses conducted by Committee counsel. ..." While you acknowledge that such a request was denied in the Nixon inquiry, you go on to claim that no depositions were taken. You then state that in the case of the current inquiry “. . . principles of elemental fairness mandate our participation...." We have spent several months researching and reading about impeachment. We have reviewed both the Johnson and Nixon inquiries. We have looked at various judicial impeachments. We have also read a great deal of writing done by various constitutional scholars. In this instance, you appear to be on the wrong side of history, and seem to have some of your facts wrong, as well.
The deposition question was raised in the impeachment inquiry of President Nixon. It was a subject of discussion at about a halfdozen Committee meetings. A key meeting about this subject occurred on April 4, 1974. On that day John Doar, the President Nixon inquiry Special Counsel, appeared before the Committee with some of his staff, including Messrs. Albert Jenner and Joseph Woods and Ms. Hillary Rodham, who had done serious, copious research on the question of Presidential impeachment inquiry participation and produced a document entitled. "Presentation Procedures for the Impeachment Inquiry.” Their pertinent conclusion on the subject you have raised, was their fourth procedural question based upon our American historical record. It reads as follows: “. . 4. No record has been found of any impeachment inquiry in which the official under investigation participated in the investigation stage preceding commencement of committee hearings. ..."
As to your comments on depositions in the President Nixon inquiry, we respectfully submit that you may be incorrect. The Rodino inquiry staff filed monthly reports on their various investigations, and they often cited witness interviews that has been conducted. To our knowledge, this occurred throughout the inquiry. We are also under the impression that several witnesses were deposed as late as June 1974. If you have different information on these two points, we would be glad to review it.
In paragraph three of your letter, you spoke of due process and the right to a citizen to confront his or her accusers. These same issues were raised in the inquiry of President Nixon. As you know, the Committee is not conducting a trial; that is a power the Constitution grants exclusively to the Senate. We are conducting an in
and producetion of Preside, who had
quiry during which we will gather much information, and then decide what information falls under the purview of presidential conduct to be reviewed first by Members of the Committee on the Judiciary, and then later by Members of the House, if the situation warrants it. However, you seem to be attempting to create a whole new precedent which would allow the subject of an investigation to intrude upon the investigation and decide what information is good and what is not. Through eloquent utilization of legal terms, you letter suggests that we are in the arena of criminal law conducting a trial. We are not. Not only is an impeachment inquiry unique to our system of government, it is wholly distinct from the notion of criminally as you are attempting to portray it.
In paragraph four of your letter, you noted that we raised the question of a possible "chill" on any witnesses who might be questioned with a President's lawyer present. You then dismiss that claim as baseless. It is the Committee that is charged with the responsibility to gather the facts and information in this case. Moreover, as you well know, there are just such allegations of this sort in the referral sent to us by the Independent Counsel. There are also similar stories in the news media about other individuals not covered by the official information we have been provided to date.
We can certainly understand your desire to advance these legal arguments. As Counsel to the President, Special Counsel to the President and Personal Counsel to the President, you operate under the mandate the President declared on September 11 that: "I will instruct my lawyers to mount a vigorous defense, using all available appropriate arguments.” We understand that you are carrying out that mandate, we respect it, and we expect nothing less.
However, because you now seek to undo a nearly unanimous vote of the Committee, we have become concerned that your interpretation of mounting a vigorous legal defense may be to dispute every action of the Committee and to refuse to cooperate with the inquiry. An even larger cause of concern, we believe, is the contrast between your pledges for full cooperation at our meeting, behind closed doors, and the public comments of Mr. Craig immediately following the meeting. In our meeting, we discussed our desire to proceed fairly, thoroughly and expeditiously. In response, you made unequivocal pledges of full cooperation. Indeed, you went so far as to say that Mr. Ruff will personally facilitate the production of witnesses and documents. However, immediately following the meeting, Mr. Craig refused to follow through on that pledge. In response to the question, “if the Committee continues with the procedures that it's using thus far, will the White House cooperate with subpoenas, document requests, providing witnesses, that kind of thing?” Mr. Craig answered: “It's a hypothetical; we're not there yet."
We do not view your pledges of cooperation as hypothetical. Indeed, as Chairman Hyde has repeatedly stated and as we reiterated with you at our meeting, the cooperation of the White House is essential to conduct this inquiry expeditiously. Article 1, Section 2 of the Constitution provides that “The House of Representatives ... shall have the sole Power of Impeachment. The House has directed the Committee on the Judiciary to begin an inquiry of impeachment of President William Jefferson Clinton. Implicit in that
mandate is the responsibility to independently investigate and es-
THOMAS E. MOONEY,
Chief Investigative Counsel.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,
Washington, DC, November 16, 1998. CHARLES F.C. RUFF, Esq., Counsel to the President. GREGORY B. CRIAG, Esq., Special Counsel to the President. DAVID E. KENDALL, Personal Counsel to the President. The White House, Washington, DC.
DEAR MESSRS. RUFF, CRAIG, AND KENDALL: Pursuant to H. Res. 581, the House Committee on the Judiciary will receive testimony from Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr on Thursday, November 19, 1998. The Committee will proceed pursuant to the Rules of the House of Representatives, H. Res. 581, the Rules of the Committee, and the Committee's Impeachment Inquiry Procedures.
The Impeachment Inquiry Procedures, adopted by the Committee by voice vote on October 5, 1998, provide that "[t]he President's counsel may question any witness called before the Committee, subject to instructions from the Chairman or presiding Member respecting the time, scope, and duration of the examination.” If you wish to exercise your privileges under the rules, provide the Committee with notice as soon as possible, but no later than by close of business on Tuesday, November 17, 1998. Also, please indicate who you would like to conduct such questioning.
The Committee operates under the five-minute rule; that is, each Member of the Committee is given five minutes to question a witness. Counsel for Judge Hastings in his impeachment inquiry was given ten minutes to question witnesses. As Chairman of the Subcommittee that ran that impeachment inquiry, Representative John Conyers, Jr. stated: “The subcommittee, in its wisdom, will grant the extraordinary prerogative of his counsel to question any of the witnesses, if he so chooses, for up to a point of time of 10 minutes." I plan to allow the President's counsel up to thirty minutes to question witnesses.
Should you exercise your privilege to question witnesses under the rules, you should remain cognizant that your role in these pro