Page images
PDF
EPUB

With all due respect, Mr. Chairman, I believe that the decision to limit our examination to thirty minutes, while permitting Mr. Starr to make a two-hour, uninterrupted presentation, is not consistent with the standard of fairness that the Committee has sought to achieve. Nonetheless, we will proceed within the time allotted. Mr. Kendall will conduct the questioning on the President's behalf. Sincerely,

CHARLES F.C. RUFF,
Counsel to the President.

lotted. Met achieve. Standard uninterrupte

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, DC, November 18, 1998. CHARLES F.C. RUFF, ESQ., Counsel to the President, The White House, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. RUFF: As you know, tomorrow, November 19, 1998, the Committee will receive testimony from Independent Counsel Starr about facts regarding allegations that the President committed impeachable offenses. However, the Committee does not have the benefit of the President's answers to the 81 requests for admission that were sent to him on November 5, 1998. Furthermore, as we stated in our October 21 meeting with you, the Committee is interested in receiving any exculpatory material the President may have. We are concerned that, almost four weeks after making this request for exculpatory material and almost two weeks after sending the President the requests for admission, the Committee has not received any material from you on the President's behalf. Therefore, we renew our request for such material on behalf of the Committee.

Regarding the 81 requests for admission, we would like to point out that the Chairman did not set a hard deadline because he believed the President was ready and willing to cooperate with the Committee's inquiry. On November 6, Mr. Craig said that the White House reply would probably come before November 13. We are dismayed that you have missed your own self-imposed dead

line.

The answers to these requests for admission should not be difficult or time consuming. We would observe that you were able to produce a lengthy “prebuttal” to the Office of Independent Counsel's Referral even before it was public. You also produced a rebuttal to the Referral one day after it was made public. Surely, you could reply to the 81 requests for admission by now. As the Chairman has repeatedly and publicly stated, your cooperation is essential in bringing the Committee's inquiry to a fair and timely conclusion.

Because the President's responses to the requests for admission and any exculpatory evidence about which you are aware will help the Committee begin to fulfill its constitutional responsibility to

morrow, we would appreciate your forwarding us this information this afternoon. Sincerely,

THOMAS MOONEY, Chief of Staff and General Counsel.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, DC, November 20, 1998. CHARLES F.C. RUFF, ESQ., Counsel to the President, The White House, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. RUFF: We are in receipt of your letter of November 20th. We appreciate your willingness to make Mr. Lindsey available pursuant to the Committee's subpoena authorized November 19th. We will get back to you with a time, date, and place certain. As you are aware, Mr. Lindsey will be able to bring his personal attorney with him, if he so chooses.

During the Watergate impeachment proceedings, the President's counsel was permitted to attend open and executive session full Committee meetings. However, during the several months preceding the full Committee meetings, the President's counsel was not permitted to participate in any staff investigative procedures nor was the President's counsel permitted access to the evidence that was locked up in the secured area. President's counsel was permitted to be present when approximately 36 volumes of information and evidence were presented to the members at the full Committee meetings. When the Committee concluded that procedure, it then called a total of nine witnesses, including the President's personal attorney. Five of those witnesses were recommended by the President's counsel. In the developmental stages of the investigation, when interviews were conducted by John Doar, at no time was the President's counsel present. For reasons explained in detail in the November 9th letter, it is the decision of the Chairman to adhere to that precedent. We very much appreciate your cooperation in this matter. Sincerely,

THOMAS E. MOONEY,
Chief of Staff-General Coun-

sel.
DAVID P. SCHIPPERS,

Chief Investigative Counsel.

[ocr errors]

THOMAS E. MOONEY, ESQ.;
Chief of Staff-General Counsel,
House Committee on the Judiciary,
Washington, DC.
DAVID P. SCHIPPERS, ESQ.,
Chief Investigative Counsel,
House Committee on the Judiciary,

Chouse Coron, DC: MOONESS, 1998 Wedne

choose about be appealer 9, 1993SCHIPPER

DEAR MESSRS. MOONEY AND SCHIPPERS: This is in response to your letter of November 9, 1998.

Although it appeared, until Wednesday afternoon, that our concern about being excluded from any depositions the Committee chose to conduct might be moot. I want now, in light of recent events, to reiterate my request that counsel for the President be permitted to question the witnesses at the depositions scheduled over the next two weeks.

In your letter you cite to what you describe as the practice followed during the Rodino the inquiry, but I must, with all due respect, reject your analogy. The Committee seems to rely on Watergate precedent when it finds such reliance useful to ignore that precedent when it does not. I note, for example, that, when we requested an additional hour in which to question Mr. Starr and cited the very clear precedent of the virtually unlimited time afforded Mr. St. Clair, our plea was summarily rejected. (We appreciate the Chairman's willingness to grant Mr. Kendall additional time, although, as you know, we do not believe that to have been sufficient to permit a fair examination.) Hereby, by contrast, you have turned to a ruling by the Rodino Committee as grounds for precluding our participation at the critical stage of this inquiry.

The decision not to allow Mr. St. Clair to participate in what you call the “investigative phase” of the inquiry is entirely inapposite. As you know, the Rodino staff conducted months of preliminary investigation before the Committee hearings began, and the Committee itself then heard from virtually all the relevant witnesses in a setting that permitted the President's counsel to participate meaningfully at a time when the Members themselves were testing the witnesses' credibility and the strength of the evidence. Here, however, there has been no Committee investigation other than to review the evidence gathered ex parte by the Independent Counsel. If yesterday's hearing is any example of how the Committee intends to proceed, it appears that the Committee prefers predigested, second-hand recitation of testimony taken outside the hearing room. If that is, indeed, the Committee's preference surely it is desirable in the interest of fairness—that the deposition transcripts reflect the participation of the President's counsel. My request is not, as you put it, an effort to “intrude upon the investigation.” It is an effort to participate in what, if past is prologue, may be the closet thing to an evidentiary hearing that the Committee contemplates.

Now, as to the issue of “chilling” witnesses. I reject any notion that anyone acting on the President's behalf has intentionally or unintentionally, "chilled” any witness. In any event, surely, it cannot be your position that the presence of the President's counsel could have any effect on Mr. Gecker, an experienced lawyer, or on

Nathan Landow, a sophisticated businessman who is represented by one of the city's premier law firms. And I know that you would not even suggest that our presence would chill the testimony of Bruce Lindsey, the President's long-time advisor and current Deputy Legal Counsel, or Bob Bennett, the President personal counsel.

I urge the Committee to reconsider its decision and allow us to participate, and I ask again for the opportunity to discuss our re

que it with the Chaask again consider its decent per

Finally, as I informed you at our meeting on October 21, it is not necessary to serve subpoenas on current White House employees they will voluntarily appear. Mr. Lindsey will make himself available, and I will be happy to discuss with you the time, place and other circumstances of his appearance. Sincerely,

CHARLES F.C. RUFF,
Counsel to the President.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY,

Washington, DC, November 25, 1998. The PRESIDENT, The White House, Washington, DC.

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT: The Committee has resolved to conduct a thorough impeachment inquiry with all deliberate speed. Indeed, I have pledged that, with the cooperation of the White House, the Committee can conclude the inquiry by the end of the year. The Committee is reaching the critical stage of this process; time is of the essence for you to provide any factual basis which disputes the allegations against you.

As we made clear to your counsels at the outset of this process, you can help establish the facts in four ways: (1) provide the Committee with any information that tends to dispute any of the allegations against you or the facts supporting those allegations, (2) answer the Requests for Admissions presented to you on November 5, (3) inform the Committee of any witnesses that you would ask the Committee to call, and (4) make a presentation to the Committee.

Despite repeated requests for more than a month, the White House has yet to provide the Committee with any materials that tend to exonerate you or even dispute the evidence submitted in the Referral of the Office of Independent Counsel. White House Counsel Charles Ruff's contention that “it is difficult to provide exculpatory information until we know the allegations to which we must respond” avoids addressing the facts. The factual allegations against you and the factual basis supporting those allegations are clear from the Referral and supporting material.

The Committee welcomes any facts that tend to dispute the factual assertions in the Referral or that otherwise tend to establish your innocence of any of the allegations in the Referral. The failure to provide any exculpatory information, together with Mr. Kendall's failure to contest a single fact in the Referral when questioning the Independent Counsel, lead to the conclusion that the White House

oes not disporting me to providind spécit hope that l come thisided First han to provide mission. Ithat the ans' faith, 1 haf the com

ee is not Monday, Noverna those answer examining

does not dispute any of the factual evidence presented in the Referral and supporting materials.

First and foremost to providing exculpatory factual information would be to provide complete and specific answers to the First Set of Requests For Admission. I certainly hope that I can rely on recent statements to the press that the answers will come this week. Based upon White House pledges of good faith, I have provided a great deal of latitude in answering those requests. If the Committee is not provided with complete and specific answers to those requests by Monday, November 30, I have no course but to urge the full Committee to subpoena those answers.

The Committee is in the process of examining witnesses who may provide information relevant to its impeachment inquiry. Pursuant to the Committee's Impeachment Inquiry Procedures, the White House is afforded the privilege to provide information and request the Committee to call certain witnesses. Procedure Three states: “Should the President's counsel wish the Committee to receive additional testimony or other evidence, he shall be invited to submit written requests and precise summaries of what he would propose to show, and in the case of a witness, precisely and in detail what it is expected the testimony of the witnesses would be, if called. On the basis of such requests and summaries and of the record then before it, the Committee shall determine whether the suggested evidence is necessary or desirable to a full and fair record in the inquiry, and, if so, whether the summaries shall be accepted as part of the record or additional testimony or evidence in some other form shall be received.”

As of now, you have not indicated any witnesses for the Committee's consideration. The Committee will also allow you, or your counsel, to appear before the Committee as a witness to present your views to the Committee. If you wish to make a presentation to the Committee or suggest any witnesses for the Committee to call, you, or your counsel, need to inform the Committee of your request and provide the Committee with the necessary information by Wednesday, December 2. Assuming there are no further developments, I am prepared to schedule your presentation for as early as Tuesday, December 8.

Just over ten months ago, you promised the American people that you wanted to present the facts: "I'd like for you to have more rather than less, sooner rather than later." I respectfully suggest that now is the time to present the facts; now is the time for cooperation. As you know, full White House cooperation in an impeachment inquiry is essential to the preservation of our Constitutional system. Sincerely,

HENRY J. HYDE,

Chairman.

A me other part ofand cessary. ttee shand su

call he come to the before committed at

« PreviousContinue »