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WHITE HOUSE COMPLIANCE WITH COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED FIFTH CONGRESS
NOVEMBER 6 AND 7, 1997
Serial No. 10561
Printed for the use of the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENT REFORM AND OVERSIGHT
DAN BURTON, Indiana, Chairman
BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 J. DENNIS HASTERT, Illinois
CONSTANCE A. MORELLA, Maryland
CHRISTOPHER SHAYS, Connecticut
STEVEN SCHIFF, New Mexico
CHRISTOPHER COX, California
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida
JOHN M. MCHUGH, New York
STEPHEN HORN, California
JOHN L. MICA, Florida
THOMAS M. DAVIS, Virginia
DAVID M. MCINTOSH, Indiana
MARK E. SOUDER, Indiana
JOE SCARBOROUGH, Florida
JOHN B. SHADEGG, Arizona
STEVEN C. LATOURETTE, Ohio
MARSHALL ''MARK'' SANFORD, South Carolina
JOHN E. SUNUNU, New Hampshire
PETE SESSIONS, Texas
MICHAEL PAPPAS, New Jersey
VINCE SNOWBARGER, Kansas
BOB BARR, Georgia
ROB PORTMAN, Ohio
HENRY A. WAXMAN, California
TOM LANTOS, California
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 ROBERT E. WISE, Jr., West Virginia
MAJOR R. OWENS, New York
EDOLPHUS TOWNS, New York
PAUL E. KANJORSKI, Pennsylvania
GARY A. CONDIT, California
CAROLYN B. MALONEY, New York
THOMAS M. BARRETT, Wisconsin
ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON, Washington, DC
CHAKA FATTAH, Pennsylvania
ELIJAH E. CUMMINGS, Maryland
DENNIS J. KUCINICH, Ohio
ROD R. BLAGOJEVICH, Illinois
DANNY K. DAVIS, Illinois
JOHN F. TIERNEY, Massachusetts
JIM TURNER, Texas
THOMAS H. ALLEN, Maine
HAROLD E. FORD, Jr., Tennessee
BERNARD SANDERS, Vermont (Independent)
KEVIN BINGER, Staff Director
RICHARD D. BENNETT, Chief Counsel
WILLIAM MOSCHELLA, Deputy Counsel and Parliamentarian
JUDITH MCCOY, Chief Clerk
PHIL SCHILIRO, Minority Staff Director
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C O N T E N T S
Hearing held on:
November 6, 1997
November 7, 1997
Ruff, Charles F.C., Counsel to the President
Letters, statements, etc., submitted for the record by:
Apperson, Jay, special counsel, Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs:
Exhibits 155 and C64
Exhibits C65 and 147
Exhibits 166, 162, and C66
Barr, Hon. Bob, a Representative in Congress from the State of Georgia:
Memorandum dated June 28, 1994
Bennett, Richard, chief counsel, Committee on Government Reform and Oversight:
Exhibits 135, 136, and 137
Page 5 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Exhibit 139
Exhibits to deposition
Burton, Hon. Dan, a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana:
Washington Post article, ''The Last Prosecutor'' dated June 19, 1977,
Minority consultant contract
Prepared statement of
Fattah, Hon. Chaka, a Representative in Congress from the State of Pennsylvania:
National Journal article ''Troubled Times for the Triad Group''
News clippings relative to investigation
Horn, Hon. Stephen, a Representative in Congress from the State of California:
Memoranda dated April 8, 1996, and August 23, 1996
Letter dated November 26, 1996; letter dated January 15, 1997, reply dated January 15, 1997; reply letter dated January 21, 1997, and letter dated February 25, 1997
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Exhibits to deposition
Lantos, Hon. Tom, a Representative in Congress from the State of California, Final Report of the Iran-Contra Committees
McIntosh, Hon. David M., a Representative in Congress from the State of Indiana:
Letter dated May 22, 1997
Prepared statement of
Exhibits to deposition
Exhibits to deposition
Exhibits to deposition
Ruff, Charles F.C., Counsel to the President:
Page 7 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Letter dated August 19, 1997
Prepared statement of
Shadagg, Hon. John, a Representative in Congress from the State of Arizona, exhibit 168
Simmons, Colonel Joseph:
Exhibits to deposition
Exhibits to deposition
Exhibits to deposition
Waxman, Hon. Henry A., a Representative in Congress from the State of California, letter dated September 23, 1997
WHITE HOUSE COMPLIANCE WITH COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6, 1997
House of Representatives,
Committee on Government Reform and Oversight,
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Washington, DC.
The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:25 a.m., in room 2154, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Dan Burton (chairman of the committee) presiding.
Present: Representatives Burton, Morella, Shays, Cox, McHugh, Davis of Virginia, McIntosh, Souder, Sununu, Sessions, Pappas, Snowbarger, Barr, Waxman, Lantos, Owens, Kanjorski, Condit, Sanders, Barrett, Norton, Fattah, Cummings, Kucinich, Blagojevich, Davis of Illinois, Tierney, Allen, and Ford.
Staff present: Kevin Binger, staff director; Richard Bennett, chief counsel; Barbara Comstock, chief investigative counsel; Judith McCoy, chief clerk; Teresa Austin, assistant clerk/calendar clerk; William Moschella, deputy counsel and parliamentarian; Robin Butler, office manager; Dan Moll, deputy staff director; Will Dwyer, director of communications; Ashley Williams, deputy director of communications; Dave Bossie, oversight coordinator; Robert Rohrbaugh, James C. Wilson, Uttam Dhillon, and Tim Griffin, senior investigative counsels; Phil Larsen, investigative consultant; Kristi Remington and Bill Hanka, investigative counsels; Jason Foster, investigator; Carolyn Pritts, investigative staff; David Jones and John Mastranadi, investigative staff assistants; Jay Apperson, special counsel, and J. Keith Ausbrook, senior counsel, Subcommittee on National Economic Growth, Natural Resources, and Regulatory Affairs; Phil Schiliro, minority staff director; Phil Barnett, minority chief counsel; Kenneth Ballen, minority chief investigative counsel; Agnieszka Fryszman, Elizabeth Mundinger, Kristin Amerling, Christopher Lu, Andrew McLaughlin, David Sadkin, and Michael Yang, minority counsels; Ellen Rayner, minority chief clerk; Becky Claster, minority staff assistant; and Sheridan Pauker, minority research assistant.
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Mr. BURTON. The committee will come to order.
The first order of business before we discuss business with our guests this morning will be the minority consultant contract. Without objection, the contract will be considered as read.
[The contract referred to follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 1 TO 12 HERE
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman from California, Mr. Waxman is recognized in support of this contract.
Mr. WAXMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. The minority is proposing that the committee approve a consultant to contract with the Emerald Group. The Emerald Group is an international security management firm that provides investigative services to corporations, institutions and individuals.
The minority proposes the contract because the minority seeks the assistance of the Emerald Group in investigating possible conduit payments to the Republican National Committee and the Dole campaign.
These conduit payments are the same activity that the committee is investigating, except the recipients are Republicans, not Democrats.
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Approval of this contract should be routine. In June, the majority and the minority discussed how consultants would be handled. We proposed that consultants hired by our committee be a joint resource, which means that both sides would be informed about the work of the consultants.
Chairman Burton's staff rejected this idea. They insisted that they wanted complete control over the activities of the consultants hired by the majority. As a result, what we agreed to is they get 75 percent of the money that would be used for consultants, and we would get 25 percent of the money, to allocate as each of us sees fit and those consultants would work for each of us.
Since June, the majority has hired four consultants. Three of these consultantsincluding a private investigator and a former CIA operations officerwere hired with our votes. We supported the idea of those consultants being hired because it was the choice of the minority.
Today, we are making our first request for a consultant. We have expected this would be routinely approved just like the majority approved all of its requests for consultants. Unfortunately, it now appears that the majority will deny the minority any consultants. This is simply unfair. It seems that every chance the majority gets, the majority tries to tilt the deck in their favor by denying the rights of the minority.
Now, the majority is opposing the Emerald Group contract because they say it does not prevent conflicts of interest. The fact of the matter is that the Emerald Group has agreed to follow exactly the same precautions and procedures that Mr. Bennett agreed to follow. As explained in a September 23 letter to myself, the Emerald Group has pledged to follow the House Code of Official Conduct, and the House gift ban, just as Mr. Bennett did.
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The Emerald Group has also agreed to conduct a careful review before accepting any assignments to assure that there is no conflict of interest, exactly the same procedure that Mr. Bennett is following.
Specifically, the Emerald Group wrote, quote, for each specific assignment provided Emerald, Emerald will perform a thorough check using the firm's computer technology to ensure that there is no conflict of interest with respect to its existing client list, and if there is a conflict, Emerald will not accept the assignment, end quote.
What we are seeing is a double standard being applied by the majority and it becomes especially apparent when you compare the Emerald Group contract with the first three major consultants. The majority approved these consultants without requiring any safeguards against conflicts of interest. These consultants are directly comparable to the Emerald Group. Like the Emerald Group, they are being used for discrete projects.
The Republicans also argue that the consultant contract with the Emerald Group is flawed because it is an entire organization, not a single individual. According to them, it makes it harder to ensure there are no conflicts or other problems. I would submit that this argument is a straw man. There is no rule against hiring organizations as consultants. In fact, the use of organizations as consultants is expressly authorized by law. 2 U.S.C. Section 72(a) provides that ''Each standing committee of the House of Representatives is authorized to procure the temporary services of individual consultants or organizations thereof.''
There is nothing unusual at all about having a consultant contract with a firm instead of a single individual. For example, this is exactly what the Republican majority on the House Oversight Committee has done in the Sanchez-Dornan investigation.
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On January 8 of this year, the majority entered into a contract for the services of the Baker Hostettler Law Firm. This contract did not limit the number of Baker and Hostettler attorneys working under the contract. In fact, it specifically provided that the rate of compensation could not exceed $300 per day per attorney providing services.
Well, there are a lot of precedents. For example, in the Gingrich investigation by the House Ethics Committee, the consultant contract was not with Jim Cole individually, but with the Bryan, Cave Law Firm.
Mr. Chairman and my colleagues, we are making this request. We think it is a respectable request, given the rules that we have set out and the way we have operated. I expect that we are going to lose this. I expect that the Republicans are going to exercise their majority and vote it down. But if they do, it is another example of how the Republican majority of the committee is closing out the rights of the minority to do our investigation, to participate in the campaign financing investigation of the committee overall, and how this is an investigation run by the Republican majority to the exclusion of the Democratic minority for purposes that I believe are partisan because they are solely in the interest of the Republican majority rather than in the interest of this country for an honest campaign finance investigation. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BURTON. Thank you, Mr. Waxman. I must regretfully oppose the contract that Congressman Waxman has proposed today. I was hoping that we could reach an agreement on this matter. I have offered to work with him to restructure this contract in a form that would be acceptable to the entire committee. But, it is apparently not going to be possible.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 We reached an agreement earlier this year to give the minority 25 percent of the consultant budget, while the majority would control 75 percent of the budget. I served in the minority for 12 years, and this is a better deal than we were ever offered on any committee that I ever served on.
After reaching this agreement earlier this year, I was very disappointed that the minority decided to vote in lock step against Dick Bennett's contract. Mr. Bennett's contract was identical to contracts used by the House Oversight Committee and the House Ethics Committee under both Democrats and Republicans to hire attorneys for sensitive investigations. It should have been routine. And yet they voted in lock step against him. Unfortunately, we were forced to approve it on a party line vote.
Despite this, I am still willing to work with the gentleman from California to resolve some of the problems with this contract. I would like to suggest, once again, to the gentleman that he withdraw it and work with me to solve some of these problems. The problems are fairly basic.
First, this committee has never before contracted with the firm of private investigators to work on an investigation such as this. All of the majority's consultants have been individuals, not entire companies or investigative agencies.
The Emerald Group is an international firm. It has offices and major corporate clients all over the world. This is an investigation of influence buying by foreign companies, foreign individuals and possibly foreign governments. The prospects for serious conflicts of interest are too large when you deal with an entire firm like this.
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The Emerald Group's brochure states that it never reveals the identities of its clients and that is why it is far more appropriate to hire an individual to come in and work out of the committee offices alongside the regular committee staff like Mr. Bennett has. When Dick Bennett came to work as chief counsel, he set up a fire wall between his law firm and his work here on this committee. Nobody else from his firm works on this investigation. No resources of his law firm are utilized. This makes it very easy to isolate the potential for any conflicts.
I have invited Mr. Waxman to structure this contract in the same way. I have urged him to put together a contract in the same manner that the majority contracts are structured. I think that this is a reasonable and fair proposal.
Second, this contract offers not even a general description of the type of work to be done by this firm. Not only is the work to be done at an unknown corporate office, the type of work to be done is a closely guarded secret. Every contract proposed by the majority has contained a general description of the work to be done by the consultant and the general issue area. This is a standard practice.
Today, Members are being asked to vote in the dark. As I said before, I think the offer we have made to our friends in the minority is more generous than we ever would have received during all of the years that we served in the minority. Despite the fact that not a single Democrat here today voted for Dick Bennett's contract, I am still willing to work with you, Mr. Waxman, to resolve some of these problems. I believe that we could reach an agreement on the contract that the entire committee could support. If that is not possible, then I must reluctantly oppose this contract.
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Do any further Members seek to be recognized on this issue?
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, if you would yield to me?
Mr. BURTON. I am happy to yield to my colleague.
Mr. WAXMAN. I want to point out that we have supported all the consultants requested by the majority. We have tried to structure the conflict of interest issue with the Emerald Group in the same way that you handled Mr. Bennett's agreement. We cannot agree to let the majority have such supervisory role as you would if they were individuals as opposed to an organization. We do not know what your consultants do. They operate for you and we agreed to let them do that. We want the ability for a very specific project of checking out Republican conduit payments to have this group that we think is quite qualified to handle it and we think offer the best services to accomplish this goal.
We have a disagreement. It is not unusual on this committee that we have a disagreement. You are the chairman of the majority party, which means your party has the majority and has exercised that power every step of the way to succeed in accomplishing your goals and I expect you will do the same here.
I know that there are Members who have other places they have to be, and rather than ask for a recorded vote, we will ask only for a voice vote on this matter. I do want to put in the record a letter from the Emerald Group to me that I referred to in my opening statement.
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Mr. BURTON. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 13 HERE
Mr. BURTON. Let me just say that the majority is investigating both Democrat and Republican conduit payments, contrary to some of the media reports, and we will continue to do that wherever we find illegal activities or alleged illegal activities we are going to investigate.
With that, is there further discussion on the issue? If not, the question occurs on the contract offered by Mr. Waxman.
All those in favor of the contract signify by saying, aye.
All those opposed will signify by saying, no. In the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. The noes have it, and the contract is not agreed to.
We now have a vote on the floor.
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman, could I ask you one question?
Mr. BURTON. Yes.
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Mr. WAXMAN. You made a statement that you are investigating some Republican conduit payments. We have no knowledge of that. Can you tell us anything more about that?
Mr. BURTON. Mr. Bennett, do you want to respond to him briefly?
Mr. BENNETT. Congressman Waxman for the record, agents both of this committee, including the particular individual assigned to your staff, were in California last week and I won't say on the record what was done, but there were mattersthe inquiry concerned contributions from a foreign source and the inquiry concerned a clear record of distribution of those contributions to a Republican candidate. And I would be glad to deal with that in some detail obviously in a better setting.
Mr. WAXMAN. I appreciate that. If these are joint detailees, they are supposed to report
Mr. BENNETT. No, these were not joint detailees. I believe it's Harry, and I have forgotten his last name.
Mr. WAXMAN. Is there any other example, Mr. Bennett?
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Waxman, I am glad to go into more detail, but clearly as of last week we were seeking to do that as well. So, it is not a correct statement.
Page 18 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BURTON. Nevertheless, some of these things we are looking at and are not ready to be made public.
Mr. WAXMAN. We are not asking it to be made public. We are colleagues on the committee. If you are doing an investigation for the first time in our knowledge that involves Republicans, I think you ought to let us know about it.
Mr. BURTON. We certainly will, Mr. Waxman. I will be happy to consult with you and your counsel as soon as possible. We have a vote on the floor, and I know that we want to go through these hearings with as few interruptions as possible, so why don't we go ahead and vote and come back as quickly as possible and get into the meat of the hearing. We stand in recess until the fall of the gavel.
Mr. BURTON. The committee will come to order.
The gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Fattah.
Mr. FATTAH. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I seek unanimous consent to enter into the record a number of news clippings relative to our investigation. And the first one is from a Capitol Hill magazine, which suggests that senior aides in a Dole campaign were involved in, at least it alleges, were involved in a kickback scheme in the latter days of the campaign. And another is from the newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, references unfortunately a Pennsylvania family who gave close to $2 million to issue advocacy groups having to do with the Triad Management, and there are a number of other ones. And I mention these and I want to insert them in the record because of the chairman's statement earlier that we have crossed a major rubicon in that we now have an investigation in which we will look at Republican misdeeds. I want to thank the chairman for that and seek unanimous consent that these matters be entered into the record because they may help our investigators toward some of the misdeeds that may have been prevalent on the Republican side.
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Mr. BURTON. Without objection.
[The information referred to follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 14 TO 20 HERE
Mr. BURTON. Before the distinguished ranking member and myself deliver our opening statements, the committee must first dispose of procedural issues, pursuant to an agreement reached last night with Mr. Ruff. I thank Mr. Ruff for coming up to our office on the Hill last night. I know it was a strain on you and your staff.
Mr. RUFF. Not at all, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BURTON. Members are advised that they may not release copies of documents listed on the White House privilege log dated October 21, 1997. These documents, which relate to the Hudson Dog Track issues, do not implicate core Presidential powers or responsibilities. They do not implicate national defense, national security, or foreign policy concerns. They do not implicate the appointment or removal power of the President. In fact, they don't even implicate a decision the President would ever be called to make.
However, because these documents are still subject to Presidential claims of privilege, we have agreed to meet again in a collegial way to discuss the committee's future public use of these documents. Members may refer to the documents by noting the description on the privileged log and may discuss with the witnesses the documents generally. However, Members should not quote in large part from the documents or release them publicly at this time.
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Furthermore, consistent with the unanimous consent agreement I am about to offer, Members may quote from depositions pertinent to today's hearings. However, the committee will not make them public today. They will only be made public after Mr. Ruff has had an opportunity to review the depositions. He needs a couple of days to notify the committee about any deposition testimony which may be subject to privilege. Staff will redact any material subject to privilege, and then the redacted depositions will be made public.
With that understanding, I ask unanimous consent that Members be able to use the depositions of Lanny Breuer, Michael Imbroscio, Cheryl Mills, Dimitri Nionakis, Jack Quinn, Steven Smith, Colonel Joseph Simmons and Alan Sullivan at today's hearing. Without objection, so ordered.
I ask unanimous consent that those depositions be made public after the Counsel to the President notifies the committee that the deposition material is not subject to privilege, or after the committee staff redacts material after Counsel to the President notifies the committee staff as to material subject to claims of privilege.
Mr. WAXMAN. Reserving the right to object.
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman reserves the right to object. The gentleman will state his reservation.
Page 21 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. WAXMAN. You are asking unanimous consent that we make these depositions public after we have information from the White House as to what ought to be redacted because it is privileged. Is this decision up to the White House or is it up to our committee counsel to decide what will be withheld and redacted?
Mr. BURTON. I think last night we decided that there would be a conference between the White House and our committee staff, including the general counsel, Mr. Bennett, and that would be a decision that would be made jointly.
Mr. WAXMAN. Well, if I might inquire, then, what you are asking us to agree to by unanimous consent is an agreement you have made with the White House on this information; is that correct?
Mr. BURTON. I think that is correct.
Mr. WAXMAN. I withdraw my reservation.
Mr. SOUDER. Reserving the right to object.
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman will state his reservation.
Mr. SOUDER. I am willing to trust the chairman and the ranking member and the White House counsel in working through this at this point, but I am very concerned that one of the processes here is that we make as much public as possible, because that is part of the education of the general public in understanding. Because this is an oversight committee that hopefully will lead potentially to changes in both how the Government behaves directly and what laws need to be changed and part of that is minimizing the information that is not available to the public.
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Mr. BURTON. The gentleman's point is well taken. Let me just say that the committee reserves the right to release these documents. But we felt, after consultation with Mr. Ruff last night, that they deserved an adequate amount of time to make their case regarding privilege, and if they could not make their case, then of course we would go ahead and make the documents public.
Mr. WAXMAN. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. SOUDER. Yes.
Mr. WAXMAN. I appreciate your comment. I agree with it completely. That is why we sought to make all the depositions public that had been taken by this committee. And we were defeated on that on a party line vote. But I do think the public ought to get the depositions, be able to review them, because I don't think there is anything in all the 50 depositions that this committee has taken and that is the reason I submit, that the Republicans defeated our attempt to make it public.
But your statement was you think these depositions ought to be out, the public ought to be able to see them. I fully support that.
Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered.
I ask unanimous consent that copies of the depositions listed in the Deputy Independent Counsel's November 5, 1997, letter, except the deposition of Gina Ratliff, be transmitted to the Office of Independent Counsel.
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Mr. WAXMAN. Reserving the right to object.
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman will state it.
Mr. WAXMAN. I have no objection to releasing these documents to Ken Starr. If they are relevant in any way to his investigation, he should have them. But I want to remake the point I just stated for the record. I believe we should also be releasing these depositions to the public.
I would note for the record that the minority Members offered a motion to release these depositions at a recent committee meeting and we were voted down on a party line vote. The Republicans voted not to let the public have these depositions and to be able to review them and to see what was said in a secret, closed-door deposition of these witnesses.
So, let's give them to Ken Starr. That is your unanimous consent request, and I will not object to it. But I want to use this opportunity to point out that he is not the only one who should get these depositions. The American people should see how this committee has spent its money in depositions and what we have to show for it. I withdraw my reservation.
Mr. BURTON. Does the gentleman, Mr. Souder, have further comments?
Mr. SOUDER. No, I withdraw my objection.
Page 24 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered. I ask unanimous consent that questioning in the matter under consideration proceed under 2(j)(2) of House Rule XI and Committee Rule 14 in which the chairman and ranking minority member allocate time to committee counsel as they deem appropriate for extended questioning, not to exceed 60 minutes equally divided between the majority and minority.
Mr. WAXMAN. We have no objection.
Mr. BURTON. Without objection, so ordered. I ask unanimous consent that the witnesses and Members' statements appear in the record in their entirety. Without objection.
I ask further unanimous consent that questioning in the matter under consideration proceed under clause 2(j)(2) of the House Rule XI and Committee Rule 14 in which the chairman and ranking minority member allocate time to members of the committee as they deem appropriate for extended questioning not to exceed 60 minutes equally divided. We have already covered that. Without objection, so ordered.
Mr. WAXMAN. Mr. Chairman? If we are making unanimous consent requests, let me suggest a way to expedite our hearing today. We have two panels and since they are all from the same area in the White House, I would suggest and make a unanimous consent request that we put them all together and then have questioning of all of them by the Members. And I have no problem if we go through several rounds so Members will have a full opportunity to ask all the questions they want to ask. But it seems to me pretty wasteful to have two separate panels and to go through the testimony in two separate groupings.
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Mr. BURTON. The Chair would object to that because we have some reasons to have these two panels split. And so an objection is heard.
Without objection, the previous question is ordered. We have a vote on the floor, I have been notified, and we have opening statements. So before we begin the opening statements, we will recess once again. There probably will be numerous recesses today. There are some dilatory tactics that are going to be employed on the floor. So I would urge Members to get back as quickly as possible so that there would be some continuity in the hearing. The Chair recesses the hearing to the fall of the gavel.
Mr. BURTON. The committee will reconvene.
Today, we are addressing how the White House has complied with subpoenas issued by this committee in the course of its investigation into fund-raising abuses and the funneling of foreign money into political campaigns. While the issue of the White House videotapes of fund-raising events being withheld for months brings us to this point today, it is part of a bigger picture of a consistent pattern of lack of cooperation by the Clinton White House in any and all investigations.
This conduct by the White House is just one of the bricks in the stone wall put up to stop this and other investigations. Other bricks in the stone wall include the over 60 witnesses who have taken the fifth amendment or fled the country, including a number of close friends of the President such as Webb Hubbell, John Huang, Mark Middleton and Charlie Trie, and the remarkable lack of memory of so many of the key facts by those witnesses who are still available.
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This situation with the White House videotapes is hardly unique. It is part of a 5-year history of stonewalling of any investigative body, the House, the Senate, any number of Independent Counsels and even the President's own Justice Department. While we are addressing this matter publicly today, I would note that the Justice Department has already called before the grand jury various members of the White House Counsel's Office and other White House staffers regarding this very serious matter. Despite what many of us may feel is a weak investigation by the Attorney General, even General Reno did not feel she should have to tolerate such defiance among those subpoenas. It was only due to 2 months of pointed requests and questions from the Senate, that these long-subpoenaed items finally were turned over.
Initially, the existence of videotapes of the White House coffees was denied by the White House after a month of alleged inquiry into the matter. It then took another month of pressing from the Senate to finally result in the White House's compliance with months-old subpoenas with which the White House Counsel had assured us the White House had complied.
The Washington Post has written a series of editorials on how the White House responds to subpoenas and inquiries in ''dribs and drabs'' and provides varying accounts of various events as new pieces of information are uncovered. The story is the same: Run the clock, attack those who attempt to investigate, change the subject, drag everything out long enough that most will lose interest or energy.
Those at the White House charged with the task of producing relevant records perhaps may not want to find out how many other shoes are yet to drop or where these other shoes are located. As columnist Michael Kelly has observed, ''the White House is on a need-to-know basis about itself these days and what it does not need to know and does not want to hear about grows and grows.''
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Republicans in Congress are not the only ones who have been frustrated by the Clinton White House. As I already noted, the Attorney General has expressed her exasperation with White House's foot dragging on the videotapes.
Last Congress, we heard from one of the city's most respected senior Justice Department officials, Michael Shaheen, who testified before this committee during the Travelgate investigation that, quote, the lack of cooperation and candor, end quote, that he received from the Clinton White House was unprecedented in his 20-year Justice Department career in the Office of Personal Responsibility.
At issue in that case were withheld documents pertaining to the Travel Office inquiry. Mr. Shaheen stated that in 1995, quote, even a minimal level of cooperation by the White House, end quote, would have resulted in documents requested 2 years earlier being produced.
In that same investigation, we heard from the head of public integrity, Lee Radek that he too was faced with an uncooperative White House. After a year of attempting to obtain documents about Harry Thomason in the Travel Office inquiry, Mr. Radek wrote to Acting Criminal Division Chief Jack Keeney in September 1994 stating quote, At this point we are not confident that the White House has produced to us all documents in its possession relating to the Thomason allegations. The White House's incomplete production greatly concerns us because the integrity of our review is completely dependent upon our obtaining all relevant documents, end quote.
Even after the Justice Department issued a subpoena to the White House because of Mr. Radek's concerns, it was only after this committee subpoenaed documents from Harry Thomason that the White House and other documents which should have been produced years earlier finally came to light years after they were originally subpoenaed.
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Other instances of this investigative stonewalling by the Clinton White House include White House billing records showing up in the White House private residence book room almost 3 years after they were first subpoenaed; Webb Hubbell, while he was essentially running the Justice Department, transferring Whitewater files to his basement at the same time the Justice Department was investigating this matter; a former bar bouncer at the White House, Craig Livingstone, inexplicably ending up with hundreds of FBI files on Reagan and Bush officials, and the White House calling it a bureaucratic snafu.
The FBI Director called it an inexcusable invasion of privacy. The White House withholding subpoenaed records regarding the investigation of the Hudson Casino project from the House and Senate until the information made its way into the press; the White House delivering just a week ago documents on the White House data base requested over a year ago by Chairman McIntosh.
If anyone wonders why we must continue this investigation, just consider the history of this White House. Would anyone be surprised, including our witnesses today, if documents central to our investigation are still somewhere in the book rooms at the White House or basement offices or misplaced files?
No doubt we will hear much about how many documents have been produced, but compliance with subpoenas is not measured by the pound. Quantity does not mean compliance.
It is not a mistake here or there that is troublesome. We all understand that mistakes will occur. It is the consistent patterns of behavior throughout five different White House Counsels that raise serious questions and concerns; questions and concerns which I earlier noted are shared by my colleagues in the Senate as well as the Attorney General, and rightfully so. The atmosphere that has been created at the White House is that compliance with congressional subpoenas is not treated seriously.
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Sadly, this year it took a threat of contempt of the White House to produce many responsive records, and then the President attempted to claim executive privilege in May, something which Mr. Ruff told me the President didn't intend to do when we first met on February 6, 1997. At that time, Mr. Ruff pledged the President's full cooperation.
But this is a White House which has always had more staff operating on spin control than it has on document production. A White House which often hides the facts from its own people and its own lawyers. This is the White House which not only had a Johnny Chung giving $50,000 checks to the First Lady's Chief of Staff, but which saw Johnny Chung solicited by close friends of the First Lady to contribute $25,000 to the Back to Business Committee, a group set up by close friends of the President and First Lady to thwart any investigations and attack committee chairmen and Independent Counsels appointed by their own Justice Department.
This is a White House which gathered documents back in October 1996, about John Huang and others and held on to those documents and held its collective breath until Election Day. Trying to find out about how the DNC vice chairman, John Huang, raised money was attacked as quote, ''partisan.'' Yet at least one candid White House staffer said a week before last year's Presidential election, quote, all they, [the DNC] are trying to do is push this back until after the election and then we'll watch it all blow up, end quote.
Let's take for example the White House coffees. Initially, the President said they were an opportunity for outreach to stay in touch with people. The White House overnights, all 938 of them were friends. ''I did not have any strangers here,'' said the President. While it is hard to imagine that all 938 overnighters were friends or that the President really needed to reach out and touch a Chinese arms dealer or a Florida drug dealer, now that we have the videotapes we do, indeed, see that certain individual people central to this investigation who have now taken the fifth or fled the country were intimate friends of the President.
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A picture paints 1,000 words. On one video we see the Trie team, which included Charlie Trie and the infamous Mr. Wu, the Macau gambling honcho, who provided Trie with over $1 million in wire transfers from overseas. It sends a message, the President was told when he posed with Mr. Trie, Mr. Wu, and various of their business associates. It sends a message, indeed. What message is sent by a President who made time for these shady characters, but leaves human rights activists and friend of many of us, Harry Wu, like an unwanted orphan? It sends a message, indeed. Why is the President meeting with Mr. Wu, instead of the humanitarian Harry Wu?
If anyone wants to know why we need to complete this investigation, they also should roll the videotapes of Jiang Zemin being feted at the White House just a few days ago. Representative Nancy Pelosi said last week, quote, ''As the Clinton administration gives a 21-gun salute to President Jiang Zemin today, which the Chinese Government insisted upon that President Clinton and all those assembled remember the shots fired in Tiananmen Square.'' The President's National Security Advisor, Sandy Berger, said last week that the Chinese Government has denied any plan to funnel money into our political system. Let's remember they also denied killing anyone at Tiananmen Square.
Does anyone really believe that we learned all there is to learn in these matters? There is much work left to do. The stonewall erected by the White House and the President's operatives must be taken down brick by brick. ''James Riady sent me,'' whispered the Riady intermediary, Arief Wiriadinata, in a September coffee 1995. Mr. Wiriadinata provided $450,000 to the DNC, the legality of which was questioned over a year ago.
Consider if the James-Riady-sent-me tape was public in October 1996 instead of October 1997. Would we have accepted the DNC's assurances that there was nothing to an Indonesian gardener of moderate income contributing close to half a million dollars to the DNC? The James-Riady-sent-me greeting brought an approving nod from the President. Now we have learned that Mr. Wiriadinata's lawyers are telling him to stay out of the country along with over 60 others who have taken the fifth amendment or fled the country. Mr. Wiriadinata is just another brick in the White House stonewall.
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These videotapes are a treasure trove of information on the way this President worked for campaign cash. We now are able to see how those who have taken the fifth and fled the country in order to obstruct this investigation were intimately engaged with the President who knew them on a first name basis. A Presidential hug for Johnny Chung, a ''Hi Pauline'' for Pauline Kanchanalak, the woman who has fled the country and left a multitude of questions about her quarter-of-a-million-dollar DNC contributions. Questions, regrettably, which apparently create no curiosity on the part of the President, the White House, or many in Congress. Who are these people and what were they doing at the White House?
I would like to add one other thing that just came to my mind. I sent two letters to the President of the United States regarding Charlie Trie, asking him to talk to the Chinese Government and in particular, the Chinese President about bringing Mr. Trie back before this committee so we could talk to him and ask him questions. To my knowledge, and to the media's knowledge, that question was never asked of the Chinese President. And I would like to know why the President didn't ask him that if he really wants to get to the bottom of this investigation. Could it be because Charlie Trie has answers we want and cannot get as long as he is in China? That is something I am very concerned about and I think other members of the committee are concerned about as well.
These pictures clearly provide a clear picture of what we are investigating and the withholding of such information is inexcusable as the ranking member of this committee, Mr. Waxman, has acknowledged. They were clearly responsive to our subpoena of March 4, 1997. There is no contention about this. The President's counsel has admitted the videotapes should have been turned over.
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As we go forward in our investigation, the FBI assigns more agents every day and additional Cabinet members are under investigation by a slow-moving Justice Department. Some would suggest we should stop investigating, but the role of oversight is to inform the American public of important information which may affect American policy. There is much left here yet to uncover.
The fact that an unprecedented number of witnesses have either pled the fifth amendment or fled the country cannot and will not deter us even if it will make our task more lengthy and difficult. The White House shouldn't be assisting in this stonewalling effort. Rather the President should demand that the public servants who serve him make every effort to get at the truth.
With that I yield to my colleague Mr. Waxman for his opening statement.
[The prepared statement of Hon. Dan Burton follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 21 TO 26 HERE
Mr. WAXMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Since our committee last met, Senator Thompson announced that he was bringing his hearings to a close. He held 32 hearings this year, but concluded he wasn't going to hold more hearings just for the sake of holding hearings.
I completely agree with Senator Thompson's assessment that his hearings showed the need for real campaign finance reform. Our system is broken and desperately needs fixing. In New York's special congressional election, for instance, just 2 days ago, more than $1 million in soft money was pumped into a single congressional race. That was inconceivable just 8 years ago.
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This morning's Washington Post has an article, ''Fund-Raising Flourishes in the House.'' In the first 6 months of 1997, incumbent Members of the House of Representatives raised $52.9 million, up $7.4 million from the comparable period 2 years ago, according to a new report by the Federal Elections Commission. And they pointed out Members who raised a lot of money recently and they pointed out a lot of Members who were holding on to war chests.
In terms of people who raised a lot of money, they talked about Newt Gingrich as of June 30th raising a million eight, and Richard Gephardt, the Democratic leader, a million four; Joe Kennedy, $1 million, and others over hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They pointed out that some of our colleagues have stored away money. David Dreier, $2.7over $2.7 million he is holding on to. Joe Kennedy has a million eight. Dick Gephardt a million one. Our chairman, $995,000.
We need to change this system. People are out grubbing for money and that is what we have seen in the Congress and that is what we have seen from the Presidential campaigns as well.
That is only one of the reasons that nearly every Democrat on this committee and Representative Sanders has signed on to the discharge petition that would force a vote just simply a vote on the House floor on campaign finance legislation. And I also want to mention that one Member of the majority, Congressman Shays, has also signed that petition, and nearly every minority Member supports passing a bill that would ban soft money. The fact that we have soft money that can be thrown into these campaigns, Presidential and congressional, has meant that we have seen extraordinary, extraordinary lengths to which people have gone to raise more and more money.
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At the same time, many of us are wondering why we are having this hearing today since Senator Thompson covered the same ground with the same witnesses last week. It might be a better use of our time to focus on other issues like the Triad Management's role in the 1996 election. And I very much doubt when we hear that our majority is looking at Republican campaign finance abuses that they are looking into that. One should. Or the Empire Landfill's conduit contribution scheme. These were ignored by the Senate. They shouldn't be ignored by our committee.
The continual duplication of the Senate's work suggests that the real objective may not be the truth, but to drive the Democratic party further into debt. There are two points I want to make about today's hearing. First, the White House has an absolute obligation to provide Congress with information pursuant to legitimate information requests. No one on this committee, Republican or Democrat, will tolerate frivolous privilege claims or any attempt to hide important information from Congress.
Over the past year, there have been a series of editorials in the Washington Post titled ''Dribs and Drabs'' and I noticed, Mr. Chairman, you used the term, dribs and drabs. The point of the series, which I think many Members agree with, is that the White House has sometimes failed to provide needed or accurate information to the public. At some point, it matters less why that happens, than the fact that it undermines credibility.
In many instances, it is a failure to provide information when first requested, and not even the substance of the information, that is damaging. For this reason, my personal view is that careless mistakes, not malicious intent, is the likely explanation. Based on the evidence I have seen, there is no indication that Charles Ruff or his staff have intentionally misled the Congress.
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It is also essential that we put the White House's action in context. The White House has received over 1,100 requests for information from the House and the Senate, the Independent Counsel and the Justice Department. They have spent millions of dollars complying with these requests and have worked with a small staff under tight deadlines. In a process like this, mistakes and omissions are possible.
As important as it is for the White House to cooperate with us, we must be reasonable in our requests and careful in the accusations we make. In October, for instance, Mr. Chairman, you appeared on Face the Nation and leveled a serious charge at the Clinton administration. You said that, quote, ''We think that some of those tapes may have been cutoff intentionally. They have been altered in some way.''
Now, this very serious accusation was the lead story on the evening news and was in the next day, and it was even sent out in a prominent Washington Post headline: ''Tapes May Have Been Altered, Representative Burton Says.''
There is only one problem. It is apparently not true. I know of no evidence that substantiates your charge. In fact, several witnesses who testified in the Senate, including Chief Petty Officer Charles McGrath and Colonel Charles Campbell, swore under oath that the videos have not been altered.
The depositions that we are releasing today, or at least we are going to release after some of the privileged information is redacted, will provide further evidence that there was no tampering. And I understand that Paul Ginsberg, a video expert hired by Senator Thompson has also concluded that there was no tampering.
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Mr. Chairman, if you have some evidence on this matter, I hope you will share it with the committee this morning. If not, I would ask that you correct the record so that reputations are not needlessly impugned.
Furthermore, I found your opening statement really curious, because you attacked the President for entertaining some of these contributors at the White House. At the same time you attacked the President for receiving the President of China, as if there is some conspiracy that the President of China coming to the White House had something to do with these other characters.
I just don't see it. And I have to say that you and I have not disagreed on policies that we voted on in the House when it has come to China because both of us voted against most favored nation status to China and strongly spoken out against human rights abuses in China. Speaker Gingrich received the President of China. Senator Lott received the President of China. The President of the United States received him as well.
I think we have to be careful. I think the White House has to be careful to be sure to comply with the requests for information or they are going to lose their credibility. And that is something they should take seriously. But I think we as Members of Congress have to be careful when accusations are made if there is no substantiating evidence for it. Let us conduct an investigation to get the facts, to get to the truth, and not make statements for which there are no facts to substantiate them.
I look forward to any new information that last week's hearing might have overlooked when these same witnesses appeared in the Senate. I yield back the balance of my time.
Page 37 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
Mr. BURTON. Thank you, Mr. Waxman. We would like to ask other Members to submit their statements for the record so we can get to our witnesses as quickly as possible.
And with that, Mr. Ruff, Ms. Mills, would you raise your right hands, please?
Mr. BURTON. Thank you. Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Chairman, I believe Mr. Ruff has an opening statement.
Mr. BURTON. Pardon me, I agree. Mr. Ruff, you are recognized for an opening statement. If you could keep it to 5 minutes we would appreciate it.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES F.C. RUFF, COUNSEL TO THE PRESIDENT
Mr. RUFF. Mr. Chairman, I will do my best to abide by that constraint. I submitted my opening statement 2 days ago. And I will read it into the record, but I want to begin with one very brief, very pointed response, Mr. Chairman, to your opening.
Page 38 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 There is not in my office, there never has been, and there never will be defiance, stonewalling, obstruction, or any other inappropriate conduct. My orders from the President of the United States are to cooperate with this committee's legitimate demands. We do so. And that is all we do.
Now, my colleagues and I are here to respond to the committee's questions today concerning compliance with your document request and subpoenas. When we have answered those questions, I am confident that the committee will conclude that our efforts have been diligent and our compliance with the committee's demands exemplary.
It is inevitable in any adversarial setting that there will be disagreements about process and substance. Mr. Chairman, you and I have disagreed on occasion. You have been candid in letting me know about your concerns, and I trust that you have found my responses equally candid.
Our staffs, too, have had disagreements, most of which have been resolved just as they should be, by ongoing discussion. When we have found some requests to be overbroad, your staff has often been willing to narrow them. When demands have strained our resources, we have been able to prioritize your requests. When concerns over privilege have arisen, we have been able to establish a process that ensures committee access to all relevant documents.
And I will pause here for a moment to reiterate what I said earlier, Mr. Chairman. I appreciate your taking the time to meet with me last night to resolve what I think was really a procedural question about how these issues ought to be addressed. It was symptomatic, I think, of the relationship we have developed in which we are honest with each other about our concerns and we try to find solutions to them.
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When the committee has made special requests for expedited production we have done our best to respond. At every stage, we have worked to give the committee the information it needs.
Where we have erred, we have been forthright in admitting it, and we have done our best to correct mistakes as quickly as possible. But I submit that, considering the extraordinary number and breadth of the demands placed on us by this committee and other investigative body, those mistakes have been few.
On that point, let me address one of the principal issues that has brought us here today, the recent discovery and production of the videotapes. The charges of impropriety surrounding that discovery, although readily disposed of, are symptomatic of a tendency of some, I would submit, to reach hasty and ill-considered conclusions.
We do not dispute that the videotapes were responsive to the committee's subpoenas and should have been found and produced some months ago. But the record developed over the past month makes it clear beyond any doubt, that the reason they were not found was simple and innocuous. One page of my directive, faxed from the White House Military Office to the White House Communications Agency was misplaced. WHCA personnel have testified that if they had received that page, they would have searched their computer looking for tapes of the coffees. There was no conspiracy. There was no effort to obstruct justice. There was no stonewalling. There was only a mistake of the most mechanical, routine and innocent variety.
Thus, the suggestion that the videotapes were concealed or their production delayed for some ulterior purpose is absolutely baseless. Nor is there any basis whatsoever for the claim that the tapes were altered before they were produced. The WHCA professionals, career military personnel, have testified that they retrieved the original tapes from the archives and copied them. Nothing else.
Page 40 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
I began with the issue of the videotapes because, just as the charges that have been levied concerning their discovery are baseless, so is the more general allegation that the White House has been deliberately slow in responding to subpoenas or has somehow been concealing relevant documents. Those who make such accusations need to understand two things.
First, to withhold, for tactical or political purposes, documents responsive to this committee's legitimate demands would be inconsistent with our professional responsibility, a responsibility that all the lawyers in my office take very seriously.
Second, to search for documents in the White House is an enormous task. There are some 2,000 employees in some 40 different units within the Executive Office of the President. No matter how focused a search request may be, and most are far from that, it may require us to contact every 1 of those 2,000 people, examine every one of their files, search the central records storage system as well.
Faced with deadlines from this committee and others that any dispassionate observer would find extraordinarily short, my lawyers have worked 100-hour weeks to meet the committee's demands in a manner that deserves, I submit, not criticism, but praise. When we receive a subpoena, a letter, or merely a phone call, we respond as rapidly as possible.
When a subpoena is broad-ranging or numerous requests have been received from various investigative bodies, we issue a directive to all personnel of the Executive Office asking them to search their files. Lawyers in our office are available to answer questions or assist in the search. In addition, my lawyers visit the individual offices that are most likely to contain responsive files and work with the Office of Records Management to guide their search for archived documents.
Page 41 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
In response to more limited requests, we conduct targeted searches or send special directives to those persons who are most likely to have responsive millionaires and for WAVES records, phone logs and e-mails we search through mounds of paper ourselves, often in response to some emergency request.
No process, however careful, can ensure error-free compliance, particularly given the demands and deadlines we have faced. Indeed, any lawyer who has been involved in large-scale document production, even in routine civil litigation will understand that mistakes sometimes larger, sometimes smaller are inevitable.
We can, however, take all reasonable steps to minimize the chances of error and to that end, we have continued to search to make sure that we have found every responsive document. When we find such a document, we produce it. That is the responsible and professional course that any lawyer would follow.
It is a course, Mr. Chairman, that is consistent with my mandate from the President to respond forthrightly to this committee's legitimate demands. No one has ever so much as hinted that we do anything less, and neither the President nor I would accept anything less. With that, Mr. Chairman we are happy to respond to the committee's questions.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Ruff follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 27 TO 30 HERE
Page 42 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BURTON. Thank you, Mr. Ruff.
Ms. Mills, do you have an opening statement.
Ms. MILLS. I do not.
Mr. BURTON. Thank you.
Mr. BENNETT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ruff, Ms. Mills. Good morning. Almost good afternoon. I thank you for your patience. Mr. Ruff, I, too, want to thank you for your visit up here last night. I enjoyed our meeting.
Let me first, for the record, note Ms. Mills, you are accompanied here by your attorney, Mr. Neil Eggleston; is that correct?
Ms. MILLS. That is correct.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Eggleston, if you want to be seated next to your client at the table, you are welcomed to do so, sir. If at any time you want to stop my questions, please so advise.
Mr. Ruff, you did not arrive as Chief Counsel to the President until late January or early February of this year; is that correct?
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Mr. RUFF. February 10th was my first day, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. Had you previously served in any capacity in the White House at previous administrations?
Mr. RUFF. No, I had not.
Mr. BENNETT. What was the general status of varying investigative matters upon your arrival?
Mr. RUFF. I think it's fair to say that they rested in various stages. Some matters were left over from the previous Congress and actions were being taken to respond to a variety of requests that had been lodged over the preceding months. Others were just gearing up.
For example, we were aware that the Thompson committee was about to begin, but hadn't yet begun its work. Similarly, the work of this committee was just beginning, and, indeed, I think maybe even before I arrived in my office I had my first meeting with the chairman.
Mr. BENNETT. And that would have been, I believe, February 6th of this year; is that correct?
Mr. RUFF. I believe that's correct.
Page 44 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BENNETT. So essentially there were matters having to do with the Senate, the House, the Department of Justice and Independent Counsel as you arrived on the scene; is that correct?
Mr. RUFF. That is true.
Mr. BENNETT. You will note that there were in fact earlier directives from your predecessor, Mr. Jack Quinn, concerning information sought by these investigative bodies and I believe if we can put up on the screen certain directives which had been previously sent by Mr. Quinn. Exhibit 135, a directive, I believe, in October 1996; exhibit 136, a directive of December 16, 1996; and exhibit 137, I believe it was a directive of January 9, 1997.
Did you have occasion to review those directives from your predecessor when you arrived, Mr. Ruff?
Mr. RUFF. In the days and weeks following my arrival, I reviewed these directives as part of my ongoing effort to try to catch up with the state of affairs and begin to address how we would go about making production.
[Exhibits 135, 136, and 137 follow:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 31 TO 36 HERE
Mr. BENNETT. I note with respect to the first directive, exhibit 135, looking at the second page, that that directive included the particular attached request for information or subpoena. I think it's on the television screen in front of you, sir, if you want to take a minute to look at it on the document.
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Mr. RUFF. Unhappily, sir, the screen is only modestly legible. Yes, I see it.
Mr. BENNETT. That directive, in fact, Mr. Quinn just also attached the particular request for information which had come from the investigative body; isn't that correct?
Mr. RUFF. Yes, that appears to be the case.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, you, in fact, worked with Mr. Quinn prior to working with Mr. Ruff; is that correct?
Ms. MILLS. That is correct.
Mr. BENNETT. And what is your present title?
Ms. MILLS. Deputy Counsel to the President.
Mr. BENNETT. You are essentially the No. 2 lawyer in the office; is that right?
Ms. MILLS. There are two deputy counsels; myself and Mr. Bruce Lindsey.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BENNETT. So essentially only Mr. Ruff outranks you in the Office of White House Counsel; is that correct?
Mr. RUFF. I don't like to think of it that way, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. I won't ask you if you outrank Mr. Ruff. Let me rephrase my question.
You had, in fact, been employed in the first term of the Clinton administration in the Office of White House Counsel?
Ms. MILLS. Yes.
Mr. BENNETT. And you, in fact, assisted Mr. Quinn in the preparation of these directives that we just placed up on the screen; isn't that correct?
Ms. MILLS. No, it's not. I think, as you know from my deposition testimony, this first directive I was not involved in. The second directive I was.
Mr. BENNETT. I'm sorry, Ms. Mills, I did not take your deposition. I apologize for that error.
Ms. MILLS. I'm sorry; I thought you had my transcript.
Mr. BENNETT. I looked at part of it. Then you assisted in the second directive; is that correct?
Page 47 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
Ms. MILLS. Right.
Mr. BENNETT. And how about the third directive? Did you assist in the preparation of that directive?
Ms. MILLS. Yes.
Mr. BENNETT. So then I misstated as to the first of the three, but then directives two and three in December and January you prepared those?
Ms. MILLS. That's exactly correct.
Mr. BENNETT. And whose decision was it to attach copies of the actual request, whether it was a request for documents or a subpoena? Did you make a decision to attach the particular request with these directives from Mr. Quinn?
Ms. MILLS. I think you are speaking about the first directive, and I was not involved in the first directive. The second two directives actually were with respect to requests that we had received and we went about ensuring that we put all the information from the particular requests in there in a form that would be understandable to our staff.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, was it Mr. Quinn's policy to generally seek to attach the particular document request or subpoena to a directive?
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
Ms. MILLS. No.
Mr. BENNETT. And directing your attention to the group of lawyers who arrivedin fact, you and Mr. Lindsey were the only two holdovers from the first term; isn't that correct?
Ms. MILLS. That's incorrect. In fact, at that time there were several other members of the Counsel's Office who were still there, but they have since departed.
Mr. BENNETT. Well, let me ask you this. Is it safe to say that by February or March of this year that essentially there had been a complete turnover with the exception of you and Mr. Lindsey?
Ms. MILLS. I think by June, that would be an accurate statement.
Mr. BENNETT. And by mid-January of this year, just prior to Mr. Ruff 's arrival, there were a considerable number of documents which had already been compiled; isn't that right?
Ms. MILLS. We were beginning the collection with respect to the December 16th and January 9th. At that point, we had compiled documents. We had not completed, obviously, compiling all of the materials nor had we began all the production related to those materials, as I think you might know.
Page 49 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, in late January, early February, right around the time of Mr. Ruff 's arrival, a significant number of documents were turned over to the Department of Justice under your supervision; isn't that correct?
Ms. MILLS. I believe somewhere on the order of 3,000 pages had been turned over at that point.
Mr. BENNETT. And in terms of your efforts for document compliance in searching for information, you had actually gone through a number of documents yourself with respect to Mr. John Huang; isn't that correct?
Ms. MILLS. Yes.
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, you sent an aide down to the photo office to see if you could find photographs of Mr. Huang or the Riadys at some point in time.
Ms. MILLS. With respect to the WAVES request, when we were getting press requests from a number of individuals, we made an attempt to go through and identify all the different WAVES records for Mr. Huang. I believe we had a request from the committee for that information as well. And so in the course of trying to establish which was the correct John Huang, which was an individual who was also named John Huang, but not the same John Huang, that is how we went about trying to discern the appropriate visitor and determining whether or not Mr. Huang was or was not the correct John Huang.
Page 50 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BENNETT. And during that process, did you, in fact, deal with the White House Communications Agency, better known as WHCA?
Ms. MILLS. I dealt with the photo office. I did not deal with the audio visual section of the WHCA, as I think you probably are aware. I was not familiar with their practices with regard to videotaping.
Mr. BENNETT. Directing your attention to January 15th of this year, prior to Mr. Ruff 's arrival, there was, in fact, a letter sent by Chairman Burton of this committee, I believe it is exhibit 138 that is on the screen now, with respect to the matter of compliance with document requests of this committee. Did you discuss this matter with Mr. Ruff when he arrived?
[Exhibit 138 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 37 TO 41 HERE
Ms. MILLS. When everyone arrived, there was, as you would say, there was a large number of individuals who arrived to do the investigative work, and I did sit down with the new staff who were going to be doing the investigative work to apprise them of what had taken place to that point and also what matters we had that had just come in that needed to be addressed.
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, your office is right next door to Mr. Ruff 's office in the White House; is that right?
Page 51 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22
Ms. MILLS. It is now. At the time you're speaking of now, it was in the Old Executive Office Building.
Mr. BENNETT. And when did your office move next door to Mr. Ruff 's?
Ms. MILLS. Early February.
Mr. BENNETT. Upon his arrival?
Ms. MILLS. I believe that is correct.
Mr. BENNETT. Incidentally, Ms. Mills, just to perhaps correct a misimpression by Congressman Waxman, you did not testify before the Senate; is that correct?
Ms. MILLS. No, I did not.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, with respect to the time period of February 6th at the time that Mr. Ruff met with Chairman Burton, I assume that except for Bruce Lindsey, there were basically no other persons upon whom Mr. Ruff could rely for document production in that I think Mr. Breuer has testified that at least he thought by February or March, Mr. Breuer in an earlier deposition testimony, that by February or March the entire new team had arrived. So I gather that upon Mr. Ruff 's arrival and your taking the office next to Mr. Ruff, that Mr. Ruff was relying upon you to assist him in efforts of document production upon his arrival?
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Ms. MILLS. That's correct. I was transitioning those matters. There was one member of the team who arrived in December 1996, but apart from that; that is correct.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Ruff, ultimately there was a subpoena that was served by the committee, the subject subpoena for your appearance today, and I believe that is exhibit 139. The March 4th subpoena. Mr. Ruff, do you know who actually received the subpoena and receipted it?
[Exhibit 139 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 42 TO 49 HERE
Mr. RUFF. I do not. That tends to vary depending on how it is delivered and what time of day and who happens to be present. But we view it as having been served on and received by the Office of White House Counsel.
Mr. BENNETT. Who made the initial determination as to who was going to ensure compliance with that subpoena and gather the requested material?
Mr. RUFF. I think it is fair to say, Mr. Bennett, that we treated this subpoena as we would any other subpoena or request for documents. Principal responsibility for responding to these sorts of subpoenas is vested in what I'll refer to as the investigative side of my office, which is headed by Mr. Breuer as Special Counsel to the President.
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Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills and Mr. Ruff, I'll note that paragraph 1 of page 1 of that subpoena, clearly calls for videotapes; isn't that correct?
Mr. RUFF. It refers to video or audio recording, yes.
Mr. BENNETT. And I believe, and if I am incorrect, Mr. Ruff, correct me, and I note and have appreciated your great candor in our meetings in terms of the error in not turning the material over, but neither of you dispute the fact that the videotapes recently produced by the White House were clearly within the scope of this subpoena back in March of this year; is that correct?
Ms. MILLS. That's correct.
Mr. RUFF. Yes, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. Now, Mr. Ruff there was a directive which you ultimately sent out on April 28, 1997, I believe noted as exhibit 140 and we will place it on the screen.
[Exhibit 140 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 50 TO 53 HERE
Mr. RUFF. Yes, sir.
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Mr. BENNETT. Is there any reason why there was almost a 2-month delay before forwarding this directive to members of your staff to seek compliance with this subpoena?
Mr. RUFF. This directive to my best recollection, Mr. Bennett, was intended to encompass a variety of requests and subpoenas received not only from this committee, but from other investigative bodies as well.
There had been, as you know, during the February, March, April period, ongoing efforts to collect documents and produce those that were responsive to the earlier Quinn directives as well as specific searches that were being conducted. This really was designed to wrap up a whole range of different requests that had come into the office.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, you were, in fact, aware of the existence of the entity known as the White House Communications Agency as early as last year, 1996, weren't you?
Ms. MILLS. Yes.
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, that is the entity that produces the videotapes that are subject to question here among the many questions we have?
Ms. MILLS. It is the entity that produces them among lots of other responsibilities that they have.
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Mr. BENNETT. And if I can, showing you exhibit 141, which is the memorandum in April 1996 from Mr. Quinn, noting that that agency, WHCA, would be recording political events, you in fact assisted in authoring that memorandum in April 1996; is that correct?
[Exhibit 141 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 54 TO 56 HERE
Ms. MILLS. That's correct. It indicates that it would be recording Presidential remarks as opposed to political events.
Mr. BENNETT. But essentially you were aware of the efforts of WHCA in that regard?
Ms. MILLS. My interactions with WHCA at that time were not to walk through a memo. As you probably are aware, there was a precursor memo that WHCA sent to me outlining what their activities were. With respect to that memo, we were focused, in particular, on activities and support that they provided that were telecommunications-related.
For example, when the President travels, every trip that he takes, there is always a staff room, and associated with it there are computers, faxes, phones and other equipment. WHCA wanted to ensure that they were appropriately following the guidelines that had been laid out in earlier memoranda that we had sent out regarding political activity, so our discussions related to those matters, as opposed to what other practices or activity they might actually engage in as an agency.
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Mr. BENNETT. Showing you a memorandum 4 months later, once again involving you with WHCAand correct me if I'm wrong, Ms. Mills, because I'm really not sure of thisbut exhibit 141A is a memorandum in August 1996, and I believe there is a note as to guidelines, as to the taping of political events by this agency; is that correct?
[Exhibit 141A follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 57 TO 58 HERE
Ms. MILLS. If you're speaking about on the second page, where it speaks about reporting Presidential remarks, it is, and as you are probably aware, there is a precursor memo to this memo from WHCA that is identical almost to this memo. So what I was trying to do was ensure that I was providing advice to our staff regarding the activities that they indicated that they did or didn't do.
Mr. BENNETT. Just so you understand, there is a limited amount of time, so I can't necessarily produce each document to lead into the next document.
Ms. MILLS. No, I understand. But I noticed that that one was not here, so
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, correct me if I'm wrong, your personal notation is in your handwriting at the top of that page to the right; isn't it?
Page 57 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Ms. MILLS. Right.
Mr. BENNETT. Did you at that timethe notation there in terms of your handwriting on that memorandum, did you at that time have a general discussion with audiovisual officials with respect to the particular events that were going to be videotaped by WHCA over the course of the Presidential campaign?
Ms. MILLS. No. And as I think you are probably aware, the individuals with whom I met were not familiar with what WHCA's audiovisual practices were at that time. Indeed, Mr. Steve Smith was not yet assigned to the audiovisual unit, so he was unaware what practices they had with regard to what they taped and what they didn't tape; and the other individuals also, I think, as you probably are aware from testimony in the Senate, were unaware at that time. So we did not discuss that.
Indeed, what we were trying to ensure was with respect to the President's political activity during a time period where there would be a considerable amount, we were making sure that WHCA's resources with respect to their phone, their faxes, their equipment, and their computers were being used appropriately; and that was particularly of interest because in this time period forward, the President's activity at that time was primarily campaign-related with respect to his traveling.
Mr. BENNETT. In fact, I can't report to you that I read all the Senate testimony, but Steven Smith, I believe, testified before the Senate within the last 2 weeks that you came to speak with him about the role of WHCA in filming events; is that correct?
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Ms. MILLS. That is not correct.
Mr. BENNETT. His testimony would be incorrect in that regard?
Ms. MILLS. I'm not familiar that he has made testimony with respect to us having discussions regarding WHCA's filming.
Mr. BENNETT. But if that was the extent of his testimony, then you would disagree with that?
Ms. MILLS. I would disagree with that, though it is my understanding that Mr. Smith has indicated that we did not discuss WHCA's videotaping practices at that time. Indeed, he was not familiar with them at that time.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, in fact, you are on one of the videotapes that was released within the last few weeks, I think the March 11, 1995, videotape, if I can have exhibit Roman Numeral 6 or VI. And if we can, just quickly that is, in fact
Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Chairman? Parliamentary inquiry, Mr. Chairman.
Ms. MILLS. That's my lovely family.
Mr. BENNETT. That is you and your family there; is that correct?
Page 59 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Ms. MILLS. That's correct.
Mr. BENNETT. I will stop, Mr. Chairman, if there is a
Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Chairman, I have a parliamentary inquiry here.
Mr. FATTAH. Mr. Chairman, when we are requesting information for someone to respond to testimony, we should provide the transcript of that testimony so the witness can familiarize herself with it.
Mr. BURTON. The point is well taken.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills in that regard
Mr. BARRETT. Mr. Chairman, I have an inquiry, too.
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman will state his inquiry.
Mr. BARRETT. Do we have a copy of all the exhibits that are being shown here? I understand there may have been one copy given to the minority. It is difficult when we see a corner of a picture to know what the probative value of that is. I mean, it would be helpful for us, as we go through these, so when counsel is asking a question, we see more than just the part that is on the screen.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BENNETT. I will be glad to respond to that, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. BURTON. Please, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. The tape, Congressman, is quite lengthy. It wasn't my intent to play the entire tape.
Mr. BARRETT. No, not the tape. I'm referring more to the prior one that we saw. The prior exhibit that we saw on the screen here. What I would like to do is be able to look at the whole document as you are showing it on the screen, and to know what the document is.
Mr. WAXMAN. Will the gentleman yield to me?
Mr. BARRETT. Yes.
Mr. WAXMAN. I was going to point out that the majority gave us these documents and we are now trying to duplicate them. They just gave it to us just now, so we are trying to make copies as quickly as possible.
Mr. BURTON. In the future, we will try to make sure that documents relevant to the hearings will be provided in advance.
Mr. BARRETT. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. FATTAH. Mr. Chairman, no attempt to be dilatory either, there have been a series of questions in which the witness has said, ''as you are aware,'' and I guess the concern would bethat would arise out of that is, if the counsel has some information to the contrary or that would infer a different slant to thingsI mean, there just seems to be something going on that I am not
Mr. BURTON. Well, relevant documents, we will try to make sure are given to the minority so that they are aware.
Mr. BENNETT. Congressman Fattah, there is nothing going on between Ms. Mills and myself. I think we have met each other once before. Is that correct, Ms. Mills, in case my wife happens to watch?
Ms. MILLS. I'm not going to answer that question.
Mr. BURTON. The gentleman will suspend.
Yes, Mr. Kanjorski?
Mr. KANJORSKI. If I may followup on Mr. Fattah, I think the counsel examined and asked, as you are aware, Mr. Smith testified on such and such in the Senate. And then that was not her recollection, that she is aware that he so testified. It would be awfully helpful, if there is that type of testimony of which the counsel is aware, if the staff immediately provides us with it, and follows up and provides it to the witness.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. BURTON. As I said, Mr. Kanjorski, we in the future will try to make sure that depositions or testimony given in the other body that's being referred to will be provided to all Members.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, I think just for the record, you and I, I think, have met once before on Friday morning, October 10th, in Mr. Ruff 's office; is that correct?
Ms. MILLS. I believe that's correct.
Mr. BENNETT. And this is only the second time you and I have actually spoken; isn't that correct?
Ms. MILLS. I believe it is.
Mr. BENNETT. And to the extent that you indicate, as I may be awareI don't presume that I am as aware of some of the facts as you areI am trying to get to some facts. If to any extent I summarize something that you think is inaccurate, please correct me, if you will.
Ms. MILLS. I am assuming that you have my deposition transcript, because that is what I was informed at my deposition. So if I don't have that, I don't, soOK, I have yours. Thanks.
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Mr. BENNETT. Directing your attention to June of this year, Mr. Ruff, I'll show you your letter of June 27th, which is exhibit 142.
[Exhibit 142 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 59 HERE
Mr. RUFF. Yes, Mr. Bennett.
Mr. BENNETT. And essentially at that time you represented to Chairman Burton that, to your knowledge, your staff had complied with all requests contained in the subpoenas; is that correct?
Mr. RUFF. That's correct. As you will note, my letter states, ''To the best of my knowledge, the White House has produced all documents responsive to the committee's subpoenas, with the exception of those documents that appear on the privilege logs,'' and then goes on in the next paragraph to note ''our continuing efforts to ensure that we have been fully productive of these documents and that our searches are continuing and we will produce documents that we find.''
Mr. BENNETT. Did you have any knowledge of the existence of videotapes at that time, Mr. Ruff?
Mr. RUFF. No, I did not.
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Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Millsat any time, did Ms. Mills indicate to you, Mr. Ruff, that there were videotapes?
Mr. RUFF. No, sir.
Mr. BENNETT. And did you ever inquire of Ms. Mills as to whether or not she knew of any videotapes?
Mr. RUFF. No, I did not.
Mr. BENNETT. Were there any discussions with her?
Mr. RUFF. Many discussions with her about the general duties of our office, including the discovery and production of documents, but nothing that was focused on the issue of videotapes.
Mr. BENNETT. According toagain just as a matter of public record and not trying to give any concerns to the minority, not trying to repeat the testimony of the Senate, but I think that everyone is aware of the testimony in the Senate, and if I summarize this incorrectly, please correct me, Mr. Ruff. But according to testimony presented in the Senate, there came a point in time where attorney Donald Bucklin of Senator Thompson's committee inquired of your office with respect to the existence of some taping; isn't that correct?
Mr. RUFF. I believe the sequence of events is essentially this, Mr. Bennett: That in a conversation with Michael Imbroscio of my office on August 7th, Mr. Bucklin raised with Mr. Imbroscio the question of whether there was some form of clandestine taping of conversations in the Oval Office, and asked him to inquire into that.
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Then, later in AugustI believe the date was August 19thMr. Bucklin sent a letter to Mr. Breuer asking more broadly about the activities of WHCA. The first time, I believe, which the issue of videotaping coffees was broached was at a meeting between Mr. Imbroscio and Mr. Bucklin on September 9th, in which Mr. Imbroscio described the preliminary results of his inquiry to Mr. Bucklin; told him there was no evidence of clandestine taping; that there was taping of DNC fund-raisers; that he didn't believe that the coffees had been videotaped, but that he would continue to search to be sure of the story on that subject.
Mr. BENNETT. Well, with respect to your interpretation of possible clandestine tapingand I believe those are your words, sirdid you discuss with Ms. Mills a question from counsel for the Senate which you interpreted to ask about clandestine taping at the White House? Did you inquire of Ms. Mills as to that?
Mr. RUFF. You know, I don't remember Mr. Bennett. Mr. Imbroscio came to me shortly after his August 7th meeting with Mr. Bucklinand by the way, I think the clandestine taping reference was Mr. Bucklin's. I expressed, given my historical experience, a mild degree of skepticism that any sort of clandestine taping in the Oval Office had gone on, but instructed Mr. Imbroscio to do whatever was necessary to find out. I do not remember whether I mentioned that subject to Ms. Mills or not, because I did discuss it with Mr. Breuer and Mr. Imbroscio.
Mr. BENNETT. You basically cannot say that you did or did not; you just don't recall?
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Segment 1 Of 22 Mr. RUFF. I just don't have a recollection. Ms. Mills might.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, do you recall whether Mr. Ruff broached the topic with you of counsel for Senator Thompson's committee, suggesting that there might be clandestine taping at the White House?
Ms. MILLS. I do not recall that.
Mr. BENNETT. When you say you do not recall, is it your testimony that it did not occur, or you cannot say one way or the other?
Ms. MILLS. I don't have a recollection of it occurring.
Mr. BENNETT. And with respect to the September 9th meeting, Mr. Ruff, when there was apparently a discussion with staff in the Senate as to taping of political events, but not specifically coffees, did you at any time have any member of your staff contact any representatives of this committee with respect to the fact of political taping of any type, which you learned about on September the 9th?
Mr. RUFF. Let me be clear, Mr. Bennett, that my brief recitation of the chronology with respect to Mr. Imbroscio's meeting was largely a matter of having heard his testimony on the subject and discussing it with him. I was not aware of the September 9th meeting, indeed, I think, until October 1st when I first learned of the existence of the tapes themselves. So there was really no predicate, I think, for the question of whether or not I would instruct somebody to raise it with this committee.
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Mr. BENNETT. And with respect to the importance of that kind of topic, there is no point in time that you didn't ask Mr. Lindsey or Ms. Mills, based on their history during the first term of the President's administration, as to this whole matter of taping, to your recollection?
Mr. RUFF. No, I am certain I did not. And indeed I would only comment in that regard, Mr. Bennett, that although legitimately so, the issue of videotaping has taken on a sort of life of its own in the last month, the existence or nonexistence of videotaping really was not an issue that was, I think, high on anybody's screen here, other than as a general matter searching for all responsive documents, whatever form they took.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. Ruff, let me ask you this. There was a meeting in your office on Friday morning, October 3, 1997, this year, when these videotapes had been discovered; isn't that correct?
Mr. RUFF. That's correct.
Mr. BENNETT. And who was in attendance at that meeting?
Mr. RUFF. I don't remember who all were there, but it was basically the investigative team in my office, which would have been Mr. Breuer, Mr. Imbroscio, and a variety of other lawyers who work on the investigative side, the purpose being to discuss where we stood on various elements of document collection and production and, particularly, the issue of the recently discovered videotapes.
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Mr. BENNETT. And Mr. Ruff, Ms. Mills was present at that meeting at well, wasn't she?
Mr. RUFF. I believe so.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, were you present?
Ms. MILLS. Yes, I was.
Mr. BENNETT. At that point in time, was there any discussion by anyone of the fact that they knew that there had been, in fact, videotapes of political events before?
Mr. RUFF. Well, there was discussion of Mr. Imbroscio's having found the initial evidence of videotaping. I recall no other discussion of the subject.
Mr. BENNETT. Ms. Mills, did you at that point in time indicate to Mr. Ruff that if you had known they wanted videotapes, you certainly could have let people know that there were videotapes? Did you express any surprise at this request?
Ms. MILLS. I learned about this the morning of the 3rd, so, I think, as you might know from prior testimony of mine. So one of the things that I think was at issue at that time was that the taping was the coffees. I was quite surprised to learn that there were videotapes related to the coffees.
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Mr. BENNETT. Did youwhat steps did you take over the weekend with respect to this matter?
Ms. MILLS. I tried to work with the staff and assist in any way that I could with regard to ensuring that all the appropriate materials were produced.
Mr. BENNETT. Did you contact Mr. Steve Goodin?
Ms. MILLS. I'm sure I would have contacted Mr. Goodin prior to the time we would have produced them, because at that time we had understood that Mr. Goodin might have been one of the individuals who worked with WHCA to apprise them of what events should and shouldn't be taped.
Mr. BENNETT. Moving on to just the general topic, Mr. Ruff, of complianceMr. Chairman, I'll yield the balance of my time to another attorney on the staff of this committee and the subcommittee, Jay Apperson, and I ask that exhibit 146 be placed up on the screen.
[Exhibit 146 follows:]
INSERT OFFSET FOLIOS 60 TO 62 HERE
Mr. BURTON. Mr. Apperson is recognized for the remainder of the time.
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Mr. APPERSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Ruff, Ms. Mills, good afternoon. The subcommittee of this committee, chaired by Representative David McIntosh, has been tasked with conducting an investigation of the White House data base which was planned and developed inside the Clinton White House with the use of taxpayer funds to the tune of $1 million-plus dollars. The investigation includes the possible misuse of that data base for partisan political purposes.
The subject of our inquiry, from the subcommittee's standpoint today, stems from a remarkable incident just last week. After being repeatedly assured that the requests for documents by the chairman and by the subcommittee had been complied with, we were sent a letter, as you know, Mr. Ruff, on October 28th, conveying additional documents. And we learned for the first time that those documents contained some very important ones, ones that had, in fact, been discovered not in some dusty room in the basement of the White House, as you referenced in other instances in your opening statement, but had been discovered fully a year ago when they were first requested; and that someone in the White House had found those documents pursuant to the subcommittee's request and pursuant to the directive from the Counsel's Office to find it and to give it to the Counsel's Office. And the record reflects that whoever that was in the White House in fact delivered it to the Counsel's Office for production to the Congress.
This is an instance in which that document was then deliberately determined not to be provided to the Congress pursuant to its request, not by some low-level staffer but by someone directly in the White House Counsel's Office. That person or other persons thereafter placed that responsive document in a file and there it remained.
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Next Hearing Segment(2)