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With the coming indictments of at least some administration factotums for lying to a federal Grand Jury if not for the underlying crimes, it’s telling to note how deeply members of Congress feel about perjury by government officials and how much damage they feel this serious crime has caused the Republic. With such insights and commitment to the rule of law, this dark chapter may soon be put behind us.
As the Indictments near, the Senate Majority Leader weighs in:
"To not remove (the perjurers) for grand jury perjury lowers uniquely the Constitution’s removal standard.
I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the President. He is not above the law. If an ordinary citizen committed these crimes, he would go to jail." (1)
A top GOP member of the Judiciary Committee added:
"Should he be impeached? Very quickly; the hardest decision I think I will ever makeI would hope that if a Republican person had done all this that some of us would’ve went (sic) over and told him, ‘You need to leave office.’" (2)
The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee chimed in:
"But when circumstances require you to participate in a formal court proceeding and under oath mislead the parties and the court by lying, that is a public act and deserves public sanction. Perjury is a crime with a five-year penalty." (3)
Another long-serving member of the Judiciary Committee said:
"What is on trial here is the truth and the rule of law. Our failure to bring (government officials) to account for lying under oath and preventing the courts from administering equal justice under law, will cause a cancer to be present in our society for generations. I want those parents who ask me the questions, to be able to tell their children that even if you are president of the United States, if you lie when sworn "to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," you will face the consequences of that action, even when you don’t accept the responsibility for them. (4)
A GOP member of the Senate Intelligence Committee noted:
"There can be no shading of right and wrong. The complicated currents that have coursed through this process are many. But after stripping away the underbrush of legal technicalities and nuance, I find that the (officials) abused his sacred power by lying and obstructing justice. How can parents instill values and morality in their children? How can educators teach our children? How can the rule of law for every American be applied equally if we have two standards of justice in America–one for the powerful and the other for the rest of us?" (5)
Another GOP Senator had this to say:
"Something needs to be said that is a clear message that our rule of law is intact and the standards for perjury and obstruction of justice are not gray. And I think it is most important that we make that statement and that it be on the record for history.
I very much worry that with the evidence that we have seen that grand juries across America are going to start asking questions about what is obstruction of justice, what is perjury. And I don’t want there to be any lessening of the standard. Because our system of criminal justice depends on people telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That is the lynch pin of our criminal justice system and I don’t want it to be faded in any way." (7)
And, finally, the Senate Majority Whip states:
"Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars of our legal system: truth and justice. Every witness in every deposition is required to raise his or her right hand and swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help them God. Every witness in every grand jury proceeding and in every trial is required to raise his or her right hand and swear to tell the truth. Every official declaration filed with the court is stamped with the express affirmation that the declaration is true. In the words of our nation’s first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay: ‘if oaths should cease to be held sacred, our dearest and most valuable rights would become insecure.’ " (6)
Of course, the perjury in question was Bill Clinton’s lying about sex. And, what are they now saying about the far, far, more serious lying about and subsequent lying to cover-up the mistruths that led us into war and the punitive outing of a covert CIA operative’s name.
Here’s what the neocon’s have to say now that it’s top Republicans obstructing justice and lying to Grand Juries;
"I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not some perjury technicality where they couldn’t indict on the crime and so they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation was not a waste of time and taxpayer dollars. So they go to something that trips someone up because they said something in the first grand jury and then maybe they found new information or they forgot something and they tried to correct that in a second grand jury." (7)
Apparently forgetting his own defense of the detentions at Guantanamo and elsewhere, not to mention the damage done to the Wilsons’ lives, one senator now shouts;
"If you can prove a case against Karl Rove, let the legal system do it, otherwise just shut up, because you’re ruining a guy’s reputation before anything has happened." (2)
Finally, RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman adds:
"It’s disappointing that once again, so many Democrat leaders are taking their political cues from the far-left, Moveon wing of the party. The bottom line is Karl Rove was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story based on a false premise and the Democrats are engaging in blatant partisan political attacks."
As super, double secret Tim Russert said recently on his show,
"One Republican said to me last night. If this was a Democratic White House, we’d have Congressional hearings in a second."
MICHAEL DONNELLY writes from Salem, OR. He abhors the entire Grand Jury process. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
(1) Bill Frist (R-TN)
(2) Lindsey Graham (R-SC)
(3) Henry Hyde (R-ILL)
(4) James Sensenbrenner: (R-WI)
(5) Chuck Hagel (R-NB):
(6) Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
(7) Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)