Claiming an intern error, the House Judiciary Committee has retracted Monday statements regarding updates on the July 25th hearing on alleged presidential abuses, AKA the “non-impeachment” hearings.
A late Wednesday afternoon call showed the Judiciary Committee now claiming congressional procedures will require the official transcripts of the six hour hearing to be held for 90 days, meaning the official transcripts will not be made available to the American public until just before the November elections. A staffer who declined to give her name claimed that Monday’s statement that the transcripts would ready for the public on Aug. 3rd was an “intern error,” explaining that there are “new people in the office and they don’t know.”
The same explanation of “intern error” was given for the retraction of another, even more critical, earlier statement that an official committee report, or announcement of the findings from the hearing would be made available in “two weeks.” “There are no plans for any report or statement regarding the findings from those hearings. They are completed. We do not make press releases on hearings that have already happened.”
When asked to clarify, the staffer did acknowledge that the latest press release posted on the Judiciary’s website [dated 7/28/08—post hearing] was indeed a report of findings from a hearing, but the staffer explained it was actually a report of another committee’s hearing.
“To clarify then, you will post reports on the hearings of other congressional committees, but not of your own hearings?”
“We do not make press releases on hearings that have already happened,” the staffer replied.
While the Judiciary anticipates no plans to release a report concerning the July 25th hearings, the staffer says the committee chair, John Conyers D-MI, would not rule out potential future committee actions based on voluminous evidence introduced on the 25th by Constitutional law experts Bruce Fein and Elizabeth Holtzman, among others, but the staffer would not specify what any further actions might be, only that none have been planned.
When questioned for further information on the transcripts, the staffer claimed that those in the DC area could come to the committee office to view the current draft edition of the transcripts. Interested citizens would be allowed to examine the document and even take notes, but not allowed to make photocopies.
In an additional, though unrelated, example of backpedaling by Judiciary staff, when asked about the volume of calls making inquiries after Friday, the unnamed staffer, at first replied “There’s just been a couple a day.” Since this call was made after 4:30 DC time, the caller clarified to be sure, “The phrase ‘a couple literally refers two, as in a married couple for example; and while the term can be construed to include as many as four, are you trying to imply that besides this call, counting as one, only one other person in America called today to ask about Friday’s hearings?”
After a pause the staffer clarified, “No sir, several called today.”
Given the significance of these backpedals. It might prove helpful for those pressing for impeachment to independently call the Judiciary and ask the same simple questions: 1) When will the committee release the transcripts to the public? 2) When will the committee announce a report to the full house from the hearings? 3) What kinds of actions is the committee preparing in light of the numerous charges of criminal behavior laid out for the public record in the hearings?
The House Judiciary Committee public phone number is 202-225-3951. Readers who make calls themselves could compile the results in the comments below.