View Full Version : Waxman On Rice: We Have Hit A Brick Wall

04-25-2007, 01:17 PM
Waxman on Rice: We have hit a brick wall


(Gold9472: Until Waxman lets Sibel speak, I am looking at him as a criminal.)

Michael Roston
Published: Wednesday April 25, 2007

In a meeting considering the issuing of a series of subpoenas from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Wednesday, the chairman said he had hit a 'brick wall' in dealings with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

"We have hit a brick wall with the Secretary of State," said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA). "She will not propose a date to testify, she will not agree to testify, and she insists that our Committee be satisfied with partial information that was previously submitted to other committees."

Waxman's remark came in a fractious hearing on issuing three subpoenas. One sought Rice's testimony on May 15 concerning the intelligence used to justify the invasion of Iraq. The other two concerned the deletion of e-mails on accounts supplied the Republican National Committee and used by White House employees, as well as RNC documents concerning the use of the General Services Administration to assist Republican political efforts.

All three subpoenas were agreed to by the Committee. Waxman attempted to show that his willingness to have a hearing with votes was a new direction for the Oversight Committee.

"Under the rules of this Committee, the Chairman has the power to issue subpoenas without debate or votes in the Committee. That is what Dan Burton used to do. In fact, that is what he did over 1,000 times," he said. "But I am taking a different approach today. I believe the entire Committee should have a chance to participate in the subpoenas we will consider today."

The committee's Republicans put in a feisty performance, raising procedural objections to the conduct of the hearing, and then bringing up amendments to the subpoenas in question. One, from Rep. John Mica (R-FL) required testimony from former National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, who was convicted of unauthorized removal and retention of classified material last year. The second, from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-FL) ordered the Democratic National Committee to turn over e-mails that may have been linked to the Clinton White House.

They also escalated the political rhetoric in the hearing.

"I begin to feel like we're in Russia," said Rep. Christopher Shays (R-CT), referring to the committee's effort to produce information from the Republican National Committee, and the expense that would result for the national Republican Party due to cooperating with the subpoena. "You're using government resources as we speak. I don't know if there's anyone on the other side of the aisle who's thinking about this, but you should."

A statement issued Wednesday by RNC Chairman Mike Duncan made a similar argument, and suggested he'd be digging in his heels.

"The Democrats on Capitol Hill have made it clear: they will stop at nothing short of the entire Republican National Committee playbook for 2008 in their search for documents," Duncan said in a statement on the RNC's website. "You don't see the New York Yankees giving the Boston Red Sox their signs before a crucial series – and I won’t be giving our equivalent to Howard Dean."

Waxman responded to the allegation in few words.

"You may feel like you're in a Stalinist county, but it was your chairman who issued more than 1,000 subpoenas," the Chairman remarked.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), the former chairman in question, who still sits on the committee, responded testily to the charges about his tenure.

"You were the ranking Democrat at the time, and you rightfully objected," he said to Waxman. "But we had to try to get to the truth, there were all kinds of allegations of wrongdoing, and people were saying they witnessed illegal campaign contributions coming into the White House."

Later, when discussing the subpoena for the Secretary of State, Shays suggested to the Committee's Democrats that there would be electoral consequences from their political oversight activities.

"The same thing will happen to you that happened to us - the American people will say 'we're fed up' and vote you out of office," the Connecticut Republican argued.

All of the Republican members' procedural motions and amendments were subsequently defeated by the Committee's Democrats on a vote, or overruled by the chairman on procedural grounds.