The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris debunk the Democrat impeachment narrative that former US President Bill Clinton cooperated fully with his impeachment trial by voluntarily, and happily, turning over 90,000 documents to Congress during the impeachment proceedings.
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For weeks, Democrats have been demanding to see new witnesses and documents for the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump. Mostly they have emphasized witnesses. But on Tuesday, the first full day of the trial, the Democratic House managers seemed to turn up the call for documents, claiming that President Bill Clinton provided tens of thousands of pages of documents for his impeachment trial in 1999.
“In the Clinton case, the president provided all of the documents — more than 90,000 pages of them — before the trial took place,” the managers said in a statement released Tuesday morning. “[Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell’s resolution rejects that basic necessity.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi backed up the managers. “For the Clinton trial, witnesses were deposed and the president provided more than 90,000 documents,” she said Tuesday.
“All of the documents in the Clinton trial were turned over prior to the trial,” said lead impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff when arguments before the Senate began. “All 90,000 pages of them, so they could be used in the House’s case.”
So a question: Where did the figure of 90,000 pages, or documents, come from? Did Clinton helpfully cooperate with the House Republicans who were trying to remove him from office 20 years ago?
It turns out Schiff, Pelosi, and their colleagues were not telling the whole story. They got the 90,000 figure, apparently, from Clinton’s rebuttal to the Starr report — the report independent counsel Kenneth Starr turned over to Congress on Sept. 9, 1998, after seven months of investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair. In that rebuttal, given to Congress on Sept. 11, Clinton’s lawyers wrote: “During the past four and a half years, the President has … produced more than 90,000 pages of documents and other items” to investigators.
But not to Congress. The Clinton situation was entirely different from the one Schiff and his fellow Democrats face today. Starr was an independent counsel with full law enforcement powers, and his office issued many grand jury subpoenas pushing Clinton, who often resisted fiercely, to turn over the 90,000 documents over the course of four and a half years, covering the Whitewater, Travelgate, Filegate, and Lewinsky investigations.
“If memory serves me correctly, I don’t think he voluntarily gave us anything,” said Sol Weisenberg, a former Starr prosecutor, in a conversation Tuesday.
With Trump, the House has been involved in a different process. Speaker Nancy Pelosi chose not to seek the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the Trump-Ukraine matter. (The old independent counsel law under which Starr was appointed expired years ago; a Trump-Ukraine special counsel investigation might have operated along the lines of the Robert Mueller Trump-Russia investigation.) Instead, House Democrats conducted a hurried investigation that did not involve a grand jury or engage in the type of fighting for documents that Starr did.
The House did issue a subpoena for documents directed at White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Oct. 4, 2019. The subpoena seemed almost certain to stir conflict, calling “for documents and communications that are highly delicate and would typically be subject in almost any White House to claims of executive privilege,” according to the New York Times.
The White House declined to provide the documents, arguing that the House impeachment process did not formally exist because the House had not at that point taken a formal vote beginning the process.
And when the White House did not turn over documents, the House did … nothing.
“Did the House take any steps to remedy that?” asked Trump lawyer Patrick Philbin on the Senate floor Tuesday. “Did they try to dispute that? Did they go to court? Did they try to resolve that problem? No. Because as we know, all they wanted to do was issue a subpoena and move on.”
Now, Democrats say they really, really want documents. After all, they claim, Bill Clinton turned over those 90,000 documents for his impeachment trial. How could Trump do less? It sounds persuasive — until one finds out what really happened way back in 1998.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.