Lamar Smith Likes GOP Cover-Ups
“If there are no fish in this lake, we should reel in our lines of question, dock our empty boat and turn to more pressing issues,” [Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), the ranking member on Judiciary said].
When Clinton was president, Smith supported a $75 million multi-year inquiry into a failed Arkansas land deal, and then supported the morphing of that multi-year inquiry into one focusing on whether or not Clinton lied about sex. Back on December 10th 1998, during the opening day of the Clinton impeachment trial, he thought that perjury, obstruction of justice, and impeding the work of federal prosecutors on a case about the president's sex life was an impeachable offense:
Both historical precedent and current practice support the conclusion that perjury is a high crime and misdemeanor. The Constitution applies that same phrase both to the president and to all civil officers of the United States. Several federal judges have been impeached and removed from office for perjury; that is why the president can be too. Also, bribery and perjury are equivalent means of interfering with the justice system. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines include bribery and perjury in the same guideline.
Some of the president's defenders would like to change the subject and talk about anybody else but the president, and about anything else except the allegations of lying under oath, obstruction of justice, and abuse of office. Such efforts are an affront to all who value truth over tactics, substance over spin, principles over politics.
Judiciary Committee members will be consistent if they follow the precedent established in 1974. Individuals from both parties agreed with a Democratic congresswoman from Texas when she said, "The president engaged in a series of public statements and actions designed to thwart the lawful investigation by government prosecutors. Moreover, the president has made public announcements and assertions which the evidence will show he knew to be false. These assertions," she said, "are impeachable."
Yet today, after six years where Smith rubber-stamped every transgression Bush wanted, he can't be bothered with the Democrats' weeks-long inquiry to find out if Alberto Gonzales and the White House politicized the entire Justice Department, lied about it to Congress, and impeded the work of federal prosecutors all around the country on cases far more substantial than Clinton's sex life?
Maybe a Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee will ask Mr. Smith about his double-standard today.