Watergate-Era Judiciary Chief of Staff: Hillary Clinton Fired For Lies,
by Dan Calabrese
As Hillary Clinton came under increasing scrutiny for
her story about facing sniper fire in Bosnia, one question that arose was
whether she has engaged in a pattern of lying.
The now-retired general counsel and chief of staff of
the House Judiciary Committee, who supervised Hillary when she worked on
the Watergate investigation, says Hillary’s history of lies and unethical
behavior goes back farther – and goes much deeper – than anyone realizes.
Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work
of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working
on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke
Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the
Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired
Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of
recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious
distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.
“Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview
last week. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to
violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the
committee and the rules of confidentiality.”
How could a 27-year-old House staff member do all that?
She couldn’t do it by herself, but Zeifman said she was one of several
individuals – including Marshall, special counsel John Doar and senior
associate special counsel (and future Clinton White House Counsel) Bernard
Nussbaum – who engaged in a seemingly implausible scheme to deny Richard
Nixon the right to counsel during the investigation.
Why would they want to do that? Because, according to
Zeifman, they feared putting Watergate break-in mastermind E. Howard Hunt
on the stand to be cross-examined by counsel to the president. Hunt,
Zeifman said, had the goods on nefarious activities in the Kennedy
Administration that would have made Watergate look like a day at the beach
– including Kennedy’s purported complicity in the attempted assassination
of Fidel Castro.
The actions of Hillary and her cohorts went directly
against the judgment of top Democrats, up to and including then-House
Majority Leader Tip O’Neill, that Nixon clearly had the right to counsel.
Zeifman says that Hillary, along with Marshall, Nussbaum and Doar, was
determined to gain enough votes on the Judiciary Committee to change House
rules and deny counsel to Nixon. And in order to pull this off, Zeifman
says Hillary wrote a fraudulent legal brief, and confiscated public
documents to hide her deception.
The brief involved precedent for representation by
counsel during an impeachment proceeding. When Hillary endeavored to write
a legal brief arguing there is no right to representation by counsel
during an impeachment proceeding, Zeifman says, he told Hillary about the
case of Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, who faced an impeachment
attempt in 1970.
“As soon as the impeachment resolutions were introduced
by (then-House Minority Leader Gerald) Ford, and they were referred to the
House Judiciary Committee, the first thing Douglas did was hire himself a
lawyer,” Zeifman said.
The Judiciary Committee allowed Douglas to keep counsel,
thus establishing the precedent. Zeifman says he told Hillary that all the
documents establishing this fact were in the Judiciary Committee’s public
files. So what did Hillary do?
“Hillary then removed all the Douglas files to the
offices where she was located, which at that time was secured and
inaccessible to the public,” Zeifman said. Hillary then proceeded to write
a legal brief arguing there was no precedent for the right to
representation by counsel during an impeachment proceeding – as if the
Douglas case had never occurred.
The brief was so fraudulent and ridiculous, Zeifman
believes Hillary would have been disbarred if she had submitted it to a
Zeifman says that if Hillary, Marshall, Nussbaum and
Doar had succeeded, members of the House Judiciary Committee would have
also been denied the right to cross-examine witnesses, and denied the
opportunity to even participate in the drafting of articles of impeachment
Of course, Nixon’s resignation rendered the entire issue
moot, ending Hillary’s career on the Judiciary Committee staff in a most
undistinguished manner. Zeifman says he was urged by top committee members
to keep a diary of everything that was happening. He did so, and still has
the diary if anyone wants to check the veracity of his story. Certainly,
he could not have known in 1974 that diary entries about a young lawyer
named Hillary Rodham would be of interest to anyone 34 years later.
But they show that the pattern of lies, deceit,
fabrications and unethical behavior was established long ago – long before
the Bosnia lie, and indeed, even before cattle futures, Travelgate and
Whitewater – for the woman who is still asking us to make her president of
the United States.