by Max Brantley
The D-G today reviewed A$a's legislative career and included glowing remarks about his high integrity as impeachment manager in the Clinton affair. Hah.
We return you again to our earlier link on a review of Hutchinson's work by the Boston Globe's Thomas Oliphant in 1999. Dishonesty, manufacturing eviDENCE against the presiDENT and prosecutorial misconduct figured in his assessment of A$a:
WASHINGTON - You gotta love House manager Asa Hutchinson. He should be called "the Doctor" - because of the way he operates, in this case on the facts.
The Doctor gets caught manufacturing a tale about Dec. 11, 1997, as the starting date of President Clinton's alleged conspiracy to obstruct justice, a plot he thinks is so vile that it justifies the first impeachment conviction of a president in our history.
Doesn't stop the man from Arkansas. In the same trial, Hutchinson switches gears and makes up another story, claiming that the plot started on Dec. 5, or maybe Dec. 6. This time his made-up plot is of such alleged urgency that nothing happens to carry it out for 13 days.
Hutchinson's chutzpah is for the ages. He gets caught during the trial defaming as conspirators Vernon Jordon and Betty Currie, who are then shown never to have conspired. And by perhaps the final weekend of this farce, Hutchinson had invented an entirely new theory - that the testimony of the key players - Jordan, Currie, Monica Lewinsky, and officials of the company that hired her, all of which is exculpatory - is "irrelevant."
"You will see," said the Doctor, "that the president may have been the only individual who had the complete picture." In other words, a trial based (from Ken Starr referral through House Judiciary Committee rewrite through trial brief and initial Senate presentation) on a conspiracy to obstruct justice was transformed into a one-man show based entirely on inferences by House managers about the president's intent that have been rejected by the only witnesses.
After a lengthy recitation of Hutchinson's misrepresentations (no, the D-G doesn't pick up Oliphant), the Globe writer concludes:
The obstruction article of impeachment was always headed for rejection on any of three bases: The president is innocent; he is not guilty; the offense is not impeachable. Now there's a fourth: flagrant prosecutorial misconduct in a case that should never have been brought.