"Debunking claim Bill Clinton turned over 90,000 docs during his impeachment (Video)"
The Duran Quick Take: Episode 444 (January 26, 2020)
Alex Christoforou: “From an article via Byron York “ [shows a screen shot of a newspaper headline]
“Impeachment, Democrats, and those 90,000 documents” – Washington Examiner
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 moring. [Majority leader Mitch] McConnel’s resolution rejects that basic necessity.”
Houjse 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.”
[1:34] Alex Christoforou: Bill Clintion, 90,000 documents that he provided. And they’re upset that Trump isn’t providing the same amount of documents. Let’s debunk this story. [shows screen shot of CNN “fact check.”]
[1:53] Alexander Mercouris: “Once again, the Democrats want us -- I’ll say it: not as it actually was during the Clinton impeachment trial but as they want us all to think it was, and the two are entirely and completely different. Now what actually happened in the Clinton case, and Byron York sets it out very well in the article in the Washington Examiner, was that the whole Clinton case was investigated by Independent Special Counsel, who was of course Kenneth Starr. Kenneth Starr tried to get various documents out of Bill Clinton, who was President. Bill Clinton voluntarily gave nothing. So already we’re seeing a fundamental difference from what the Democrats are insinuating or implying actually happened. Bill Clinton gave nothing. Ken Starr then applied to get these documents via various subpoenas. Those subpoenas were litigated in courts up and down the United States. Eventually he was able to collect 90,000 documents from Bill Clinton and those are the documents on which he brought his case of impeachment to the House of Representatives and which the House of Representatives then took to the Senate. So it’s not true that Bill Clinton gave 90,000 documents before the impeachment trial. He was forced to give 90,000 documents as part of his impeachment trial.”
[3:32] “What the Democrats are trying to do, and it’s very insidious, and very ugly actually, is, firstly: They’re trying to build this false narrative that Donald Trump has engaged in some mysterious offense, obstruction of Congress, an offense which, to be very clear, does not exist in law. That’s one thing they are saying. They’re trying to build up this narrative that there was some sort of obstruction of Congress because Donald Trump, supposedly, hasn’t provided them, voluntarily, with everything they wanted, even though he has the right not to provide things if he simply asks for them.”
[4:18] “But the second thing they’re trying to do, they’re trying to undermine, at least where Donald Trump is concerned, the principle of Executive Privilege. Now, Executive Privilege is not an open-ended thing which says that the President can decide not to disclose anything that he wants. The President has the right to keep certain documents or records confidential because they are part of the private discussions the president has with his top advisers as he formulates his policies as president of the United States. And the kind of people we’re talking about are his Chief of Staff, his National Security Adviser, people like that. Now, it has been established law, in the United States, going all the way back to George Washington that those kinds of documents are protected by Executive Privilege."
[5:21] That doesn’t mean that the President has an absolute right to refuse to disclose them. What it means is he can say: ‘I’m not prepared to disclose them’ and the House, if it wants to impeach him, can then subpoena those documents. The documents then go to court. The court considers the subpoenas. Hears the arguments that the President and his lawyers want to make. Hears the arguments that the House of Representatives and its lawyers make. And then decides, on the basis of fairness and law whether or not the documents should be disclosed, or whether Executive Privilege overrides any other concerns and they should not be disclosed."
[6:15] “Now, what the Democrats want to do is, they want to cut out this whole process. They had the option while the House impeachment inquiry was underway, of going to court and seeking those documents that way through proper subpoenas. And they elected not to. Having decided not to, they now turn around and ask the Senate, which has a Republican majority, to do this for them, in a way that, in effect, overrides, without a court decision, the President’s right to claim Executive Privilege for his documents. Now that is the extinguishing of an important presidential right which, as I said, goes all the way back to George Washington. That’s a very insidious and ugly thing. And I noticed that the Republican majority in the Senate would have nothing to do with it. And every time the Democrats tried to get documents provided in this way, and there were seven votes in total, the Senate refused, with the Republican majority holding together.”
[7:13] Alex Christoforou: “Yes. Once you find out the true story of these 90,000 documents, then it makes sense why this whole thing doesn’t hold together, this narrative doesn’t hold together from the Trump legal team side. But it does make for a very good talking point and a very good media PR spin for the Democrats. Two points, Alexander. Starr was an Independent Council, much, I guess, analogous to Mueller. Correct?
Alexander Mercouris: “Absolutely. He was actually even more independent than Mueller because he wasn’t subordinate to the Attorney General in the way that Mueller was. But, of course, as we saw, the Attorney General and the Deputy Attorney General, who was Rod Rosenstein basically let Mueller do whatever he wanted, although it didn’t really make any difference.”
[8:26] Alex Christoforou: “Right. So I mean, if you really wanted to draw a proper analogy of these Clinton documents, you wouldn’t look at this impeachment trial which was very rushed through the entire process, and wasn’t fair and balanced whatsoever, you would say, ‘Let’s compare Starr to Mueller. That’s a comparison you can get. Aand in that case, from what I can understand, the Trump White House turned over millions of documents to the Mueller prosecutors. And I’ll read you one short sentence from Byron York’s article as well, which also points out the differences between what Clinton went through in his impeachment and what’s going on with Trump.” [shows screen shot of article quotation]:
But not to Congress. The Clinton situation was entirely different from the one that 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 Lewinski investigations."
[9:08] “So not only is the analogy to poor by comparing the Starr and Clinton impeachment to what’s going on with Trump and the documents there. But also, the timing is way off. The Trump impeachment was so short and these 90,000 documents covered four-and-a-half years.”
Alexander Mercouris: “That’s entirely right, as you say, compared to the millions of documents that Donald Trump gave voluntarily to Mueller. Donald Trump, in fact, never invoked privilege towards Mueller. He actually gave Mueller everything Mueller asked for. Or should I say Andrew Weisman who was actually the person running that investigation, asked for. Mueller and Weisman got everything. Clinton did not give Starr everything Starr wanted. Starr had to fight for it via subpoenas through the courts. There is a fundamental difference. That didn’t prevent the Democrats from accusing Trump of having engaged in Obstruction of Justice where Mueller was concerned. They never explained the logic of that given that Trump gave Mueller everything that Mueller asked for. But you know: never mind. That’s the way the Democrats now do these things.”
10:52] “And here I’m going to make an observation of my own.That this is supposed to be the impeachment of the President of the United States. An extraordinarily serious matter indeed. Is it right and proper for the Democrats to come along to the Senate and to the people of the United States and start spreading around these false stories making absolutely bogus comparisons between how Clinton behaved in 1999 and the way Trump behaved now? To me, that seems incredibly manipulative and extremely dishonest, and not for the first time. It calls into question the entire good faith under which this impeachment is being conducted. Because if this impeachment was being conducted in good faith, which, of course, it isn’t, they wouldn’t be making up stories like this.”
“Yes. They’re basing their entire impeachment now, a lot of their narrative is based on these 90,000 documents that Clinton turned over and that Trump is refusing. That’s the picture that they’re painting [shows screen shot of quoted passage]:
In a statement sent to PoliticusUSA, the Democratic House Speaker called out “McConnell’s plan for a dark of night impeachment,” noting that despite his promises to hold a trial comparable to Clinton’s impeachment trial, “his proposal rejects the need for witnesses and documents during the trial itself. In contrast, for the Clinton trial, witnesses were deposed and the President provided more than 90,000 documents.
“And when you look at it on its face, and you read the titles on mainstream media, they [think] ‘Well, Clinton turned over 90,000 documents, did Trump turn over any documents? But as Byron York dissects it, and as you have just dissected it, the two processes can not even be compared. As a matter of fact Trump, during the Mueller investigation, turned over millions of documents.”
[12:24] Alexander Mercouris: “Well that’s right. Not only can the two processes not be compared, What the Democrats are saying is, in my opinion, it’s a lie. I can’t see any other way to describe this. It’s a lie that, like really clever lies, has some very tangential but actually dishonest connection to a certain fact, in that 90,000 documents were produced in Clinton’s impeachment and we don’t have anything like so many in Donald Trump’s impeachment. But the entire process by which those 90,000 documents were produced is being dishonestly represented. It’s being mis-represented to the American people. Let me remind our viewers that the single most important document of all, which was the record of the famous, or in-famous conversation between Donald Trump and President Zelenski of Ukraine of 25 July, 2019, Donald Trump produced without any prompting. The Democrats didn’t even ask for it. He just went ahead and produced it. And when it didn’t say what they wanted it to say, they insinuated that it wasn’t complete or it wasn’t accurate, until even the most hostile witnesses that they interviewed had to admit that it was. So they’ve got no ground for complaint here. This whole allegation they’re making, has no reality to it. And as I said, this whole thing reeks of bad faith."
[14:13] Alex Christoforou: “And it’s done irreparable harm to U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy.”
“Indeed, to U.S. diplomacy, U.S. foreign policy, the international reputation of the United States, and of course the entire impeachment process, which will be impossible to take seriously, as one should do, in the future. If you impeach the President of the United States, the head of state of the United States, directly elected by the American people in accordance with the Constitution, that is a hugely serious matter. You do it properly, for some well-founded ground, not some made-up ground cobbled together through a rushed investigation and with all these phony stories being spread in the Senate so that they can play well in the media and win over a couple of voters. As I said, it’s cynical beyond words.”
[15:16] Alex Christoforou: “Yes. They’ve got the transcript between Trump and Zelenski, but what world leaders are going to want to speak openly to President Trump now?”
Alexander Mercouris: “Exaclty, as you absolutely and rightly say, they severely compromised the position of the President of the United States. I’m going to add that all sorts of people are now going to be extremely careful about what they say to the President of the United States. I’ve heard stories of Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister of Britain being very careful in his conversations with the President of the United States, Donald Trump. I’ve heard the same about the Prime Minister of Iraq. I mean, this is open-source material that I’ve been reading. And this is the direct result of this kind of mis-use of the impeachment process. There has been no abuse of power, evidence of the abuse of power, by Donald Trump, whatever that means, I’m not sure, exactly, what Democrats mean by that, but there has certainly been abuse of the impeachment process. And that – let’s be absolutely clear – has been an abuse that has been underway right from the day that Donald Trump was elected.”