Time: Mon Jul 21 16:41:36 1997
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Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 16:10:15 -0700
To: (Recipient list suppressed)
From: Paul Andrew Mitchell [address in tool bar]

>Sunday July 20 6:20 PM EDT 
>Senator: Justice Dept. obstructs info.
>WASHINGTON, July 20 (UPI) _ Judicial Watch, a Washington-based 
>watchdog group, says Senator Thad Cochran, R-Miss., a member 
>of the Government Affairs Committee investigating the campaign 
>finance scandal, confirmed on CBS's Face the Nation program 
>(Sunday) the group's longstanding position that Attorney 
>General Janet Reno is subverting the probe. Cochran told United 
>Press International the Department of Justice is preventing 
>the committee from getting information from the FBI on this
>jqp@globaldialog.com wrote:
>> Sen.: Justice, FBI Hinder DNC Probe
>> WASHINGTON (AP)--A Senate committee has been
>> unable to determine whether China influenced U.S.
>> elections because the Justice Department and the
>> FBI hindered the campaign-finance probe, a Republican
>> panel member said Sunday.
>> "There has been an obstruction of the free flow
>> of information from the intelligence community
>> to the committee and from the Department of Justice
>> investigators to the committee by people in the
>> Department of Justice," Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran
>> said on CBS' "Face the Nation."
>> Cochran, a member of the Senate Governmental Affairs
>> Committee investigating campaign fund raising,
>> accused Justice of changing a letter submitted
>> to the committee by the FBI director, stonewalling
>> questions and unnecessarily rejecting immunization
>> from prosecution for certain witnesses.
>> Justice Department spokesman Bert Brandenburg said
>> when criminal and congressional investigations
>> overlap, lawmakers often become frustrated "when
>> the Justice Department does its job."
>> "Our job is to investigate allegations of criminal
>> wrongdoing," Brandenburg said.
>> Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., appearing on CNN's "Late
>> Edition," called Cochran's accusations "innuendos
>> and extreme statements." Levin said the focus should
>> be on the "broken" campaign finance system, which
>> encourages the pursuit of unregulated "soft money"
>> to finance political work.
>> "It's another serious charge shipped out there
>> without the supporting evidence. And that's where
>> we've got to be careful," Levin said.
>> Cochran said a Justice official who testified before
>> the committee admitted he changed a letter submitted
>> by FBI Director Louis Freeh.
>> "He admitted that this was his letter and that
>> it was not the letter, the same letter, that the
>> FBI director had written to the committee," Cochran
>> said.
>> Justice's Brandenburg countered that Cochran apparently
>> referred to a letter from the Justice Department
>> to the committee about a week ago. He said Freeh
>> wrote the first draft, language was added, and
>> Freeh approved the final version.
>> "It's incorrect to say any language was altered,
>> " Brandenburg said.
>> Cochran also complained that Justice Department
>> officials repeatedly refused to answer questions
>> about individuals who might have helped raise illegal
>> money on the ground that it might compromise their
>> investigations.
>> Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., on "Face the Nation"
>> with Cochran, said that as a former law enforcement
>> officer, he understands the reluctance of the FBI
>> to answer questions related to its own investigations.
>> "Senators are not notoriously good secret keepers,
>> " said Lieberman, once Connecticut's attorney general.
>> "If I was back being in law enforcement ..., and
>> I had an ongoing case, I'd be careful about how
>> much I shared. I think that's only good law enforcement."
>> Cochran and other senators also criticized the
>> Justice Department as moving too slowly to grant
>> immunity as a tool for eliciting testimony from
>> witnesses.
>> They particularly objected to the department's
>> reluctance to immunize nuns and monks from a Buddhist
>> temple in California where Vice President Al Gore
>> attended a fund raiser. Republicans have charged
>> that the event was used to launder illegal foreign
>> donations to the Democratic Party.
>> "We think that this is an unnecessary delay, and
>> we wonder again who's causing that," Cochran said.
>> Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, agreed that the delay
>> in providing permission for immunity for the witnesses
>> has slowed the Senate investigation.
>> "We are trying to make some very important decisions
>> on immunity," Collins said. "The Justice Department
>> has not been very clear on why they oppose immunity
>> for some of the Buddhist monks and nuns involved
>> in the case, who are clearly just victims and would
>> never be prosecuted."
>> White House spokesman Joe Lockhart refused to comment
>> on Cochran's charges because the hearings are under
>> way.
>Prediction of the decade:  "The public will never believe the
>innocence of the Clintons & their loyal staff."  -- author unknown
>-> Send "subscribe   snetnews " to majordomo@world.std.com
>->  Posted by: kalliste@aci.net (J. Orlin Grabbe)

Paul Andrew Mitchell                 : Counselor at Law, federal witness
B.A., Political Science, UCLA;  M.S., Public Administration, U.C. Irvine

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