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March 31, 2008

Holy Crap! Hillary Fired From Watergate Staff Over Lying, Hiding Documents, Unethical Behavior

She was known as Hillary Rodham back then, a young lawyer hired at behest of a Kennedy crony to help investigate the Watergate affair and move towards possible impeachment of Richard Nixon.

That is a matter of public record, and a well known part of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s biography.

What is not known is that she was fired from her position on the staff for behavior that constituted a grave breach of legal ethics (not to mention fundamental fairness and decency) and denied a recommendation by the general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee – a lifelong Democrat.

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. Why? “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.”

Unethical. Dishonest. Contemptuous of the rules and the Constitution. Those are the same type of charges that others have made against Hillary for years.

But these go back to the very beginning of her career, when she was a nobody on the committee staff. These are not the charges of political partisans out to destroy her and her husband – and are documented by a diary that dates back to the time of her offenses.

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.

* * *

“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 judge.

Zeifman still has the diary, and is willing to make it available to those who are interested in what it contains. It reveals a lot about the character of the woman who would be president – or maybe that should be her lack of character.

UPDATE -- 4/1/08, 7:30 PM: Ed Morrissey over at HotAir catches up with this story, and offers some intriguing insights. STACLU has picked up on it, too.

Patterico links to this older piece by Zeifman himself. This Freeper archive dates the story back to 1999, and there is apparently a 1996 book that raised the story. I'm curious -- why no significant press coverage in all this time -- especially given Zeifman's claim of a contemporaneous record? Certainly there must be some intrepid journalist who would be willing to shell out the cash to authenticate the diary or debunk the claim.

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