Gavel To Gavel

Thompson Calls An End To Senate Funds Hearings (10/31/97)

Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Web site

Gavel To Gavel: Fund-Raising Hearings

Sen. Thompson Says He Thinks Some Witnesses Lied

He says the committee may refer some cases of suspected perjury to the Justice Department


WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 31) -- Sen. Fred Thompson said today he thinks some witnesses at his campaign finance hearings committed perjury.

In an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley, Thompson was asked if there were witnesses whose testimony he didn't believe.

"Sure," Thompson said.

Who? he was asked.

"Don't want to say," the Tennessee Republican replied. "I think that with regard to the ones that we have documentary evidence on that would attack their credibility, we ought to refer that to the Justice Department, and we will do that."

Thompson said there were some witnesses "who didn't remember what they had for breakfast a couple hours earlier. I mean, it got to be ridiculous."

Thompson recalled tapes from the Watergate era, when former President Richard Nixon was caught telling aides all they had to do was say they didn't remember.

CNN's Candy Crowley Interviews Sen. Fred Thompson

6 min. 20 sec VXtreme streaming video


"I didn't realize that 20 years later, we'd see that really come into fruition in this way," Thompson said. "But if you keep saying you don't remember about things that you do remember, that's perjury too."

Though pressed, Thompson declined to be any more specific about who he thinks lied to the panel.

The Senate committee's job, Thompson said, is to gather the information it can "and then, to the extent that there seems to be some elements of criminal activity, refer that down the street to the Justice Department. We each have jobs to do. So we've done our job and now it's time for the Justice Department to do theirs."

Thompson said he thinks the committee has made a good case for appointment of an independent counsel to further probe campaign fund-raising during the 1996 elections. "There are too many questions," he said.

Earlier in the day, Thompson announced he was suspending the hearings, but could resume them if need be. The panel faces a Dec. 31 date to complete its inquiry.

Asked about relations with Democrats on the panel, Thompson agreed with someone else's description of himself and Sen. John Glenn, the ranking Democrat, as "a couple of roosters who have been penned up in the same pen too long."

Thompson, asked if he wants to run for president, just shook his head and did not answer.

In Other News:

Friday Oct. 31, 1997

Thompson Calls An End To Senate Funds Hearings
Sen. Thompson Says He Thinks Some Witnesses Lied
Fog Delays Clinton's Florida Trip
Car Tax Opposition Propels Gilmore's Candidacy
Two Conservatives Battle For Staten Island Seat
Whitman's Lead Shrinks In N.J. Governor's Race
Are There Ghosts Haunting The White House?

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