In Focus: Hillary the Watergate Conspiracist?

It may not be news, but it is the first many are hearing of it. Reporter Dan Calabrese of the North Star Writers Group has published a column arguing that Hillary Clinton lied and committed numerous ethical violations in her capacity as a 27 year-old attorney assigned to the Watergate investigation on the House Judiciary Committee. Calabrese's source is Jeff Zeifman, the erstwhile general counsel and chief of staff of the committee, who fired Clinton after the case was finished and refused to write her a recommendation (a dubious distinction she shared with only two others in Zeifman's 17 year-career) because, as he puts it, “she was a liar. 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.”

Zeifman claims Clinton tried to prevent Richard Nixon from obtaining counsel by writing a fraudulent legal brief and stealing the documents relating to the one useful impeachment precedent -- the trial against Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas in 1970 -- that clearly established the right:

Zeifman says he told Hillary that all the documents establishing this fact were in the Judiciary Committee’s public files. So what did Hillary do?

“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.

But the real kicker? According to Zeifman, Hillary's rampant illegal conduct was part of an elaborate plot to keep E. Howard Hunt, the architect of the Watergate break-in, from testifying before Congress and loosing all sorts of damaging material about the Kennedy administration, said to include JFK's attempt to assassinate Fidel Castro.

Hillary was in league, in this estimation, with fellow committee members Burke Marshall, Ted Kennedy's lawyer in the Chappaquiddick affair, Bernard Nussbaum, future Clinton White House attorney, and John Doar to keep Nixon's hatchet-men from going public about the CIA skulduggery and black ops in Cuba.

Which begs the question: Would someone as cynical and politically ambitious go to such lengths for the admittedly selfless goal of tending the flame of "Camelot"?

Those now in mind of an Oliver Stone plot should note that Zeifman's already advertised that parallel as a selling point for his own conspiracy-laden thesis. A 1996 Washington Post review of Zeifman's book, Without Honor: Crimes of Camelot and the Impeachment of President Nixon, found that:

Zeifman's most reliable source -- his diary -- contains few revelations and seems little more than a chronicle of his suspicions and speculations. The book's jacket cover, which promises readers "truths even more startling than those brought out in Oliver Stone's movies 'Nixon' and 'JFK', " does not help matters. Perhaps the book's publicists forgot that "Nixon" and "JFK" were, after all, only Hollywood movies.

Yet Ed Morrissey at Hot Air says these disclosures of Young Hillary could end her political career. And aren't they just too characteristic of the later Machiavellian we've come to know and distrust? "When informed that public evidence showed a precedent for the right to counsel, she absconded with the files to eliminate the evidence. Does that remind anyone of later incidents in the Clinton narrative, such as the billing records for the Rose Law offices and the 900+ raw FBI files on political opponents of the Clintons?"

Pundit Review remarks: "Hillary’s has always used her time on the Watergate committee as a way of demonstrating that she was one of the best and brightest of her generation. It’s a central part of her mythology. Not anymore. Now her time on the Watergate committee will be seen as further proof that William Safire was prescient in his observations of the former First Lady."

But TBogg thinks the evidence supporting Zeifman's claims -- i.e., his own diary -- is wafer-thin: "So it looks like, in Calabrese, Zeifman found someone who would buy him a couple of drinks...to hear about the plot to save Nixon... and Kennedy (s), possibly on orders from Walt Disney's frozen head speaking to them from the sound stage where they faked the moon landing."

Michael Weiss is the New York Editor of Pajamas Media. His blog is Snarksmith.