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Iran-Contra Counsel Hits Bush For Tight Lip On Arms Deal

February 20, 1988

KAPALUA, Hawaii (AP) _ A leader of the congressional Iran-Contra probe says he can’t understand why Vice President George Bush remains reluctant to discuss his role in the affair months after President Reagan opened the administration’s books.

″I don’t know why he’s been so hesitant to acknowledge that he supported the president in it″ said Arthur Liman, chief Senate counsel in the investigation. ″He was not a decisive factor.″

Liman, 55, was on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday preparing to address Tuesday’s meeting of the Federal Bar Council, an association of judges. He made the comments in an interview with The Maui News newspaper.

″The vice president now talks about the fact that his conversations with the president were privileged and he can’t reveal them,″ Liman said. ″The reality of it is, the president waived executive privilege. I saw memos, diaries, other documents reflecting meetings attended by the vice president and the president.

″There was never any document withheld on that ground, either by the vice president or the president,″ Liman said. ″All of the damaging evidence came as a result of the White House’s production of documents.″

Liman said evidence presented to the congressional committees shows the decision to sell arms to Iran was made by the president, and the vice president supported him. Liman said if Bush had opposed the plan, it wouldn’t have made a difference.

″The president heard arguments on both sides and made his own decision,″ Liman said.

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