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National Archives

Public Papers - 1992

Statement by Press Secretary Fitzwater on the Iran-Contra Investigation


On December 14, President Bush asked the Independent Counsel to supply him with a copy of his deposition of January 11, 1988, given in connection with the Iran-contra investigation. On December 18, the Independent Counsel wrote President Bush a letter stating that his office was considering the request. The Independent Counsel assured the President that his office would ``try to comply.''

Yesterday, however, the Deputy Independent Counsel informed the White House that the Independent Counsel had decided not to provide President Bush with a copy of the deposition at this time. President Bush has therefore asked former Attorney General Griffin Bell to assist him in seeking to obtain for public release a copy of this document. Judge Bell will also assume full responsibility for advising the President should the Independent Counsel fail to complete his investigation during the President's term in office.

Judge Bell was appointed by President Kennedy to the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, on which he served from 1961 to 1976. He served as President Carter's Attorney General from 1977 to 1979. He also served as Vice Chairman of President Bush's Commission on Federal Ethics Law Reform in 1989. Judge Bell is presently a partner in the law firm of King   Spalding.

The President hopes that Judge Bell's efforts will further his goal of putting his sworn testimony about the Iran-contra matter before the American people.

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