Day 25: July 9, 1987

Mr. LIMAN: Would it have made a difference to you in your actions if you felt that the Attorney General was proceeding on the specific instructions of the President as opposed to the admiral?

Mr. NORTH: Would what have made a difference? That my actions be any different?

Mr. LIMAN: Yes, sir.

Mr. SULLIVAN: Objection. It's a hypothetical question. Pure speculation.

Mr. LIMAN: You say that you were not sure whether the Attorney General was conducting this inquiry at the request of the President or at the request of the admiral. That's what I heard you say.

Mr. NORTH: No. What I said was, I don't know that the admiral told me on the 21st that the President, at least I don't recall knowing at the time that the admiral told me that this was being done at the request of the President. He may well have told me that.

Mr. LIMAN: Would you have shredded less documents on the 22d if you had been told that the Attorney General was acting at the specific request of the President, your Commander in Chief?

Mr. SULLIVAN: Objection.

Chairman INOUYE: What is the basis of your objection?

Mr. SULLIVAN: It is pure speculation. Dreamland. It has two "ifs" in it, and Mr. Liman knows better than most, that those kinds of questions, Mr. Chairman, are wholly inappropriate not just because of rules of evidence, not because you couldn't say it in a court, but because it's just dreamland. It is speculation. He says if you had done this and if you had done that, what about this? Come on, let's have, Mr. Chairman, plain fairness. Plain fairness, that's all we are asking for.

Chairman INOUYE: May I speak?

Mr. SULLIVAN: Yes, sir.

Chairman INOUYE: I'm certain counsel realizes this is not a court of law.

Mr. SULLIVAN: Believe me, I know that.

Chairman INOUYE: I'm certain you realize the rules of evidence do not apply in this inquiry.

Mr. SULLIVAN: That I know as well. I'm just asking for fairness. Fairness. I know the rules don't apply. I know the Congress doesn't recognize attorney-client privilege, a husband-and-wife privilege, priest-penitent privilege. I know these things are all out the window. We rely on just fairness, Mr. Chairman, fairness.

Chairman INOUYE: We have attempted to be as fair as we can. Let the witness object if he wishes to.

Mr. SULLIVAN: I'm not a potted plant. I'm here as a lawyer. That's my job.

Chairman INOUYE: Mr. Liman, please proceed with that question.

Mr. NORTH: Let me answer it with a hypothetical answer.