I, too, used to "listen to Lee Hamilton" (David S. Broder's column June 17) as he pointed out the shortcomings of the witnesses appearing before the joint committee investigating the Iran-contra affair and, drawing upon his 22 years of political experience, pontificated on the manner in which the executive should relate to the legislative branch. I listened until he made his own error of judgment.

"If," Rep. Lee Hamilton said during a TV interview, "evidence develops that the president knew about the diversion of funds to the contras, grounds may exist for impeachment." Without a shred of evidence, Rep. Hamilton has suggested that the president may have been lying and that a constitutional crisis could ensue.

If, as the French say, the right conditions are met, Paris could be put into a bottle. After listening to a parade of less-than-forthright witnesses before his committee, Rep. Hamilton appears to have acquired a certain disrespect for the integrity of the executive branch.

After witnessing the inability of Congress to come up with a consistent policy for the contras, the executive may well have acquired a similarly low opinion of the integrity of the legislative branch, leading it to pursue an Iran-contra policy without fully informing Congress. One misjudgment does not justify another. Neither course of action serves the Constitution, whose interests Rep. Hamilton should have uppermost in mind before he makes any further comment.


I have never read a clearer statement on what went wrong in the conduct of our national affairs than that provided by David S. Broder in his column June 17, wherein he quoted the words of Rep. Lee H. Hamilton, co-chairman of the joint committee hearings on the Iran-contra brouhaha.

May every citizen find, read and absorb the wisdom expressed by Rep. Hamilton. Ah, what a president he would make! LEON A. JASON Kensington