From remarks by Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) on "The NewsHour With Jim Lehrer" Wednesday:
Mr. Lehrer: Was [the independent counsel law] a bad idea to begin with, or was it just bad in the execution?
Sen. Thompson: I really think that it was flawed to begin with. What we've tried to do is kind of go around our system of checks and balances and bring in someone outside the system . . . kind of a white knight on horseback, to come and take care of the responsibilities that are given to the executive branch and to the legislative branch really to oversee the executive branch. I think that ultimately you're going to have the kind of problems that we had. You have independent counsels out there who sometimes misuse the broad discretion that Congress gave them and the mandates that Congress put on them. . . .
Mr. Lehrer: Sen. Lieberman . . . you think things should continue?
Sen. Lieberman: Yeah, I'm not ready for a proper burial. I'm working toward a rebirth, and I'm actually expecting that there will be a rebirth, whether we bring it about before there's another crisis in which some high official of our government is suspected of criminal wrongdoing or at a time of such crisis, when I will predict to you, as has happened before, members of Congress will demand independent investigation. This is all about the rule of law and whether when the highest officials of our government are suspected of committing a crime, they can essentially investigate themselves.