Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee intend to call a series of witnesses, including top White House aides Hamilton Jordan and Frank Moore, to testify under oath about the Carter administration's dismissal of David W. Marston, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia.
Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.), the ranking minority member of the committee, made it clear yesterday that he and his GOP colleagues will use Benjamin R. Civiletti's confirmation hearings to become deputy attorney general as a vehicle to explore the Marston case and a wide range of other Justice Department activities.
The Republican members were circulating a letter yesterday saying they intended to call Jordan, President Carter's closest political aide, and congressional lobbyist Moore, as well as Marston and Justice Department officials, committee sources said.
In addition, the Republicans sent Attorney General Griffin B. Bell a letter asking for unsanitized versions of all documents relating to the Marston dismissal.
Bell, who accompanied Civiletti to the opening day of the hearing, promised he would give the committee "anything and everything we have."
Marston's dismissal became a national controversy when it was learned that Rep. Joshua Eilberg (D-Pa.) called President Carter to accelerate Marston's dismissal while Eilberg was a potential target of a criminal investigation.
A hastily conducted Justice Department investigation determined that Carter and Bell were unaware of the investigation touching Eilberg when the congressman made his Nov. 4 call to the White House.
There were conflicting statements during that inquiry by Civiletti and his deputy about their knowledge of the investigation. And White House officials were not interviewed at all about the president's involvement.
Sen. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.), who has been leading the Republican research for the Civiletti hearings, said in an interview yesterday that "I think it's fair to say there has been no real investigation of this (Marston) matter yet."
He said he also planned to raise questions at the hearings about the Justice Department's handling of investigations of South Korean influence-buying in Congress, illegal breakins by FBI agents and the financial affairs of former budget director Bert Lance.
"I see this as virtually an oversight hearing on the whole operation of the Justice Department," Wallop said.
Bell tried yesterday to deflect the committee's interest in questioning Civiletti about Marston. "Mr. Civiletti knows very little about the Marston matter," he said. He suggested that the committee question him instead. "I'll be here," he said. "You won't have to subpoena me."
Civiletti is involved in the Marston case because the Philadelphia prosecutor told his deputy Russell T. Baker Jr. about Eilberg's possible involvement in the investigation of a federally of financed hospital addition.
Baker who also is expected to be called as a witness, said in a sworn affidavit that he told Civiletti about the matter. Civiletti said he heard no such thing.
Yesterday's opening session with Civiletti lasted only about half an hour because the Senate was tied up with consideration of the Panama Canal treaties. No hearing was scheduled today.
Wallop said the Civiletti confirmation questioning could last three weeks if the committee could meet only a few hours a day.