House Speaker Jim Wright (D-Tex.) blasted the administration yesterday, saying the Iran-contra hearings have revealed "arrogance, lawlessness, greed" and deliberate attempts to deceive the public and Congress.
Wright said the worst scandal of the Reagan presidency would not have occurred if the administration had "shown any regard for the president's constitutional obligation that the laws be faithfully executed."
He cited testimony by Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams that he had not been "authorized to tell the truth" in a congressional appearance last fall and by Fawn Hall, Lt. Col. Oliver L. North's former secretary, who said that, at times, "you have to go above the written law."
Hall later withdrew her statement.
Sen. George J. Mitchell (D-Maine), a member of the Iran-contra panel, said it is clear from Hall's comments and others that people "thought that their patriotism and their commitment to the cause was more important than obeying the law."
"It is clear that what Fawn Hall blurted out yesterday represented the attitude of many of those involved," Mitchell said.
"It is clear there is an effort under way to create the impression that patriotism, commitment to a cause, sincerity of belief, lack of venal motive somehow combined to justify evading the law," he said.