The following points were made during the testimony of former national security adviser John M. Poindexter yesterday:
ON HIS FAILURE TO INFORM CONGRESS:
He said he had no "regrets" for anything he did in concealing the Iran arms sales or the contra supply operation from Congress and the public. In response to Sen. Paul S. Trible (R-Va.), Poindexter said, "I think the actions that I took were in the long-term interests of the country, and I'm not going to change my mind. And I'm not going to be apologetic about it." He expressed doubts that it was possible to operate foreign policy under conditions in which members of Congress are briefed on covert operations. "It's my view that too much information is provided to the Congress about the details of covert activity," Poindexter said.
ON PRESIDENTIAL CREDIBILITY:
Rep. Dick Cheney (R-Wyo.) told Poindexter that misleading the Congress erodes presidential credibility. He said it becomes more difficult for the president to be believed. Poindexter -- who has said he withheld information from Reagan about the diversion of profits from Iran arms sales to the contra effort to give the president "deniability" -- disagreed. He said, "The president has remained very credible throughout this whole episode. That, of course, was part of my plan."
ON THE DIVERSION OF PROFITS:
Poindexter said it was easy to make the decision to divert some of the profits -- residuals as he calls them -- from the sales of arms to Iran and use them to support the Nicaraguan rebels. He told Sen. David L. Boren (D-Okla.), "I frankly don't think in the whole scheme of things it's that important a decision. It obviously is a controversial one. The thing that's made it important in your eyes, in my mind, is the overreaction of the media to it, and members of Congress have to react to the media."
ON A PRESIDENTIAL GRANT OF IMMUNITY:
Poindexter told Rep. Louis Stokes (D-Ohio) that he knew nothing of a Dec. 16 meeting of Reagan, Attorney General Edwin Meese III and former chief of staff Donald T. Regan during which the subjects of limited immunity and a presidential pardon were discussed for Poindexter and his fired aide, Lt. Col. Oliver L. North.