RUSH: ‘A Marine Corps sergeant has accused Jack Murtha…’ 16-term — that means 32 years, ‘…congressman from Pennsylvania, of falsely accusing him of cold-blooded murder and war crimes in connection with the deaths of Iraqi citizens. The Justice Department wanted the case dismissed because Murtha was acting in his official role as a lawmaker. Assistant U.S. Attorney John F. Henault said the comments were made as part of the debate over the war in Iraq. U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer said the congressman might be right, but said she won’t know for sure unless Murtha explains himself. She did not set a date for Murtha’s testimony but said she would also require him to turn over documents related to his comments. Collyer said she was troubled by the idea the lawmakers are immune from lawsuits regardless of what they say to advance their political careers.’
Now, I hold no brief for Jack Murtha. I think it’s kind of funny to watch the left run around and try to rip me and others for being critical of the troops on a total lie and a total smear and yet ignore their own side. Actually, they’re not ignoring it. What they’re trying to do is get back on board the boat that says they support the troops with all this by trying to find these erroneous and made-up incidents of people like me criticizing the troops, when anybody listening to this program knows that that has never happened and would never happen. If anybody is owed an apology on this, it is I, ladies and gentlemen. But I don’t expect one. Now, as I say, I hold no brief for Murtha. Congress does realize, they recognize no limits in its demand for executive branch officials, documents for testimony, but there is a fine line to walk here. Where did Murtha make these comments? On television? He has been critical of the troops on TV. Whether or not he called them murderers on TV, I don’t know. He did at a Capitol Hill press conference, not on the floor of the House, which is where traditional legislative business takes place.
Now, I don’t think those comments outside the floor of the House are protected under the speech and debate clause because, among other things, his lies about these soldiers had nothing to do with his legitimate legislative responsibilities. So that’s how I look at this. What was he doing at a Capitol Hill press conference or on television being critical and assuming the reports of murderous behavior on the part of our troops, what legislative engagement was he behaving in there? If the comments that Murtha were made were made on the floor of the House, regardless how defaming they were, they would be protected. If they were made on TV or in a press conference, but related legitimately to a legislative function, they would be protected. But it appears neither of those circumstances applies here. But really, it doesn’t matter how this turns out. It doesn’t matter because it doesn’t matter where he said it. Fact is, he said it. What does it matter where he said it?
As far as the American people are concerned, as far as the US military and its personnel are concerned, as far as the morale of the troops is concerned, what does it matter where he called them murderers? In fact, to me it’s even more detestable that he would do it from the floor of the House. It’s even more irresponsible that he would do it from the floor of the House. But wherever he did it, he still did it, he still said it. And the defense is, ‘Well, he can say anything he wants on the floor of the House.’ We understand it, but he still said it. Nobody has to make up, or twist, or take out of context what Jack Murtha said. Now we’ve got a judge that wants to talk to him about this and a judge who says she’s troubled by the idea lawmakers are immune from lawsuits regardless of what they say to advance their political careers. But, look, it’s clear that they are. If you allowed tort lawyers to sue everybody on the floor of the House, only Republicans would be sued, and there’s a reason for that rule or that law.