Congressional live blog (contd.)
Posted: Wednesday February 13, 2008 9:55AM; Updated: Wednesday February 13, 2008 4:06PM
1:50 p.m. ET
From SI's Luis Fernando Llosa: "In politics timing is everything: As the House Oversight Committee grills Clemens and McNamee about if or when Clemens and his wife Debbie were injected with human growth hormone, spotlight-hungry Senator Charles Schumer (D- NY) announces a bill which has just been sent to the Senate floor to be voted on as early as tomorrow. The bill would criminalize possession of human growth hormone without a prescription. Players beware!
1:41 p.m. ET
From SI.com's Jon Heyman: "The party-line division picked up after the break as Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) opened the second half by tossing some softball questions at Clemens and questioning the validity of McNamee's doctorate, but Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-Ill.) told Clemens that he thought his investigators were 'fishing for evidence'' that McNamee might have kept when they secretly recorded their conversation with McNamee. The Republicans and Democrats are pretty consistently disagreeing, with Democrats favoring McNamee and Republicans favoring Clemens."
1:39 p.m. ET
From SI's David Epstein: "Souder and Cummings have told me previously that it's a mistake to think this is all a waste of Congress' time. They said that this is about public health and public education, so it shouldn't be viewed as grandstanding when they want to take on these issues publicly. The whole point, they say, is to educate the public about steroids and HGH, and to do that, they see the Mitchell Report as a document whose public credibility is important. They said that the public probably overestimates the resources they expend on this compared to other things because of the media attention, which is probably true. They've held a few hearings over the course of several years and it has caused a marked shift in baseball's attitude toward drugs and drug testing."
1:33 p.m. ET
From SI's David Epstein: "Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL) is one of the members who has been adamant that baseball is important to the American fabric, and that its integrity is important even aside from the health impact of the steroids hearing on children."
1:32 p.m. ET
McNamee said that he obtained a doctorate degree in 1998 and took courses at a fly-by-night institution called Columbus University in Louisiana. He said he took 11 courses and then offered a dissertation (his subject was weight training and pitchers). The college does not have campus and McNamee admitted that he found out later that it was a diploma mill. McNamee wrote checks to Kirk Radomski and signed them as Dr. McNamee. A bad moment for his side.
1:31 p.m. ET
From SI's Tom Verducci: "Tom Davis (R-Va.) has made it clear that he is in Clemens' corner. After the recess he opened by bringing up the nanny issue as it regarded the Canseco luncheon. Davis was treading lightly around the subject, but suddenly Clemens let it drop that maybe he did stop by Canseco's house. After all the denials, Clemens basically said, 'Well, yeah, it's possible I could have stopped by Canseco's house, maybe dropped off the family, swung by after golf and before going to the ballpark....' Hmmm. How did Davis follow up on that admission? Well, he didn't."
1:21 p.m. ET
Team Clemens arrives after McNamee's group following the recess. The break was longer than 15 minutes. Waxman calls the committee back to order.
1:11 p.m. ET
From SI's David Epstein: "The committee's chief of staff, Phil Schilaro, said that there has been no talk about the committee making a referral to the Justice Department to call for a criminal proceeding. He said there's no need for an official referral because everything is already being presented in front of the Justice Department. Epstein says that later in the day the committee's web site will have a transcript that shows that the nanny remembers the Clemens family being at Canseco's house during the time period but that she does not have specific details of the party. One other note: McNamee did lie at some point about having a Ph.D. He had some credits from a school that turned out to be basically a diploma mill, and was shuttered by the state of Louisiana."
1:00 p.m. ET
If you're curious about the TV pundits take: ESPN's Roger Cossack said McNamee is "a guy who lied for convenience." He said that Clemens has his own problem and the problem is Pettitte. Cossack said he thought Clemens was doing a good job and that Rep. Burton really made McNamee look bad. Cossack doesn't think a jury would find "beyond a reasonable doubt" that McNamee was telling truth. Steve Phillips thought Clemens was "taking body shots." Pun intended? We're not sure.
12:52 p.m. ET
Waxman calls for a 15-minute recess.
12:50 p.m. ET
From SI's Luis Fernando Llosa, who's also covering the hearing: "Getting to know your baseball heroes intimately: Clemens spent several minutes listing a litany of biographical details to buttress his character defense: 'I took no short cuts... I did not own a car... I ran home from practice everyday... I worked my butt off.' Considering that a good portion of this hearing has focused on the details surrounding a large 'mass' that developed on Clemens' buttock after he was given an injection/injections there (and the rather important disparity in claims as to whether the abscess he developed there was the result of repeated injections of the steroid Winstrol or a troublesome B-12 shot) perhaps Clemens should reconsider his word choice. McNamee has been questioned repeatedly about his truthfulness. Earlier, when asked about the Blue Jays training staff's knowledge of Clemens' abscess, McNamee responded, with exasperation: 'None of those people were injecting Roger Clemens with steroids in his butt.' What's next?"
12:49 p.m. ET
Nannygate! Waxman says that the committee repeatedly asks to contact Clemens' former nanny and felt they were stonewalled. Finally, the Clemens camp provided the nanny's name on Monday and the committee spoke to her on Tuesday. Waxman said Clemens called the nanny on Sunday and asked her to come to his house. Waxman said Clemens spoke with the nanny, who had not spoken with Clemens since 2001. Not good for Roger. The nanny told the committee that Clemens, his wife and kids were at Canseco's house. Waxman is implying that Clemens is coercing a witness. At one point Clemens' lawyer, Rusty Hardin, stood up and shouted that it was his idea to investigate what the nanny knew. Waxman said that the right way to handle it was to let the committee interview her before Clemens and his camp did: "It sure raises an appearance of impropriety. The right way to handle this would have been to give the committee and certainly for you not to talk to her personally about the interview as you did. You chose, I think, the worst approach. You invited her to your home and had a specific conversation about whether you were at Mr. Canseco's house." That prompted Hardin and Lanny Breuer to stand up in the chamber and accuse the committee of slandering Clemens. ("With all due respect, this is nothing but innuendo," said Breuer). Clemens said he is "hurt" by Waxman's implying that he was coercing a witness.
12:46 p.m. ET
From SI's Tom Verducci: "Chairman Henry Waxman ventured into very dangerous waters when he seemed to be strongly hinting about witness tampering when Team Clemens did not deliver Clemens' nanny to the committee in a timely manner, and in fact met with her before she spoke to the committee. Clemens and his lawyers had every right to speak with her. But Clemens gave an insight into the entitlement status of professional athletes by the way he reacted to the committee's request for the nanny's name and contact number. 'I did y'all a favor,' Clemens protested. A favor? A congressional committee asks you to perform a duty just a few days before a hearing and it's a 'favor' to comply with that request? Woo boy. What was the other option, telling Congress to get lost?"
12:44 p.m. ET
From SI.com's Jon Heyman: "Committee chairman Waxman poked a major hole in Clemens' party defense, revealing that when the committee requested the contact information for Clemens' former nanny, to question her about whether Clemens attended Canseco's infamous party, Clemens' people delayed in giving the information and that Clemens, who had not seen the nanny since 2001, summoned her to his home. Clemens' lawyers tried to interject, and Clemens twice said, 'I was doin' y'all a favor,' by talking to the nanny first. Waxman, however, said the contact 'raises an appearance of impropriety.' Indeed, it does make one wonder whether Clemens was trying to coach Lily the nanny. Waxman also revealed that Clemens' family members were at the party and that Clemens' golf receipt came from a golf club adjacent to Canseco's Miami's house. Waxman said he didn't find the party defense that Clemens was not there 'central' to the issue. However, if Clemens lied about whether he was there, it would badly hurt his credibility."
12:42 p.m. ET
From SI's Tom Verducci: "Two and a half hours into the hearing and still none of the Congressional members have asked the key question: Why would McNamee be telling the truth about Pettitte and Knobluach but make up whole cloth the testimony about Clemens? We've been asking the question from day one: What would be McNamee's motivation for making this up about Clemens? The question should be put to Clemens."
12:38 p.m. ET
SI's David Epstein says that he asked a committee lawyer if they might call Gene Orza, the chief operating officer of the players association, or specific player reps, at another time. The lawyer said he highly doubted it. He said this was likely the last hearing unless the committee needed to hear from Bud Selig in the future. Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) point blank asks Clemens if he could say he was an honest player, if he could tell his sons he did it the right way. Clemens says it affirmatively. "I took no shortcuts," says Clemens, who then went on a very long speech about his upbringing, his values and his work ethic. "Somebody is trying to break my spirit in this room," Clemens says. "They are not going to break my spirit. You can tell your boys I did it the right way." Clay asks what cap Clemens will wear to his Hall of Fame ceremony. Wow, you have to be kidding. (For the record, Clemens begs off the question.)
12:37 p.m. ET
From SI's Tom Verducci: "One of the saddest underlying elements to this story is how players put their careers and reputations blindly in the hands of the players association and their agents. Clemens made a major mistake in choosing not to talk to Senator Mitchell. That mistake is so obvious even now to Clemens that he actually called out his longtime agents, Randy and Alan Hendricks, for doing a lousy job in advising him. It's the first time I can recall anything but total support by Clemens for his agents. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) smartly brought the issue to the forefront when she pointed out inconsistencies in Clemens' story about why he did not cooperate with Mitchell. Maloney said Clemens told 60 Minutes he was advised by counsel not to talk to Mitchell. But in his deposition Clemens six times claimed that he was not aware that Mitchell even wanted to talk to him. 'I had no idea that Senator Mitchell wanted to talk to me,' Clemens told the committee. So what's the deal? Maloney wanted him to set the record straight. 'I was never told by my agents-slash-attorneys,' Clemens said under oath. 'Never told?' Amazing. Here Mitchell wants to talk to Clemens about steroids -- a clear signal that his professional reputation is on the line -- and the union and the Hendricks brothers don't even tell him? Who's working for whom? 'Would you say your agents did you a disservice?' Maloney asked. 'I would say so,' Clemens said. You think?"
12:34 p.m. ET
From SI's David Epstein: "No one doubts that Clemens worked hard. As the doctors reminded us yesterday, HGH does not build muscle on its own, but with steroids adds anabolic effect. Also, Dr. Todd Schlifstein, after the hearing yesterday, told me that in some young people he has seen who are illegally taking HGH, they seem to be able to tolerate more exercise. So working out hard would be more a sign that you did use HGH then that you didn't. Either way, it doesn't prove anything if you work hard. Steroids will make you fat if you take them and don't work out. You'll retain a ton of water.
12:27 p.m. ET
From SI's David Epstein: "Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) is very tough on drugs; much of his political career relates to drug policy. He is a big baseball fan, too. He once told me that he is very concerned about drug use in young people, but that he also "wants to know if somebody we drafted in our fantasy league tested positive." Souder has compared baseball's code of silence to cocaine rings. He also told me that he perceives more variation in the late career of Clemens than he does in the late career of Barry Bonds. I think that shows which way he's leaning."