The Times and the


The Times and the Post both have matter-of-fact run-downs of Kirk Fordham’s testimony Thursday before the House Ethics Committee. The juicy details were behind closed doors. But the essential story is this: he said under oath what he told the FBI and the press last week — that he warned Denny Hastert’s Chief of Staff about Foley three years ago, that Palmer went as far as to meet with Foley and that Palmer told Fordham that he’d discussed the matter with Speaker Hastert.

That leaves two possibilities. Fordham is lying. Or the story put together by Hastert’s staff two weeks ago is bogus, Palmer is lying and Hastert is lying. Real life seldom leaves such cut-and-dry alternatives. But in this case both sides have dug themselves in on very specific and unambiguous versions of what happeend.

The weak link may be Palmer’s oddly broad and ambiguous denial of Fordham’s account. Last week he said simply: “What Kirk Fordham said did not happen.”

If you want to get squirrelly about, that might simply mean that it didn’t happen in precisely the way Fordham said it. Maybe Fordham says they spoke in person when Fordham remembers them speaking on the phone. In other words, it may really be a classic non-denial denial.

In the real world, though, if he’s lying, he’s done and so is Hastert. It’s just a matter of who gets to them first, the investigators or the voters.