A month after House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif., released a memo questioning whether former ballplayer Roger Clemens lied to Congress about his alleged steroid use, Republicans fired back Tuesday, releasing a report of their own that disputes some of the Democrats' prior conclusions and likens the Democrats' report to a "prosecutorial indictment" of Clemens.
The Republican rebuttal dismisses as irrelevant the Waxman memo's outline of "seven sets of assertions, made by Mr. Clemens in his testimony, that appear to be contradicted by other evidence before the committee, or implausible."
"The Democratic staff memorandum's characterizations and conclusions regarding these other matters is simply not relevant to the core question of whether Clemens knowingly lied about using anabolic steroids and human growth hormone (HGH)," the minority report said.
The 109-page Republican report includes new testimony about Clemens' former trainer Brian McNamee's allegations that Clemens attended a 1998 party at then-teammate Jose Canseco's house, Clemens' statements that he received vitamin B-12 injections from McNamee, and McNamee's accusations that Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks, an injury that could have been the result of steroid injections.
It is the latest salvo in a bitterly partisan issue dating back to the pitcher's contentious Feb. 13 hearing.
'Did Roger Lie?'
In late February, the committee's ranking member, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., joined Waxman in successfully requesting a Justice Department probe into whether Clemens had perjured himself. But today, Davis released a report that claims to include new information.
"Did Roger Clemens lie to us?" Davis said in a statement. "Some of the evidence seems to say he did; other evidence suggests he told the truth. It's a far more complicated picture than some may want to believe. Memories fade and recollections differ. That's human nature, not criminal conduct. My concern is the integrity of sworn statements made to Congress."
The majority party's staff wasted no time in responding.
"There doesn't appear to be anything new in the report. And it continues to be important for the Justice Department to review this matter," a committee spokesperson told ABC News.
At the committee's hearing, Clemens vigorously refuted McNamee's allegations that the ballplayer had taken performance-enhancing drugs at least 16 times in 1998, 2000 and 2001. Many Democrats consistently questioned Clemens, while most Republicans targeted McNamee.
Said Davis at the time, "Someone is lying in spectacular fashion."
McNamee's allegations were supported by Clemens' former teammate Andy Pettitte, who said in an affidavit that Clemens had discussed steroid use with him. Clemens denied that, responding that Pettitte "misremembers."
Both Pettitte and another former teammate, Chuck Knoblauch, acknowledged to the committee that McNamee's allegations in the Mitchell Report, that they had both used performance-enhancing drugs, were true.
Reached by ABC News, Richard Emery, McNamee's lawyer, denounced Tuesday's report as "a partisan hatchet job that betrays that the Republican members are once again carrying water for Clemens and his political connections."
Today's report contends that the committee did not fully examine why McNamee "might provide truthful testimony about Pettitte and Knoblauch, but false testimony about Clemens. For these reasons, the Republican staff did not subscribe to it. "
"More concerning, however, the Democratic memorandum reads like an advocate's brief or prosecutorial indictment of Roger Clemens," the report reads.
The report "aimed at presenting and comparing some of the key differences in disputed facts," cites testimony from James Clodfelter, who said he hosted Clemens at his Florida golf club the day of Canseco's party and that Clemens did not attend the festivities at his teammate's house, as well as Glenn Dunn, a friend of Canseco's who also said that Clemens was not at the party. Clemens had denied attending the party, although he admitted at the hearing that he might have stopped by Canseco's after his golf outing.
The report also backs up Clemens' statements that he received B-12 shots, even though they are not reflected in the player's medical files, with Yankees trainer Gene Monahan testifying that the team did not always record these injections. Clemens had said that he was only injected with vitamin B-12 and the painkiller lidocaine.
McNamee had stated that Clemens developed an abscess on his buttocks while a member of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998. But the minority report cites testimony from two team doctors and trainers that shows that the injury was a bruise, rather than an abscess. Clemens has steadfastly refuted that he ever had an abscess.
The report also notes conflicts between the testimony of McNamee and other witnesses, citing that McNamee and Pettitte testified differently about Pettitte's 2002 human growth hormone use. McNamee and Blue Jays trainer Tommy Craig testified differently about Clemens' 1998 buttocks injury, and McNamee and Clemens' sports agent Jim Murray testified differently about a meeting they had, according to the report.
"We believe the Democratic memorandum does not fully represent the investigative work of the committee or the evidentiary record," the minority report states. "Instead of concentrating on the ultimate question — whether Clemens was untruthful about his use of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone — the memorandum goes far afield into Clemens' recollections about inconsequential matters."
The day after Waxman and Davis sent their letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey, the Justice Department directed the FBI to launch an investigation.
The minority staff said Tuesday that they would be passing along interview notes and other information related to their report to the Justice Department.