"Three hours and 20 minutes later, at 7:20 a.m. California time, my cell phone rang, and it was Mr. Rossiter. He told me he didn't know if I would consider it good news or bad news, but that he had shown my statement to the chairman — Rep. Bill Delahunt [Massachusetts Democrat] — and the chairman had explained that the Republican minority had insisted at the last minute on including a 'new' witness (who is an old friend of mine).
"In order to 'accommodate the minority,' the chairman was forced to trim the witness list and had decided to 'disinvite' me to testify," he says. "Just out of curiosity, I telephoned and e-mailed the staff of the ranking Republican ... and was assured that he had nothing to do with my invitation (I had been selected by the Democratic majority, which had always been my understanding), and he added that the 'new' witness had been scheduled for weeks to be the one witness allowed for the minority ...
"Although I've been around Washington long enough not to be shocked, I don't much like to be lied to by a representative of the people. I also don't like it when representatives of the people use their power to censor important ideas with which they personally may disagree. Chairman Delahunt had no duty to invite me to testify, but he did — and in an effort to be fully responsive I disrupted an already very busy life and spent dozens of hours working late into the night to try to explain the views he had sought for his hearing and to document them."
Mr. Turner says the "bottom line" of his testimony was apparently not what Mr. Delahunt anticipated: "I showed how congressional 'lawbreaking' (seizing powers the Founding Fathers explained were vested exclusively in the president) had done serious harm to our country, including ... making it easier for Osama bin Laden to succeed on 9/11.
"I called the War Powers Resolution a 'hoax' on the American people," he says.
Reached yesterday, Mr. Rossiter, who is counselor to Mr. Delahunt, denied the invitation was rescinded for political reasons.
"Absolutely deny," he says. "There is no animus from the congressman ... no reflection on the testimony. We need strong arguments on both sides."
He added that the chairman ordered Mr. Turner's prepared testimony be entered into the "official transcript" of the hearing.
"Things get complicated," Mr. Rossiter stressed. "I've been bounced off talk shows. It hurts."
Said the professor: "Unfortunately, it's more sad than amusing. If the stakes were not so serious, I'd prefer to make jokes about it."
John McCaslin is a contributing columnist on Townhall.com and author of Inside The Beltway: Offbeat Stories, Scoops, and Shenanigans from around the Nation's Capital .
Be the first to read John McCaslin's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.