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Reagan Purposely Distant From Inquiry, Aide Says

January 16, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — A White House aide today portrayed President Reagan as being purposely detached from investigations into the Iran arms scandal while he tends to other business.

Under a 45-minute barrage of questions about Reagan and the almost daily series of disclosures, spokesman Albert R. Brashear said the President does not want to seek answers or even make his own recollections about key events in the chronology of arms sales to Iran until aides have given him a complete report some time in the future.

"The President should not be asked to comment certainly until such time" as there is a complete record, Brashear said, in the affair, which included the possible criminal diversion of arms sales profits to the Nicaraguan rebels.

Brashear said that for Reagan to become involved now could abuse the process of finding out the facts by congressional committees and a special prosecutor and could lead to a perception that the White House would be making self-serving statements.

"We want whatever comes out to be perceived as without prejudice and to be the recollection of all of what we know to have occurred," he said.

"An incomplete or inaccurate representation on our part of what has transpired would not help the process that the President said he wants to happen--that is, to get all the facts out without prejudice, make them public, and if there were errors or problems, set out to correct them," Brashear said.

Reagan has not answered questions since a Nov. 19 news conference at which he said that he did not trade arms for hostages and that all the supplies sent to Iran would not fill even one cargo plane.

P In addition to the congressional and prosecutor's investigation, White House counsel Peter Wallison is conducting his own inquiry for Reagan, and special counselor David Abshire is preparing to coordinate release of materials requested by Congress and prosecutor Lawrence Walsh.

In the meantime, Brashear said, Reagan "is not sitting there all the time reviewing what is behind him. The President is looking forward as he must to his job of carrying out the last two years of his term. The President will be involved in this process as needed."

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