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December 10, 2006
Greenwald Pounds Emanuel

In the wake of the final Ethics Committee report on the Mark Foley scandal, we have discovered what we expected -- that the Republicans shrugged off the scandal until it blew up in their faces, and that the Democrats knew about it long before the October Surprise release (in September, in this case) prior to the midterms. It shows both parties in a poor light, both of them sublimating ethical concerns and the safety of the pages to electoral interests. On page 76 of the report, the Ethics Committee makes clear that the Democratic House leadership had copies of the e-mails as early as October 2005 -- and withheld them.

Today, no lesser liberal blogger than Glenn Greenwald blasts the Democrats, and especially Rahm Emanuel, for lying about their involvement in the scandal:

At the height of the Mark Foley scandal in October -- when Democrats were pounding Denny Hastert and company on a daily basis for having taken no action despite knowing about the emails sent by Foley to at least one page (and for lying about their past knowledge) -- Democratic Congressman (and DCCC Chair) Rahm Emanuel went on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos (along with GOP Rep. Adam Putnam). I haven't been able to find a full transcript, but the full video is here, and this article provides an account of the segment.

All week long, Republicans had been insisting that the Foley scandal was a Democratic "dirty trick," speculating that Democrats -- specifically the DCCC of which Emanuel was the Chair -- were just as aware of the Foley e-mails as various GOP House Leaders were, and they accused Democrats (with no evidence) of being responsible for engineering the story. ...

Emanuel would likely say that he did not "lie," because each time he was asked whether he was "aware" of the e-mails -- which he plainly was -- he never denied being "aware" of them. Instead -- he would likely argue -- he changed the subject by denying that he ever "saw" the e-mails, a fact which appears (based on what we know) to be true (or at least not demonstrably false). Therefore, in the narrowest and most technical way, an argument could be constructed that Emanuel did not actually "lie" in his responses.

But that argument, ultimately, is nonsense. If you listen to the video, there is little doubt that Emanuel was lying in every meaningful sense of that word. He not only denied having "seen" the e-mails, but also interrupted Stephanapolous's first question about whether he was "aware" of the e-mails with an emphatic "no," and at least on one other occasion, denied not only having seen the e-mails, but also having been aware of them. Those denials were just outright false (i.e., "lies").

Independent of the question of whether Emaneul "technically lied" -- and far more important -- is the fact that Emanuel was clearly and deliberately misleading. Any reasonable person would have come away from that interview (as I know I did) with the strong impression that Emanuel was completely unaware of any e-mails sent by Foley to the pages, and that he had no reason to know anything was amiss with Foley until ABC broke the story.

Please read the entire post, as Greenwald has lots of citations and an excellent argument to tie them altogether into a damning indictment of Emanuel. I don't think anyone was terribly surprised by this development, but the chutzpah of Emanuel might set a few new lows for Washington in this regard. Emanuel, Greenwald reveals, relied on a Clintonesque rhetorical dance to deliver the impression that he had no knowledge of the Foley matter before ABC News broke it and Foley resigned -- which Greenwald rightly suggests amounts to a flat-out lie.

Will Emanuel pay any price for his dishonesty? It's doubtful; by the time of the next election, this will be old news that neither party will want to revisit. Still, kudos to Glenn for getting tough with his own party on dishonesty and political cynicism of the highest order.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at December 10, 2006 9:12 AM

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» Democrats Knew About Foley E-Mails Before They Said They Didn’t from The American Mind
We have more evidence that Speaker-to-be Nancy Pelosi’s and Rep. Rahm Emmanuel’s “Culture of Corruption” campaign was smoke and mirrors. It was a gimmick used only to further enrage an angry electorate. Glen Greenwald found in t... [Read More]

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» Democrats Knew About Foley, Too from Iowa Voice
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» Foley Wrap Up from A Second Hand Conjecture
A good while back Michael and I spent a bit of time pointing out that the Foley scandal was bi-partisan in nature and that its implications spread far beyond the impulses of one congressman. None of that means the scandal was very important other than ... [Read More]

Tracked on December 10, 2006 4:37 PM


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